Because I am Completely Single

(From 2 Peter 1:2-11)

And society insists I should be whining about it. Secular society proclaims that something must be terribly amiss if I have no boyfriend while Christian society simply insinuates my second-rateness by asking, “You’re still not married?”

Because a significant other is, after all, the measure of completeness.

Step back in time with me to a day when I was at enmity with God, excluded from His promises, cut off from His mercy by my sin. Having rebelled against Almighty God, choosing myself over Him, I found myself in a place of stark emptiness, alone, accursed, afraid. Single. Strip me back to the raw bones of helpless humanity and my needs become apparent—only one: to know God. Jesus stepped in, offering His life a ransom for my sins, redeeming me into a relationship with God, saving my soul from eminent death and destruction and betrothing me to Himself for eternity. Jesus took an empty, meaningless life and hid it in His making me complete.

In Christ, God granted to me everything pertaining to life and godliness. Do I lack?

Once upon a time you, too, were incomplete. Broken. Empty. Excluded from God’s mercy. But if you know Christ, you have everything. You are complete. Society doesn’t know God and tries to fill His place with everything imaginable: talent, money, beauty, fame, intelligence, experience, health, food, power, family, friends and romance. None of these complete you. Not even having all your appendages attached and in working order makes you a complete person. Completeness is apart from anything you can touch or see. Knowing Christ, you have escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Lust that is never satisfied, that always wants more. That we pursue until it controls us. You needn’t pursue anything but Yahweh.

Does this make “other” things evil? Not at all. Each of these things is a responsibility given by God to glorify Him. Every good thing and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights (James 1:17). He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, will He not also along with Him, graciously give us all things (Romans 8:32)? We know that God will supply all our needs according to the riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). Take it back to the basics and we discover that we only have one primal need—to be saved, to belong to God. Everything else is a bonus. More. Above and beyond. An overflowing cup.

If your Heavenly Father met your primal need for a Savior, so miraculously bridging the gap between fallen man and perfect deity, does He have the power and wisdom to will and to work in your life for His good pleasure? Is there really anything “missing”? Are you incomplete? Lacking something?

Of course not. You have everything you need for life and godliness. Jesus. The lover of your soul. The bread from heaven. The pearl of great price. He beautifies the afflicted with salvation. He heals the soul. He makes wise the foolish and strengthens the weak. He is a father to the fatherless and a friend to all those who call on Him.

I realize that reflecting on these almost cliché truths sets your heart at ease and puts a smile on your face—for the duration of about two minutes. Just until the next wedding announcement arrives or you climb into bed alone. When sitting patiently, singing “Jesus is all the world to me” fails to stave off those second-rate blues, forget waiting to be pursued by a man and pursue!

Pursue Yahweh--Seek to know Him intimately, what pleases and displeases Him, His goals, His purposes, His promises. While you are unmarried, you have so much time energy and emotion you could be pouring into seeking Yahweh and building a foundation that will hold strong through the rest of your life. Are you wasting that time in pining for a husband when you already have a Perfect Lover?

Pursue your family--There is no shame, no indiscretion in a girl wooing her father or brothers. Certainly none in her reaching out to her mother or sisters. While you are unmarried you have so much time, energy and emotion that you could pour into the relationships that will best prepare you for marriage and uphold you through it—the relationships God has already blessed you with. He who is faithful in small things will be given great things (Mark 25:21). Are you wasting this precious training ground by day-dreaming of “escaping” it?

Pursue relationships with other girls—When Jesus healed the Gerasene demoniac (Mark 5:1-20), the man begged to go with Jesus. His request was a good one. Your desire for marriage is also. But Jesus told him “no.” That “no” was not a punishment. It was a redirection. The Lord had work for that man to do. The result of his cheerful obedience was that, even though Jesus had to leave the area, the entire region heard the good news of Jesus’ salvation. While you are unmarried, you have so much time, energy and emotion that you could be pouring into relationships with other girls. Are you wasting it feeling sorry for yourself when others could benefit from your encouragement?

Endure! Press on! Knowing that by the testing of your faith you will be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:2-4)! Be diligent to supplement your faith with moral excellence, consistently choosing to do the right thing. Your moral excellence comes from the knowledge of Christ! You come to know Christ through self-control and diligent study of Him and His word, which requires perseverance in your desire for God. Reach out to others, be kind to others. Forget about being “in love” and love! For real.

