Leslie always imagined her life unfolding a certain way: She would get married, move overseas, and raise a family at the edges of the earth, sharing Christ’s love to those who need it most.
But then her dreams turned into waiting, and her waiting turned into a decade, and now at age 28—still single and stateside—she is beginning to wonder if her life will ever get back on track. She volunteers every week for an international ministry, wears Toms shoes, takes summer trips to Ghana, and prays for the nations, but she is afraid to “go” alone.
And she’s not alone. She is one of the hidden multitude who feel the same tension—desiring a radical life, but afraid to step into the vast unknown without first finding the support of a spouse.
So what are Leslie’s options? Keep waiting? Go overseas alone, and suppress the desire for a family? Or maybe she should settle for a man whose life calling is more ordinary, more domestic and try to fill in the void by volunteering with international students?
For those of you who share any connection to Leslie’s story, here are 4 tips:
1. Remember the BIG Story
Each life has an unfolding plotline, wandering like wind-blown leaves with seemingly random twists and turns. We snatch some of our dreams and miss others by a mile. We evade some of our darkest fears only to crash headlong into others. In this unending fray of hopes and dreams—both realized and lost—we can easily lose sight of the bigger picture.
Awaken, breathe deeply the fresh air of God’s reminder: “You are not alone, and you never will be.” Your story is not a tragedy about some boy who ends trampled underneath his vices. Your story is not a tragedy about a girl nobody ultimately wanted. Your story is a small part of a much grander narrative that carries and eclipses it.
It goes like this:
There is a King sitting on a throne while a war is raging. An invasion has been launched into the deepest darkness, and every ounce of shame and tragedy will soon be conquered and cast aside. There is an unrelenting Love that has overcome his most potent foes, and is in the process of carrying his victory to an ultimate climactic finish.
Your story, if you belong to Christ, is that you are a child of this King, and all of these rises and falls in your little life are for a purpose—all of them lie along a path that ultimately leads to God. You will see him! You will reign with him! That is your truest story. It does not remove the significance of the other, but it does shape how you interpret it. You should be reticent to despair.
2. Live the True Story
Imagine what it might look like for you to truly, deeply believe every implication of the Gospel. Imagine living as a citizen of a better world and begin to live that way now. Radical living comes not from some extraordinary exertion of the will, but rather from a simple faith that grasps its true situation.
3. Listen to God
God is calling some of you now to lay down your fears and follow him to the ends of the earth, to the unreached cultures He so desperately loves. But for some of you, God’s call is not to the ends of the earth but rather to faithful life in America. Listen to his call, in either case, and seek contentment whatever your circumstances.
4. Seek a like-minded spouse
Seek a spouse who shares your calling. God often provides through providential means, but don’t use that as an excuse for inaction! God uses our faithful effort. Strive to find someone who shares your calling. Invite your community into that process, because finding a partner is not just a bilateral decision—it’s a community affair with broader implications. So talk to your spiritual community and heed their advice.
Finally, if you, like Leslie, have some desire to serve Christ among the nations, one great place to begin your search for a likeminded partner is through a new resource:
CalledTogether is a relationship website built for passionate, global evangelicals. You can use this site to find others who are interested in “going” to whichever region or culture you are passionate about.
Special SingleRoots promo code: If you do sign up, use the promo code 2014SR to receive your first 3 months on the site for just $1. (After that, you’ll pay the regular price.)
And please spread the word to any Leslies you might know because singleness should never be the thing that keeps a person from radical obedience.
Photo credit: Jason Bachman