Here is how many singles see the world of relationships: “God created earth—that’s 199 million square miles, for the record. Then God created my soul mate and put her out there somewhere. My job is to find her, and God’s job seems to be to hide her from me for as long as physically possible. It is a delicate matter. If I sit at the wrong table during lunch, or do not keep my eyes constantly scanning, I might miss her. Destiny could slip between my fingers because I was careless. I’m prepared to exhaust myself until I find her.”
If this rings a bell, then it is time to hand the matter over to God. Search him out more zealously than you search for Miss Right. Do you think that if you remain single for a while to focus on God, he might let the woman he has planned for you slip by? Usually when we concentrate on serving the Lord, we give him a freer hand with us precisely because we are not getting in the way anymore. I think that God waits on us sometimes and that our tinkering and impatience can keep his plans from unfolding in their fullness.
Think: “If I am called to marriage, then God wants my future wife to have the best possible husband. But I can’t become that man of God by moping around until God brings me Miss Right. If I will be a father one day, then I’ll need to give my kids the gift of faith. But how will I do that if God does not first give me the gift of faith? And how can he give me that gift unless he purifies my faith through trials?” This is the time when he can give you that gift. This is where God wants you right now.
Mother Teresa used to say of acceptance:
“Every day we have to say yes. To be where he wants you to be. Total surrender: If he puts you in the street—if everything is taken from you and suddenly you find yourself in the street—to accept to be put in the street at that moment. . . . To accept whatever he gives and to give whatever he takes with a big smile. This is the surrender to God. To accept to be cut to pieces, and yet every piece to belong only to him. This is the surrender. To accept the people that come, the work that you happen to do. Today maybe you have a good meal and tomorrow maybe you have nothing. There is no water in the pump? All right. To accept, and to give whatever he takes. He takes your good name, he takes your health, yes. That’s the surrender. And you are free then.”
So right now embrace this season of singleness. Be there completely. Have you ever had a conversation with someone while your eyes were darting all over and your mind was somewhere else? A few years ago I had a meeting with Father Michael Scanlan, my university’s president. We spoke in his office for only twenty minutes, but I will never forget how present he was to me. He probably had a million other things to deal with, but he spoke to me as if I were the only person on earth. In the same way, we need to live entirely in the present moment, doing what we are doing, and being completely where we are. If God wanted us elsewhere right now, wouldn’t we be there?
It is easy to waste our youth making a future event or person the cause of our joy. There is nothing wrong with looking forward to marriage, but if anticipation and daydreaming consume us, we become our own worst tormentors, and we do little to build up the kingdom of God. We can become so preoccupied with regrets about the past and anxieties for the future that we never sit still to enjoy the peace Christ offers us today. We can easily become so concerned with finding Miss Right that we miss out on the joy of the single life.
Do not give in to feelings of despair, but draw near to God if this is a time of loneliness for you. Avoid self-pity. When you feel lonely, minister to those who are far lonelier than you. Ask yourself: How many homeless people do I know by name? More importantly, look for those who are hungry for love within your own home. By being sensitive to the needs of those under your own roof, you are training yourself to be a better husband.
To find the right one, become the right one. It seems that most single people are more concerned about finding an ideal partner than they are about becoming the ideal partner. Perhaps this explains why they are having such a difficult time in their search. Therefore, become the man that God is calling you to be, especially by becoming a man of prayer.
Do not wait for another person to complete you. Let God do that. Some guys think, “Since a wife is supposed to be your better half, I guess I’m only 50 percent complete until I find her. When I find her, she will fill my emptiness and take care of all of my emotional needs.” If this guy finds a girl, it will not be a budding relationship; it will be a hostage situation.
We must be satisfied with being loved by God alone before we can truly love another. If you are in high school, realize that few guys meet their future bride during those years. You have plenty of time; there is no need to get into an intense relationship now. Most people find their spouses in college (or later) and do not get married until after graduation.
The second step is to go where the good young women are—at church youth groups, not at keg parties. Most importantly, seek God’s kingdom first (Matt. 6:25–34). He is in charge, so be at peace because he knows well the plans he has in mind for you (Jer. 29:11–14).
. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation interview with Mother Teresa