Friday, October 02, 2009

Passion and Purity

"Let not our longing slay the appetite of our living."  Jim Elliott

Being single can be very lonely.  I listen to the serpent who lies in my ear telling me that God's holding back His blessings from me, that I'm single because there is something wrong with me, that being single is some kind of curse.  I get frightened being alone at night and forget that I am just as safe in my apartment than at my parents house because God is the one watching over me, His rod and His staff ready to defend and discipline if necessary.  I over analyze relationships, the things I say, how I react, and wonder if maybe I'm just not acceptable in the eyes of man.  I forget that the only One I need to please is my Father in heaven, and that He is the one sanctifying me, He is the one who created me, He is the one I have to answer to.  I find myself talking to the TV or just to myself.  Sometimes I even resent my friends for getting married and engaged.  Why not me?  What did I do wrong?  

My mom and dad just bought me a book by Elizabeth Elliott called Passion and Purity.  In it, Elliott writes about her relationship with Jim, their struggles, their prayers and decisions, in order to speak to us today not just to encourage us to be pure in our relationships, but more to teach us to bring our love lives under Christ's control.  She talks about wondering whether or not God had called her to be single, about meeting and falling in love with Jim, about his confession that they might never be able to get married due to his commitment to do mission work where single men were required.  Just the thought of falling in love with a man who loved me back but wasn't sure we would ever be able to get married scares me a little.  I know how the story ends of course, they eventually get married; Jim proposes to Elizabeth in Quito where they also get married, they have one daughter, and then Jim is killed by the very tribe he was ministering too.  Three years.  They were married three years.  If I were Elizabeth Elliott I can't imagine how I would have reacted.  I would love to say that after understandable mourning I would have praised God for the three years I had with Jim, I would love to say that I would have jumped at the opportunity to mission to the same tribe that murdered my husband, but I don't know.  God works powerfully but I know I would have struggled with anger, wondering why He took away someone I loved so much and waited for so long, someone who had been doing His work!  The story just baffles me.  Makes me cry.  It also encourages me.

One of my favorite songs in high school, the title of which now escapes me, had a chorus that went something like this: 'There's a bigger picture you can't see, you don't have to change the world just trust in me...'  Those words spoke to me then, reminding me of how small a perspective I have of this world.  I see all events as completely centered around me.  I see only what I imagine I am suffering.  I see only my little sphere forgetting that I am a spec in the grand scheme.  However, though I am a mere speck, God has called me to be His own and therefore I have a purpose.  Right now, that purpose calls me to be single and I need to be reminded that this is a blessing.  Paul urged his readers to remain single because the single man/woman can focus all of their thoughts on God and His work with no spouse or children to distract.  Not to say that falling in love and getting married and having kids isn't a blessing as well, but for right now that's not what God has given me.  I pray that I don't allow my longing to slay the appetite of my living!  I pray that I will not ache for things God has not willed to give me!  I pray that I will see this time of loneliness as an opportunity to serve God with all of me, all of my time, all of my resources.  I pray that I stop listening to Satan when he lies and tries to twist God's word around.  It's not an easy thing, but the life of a Christian isn't supposed to be.  Thankfully, there is rest at the end.  I'll pass from this world into the full realization of what it means to glorify God and rest in Him for eternity.  I'll see the whole picture, taste pure joy, and understand the fullness of His promises.  Oh that I might strive to live fully for the glory of God now as Jesus did.  That I would not waste my time longing, and start living.

"Wherever you are, be all there.  Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God."  Jim Elliott


Brian said...

The Elliots. Man, God uses them to hit the heart hard.

Kierstyn said...

Great post!!

And here, my dear, are your 5 words:

Kiki said...

So many people identify with this struggle. I know that it's annoying to get words of encouragement from married people, but I do know that I had just gotten to the point of accepting the fact that I'd be single forever when Rob and I started dating. Not that it means when you get to the point of being content, God will suddenly reward that with a spouse, but I do know that I came to appreciate the freedom I had to serve as a single. I can still serve and do serve now, but it's in a different capacity, and focuses more on home. Anyway, I do want you to know that I relate to your struggle!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful, honest post.
I admire you so much for struggling to find contentment and peace in this place God has you... for seeking Him and engaging Him...
Your life is a testimony to all the women out there who battle the same evil whisper. I talk about you to friends who have or who are thinking about giving up on in and settling. Your faithfulness is a light. Keep on!