By Hope Bolinger, Crosswalk.com
“Everything would be so much easier if I got married.”
I cringed when I heard this from my single friend. I made a point to identify all the ways married couples struggle more than singles do, even Paul had made a mention of some of those obstacles (1 Corinthians 7:32-35).
“Right.” She chewed on her lip. “I know this stuff cognitively. But I still can’t shake that feeling that I’m incomplete without a boyfriend, or in the future, a husband.”
In this conversation, I, too, felt like a hypocrite. Spurred on my family members constantly asking, “So is there a man in the picture?” and articles like this, I’ve succumbed to the lie that I am not complete without a husband attached to my hip. It has taken over my life to the point where even what I post on social media is geared to get attention from men, and I am fueled by the texts I get from them. This has taken away my focus on God.
And I know I don’t stand alone in this.
Scripture says something much different than what society tells us about relationships. We should get our security and worth from God and not from imperfect human beings who happen to show us affection.
So how do we shake the idea of incompleteness? How do we find our security in God, instead of in potential significant others?
This article will dive into some ways to remember your identity as a child of God, as we turn to see what great love God has lavished on us (1 John 3:1).
1. Remember Who You Are
Pause, reread that. Male and female, God created us in his image. No other creature has this honor. Not even the most gorgeous, strongest, most impressive animal can claim this. God put his fingerprints on us. Do you know incredible this is?
God formed the entire universe, the galaxies and irreducible complexities--and decided this world could use a bit of you, too.
Furthermore, God does not depend on anything, but creation does.
For instance, humans need oxygen, water, food, and a whole other list of needs to survive daily (Matthew 6:11). God doesn’t need to survive on food, water, or anything else. When we depend on him, he won’t disappoint us.
However, when we depend on non-omnipotent humans (i.e., a man to fulfill our wants and needs) we’ll always end up disappointed. Because men shouldn’t rescue us, Jesus should.
It will take prayer, Scripture, and time spent getting to know God in order to know yourself as his child.
Remember your Father, who loves you. Remember your identity as a child of God, and do not take it lightly.
2. Remember Your Heavenly Marriage
I’ll admit it, I have a Pinterest board for my future wedding.
I’ve imagined that day since pretty much as soon as my imagination has started, and if that day comes, I will be filled beyond belief with joy at God’s provision of a man to help me draw even closer to him.
But earthly marriages do not last into the heavenly realm.
Sure, not all Christians will end up married or stay married here on earth. We’ll lose loved ones to death and divorce, or God may not intend for us to marry at all during our time here.
However, we still get to participate in the greatest wedding of all time. Our bridegroom will not abandon us, disappoint us, and loves us without any limit.
Why does marriage exist then?
Marriage exists for a few reasons.
First, it shows a reflection of the heavenly marriage between Christ and the church. If God gives us the change to marry on earth, we have an opportunity to submit ourselves (and the spouse also submit to us) in a show of unconditional love, to better understand God’s love for us. Second, we have a chance to grow together in a relationship that helps us to advance in our spiritual growth.
Nevertheless, marriage isn’t the end goal. In both of these reasons for marriage, God is the end goal.
Christians can still have an incredibly deep relationship with God without ever tying the knot with another Christian. Take Paul, for instance, one of the most renowned Christians of all time, who penned a huge portion of the New Testament, never married.
3. Remember Who Finds You to Be Beautiful
I love compliments. If a man tells me he likes my eyes or my smile, I tend to find worth in that. It doesn’t help when you have the love language of words of affirmation… But looks fade (Proverbs 31:30).
When wrinkles form on our skin and our hair grays, God still finds us to be beautiful. Although our bodies wither, and our beauty fades, God still marvels at his creation.
She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3:3-4
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14
The God of the universe, the most beautiful being, finds us to be beautiful.
We also should keep in mind what makes women of God to be beautiful: not outward adornments but kindness, giving hearts, and loving spirits.
We may not walk in pageants or receive compliments from men every day, but we have a God who turns brokenness into beauty, and should find our worth solely in him.
And his love for us never wanes. He doesn’t love us less when crow’s feet form around our eyes and veins form on our calves. He will never love us any more or any less than he does right now.
4. Remember You Don’t Walk Alone
I often hear the phrase, “I’m afraid I’ll end up alone,” from my Christian single friends.
But we never walk alone. If the Holy Spirit lives inside of us, we cannot go through life on our own. It’s impossible (Romans 8:35-39).
Plus, if we seek to fulfill our loneliness through an imperfect human being (i.e. a husband) we might end up lonelier than when we started. Humans were never meant to find their completeness and fulfillment through each other.
That job solely rests on the Creator of the universe, who sustains all things.
Sure, we may not get to experience the Eros (sexual) love with an earthly partner, but we do get to experience the unconditional love of God (agape) and the brotherly love for other believers (phileo).
We’ll never end up alone because we weren’t alone to start.
We only need God.
Yes, he may provide an earthly spouse whom we have a chance to grow deeper together in Christ, but if he doesn’t, we still have incredible value. Having a ring on our finger doesn’t make us any more special or any more valuable than a Christian who will live a life of singleness.
When our family members or culture tells us our completeness comes from another human being, remind yourself who created you, loves you, and finds you to be beautiful, wrinkles and all.
Hope Bolinger is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. and a recent graduate of Taylor University's professional writing program. More than 450 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer's Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her column "Hope's Hacks," tips and tricks to avoid writer's block, reaches 6,000+ readers weekly in the Serious Writer newsletter. Her modern-day Daniel, Blaze (Illuminate YA) released in June, and they contracted the sequel Den for July 2020. Find out more about her here.
Photo Credit: © Unsplash/Bethany Laird
Hope Bolinger is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. and a graduate of Taylor University's professional writing program. More than 600 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer's Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her column "Hope's Hacks," tips and tricks to avoid writer's block, reaches 6,000+ readers weekly and is featured monthly on Cyle Young's blog. Her modern-day Daniel, Blaze, (Illuminate YA) Den (releasing July 2020), Dear Hero (releasing September 2020), and Dear Henchman (releasing 2021) Find out more about her here.