Thursday, March 29, 2012

Kiwis, Sex Trafficking, and Broken Hearts: What You Can Do About It:

2 Corinthians 1:4
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.

I opened a devastating email from the president of  War International (Women at Risk).  It was about a baby called "Sweetie" from South Asia who is being held captive in the Red Light District, chained to a pole, and withheld from love and affection.  She is being raised in this way so as to get her accustomed to the life of prostitution that she will one day enter.

The WAR team was sneaking into the brothel where she was being raised, under the guise of "customers", but really there to hold bible studies for the women, and have some time to hold and rock the baby, praying for her fervently with each rock.

A innocent baby, being neglected and abused at the hands of sex traffickers.  This is happening today.  Right now.  As you read these words.   

Devastation is all around us. 

This morning I walked into the grocery store and saw a man holding a baby that looked to be his granddaughter.  He was so enthralled with her that he was blocking the entry way, so I excused myself, made a kind comment, and passed by.  He found me later in one of the aisles and explained to me that he was holding his baby granddaughter, who he hasn't seen for 3 weeks.

He went onto explain that he has been home, non-stop, caring for his son around the clock- who is dying of a brain tumor.  That son also happens to be the father of this little baby girl.  This 18 year old son has been through extensive chemo and radiation, and now is home with hospice care, just waiting to die.  The man welled up with tears telling me his story.

Broken hearts are all around us. 

I asked for his son's name, and told him I would be praying for his son...and then I reached out my hand and asked him if I could  He looked honored and surprised, and accepted my request.

There we stood, in front of the kiwis and mangoes, with all the world passing us by.  They were there to get their groceries, but we were there calling on the God who had more on his mind than fruits and vegetables...this was a God moment, to be sure.  Even in the middle of a grocery store. 

When we finished praying, he said to me "I am overwhelmed...I want you to know that I will never forget this moment as long as I live".

The moment a random stay-at-home mom, in yoga pants and a sweatshirt...took time out of her "busy life" to look at the devastation and broken hearts around her, and do something about it.

Don't get me wrong, I am no superhero....far from it.  In fact, I don't think I could have found anything EASIER to do than pray...I didn't offer money, I didn't provide my counseling services, and I didn't heal his son...

But we connected. Two broken people connected before an Almighty God.  A God who heals, a God who comforts, a God who cares. 

Sometimes you read those emails....about poor little babies in South Asia, and the incredible women who are taking the time to risk their lives to visit this baby and disciple these broken women of the Red Light District...

You read these emails and you look at the devastation that surrounds and you think, wow, I have got nothing to offer...

You are so terribly wrong.  

Not only do you have something to offer, you have EVERYTHING.  There is comfort that has been poured out to you on behalf of an Almighty that you, can comfort others.

The problem is not whether or not we have something to offer, it's whether or not we allow ourselves to take the TIME.  

The time to step out of our selfish, superficial worlds, and look around. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

So You Think You Can Dance...For Others?

Romans 12:15
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

I have a friend who is the most incredible encourager ever.  

Seriously.  No matter what kind of good things are going on in my life...whether as small as getting a new hair cut, or as huge as signing with an awesome literary agent- she totally rejoices.  She allows her heart to be captured by my emotions and by my life.  You can hear the excitement in her voice, and you can tell it's SO genuine.  Sometimes, I feel like she's about to break out in dance.  I joke with her that she's my biggest fan...and she has been ever since we were kids.  She really, truly rejoices when I rejoice.

I wish I could say the same about all of my friends...but I can't.  I actually have a category of people in my life who I CAN'T share good things with.  Fears of tension, jealousy, and the potential competitiveness that may creep into those conversations keeps me absolutely silent when good things are going on.  So I keep quiet.

As much as that bothers me and gives me the feeling that I can't truly be real...I totally get it, because I too have a bit of disgusting covetousness in me.  A pride that wants the good things for myself.  Why is it hard to hear the blessings in the lives of others?  Why is it sometimes easier to mourn with the people around us than to rejoice?

I don't know for sure...but from my experience in my own life, the dirty culprit comes down to nothing more dangerous than the plague of insecurity.  

Insecurity causes us to rise up in comparison to others rather than to celebrate ourselves.
Insecurity forces us to think we need to achieve, to have, to be in order to gain value.
Insecurity tricks us into believing that when others are have more...we have less.

