Blessings of Singleness #3: Losing Control

In my naïve younger days (about 3  months ago)  I managed to convince myself that my desire for control had a fairly loose grip on my heart.  Now that I’m 3 months older I can see a little more clearly.  The tragic truth is that so much of my life is designed to maximize my sense of control.

Praise the Lord for the kindness of singleness, which costs me control in a huge area of my life.

Most life stages are chosen.  But for many single folks, this is not the case.  Singleness is the default.  It’s the life stage we are all in until we are removed from it by choices we make.  I didn’t choose to be single.   And so there’s this pain or anxiety that comes with knowing there is nothing I can do to change where I am.  The world may say otherwise, but the kind of marriage I would want is only possible through an act of God.

I have been taught – from an early age – that I control my own destiny.  That if I want something, I can walk out those doors and get it.  That I can pursue and achieve anything I set my mind on.  That my life is in my hands.  This is, after all, the American Dream

When I became a Christian I renounced these beliefs.  However, in my heart, I still cling to the lie that I have control over certain things in my life.  I believe I have control over my schedule and my day and my life.  The pain of losing control in singleness constantly reels me back in from my imaginary world where I can make anything happen that I want.  I can’t change my facebook status to ‘married’ with a little hard work and will power, and each time I remember this there is a sobering pain that teaches me truth.

Somewhere deep inside we believe that control would be the key to our joy and peace.  Life would be better if we controlled it.  We manage to set up 90% of our day living in the fantasy that we are going to determine what happens and we spend hours pondering days and years that haven’t occurred and anticipating the decisions we can make to steer and direct the world into our intended path.

My buddy Malachi (who is 3) gets the truth a lot better than me.  When he wants to eat, he can’t just go get food for himself.  Anything and everything he wants he has to ask for and the only way he’ll get it is if his mom or dad get it for him.

What is strange is that I’m actually more dependent on God than Malachi is on his parents, I just happen to live in a time and place that convinces me otherwise.  I can’t breathe in or out without His power and grace.  I think I can get food for myself, but I can’t.  I can’t do anything apart from Him.

My favorite part about the pain of losing control in singleness is the moment in the car, or in my apartment on an especially low day when I attribute my frustration with singleness to it being ‘the one thing I can’t control’.

It’s my favorite part because it takes about 10 seconds of sitting in that angst before I hear the challenge from the Spirit.  Is it really?  Is this the ‘one’ part of your life that you don’t control?   Crazy Spirit.  Silly Fabs.

The bible says that my very apartment address has been appointed by God and that every day of my life is written by Him and that He is always and in every way holding all things together by the power of His word.  There is only One in control, and it is not me.  He holds the hearts of Kings in His hand.

Would I want it differently?  In these moments, the faces of all the people I might have married if I was in ‘control’ flash before my eyes.  And I cringe a little.  And worship a little.

I’m afraid of not having control.  I’m worried that because I can’t control this area of my life I will miss out.  In the same way I am anxious about tomorrow because I am worried that if it doesn’t turn out as I need it to I will lose something or miss something or not gain what I need.

I’m afraid that if I don’t have control no one has control.  But this isn’t true.  Someone is in control  Someone who is fully wise and fully able and competent.  Someone who never sleeps.  And guess what – He’s someone who is constantly working every detail of every day and the hearts of every man for my good.

There is nothing more gracious than areas of our lives that remind us that we don’t have control.  Praise the Lord that I don’t have control over my marital status.  The pain of losing control reminds me that I actually never had control – in any aspect of my life.  Some of you reading that might find it offensive, but it’s so gloriously liberating.

Do you know why people loved college so much?  Or high school?  Or their childhood?  Because it was back in the days when you didn’t have to bear the burden of your life on your shoulders.  People could direct you and lead you and you would just be faithful with what was handed to you.

Good news.  This is the life of a Christian.  My Father is working everything out.  He will provide for me.  Today, I have everything I need for life and Godliness.  Today, nothing good has been withheld from me. Today, He is ordaining every detail of my day for my good.  Today, I don’t need to be anxious about anything because He will take care of me.

The answer to the ‘why am I single’ question is always: Because Jesus loves you.  Because this is Him giving you what you need for today.  Because this is the only way you’re going to finish this race.  Because He promised to give you what was good and best and the key to your ultimate joy – and He’s going to do that, despite your attempts to sabotage your life.

We’ll waste this suffering if we look to our ‘odds’ for hope instead of trusting in Jesus.  We’ll waste it if we think the key to our joy is taking control instead of trusting.  I know this tendency.  It produces every kind of evil in coveting and questioning: why is that girl married and not me?  What if I don’t go to this party tonight and so I stay single?  Don’t I have to put myself out there more?  If I go to the nations, how will i meet a husband?

