In my ongoing saga of adulthood, I have discovered something quite startling: Single adulting has made me dangerously selfish. I touched on this a few weeks ago, but I think the matter deserves a post of its own- namely because my blithe, insincere offer to help someone last week was accepted, and I was very annoyed.
I thought it was a general rule of thumb that when Person A (clearly occupied with an important matter) offers to help Person B (struggling with life, a heavy box, or a lack of transportation), Person B is supposed to be flattered and respond, “Why thank you, but I can handle it.”
Anyways, as I read through “Not Yet Married,” by Marshall Segal, I have been surprisingly convicted. There are so many aspects of singleness that provide room for massive spiritual growth. There are also aspects that can derail our faith and render us useless. And selfishness is at the root of most of them.
I have a few friends who got married straight out of college- or even high school. The problem for some of these ladies is that they never gained a sense of independence. In that, they run the risk of simply shuffling their dependence from mom and dad onto their husband. God is left out of that picture.
I, on the other hand, have the opposite problem. A single woman who launches from the nest is faced with an onslaught of freedom- tantalizing, paralyzing freedom. The question becomes: How can we become dependent on God instead of dependent on ourselves?
Hmm… I sure wish I had a clear cut answer for that. I wish I could tell you I don’t guard my time and finances to serve my own desires. But the fact is, I spent $6 on mega-sized Boom Chicka Pop last week and then turned my nose up at a benevolent offering because my finances are “too tight.” Yep. I’m definitely not proud of that.
Here’s the thing though, this so-called “independence” isn’t freedom at all. It’s really a form of slavery. I’m enslaved to my own sinful desires, dependent on whatever my hearts says I need. And whether your single or married: That slavery can grab ensnare you.
The great thing is that we have a High Priest who is able to empathize with our weaknesses and a Holy Spirit who convicts us and turns us away from self. And in that process, I have found it helpful to pray the simple prayer that King David cried out after he was caught in great sin: “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me. (Psalm 51:12)”
It’s that second part that I’d never considered before. Willingness. AKA: That thing I cast to the wayside when I resolve to chase beauty, men, or money in my own, covert-Christian way.
Oh how we need willing spirits, spirits that say “yes” to the will of the Father! Friend, we need to transfer the dependence we have on ourselves or others onto the Lord.
And I think: Over all the painful death and disease I’ve experienced in my life, my God has remained faithful. How can I ignore that evidence and keep chasing the wind? How can we?
Honestly, I’m no expert on Christian living- or living in general. But I do know I have regrettably missed out on faith-building, ministry opportunities by letting life, single or otherwise, turn my focus onto myself. I’m sick of trying to be independent and missing the true adventure of my walk with Jesus.
My prayer this week (and onward) is for “a willing spirit to sustain me,” to grip me, to take over my own desires. I hope you will join me by praying that for yourself and pressing into dependence on the Lord.