It's an evil little creature, slithering about with the intent of killing our joy...and our ability to rejoice.

The ironic thing is that at the end of the disease of insecurity, we are robbed of rejoicing with others...but we are also stripped of our ability to rejoice in ourselves.  

I don't know about you, but I want to experience more joy.  I want to be the "biggest fan" to the people in my life.  I want my heart to flutter and rejoice in response to their blessings, to their successes, to their achievements.  I want to experience the joy that comes with feeling the joy in the lives of the people around me.    

Take are you at rejoicing for others?  How deep does your joy run for the people around you, when God pours His blessing on them?  What feelings come to the surface when you are faced with the prosperity of the people in your life?

Don't be fooled, the inability to rejoice for others is a symptom of something far greater than a simple lack of emotion.

Ask Jesus to come into this part of your life. To fill you with value, worth, and a security beyond what you can try to scrape up for yourself.  To see the all-encompassing beauty of Him rejoicing over YOU...dancing over that one day, you too, can learn to dance for others. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Emotional "Sex": How Far is Too Far?

Proverbs 4:23
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

How far is too far?  I'm sure it's no surprise to hear that I get asked this question all the time from well-meaning young adults, looking to set up some boundaries in their physical relationships.

But I'm not going to answer that question today.   

Don't get me wrong, as a professional counselor and as a woman who has gone through the world of dating, I think this question is really important and is one that requires some serious thought and consideration.  It's important to put mental time and energy in questions like this and to set your limits within a dating relationship.

But is the physical really the most important thing?  It seems to me that our Christian society can get so fixated on the "physical" aspects of intimacy, that we neglect the emotional and spiritual components that can be just as binding and just as devastating in the end. 

There is some deep power in emotional intimacy, more power than we give it credit.  More powerful than a kiss, more seductive than an embrace, there is something that happens when two people connect emotionally.  Something that has the capacity to outweigh even the physical.  A sort of "emotional sex" that can be just as harmful and heartbreaking, when it moves too deep, too fast. 

I could write an entire chapter on this topic (actually, I'm working on one right now for my upcoming book!) but for now, I'm going to keep it simple.  I want to point out a few things to consider in order to avoid the pain of emotional bonding in a relationship...a relationship that may never translate into marriage:

1.  Play together....don't Pray together:  This might sound silly, but to be honest I know of so many couples who started their relationship by investing time in deep spiritual prayer together and seeking God's will with one another.  While this sounds well and my opinion, it's actually a really dangerous road to travel at such early stages in a relationship.

Seeking the heart of God and pouring out your heart and soul to Him through prayer is one of the most emotionally vulnerable places you will ever be.  It's good to pray about your relationship and to seek God's voice...but don't seek it together. Seek God as an individual...don't allow your relationship with Him to become a trio prematurely.  There will be a day for that "holy trinity" of relationship...but it's not during dating. 

Your dating relationship in it's early stages is meant to be a time of getting to know each other, and learning all the superficial things you can know before taking it to the next level. Use this season for just that!  Don't go too deep too fast, because the emotional intimacy that comes with deep shared moments like this can actually pull you in far deeper than you were ever meant to go, and in the end, leave you with a broken heart...and a broken spirit.

2.  Know when to be Open...and then know when to Close: I think the period of dating is such a special one.  It's a time to really get to know someone and invest in who they are.  It's a time to let your guard down a little at a time and begin to share the truths of who you are.

But that's the key word.  A  When you enter into relationship, you should be at a point in your life where you are ready to be open, ready to share, and ready to communicate.  But there should always be limits to this kind of openness.  There are times to be open and share your heart...but, there are also times to withhold.

I don't recommend sitting down at your first date and spilling every detail and secret in your life.  Relationships should be seen as a journey of building trust.  You build a little at a time.  You give a little at a time.  Lay the foundations...then begin building the house.  I'll tell you what DOESN'T help this process....late night conversations.  You know what I'm talking about.  The 3am talks when there is absolutely no filter, and you find yourself sharing and revealing far more than you ever intended on.  Be real, be genuine, and be honest...but never without the anchor of boundaries and the weight of wisdom.

