Today's guest blogger is my precious friend Lauren! She is a young woman who carries so much confidence and wisdom from the Lord. I was so encouraged and inspired by her answers to these questions. Lauren has a passion for women's ministry and pursuing a life of purity. She keeps a blog at My Soul Waits, so be sure to check in over there and say hello!
Furthermore, I did not grow up in the church, and particularly, dating in purity and intentionality was a foreign concept to me until I was a junior in high school when I gave my life to Christ. I have dated before, but those relationships were far from glorifying the Lord. I put my hope in "boys" before I put my hope in Christ. The Lord has shown me that only in Him can I truly walk in satisfaction and joy. This verse deeply resonates with my heart: "...for the joy of the Lord is your strength." (Nehemiah 8:10). Singleness has been a truly sanctifying period of life for me, and the Lord has been shaping and molding me to be more like Him.
It has been a passion of mine to see women walk in freedom and joy in singleness or relationships. Only when we put our identity in Jesus Christ can we truly understand and know that we are precious treasures that are not dependent on our relationship status. He has set us free from those lies and temptations: "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." (Galatians 5:1).
What is the most difficult part of finding satisfaction in the Lord in singleness? How have you learned to find fullness of joy in Him?
Before I came to know Christ, I put my hope, worth, and satisfaction in my relationship status. I always had to be in a relationship or I would have an identity crisis. However, these relationships were so broken and deeply rooted in emotional pain. I was never satisfied and these boys were not following the Lord. It is difficult to find satisfaction due to my past and the world's lie that your relationship status defines your worth.
The Lord gently drew me in and whispered His love and redemption to me because I am His. "But now thus says the LORD, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: 'Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine.'" (Isaiah 43:1).
To find joy in Him, we have to set our eyes on Him alone and not idolize man because He is the redeemer and healer. He is the only and true source of hope, and my prayer for us as men and women is that we would long for the Lord as the living water and bread of life (John 7:38; Matthew 4:4).
"There is only one Being Who can satisfy the last aching abyss of the human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ." -Oswald Chambers
The Lord has been teaching me a lot about conflict and how to respond in gentleness and grace. Satan is going to attack our marriages and our future relationships like crazy because they are a depiction of how Christ died for His Church and His Bride. He loved us and pursued us when we were dead in our sin (Ephesians 2:1-10). The Lord has been teaching me how to forgive and show grace in the midst of conflict because He did the same for us when we were dead in our transgressions.
Moreover, as we are searching for wisdom and discernment in how to respond to others in the midst of conflict, I turn to this verse: "But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere." (James 3:17).
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
The best piece of advice I've ever received actually came when I was involved in leadership with a Christian organization. I was leading a group of women and felt that I was not measuring up to the standards of a good leader. I'm more relational than group-oriented and, therefore, giving groups wisdom completely made me anxious. My co-leader told me that leadership is not about raising yourself above anyone. When we spend eternity with our Heavenly Father, one will not be the leader of another but we will all be praising Jesus. Leadership is about raising and encouraging men and women to lead in confidence. It's completely a position of servanthood. We are first and foremost servants of Jesus Christ, and He humbled Himself on our behalf by death on the Cross.
These verses changed my life when I was a leader of that group, and they forever changed my perspective on leadership, especially when I led in other organizations and in other ways:
"So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:1-11)
As a woman, there is a deep tendency in us to orient our thoughts and hearts around our relationships, whether they are with friendships or with intentional relationships. The temptation is to think that if we do not have these things, then we are not treasured or loved or wanted. These are lies that Satan likes to attack us with to sever our relationship with Christ.
We have to make it a commitment to orient our thoughts, our hearts, and our eyes on Jesus Christ every day. Our true freedom and satisfaction will only come from our relationship with Him. He is our Husband: "For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is His Name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth He is called." (Isaiah 54:5).
We settle often for relationships and friendships that we think will fill us instead of going to the abundant source of joy and hope.
My prayer for you is that you will thirst for God.
"O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water." (Psalm 63:1)
Two years ago: My Confession.
Three years ago: Milk Toast Recipee