Last week’s post was a little brutal I know. But sometimes it takes a little kick to wake up to patterns we have inadvertently created in our singleness. And then there are times where it just plain stinks. Today we’re talking about “wanting”. In the Esther Salon I describe wanting as praying for a spouse, but struggling with hope and trust that God will answer favorably.
This is the emotional space where one is taking care of themselves, serving others, and living life as close to Christ-like as one can think of living. This is the place where everything I do feels like it’s not enough. If it was enough, God would answer my prayers right? If I did A + B it should = C right? If I live righteously, give generously, serve humbly and pray faithfully then God should hear my heart and answer right? What more does God want from me?
This is a painful place to be. I know this too well. It’s the place where the Lies live. Wanting is the emotional place where the Enemy whispers into our ear as we survey our present status and think, “I’m not pretty enough.” or “I’m getting too old. It’s too late.” It is the place where we replace the reality of our awesomeness with the lies of our inadequacies. It is a place similar to when Eve took a bite of the forbidden fruit and became ashamed of her Imago Dei. Eve was created in the image of God, wonderfully and fearfully made as the Psalms says, but once the Lies crept in, she, along with Adam, found shame in their nakedness.
Wanting is painful because once we do everything we can think to do to honor God, we have run out of answers as to why we’re still single. It doesn’t make sense. Your friends, your favorite aunt, and heck even people you just meet say it, “I don’t get why you’re still single.” And so the Lies take this opportune moment to tell us why we’re single “you’re body needs work”, “you’re too much”, “you’re too little”, “you messed up too many times”. And there we stand, like on the Bachelor, without a rose and a promise for the future.
One night I was having a very difficult time with wanting. It hurt to my physical heart. I was lying in bed, curled up in the emotional and the (self diagnosed) psycho-physiological pain of wanting. In the midst of my tears and cries out to the Lord I heard very distinctly, “Do you trust me?” I immediately stopped crying, wiped my tears and thought about my answer. My first thought to God was, “That’s not what I wanted to hear. I wanted to hear you say, he’s coming.” But I knew I had to answer the question. Do I trust God? The question wasn’t “Do you trust me to provide a husband for you?” or “Do you trust me if I keep you single?” The question was simply “Do you trust me?” The great I Am was calling me to be still and know the he is God. Jesus Christ was reaching his hand to me, his bride asking, “Do you trust me?”
It was then that I realized if I want to know marital intimacy, maybe I should start with the One who loved me first. Maybe I should work on replacing the Lies that have paralyzed my heart with the sweet nothings from the One that loves me. Popular idioms tell us we should “love ourselves”, but I gotta say that’s easier to say then do. But what I can do is embrace the sweet nothings of the One who calls me by name. I can meditate on the One who knows me and loves me in my darkest hours and celebrates with me in my victorious moments. Let’s start there.
I don’ know the answers to my wanting or to yours. The question is simply, “Do you trust me?” The only way I could answer that authentically was to embrace God’s love for me more fully. If I can better understand God’s deep and vast love for me, then maybe I can trust that much more.
Exercise: Read this excerpt from Henri Nouwen’s Life of the Beloved out loud and to yourself. Allow Nouwen’s use of scriptures to replace the lies with the truth. Say it as many times as needed until it begins to be the voice you carry. *I wrote this on my mirror because I needed to be reminded daily.
I have called you by name, from the very beginning. You are mine and I am yours. You are my Beloved, on you my favor rests, I have molded you in the depths of the earth and knitted you together in your mother’s womb. I have carved you in the palm of my hands and hidden you in the shadow of my embrace. I look at you with infinite tenderness and care for you with a care more intimate than that of a mother for her child. I have counted every hair on your head and guided you at every step. Wherever you go, I go with you, and wherever you rest, I keep watch. I will give you food that will satisfy all your hunger and drink that will quench all your thirst. I will not hide my face from you. You know me as your own as I know you as my own. You belong to me. I am your father, your mother, your brother, your sister, your lover, and your spouse…and even your child…wherever you are I will be. Nothing will ever separate us, We are one,