Tuesday, October 18, 2011 § 5 Comments
I thank you for this precious season of singleness. Today, as I did before, I offer my single years unto you. Please use my singleness in the way you want to, and let it bring honor to your name.
I know I was put in this season at this exact period for a reason, and although I can’t always wrap my mind around that reason, I am confident that I am living under your will. More than anything else, Lord, I want to do your will, so let me see this period as a wonderful opportunity to serve you with undivided attention.
Please give me more strength so that I can accomplish the work you have for me, and give me more wisdom so that I can make decisions with lasting significance. Lord, I want to live this singleness as meaningfully as I can. This is the desire of my heart.
My journey as a single woman, you know, Lord, is not always rosy. There are times when the pangs of loneliness unmercifully hit me, so I ask you to wrap your hands around my shoulders. Please comfort me with your embrace and let me feel the warmth of your love. Cover my heart so that no lies can invade it. Always, God, remind me that I am not abandoned, that you are my comforter and lover, and that you uphold me with your righteous right hand.
When I try to source out my joy from other people, material things, or experiences, please whisper in my heart that you are that, Lord. My joy. I require no one or nothing else to make me feel complete. I am already complete in you. Show me how to truly appreciate this season when I seem to forget you designed it and especially when I become emotionally vulnerable.
When I feel insecure, which always happens, may you remind me that my security lies in you. My possessions in you can’t be measured by earthly standards, and my value is not from this world. When I question who I am, let me ponder my identity as your daughter — precious and forever loved. And always remind me that you, my Father, delight in me.
God, let your love for me be the overarching theme of my life, and allow me to express my love for you in the best ways that I am capable of. Let me fall more deeply in love with you. So deeply that my whole being sinks and fails to recover. Please fill every need, every longing, every hole.
When temptations to compromise are so strong, please, Father, allow me not to give in. Remind me of my vow of purity. Hold me and make me firm. Instill in me indestructible faithfulness so that I can continue to stay pure in my actions, thoughts, and words. Father, please take captive of my mind and heart today in my singleness and for the rest of my earthly existence.
May you surround me with good friends with whom I can share and from whom I can experience more of your warmth and love. Help me make more meaningful friendships, for it is your desire for me to intertwine my life with others.
And, Father, as I wait for my love story to unfold, guard my heart with towering walls, so no one, except the man you made for me, can enter it. Lock my heart into yours. It is the only place where it is secure. Don’t let my heart escape and wander down the winding and dark road of expectations. I want it to be clean. I want to reserve a part of my heart for my man, who I know will come at your appointed time.
But, Father, as I wait, allow me not to be distracted by my desire for a love story. I want you to still be my focus, the center of my existence. Help me keep my eyes on you, Father, and please silence my heart when uncertainties come my way.
God, I recommit my life to you today. Do whatever you please with my life, for you own it. Thank you for your presence, unending love, and overflowing grace. Thank you for this season, for it reveals more of you in a way that only singleness can. From this season, I will gather plenty of lessons and stories that I will soon bring into the next season of my life.
May your name be glorified in this season, and may you give me the steadfastness of spirit as I watch your plan take place. Amen.
Image Credit: SXC
Tuesday, October 4, 2011 § Leave a comment
Rather than going straight home after church and a Bible group meeting last Sunday, I opted to stay at the mall where my church was located. I purposely was not going to shop. To read and to write on my journal were two things I could not accomplish with success at home, so with a book and a journal in tow, I already had an itinerary in mind. Where to stay was the question. As I didn’t want to expose myself too much, I scoured for a place where few people stayed and passed by. The mall was a bit more populated than normal that day, so it took me a while to look for a place.
After some walking and self-deliberation, I settled in a tiny coffee shop. It was perfect. Although it was located in a very prominent area, the interior was designed in a way that couldn’t expose myself. Only a small group of three, who were obviously having their own Bible study, occupied the place. I plopped down on the cozy leather sofa beside the table of the small group after ordering a cup of hot chocolate. And then I went on with my itinerary. I started to read, wrote some thoughts and prayers on my journal, and then went back to reading. Ah, it was just what I wanted to do. To lose myself in words — mine or someone else’s — having a rare time I’m not consumed by work and all its inherent worries.
I was enjoying my alone time when a guy of small build passed by my side and headed to sit across my table. He came from behind me, so I only caught a glimpse of him. I didn’t think he was in any way a threat because I thought he was someone I knew. After all, who else would sit with me other than someone close to me, or at least someone within my circle? When he finally sat down, though, I realized I didn’t know him. Not a friend. Not an acquaintance. A stranger.
