Your Singleness ISN'T Divine Punishment!
By Mary R. Dittman, M.B.A.
I used to believe God was punishing me with singleness. Or, at least, that I just hadn’t gotten good enough to “earn” a man.
If you grew up in church, you’ve probably heard of Psalm 37:4 - “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
I took this to mean that if I didn’t have the desire of my heart (i.e., marriage and family), I must not be pleasing God.
When you think God is mad at you, you’ll start jumping through hoops to be good enough. And the major problem with this is that when you think God is mad at you, you cannot have peace.
I read one story about King David (who wrote Psalm 37) . His heart’s desire was to build a new temple for God.
But, God told David that He would not accept a temple built by David because there was too much blood on David’s hands.
Unable to build a temple to his God, David set about storing up treasure for his son, Solomon, to build the temple.
That gave me an idea: maybe if I hosted bridal showers and baby showers for my friends and acquaintances, I could show God that I wasn’t being petty and selfish.
So, I hosted any number of showers, always with a deep sadness in my heart that it was never my turn to be showered.
I heard testimonies from several women who said, “I prayed one prayer and told God I was fine with being single, and the very next day I met my husband.”
That kind of story would launch me into a rage - I had prayed that prayer every day, and (wait for it)….no husband.
I spent a lot of years alternating between being angry at God because He wouldn’t send my Boaz, and working myself into the ground trying to please God so he’d send my Boaz.
But now I realize God was never mad at me, and He’s not punishing me. My singleness is mostly a result of my own choices (karma), although I do believe there is a bit of life purpose to it (dharma).
Here’s how I got over my belief that God was mad at me:
1. I took responsibility for my choices. When I look at my choices in dating, I see two main patterns:
(a) dating men who were “good on paper,” but for whom I felt no chemistry; and,
(b) dating men I was crazy about who just weren’t that into me.
Both are a recipe for disaster - God doesn’t have to torpedo those relationships because they’re going to self-destruct on their own.
God wasn’t sending me these men - I was giving them my phone number.
Who knows how many good relationships I missed out on while wasting years of my life in these dead-end scenarios.
2. I checked my motives. God looks at the heart (see 1 Samuel 16:7), so I looked at my motives.
WHY did I want marriage and family? Most women want that, and I believe it’s largely biological, but I went deeper.
I wanted a family to care for and nurture. I wanted to be responsible for “training up children in the way they should go.” I knew my motives were pure, so what would be the basis for God to punish me? That didn’t make sense.
3. I forgave my past. Maybe God was punishing me for my bad relationship decisions in my past.
But, if that were true, God wasn’t a forgiving God, so what would be the point of doing the right thing? Again - it didn’t make sense that God was punishing me for my past.
I’d like to report that making peace with God has resulted in me meeting my Boaz. It hasn’t - I’m still single.
But, I have peace, and I’m not in some imagined battle with God, feeling like He’s out to get me.
That’s what I call the One-Derful Life: having peace even though you don’t have what you want in life. At the end of the day, that’s really what I want: peace. I’d rather have peace and be single than have turmoil and be with a man.
Before I forget - if you need some help getting over a broken heart, check out my ABC's of healing. You'll be on your way to a One-Derful Life!
Question: Do you think God is punishing you with your singleness?
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