3.  Avoid talking about commitment, before you've actually committed:  There is such a temptation to talk about the future when you're dating.  You want to dream together, to envision the future together, and to create this world up ahead to live for.  I think there is a time and place for this kind of discussion.  Later on in a relationship it's important to be on the same page and to have a similar outlook on what is to come relationally.

But let's be honest...that conversation should not be happening early on in a dating relationship.  It's a problem when people commit to things far beyond the place they are at relationally.  It's a problem when you commit to the future, before you've actually committed to the present.

Take your time, allow your relationship to go through the necessary seasons before you allow your conversation to jump ahead.  Because where your conversation goes...your heart will go, too.

We always hear Christians talk about "guarding your heart".  It's become so cliche that I'm afraid that phrase may have actually lost it's significance.  God knows how fragile our hearts can be, and he begs us to take the time to protect them, to watch over them, and to take care of them.  But guarding your heart does not come in the form of some magical process or spiritual is practical, every day decisions. 

Guard your heart...because out of it, flows your entire life.  That's legit. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Facebook & The Dangers of Social Pornography:

Matthew 7:6
Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.

I finally picked up Rob Bell's book, Sex God, last month when my husband and I were on vacation.  A few friends had recommended it and I decided to give it a read.

Funny thing is, out of all the things he said one of the smallest phrases caught my eye and has since then been transformational in my personal life.  I forget the exact quote, but he was talking about the dangers of sexuality taken out of proper context (particularly sexualization in media, pornography, etc.).

He explained in that chapter that when the sacredness of sexuality is exposed in such a meaningless loses it's sacredness.  He went on to talk about how some of the most intimate moments between he and his wife are meant to be shared only by them.  No third parties allowed.  Because in an essence, the exclusivity of those things are what makes them so sacred.

I love that idea, and I believe it wholeheartedly when it comes to the area of sex and sexuality within the context of a marriage.  But you know, it got me thinking about the reality of these concepts within the context of our social world. 

Before I explain, let me start off by saying I love social media.  I'm a huge fan of Facebook.  I love it's ability to connect me with friends and family.  I love that I can post pictures of my daughter for my in-laws who live in Chicago, and within moments they can see her smiling face.  I love connecting with others, planning events, and keeping track with what everyone else is doing when I don't always have the time for a 30 minute phonecall....with 10 people.

But I've also learned that there can be a huge danger in this kind of "connecting".  In an essence, there are times when the online world acts like a kind of social pornography.  It allows for us to "connect" with people for the sake of connecting rather than for the sake of living, gratifying an urge inside of us momentarily.  Not allowing us to experience true connection in it's most fulfilling context: real life. 
I find it almost humorous when I see status updates talking about "how much fun" someone is having in the moment, or "how incredible" this experience is with their family...because if it's really that great, why are you on Facebook?  There is a tendency to talk about the moment, more than savor the moment.  A tendency to take the sacred things in our lives, and throw them before them away to people who don't really care, rather than investing those moments in the people around us who actually, genuinely matter.   

It acts like social pornography, because it gives us a platform to share some really sacred things...some really intimate the context of a meaningless atmosphere.  And in the causes those things to lose their sacredness...

I know this might be a hard bite to chew, and an even harder one to swallow, but hear me on this.  I am speaking to myself just as much as I am to anyone reading.  In focusing so much on our "audience"...I think we've lost the real meaning behind the show.  You see, we can become so focused on the connecting, that we actually take away from the living.

I'm trying to work out these things in my life.  Rather than "status updating" about my sweet daughter every 15 minutes...I'm taking the time to enjoy her...even if no one else knows it but me.  Rather than post about my amazing husband, I'm taking the opportunities to tell him how much I love him...face to face...heart to heart.  Even if no one else hears it.

There is meaning in the sacredness...because these are things that are inherently meaningful. Audience or no audience. 

Don't give in to the false intimacy that comes with social pornography...and make time for the genuine intimacy that comes with the day to day real life.  Make time for the people around you.  Here and now.   


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Fake Faith: The myth of "Waiting" on God

Luke 11:9
And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 

I recently met a young man who was waiting on God.  Waiting.  Waiting.  Waiting. 

His life had been headed down a dangerous path, and he was waiting for God to rescue him.  He had done nothing to get himself to a better place.  He was just waiting.  Waiting.  Waiting.  Waiting.

