The following is a guest post by Elizabeth of www.wanderlustandheart.com
I have a bit of a control problem: I have issues with asking for help or trusting others with a job I know I can do or when I have a certain outcome in mind. I am this way with God sometimes. Typically, I don’t usually ask for help and I like to try to ‘fix’ or ‘get things done’ on my own. I am also a planner. Not a ‘my next week is planned’, more like ‘I have the next 5-10 years of my life planned’ type of planner…
And here we have a recipe for getting frustrated with God and being single. But you can’t live like that if you want God to steer you down a path that is always going to be better than the one you planned. That goes for all areas of life, but none quite as important as who you will marry. So, I’m speaking to all those head-strong, ambitious, motivated and independent single women out there that need to learn a very important lessons God is trying to teach us:
Give up control – instead of trying to make it happen on your own
Giving away control involves both trust in God’s will and plan and the patience to see it unfold without you side-seat driving. How do you know if you are doing these mistakes? Let’s illustrate with a story.
Giving away control is hard
Picture this. A girl is meeting up with a guy she met on a Christian dating website at typical Starbucks. She already knows she’s not attracted to this guy physically, but gives this meeting a chance because everything on paper seems to line up. He’s in University, his parents were missionaries – heck, they even have the same denomination!
Normally when you meet someone for the first time, most of your conversation is focused on getting to know one another. Unfortunately for this girl, the conversation circled around American politics instead. Try as she could to steer the conversation away to more personal things, the talk would go right back to political issues and philosophy. This went on for several hours. There seemed to be no escape! Then the barista came to the rescue.
“Excuse me, we’re closing now.”
This girl was me. I came home that night after a disastrous ‘date’ with one resounding thought: never again.
I deleted my profile and account, fed up with almost a year’s worth of failed online dating, and said, “God, I’m just giving this to you!” And I meant it. I figured God didn’t want me to focus on a man and wanted me to wait and I was okay with that. I figured God had bigger plans or a different path.
Wouldn’t you know, two weeks later, God totally surprised me.
Trust God’s Timing
Here I was; a woman coming into her own. I got a job with no background experience through sheer determination (and God’s blessing), I was on a diet successfully for the first time ever (which was good, since I was now a bridesmaid!), I was heading back to University, and had a wild ambition to teach English abroad and travel the world. I figured I would meet Mr. Darcy years from now and get married at 27. I felt unstoppable and like that this is what God really wanted for my life.
Then I met Wayne, the groomsman. He did not have anything on paper that would have stood out to me except that he was a Christian. But I could not ignore the chemistry an attraction.
When he asked me during the third hang out if we could date, I panicked and froze inside.
I had JUST given up on dating, I had JUST decided to let it go and give it to God, I had JUST gotten myself hyped up on continuing my life of singleness for at least the next 5 years, and I had JUST made plans to move to Russia the next year. Why was this sweet boy now coming in to mess it all up?
I was trying to control things again so it would go ‘according to plan’. But this was not part of the plan anymore! At least, not the plan I envisioned in my mind.
So, what does a good Christian girl do in a situation like this? She prays.
For a whole week I prayed, and told Wayne I would give him an answer at the end. I was set on saying no, but my feelings were now getting confused. There was doubt, fear, and worry. This was going to be my first boyfriend if I said yes and I was actually terrified. Crazy right?
Just a few weeks ago I was pining for a romantic relationship, and now I was terrified to let my independence go. Scared to potentially open my heart to someone, scared to get hurt, scared to change my plans.
At least I was at first. Then the strangest thing happened. Day by day, as I prayed for guidance, I felt more and more at peace about the whole thing until all the doubt, fear and worry was gone. And then the week was up.
Did you know, going in, I was still planning on saying ‘no’? You can guess what really happened.
I’m not saying that as soon as you genuinely give a concern to God he will answer you two weeks after with a gift-wrap husband. In fact, I wasn’t expecting God to answer for years!
But I learned so many things by giving up control and trusting God’s timing:
- Feeling a desire for a romantic relationship is not a bad thing – and even if you come across some disappointments, it will ultimately teach you and show you how God had a better plan all along.
- Giving up control makes you much more susceptible to God’s small voice and spirit that is trying to guide you and encourage you down a good path.
- Your plans may be ambitious but will always fall short of what God really has in store for you.
Could I have still said no? Yes. Could I have ended up marrying someone else? Yes. Could I have continued being single for many more years? Yes. I don’t want to feed into the “The One” myth. The way life pans out, the way God works his plans through us despite our choices, is so much more fluid than any of us could ever comprehend.
All I’m really trying to say is: TRUST GOD. Plain and simple. That means letting go of the wheel, not side-seat driving, and not nagging every 5 minutes “are we there yet?”.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in ALL your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6
Elizabeth is the writer behind the travel and lifestyle blog Wanderlust + Heart. She is a Canadian teacher living in Egypt with her husband Wayne. They love traveling every holiday, exploring new cultures, sharing tips and advice, taking pictures and eating good food! They aspire to inspire others to not be afraid to live their lives to the fullest!