I love this country! As a the daughter of two Navy veterans and a government teacher, though I know we have out flaws, I cannot think of a better place to live on this side of Heaven than the land of the free and the home of the brave. I am grateful for everyone who has ever fought for the freedom that we have here in America. However, on this day when we celebrate independence, freedom and liberty, I am reminded that true freedom comes from knowing and loving God. The Bible says, that “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty!” So, enjoy this Independence Day! I pray that you are surrounded by family, friends and love, but don’t forget from whence true freedom comes.
As I go to celebrate with my family, I will leave you with an excerpt on the value of freedom from my essay, Am I Going to be Single Forever:
Sustained IN God’s Liberating Embrace –
i. Liberated from Control – Have you ever tried to control every situation and person in your life? I have. And, I did it with the best of intentions because outside of God’s way, I consider my way of handling life to be the next best thing. Honestly, if more people would listen to my advice and more situations would work out my way, the world would be a better place. I only want what is best for everyone (especially me), but alas, being right all the time can be exhausting. Even worse, realizing that no matter how right you are (or think you are) that people are going to do what they feel like doing can be heartbreaking. So, I have decided to leave the whole “control” thing up to the Expert. Ecclesiastes 7:13-14 says, “Accept the way God does things, for who can straighten what he has made crooked? Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. Remember that nothing is certain in this life.”
It’s not that I’m going to walk around like some mindless zombie everyday and just let life happen to me, but I am going to do my best to live everyday in God’s will. I am going to let Him handle all of the people and circumstances of my life. I am surrendering. I am throwing in the towel. God has shown me that if I give every area of my life to Him, He will take care of me. Matthew 6:33 states, “But seek first His kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Everything that I need is provided to me by God. Yes, I go to work, but God provided me with that job and with the common sense to budget my money well. But God also provides me with the intangibles like peace and joy, even in times when it seems I should have none.
I have learned, often the hard way, to give up control, because those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength, soar on wings like eagles, run and not grow weary, and walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31. The Bible promises me that. And, my lack of control is liberating. I no longer feel like a victim if I face a setback. Instead, I know that God is setting me up for a comeback. I longer have to feel crushed when others people do not follow my instructions because it’s not me they are sinning against, it is God. What does any of this have to do with being single? Well, for me, God has shown me how liberating giving up control can be because I have tried to manipulate every man that I have ever been involved with and every relationship I have ever had to make things go my way. I am writing a book on being single forever, so you can see how well that has worked out for me. Giving up control to God while single or in a relationship is freeing. He says, Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10. So, if I am following God’s will, then I know that I am in the situation that is best for me at this point in my life. It probably will not work out the way I would have worked it out, but thank God for that.
ii. Liberated by Communication and Correction – Why aren’t we all robots? We could be robots and God could have his master controller to make us do whatever He wants us to do. If we would just follow His instruction, there would be no sickness, no pain, no murder, no divorce, no abuse, no war, and the list goes on and on. It would be a perfect world. I personally desire this sometimes. Rather than watch me make mistakes, I wish God would just not allow me to venture outside of His will. That is not how God works though. God is a loving Father, not a maniacal overlord. For those of us who are His children, He communicates His will, not His suggestion, but His will, a.k.a. the right way to live our lives. Then, when we make a mistake, He allows us to experience the consequences, but He does not cut us off. He still embraces us and if we repent, He forgives us every time. So why does it sometimes feel like I am hemmed up by all of my past mistakes? Aren’t my mistakes in relationships and dating the reason I am single now?
I honestly do not know why I am single, but I do know that God loves me and would not use my singleness to remind me of every mistake I have ever made. He does not have to do that because I am so adept at beating myself up and placing myself in emotional bondage. Forgiveness of sin is not a license to continue to sin, but the Bible says, “… where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” 2 Corinthians 3:17. So, as a saved woman, I know that the Spirit dwells within me and He brings liberty and freedom into my life. God gives us the Holy Spirit to illuminate His Word and show us the right path, but He also gives us the freedom to choose to take that path.
