How The One Thing I Hated Gave Me What I Wanted Most
By Mary R. Dittman, M.B.A.
For years, I struggled with feelings of not being complete or whole.
I’ve always wanted to be married and have a family, so being single has always left a huge void in my life. When you desire a husband and children, getting a dog or babysitting for friends just isn’t an acceptable substitute.
Even though I knew intellectually that I didn’t need a man to complete me, I want what women are biologically programmed to want: a partner and a family. Friends, volunteer work, and pets just don’t fill that need. They can be a lovely distraction, but they’re not the same as a husband and a family of one’s own.
Meanwhile, I found something interesting in James 1:2-4. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (NIV)
Said another way: “Tough times are good because they grow you up and that growth brings wholeness so you don’t feel like you’re missing anything.”
When I sat with this verse, I asked myself, “Is it possible that the very thing I hate in my life - being single - is the one thing that can bring me a sense of wholeness and completion?”
I’d always thought that since marriage and family was what was missing, that was what would complete my life. I mean, I already had a successful career, a 401(k), and money in the bank. I owned my own home, traveled, and did whatever I wanted to do. How could more singleness fill the void of a partner? Didn’t seem logical.
I spent a lot of time and money learning about how to be whole and complete. I read books, I went to therapy, I attended workshops and Bible studies. I knew I was a complete person, but my LIFE felt incomplete because I want what most women want!
I watched my friends, my cousins, my students - even my younger brother - get married. I felt stuck - perpetually single and NOT loving it.
I like the Amplified Bible’s translation of those verses in James:
Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you re enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be people perfectly and fully developed with no defects, lacking in nothing.
Endurance and steadfastness mean you can keep going. It’s like training for a marathon (not that I’d know about that). The medal you get at the finish line isn’t what makes you an athlete. What makes you an athlete is the training it takes to be able to run the race.
The problem with believing ANYTHING outside of yourself will “complete” you is that if you never get it, or if you get it and it goes away, what happens to your completeness? Are you no longer a whole person?
“Perseverance” and “endurance” are variations of “patience.” In the original Greek, the word used is hupomone, which is the character-perfecting patience that can ONLY be learned via trials1. Furthermore, it is a cheerful and hopeful endurance2, not the bitter, suffering kind that I was experiencing in my singleness.
This means, the only way we become women of character is through trials (which, by definition, aren’t fun). Trials build the type of character where we are able to be happy and joyful and peaceful and feel that we are LACKING NOTHING in our lives, even if we don’t have everything we want.
Are you getting this?
It turns out that high-value men are looking for women of character. What’s a woman of character? She knows her own worth and value. She has standards, healthy boundaries, and self-respect. She won’t let him (or anyone else) walk all over her. She has a fully developed life and isn’t waiting for a man to complete her, entertain her, or “finally” give her the life of her dreams.
For me, singleness is actually the ONE THING that is turning me into the woman of character, the complete and WHOLE woman I need to be if I ever want to be a good wife. But here’s the rub: since I now feel whole and complete, I’m truly okay with being single. I don’t PREFER singleness, but I am building a life where I am happy, peaceful, and content. I’m not bitter and resigned, I’m whole and complete. And those are the qualities high-value men are attracted to.
But, if one doesn’t come along, I’m enjoying my life! The life that I thought I could NEVER truly enjoy if I remained single.
Ladies, this is MAJOR!!
In Part 2, I’ll tell you how this information helped me create a One-Derful Life where I am truly happy, peaceful, and content.
1. Vine’s Expository Dictionary
2. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
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