Life is one big confusing jumble of decisions. I'm at an exciting transition point right now where I'll be making many in my life in the next few months. As much as I'm looking forward to it, a part of me doesn't want this season of my life to end. I feel like I was just starting to get some things figured out. I was excited about what I was able to do. And now, depending on what happens in the coming weeks and months, I might not have the time to do those things anymore.
I have only the last little fringe of my teenage years left, and I already wish I had done some things differently. I already wish I had made more of them. And I know there are thousands of young people, especially young women, who are walking the same path I did and are discontent. I want to speak to you specifically today, although I encourage all my readers to go through to the end.
I have come to believe that a part of the reason many Christian young women waste away their single years in discontentment is because they haven't found anything meaningful to do with their time. Many finish school, with plans of being a homemaker someday, which is great, but then they just sit around waiting for life to happen, waiting for Prince Charming. They get stuck and start to feel lost during their in-between years and grow very discontent.
That pretty much sums up the last few years of my life. I'll be honest. I used to think I would get married young. Like, by now. I'm still here, as single as ever. But I'm happier now. Yes, I still wonder how soon I will get married. Probably almost every day. But I've also started to fear how soon I will get married. Why? Because I have discovered something that excites me and I want to pursue that fully! And I now have the best time of my life to do it, and it is oh, so short. I don't have enough time to do all I want!
As Christians, we're often told not to follow the feminist expectations of our culture. I agree. But I'm also beginning to wonder if our young women are falling into a trap, by following the expectations of the church in some cases. The church often likes to lay out it's own set of expectations for us. It may go something like this: finish school, stay at home with your parents while you prepare to be a godly wife and homemaker, get married, have babies and homeschool one big, happy family! Or go into missions if you're to singleness. Something like that. That's great, until you run into a problem.
Becoming a godly woman is an ongoing process. Although spiritual maturity is important when considering marriage, you don't have to attain a certain degree of perfection first. (I believed that lie for awhile.) I already know how to cook, bake, clean, do laundry and all those other things that come into managing a household. What do I do now???? I have to do more than grow spiritually and help Mom keep house. Well, get a job. Done. Life is still more than all that and work. It won't be the end of discontentment.
I think part of the problem is many young women aren't keeping busy with meaningful pursuits. They spend so much time thinking about their futures and waiting for life to happen. The truth is, life is happening, and it's in your hands. Do something great with it!
Simply put, find something that gets you excited, seek the Lord about it, and then pursue it with all your heart. I'm talking about something you always long to do, and get super enthusiastic every time you do it or even think about it. It will be different for everyone. For me, this has come in the form of studying classics/literature. I get so excited about it sometimes, I literally squeal. And I have few people in my life who share my interest in it.
I want to take a moment aside to discuss the issue of education. Young women in some Christian circles are often discouraged from pursuing further education or preparing for a career, especially if they desire, or are expected to be homemakers. It doesn't seem practical and sometimes it's simply not affordable. Very often, you won't even use it later on. That's exactly why I haven't done it. But someone once told me you can only teach your children what you know.
Education doesn't have to mean a degree or studying in a formal setting. Education comes when you're inspired to learn. You can do that at home. Determine what you want to study, whether it's as broad as literature, or even just a new skill or computer program, and you can do a lot through books and online resources. That's what I'm doing right now. I'm learning now what I want to put into my children to raise, teach, and inspire them to be the godly leaders this world needs. It's much easier to learn a lot of that now, than later on when I'm trying to take care of them all.
Girls, find something you love, pray about it, then pursue it with all your heart. Catch a vision, and follow it. If you can work part-time to make some money, and help at home and work on your pursuits the other part of the week, that's fantastic. I have loved being able to do that. If you want to learn, study. If you have a special gift or talent, hone it and creatively use that to bless others. Spend time serving in your church or community. If you have a burden for the lost, bring the Gospel to them. If it's for the sick and needy; minister to them. If you have a burden for slaves and the sex trade, look into volunteering for the International Justice Mission. If you grieve over abortion, be a voice for those babies. Search your area for organizations where you can use your time and skills to bless the world and make a difference.
There is so much we as young women can do with our single years. They don't have to be wasted in discontentment, waiting for life to happen. Yes, we still face certain roadblocks, but there's so much we can do more effectively and easily now than when we're raising a family. We have time and a lot less responsibilities. There are dreams we can pursue. We can find purpose and fulfillment now. Don't wait till it's too late then look back and wish you had done more with this time in your life. You don't have to follow someone else's definition of success. Just set goals, develop a plan, then follow the desires that God places within your heart.
I could say more, but I will end with something author James L. Rubart wrote last week. I've read something similar before and it's really got me thinking. "At the end of the age I don't think Jesus will say, 'Did you sell a bunch of books?' I think he's more likely to say, 'Did you follow the passion I put inside you with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, no matter the outcome?'" I want to be able to say "Yes!" to that.