I admire people of faith.  I think it's important to really believe; to live as if what you are believing is  already truth.  To trust God completely, fully, recklessly.

The problem comes when people exchange the guise of "faith" for the role of passivity.  

Lack of action. 

Zero responsibility. 

The problem comes when people expect God to live for them, rather than to work through them.  

I heard a joke once about a man who was drowning, but he had faith that God would rescue him.  

A jet ski came by, but he declined saying "No thanks, God will rescue me!"
A rescue boat came by, but again, he declined saying "No thanks, God will rescue me!"
A helicopter came by, but a third time, he declined saying "No thanks, God will rescue me!"

And finally, he drowned.  When he awoke to heaven he approached God and asked him, "But Lord, you promised to save me".  To which God replied, "I tried...I sent a jet ski...and a rescue boat...and a helicopter..."

It might get you to crack a smile or even chuckle...but isn't there so much truth to this sometimes? 

How many times do we allow our false ideas of faith to keep us from the places God wants us to go?  "God will give me a sign...God will close the doors if it's not meant to be...God will bring him/her into my life...God will take away my feelings...God will help me out of this addiction..."

I know He can, but will he?  Is that the kind of God you serve?  Do we serve a God who acts on our behalf, or a God who gives us the strength and power to act on His?   

I don't know about you, but I see my relationship with God as much, much larger than just a puppeteer interacting with his puppet.  

God does ask us to trust Him with the things we cannot control...but he asks us to take action in the things that we can.  He asks us to know Him, to love Him, and to honor Him...and then to live confidently in return. 

We are called to take action, to make decisions, to live our lives, and to do what it takes to get ourselves where He wants us to be.  Our connection with God is a two-way street, and like it or not: WE have a role in this relationship.  We have a choice.  We have a will.  And with that will we can either say yes, or no.  We can stop, or we can go.  We can stay the same, or we can grow.  Live in the old...or awake to the new. 

It's important to trust God, to seek his wisdom, his power, and his strength.  It's important to give him our worries and our fears and to trust Him with tomorrow...but it's just as important to allow Him to work in us and through us today. 

Don't allow your fears, insecurities, and inadequacies to paralyze you  in the name of  false "faith".  Real faith lives a life of action.  Real faith is alive and active.  Real faith takes responsibility and moves forward.

I trust Jesus.  I trust Him with my tomorrow.  I have faith that my life is in His hands.  But you see that is the very faith that drives me to act.  To choose.  To live.  

To Ask, To Seek, To Knock...




Sunday, March 11, 2012

I Just Don't Trust God...

Genesis 22
Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 

And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 

So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided."

It's soooooo stinkin' hard to trust God sometimes.  I mean, really, really, really, hard.  Oh, it's always easy to say that we do, but then to actually go about living our lives and acting in a way that reflects trust...that takes some
Like one of our friends said it in our get together last night, "I don't trust God, and sometimes, I just need to get real and tell Him that I don't."

I think that's so true.  Sometimes the only person we're fooling is ourselves.  Living a fake emotional connection that we're not truly living out.  Sometimes the only way to change is to just get down and dirty in tell God how we really feel.  He can handle it. 

One story that I have never forgotten was about a little girl learning to trust.

She had a cheap little necklace that she had acquired, probably from a 25cent machine at some grocery store, but she was obsessed with it.  Every night her daddy would go into her room and ask her if she trusted him.  When she said "yes" (we all say yes, don't we...) he would ask her to give him her necklace.  "No daddy, I can't.  I love this necklace" she would say.  And every night the same exchange.  Her dad was loving, and patient with her...

Then one day, he came into her room and found her sitting in her bed waiting for him.  But this time, she was crying.  With tears in her eyes she opened her hand with her little necklace and said, "Daddy, I trust you.  You can have my necklace". 

Her daddy took her necklace in his hand, and in the other hand he handed her a box.  When she opened the box, to her utter surprise was another necklace...but this time, a genuine string of beautiful pearls.  And let me add, this necklace was worth WAY more than 25 cents.  He placed the necklace around her neck and reminded her of his love.  His unconditional, deep, overwhelming love.

A love that waits.  A love that holds on.  A love that never gives matter what we do, or don't do.  A love that lets us choose to trust...but also allows us not to. 

