Singleness is NOT a Punishment!

From time to time you may hear an oft repeated adage that “You need to let God fulfill the desires of your heart before He will bring someone into your life to love.” I wanted to encourage you lest you begin to believe that somehow you must not be loving God enough: being content in your circumstances and placing God first in your life doesn’t necessarily imply that God will bring you your future spouse; it’s not an equation. One does not inevitably follow the other in sequence. So please don’t worry that because you’re single that you must be doing something wrong. Believing this misinformation will only bring shame and feelings of inadequacy.

Well-meaning friends and family have all kinds of explanations and advice for why we are still single. I can hear the echoes in my head now: “Perhaps God is teaching you to rest in His promises and fully rely on His provision” or “Perhaps He is teaching you to completely surrender.” Perhaps those things are true but God isn’t punishing you by withholding a good thing because you aren’t yet “good enough” for the blessing.

Regardless of the reason I find myself alone, I know one thing is true: God is drawing me closer to Him and realigning my thinking about Him. One of things I’ve been learning is that I have been trying so hard to please Him when He is already well-pleased with me. Yes! If you have the blood of the Lamb covering your sins, God only sees absolute perfection when He gazes upon you, His beloved. In Hosea 2:19 He says to us, “I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD.” Like the twitterpated, smitten Prince in a fairy tale sweeps in to win the heart of his beloved, we too are pursued by our Lord who desires us and cherishes us deeply.

A friend told me recently, “Stop trying to make God proud.” At first that didn’t make much sense to me but I have since come to understand what he meant. Since childhood, I’ve endeavored to make my life a fragrant aroma to my King. We are called to be a living sacrifice to God so biblically this isn’t a wrong mindset but how often are we striving to serve God with the things that we DO? Proverbs 19:21 reminds us that “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” Instead of running to and fro doing this and that for the kingdom, what if we stopped and simply just enjoyed being WITH God in quiet stillness? Remember the story of Mary and Martha? Martha was busy scrambling around the house getting food prepared to serve Jesus while Mary was sprawled out comfortably at His feet soaking up His company.

mary-or-martha

There’s nothing wrong with doing good things for God, as long as whatever you do, you do with all your heart as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23). John 15:4 reminds us that we can’t bear fruit unless we are connected to the vine. All of our righteous deeds are useless unless they are done with the correct heart attitude. When we are abiding in Jesus Christ, all the hope, peace, joy, love, and guidance we need flows directly from Him.

So thank you, sweet reader, for joining me on this journey I find myself in. I know it can sometimes feel like it but singleness is not a punishment. In fact, I find it can be a blessing in many ways. The biggest blessing so far is more time to spend with God and serving others.

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Relationships are Like Dancing

 I think everyone should learn to dance. Four years of partner dancing has taught me so many important things in life. I might even go as far to say that it should be a requirement in high school to graduate. But before I get into my reasons, here is a video of me dancing with my group Ritmos Latinos earlier this year. We’ve been working hard on a second routine that is more complicated and we are performing it tomorrow!

Tonight at rehearsal, my dance instructor said something to me that I won’t soon forget. He said, “Dannielle, you are an excellent dancer and I think you rely on that too much.”

He was referring to the fact that because dancing is second-nature to me, I don’t put as much work into it as others do (and I need to if I desire to improve.) He was also referring to the fact that I anticipate the moves because I’m so confident in them instead of letting my partner lead me through them.

Immediately, a connection shot through my brain from the constructive criticism my teacher gave me to a comment that was made by the last guy I dated. At the time I didn’t understand what he meant but now it’s all starting to click. He said to me, “I never felt like you ever trusted me enough to let me lead you.”

Of course my pride got in the way of letting that sink into my heart. Me? Hard to lead? Rubbish. I’m a GREAT follower. All the guys I dance with say so.

But tonight I really understood that I DO have problem with surrendering the control to the person who is leading me. Sometimes I doubt that he knows what he’s doing and I want to help him but I need to just let him guide me. “Only influence him if he’s hesitant,” my teacher instructed.

Relationships are a lot like dancing. Both require constant communication. Everyone has a different style. You have to learn each other’s moves, go in the same direction, and move at the same pace to stay in sync. You apologize when you mess up and say “that’s okay, don’t worry” when the other person messes up. You learn from your mistakes and do better the next time. Lastly, you HAVE to trust each other otherwise it doesn’t work. Oh, and if you’re the follower: stop trying to lead him! Just rest in the grip of his hands and have faith that he will not let you fall.

UPDATE: Here is the performance from that night!