The store was small and quaint, but it still caught my eye as I walked down the street. There was no one in sight as I peered through the large glass window and was instantly intrigued, it was a book store. It looked like it was full of old books and as a writer and avid reader (and shopper) stumbling upon a new bookstore was like finding a tiny piece of heaven on earth. I hopped up the four crumbly cement stairs towards the chipping wooden red door and pulled the handle fully expecting it to open immediately. But it resisted, so I pulled a second and third time with the same results. I let go and walked back down the stairs to ensure the sign truly read ‘open’ which it did. Determined, I bounded back up the stairs two at a time and tugged at the door, I jiggled and turned the handle but it just would not budge. Maybe it’s closed, I thought to myself and just before I decided to retreat and make my back onto the sidewalk, defeated and bookless the door swung open. ‘Sorry, I was in the back, sometimes that door sticks and the odd thing is, it will only open if you don’t try to force it.’ The merchant smiled as she held the door open for me. I made polite conversation as I slid passed her to make my way to the nearest bookshelf. I had been right in thinking that the bookstore was a gem, I purchased some great older books no longer in print and happily left the store, this time opening the door gently and easily.
As I made my way home, I thought about how that door was kind of like some instances in my life. Sometimes I want in so badly and or to get to the next level or stage in life so quickly that I’m doing everything in my power to force things to happen except be patient and wait on God to open doors that I can not. I tug, throw tantrums, scream, kick, or bang on doors & many times they still don’t open in my timing, it just leaves me breathless and frustrated. And often times when they do open, I honestly am not too thrilled about the outcome.
I’m no expert, but I challenge you the next time you are upset about where you are in life to just chill out, find somethings to be grateful for in the moment and stop pushing against right now. This isn’t to say stop dreaming, striving or grinding towards goals but it is to say to dispose of anxiousness and impatience that isn’t truly serving you. Maybe you will notice as I have, that when we wait on God, when we are patient and when the timing is right, doors will open.
I was speaking to a friend today and she was filling me in on her marriage woes. Without getting to deep into anyone else’s business, it’s a fairly new marriage and they are more unhappy than not with each other as they attempt this life long journey of growth together. In the midst of her complaining about him, I found myself express, “OMG, I am so glad that I’m not married!” Now, In hindsight, I realize that was a little selfish as many of my friends use me as a sounding board and I would never want to make any of them feel alienated. Secondly, I should have stated that I am so glad that I’m not unhappily married as we can speak life or death over our situations and lives (Proverbs 18:21). But it even shocked me when I felt it come over me, because I truly meant it with everything in me. This was a new feeling as I had been so focused on wanting a relationship that I had rarely taken the time to thank God for saving me from the wrong unions! I have no desire to deal with the drama, arguing and pain that comes along with a union to the wrong person (not saying that was my friends situation at all). I came to the conclusion that I would be much happier single and at peace than married and constantly at war. My relationships in the past have been full of drama, abuse and pain, although there were definitely good aspects to each I could have done without the negative parts. Granted, the negativity was because God was not the head of our unions and partially a result of my insecurities and actions which I can now take accountability for. But as God instills in me the patience to wait on His best I grow more and more overjoyed in the fact that I haven’t made the mistake of marrying the wrong man. Or on the flip side that I haven’t scared off my Adam because my heart wasn’t prepared for a union that would glorify God.
Because I am currently doing a bible study on self control, I was reading about the Stanford marshmallow experiment. This experiment was done many years ago by a psychologist Walter Mischel. In the experiment, children were offered a choice between one small marshmallow immediately or two marshmallows if they could wait and practice delayed gratification. In follow up studies the researchers showed that the children that were able to wait longer tended to have better life outcomes. I know that with living in such a now centered society the thought of practicing patience and delayed gratification may seem archaic; But what if God wants to give us as many marshmallows as we want and were settling for one measly marshmallow because we can’t control our own desires of immediate indulgence. What if God has His best for us, but because we simply won’t wait for His timing we forfeit it all because of impatience or we have to wait even longer like the Israelites out in the wilderness for forty years on a journey that should have taken them 11 days! (Deuteronomy 1:2) As children of God how long must we go around this same mountain of singleness because of complaining, wrong thinking, frustration or impatience? And I say we because I include myself and need reminders every now and then as well! If we practice patience in this one area of our lives I believe it will also enrich other aspects of our lives and be well worth it in the end.
One huge perk of singleness is the time allowed to renew your spirit, ready your heart for a partner and grow in God, so take advantage of it. We can rest assured and be at peace because we know that if God placed the desire of marriage in our hearts, he will fulfill that longing, exceedingly and abundantly beyond what we can probably even imagine as long as we believe and do not ask outside of his will (Mark 21:22 & James 4:3). We can rest in the fact that our life long partners are either being prepared for us or waiting on us to grow ourselves up enough to have a thriving marriage truly made in heaven! So what are you waiting for? Get to work!!!
Here’s to a purposeFULL life!
Six ways to combat the feeling of loneliness…
1. Learn to depend on Him: Don’t call that friend, turn on the television or go to the mall to make yourself feel better or be around people. If you try to numb, ignore or tune out your loneliness it will most likely still be there after you get off the phone, the TV show is over or you finish shopping. Instead, work it out with just you and God, pick up your bible or read your bible verses that you wrote out for times like these.
2. Have an attitude of gratitude: I know that this is quite cliché, but it works wonders! When you focus on the things that are right in your life you don’t have much time to focus on what’s wrong. The majority of the time you will realize you are more blessed than not. Even though you may not have a significant other at this time, there may be other people that God has placed in your life to love on, so be grateful for them!
3. Get it out: Allow yourself to feel the frustration of loneliness, cry, write about your feelings and pray to God about your situation, then get quite before Him and listen for a response. Give your loneliness to God; He knows how to heal your brokenness.
4. Adjust your focus: God tells us to focus on things eternal and not seen (2Corinthinans 4:18), in the long run those are the things that will prove to be important. Instead of focusing on us and what our flesh wants in the right here and now, focus on why God may have you in this situation to benefit the kingdom. Could it be to have time to help others, volunteer, start or help in a ministry, write a book or just to become a better you?
5. Think of the alternative: In my times of loneliness I think of what my life could have been like had God given me my hearts desires in the past when I wasn’t ready. For me, I could have married my first boyfriend but I’m quite sure it would have been a horrible marriage. Think of the ways God has saved you and what He kept you from instead of focusing on what you believe He may be withholding. He wants you happy and you deserve the best, His best. Hopefully, you believe that’s worth the wait.
6. Feelings are fickle: Realize that what you feel is just a feeling and most feelings are fickle. Usually, most feelings soon leave for another. You won’t feel this way for the rest of your life, maybe even the rest of day. Rely on what you know to be truth, that God is not a man that he will not lie and that he fulfills His promises (Numbers 23:19). Know that this too shall pass.
I truly hope this helps someone in their time of loneliness!
Here’s to a purposeFULL life
Jeremiah 17:9 – The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?