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In Defense of Lame Religious Advice
by Leah Nichols
7/05/2010 / Dating
I know, you're tired of them - those religious answers which always downplay the emotions you're feeling about singleness and your desire for companionship.
"Just wait on God!" Uh, yeah! I have been waiting....for like one hundred years, it seems!
"When you're least expecting it is when he'll appear." I'm not expecting it; I'm not expecting it; I'm not expecting it....For crying out loud, where IS he?
"Keep your focus on Jesus; He's better than any husband!" I love Jesus. He is perfect. But it sure would be nice to have a date on a Friday night....and someone to hold my hand.
"The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord; the married woman is distracted. You have so much time to serve." Hmmm, let's see. I do Children's Ministry on Wednesday nights, Youth on Thursday, choir on Sunday mornings, and hit up the homeless outreach every other Friday, besides working and part time college. I'm too exhausted to even have time for a date, even if I were asked!
"Maybe you have some things to work on in your life; you may not be ready for marriage." Well, I'm financially independent, a spiritual leader, physically active, and emotionally stable. I've got money in the bank for a wedding, and household items enough to fill a house. What more do you think I need?
"You simply need a little more faith." Faith? Faith? I've been believing what seems impossible for 10 years now!
"You're too picky." Is it too much to ask for a guy to love Jesus wholeheartedly and be at least partially good looking? I'm not expecting a hunk or anything!
And on and on and on it goes. Lame religious answers are a dime a dozen, but at the end of the day, you're still unmarried - worse - you've not met anyone to fit the bill. You're giving your all to Jesus, or at least you think you are, and He still hasn't brought that perfect man. You still feel lonely, you still fight envy of married women, and you still wonder what in the world you are doing wrong!
I remember discussing this one day with a friend who had recently became engaged for a second time, having gone through an unfortunate divorce due to very difficult circumstances (not her fault). At the same age as me, she had experienced not one, but two serious relationships leading to marriage. She already knew my unvoiced question - what's wrong with me?
Her answer gave me some hope to cling to: It's not your fault, and you can't do anything more to change your circumstances. God simply knows the best timing for you, and has the best person picked out. Some people just meet their mate sooner than others, and God uses every unique circumstance in each person for their own personal development. He refines one person through their singleness, and another through their marriage.
In other words, all of our human efforts will not change the timing of God's plan. You can pray and beg and plead, but you still have to wait for God to bring it about in His perfect design. Which brings me to my defense of lame religious advice....
Believe me, I know the frustration of waiting and the infuriating simplicity of all the religious advice which doesn't soothe the emotional struggle you're facing. And I know taking such advice does not change the timing of your wait. Yet I believe it holds true, even to a small degree, and taking it will make you a better person; able to fully appreciate God's blessings when He does come through with what you have desired. We all have room to grow in our walk, and God allows these periods of waiting to draw us closer to Him; to become more like Jesus every day.
Let's take a look at the previous statements with an eye to Scripture and the exhortations to be found in the Word.
"Just wait on God." Found in Psalms 27:14, 33:20, 37:9, and a host of other Scriptures, this truth should guide our every day. Even though it can be infuriating when His timing doesn't match with our ideas, God always blesses those who wait for Him to act.
"When you're least expecting it is when he'll appear." In Psalm 84:11, the psalmist reminds us of God's goodness - He does not withhold good things from His children. Another reminder comes in Matthew 7:11 - God gives better gifts than we do. Are you fervently asking for a husband? The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous person moves the heart of God (James 5:16b).
"Keep your focus on Jesus." Scripture tells us Jesus kept His eyes fixed on the joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:1-2) and we are to imitate His example. Our joy should be to seek Him, as His joy centered on eternal companionship with us! He is truly superior to any man on this earth, and a man of God will be drawn to a woman who loves Jesus with all of her heart.
"You have so much time to serve." Ecclesiastes 9:10 exhorts us to work with all of our might. It is absolutely true - when we are single, we do have time to pour out our lives freely for the service of God. You certainly do need time to be refreshed, but if you are withholding from serving in hopes of an open schedule for a man, perhaps you need to find something to do which can minister to others. Jesus also encourages us in Matthew 6:19-20 to store up our treasures in heaven - every selfless action reaps eternal rewards.
"You may not be ready for marriage." Uh-oh! Them's fighting words! Not really. Take one look at Proverbs 31:10-31 and you may immediately recognize a need for improvement. Rather than feeling hopeless, however, you can prepare for marriage beginning with verse 26. Wisdom and kindness will go a long way in a marriage, no matter whom you marry. Maybe you think you are ready for marriage, which is fine, but it certainly doesn't hurt to be more ready.
"You need more faith." Let me clarify this statement with another: we all need more faith. James 1:3-5 reminds us faith produces patience, which makes us perfect and complete. If we gain some faith, we gain the ability to wait on God, which makes us grow in faith. It's a cycle which builds upon itself! Frustrated with waiting? Feeling impatient? Build your faith.
"You're too picky." Well, maybe you are. Seriously....is anyone perfect? God wants us to marry a believer, and He allows for us to be drawn to our husband through attraction. What limiters have you put on your own ideas of attraction? Age? Race? Education? Profession? Calling? Are you willing to bend your own areas of inflexibility for the sake of marriage, or live single because you refuse to settle? 1 John 3:20 states God is greater than our hearts, and knows all things. He certainly knows what you need in a husband - someone who complements you and your calling, even if he's not a duplicate of your personality.
What other advice are you ignoring because it seems lame, religious, and outside of the reality of your loneliness? Perhaps it does have some basis in Scripture, and may also have the ability to transform your life from good to great.
You don't have to live frustrated with your life, ignoring advice which may lead to a greater appreciation of God's timing. Give it a try - you may find yourself surprised with the results!
Leah writes in her spare time....whenever it's available. She and her husband Ryan live in the greater Los Angeles area, where she works as a labor/delivery nurse, writing and playing the violin on the side. She also enjoys cooking, baking, walking, and reading blogs on the internet.
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