As most of you know, the last few years have been an intense process of God taking my life and hammering it out upon the anvil.
It’s painful, it’s not always fun, and often it requires a multi-leveled change in my lifestyle. It began with my decision to let God “actually” take over the life I called my own, which then developed into wondering why I didn’t “feel” excited about God, and realizing that having doubts about faith wasn’t an oxymoron. But that phase led to deeper faith, greater perseverance, and renewed enthusiasm.
So what happens after the excitement of a new relationship wears off? The wilderness.
Bleak, boring, blecccch.
Reading when you’re tired, obeying when you’re cranky, looking away when you’d rather look, changing the station though you feel lazy, refraining from the “perfect” comeback, praying when you’re ticked off…it’s the stuff that either puts your faith in motion or makes you brittle.
James 1 reminds us that the testing of our faith produces perseverance. And “perseverance must finish its work so that [we] may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (He also says to consider the situations as “pure joy”, so there!) But even in the wilderness, the sun faithfully rises and gloriously sets. I’ve found that I’ve been falling asleep praying and thinking, and when the alarm goes off I’m still praying and thinking. My prayers have upgraded from the selfish ones of “Give me this want, give me that thing!” to asking for God to do as He wills, even if it may cause some physical/mental/social discomfort.
One of my dear friends gave me the book “Sacred Singleness” by Leslie Ludy, and I’ve been reading it this past week—I’m currently down to the last few chapters. And no, this is not one of those self-help books where you make a checklist of things to learn to do before you get married, and how to look for the right qualities in an acceptable spouse. Instead, it focuses on the relationship you have, right now, with your heavenly father. It emphasizes that the “season of singleness” is a beautiful and precious opportunity to pour out your life for the one who poured out His life for you. It’s a time to serve God by serving others—a time when you have minimal restraining factors on your time and energy.
One of the issues that is emphatically addressed is the charge we have to defend the widows and the fatherless, the poor and the needy—to wake up to the reality that not everyone is living as comfortably as we are. I’m talking real priorities here. One of the Lecrae lyrics keeps popping into my head when I think about the mission we’re assigned to. He talks about how God has him “living for [His] glory instead of living to retire.” Is our goal in life to get married and live comfortably? Is *that* our goal?
Sooo…then what? This question keeps banging me on the head like a grandfather clock on drugs. BAM. BAM. BAMMMM. Or a freight train full of cast iron skillets. Anyway, it keeps hitting me hard.
Whose life plan are we living? Are we so caught up in financial stability that we overlook the God who’s been blessing our finances? Are we so concerned with getting married that our relationship with Him is suffering? As Leslie Ludy put it, “Marriage was never designed to take the place of God.”
What are we doing with our lives? Are we squandering it, wasting it selfishly? Or are we turning it inside out, pouring it (every drop) out…selflessly…for the one who gave it to us?
He’s the only one who can put the flame to this candle and make it glow.