From a dear single sister in Christ who is in her thirties, I so appreciate her willingness to share her story – and I believe that what God showed her is something He wants to show each of us as His followers:
I remember when God asked me to give up my dreams. “Okay God, Your will and not mine. Done! I will go wherever you want and do whatever you want,” I prayed. I was excited about the direction God had planned for my life. It took me a few variations of this conversation to understand what He meant. He meant my most personal and valuable dream.
He wanted me to take my desire to become a wife and a mother and lay it on the altar.
I begged God to take any dream but that one. I pleaded with Him, offering Him anything in exchange for the chance to hold on to my dream. My terms have never been sufficient. My dying to self had to be on His terms alone. I remember the day, broken beyond anything I can put into words, when I finally laid my dream on the altar.
At first I laid it on the altar, but I could not walk away. I laid it down, but kept my fingers on it. This was not good enough. He asked me to walk away from the dream, the idol. I turned my back on my dream and felt paralyzed. How do you move forward and away from the only thing you cherished for so long? You see, even though I was not married, I always held on to the hope that I would be one day. I allowed myself to live with the hope of a fairy tale coming true.
I was confused and did not understand how God could want me to stop hoping. Wasn’t He a God of hope? He most certainly is! He had to teach me, ever so slowly, that my hope is to be in Him alone, not the promise of a man. He did not want me to stop hoping; He wanted me to stop hoping in anything other than Him to fill my deepest desire.
He wanted to become my deepest desire. Then, and only then, could He fill that void.
- First, I had to realize He was not my greatest desire.
- Then, I had to realize that He was my greatest desire.
Giving up the dream of marriage and babies was one of the most painful things I have ever done in my life. It forced me to come to terms with the fact that I am no one’s favorite person; I do not have someone to bounce ideas off of; I may die alone. However, I know that I am a child of God; I can cast all of my cares on Him and that His Word will always direct me.
I may be physically alone when I die, but I will be in eternity with my King.
My friend, if you are hurting and lonely today, know that Jesus is truly the only need you have. When you give Him full access to your heart, He will consume your life in ways you cannot imagine. He will lead you on a journey that is captivating.
What dream have you cherished that God is asking you to release to Him?
This calling to give up our most precious dreams (and all of our dreams, really), is one that God calls all disciples of Christ to do.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. Matthew 16:24-27
Yes, those of us who are married have husbands, and they may even have children. These are good gifts, but husbands and children cannot satisfy the deepest needs of our souls. If we try to find our deepest needs met in other people, we – and the people we idolize – will be most miserable. People can never be God to us. Only Jesus can truly satisfy. If we only love God for what we can get from Him – that is not true love! Think about a woman you know who only stays with a man because of what he can give her, not because she really cares about him. Not a pretty picture.
God wants us to love Him – the Giver – far more than we love His gifts!!
God graciously never allows us to find ultimate contentment, fulfillment, joy, peace, purpose, and identity in anything but Himself – because these things can’t be found anywhere but in Him! HE, alone, is the Greatest Treasure!
Being married doesn’t guarantee a woman anything. She has no promise that nothing bad will happen to her husband, her children, or to her own health. Single and married women (and men) can hurt and hurt deeply. We all desperately need the absolute Lordship of Christ Jesus to give us Real Love and Real Life.
We must all ask ourselves:
- Is Jesus enough for me? Will I be content in Him alone even if my worst fears materialized?
I had to do exactly what my single friend had to do – and what God called Abraham to do in Genesis 22. I had to be willing to lay the most important dreams in my life on the altar and take my hands away, trusting God with whatever He decided was best in His sovereignty.
When you have never really trusted God with your deepest dreams before, this seems TERRIFYING. I felt like I was jumping off of a spiritual cliff at first. But it is only when we are willing to give up the things in this world that mean the most to us, that we are truly following Christ.
Jesus is completely worthy of THIS level of devotion. In fact, anything less than all that we are and all that we have is not enough. He gave ALL for us, now we give ALL for Him.
We don’t know the ending when we agree to trust Him and to submit all to Him. We trust that He knows infinitely better than we do, and we lay it all down, willing to sign up for His will no matter what it might be, even if it might be painful, even if our deepest dreams are not realized. Paradoxically, yielding all that we are and all that we have to Jesus is the only path to true contentment, fulfillment, and joy.
We must decide whether we will be content with Christ alone. Then we have the opportunity to learn the sufficiency of Christ and what it means to make Him our ALL. Once we have done that, we know we will be ok as long as we have Him. Once you have experienced the supernatural joy, peace, power, and spiritual abundance of Jesus, nothing else really seems to matter as much. Once we truly taste Jesus, we realize that the scariest place to be is trusting self and clinging to our own dreams, and that the most blessed place in the world is to trust in Christ completely and to be open and vulnerable to His will and His plans for us.
Taste and see how very sufficient Jesus is, my sweet friends. He will never disappoint us! Then you can be content in Him no matter what your circumstances may be and you can be full of His joy and peace all day every day. It is SO WORTH IT!