Don’t sit on the bench twiddling your thumbs (sorry, not talking about the dating game). Here are 9 ways that you can actively seek to live the abundant Christian life!
9 ways that you can actively seek to live the abundant Christian life!
1. Love people. Include them in your life regardless of their relationship status. We hurt ourselves when we exclude ourselves from spending time with other families or couples. Don’t let pain keep you from reaching out and loving others.
About 3 years ago, as I stepped out in faith to trust God to do full time ministry, I raised support and began working with and loving on college students. I adore my job. It gives me joy in so many ways. I remember telling Laura just a few weeks in how I felt like this was exactly what God created me for.
At first, as I was raising support, people would ask what my long term plans were. They wanted to know if I was in it for the long haul. My response was always, “Well, as far as I’m concerned, I’m here forever but I don’t know what God has planned!”
Is it even possible to be a bridesmaid five times and a personal attendant three times as a single woman and not be completely embittered? At least I don’t have “27 Dresses,” but still… So many times I have gone to weddings where the bride and groom were ten years younger than me. I was excited for them, mostly, but in the depths of my heart I was asking questions. Will it ever be my turn? Am I abnormal? Will anyone ever find me attractive? Will holidays always be a struggle? Will I always feel on the outside looking in at other families? Will there ever be a guy who truly understands me and likes me for who I am? Is God displeased with me and holding out?
One of the things that I have to guard my heart against as a single woman is what I like to call “Mushy Heart Syndrome.”
There are things that turn my heart into mush and turn me away from the Lord. My symptoms often include fantasizing about my “future husband,” thinking if I just ______, God will give me the man of my dreams, thinking that marriage is my ultimate goal rather than knowing and loving God, and maybe the ugliest- drooling after men and idolizing them as potential husbands rather than seeing them as the image of God.
I have come to the conclusion that the popular tradition of making New Year's resolutions is actually a prescription of my own charlatan-efforts to peddle a self-remedy. The statistics show that a successfully maintained New Year's resolution has more in common with the stuff of fairytales than real, effective discipline and growth. Evaluation, making adjustments and coming up with a personal development plan are all healthy practices when they are undertaken with a clear understanding of who I am and where the roots of my issues really lie. If I take a shortcut, skating over the ice encrusting my cold, broken heart then I will never benefit from any resolution. After a while the pride and the fear of shame cease to motivate. Even if I am still going to the gym or if I decide to follow the advice of well-meaning friends and put myself "out there" more intentionally with the hope of finding a mate, after the first month when I fail to see any sign of the longed-for results, I begin to taste the bitterness of disappointment once again. My efforts to solve my problems apart from honesty, truth and vulnerability are fruitless.
I was going through the mail that had been addressed to me, yet sent to my parents' home. This in and of itself brings out weird feelings. The movie headline Failure to Launch seems suddenly to be flashing over my head. I know it's an over-reaction. My sister just celebrated her 16th wedding anniversary and an occasional letter intended for her is misdirected to my parents' house, as well. That thought is enough to shoo the ridiculous insult in my imagination away. Am I trying to rationalize dysfunction, or am I really in a healthy place in my life? Like the junk mail in my lap I sort through a few quick comparisons with others I know, careful to choose areas of personal strength rather than competing in a category where I struggle. Those thoughts quickly buoy me up and I continue sorting my mail.
I want to share an embarrassing moment with y'all. Today I started my morning out by laying on the bathroom floor crying just after getting out of the shower. Something about being in your most vulnerable state allows God to really work in your heart.
Laying in a heap on the floor in a towel and sobbing, I gave my life back over to Jesus. I yielded parts of my heart I've been holding with white knuckles for some time now. God broke me of my entitlement, of my own rights, of my own life. Entitlement was killing me. And it may be killing you.