This is your reminder that we are praying for women to be open to their hearts and where they might need to be changed, for men to walk uprightly, and for marriage to be granted to those who desire it.
Even though life is never so tidy, I still have a bad habit of trying to figure everything out. In terms of singleness, it often takes the form of a giant mental calculator where marriage is the end goal and various life choices have point values. And somehow, when you get over a certain number of points – voila! – spouse! So I would assign these mental points to ridiculous things: good hair, education, good music taste, date frequency, amount of time spent single, etc.
And it would be this ridiculous calculation: Oh, of course, she’s getting married…she deserves it. She is so sweet to everyone (+10 points), has classy but not pretentious taste (+5 points), looks good in skinny jeans (+10 points), had a bad breakup before this boy (+5 points), and is co-leading a small group at a singles-rich church (+15 points).
Unfortunately this habit also backfired when people didn’t fit into my calculator very well: Wait, she’s 22 (-10 points), her entire life plan is to get married and have kids (-20 points), she has never had another boyfriend (-5 points) and now she’s marrying a tall, dark and smart 30-year old Christian guy (-2974 points)?!? Does not compute!
The sad thing is that I have applied this “logic” with abandon and often unconsciously. And not surprisingly, I have had to come face to face with the lies underneath my little calculator:
- Lie: The goal is getting married. Again, my silly habit of assuming the next thing, whatever it is, is the thing. The thing that will answer all my questions and quiet my heart’s fears and solve all my problems. Yeah. Mmmhmm. Not happening, Amy. The goal that God has in mind is Christ-likeness and his methods may or may not involve marriage. My job is to trust and obey what I see today.
- Lie: All I need to do now is figure out how to get more points. For me, this always boils down to the ultimate “lose 10-15 pounds and win an extra 50 bonus points!” This is the lie underneath so many others — that if I were more or less of something, I would have been married by now. That’s it somehow my fault I’m not married and it is now my responsibility to “fix” it. God doesn’t need my points to bring a spouse, if that’s His will. And all the fake points I could ever accumulate will never entitle me to a spouse. What He wants from me is a trust-driven relationship right here, right now.
- Lie: God’s gifts are somehow related to our merit. It doesn’t matter how much I know in my head this is the greatest lie of them all, my thoughts and actions often belie the fact that my trust has shifted to something other than His grace. Time to reread Romans 5.
I stumbled across Deuteronomy 7:6-9 which drove the point home. At the risk of comparing marriage to the Promised Land (bear with me), I think verse seven most caught my attention. God emphasizes that it was despite Israel’s lack of qualifications that they were chosen as His people. The choice was God’s own and his choosing is in complete alignment with His essential and unchanging character: the faithful, powerful, steadfast, loving, covenant-keeping God. On some level, it’s not about Israel at all – it’s about God’s persistent redemptive purposes toward His people.
And that resonated so much with me and my pathetic life calculator. Spouses (and all of God’s good gifts) flow directly from the fact that He is gracious and loves us at great cost. As we fast and pray this Monday, I want to dismantle my calculator and simply reflect on the vastness and depth of His mercy toward me. I can trust that He is working His redemptive purposes for me in this very day, and to rest in His plan – no matter what direction it leads!
Praying with you,