I remember being single and dreading the loneliness that came with Valentines Day. It was my heart’s desire not to be alone. Yet, that reality sank in as I delved into a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and watched a sappy love movie. There were many dreams and aspirations that my heart craved but none like having a husband and a family. Fast forward a few years and God has been beyond faithful in fulfilling those dreams and aspirations. I think this is the part where I’m supposed to say that my heart is finally content behind my blue shutters and red door. That’s far from the truth. I’m still, at times, experiencing loneliness. This loneliness isn’t associated with my marriage or even my motherhood because both near perfection in my book. This loneliness comes from the ache of the fall.
My loneliness is a product of worshiping the creation instead of the Creator.
Looking back, being a single woman of God had its advantages. It opened the opportunity to serve with my whole heart all the time. It allowed for more prayer and devotion time. Not to mention the long peaceful car rides filled with deep heart felt conversations with God. My season of singleness allowed me to fall head over heels in love with my Savior. At this point in my life, He wasn’t just my Savior, He was my Lord….my Master. Every moment I had I wanted to be with Him. Life has changed since then and that’s life. I believe God grows us through life changes. He tries to prepare our hearts in our single season but nothing prepares you for marriage or motherhood. For each change of life, your relationship with God subsequently changes. And most times, if I can be honest, God gets pushed back to the corner. Worshiping Him becomes more of a duty and another thing to check off my list.
I didn’t mean for this to happen. It’s not like I woke up one morning and decided that His creation was more important than Him. It’s slow lurking. It’s those little compromises that led to this. And now, in the midst of the mess, I have come to realize that true loneliness is the product of an adulterous heart. It’s not that I’ve cheated on my husband because my heart has stayed true. Actually, my heart has stayed true to everyone except God. Getting married and becoming a mother were two of the greatest things that ever happened to me but I am quick to forget the BEST thing that ever happened to me and that was encountering Jesus.
When I was single I was craving a husband. When I got married I was craving children. Now I’m a mom and I’m craving the next season of life. I am constantly craving without being satisfied. I’m starting to realize that my true craving isn’t the next big thing. My true craving comes out of a God shaped hole in my heart. A place that only he can truly fill and satisfy. I can try to shove work, marriage or motherhood in that hole but they won’t satisfy for long. Sure, they may occupy the space for a while but eventually we’ll realize that they aren’t a perfect fit. Please don’t get me wrong, marriage and motherhood are precious and are God’s gift to us but they were never meant to complete us. Only God can do that.
So I’m lonely, what now? I believe the true cure for loneliness is to return to your first love. I am always reminded of the church at Ephesus. In Revelations, God is speaking to the seven churches. He starts off with the church at Ephesus and tells them “I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary” (Revelation 2:2-3).
Ephesus can represent every well meaning married mama that does her daily devotion, volunteers at church and still manages her household. You do all the right things and check off the duty list as you go. God goes on to point out where the church has failed. (I’m sure that we can find relation in this next verse) “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love” (Revelation 2:4) I don’t know about you but I have forsaken my first love. I have become complacent in my marriage to the Lord because I’ve been so overwhelmed with my physical duties. Again, there is nothing wrong with the physical but I am reminded that my earthly marriage can’t succeed unless my spiritual marriage is thriving. My spiritual marriage can’t thrive unless I’m making the choice to be head over heels in love with my Lord.
Notice that I used the word choice. Because at the end of the day, love is a choice. We’ve been programmed to believe that love is an emotion and at times it can be but it always starts as a choice. You have the free will and choice to love God. How do you choose to love God? By pursuing Him daily. Below are three ways you can pursue (date) God.
1.) Talk to your Lover.
Do you recall the feeling you get when you first meet a person you are interested in? It’s new, fun and a complete thrill. You wait by the phone for his call or stare aimlessly at his Facebook profile picture. (We’ve all been there, girl *Wink*) You want to spend every waking moment with that person. You ask them a million get to know you questions. Well ladies, God wants to pursue you and be pursued by you. He yearns to court His princess. Talking to him doesn’t have to be some King James Version prayer. Just talk to him like you would talk to a friend.
2.) Set aside specific time.
When I was first dating my husband he was the first person I thought about in the morning and he was the last person I talked to at night. He was on my mind 24/7 because I started my day with him and ended the exact same. This is a MUST in order to build a solid relationship with Jesus. You don’t have to spend a whole hour in front of your Bible. Just be sure to allocate a specific time for God. We make time for hair appointments or birthday parties. How about scheduling in your God date each morning and each night?
3.) Talk about your Lover.
I can always tell when someone is in the new stages of their relationship. They go on and on about the person they are interested in. They talk all about their strengths and how amazing they are as a person. It’s like they are selling them to you and sometimes I’m willing to buy because they sound that good. This is the fruit of getting to know God. His majesty and goodness are so contagious that you can’t help but share it with other people. Sometimes just talking about your Lover to someone else reminds your own heart why you fell for them in the first place.
I believe all three of these steps are critical in falling in love with God and avoiding loneliness.
They seem so simple but that’s the gospel. Simple.
So if you are single or married and are experiencing the sting of loneliness, I pray that you will be reminded that completion is only found at Calvary.