Being a single girl in today’s society can be rough! It seems that wherever we look, we see couples who are hashtag #relationshipgoals. Whether they’re walking down the street or on a post on Instagram, they are everywhere, and it seems like we are just sitting here daydreaming of our future boyfriend and relating our everyday lives to Disney princess, hoping that our prince isn’t riding a turtle. While this may not be the exact thoughts that have run through my head, believe me I understand. You may be thinking or have thought:
“Why is everyone else in a relationship and I’m over here constantly wondering, ‘What’s wrong with me’ or ‘what do I have to do better’? I follow Jesus, I read my bible, I go to church, I even help out in Sunday school. What do I have to do better? Why is waiting so hard? Will I ever find true love? ”
One area of struggle that I have seen in single girls is the virus of comparison; we compare our status, life, possessions, looks, etc. to those around us. As Christian girls, we cannot afford to look to relationships around us and to compare ourselves to others; we have to look into the mirror of God’s word. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians (10:12) that those who compare themselves to others are without understanding; this is dangerous! So, if we are to look within God’s word for what we are to look for, to prepare for, and to patiently wait for in a relationship, what couple is #relationshipgoals in the Bible? Let’s take a look at the story of Ruth.
Ruth was a young widow from a pagan country who made the critical decision to leave everything she knew, to turn her back on her people, her gods, and her country; she was a woman of reckless abandon. Her husband, brother-in-law, and father-in-law had all died; these three women were devastated and lonely. Rather than returning to her people, Ruth forsook her old life and ways in order to pursue a new life; her thirsty soul had tasted the goodness of God, she longed for more. Sometimes, in our times of loneliness and pain, God calls us to forsake our ways of thinking to adopt His plan and to reflect His heart for us. One verse that I have found so encouraging is found in Romans 8:18, which says “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Ruth in her time of loneliness and grief didn’t throw a pity party and hash-tagged #teamsingle in every event in her life after; no she saw Naomi’s need for a companion and realized that Naomi’s God was the only One who could satisfy and comfort her in her time of need.
This time in your life right now is a season, a season of preparation and it will not last forever; you must know this! God has us go through times of struggle and trials, not to destroy us or to beat us down, but to teach and to prepare us for what He has had planned for us! Singleness is a time of preparation for the introduction of your spouse; God is molding and refining you now for the one that He has set apart for you and you only! Ruth went through this season of loneliness too; she lost her husband and left everything she knew behind to go to a strange and new country. But God was with her and God is with you because “He will never leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6)”.
Let’s take a look at a blacksmith for a second; in order for him to mold and shape a piece of iron, he has to repeatedly put it through the fire in order to soften it, and then he places it on the anvil and beats it with a hammer. How could the heat of a fire and the beating of a hammer make something stronger? Why would he use such a method to strengthen a piece of metal? It isn’t to destroy the iron, but to strengthen it! The repeated blows of the hammer and constant burning of the fire might seem like it’s destroying the iron, but it’s really making it stronger and stronger! Be encouraged in knowing that circumstances are not to destroy you, but to define you! You are a precious jewel in the Lord’s hand; the ring on His right hand!
Back to the story…
Once Ruth and Naomi arrived to Bethlehem, we don’t see Ruth wallowing in her singleness or throwing pity parties about being alone in a strange new place. No, she traveled into the unknown and went to work in the fields to provide for her and Naomi. She spent her singleness wisely; meeting the needs of others. I am sure that being in a foreign country and being looked down upon by everyone was not easy for Ruth, but she was diligent! She realized how valuable the time of singleness entrusted to her at that point in her life was worth. Realize that singleness is a gift from the Lord-a package that contains so many beautiful opportunities to serve the Lord that are only limited by your own self-pity and lack of obedience. Ruth went right to work and neglected her own loneliness; she embraced her circumstances and took advantage of them daily.
This is now when we begin to see how the Lord orchestrated the beautiful love story of Ruth and Boaz. Yet, have you ever noticed that throughout the story of Ruth, nowhere does the bible say that Boaz and Ruth were physically attracted to one another. Rather, Boaz “noticed” Ruth because of her strength as a woman, her faithfulness and love for her mother-in-law Naomi, her intense work ethic, but most of all her virtue and honor. I love this! The bible reflects on how Boaz fell in love with her character and her “personality” and that love isn’t a feeling, but an expression. Jackie Kendell in her well-written book The New Lady in Waiting (2014), she wrote “Impression without expression leads to depression”. In today’s society from Hallmark to Disney, Hollywood has distorted the meaning of love as a feeling of affection, yet it goes so much deeper than mere feelings because they constantly change. What does the bible say about love? In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, Paul wrote “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never ends.” Love though is not only an expression, but God is love. He not only shows love, but He is love. God’s very characteristics are Who He is! As children of God, we have those same characteristics in us and we have to nurture them with God’s word; just like miracle grow.
The entire story of Ruth and Boaz expounds on their characteristics and strengths: Boaz was a leader, he was worthy, honest, sacrificial, caring, compassionate, and honorable. Ruth was selfless, worthy, honorable, loyal, obedient, and submissive. This story has helped me in the past to understand what kind of love I should be looking for and showing…virtue, inspiration, and patience.
It is true, singlehood may not always be a fun time, but take encouragement in knowing that it is only a season, a season of preparation. This is a time when the Lord wants to grow His greatest ministry in and through you. Remember that the most beautiful and rarest of flowers have to grow through dirt. Life isn’t easy, but know that there is joy in the morning!
Do not look to this world or anything it has to offer you thinking that it will satisfy or complete you; only Jesus can. Your happiness does not reside in the heart of a man, but in the One with nail scared hands. When you fall in love with Jesus and have an intimate prayer life with Him, the wait is not nearly as hard because your focus is on Him! And when that day comes when God brings your Boaz alongside of you, you both can pursue the Lord together. It is so important to found and find yourself in Christ first and to truly understand that He is your first love. God is not deaf to your desires and your longings, but He does desire that your longing reflect what He has in store for you. Man’s rejection is God’s redirection; He is sparing you from the deepest pain in order to prepare you for the greatest love that man can experience; a relationship grown in Him! And just as Ruth and Boaz left a legacy for what #relationshipgoals looks like from the Lord’s perspective run after and reflect those things!
Girls, rather than looking and searching for “the one”, pray and ask the Lord to prepare you to be “the one”. Pray for patience, kindness, humility, compassion, sympathy, etc. Your significant other is alive right now, and is most likely struggling with the same battles you are. Girls, bow your knees and pray for your Boaz; we are called to be fishers of men, not fishers for men! Pray for your spouse; that He would grow as a moral leader who protects the purity and reputation of the women He associates Himself with. Your Boaz will come…Wait for your Boaz and don’t settle for a Bozo!
Ladies, please don’t compromise yourself or God’s standards to get attention from a guy. Let the attention you receive from any man, be attention that stems from your inner beauty, character and virtue. Your Boaz will come. Stay focused on God, patiently wait for your Boaz as you glean in life’s field, and resist comprising for the Bozos of this world! The beauty of a heart that reflects the Lord, integrity, and virtue will never wrinkle or fade; build on these! Remember what you advertise is what you’ll attract! If you desire a relationship of trust, honor, and honesty; reflect these things.
– God’s little pencil