Chase After It

These days whenever I log onto any social media account, I feel like there is an endless parade of engagement and wedding photos. Some are friends of mine, others are friends of a friend, but it seems the thing they all have in common is that they are all under the age of 25. All met the love of their lives within the first couple months and years of college. Their pictures capture them well, young and wide-eyed and Jesus-loving. As I scroll through the pictures of them gazing at each other lovingly, “like" the changes in their relationship statuses, and read their posts about the plans they have for their new Jesus-centered married life, I become vastly aware of my own singleness. There is a twinge in my heart as I come face to face with the desires and prayers that have yet to be answered. I ask the Lord, “God, when will it be my turn?”

Then I force myself to remember that I am only 20 years old. I literally have plenty of time. 

I feel as though a new kind of culture is being created right under our noses, one that puts young, married Christian couples on these giant pedestals and says, “This. This is what you’re trying to get to.” One that makes those of us still waiting, still finding ourselves in the Lord, still in need of some pruning, feel like the outlier. We sit in church services and hear preachers tell us the value in Godly relationships and marriages. We are bombarded with reminders to pray for our future husbands, urging us to pray that we may become women of God—so we may one day become good wives. Slowly we become conditioned to look for him in the world more than we look for God. Slowly we start to think of our life with the Lord as having to be tied to another before it can start. Slowly we start pursuing this culture of Christianity, this idea of what our lives are supposed to look like, instead of the actual sovereign will of God.

I am not saying that these young, Christian marriages are wrong. For some, that is exactly the will of God. I have heard beautiful love stories sewn together by His hand, all going on to produce incredible fruits for the Kingdom. These stories inspire me and give me hope for a future Godly marriage. I am thankful for their existence. My point is that it seems they are becoming emphasized, when there are a great deal of us out there who are nowhere near that stage in life. My point is that people need to be reminded that though, yes, there is great beauty and fruit in Godly relationships and marriages, the same can be said for a life of singleness. Our life with God does not start when we enter into it with another person, but rather it is happening now, alone with Him. 

I know singleness can be hard. I know that loneliness is real. I have friends who struggle with it. I struggle with it. I think if we are honest with ourselves, we would say that we have all struggled with it at some point in our lives, which is okay. Let me say that again: it is okay to struggle with singleness. No one ever said that patience was easy. The very fact is a fruit of the Spirit speaks to that. The fruits of the Sprit have to be grown in us by the Spirit of the Lord. It is not something we are magically good at. It takes leaning into Him. It takes prayer. It takes handing over your impatience with your singleness and letting Him show you what He has for you during that time. 

Because odds are, He has a reason for this time in your life. He has called us all so personally and uniquely. There may be something He has for you right now that you couldn’t do as easily if you were tied to another. Maybe He wants you to pick up your life and move across the world to serve His people. Maybe He wants you to start a women’s ministry and invest heavily in the women in your community. Maybe He just wants to spend intentional, one-on-one time with you. Maybe there is something you still need to learn, need to let go of, need to embrace, and you have to do that with only Him. The possibilities are endless. All you have to do is lean in hard to what the Lord has for you now. 

We were created to do big and mighty things for His kingdom, and those things are happening now. Whether that is with someone or in singleness. Both have value. Both teach and grow us. Both are worth being invested in fully. Both call us to draw closer and deeper to the Lord. Let’s not put one above the other, and instead encourage each other to simply chase after the Lord’s heart no matter the stage of life we are in.

So, to my friends that are single: do not let this new culture that has been created fool you. Do not hear sermons about relationships and marriages and think you are behind. Do not look at cute Instagram posts or changes in relationship statues as a sign that you need to hurry up and find your person so your life can begin. Your life is happening now. Run after the Lord’s sovereign plan for your life, whatever that may be, and you will find that everything will fall into place at exactly the right time. Probably in ways you never expected. It is okay to struggle. It is okay to admit that you don’t like being alone. But instead of praying prayers of, “God, bring me someone” let’s change our words to, “God, what do you have for me here? What are your plans for this time in my life?” Pray for your singleness just as much as you pray for your future husband. Pray for the fruits He wants to produce in you now. Pray for the guidance you need to find out where you’re meant to be going. Pray that the Spirit would come and teach you patience to help you get through the harder days. Remember that you are a strong, powerful, beautifully bold woman of God. He created you that way, and has a life ahead of you to match. Chase after it.

Now, to my friends that aren’t single. Continue to tell your stories of Godly love to the world. We need them to fight against the idea of love the world tells us to pursue. The Lord has given you your story for a reason, so use the voice He gave you. Encourage your single friends. Listen to their complaints and desires and fears on the hard days, and keep reminding them that God has greater plans for them than simply another person. Pray for their future husbands, that they may show up at the proper moment. Pray for their singleness too, that they can go and do whatever crazy, adventure the Lord asks of them now. Be sure to have your ears open to the crazy adventures He has for you as well, and go wherever He calls. Pray for the grace to navigate His sovereignty. And always remember, that you are a strong, powerful, beautifully bold woman of God. He created you that way, and has a life ahead of you to match. Chase after it. 

This is the call of all Godly women—in relationships, in marriage, and in singleness—to chase after His heart always. Let’s always do our part to bring the conversations back to the One who is working all things together for our good. Let’s chase after Him, together. Today.

Jacqueline // @jacquelinewinstead

Meet Jacqueline!

Hi! My name is Jacqueline, and I am a sophomore studying Communications at the University of Tennessee. I am lover of rainy days, Vincent Van Gough, the band Sleeping at Last, and every word ever written by Henri Nouwen. I tend to consume more coffee than actual food, so if you need me, just head to the closest coffee shop and you’ll probably find me tucked away in the corner, a latte and my journal sitting before me. If I’m not there, go to the local climbing gym or hike the nearest mountain. Those are my two other favorite ways to spend my days. I’m here, writing these words, only by the grace of our good good Father, praying that as we enter into this season of words together, you will only see and know Him more and deeper by what you read on your screen.