And guess what—you’ll find that you’ve been preparing for marriage in the best way possible. Or for whatever else the Lord might throw your way. You’re not depending on a husband to complete you. Or a father. Or a friend. Or anything else. Only Christ is perfect. Only Christ will never disappoint. In Christ you are complete. Lacking nothing. That is the secret of contentment in all circumstances (Philippians 4:11-13). Married? Single? Widowed? Your completeness comes from Christ. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

If these qualities are yours and are increasing, you’re neither useless nor unfruitful! You’re not incomplete. Second-rate. In Christ, you have everything you need for life and godliness. If you practice these things, you will never stumble. You’ll be so busy enjoying both that you’ll forget about the fact that you’re “still not married.” That you only turn down one side of your bed. You’ll forget to evaluate guys in light of your “husband-worthy” list. Time will fly by while the Lord is at work writing the life-stories that only He knows how to compose. Being completely single is an opportunity to be completely singled out to serve the Lord only. It’s an opportunity that, most likely, will not last forever.

Why would I whine about being free to serve Yahweh wholly? Why would I worry whether the God of eternity takes note of the ticking of a biological clock? Why would I feel as if I’m missing out on all the things God doesn’t have for me right now? I’ve got everything I need. In Christ I am complete.

Once I was a broken child,
Marked for death, by sin defiled,
But Thou hast brought me near by grace
To gaze upon Thy perfect face.

Complete in Jesus Christ I stand,
He holds me wholly in His hand,
I need no argument or plea—
He died to set my spirit free.

This is the love that Jesus brings,
Who left His throne as King of Kings,
And donned my sinful flesh to prove
The height and breadth and depth of love.

Complete in Jesus Christ I stand,
Receiving mercy from His hand
I trust that He will also give
Whatever I most need to live.

What else should I demand or plead?
I have no other pressing need
But to partake of Love Divine
And to be His as He is mine.

Complete in Jesus Christ I stand,
And dare to open wide my hands
To let go of my hopes and dreams,
Be emptied to be filled by Him.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

That is so amazingly true. It was a great, encouraging reminder. Thanks for sharing with all us ladies who are "still single" yet betrothed to the Lord. :D -Jessica Earl

Anonymous said...

I loved this Abigail. It was uplifting because, as you know (i think), I struggle between wanting to get married and the fact that I think all men are complete jerks. I've become somewhat bitter towards the opposite sex because I've been hurt so many times by them in the past(i'm not just talking about romantic relationships). If I remember to keep in mind what you said, maybe I can overcome my bitterness and frustration. Thanks my love!
~someone you know (i'm keeping it anonymous b/c I don't want anyone else to know who I am ;-))

mm said...

I thank you for your truth and honesty Scribe.

I wish more women would wait and not give themselves to whatever "need" they have at the time. So many females are broken and "given", and that makes us guys real sad. It's discouraging to not see any women that are still "whole" in a sense. I mean, God is a restorer, so it's not that I'm being picky, it's just that i want a girl that cares about me enough that before she knew me she waited and found herself in my King.

Tricia said...

Thanks for spending the time to write this out, Abigail. :)

Anonymous said...

Two single Christian girls wrote a fairy tale, Princess Bubble, reminding us all that the only prince that brings "Happily Ever After" is the Prince of Peace. I give that book to all my single friends.

Taffy said...

This is awesome Abigail..Your poem was so beautiful..Its true when we marvel at what God's done and How He has romanced us..all the other desires pale away...The secret is to run to His arms, He'll speak tenderly to you, He show you who you really are...A Bride of Christ

ScribblinScribe said...

Jessica--Glad it encouraged you! I got so excited as I started studying 2 Peter 1 and seeing how perfectly it fit!

Someone I know ;)--The Lord can certainly redeem you from the pain and bitterness of the past. If He can heal our hearts of our own sin, He certainly can heal us of the wounds left by others! Your life is hidden in Christ--all that has happened to you is nothing compared to what He has done and will do for you! Love you and praying for you. :)

mm--I'd begun to wonder if you were indeed a guy. :) Our brothers in Christ hold so much power to encourage or discourage in this realm as well. When you encourage us to keep our eyes on Jesus, you are doing an amazing and beautiful thing!

