[Guest Post by Debra K. Fileta, M.A., LPC – My new friend Deb launches her first book True Love Dates tomorrow. Check it out here on Amazon, and read below of what she says about how to get over your discontent with singleness. ****The month of October is themed Relationship Awareness. The months of November and December will have no theme because Devotional Diva is going on its first break in five years! Read why here.]
Since the launch of TrueLoveDates.com at the end of March, I’ve had the honor and privilege of hearing from hundreds of men and women.
Though I’ve noticed that sometimes these men and women across our country and world, with messages of gratitude, stories of hope and healing, have lots of relationship questions. Usually the same question or concern keeps coming up over and over again from different people and inspire an article response.
This particular time, it was the topic of discontent in singleness.
Before I get into this, let me go ahead and address those of you who see singleness as a gift to be enjoyed, and a season to be savored–good for you. I say that with just a tiny hint of sarcasm, only because contentment with singleness was always a personal struggle of mine.
But for the most part, I am thrilled for your contentment.
I look at men and women like you and I am truly happy that by God’s grace, you have received eyes that are able to see past you relationship status and enjoy the life that you’ve been given. Like a very deliberately placed sign in my office reminds me,
“Life is not having what you want, it’s wanting what you have”.
Now, for the latter group. This is the group I would have been a part of during my time as a single woman. If the myth were true that God only blesses you with a spouse when you learn to be content in your singleness, than I would have never gotten married, because frankly–I was not okay with a lifetime of singleness. I wanted to be married!
As I look back at my life, that longing was so good. It was part of God’s design for me and a sign that I longed for connection with another human being.
But for so long, because of the mixed messages I received from people around me, I was secretly ashamed of that longing. I talked myself into believing that it was wrong; that it was a sign that I just wasn’t close enough to God.
Maybe I didn’t love Him enough.
Maybe I didn’t trust Him enough.
But looking back, those were all lies from the pit of hell. Lies that were meant to guilt me, to shame me, and to keep me paralyzed. And at times, they did.
What I really believe now, is that it’s okay to be discontent with singleness.
It’s okay to have a constant longing for marriage because you were made in the image of a God who is desperate for connection, and who understands. It is a struggle that we are allowed to have, and one that can push us even closer to a God who longs to connect with us through it.
I don’t believe that the condition of our heart should be measured by our emotional struggles, but rather, by what we do through those times of struggle. Feelings of discontent, loneliness, and depression through singleness don’t mean that we have been defeated. But ceasing to live our lives because of those feelings is a sign that we have allowed the enemy to paralyze us and keep us from moving forward.
Let me say that again.
It’s okay to struggle through singleness, but it’s not okay to stop living life because of it.
It’s okay to be discontent through singleness, but it’s not okay to let that discontentedness rob us of our very lives.
There is a huge difference between a struggle and a stronghold. That is when we’ve allowed relationship status to define us, instead of the very God who made us to be defined by Him.
There’s a huge difference there, and the two should never be lumped in the same category.
So for those of you who have been struggling with the discontent of being single, look around and ask yourself–are you still living?
Are you still dreaming?
Are you still hoping?
Are you still moving forward in the life that God has called you to live, or have you started to feel paralyzed by your fear?
Is singleness a part of your struggle, or has it become a stronghold?
The answer to that question will either free you from guilt and shame, or challenge you to begin the pursuit of healing. No matter where you are in your struggle, you have the choice to live life and to live it well. May God give you the strength to do so–even through the struggle.
Debra K. Fileta is a Licensed Professional Counselor specializing in Relationship and Marital issues. She, her husband and two children live in Hershey, PA. She is the author of the new book True Love Dates (Zondervan, 2013), challenging young men and women to do dating in a way that is psychologically sound, emotionally healthy and spiritually grounded. Visit www.truelovedates.com and follow her on Twitter to get your dating questions answered and to learn more!
[Photo: VancityAllie, Creative Commons]