He smiled his beautiful smile when he conveniently sat down and slid a solicit letter toward me. Not even opening the letter (I knew what it was all about, all these letters say the same thing), I smiled back at him and shook my head to say, “No, I’m sorry.” All the traces of his smiling face were gone in an instant, and he was bold enough to show me that. He coldly left. My eyes followed him when he approached the group beside me and another outside the coffee shop to solicit. Unashamedly, he changed faces every time he was rejected. The guy was obviously disappointed, and so was I.
I was disappointed by his superficial smile. I was disappointed by his superficial kind veneer. But most of all, I was disappointed by my situation.
When I saw the guy coming toward the seat across me, I was genuinely elated, thinking I could have someone to chat with. It was as if there was a light bulb suddenly flashing inside of me. When I noticed he’s someone I didn’t know, the light snuffed out. I didn’t realize until then that I was seriously hoping for company. And then it dawned on me. I was lonely. And I was disappointed because I was lonely. And I was even more disappointed because I was well aware I was lonely.
I’m not a confrontational person, even with myself. I often find comfort in denial, and so I try as long as it is convenient to deny things that, unknowingly or otherwise, need to be looked upon. Loneliness is one.
It takes big people to admit the fact they’re lonely. It takes an even bigger person to tell people they’re lonely. I’m trying to be a super big person in doing both.
People who know me might say that my loneliness is bred out of being an unattached single. That somehow accounts for it. I’m at the stage of my life where marriage has become an undying, distracting desire. But I’ve just recently dealt with that, after my desire clouded my present and my precious relationship with God. And with that handled already, I know that this loneliness has less to do with my status.
In case you’re asking, yes, I have friends. And I know these people I call friends consider me friends, too, and that I can run to them when needed. In fact, if they know I’m feeling lonely, I think they’ll be around to offer some company.
So where is this loneliness coming from if it’s not necessarily sparked by singleness or friendlessness?
Ever since I started working from home full-time, I have rarely seen most of my friends and had really meaningful conversations with them. Some I see on a weekly basis, but with the busyness and all, we’re bound with limitations. This relational abnormality I call isolation didn’t strike me as a problem at first. I’m a bit of a loner to begin with. I socialize very little. I don’t mind having few friends. Not until I found myself walking alone at the mall, surrounded by people with whom I didn’t belong, silently hoping to have someone to bare my soul to, and opting to stay at a coffee shop where people couldn’t see me alone did I finally realize loneliness was creeping through my veins.
Let me get this straight. I love having an alone time. But if alone time happens more than necessary, I’ve got to say there’s seriously a problem. Virtually, there’s a wall between me and my friends, and worse, bridges toward new and potential friendships have been inadvertently, but I believe temporarily, shortened.
This alarms me. I don’t desire a life drained of companionship. Who does anyway? Even if I know loneliness is a legitimate feeling — people experience it at some point in their lives — God doesn’t want me to embrace it for too long. In fact, I don’t think God wants me to be lonely at all. I’m created a relational being. Everyone is. We’re all wired to forge friendships and share ourselves with others and entangle our lives with one another. But apparently, I broke from the entanglements and lost all connections.
So now that I’m dealing with loneliness face to face, I’m forced to look into my situation, assess my relationships and how healthy I have allowed them to grow, if at all they grew, and from there, try to turn things around. Any big venture starts with small steps. And as for my loneliness, it starts with reaching out. I know for sure that ninety percent of the time, people won’t suspect someone in their circle is lonely — humans after all are so good masking their loneliness — so oftentimes it’s the lonely who needs to make the bold step of shedding the mask and nursing the loneliness with companionship. Yes, admitting loneliness is one thing, and working on it is something else.
I’m on it now, finally. And I’m glad I’m not alone in this. Lonely or not, alone or surrounded with people, I know Jesus is my ultimate friend, who keeps me company most especially when my human friendships have gone awfully awry and whose big love never fails to bring warmth to my lonely heart.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
If you’re feeling lonely these days, I do hope you also find solace in the verse. Allow not yourself to wallow in the sad, pity-me feeling. And please try to leave your comfort zone and reestablish old friendships and build new ones, however impossible these may be in your situation.
If you’re the other group of people, happy and content now, please find people who may be feeling abandoned, alone, and downcast. Remember that lonely people don’t always make known they’re lonely. In other words, they might make things appear rosy and perfectly in place; they may even be surrounded with lots of people, and yet they’re profusely bleeding inside. Try to touch people’s lives. A hi or hello, a short message, a sincere word of affirmation can go a long way in planting a seed of encouragement and opening the door for the much-needed companionship.