About four years ago, I had a female acquaintance on Facebook, who was about 25 years old at that time, and single. Almost each day she would pop up on my Newsfeed with quotes about relationships and waiting for the right guy to show up and waiting for the Lord for a perfect love story, and she would caption these quotes with “Goals” or “one day, Lord willing” or something similar.
Nothing bad, all good. I shared in her desires and dreams for a beautiful and perfect love story. I “liked” her posts often, because they did convey some Bible truths about waiting.
Well, God did bless her with a relationship about a year later, after a year of longing that was so visible on Facebook. He was a Christian, and everything looked great, and I was so happy for her.
Her posts soon transformed from relationship to marriage posts, things about partnership and how the woman should love her husband, on waiting to show physical affection, and how the husband and wife relationship is a beautiful thing. She would caption these posts with “Can’t wait to get married, “I want to get married soon,” or something along those lines.
Again, all great things, all good desires. The Lord places in our hearts desires, and marriage–Biblical marriage between a man and a woman, a husband and a wife–is a beautiful desire.
I loved her posts, because through them I felt like I was having an education on waiting on the Lord to provide His best. And I felt as if I was walking through God’s blessings in her life. I shared in her joy.
Almost two years later, she and her guy got married. Finally, I thought, finally I will see her post more things about praising the Lord. I can’t wait to see her settling in and just being happy and peaceful. I can’t wait to see just how much joy God has given her!
She posted beautiful wedding photos. There were also quite a bit of honeymoon photos later on (I believe they went to a beach for their honeymoon).
Things settled down on her page after that, and I imagined that she must be living a life of marital bliss, and I was very happy for her.
About two or three months after they got married, she popped up on my Newsfeed with a single-sentence post: “I want to have a baby now. :(”
The next few weeks after that were filled with her posting selfies of herself.
Wait, I thought. Isn’t getting married enough? Wouldn’t I be content forever if I got married? That post about her wanting a baby was filled with such a spirit of discontent that it disturbed my nights and days. Her selfies hinted a want of something more, and I saw less and less photos of her with her new husband.
I started to ask myself, Is that all it is about? To keep on wanting and waiting for something new, different, and more each time? To keep on wanting relief from each moment of life that has become humdrum? Will nothing ever be enough?
I knew it couldn’t be just that. By that time, about two years ago, God had started to place in my heart a desire to be content in Him, and that lady’s posts scared me even more into wanting to be content in the Lord alone.
I realized that she had never learned to be content in anything the Lord had given her. She had never learned to just be wherever she was at in her life. She hadn’t been content in singleness in the first place.
I knew she would get that baby one day, in all likelihood. But after the excitement of having a child, what would she start posting about? “Can’t wait for you to walk”? “Can’t wait for you to start school”? “Can’t wait for you to finish school and get outta here so I can have my life back and have peace”? “Can’t wait…can’t wait”?
I didn’t want any of that for myself. I don’t want any of that for myself. I was so scared to end up like that lady, getting the things that she desired, and still wanting more and more. I was so scared, because I knew it could happen to me just as easily.
Right then I decided that there was nothing more important in the world to me, as a single Christian lady, than to learn what it means to be content in the Lord and to wait.
It was not an easy task, and it will never be an easy task, but to wait on the Lord–truly wait on Him–is never mundane, boring, or long. To truly wait for Him is to learn to be truly content in Him, with only Him. True contentment is to be enjoying everything that I have at this time, to be so full of everything that I have, to be enjoying each moment to the fullest, that really, I could live my whole life with just being here. Sure, I might still have some huge desires, but I remember that they are tucked away in the heart of the Lord of all Creation.
True contentment is just being grateful to the Lord and making the most of each breathing moment, not taking thought of the morrow. It is to not worry (too much) about what the future will bring, to not worry about “whether I’ll be able to get married or have kids,” but instead contentment is trusting that no matter what happens, no matter that I might never get married, God will take care of me as much as He already has taken care of and is taking care of me.
True contentment, to me, is understanding in my mind and in my heart and with my emotions (because we want to feel, and that’s okay) that “Hey, I’ve already reached this point in my life with only God taking care of me, and so far I have survived and I’m still alive. What makes me think that I won’t survive another fifty years alone with just Him? He can definitely take care of all of me.”
To be truly content in the present is to surrender all thoughts and worries of the future to the God who is so much bigger than that dreaded future. We are not called to think of the future but to work with our hands today.
If I, as a single woman, thought that the waiting would end once whoever God had for me (finally!) showed up, I was definitely wrong, and I know this now:
You wait for parental blessing; you wait to get to know each other more intimately (and that might mean holding back on wanting to share your whole heart and all your thoughts and life even though you so desperately want to); you wait to show affection. I am sure that there’s a whole heap of waiting that I still have no clue about…yet.
But I don’t want to get stuck in that mindset of “Ugh, I am waiting!” and because I am stuck, I cannot even experience and enjoy what I do have now.
I do not want to live my life just looking forward to the next level of each video game. I do not want to rush to the end of each chapter in a book just because I want to start the next chapter. Instead I want to savour each moment, savour each word and each thought, and take my time to read. Maybe I’d read only when I am lying down on the grass in a park on a glorious day, because just as books have an end, so does my life. And I usually love taking my time with really good books because I don’t want them to end too soon.
No matter which stage of life I am in, I pray to the Lord that I would just bask in the sunshine, in the slowness of the day, in the “doing nothing,” in the lazy, in the quiet, in the birds chirping in the distance, in the slow roar of the sea, in the pointless and directionless strolls on the beach.
I pray that I would settle in the everyday, in the “nothing’s happening,” and that I would just float in the pool instead of always being so eager to swim ten laps…just to realize that the laps will never end.
I pray that I would understand with my mind and also with my feelings that this time of silence and waiting is God’s little love gift to me. I pray that we would see: this time of waiting is His gift to us…of rest.
And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. Mark 6:31
For the guy I used to call “Blue.” Can’t wait, but at the same time, I would love to wait with you.