I’ve gotten to spend some time with Jessica recently and let me tell you, I am pumped for the next generation of female leaders in the church. They are fierce, on fire, and fabulous! I am so excited to share Jessica’s piece on singleness. 

Jessica is a gap-year student from the Midwest. She currently runs a music studio of over twenty violin and piano students, and blogs at Under the Mercy in between reading, having coffee with friends, and volunteering at her home church. Next year she’ll be heading off to school in sunny California to get her bachelor’s degree in Violin Performance. She is passionate about God’s word, good books, beautiful music, photography, time with friends, and social issues.
Why I’m Not Waiting Around Anymore
I still have the piece of paper—not surprising considering my sentimentality and that it was only two years ago when I wrote it. It is dated May 5th, 2011. I don’t remember kneeling down by the bed to pull out the prayer box and put it inside, but I must have. It is an odd prayer, especially for a barely-seventeen-year-old.
“Dearest Lord—teach me to say ‘if I get married’ instead of ‘when,’ ” I’d written. I finished with an Elisabeth Elliot reference. “Settle my heart ‘where true joys are found.’ ”
I never thought about it before then. It was natural for me to say “when I get married.” Few girls think about that turn of phrase.
It’s a small thing, really. One word in a sentence full of hope and longing and fragile dreams. For me it suddenly meant offering up to Christ the plan of getting married, having children, building a family, making a home. They are good things, all of them. Until that time, though, they were my things. I had never offered them to Christ to do with as He willed.

Honestly, I blame Elisabeth Elliot. “Until the will and the affections are brought under the authority of Christ, we have not begun to understand, let alone accept, His lordship. The Cross, as it enters the love life, will reveal the heart’s truth. My heart, I knew, would forever be a lonely hunger unless settled ‘where true joys are found,’ ” she said, and I believed her. 

From the first chapter of Passion and Purity, titled “Me, Lord? Single?” I was convicted that to surrender my dream of marriage to God, I must be willing to live a life of singleness if that was His will. I knew I had to settle my heart in Him, trusting that He would be enough in singleness or in marriage.
The struggle of surrendering is a month-by-month, week-by-week, sometimes day-by-day offering-up of my desire for marriage. Yet, somehow it is one of the most freeing graces of God. I’m not waiting around anymore.

Our culture feeds us the idea, that someday, you will meet the elusive “One.” He’ll be amazing, incredibly attractive, and you will fall in love. He will woo and marry you, and you will complete each other. When that happens, you won’t be lonely anymore, because you’ll have him; he will understand you perfectly, and you will be intimately tuned to one other. Your life will really start then. The colors will be brighter and the edges will be sharper, like suddenly you went from antennae to HD. But until then, forget it. Life isn’t as good if you end up single. It isn’t exciting or fulfilling until you get married, or at the very least, fall in love.
If we were honest, we would admit that is it is a terrible amount of pressure riding on one person. Maybe it really feels that way when you are in love, but I don’t think God wants us to live waiting around for someone whom we believe will allow us to finally live abundantly.

Usually the church doesn’t enforce the crazy fantasies of the world, but I don’t think it’s inaccurate to say that it does with this. We’re told, “Put God first and abstain from sex until marriage, and then God will bring along the right guy for you. You won’t even need to casually date him, because he will be that great. You’ll just know he’s The One. ” 

In other words, if we just get it right, God will reward us with a husband.
When we believe that, we end up pursuing Christ because maybe, if we make Him “first” in our lives, then finally we can have the guy that he’s been hiding until we get it “right.” Our faith becomes a formula—Christ as a means to an end instead of the End. We’re worshiping a deal instead of a savior.
If you had asked me two years ago if I believed I needed a man to complete me, I would have said no. If you asked whether I believed life doesn’t start until marriage, I would have said “of course not!” But I would have been lying. I’m only nineteen, and I haven’t even been on a date. I’ve got a purity ring on my finger and “modest” clothing in my closet. It certainly looks like I’m waiting for the right guy to come along, and for so many years, that was true. 

In my “waiting,” my motivation came entirely from the idea of my future husband; I was living my life for a future relationship. I wasn’t dressing modestly and not-dating because I loved and wanted to honor God—I was doing those things because I loved and wanted to honor the idea of my future husband.

But that isn’t my motivation any more.

I’m not practicing abstinence because I’m waiting for marriage—I’m practicing abstinence because I love Jesus and want to be obedient to Him. I’m not holding off from dating because I’m waiting for “the One.” I’m not dating because the more I see of myself and my sin, the more I am convinced that I have no business being in a relationship at the moment, because Christ has much to teach me about being a woman.
No guy can ever complete me. No man can chase from my heart every insecurity and doubt, every trace of loneliness and emptiness, and fear of insufficiency. I don’t believe those lies and I don’t want to live in accordance with them anymore. I know the truth, and truth brings freedom.
“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10)

I’m not living life in limbo or waiting to get married so I can live life fully anymore. I don’t want to worship Christ as a means to an end. I want to worship Him because I know He is the Holy One of God and I would be lost without him. The Christ I see in the Gospels isn’t a God of formulas and incantations—He’s full of wild, unpredictable love, and strangely beautiful authority. 

His words can unravel a person’s heart and everything they are, so that they will follow him. Upon Him I have built my life. He is the Lord who is more than worthy of my worship, the weight of my love and the sacrifice of my daily life. No matter what happens in my future, He is still worthy of my praise, love and honor.

I’m not in this life for anything I believe, hope, or wish Jesus will bring anymore. I am a disciple because there is a Christ who is far beyond anything I could imagine, and He is worthy of my worship and adoration—of my very life. 

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