It's Not You
Before I got married (at 34) I spent many, many years wrestling with questions about my single (or recently dumped) status. Why, God? Do you want me to be single? Is this some cruel joke? What’s wrong with me? Where did I go wrong? What’s wrong with guys these days? Why isn’t anyone helping me? Should I buy a cat and be done with it? And so on. Perhaps you resonate with some of these. And if you’re like me, as you approach your mid-30’s (or beyond) the reality of your situation may cause you to become angry, anxious, terrified, depressed, cynical, empty, promiscuous, crazy, or a whole lot of other emotions. Totally normal. And totally understandable.
The thing is – it’s not you. You might be banging your head against a brick wall with the frustration of not knowing why you just can’t seem to get traction with a man, even though you are pretty hot property, if you do say so yourself. And yes, I’ve been there. It’s so exasperating!
So what is it? Why is there a generation of fairly awesome Christian women who seemed destined for loneliness? I’ll tell you – it’s sin. Yep, that old chestnut. It helps if you think of the world, this country, this generation, our culture and so on, as bigger than you. We live within a huge ecosystem of humanity; a massive heaving organism of souls interlinked in space and time by myriad connecting factors. And when that organism is diseased with sin, everyone suffers.
I was reading in Isaiah this week, and came across a passage that literally made me tremble. In chapter 3 and into chapter 4, through the prophet Isaiah, God says to Jerusalem and Judah (His people) that because of their wickedness, bad things would happen to them. Their ‘wickedness’ encompassed things like turning away from God, forgetting God and taking His leadership and blessings for granted, sexual promiscuity, not following His laws, and so on – particularly sexual promiscuity. What struck me was how some of the consequences laid out for these sins are happening to our society right now.
Here are the verses that apply to our particular area of interest:
The Lord Almighty is about to take from Jerusalem and Judah…the hero and warrior, the judge and prophet, the soothsayer and elder, the captain of fifty and man of rank, the counsellor, skilled craftsman and clever enchanter…I will make boys their officials; mere children will govern them…A man will seize one of his brothers at his father’s home, and say ‘…be our leader…!’ But in that day he will cry out, ‘I have no remedy…do not make me the leader of the people’….
In that day seven women will take hold of one man and say, ‘We will eat our own food and provide our own clothes; only let us be called by your name. Take away our disgrace!’ (excerpts from Isaiah 3-4)
I encourage you to read this commentary, which is both illuminating and terrifying.
So in answer to the question: where have all the good men gone? Well – the Lord has taken them away due to the sin of the whole society. The men in charge are like children; young men and women are leading everything; elders are few and far between; and women are desperate. Sound familiar?
Your problem is bigger than you.
So what’s a girl to do? Well, apart from applying the various tools I’ve been blogging about to increase your chances with the few decent men remaining, there is a spiritual response too.
First of all, it’s okay to grieve. Our culture has seriously messed things up, and unfortunately, you have to suffer for it. We have committed a grievous sin towards the Lord by throwing aside his commands and living like the world – feminism, promiscuity, pride, lust and greed. Our sin is on our own heads! It is right and proper to feel the pain of this sin, this collective sin, and to grieve the great damage it has done to our culture, and the effects it has on your own life.
Secondly, you need to repent and commit to righteousness. Get on your knees and cry out to the Lord for his deliverance. If you have areas of your life in which you have turned away from the Lord, particularly in terms of idolatry and promiscuity, you really need to repent and do whatever it takes to get that stuff out of your life. This is serious.
And third, ask God for His help. It’s a crisis, and you need supernatural intervention! Before I met my husband, I had recently gone through yet another break-up, and was so exasperated with the whole dating scene. I felt like I had tried everything, and was getting nowhere. For three days I cried and prayed to the Lord (outside of work hours LOL) and petitioned Him to come through for me. But seriously, I was a mess. I put all my cards on the table and invited God to split me open and lay my soul bare – to reveal anything that was holding me back. I reminded Him of my faithfulness and my friendship with Him. I repented for my sins. I brought to his attention the answered prayers of the Biblical women who had difficult requests – Sarah, Hannah, Naomi, Esther, and so on.
Afterwards, I didn’t feel heaps better, but I had made my case and what else could I do? There was no way I could take any other path. I was committed to the Lord, 100%, 24/7, and that was that. He was my only hope. And a few weeks later, I met my now husband.
There isn’t much more you can do. Don’t be tempted to start living a secular life – it’s not better or easier, and it won’t give you the satisfaction you crave. Sure, it might seem like the quick escape route – but nothing can change the fact that you are a daughter of God and that’s a relationship you want to keep. You need the Lord on your side, big time! He should not be trifled with. And may I also suggest, don’t shut down and give up hope. You don’t need to throw out your hair straightener, buy a brown cardigan and adopt a cat. Get your hair done, buy a red dress, and subscribe to a dating site! Don’t give up!
If you regularly do the three things I’ve listed, I believe that in time, the Lord will deliver you from your singleness (maybe in a way you didn’t expect – be open!)
In the meantime, check this:
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you…If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name…So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. (excerpts from 1 Peter 5:12-19).
Just keep going. He loves you and He sees you! Xo
Ps. If you want to see a really freaky movie that basically typifies the Isaiah prophecy, check out the 2015 Canadian sci-fi mockumentary ‘No Men Beyond this Point’ on Netflix. Watch the trailer here and the movie here.
Ps. Tim Keller has a few thoughts on the cultural effects of sexual promiscuity here.