The Loudmouth Protestant

April 22, 2008

Knowing You Are the Bride

Yesterday was my first day back in the office after a weekend of renewal via the Greater Allen Cathedral’s Women’s Conference. I feel refreshed, restored and I have a new outlook on my life as a woman of God. Because of this great spiritual refreshing, I have been very slow to jump back into the fray of life here in the big city. I am moving intentionally slower. I am being quieter. I am pacing myself so that I can remain in the perfect peace that God gave to me this weekend. But of course this pace can only last but so long before things around me speed up in a manner that forces me to pick up the pace. My first speed-up moment came yesterday afternoon.

I saw a package on top of the receptionist’s desk that had my name on it. It arrived. It was bridesmaid dress 2 of TK. Here comes the bridesmaid again. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride…

You see, last year when I was a bridesmaid for a close friend I was in a different place. I didn’t know what to do with being single and watching a close friend get married. I thought that it might not happen to me and this was mainly because I was being influenced by the world around me. Her getting married, another friend getting engaged, another friend living with her boyfriend, another friend having a quasi-boyfriend, another friend at least having a man in her life who she didn’t even want but could call him should the need arise, an ex-romantic interest having a girlfriend. All of these people that I’ve known for years all in relationships and I had nothing. Top that off with parents that long for me to find love, family members wondering what is going on with my love life and friends that know no better asking me if I’ve met any nice young men. It’s enough to make a woman want to scream. Back then, I truly believed I wanted love because I wanted love. But with time I have realized that it’s not I who wants the love but it is my flesh that wants it.

It’s my flesh that gets anxious every time a friend gets engaged or says that she has found “the one.” It’s my flesh that tells me I must go out and be seen in places where potential suitors are when in actuality I never feel that pressed to go. It’s my flesh that swears I am ready to love. My flesh creates these fleeting feelings and I know they are fleeting because left to my own devices I am not thinking about love. It’s not that I don’t want love; it’s just that I am not nearly as hard-pressed as I think I am. It’s amazing how other people’s trajectory can influence your own. All of this thinking led me back to a workshop I took over the weekend entitled “I’m Not Getting Any Younger.” One of the things my teacher, the Rev. Dr. Gina Stewart, said is “Is getting married important for me or important for me because of someone else?”

Ponder the question a moment. Do you want to get married because you want to get married? Or do you want to get married because everyone around you is getting hitched? Sometimes the lines can easily blur and you don’t realize that you are caught up in the mix of it all. Test your desire for marriage against the season when no one around you is getting married, getting engaged or getting a man. I’ve found that when tested against those backdrops I am fine, but when any of those are happening around me in rapid succession I start to get anxious. Clearly my mind and the enemy are playing tricks on me. So now that I’ve identified the beast, I am taming it. Rev. Stewart recommended that we take authority over our lives so that other people’s expectations—and experiences—don’t influence us.

So what is life like on the other side of this? Life on the other side means that instead of being concerned about whom of your friends are getting married, engaged, or in a relationship, you focus on God. “This is one of the best times in life to cultivate a relationship with God,” said Rev. Stewart. She encouraged us to focus on eternity and work on our God-given purpose which can be accomplished without a husband. She helped us to remember that we lose no value if we aren’t married and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that she made singleness look like the nirvana of life. I can do bad—and great good—all by myself.

In your season of singleness, remember that it is a gift from God to shape you into the woman that he wants you to be—married or not. Own the season, love the season and respect God’s timing for your life. God withholds no good thing from those who walk uprightly. (Psalm 54:11) So let us look forward to being good brides to our bridegroom and remembering that before any human being is sent into our lives, God is there to be everything that we need and we only need to look for that love in this time.

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