(This is dedicated to all the brave single women I know who are living their lives to the full with uncompromised souls even as they wish to be married.)
Holy tension is a part of life that we talk a lot about here at Bravester. Holy tension defined is the discomfort of being stuck in between but knowing that if you can make a brave vulnerable decision (or many brave vulnerable decisions) something holy is going to happen. This is a regular part of brave living. The easier thing to do is to move out of the discomfort of this. Maybe even using your numbing behavior of choice so you don’t have to face change or face those “what if” thoughts. Holy tension is always that “ugh in your stomach” that you don’t want to feel but if you are trying to live a braver life you will lean into because you trust that something holy is about to happen. Like maybe that needed change in your life.
When you are single it seems like this discomfort is heightened. It feels like the process of brave dating is full of these discerning types of moments when you are a continual mix of guarding your heart and wondering what risks are worth trying. Dating is full of such opportunities hence dating is full of holy tension. Especially as brave dating should be a time of you learning about you hence change may be a part of your future. This is a lot of discomfort but it is the brave kind. Pain is your beginning.
It doesn’t help if you believe this lie: If I was with my love for a lifetime I could handle these seasons of holy tension much better because I would have someone to come home to and someone to walk through this with me. This is a lie. Holy tension moments don’t simply get easier after you get married. Sometimes they get even more difficult because you are married.
People saying stupid things to do also doesn’t help. You’ve got to roll those comments right off of you–as if you don’t have enough ugh in your life.
I hope this is your goal, to find your love for a lifetime. If this goal is clear in your mind, it makes these times of holy tension worth it. From my 35+ years of youth ministry I have watched up close as I’ve seen so many settle in their dating choices. I know they have chosen someone who is not a match but they would rather be with someone than be in the holy tension of continuing to live single.
I’ve also watched up close as some have embraced these moments of holy tension and found their right match. For many it took way longer than they ever wished for but now that they are married to the right match that time that dragged before they got married was just a wisp of time and worth every bit of it to marry the right match. They tell me this often.
Hear me loud and clear on this. You don’t have to like being single. You don’t have to feel shame because you don’t like the fact that you are single. This is a sucky part of life you are allowed to have and it is okay to grumble about it to God. And where you will find God deep in it too.
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There is holy tension because you are mad at God for not bringing that good match to you now. Yes, you have permission to be mad at God. This is part of the Bravester lifestyle. Not to be mad at God just because but to be mad at God because you fully trust Him and yet this part of your life doesn’t make sense—yet. You don’t think it is too unreasonable for you to understand this part of your life right now. This is a fair thing to ask of God.
If you dare to wrestle with God like this you may not get the answer you think you want. Or any answer at all. And you are tired of waiting. But because you do fully trust God you do continue to wait. That is holy tension. There are days and weeks when this is very uncomfortable. I do understand why some people do settle into relationships that compromise their soul because this is uncomfortable—and yet brave. I have a late 30-something wonderful lady in my church who’s whole soul is sold out to God and she is an active part of our church. She has this continual discussion with God. It is very regular. Yet she is still single. Still awesome. She is not willing to compromise her soul and settle and as of yet God has not brought in someone worth her time to try to get to know. This is continual wrestling for her. If you ask her she is very honest about this. She gets tired of this same wrestling prayer. Yet she continues on to be this active person in our church and in her life. She is a gift! She is a gift to me. I wish you could meet her. She would bless you too.
So for those of you who have been struggling with being single, look around and ask yourself:
Are you still living?
Are you still dreaming?
Are you still hoping?
Are you still trusting and believing?
Are you still moving forward in the abundant life that God has called you to live (whether or not you always love that life)?
Or have you been paralyzed by your fear?
It’s okay to be discontent through singleness, but it’s not okay to let that discontentment rob us of our very lives. That is a big difference.
And maybe in this wrestling from your discontedness you will learn:
Blessed are the content, for they shall stop the chaos of striving (and the fear of “am I enough?”).
Hasn’t it been your striving to find your love for a lifetime that has led to you to make some bad decisions?
So you actively wrestle with this part of your life. You ask God those hard questions often. You may even shake your fist at him. You do this because something holy is going to happen.
I say this because I know it to be true. True in my life and my now marriage. I’ve lived this. Thank God I didn’t settle and didn’t compromise my soul to get my love for a lifetime. I’ve wrestled with God over this, came out limping, but I know God a whole lot better. My life has become a whole lot braver because I actively wrestled through this. I would not let go until I got the blessing (Genesis 32:26). It just took years of me hanging on. Years. It didn’t help that in most of those years I also had people in my life who said stupid things to me.
I get it. So I challenge you to hang on. Ask God the hard questions. Make the changes that God is bringing to your attention. Heal from your past poor decisions. Live your life to the full. Wrestle through to the end. And one day when you are living your life to the full, you will look around and find someone who is keeping up with you. He/she will be the one. And these very long days of waiting will then feel like a wisp of time.
I don’t have an easier answer than that for you. This is hard. And worth it.
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