Have you ever been frustrated that as a single woman, it sometimes feel like you have little to no control over changing your future or making your dreams of marriage happen?
This used to be a struggle of mine, but I received an email recently that challenged this thinking, that I would have loved to receive years ago, so I wanted to pass it along!
The email came from Casey, one part of the couple duo who run a ministry for married couples at Marriage 365. He reminded us that instead of constantly wishing our spouse would change something, we should focus on ourselves and the things within our control. He shared of list of things that we DID have control of.
After reading this I immediately thought of how this relates in the same way to singleness. (I am always thinking about you girls!) One of the uniquely hard parts about being single, I found, was the feeling like there was not one thing I could do about it. In many other aspects of life, like career, environment, health, etc, you can actually DO something about it and change your situation! But with marriage, there isn’t much you can do to make something to happen. And even if you could, we know that forcing something is not the way to get God’s best for you anyway!
While it may be true that there is only so much we can do to meet our mate, I do think that we are responsible for more things than I had ever considered while I was single! We discussed this in our Wholehearted Ladies facebook group (if you’re not in there yet, come join us!) and we thought of a ton of areas that we actually ARE in control of or responsible for as a single woman.
I want to share this list, but before I do, I want to make it clear that this is not a checklist of areas you need to perfect before God sends you your man. And it’s definitely not a list to make you feel guilty for where you are at. My hope is that this list will encourage you to take ownership and shine in these areas that are within your control and learn to rest, by leaving the other things up to God. :)
My Thoughts :
- Do I fantasize about the future?
- Am I feeding into my desires by daydreaming?
- Do I imagine romantic or sexual scenarios?
Daydreaming can provide a short term fix for those deep desires of intimacy and relationship we have, but don’t let yourself indulge! It is easy to get carried away and zone out of reality as you get lost in that fantasy world. Take those thoughts captive and replace them with truth and goodness.
“Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].”
My Attitude :
- Am I content with my life?
- Am I filled with jealousy of others?
- Have I fallen into a state of “just waiting”?
Our attitudes and heart determine the course of our life. They are what all of life flows from. So it stands to reason that protecting and nurturing our heart throughout this season is so important to our future! Protect your heart from the temptation to believe the lies – like you “deserve” something, that this season is useless, or you will be happen when… . Surround yourself with women who encourage and uplift you in this season!
“Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.”
My Schedule :
- Are you wasting or making good use of your time?
- Where (physically) are you spending your free time?
- Are you surrounding yourself by worldly influences or situations?
Time is so precious and we usually only recognize it’s value when it’s gone! Try to grasp the beauty and opportunity that this season brings and take advantage of the unique freedoms that come with it. What a gift it is to learn to use this time wisely and make every minute count! You never know how long (or short) it will be.
“Teach us to use wisely all the time we have.”
“As long as it is day, we must do what the one who sent me wants me to do. When night comes, no one can work.”
My Hope :
Have I lost hope in my future?
Have I sunk into depression?
Does bitterness have a stronghold in my life?
If the enemy can make you lose hope that God has good plans for your future, he can send you into a pit of despair. It was after one particularly hard breakup that I realized the importance of hope. As discouragement and sadness flooded my heart, I was literally forced to read the Bible just to make it through the day. The Scripture became my daily bread and the words I read gave me hope for a beautiful future even when I couldn’t see it. Hold onto to the hope that you have in the Lord and don’t let your circumstances effect what you know to be true!
“but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
My Growth :
- What kind of character am I building?
- Am I becoming the kind of woman that the kind of guy I would want, would want?
- Do I see a change in myself from last year to this year?
Throughout all of life we have the opportunity to grow and become more and more like Jesus! Singleness should not put your life or your transformation on hold. Marriage brings a unique set of refining processes, but so does singleness! Don’t miss out on this. Don’t wait on a partner to be able to grow in your relationship with the Lord.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
“So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God.”
My Response :
- When I do meet people what is my response?
- Am I aggressive with guys?
- Do I get so excited that I forget my standards?
As the years pass and the pressures pile up, there is a temptation to “make something happen”. Don’t let the desire for a relationship turn you into someone you are not. Remember that the guy that you most desire will take notice of your purity and godliness and it will be attractive. If it takes you being overly aggressive and sexual, then he is not the man you want to be partnered with for life.
“Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.”
“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
My Obedience :
- Am I obeying God ?
- Is my disobedience preventing something from happening?
“What did you do with the last thing God told you to do?” I heard this question while I was in the thick of wondering what God’s plan was for me. It challenged me to consider whether I was truly seeking to hear from God for my future or whether I was really just waiting to hear what I wanted to hear from Him. Ask yourself if there is any tug at your heart that you have ignored from God (or even blatantly told him “No”), because it wasn’t what you wanted to hear. I have found that the more obedient I am to the small whispers, the more He speaks to me and the more I see things happening.
“If you love me, keep my commands.” John 14:15
“He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” Luke 11:28
My Faith :
- Is my status of unmet desires propelling or stifling my spiritual life?
- Do I still believe that God is good and loving?
- Do I trust in His plan for me?
Unmet expectations can be a recipe for losing faith in God. Or they can be a huge faith builder as you hold tightly to Him and watch His perfect plan unfold. When the temptation comes to believe He has forgotten you, fill your mind with the truths about who God is and His character.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
It’s simply amazing what can happen when we choose focus on the right things!
As opposed to exhausting yourself trying to control things you have no influence over, I hope this exercise will help you to see where you can have the most impact in your life and future.
Did I miss any biggies?! What else do you have control of as a single woman?
ICYMI : Singles Month Posts