Beautiful Desires

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This is a guest blog post about surrender that I wrote for my friend Rayni Peavy’s fabulous blog site a few months ago. (She beautifully edited it.) This morning as I read over the finished draft of my boys book, I was reminded of this article and wanted to share it with you.

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There is one dream I’ve been waiting for my whole life.

I dreamed of being a missionary to China, and I’ve been to China.

I dreamed of writing a book, and I’ve released The Insatiable Quest for Beauty.

I dreamed of traveling and speaking, and that just began with a full-time, cross-country speaking tour.

With every dream, there have been years of waiting. Refining. Refocusing.

There’s been a deep, ripping surrender, and then the sweetness of surrender’s reward. There’s been that moment of awe when you realize God hasn’t left you hanging, but has fulfilled your heart’s desire.

But there’s one dream that still hasn’t come.

I’m 26-years-old, been to 40+ weddings, dated several great guys, and am still single.

And for me, that’s a big deal, because my dream was to get married by 20 and move to China with my husband. (Hasn’t happened…yet.)

People used to tell me that once I became content in my singleness, God would send me “the one.” I thought of it like a magic charm – become content with what you have and you’ll get what you want! So I tried to make myself content being single, scrape away desire from my soul, tell myself (and God) (and others) that I didn’t want or need a relationship.

Only it wasn’t true. I was trying to manipulate my emotions, but truth was, I desperately wanted a husband to share my life with.

For years I felt guilt-ridden because I wanted to get married.

I thought the desire meant I wasn’t content, wasn’t fully satisfied in Christ. The thing is, the desire for marriage wasn’t wrong. God actually planted that desire inside me and made it beautiful. It becomes even more beautiful when I surrender it over and over, even though I desperately want it.

Surrendering our heart’s desire says, “Lord, I want You even more than this dream. I choose Your way.” Years passed and I was tormented by the belief that I was still single because I wasn’t content yet. Perhaps I’d remain single the rest of my life because I couldn’t get this desire under control!

About a year and a half ago I was dating a wonderful young man, when God clearly put on my heart that I needed to break up with him. I thought, “Once again I could be planning my wedding for next summer to a great guy. And You want me to end it?” But I had to choose Him.

I knew in the rest of my life that when I was willing to surrender, He always came through and fulfilled His promises beyond my wildest dreams. It took longer than I wanted, but ultimately when my way was replaced with His way, I gained the sweetest of rewards, chief of all being a deeper intimacy with Him.

After being single all of my life, and through some awful disappointments and breakups, the loneliness came back at me full force.

I cried out to God once again, the same as many such cries, and said, “If you want me to be single, I need you to take away this urgent desire, because it’s paralyzing me! I can’t breathe!”

And for the first time in my life, He took the edge off it.

He answered my prayer, and then allowed me to release my book and begin traveling and speaking. Suddenly I understood.

All those times I’d asked why I had to be single when I was working a 9-5 desk job, it was because there was more coming. Each time I’d said, “God, there is nothing I’m doing that should prevent me from getting married!” He was thinking, “Just wait and see.” Finally my singleness made sense!

I still want to get married, and yet God has given me a deeper contentment than I’ve ever known.

It’s nothing I’ve manipulated or conjured up myself; it’s a rest in Him that HE and HE ALONE has given me. A gift.

Right now, it’s not hard to be single. I actually thank God continually for my singleness! Without it, I wouldn’t have this incredible faith journey cross-country with just me and God. I wouldn’t be able to do all the things He’s put in my heart. I have a purpose in the singleness, and that makes all the difference.

However, the desire isn’t gone. I still want to get married someday. God has just poured grace over my life to be emotionally, mentally, and spiritually fuller than I’ve ever been before.

This is my rambling way of saying:

Contentment isn’t a magic potion to get what we want;

it’s simply a surrendered state of heart.

He calls us not to despise our dreams, but to surrender them over and over, to wrestle with the desire, and to say, “I’m Yours anyway. I choose You anyway.” Then He’ll either replace it with His dream for us, or fulfill it in His time.

I’m still waiting for this dream to be fulfilled, but through that waiting God is refining me and making something beautiful in my life. Turning my dream into a beautiful desire.

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