Hear God today:

Seek first the Kingdom and everything else you need will be yours

Let those who suffer according to God’s will, entrust themselves to a faithful creator and keep doing good.

God’s mission calls.  It is the purpose of our lives.  Press on for the goal of the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Do not be distracted by details of marital status.  Do not be kept out of the fight because by fear of missing out on a date. Seek the great glory of God.

13 thoughts on “Blessings of Singleness #3: Losing Control

  1. FABS!!! OMG FABS FABS FABS FABS FABS!!!!! “If I go to the nations, how will I meet a husband?” OMG OMG OMG you and Ronnie have been God’s direct mouth piece to me in the last few days. WHAAAAAAA GOD IS SO GOOD!

    THANK YOU FOR LOVING JESUS AND BEING HONEST IN YOUR BLOGGING!!!!!

    I just wrote a blog that might make my huge reaction to this one line make more sense if you’d like to read it and maybe not think I’m nuts haha.

  2. Fabs…..I love you and appreciate your heart. You have the gift of writing that I covet….sometimes :o-) This is my favorite quote: “I’m afraid of not having control. I’m worried that because I can’t control this area of my life I will miss out. In the same way I am anxious about tomorrow because I am worried that if it doesn’t turn out as I need it to I will lose something or miss something or not gain what I need.” Sometimes I wonder if you live in my head & heart.

    IMHO, you need to write a book. It will bless many.

  3. this is beautiful, i’m making a sticky note on my computer of this part: “The answer to the ‘why am I single’ question is always: Because Jesus loves you. Because this is Him giving you what you need for today. Because this is the only way you’re going to finish this race. Because He promised to give you what was good and best and the key to your ultimate joy – and He’s going to do that, despite your attempts to sabotage your life.”

    i agree with susan about a book.

  4. You magically picked thoughts out of my head and blogged about it! how did you do that?? 🙂 So much great insight and reminders- please write a book and publish these things.

  5. Amen! This is Miriam Franco from the Philippines. My friend Carlyn and I enjoyed we are so blessed with what you have written. We can relate well. I am a 46 year old certified virgin and my friend Carlyn is a “single again” single Mom. We are struggling well by God’s grace:-)Blessings to you!

  6. I am not allone, this is cool, thank you for you comment, your meditations are indeed a salve to my heart, has captured the struggles and doubts in my heart every day, God bless you greatly. thanks

  7. Pingback: Amen « Cherish
  8. am a 37 yr old man whose thoughts and frustration you have amzingly captured. Wonder how you managed to do that. you are a gift in the kingdom of God. Now i understand why. Go for it, write a book!

  9. Hi Fabs.

    Malachi is 3yrs old. That’s why his parents have to feed him. When he is 20, he’ll have to make his own sandwiches and get his own water. If he doesn’t know how and can’t make them, then his parents have failed.

    God expects you to use the wisdom and knowledge of him to make a good decison on the person you are going to spend the rest of your life with.

    If you want a husband, find out how husbands are gotten then find one. Ask God for favour. Don’t ask God to get a husband for you. God, like Malachi’s parents will do for you what you can’t do for yourself. Otherwise the rest is up to you.

    The problem is most people do not want to find out how life is done. You want God to do ALL the work and to make ALL the decisions for you. And to FIND someone for you. And to think for you. And to set boundaries for you. And to raise your kids for you. And to take the risks for you. You just want to wait mindlessly for God to bring HIM along and later, when you have a husband who spends ALL his time in church (or playing video games) and none with you, you’ll do nothing about it because HE IS THE MAN GOD BROUGHT TO YOU. So it’s God’s fault, not yours.

    What brings your parents greater pride? When you make good decisons and ask for their blessing or when you call them to make every single decisions for you?

    Waiting for God to bring a man along will lead to a passive way of thinking and that will lead to very bad relationships with men. And I’m not saying women should pursue men. They shouldn’t. But there is a way that people find husbands. And God wants you to learn how to deal with men during your single years as well as during your married years. God wants you to know what you are doing.

    So I have to disagree with you on this article. God gives you a lot of control over your own life.

    Look at the Bible. Read Genesis 30:37-43. Jacob wanted to get rich. But he did not wait for God to do it for him. He thought of doing some bizzare stuff with tree-bark and God blessed him because he did something about what he wanted. Jesus walked on water. He did not ask God to magically take him to the other side of the lake.

    Basically, if you do not want something badly enough to do something about it, then it’s not that important.

    1. Hey Sara! You were busy last night 🙂 While maturity for an infant looks like growing in independence, maturity in a Christian looks like growing in dependence. The difference of the New Covenant is that God wouldn’t leave us to do things on our own. Instead He put His Spirit within us and ’causes’ us to walk according to His way. He gets all the credit. He gets all the glory.

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