Philippians 4:11, “…for I have learned to be content whatsoever the circumstance” teaches one of the most valuable lessons, yet if I’m honest, this is a hard verse to like.
In this passage, Paul was writing to the church of Philippi while in jail. He lets them know that he had determined that whatever situation God saw fit to put him in, or allow him to be in, he would find solace in knowing that it was orchestrated by God. Having this perspective would allow him to be thankful, content, and even joyous, in the midst of trials. He even gave a small list of examples to drive his point home: plenty or lack, health or sickness, good times or pain. He realizes that God is working, which makes it easier to wait there.
Do you see yet why I don’t like that verse? HA! (Philippians 4:11) I like the “this” in his “this or that” scenario. Give me the good stuff all day long, except, in retrospect, I find it hard to be content in every single instance- I’m too busy crying.
I was married for 12 years, and now I am divorced. I have been involuntarily thrust back into the dating world. I used to be surrounded by married women, who used to complain about being married. All of us thought being single was so glamorous. We would sit around on Girls’ Night and hold the lone single girl captive, pleading with her to tell us all about dating, nightlife, being able to spend money without checking in, and eating out a lot. Looking back, we must have looked like rabid beasts to her, and looking back, she was probably looking at us with confusion and fear. To her, as a single, married life was glamorous, yet there we were envying her.
Now that I am single, I sit around with single women who want to be married. The irony is not lost on me. Now we talk about how we don’t want to make all the decisions and be head of household; we want compliments on the dinners that we cook, we want someone to hold our hand, we want to live with our best friend that is our husband day in and day out. When the lone married girl tries to complain about her lot, she is stopped with fierce quickness- “You must NEVER complain about the awesomeness that is a husband!!”, we shriek. “They are too scarce a commodity!”
It dawned on me recently: how much time do we spend romanticizing what we do not have, especially in the world of singleness? Discontentment is such an easy trap to fall into. This scenario never fails: You get up- happy and content. You say your prayer, shower, get dressed, let the dog out, make a cup of coffee and a plate of bacon. You may even put on some good music to boost your morning along as you head to work. You ace your project at work, get a couple funny texts from your friends, and you can honestly say that life is good. You get your creative juices going and quickly jot down notes for a super awesome business idea or blog post, make dinner plans with your friend, and decide to treat yourself to an after work manicure, and then you see it! A woman and her husband, getting mani-pedis. You smile, even though it falters a little, in fact, let’s be honest- it’s a fake smile. You don’t begrudge that sis of her marital bliss but you do think “Dang…where’s mine?” As you sit there, you overhear them discuss their weekend plans: a trip maybe, a vacation, couple’s massage, a friend’s wedding- a weekend full of things to do together. He may reach in to kiss her, and she laughs openly at his corny jokes. Your fake smile has given way to a gut-wrenching sickness. She moves her coat slightly to reveal her protruding pregnant stomach as he reaches over to touch it; you have had enough. Before you know it you are in your car battling a panic attack and screaming “GOD WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME?!?!” Your whole day has been slammed! By what? Coveting something that is not yours. Right now.
Isaiah 60:22 says that When the time is right, I the Lord, will make it happen. He knows the things He is working on, both in your heart, and how he plans to unite you with future “Bae”. He knows the plans He has for you, and He knows the best road to travel to get there. Trust Him by faith! When we allow jealousy to peek in, it barges a hole and void in our lives that God never intended to be there! And it probably pushes us further from our goal.
Discontentment and impatience breed bad decisions. Don’t wake up in the wrong man’s bed because you were tired of being single. Don’t give what is most precious to the most undeserving. Don’t allow greed and envy to make a fool out of you. We get so caught up in looking at what others have, that we become unaware of what we have. Remember, what you feed, grows.
When it’s all said and done, common sense states that it’s more profitable for us to wait on what God has for us, then to rush the process and end up with the “wrong person”. We can avoid some of the pitfalls and heartache that are associated with the wrong person. (There is grace for these situations as well, but for those of us who aren’t in these situations, why flirt with them?)
Single Sis, I am right where you are, so I am encouraging you to be content in your singleness, as I am encouraging myself. I know it is not easy. I know hormones rage. I know the intense desire to be held. I know how fun it looks to have a full time “best friend teammate”. When it gets to be too much, which happens more than I’d like to admit, I quickly remind myself that God has me here for a reason. My singleness is for a season. The more I wait in joyful, thankful, contentment, the better the reward will be. He will send the him that was made to love me the right way. I can’t wait for the day, but I am content in today! If Paul and I were talking and he started on his “He’s so content” bit with me, I would probably roll my eyes. But in my heart, I would add, whether single or married….or married or single. Because I have been both. And in both, I have seen the hand of God move in my life. While I have a preference, I do know He has a reason, therefore, I am learning to be content with that.