For as long as I can remember I’ve had two strong desires in life, two things I wanted to do before death even if I did nothing else: 1) get married, and 2) have children. These were the top two items on my bucket list. I’ve never had grand career ambitions, or a passion for “seeing the world,” but I have always wanted to be a husband and dad.
When we have strong desires, we tend to act on those desires, right? If we really want something, we try to get it by any means possible, not content until it’s ours. That’s what my attitude toward finding a “special someone” was (the kids would have to come later of course).
Once you’ve lived the first few years of your adult life without finding the right person, you quickly learn that a lack of “success” doesn’t diminish your desires, it actually makes them more potent. Thoughts of lifelong singleness can begin creeping into your mind. The world around doesn’t have any words of comfort for you; instead, it mostly confirms your (inaccurate) suspicion that something must be seriously wrong with you. The Bible doesn’t even seem like a source of comfort, because a “not my will but yours be done” attitude opens yourself up to the scary possibility that God may want you to spend your whole life single. The thought is almost too much to bear. Out of a fear of lifelong loneliness you begin viewing nearly every acquaintance of the opposite sex as a potential spouse. If someone happens to possess several of the qualities you’re looking for, or shows a slight interest in you, you latch on with excessive emotional attachment.
These things may sound familiar to you, in fact you may be living them right now. I’ve described them as I’ve lived them. When I finally came to the point of letting go, of laying my desires at Jesus’ feet, it happened by simply having faith that God was who He claimed to be. There wasn’t much to it but that.
God claimed to be better than marriage or parenthood, so I believed Him on that. He claimed to be in control of all things, and to love me more than I could even imagine, so I trusted Him. I believed He was the same God who said of His chosen people, “I will not turn away from doing good to them…I will rejoice in doing them good.”1 These are the things I chose to believe about God – only that which He claimed to be true.
When we cling to the character of our God, remembering who He is and seeking Him first in all things, we’ll walk with joy through the midst of singleness or marriage. Since He is sovereign over our lives, we can know that however things turn out, He will accomplish what’s best for us and best for His glory. If we’re single, we’ll bring glory to God in joy. If we’re married, we’ll do the same. As long as we’re resting in the truths of His character, we’ll have peace knowing that our best love life is with Him.
- Jeremiah 32:40-41 ↩
While God is faithful to change hearts and minds in the lives of His children, we also understand that change is a process, and often times far from simplistic or quick. Habits of life and thinking tend to change over time as the Holy Spirit works in hearts. This process of change is called “progressive sanctification.” It can be helpful and sometimes necessary to seek help from other Christians who can faithfully lead and walk with us, providing biblical encouragement and instruction along the way for the implementation of God-honoring, Christ-centered change. If you are struggling with life’s challenges, we would encourage you to seek help from your pastor, a godly friend, or a biblical counselor who is committed to seeking answers from God’s Word. To find a biblical counselor you can contact us or visit biblicalcounseling.com to find a counselor in your area.
Born and raised in the Dallas area, Ryan loves calling Texas his home. He met his wife Jessica at Grace Bible Fellowship Church, where he serves on staff and is a counselor for Grace Biblical Counseling Ministries. Since 2013 he has been a member of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, and in May 2015 he graduated from Moody Bible Institute with a B.S. in Ministry Leadership.