I’m starting a fight.
I’m starting a fight for contentment. For peace.
I have been thinking so much about singleness this month. So much that last week I wanted to kick something extremely hard to get my frustration out. (I’m a soccer player, and wouldn’t really think twice about shattering my own foot if it meant my frustration would be gone. Well, it’d be gone after the initial five seconds of frustration I’d have about the fact that I’d just shattered my foot. But this is irrelevant.) I’m just tired of thinking about it. I know I’m single. I’m used to it. I’m not expecting it to change anytime soon. I think I got it, God. I think I’m dealing with it all right. Especially after, what, like four posts on the subject within a week? And reading countless more by other bloggers?
I think I got the memo.
Well, apparently not. And I don’t think I’m ever going to get used to the way God shows up in my life.
First, on Sunday, I was at the worship center that Campus Ministry holds every week. The only thing I was thinking coherently that morning was that I just really needed God to speak something to my heart. I was frustrated for reasons that don’t really correlate to singleness at all, and I just in that weird place of frustration where you want to throw everything you own against a wall and then slump against it and cry. Yeah. Not really sure how I got there. But that’s where I was.
So the campus minister says he’s going to talk about contentment. I about jumped up and down for joy. Slash not. But I did get excited. So anyway, I’m listening. Except that then I’m not, because I’m a visual learner and so if I’m not taking notes, and you’re lecturing, I am not listening to you. At least most of the time. Sorry. Doesn’t mean I don’t love you any less. And, no, I don’t take notes during church, and we can debate the wisdom of that later. But all of a sudden I hear something and then “singleness.”
Again? Seriously? Have I not yet thought this topic to death yet? Really, I thought we were done. Um, okay, God. Apparently not.
At one point he said something about singleness being celebrated and I smiled because if you read my post on February 14, you know I termed it Singleness Celebration Day.
I needed to hear what he said. I needed to remember that I should be content with where I am, and even celebrate it. This is a time in my life I may never have back after I leave it, and I want to be able to say that I enjoyed it when I had the opportunity.
Secondly, after admitting here Monday that I haven’t been immersing myself in Jesus as much as I should be, I began doing so. And I have been reading my Bible each night and various other times throughout the day, every day since then. Two nights ago I finally told God that I knew I could not focus on Him except under different circumstances. And so He changed the circumstances. But then when He changed them back to what they had been, I freaked. Until I realized that He had already given me the strength to deal with said circumstances the way that I should have been handling them since August.
Yes, people. August. I have been fighting a losing battle on this whole thing since then. I hate how I never realize that I can just pray for God’s strength in fighting those battles until after He delivers. Probably because I’m so busy having a meltdown that the Holy Spirit has to start groaning on my behalf or everything is going to fall apart.
The strength to deal with my circumstances what was I needed from God, and He was faithful to give it to me. He was faithful to keep giving me that strength when Liz delivered to me some news she was not certain I would receive well (concerning these circumstances). But I did, with His strength and peace behind me.
I realized some very important things from all of those events.
1. If I am not struggling, then I have no message to share with you. I feel as though the only thing that gives me merit to advise or ramble about singleness and relationships is the fact that I am fighting in the same trenches you are. I am still warring against being discontent with my relationship status. But if I were somehow perfectly content with it, what would I have to say to you? Exactly. I wouldn’t. It is through my struggles that I have learned what I share with you here. So, for better or for worse, may. those. struggles. keep. coming.
2. Peace is not a feeling. Contentment is not a feeling. If I were to tell you what I have felt all day today and yesterday, I really feel like I’m on the brink of my personal apocalypse. There is none of my famous sarcasm or dry humor in that statement. That’s what I feel. I feel on the brink of this giant battle because I think I’m really beginning one. I’m beginning a conscious, real war against being unhappy and discontent with where I am at this point in my love life (or lack thereof, as it were). I don’t think I’ve ever felt more out of my element, and for someone who believes in a comfort zone and a ton of personal space (emotionally and physically!), that’s a very disturbing thought. And yet I am not disturbed. Because the peace of God, I have learned these past few days, is more a mindset. Kind of like how love is a choice. And that makes me think, maybe peace is a choice too. Because I finally said, “God, I want that. No, seriously. I’m not kidding this time around. I’m tired of everything I think, do, and/or say that makes me discontent with my life right now and whatever it takes, I. want. Your. peace.” And I think it’s only until after you consciously make that decision that He can give you His peace. After all, does He not say, those who ask shall receive?
That looks so much simpler than how it actually played out in my life.
(But isn’t that how it always goes?)
So this leads me to the reason that this is even linked up to Lexi’s blog for the last formal week of the Purity Challenge.
She asks, “How are you going to take a stand and share the truth about purity in your school, youth group, or with your friends? What will you do to keep purity going in this generation and the ones after?”
Several years ago God gave me the impression that my personal journals would be read. I have no idea why I have this feeling. I feel strange when I mention because I don’t want people to think I’m just inventing ridiculous stuff to make myself feel more important. Actually, thinking about the fact that people will read my journals kinda freaks me out, partially because the way I wrote before about eleventh grade is somewhat childish and drives me insane. Partially because it’s a little weird when I’m writing and I think, “Oh my goodness. People are going to be reading this.” Yeah, it’s weird, and as usual, slightly off topic. My point is that there is so much more in my journals about what I’ve learned about life, faith, and waiting than there is in this blog. And I have always felt the reason people will be reading those is because I am to share what I have learned with others.
I feel as though my way of sharing the message of purity is to write here about it. And that includes the ongoing struggles with singleness that I wanted to kick something (and consequently break my foot) over. I don’t know who reads this unless they comment, or unless they’re an IRL friend and tell me they have. But I do know that regardless, I am compelled to write about what I believe and know about purity, singleness, and waiting.
I am also frequently asked by my friends for advice on relationships. I never understood (or even now understand) this. “Annie, I need advice.” “Oh, okay. Let me remind you about my qualifications. Never had a boyfriend. Never been on a date. Never [before Feb. 5] even danced with someone I wasn’t related to. I’m glad you consider me such an expert.”
So my other purpose with this, I believe, is to keep advising my friends in the way of purity. I’m about a thousand percent sure I have the most conservative beliefs on dating out of pretty much everyone I know. And I refuse to compromise them. Even if sometimes I am being a little Victorian.
I am starting a fight for purity, for peace, for contentment. And I urge you to join me.
Because I feel like I’m at war.
And you will too.
But His peace will carry you.
As it carries me.