I’ve always wished for a spell that allowed you to permanently lock in place the effects of a completed chore, or a lesson learned, so that you wouldn’t have to do it more than once. Do you ever finish vacuuming your room and think, “I’ll have to do this again in a week. Why can’t the carpet just stay pretty forever after this one, sweaty, 15 minute sesh I just had?” Changing the cat box? Once was already one too many times for that thing. You’re telling me I’ll have to keep doing lunges and squats forever if I want my buns all firm and perky? Less materially than chores are the moments you want to freeze when you just “get it.” When you look in the mirror and totally accept who you see physically. When you don’t feel a shred of jealousy from your friend’s good news because you honestly are selflessly and utterly happy for her. And the big one for me - when you truly believe that God is good, all the time, which means that wherever He has you in that moment is exactly where you’re meant to be.
But life doesn’t work quite like that does it? I think there must be something to the discipline of cleaning up a messy house every week. And dragging your butt out of bed for a workout not just three days a week or until you see results, but constantly, as a rhythm of release and therapy and increasing in strength. And there’s for sure a reason we don’t learn a lesson once and retain it forever, like robots that were just upgraded to a newer model, our Creator hitting His head and realizing He should have pre-programmed us with more skills and gifts. There’s something to that “thorn in my side” metaphor that (annoyingly, yet beautifully) reminds us that we were never meant to be perfect. And we all have our “things.” And more likely than not, we’ll spend the rest of our lives having to surrender the lies and the hurt and the pain and the ugly parts of who we are, and re-learning the truth and the beauty and the grace that was meant to replace all of it. Sometimes there are seasons of “getting it.” Months and possibly years where the Truths are nested deep in our hearts and we can draw from them quickly and easily. There are other times where we have to start over every morning. A painful reminder that we’re not there yet. And that we can’t always change our hearts and our minds with our own strength. I want to think of this entire process as a gift, but some days all I want to do is chuck that “gift” in the ocean and search for the nearest “EASY” button to press and make everything better.
That’s a lot of build-up for what I was actually wanting to write about. So thanks for sticking with me. I haven’t figured out an eloquent way to verbalize this current struggle of mine so I’ll just say it: being single really, really sucks sometimes. I’ve been single for over 3.5 years now. Minus a few dates here and there and guys who’ve occupied my heart and mind for far too long without a real relationship attached it to. But no boyfriend. No one to bring over to dinner with my family. No one to sit next to me at church when I have no one to go with. No one to hug and kiss goodnight and know that the next day they’ll still want to call and hang out with me. No plus one to my friends’ weddings. Just Single Sara. And yes, that is me throwing a disgustingly pathetic pity party for myself, and allowing my identity to be defined by my relationship status, but those are the sad thoughts I think, and the stupid truths I believe. Not every day, but a lot of days lately. Even writing this makes me mad, because I used to always tell myself I’d never be this person. I’d always be strong and happy and independent even if I wasn’t married by 30, 35, 40, whatever. But since I am human, and therefore not perfect, I haven’t found a way to be fully satisfied no matter where life has me. And I figure there’s a good chance I’m not alone in these feelings either. So I will write from my heart, even when my heart doesn’t look like how I want it to.
While reading “The Meaning of Marriage” (a book I highly recommend for everyone), I came across a quote about singleness that really struck me. The author quoted Paige Benton Brown's article "Singled Out by God for Good" saying, “I am not single because I am too spiritually unstable to possibly deserve a husband, nor because I’m too spiritually mature to possibly need one. I am single because God is so abundantly good to me, because this is His best for me.” Whoa. I’d never heard it like that before. It changes things when you learn to set aside your expectations for where you think you should be in life, or even where the world thinks you should be.
For me, right now, the lesson I have to continually re-learn is trusting that God is good, all the time. No matter what. No matter how I feel or where I am in life. Because when I remember He is good, that means His plan for my life is better than my own. That He knows the best and perfect timing for every chapter I am to experience. And in those moments, I get it. There is peace and assurance and hope, even if I know I might have to go through all of this again tomorrow. Thank goodness God never said, “get it right this once or else.” Instead He says, “pick up your cross daily, come to me all of you who are weary and burdened and you will find rest for your souls.” Amen.
From my heart,