Third blog of the Summer Series…
Blog by Ginny Paynter
For the longest time my perception of marriage was a job you didn’t get paid for. No one around me was particularly happy in their relationships. Then I saw women in my church get married and they’d “submit” to their husbands. Seeing unhealthy practices of submission coupled with my own brokenness made me think I would be swallowed whole by a husband and my God-call was too big for that. Mix that in with some terrible lies that I wasn’t worth the investment of a relationship; and there were my reasons for being single.
People do ask that, you know? Why do you think you are single? Do you think you’ll ever date anyone? Maybe if you change everything about yourself a man will want you. Ok, the last one is an exaggeration of comments to people’s process to figure out why I’m single, but the meaning behind it isn’t too off. The truth is, by the time I realized people could have healthy happy relationships, I was so far into the God dream I didn’t think you could have a strong call of God and a husband. So many women in my world had traded in the God-dreams for the husband-dreams; even if they derailed every other passion they carried within them. Well, NOT ME.
Not me, until God started to completely reframe my thinking regarding a man in my life. It took me five days to receive what He was trying to tell me about a partner in my life. Five days of saying, “What do you mean?” repeatedly. Now, five years since those five days, I sit in a completely different seat on the ride of life and have to actually remind myself that life is good and a husband can only add.
Society tries to tell me that my time has passed, sometimes my family treats me like an “old maid” but the truth is, when I do get into a relationship this is what I bring to the table:
- I have no past with men. I will bring no ex’s, no abuse, no comparisons. (this isn’t to condemn those that are working things out)
- I have learned to be intimate within my friendships, which in turn allows me permission to be intimate with a man, when before I would have crushed him out of my fear of someone knowing me deeply.
- I have spent years allowing God to work out my co-dependent tendencies that used to lie to me and tell me my significance was found in others. Now, I know my significance is founded in a good Father who loves me and loves to be with me.
- I’ve had a great time being single, my life is pretty spectacular and full, to bring someone in alongside that is to increase an already great life.
I do want to share my days with someone. I long for a partner to build the church with. I long to be held and to hold, to support and be a great cheerleader. I am eager to build a home with someone and perhaps someday a family. I want above all else to build the church and put ten thousand to flight, a partner is all of this for me. I’ve had to learn to not help God in my singleness. I like to orchestrate. Now, I have to sit back and trust him.
My singleness has helped me realize I would say I trusted God with my romantic heart, but really I didn’t. I’d help him, and not really talk about it the right way. When I would pray, they were selfish prayers. Not prayers that move anything other than trying to convince Him that I was ready, that the particular guy was the right one and it was time. I didn’t know how to pray anything that was of a kingdom perspective.
What I was praying, “God let him choose me. God, he’s the one I know it. God, why haven’t I heard from him. God ,wah wah wah.”
What I should have been praying, “God, make him mighty. God, find him where he’s at. God, let us build the church, advance the kingdom, make hell terrified, and populate heaven.”
These were prayers that I needed to learn a lot sooner. By God speaking to me about my prayers, I realized what a selfish perspective I’ve had toward a relationship. Even how I wanted one was through a selfish motivation. I wanted a partner to take the burden off, someone to lead me so I wouldn’t have to be so strong all the time. It was all about me and nothing about him; I had to change my thinking to learn to be the person who was right for someone else. I had to be willing to give myself up, not submitting for submission’s sake, but giving myself up for him to make him better, meet his needs, and empower his future. I had that idea for all the “friends” in my life, but that perspective for a husband was something I had never really considered before.
This perspective has changed even how I wait for him to find me. I want to be my best self. Not just be better, but offer my best self to him. My best self in my finances, my time, my thoughts, my care for myself, all of it. I want to offer him the very best of me. I want him to be proud to be my man and proud that out of all the people in the world I choose to trust him with my heart in a way I’ve never given my heart to anyone. It’s less about his character now and more about mine. More about me being the fullest version of myself. I hope when he does find me, he sees tomorrow in a way he’s never seen it before; that there’s something about me that challenges him to offer his best version of himself too. Then together, we can work hard at being the best version of ourselves, serving the other, and building the church. It’s not much different than how I already live my life right now, which seems about right in comparison to every other increase God has added to my life.