Tricia--You are welcome! You and your sisters are great examples of women who are complete in Christ--and your sister-in-law was always an inspiration in that realm, too. :)

Anonymous--I'll have to see if I can find that book.

Taffy--The secret seems so obvious, doesn't it? :) He is a very tender lover. "He'll remind you who you really are"--so true! I am His. Because, somehow, what we really want is to belong to Someone, isn't it? Blessings to you.

Tabitha said...

I hadn't checked my e-mail in weeks, when I sat down today and did so. Couldn't believe the Lord's perfect timing. What you shared was excellent. I wish every single girl could read it. I'm feeling convicted about the things I've pursued to "fill in time", while there is Someone so much more worthy of pursuit. Even "staying busy" so you don't feel lonely is a waste. What does He want? I want to delight Him, and delight in Him. Thanks for sharing. I love you lots.

ScribblinScribe said...

Tabby! You always make me smile. Thanks for reading and sharing...Love you too! Talk to you soon. :)

lovingcjm said...

What a wonderful post! I wish that others would see the truth behind our Father and Him completing us!

Jason Plett said...

I think following the path of those before or around you is the true measure of medocrity. You can do so much more by simply walking your own path as we all must eventually do. Understanding this now rather than later speaks highly of you character, and your upbringing. Very good entry.

ScribblinScribe said...

lovingcjm--thanks for the encouragement! My sister-in-law pointed out that so much of this is true for EVERYONE! :)

Jason--thank you. :)

Anonymous said...

I like it Abby!
Love DD

Ana Marie said...

The poem you posted can be sung to the tune of "Before the Throne". Thanks for encouraging young ladies to be all God plans for them to be. You're an encouragement to me!

Kerra Ferguson said...

I've had a question burning a hole in my cranium for some time now and I wondered if maybe you knew the answer... What does it mean to treat other young men around me that I'm not related to as brothers in Christ? I read about it all the time; I don't need to flirt with a boy to get his attention, and yet I don't need to seclude myself from guys altogether. I should just treat them as my brothers in Christ. I have a younger brother and he is my brother in Christ as well, but I can't treat other guys I know like I treat my brother- that'd be too familiar. So what does that Christian relationship look like?

ScribblinScribe said...

Ana Marie--You'll have to sing "Before the Throne of Grace for me, sometime, since I'm not sure I know it. :)

Kerra--that is an excellent question! One I've spent MUCH time wrestling, praying and studying over--and failing at, absolutely. I think the issue is a heart issue...when Paul commanded Timothy to treat younger women as sisters...he added "in all purity." I think that our society completely misunderstands the essence of purity and, as young women who desire to be pure we come to mistakenly think sometimes that the only way to achieve purity is seclusion. But I think you're right--scripture doesn't command seclusion, but here's what it does command: love. In fact, Paul tells Timothy to be an example to the believers in purity AND love. In essence, when we understand love--that it is self-sacrificing, seeking the good of others and pointing them ultimately toward Christ--we find we are pure--without ulterior motives for gaining attention, attraction or making ourselves look good. And isn't that how we feel about our brothers? We want what is best for them, we keep no facade before our brothers, we are not trying to capture their hearts or read into their actions and motives. We want our brothers to seek and serve Yahweh...and that should be what motivates our relationships with our brothers in Christ, as well. Is there a cut-and-dried formula for this relationship? The best we can come up with is 1st Corinthians 13 and Romans 12--not a formula, really, but a heart check. "Love without pretending" and "Love does not seek its own." Rules don't work, but hearts that are renewed by the Word and controlled by the love of Christ can seek to abound for the edification of all. :) Instead of distracting each other, godly relationships must drive us to the Lord! Purity must be love from a pure heart and a sincere faith. I'm working on a more in depth look at this for the Pearls and Diamonds blog...I hope to have it up soon and would love to know more of your thoughts!

Blessings,

Abigail

Kerra said...

Thank you so much, Abigail! I'm not the only one that's been asking this question- I have a whole group of friends that have been "in the dark" too! I appreciate your insight. The heart is such a tricky, touchy thing that is so easily given away and yet not so easily taken back... I have to be so cautious about not only what I say/do but the underlying motivations for what I'm saying/doing. So I agree with you completely. :)
Thanks again!
Kerra