It feels much better to know that I chose to take the correct path, rather than being forced to take the correct path, but there is also liberty if I choose the wrong path. The shed blood of Jesus guarantees me freedom from sin; it does not mean I will not sin, but that once my sin is forgiven, I am not in bondage to sin. The bondage, the guilt, and the shame are of my own doing. However, God’s loving communication through the Holy Spirit corrects me and gives me the liberty and the freedom to make the right choices in similar situation and learn from past mistakes.
iii. Liberated in my Current Circumstance – Why are you still single? When are you getting married? Don’t you think you should start a family soon? I am often in awe of what some people assume is there business. My single status, for example, seems to fascinate and intrigue people. “Don’t you want to get married,” they say. I have come up with several clever retorts to these statements.
· Of course, I want to get married, but the state psychiatric hospital won’t clear me for that level of human interaction.
· I can’t seem to meet someone because they only let me out of the watchtower for work and church.
· Every time I meet someone, they can’t seem to get over the fact that I turn into a wildebeest after midnight.
Of course my mother does not let me use any of these replies, but I do have a standard, acceptable answer that I find to be true: “God has not sent me a husband yet.” And, it really is just that simple. I have learned, after several attempts at “independence,” that God’s way is truly the best way. I have also learned that when I trust Him with any circumstance, He works it into something beyond my wildest imagination.
So, I am waiting on God. I believe that I am right where God desires for me to be right now. And, I have peace about it. Isaiah says, “You will keep in perfect peace [her] whose mind is steadfast, because [she] trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3. God is far more trustworthy than I am, so if He has not changed my circumstance it is because His will for my life in this moment is that I am single.
There was a time in my life, not so long ago, that when someone asked the aforementioned questions, I would break down and cry. I felt that people were just trying to be cruel and I couldn’t understand why God, who I know loves me, would allow such inconsiderate discourse. Did people really believe that it was acceptable to pry into my personal life like this? Did people really feel that it was not rude or inconsiderate to treat me like a second-class citizen? I am a smart, attractive woman and if I wanted to marry anyone, I could, but I’ve been there and done that and I have the divorce decree to prove it. I do not just desire to be married. I desire to live the life that God wills and desires for me to have.
One day, a woman said to me, “So, now that you have a cat, does that make you an old maid?” I laughed. My mom heard the comment and was braced for a full-blown breakdown, which I was entitled to, but there was no such reaction. I just laughed and left the room. I did pray that the woman would realize that her comment was not appropriate, but I knew that she meant no harm. And, just like that, I had peace about my circumstance. Now, when people ask me about my non-marital status, I do not cry or pout or leave the room. I have been set free from the chains of societal expectations. The only expectations that matter are those that God has for me.
iv. Liberated through Contentment – If I truly believe that God is who He says He is, how can I not accept where I know He has placed me? This is my life right now. This may be my life forever. A single woman with people constantly looking at me with their scrutinizing eyes trying to figure out what is wrong with me. Why wouldn’t others do that? I do it. I have spent so much of my life trying to change who I am to make a relationship work. I often called “bettering myself.” For what? Or rather, for who? I became so caught up in trying to be the person that I thought everyone else in my life wanted me to be that, at a certain point, I had no idea who I was. The only one worth changing for is God. That is the only relationship I need to concern myself with perfecting. Knowing that as I press into Him and seek to be more like Him, He will take care of my every need is liberating.
I can just live my life, whatever that happens to consist of, at any given moment and trust that God will take care of me. In doing so, I bring Him glory. Complaining doesn’t bring Him glory, nor does it make me feel any better, but contentment with faith and trust that I am God’s heir and He has my best interests in mind is pleasing to Him and encouraging to others. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36. I am free. I am free from control, free by corrective communication, free in my circumstances, and free through contentment because I am Sustained IN God’s Liberating Embrace.