“When I get that promotion.” “When I finally buy a home” or “When my bank account reaches that magical number.” We seem to be hardwired to always want more and the world around us has led us to believe that our happiness is the most important thing in this life. If we’re unhappy with our current status, then it’s within our right to go get whatever we want or do whatever will make us happy.
For the Christian we believe in a different purpose. (At least we’re supposed to, right?) Our circumstances and experiences are a part of the path that God takes us on to mold and shape us into the person that He wants us to be, made in His image.
That being said it seems like each of us has our own individual kryptonite. That one thing we’re missing that if it were just within reach, everything would be all right. Some things we can put up with or do without, but we will fail to be complete until we have that one thing in our lives. God wants to bless us after all right?
For many young people today, that one thing is marriage. It’s that pinnacle we have to reach in order to take a deep breath and finally be able to start living. “Once I find a spouse, real life can begin. I can serve the Lord and my family faithfully and fulfill the call that God has placed on my life.”
We don’t get a lot of help from the church either. It seems everyone around us is getting married and even those in leadership are asking us what’s taking so long? We can feel pressure from every side, let alone the immense pressure we put on ourselves already. This can raise a host of doubts ranging from “Is there something wrong with me?” to “Does God really love me?”
This mindset of thinking we are incomplete until we meet “the one” is a dangerous trap to fall into. We place unrealistic expectations on a person if we expect them to somehow make us whole. As Christians we are to find our identity in Jesus Christ. To expect to find fulfillment in any other person or relationship is both setting ourselves up for failure and putting unrealistic expectations on a person who will never be able to fulfill them.
Not to mention that tendency to always want more is sure to surface again. We might feel content for a while but once the newness wears off, the feelings of emptiness and wanting something more are sure to creep back in. We need to have kids, or a second honeymoon. If my spouse could just lose a little weight or if we just got along better. Then…everything would be all right. We move from just wanting to find someone, to having the perfect marriage, perfect kids or perfect ministry.
It’s a vicious cycle and if it’s present in nearly every other area of our lives, why then would we think marriage is any different? The grass is always greener. Culture has taught us to always want the shiny new toy, the fun experience or anything that’s better than what we have. Marriage and sharing life with another person is indeed a gift from God but it is not greater than God. It will not fill the void in our lives that only He can.
Beyond our continual desire for something new or better, possibly the most harmful part about not being content with our current state or status is losing focus of the world around us. We become so wrapped up in thoughts of the future that we neglect our responsibilities in the here and now. Especially for Christians, a life of faith is a journey where each season is an opportunity to trust and grow in our relationship with God. How can God use a situation to teach us if we’re so focused on getting through it and on to the next one that we don’t look around long enough to experience it?
If we are able to walk in faith regarding our eternal future, why is it so difficult to trust in the finite area of marriage? I’m not downplaying anyone’s desire to be married because truth be told, I’m right there with you. I’ve wrestled with feelings of loneliness and frustration more times than I can count. I graduated from a Christian college unmarried and with no prospects. That was discouraging.
But the longer I walk with God, the more I realize His timing is perfect. What’s more He knows me. He knows my wants and my needs. He knows that what I might look for or want in a spouse now is different than what I’ll want in the future and He’s waiting to give me exactly what I want.
If you try to figure out God you’ll frustrate yourself and likely wind up more confused than when you started. Instead of asking God why, consider asking God how. How can I best serve in the position or circumstance that I find myself in? How might God want to use or grow me during this season of life?
Learning to live in the now and not focus on the future can be a difficult thing, especially in a world that tells you to go try something else if you’re not happy. Learn to trust God for your daily needs and rely on Him to take care of the bigger picture. Spend time drawing nearer to Him through his promises in scripture. He knows the deepest desires of your heart. After all… He put them there.