It's funny to think about that story, now that I have a little girl of my own.  My daughter LOVES the cheap, plastic necklaces that she has.  She plays with them nonstop, takes them off and on all day, wears them everywhere we go, and even takes them in the bath.  And though they are an absolute strangulation hazard, she would even wear them to bed if we would let her.

She loves those cheap, plastic necklaces so much...because she doesn't know any better. 

For her, this is reality, these are as good as it gets.  As her parents, we love watching her joy...but we also long to show her that life has so much more than these little necklaces.  One day, she will have to trust us.

How childlike we can be, though.  Our vision is so small sometimes, that we think that this (whatever this is for you) is as good as it gets.  What we have is safe, is secure, is comfortable...we can't possibly give it over to God.  He might mess it up or give us something that e absolutely could never handle.

Our fears set in...because at the end of the day, we don't know any better, either. 

Jesus knows our child-like fears.  He is patient with us.  But every day He lovingly asks...Do You Trust Me? 

Maybe you, too, are holding onto something that you just can't think of letting go.  Maybe you are having a hard time trusting Him.  Maybe you're afraid that He will let you down...that He won't come through, that He'll change your plans.

Disappointment.  Anxiety.  Fears.  Unraveled plans.  Broken relationships.  Destructive habits.  Finances, future, or the pain of the past.  He holds out His hand.      

He still waits patiently.  He still knows best. He still has your best interest in mind.  

Will you trust Him to take this exchange for something far, far greater. 


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Still Stuck on My Partner's Sexual Past: A Follow Up Letter to My Readers

Mark 11:25
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.

I've gotten a lot of emails from readers in response to my latest article for Relevant Magazine addressing the topic of sexual history, particularly when it comes to your partner's past.

More than anything, the emails have been from broken and hurting individuals, struggling with their own personal pasts or trying to make sense of the past of their partners.  There's no question as to the pain and confusion that the issue of premarital sexual intimacy causes for couples young and old.  It breaks my heart to read their stories and feel their pain through the words of an email.

But the reason I love my faith in God is because it never has to end at needless pain.  There is always more to the story for those who believe.  There is always an exchange of some sort...from ashes, to beauty.  I'm a firm believer that God can heal a person's past, and that He can also heal the wounds that that past might cause in a relationship.   Not only heal, but cause it to thrive...

This particular blog post was requested with that concept in mind.  I recently got an email from a young man facing marital struggles in light of his sexual past, looking for some more guidance and direction in this area.  His spouse is struggling with his past, and they seem to be stuck.  What do you do when you are in a relationship in which your partner is hung up on your past?  How much time do you give to this struggle?  How many details do you go over, and how often?  Ho do you help them move forward?  Where does a couple draw the line?

This couple is not alone in their struggles.  I wish I could devote an entire book to this topic (and maybe I will, once I finish writing my current book...).  Unfortunately, this is a topic that a simple blog post cannot do justice.  But with that said, I'm going to leave you with three points that will begin paving the way for the possibility of healing to begin in your marital relationship:

1.  For the partner married to one with a past:  You are on a difficult journey, to be sure.  And as hard as it is to say, the only thing that will make this journey even more difficult is your personal insecurities.  I speak for myself when I say I personally have a whole lot of those!  The interesting thing is, that I find I am most hurt and grieved by the things that I already struggle with within myself.  

The article I wrote talked about having perspective and forgiveness...but in order to begin that process, we have to search our own demons of inadequacies and insecurities*.  Our partners past will haunt us if we allow these deadly little monsters to take root in our brains.  The more confident we are in our relationship with God and in our relationship with our spouse, the easier it will be to forgive and to begin healing. 

But this takes honesty.  Honesty with yourself and with your partner.  Search your heart.  Find those insecurities, and share them with your partner.  Rather than seeking out the nitty-gritty details to salvage the wounds of your personal insecurities, seek affirmation, love, and affection in times of need.  Those are what truly begin to heal the wounds.  It's important to be able to say, "Honey, I feel really insecure about your past right now, and I could really use some love and affirmation from you".  It's hard to be vulnerable, but it's the only place to gain true strength.  

And matter how incredible your mate, they can never fill you up in the way that Jesus can.  Run to Him first with all of your emotional needs...and allow your partner's offerings to be simply the overflow.

