Prolonged Singleness: Some of Us Don’t Just Feel Unwanted, We Start To Feel Unwantable

It’s not just you, you’re not crazy. I remember how it felt. Not the feeling that nobody wants you — that took a backseat to something new a few years ago: the feeling that nobody could want you. Would ever want you. Something’s got to be wrong with you, and you’re simply unwantable.

Maybe you think you’re too messed up. Too far gone. Have too many issues. Who would want to hitch their wagon to you and all your baggage?

When your head’s on straight, you know it’s not true. Still, most days, you can’t shake the feeling that whatever used to be desirable about you is either gone, or just not enough.

Lady, I have BEEN. THERE.

Your married friends keep telling you what a great catch you are! It feels good for a few moments, and then it rings hollow. Especially their kind-hearted assurance that they “just know God has someone wonderful out there for you!” That’s sweet, but, they can’t know that. No one but God knows that. And God simply won’t tell you whether or not you’ll be single for the rest of your life.

This isn’t going to be a lecture on why such thinking is wrong. If you’re someone who knows the God of the Bible, you likely know it already. Nor is it going to be about all the reasons the right man, if God has marriage in your future, is going to want you. I just hope to commiserate, since I’ve been down that hole, and communicate that climbing out is hard, but possible.

By the way, it wasn’t meeting my spouse that somehow lifted me out. I had to find a rope and climb. The rope was the slow, consistent work of God to comfort me, and gently show me the idol of my heart. He comforted me with the truth that He had created me, without design flaws, for specific works He had prepared beforehand (Ephesians 1:10). He comforted me with the truth that He would never abandon the progress He was making in my sanctification (Philippians 1:6).

Owning up to the fact that my idol was being chosen by a good man, refocusing that worship to Christ, and finally grasping what true contentment is — those changes got me to a place of real joy two years before Aaron ever moved to Arkansas.

It wasn’t for me to be consumed with whether God’s plan for me included marriage. He had things for me to do, now. As a single. These were not, are not, wasted years.
Unless I waste them.

Regarding contentment; boy, there are a lot of articles out there right? But, I believe it can be boiled down to one sentence. The ones I usually hear/read are:
“Contentment is not wanting anything more that you want Christ.”
“Contentment is finding your satisfaction in God.”
Well, those are true, and I understood them, but I clearly still lacked something in the application. Then someone told me another single sentence, the most life-changing thing I’d ever heard since the Gospel, that finally drove it home in my heart:

“If you aren’t content without it, you’ll never be content with it.”

Turns out, what I needed to understand wasn’t the true nature of contentment, but the nature of discontentment.

Whatever it is we want so much — marriage, that different job, a baby, restored health, anything — getting it will not magically make us content. There will always be a next thing. The insidious little worm of discontentment will keep chewing holes through our hearts until we choose to make God’s current provision the joy we fill them with.

God is so full of grace for us as we learn this, especially in the midst of intense trial and grief. He knows that we are only dust (Psalm 103). He is patient.

All this doesn’t mean we aren’t allowed to make good changes and pursue better options for work or what have you. It’s okay to want good things! But the test of our contentment lies in how our hearts respond when we don’t get them . . . or, often, during the long years that we still aren’t getting them.

Feeling unwantable? Take a deep breath. Meditate on verses about what God has done for your soul. Examine your heart. Ask for His help, and look around for what God is doing in your life, instead of staring at what He’s not doing.

One of the heaviest trials of my life came along while this understanding began take root in my heart. After the initial shock and grief, relentlessly looking for the good that God was accomplishing is what has gotten me through it. There has been so, so much good.

So look up, and turn your head. You might just find some of the greatest joys of your life.

 

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