I’ve shed enough tears to fill all the mason jars on Pinterest when it comes to still being single at 35. But for four years now, I’ve given God access to every broken part. Here are some of the priceless lessons I have learned through much fire. Single or not, male or female, I pray you’re inspired toward wholeness.

Life doesn’t finally begin at marriage.

For years I believed that God’s plan for me would only be launched after I met my husband. I twiddled my thumbs waiting for the day when I would finally be used in full by Him. That twiddling lasted over a decade.

Talk about sore thumbs and wasted time. Don’t imagine the day when you’re finally primed for His purposes. Live it now!

Loneliness and coping mechanisms won’t miraculously disappear with a wedding ring.

You know the fairy tales that end with “happily ever after”? The one where the bad things go away after “I do”? No. Your bad things just get bigger and bolder when confronted in relationships. Treat this time as an opportunity to let God illuminate your insecurities, wounds and nasty coping mechanisms. Ditch the baggage now for the sake of yourself and your future spouse and children!

Finding worth in anything other than God alone is the most fragile foundation to build upon.

I have face-planted in the mud numerous times learning this lesson. No person or thing is strong enough to be your foundation. People and the love they give should be wonderful reminders of our value. They shouldn’t be our value.

Seek your identity in the way someone treats you, in your job, your social status or anything else and you’ll seek forever. You’ll never be fulfilled in worth until you meet worth Himself and have Him repeatedly speak it over you until you believe Him. We are worthy by sheer fact and faith that He is.

Co-dependent friendships are subtly alluring and a dangerous substitute.

I’m not talking about healthy, balanced friendships here. Those are a gift. But treat any gift with the slightest obsession, and it quickly turns sour. We blanket our friendships with God but often leave Him out of the center. In loneliness, we use our friends to fill a void instead of seeking companionship in Jesus. It may look like a godly friendship, but have the Holy Spirit check your heart. How much physical and emotional affection are you giving to and craving from them? Topple idolatry in your relationships before it topples you.

Settling may be easier, but it is terribly unfulfilling.

When we give up hope on a dream and settle for making that promise come to pass on our own, we sabotage the timely work of God in our lives. We go back to dating people who treat us with little respect. We compromise. We convince ourselves that our sin isn’t wrong. Stand strong, live in the light and stay accountable. You will reap a harvest in time.

Beware the lure of idolizing the idea of marriage.

There is a danger in living unsatisfied. “If only I was married, then I would be fulfilled.” Dissatisfaction is no devil when it leads you to the foot of the cross and to satisfaction Himself. But intensely focus on that one thing that will supposedly make life perfect, and you’ll find that dissatisfaction has quickly shape-shifted into your idol.

Learn the art of swallowing pride, staying teachable and serving.

Marriage is not an opportunity to lord over each other. Jesus calls us to oneness, servanthood and love. Do we get it perfect every time? No, but a teachable heart eager to change is priceless. Let God show you how to put others first, not out of obligation or self-righteousness but simply out of a heart that loves Him.

Practice vulnerable communication and conflict resolution.

Poor communication kills marriages. We don’t know how to express ourselves. We storm out or shut down and cast resolution aside. I have intentionally learned to value communication. While I may not see eye-to-eye with someone, we resolve it until there is no rock unturned or misunderstanding unspoken.

Don’t build a doctrine out of dashed hopes.

It’s OK to feel the ache of a desire unfulfilled but not OK to camp in hopelessness. Let’s face it, if there is air in your lungs you will be bruised in life, maybe even crushed under the weight of disappointment. Don’t give up! Be courageous, hope again and let your Father generously remind you of His goodness.

Loneliness is a gift.

Any broken area in life is a gift in disguise. You can either be overcome with anger, depression etc. or you can let the overwhelming weight of the pain drop you to your knees before Jesus. After years of struggling with aching loneliness, I finally realized that it can always lead me to God’s arms. When I started to turn to Jesus in my pain, I encountered the most beautiful comfort. Anything in this world that draws me closer to my first love is a gift no matter how much it hurts.

God is not withholding and playing a cruel joke.

A year ago, I snapped. I had believed this lie for so long and desperately needed truth. I went on a 21-day fast and received priceless perspective. God stands outside of time, far beyond its limitations. We run around in its constraints, tapping our watches and demanding He fill our need. When the second hand laps back around, we stomp our feet and curse Him.

Have we forgotten His sovereignty? Are we so vain to imagine that our wants for our lives even hold a candle to His? Every good and perfect gift has already been handed to us from the Father in the form of His Son. Be free to rest knowing that perfect timing is His specialty.

Adapted from the original blog found here.

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