First comes engagement season. In college, we called it the “ring before spring” trend. Really, each year we would take bets on how many proposals would transpire before spring semester! It was fun helping my guy friends plan their proposals and throwing bridal showers for my girlfriends, all while quietly reminding myself that I had so much time to catch up!
After a few years, wedding season came to a lull and baby shower season appeared in its place. It was so fun picking out names, buying all the tiny clothes, and watching my friends — who used to stay up late making silly videos with me in college — become parents! But it was also incredibly heartbreaking as I found myself so many steps behind. So far from the life I desired so much.
Desires. They can be a tricky thing. Desire is defined as “a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen.” I find myself desiring so many things: to find love, to have a house full of kids, to be able to eat whatever I want and not gain weight. Desire can be a good thing — God created us with hearts that desire —but the trouble comes when our desires differ from God’s plan for our lives, creating discontent, weary hearts.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6). “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). I’ve heard these verses, and similar ones, interpreted as if putting off your desires and shutting down all feelings of longing will magically bring your future spouse to your doorstep. Or I’ve heard them interpreted to mean that because my heart longs for things I don’t have, my relationship with God isn’t strong enough.
This advice is well-meaning, but also somewhat misguided. I don’t believe people are getting married before me because they have a stronger relationship with God, or because they gave up all their desires only to have them fulfilled the very next day. The desire to be married is not wrong; we just need to make sure we’re looking at it through a godly lens. Matthew 5:6 and Psalm 37:4 aren’t condemning desire; they’re reminding us that our heart’s deepest desire is for the Lord and His will. They are encouraging us to find joy in the Lord no matter what season He has us in. No matter how long that season lasts, or how far behind the rest of the world we may feel.
One of my favorite authors and speakers is Annie F. Downs. She wrote a book called Looking for Lovely, and I’m convinced she wrote that book specifically for me. The book talks about how people in her life bravely walked the path God had for them, reminding her to look at what was right in front of her and see the blessing of God in the everyday. At the end of each chapter she has a Looking for Lovely moment, a challenge to help the reader take a moment to delight in the Lord and recognize the fulfillment of your heart’s desires, big or small.
I’ve tried to put this into practice recently and here is what I have found so far:
- I have a family who loves and supports me in everything I do.
- I have the best job in the world that I almost missed out on because I wasn’t listening to what God had been telling me.
- I am surrounded by a group of friends who love, encourage, and call me out when needed.
- I’m self-sufficient! I live on my own, pay my own bills, and cook my own meals. This is something I can take for granted at times.
Friend, I pray that you lock eyes with God and see the hopes, dreams, desires and plans He has chosen for you specifically. And no matter how many times you may have to write it on your bathroom mirror, I pray that you remember God’s timing is perfect. His plan is better than any plan you or I can come up with. When His will becomes our greatest desire, all other desires fall into their rightful place.