2.  To the one who holds a sexual past:  Be patient with your partner.  Be available.  Understand that the need to "know" about your past, is ultimately the need for love, affirmation, and affection.  Recognize this, and begin to speak into that part of their life by pouring our affirmation and validation. 

I don't think it's healthy to review your past again and again for the sake of affirmation...because rather than affirm, it may actually separate.  It's important to be honest, but once you have done so encourage your spouse to move forward by allowing your actions and your words to portray unconditional love and undying commitment.  In this situation, actions really will speak louder than words.  Gentleness, compassion, affection, self-control, respect, and romance...pour your love on them as your offering.   

You can't heal your partners insecurities, but you can support, love, and encourage them on their journey of healing. 

3.  To both of you: Communicate with one another.  Be honest about what you need and share your struggles with each other.  You are on this journey together, and you have the option of allowing these issues to separate you...but you also have every right to draw closer because of them.  

Seek God together in these matters...pray out loud for each other, and begin to share an intimacy with one another that is FAR beyond any "sexual encounter" in your past.  The greatest intimacy in life is found in this kind of emotional closeness...and when you share that with another, you have found something priceless.  Relish that, live for that...and choose to find it in each other.  

My prayers go out to all of you who are struggling with these issues.  May God teach us all to accept forgiveness upon ourselves as we learn to bestow that same forgiveness onto others.

*Be encouraged to seek professional counseling for any issues that seem to be effecting your life beyond what you can handle.  There are amazing counselors out there who are equipped to help.  Check out the AACC for a list of Christian Professionals in your area. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Does God Want me to be Single FOREVER? The short answer.

Psalm 37:4
Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.

One of the greatest fears of young singles that I meet is the prospect of being single, and “alone”, forever.  It’s probably a thought that crosses the mind of every young adult at one point in their lives.  I can recall wondering the same thing myself.  

The simple (and dreaded) answer to this question is yes.  Though singleness is statistically not probable, it’s possible.  That’s the short answer, but there is so much to this question than just a simple yes or no.  One verse that was a continuous source of encouragement to me in my young adult years as a single was found in the book of Psalms.  Chapter 37 verse 4 says this, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart”.  

For a time I interpreted this verse to mean that God will grant you what you want in life.  Not a bad interpretation if you ask me!  I don't really think that anymore, though I still agree with this interpretation to an extent.  Just like I delight in giving my daughter good things, our heavenly father loves us and wants to give his children what makes them happy.  But I have come to believe that this verse holds so much more meaning than that. 

I heard an interpretation in which the pastor explained that this verse actually means that when you delight in the Lord, he will GIVE you your desires.  Meaning, He will place desires within you.  That was a transformational thought for me.  It was freeing because it meant that if I really took it to heart in delighting in God as the love of my life, He would arrange my desires to line up with His.  When you really take joy in your relationship with God you will find that you know Him in a deeper way, and in turn, know what He wants for your life.  

St. Augustine said it this way, “Love, then do what thou wilt”.  I don’t think this gives us freedom to do whatever we want in life.  But I do think that it means that when we truly love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength- our desires will align with His.  What we choose to do by following our will, will ultimately be aligned with His. 

On a side not, I believe that it’s a myth to think that all joys will be fulfilled the moment you meet your future spouse.  I believe that God wants us to learn how to take joy in Him because no matter where this life takes us on the journey of finding true love, true joys can only be found in relationship with Him.   

I am married to an incredible man and I can tell you that there are day that he lets me down, and I guarantee you he’d say the same about me.  Though we love each other, our ultimate joy doesn’t come from that love, it comes from the love we have for the Lord; a love that we delight in, live for, and bask in; a love that overflows into every part of our lives, including our relationship with each other.  

If you have a strong desire for marriage, seek God.  If you have a strong desire for singleness, seek God.  In the end, when you have really submitted your heart to Him, God will use your desires to lead you in the right direction.  Just as I believe marriage is a calling, I believe singleness is a serious calling, one that God will equip you for if He calls you to it.  You will know this calling is on your life beyond a shadow of a doubt, and you will be at peace with it.   

For now, submit your heart to God, and then allow Him to lead your heart.  If He is really God then He can be trusted.  If He is really God then He knows what is best for your life.  If He is really God, then He will not let you down.