If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me if I was dating or when I was getting married, I’d be able to quit my job, move to the Caribbean and live on the beach!
I went to a small Baptist college in a small town, and after my eighth bridesmaid dress, I started to feel like a leper. How did I miss out on meeting my special someone? What’s wrong with me? What didn’t I have that all the other girls had? Would I meet him somewhere else? If so, where? Wait … is it possible that God is telling me that I’m called to never get married?! Please, nooooo!!! Whyyy, God?! Why?!!!
Okay, so I admit I can be a little dramatic. If God did call me to singleness it wouldn’t be the worst thing that could happen to me. If you’re single (or you remember when you were), you’ve probably asked yourself those questions and more. You’ve also most likely had to battle the comparison trap.
I was in that trap one very lonely night after watching yet another friend find love and get married. I began comparing myself to all my friends who were now wives. I thought about how much I hated to cook, how I don’t like doing laundry, how I couldn’t sew or do any of the things that a “good wife” is supposed to do. I don’t even like to babysit! I thought about the Proverbs 31 wife and all that she did for her family and husband. And with each comparison, I grew more and more discouraged and weary. If finding a husband was based on what I can do, then forget it! There was no hope for this athletic, minimal-makeup-wearing tomboy.
In my moment of self-pity, God spoke something to me I will never forget.
He told me that the Proverbs 31 woman isn’t great because of what she does, but because of the character behind her actions. Those words drove me to spend some serious time looking at her character and not just notice her actions. I carefully examined each verse of Proverbs 31:10–31 and asked God to reveal the woman’s godly character to me, and then I wrote down each of her traits next to each verse.
As I saw each character trait, God spoke again and said, “Chels, don’t wait for a husband to start becoming a godly wife. A godly wife is something to become before I bring him to you.” Immediately it was clear to me that if I continued to fixate on having a godly guy, I’d miss out on becoming a godly wife. I was expecting character from him that I didn’t display myself. And then the thought occurred to me that a guy with great character wouldn’t be attracted to a girl without that same level of character. So I took my “husband checklist” and turned it into a checklist for me … with the exception of tall, dark and handsome. I left those traits for him.
My focus has shifted now. I’ve put my binoculars away, come down from the looking tower and stopped searching for Prince Charming. Instead, I’m looking inward and letting Jesus restore what’s broken in my life. And really, what I’m doing is simply preparing. When God brings my husband into my life, I want to have been preparing my finances, my mind, my heart and even my cooking skills. And I pray that God is refining him for me the way that He’s refining me. It doesn’t matter how many more bridesmaid dresses I’ll wear or how many more weddings I’ll attend, because loving him and being prepared for him is more than worth the wait.
A [single] wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. –Proverbs 31:10 (adapted)
*Originally appeared in Studio G Magazine. Used with permission.