It was our second date. And quite honestly, one date too many. As I sat across from this man I’d known only a couple of weeks, a million reasons crossed my mind as to why I shouldn’t be there. I’d just witnessed him making fun of someone. He talked non-stop about the other women he’d recently dated. He was arrogant. He complained about the menu choices. The prices. His job. The weather.
Then he reached for my hand and looked at me with the greenest eyes I’d ever seen. “You’re beautiful,” he said.
I started wondering if I was being too harsh. He could be really funny, after all. He had a good job. He was crazy about his children. He made me laugh. We had great conversations.
Two weeks turned into two months until one day, I swear I had an out-of-body experience as he told me if I wasn’t willing to sleep with him, I’d better get used to being alone because no man would decide I was worth waiting for.
And I’m sad to say that as I sat at that table, in a very brief moment of facing loneliness once more, I internally agreed with him. I believed him. And I could feel myself beginning to rationalize staying with someone like that versus the loneliness I’d come to know in the past two years as a single mom.
I literally weighed the pros and cons of simply settling.
And ever so gently (because I was blind to the red flags He was waving, and I obviously needed a different approach), I felt the Holy Spirit remind me of a simple truth I’d learned the hard way:
The worst thing in life is not being alone.
The worst thing in life is being married to the wrong person, alone.
The thing about loneliness is that the longer we suffer through it, the more we are convinced that it will never end. We begin to loathe the people in our lives that tell us to be patient, because what do they know about waiting for eternity? They’re already with someone.
But what if patience is actually the antidote? What if we focused less on the fear of being alone and more on trusting God so fearlessly that we accept that we must be patient in waiting for the person He has in mind for us. Patient with his timeline because it’s best. Even if it’s the hardest thing in the world to choke down. Because the person God has planned for us is the person we’ve longed for our entire lives.
You see, it’s the natural inclination of animals of all kinds to choose a lesser reward in the short term, rather than to be patient and wait for a much better reward in the long term.
So we bargain with ourselves. We overlook the red flags that warn us we are settling.
We don’t see our true worth, and certainly don’t expect others to.
We settle out of fear that what God has planned may not come along after all.
But there’s something we just don’t understand about patience: God has chosen it as well. And while it may seem that there is no plan, it may just be that He is waiting on you instead of you waiting on Him. Waiting on you to accept the healing that needs to occur in your life. Waiting on you to recognize your worth and value yourself the way He does, so that others will as well. Waiting on you to prepare your heart to love more than you are loved, so that when your time comes you will recognize the incredible gift you’ve been given.
We have to live with a fearless trust in God. That what He has for us is best. That He knows what we need better than we do. Even though it exists in a future we can’t see.
Jesus did the same. Trusting fearlessly for a love that would come later. Showing patience and incredible faith. All for the “joy set before him.” The plan just up ahead.
For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. –Hebrews 12:2
There is a real danger in taking what’s in front of us. And doing so removes what God’s hand is ready to offer just up ahead.
Don’t settle out of fear of being alone. Rethink your struggle with patience. Look within yourself and see who’s really waiting here: you or God?