How do you deal with longings of the Heart?

(Vili) #1

Hi all

Currently going through a season of singleness. I’m 18, and have never had any relationships prior, since I’ve seen (in my experience) about how relationships in my age group tend to be full of unnecessary drama, and at the same time I REALLY want to be able to get to know Christ (Currently taking notes on “How to Read the Bible for all it’s Worth” by Gordon Fee, but getting impatient at the same time, however I feel that after reading, it will definitely be worth it).

All being said, every now and then, my heart tends to ACHE for a girl and having a relationship. I know it’s okay for me at this stage, but I wanted to ask, how do you deal with this?

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(LaTricia) #2

Thank you for candidly sharing @AlphaOmega. More people go through this than is probably spoken of, especially since most societies place a high value on being partnered and such.

I’m not going to give you any of the typical talk that we usually hear in church to address all matters of singleness. The fact is, most of us long for companionship. We have a longing in our hearts to share our lives with someone; to have inside jokes; to experience love with; to be intimate with; to grow old with; we desire to have someone that we can share the ups and downs with, someone who’s not only our partner but our best and closest friend. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

I’m older than you, and it used to be that I thought it was noble to be single or to deny having a desire to be in an well bonded relationship with someone. But, it’s not. When I came to Christ, I had to get real honest about that, my desires and that longing. When I look back over the years after coming to Christ, I can’t say that I’ve never again experienced that longing, because I have. But I always take that longing to God in prayer. It sounds a little hokey, but it wasn’t until now that I realized that’s been the primary way that I have addressed my singleness and all that comes with it. Without fail, something happens within to ease it.

I also use my time of singleness to get to know me and better understand what I desire in a husband should I ever get to the point of marriage. I do live a rather busy life; I have ambitions to work towards; an ailing and aging mother to care for; the gym; church; social activities. But the biggest lesson of being single and in Christ has been learning to enjoy my own company. If I don’t enjoy me and have contentment in my alone time, I can’t possibly expect anyone else to enjoy me and my company either.

Please note, drama doesn’t go away with age. LOL Maturity isn’t about age so much as it about learning and gaining wisdom over time. I look at people in their 30s and over and sometimes give thanks for being single. :rofl:

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(SeanO) #3

@AlphaOmega Put your hands to the plow :wink: Being single is a unique opportunity to gain skills and knowledge - to focus completely on seeking the Lord and gaining skills necessary for a career. Those longings are completely normal, but until you are in a place to be in a relationship I think it best to surrender those longings to God in prayer and to channel that energy into becoming a mature, Christian man who can one day provide / guide a family. I think those longings provide a great opportunity to ask some big questions:

  • what is my theology of singleness? What does God say about singleness?
  • is my identity fully rooted in God? Or am I hoping someone else will fulfill me?
  • has God called me to be single? If not, how should I prepare to have a family?
  • how should I use this season of singleness to gain skills and grow in maturity?
  • who is God calling me to be?

When I asked a friend to preach to our youth about relationships, he used a great illustration. He said that a marriage is two people pursuing common goals together with Christ as their Lord and Savior - colaborers for the Kingdom. So while you’re single, you learn about your own gifting and grow in wisdom / ability. And when the time is right find someone who has a common vision for life - how many kids, giving, missions - and is also mature enough to begin that journey of family.

Here are some great talks on how to understand singleness and get the most out of it as long as it lasts. Christ grant you wisdom :slight_smile:

Tim Keller - A Theology of Singleness

Sam Allberry - Sexuality and Identity

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(Kathleen) #4

Hi, @AlphaOmega! First off, thank you so much for posting so frankly on here. As someone who is single, I very much respect the struggle you’re going through right now. But I wanted to ask, what do you want out of having a girl/a relationship? That is, what is it your heart is longing for? ‘Being in a relationship’ means something different for everyone, and I’m curious what you think you will gain by being in one (or, alternatively, lose out on by not being in one)? :slight_smile:

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(Isaiah J. Armstrong) #5

Hello @AlphaOmega !

As a fellow single 18 yr old, I know what you mean. I can’t say that I’ve had the same ache for as you have, but I do know what it’s like to observe it as I have a sister who is a year and a half younger than I am and definitely see the same ache in her heart (she has a boyfriend, but even now I still see it in her).

I agree 100% with @SeanO and the points he made plus I’d like add a link to a podcast by Dr. Tony Evans on singleness. He does amazing work on what real Christian manhood looks like. This podcast is more gender neutral, though, but I suggest you look him up on YouTube. Here’s the link:
https://tonyevans.org/tony-evans-sermons/contentment-as-a-single/

Secondly, I would like to suggest an amazing book that I have read on dating by Gary Thomas. This is my go-to book on dating and I suggest you get a copy and study it. It will be so worth your while, believe me!

Here is Dr. Thomas on focus on the family’s podcast talking about his book:

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(Vili) #6

Hi KMac

What I want out of a relationship is really that companionship, the closeness that seems to come with it, to the point where that person will really understand you. However, I know that that’s something that I can find in Christ, but lately, I haven’t been able to get that (which is why I’m taking notes from “How to Read the Bible for All it’s Worth”).

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(Vili) #7

Hi @SeanO
I’ve now got a crush on a woman that I know I can’t date (for a bunch of reasons), but knowing that I made a Topic in this earlier, I decided to go back to these resources, this time knowing what it is that I needed to deal with specifically. I watched Tim Keller’s preach on Singleness, and he mentioned that in order to stop my idolatry on marriage and sex, I need to be able to make the hope that is found in Christ and His promises real to me.

Do you have any specific advice or resources on how to do that?

Thanks
Vili

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(SeanO) #8

@AlphaOmega Whenever we have a crush on someone we often think about them - what it would be like to spend time with them in different situations or to have a family with them. Those thoughts cause a strong longing in our hearts to be with them and we begin to feel a need. While I believe that the needs for intimacy and community are natural, this longing for a specific individual is something that we cultivate in our imagination. Therefore, part of the solution is to learn to focus your imagination on the Lord and on the work that is in front of you and not to allow it to wander.

My advice in a situation like this would be:

  • don’t be idle - find meaningful things to work hard at with your time and set yourself fully to doing those things excellently. If your mind is occupied with work or studies, it will not as easily wander
  • cultivate in your imagination a longing for Jesus - spend time in worship and prayer - specifically cultivate in your imagination a longing for the things of God’s Kingdom - imagine yourself kneeling at Jesus’ feet, binding up the wounds of the saints in persecuted places, serving the poor - and pray into that vision and seek to live it out in your daily life
  • develop a strong community of Christians to meet your need for community

When a friend of mine spoke to us about relationships once, he talked about running hard after Jesus with all of your strength. And then as you run finding a relationship with someone who is running in the same direction. I think that was a great illustration. If we work hard at what God has put before us and run hard after Him, then along the way we may meet another running the same way. We may not - but that is okay. The main focus is to run hard after God and His Kingdom and to grow ourselves into mature people. Once we have built that foundation, then we pursue relationship because we will not be needy ourselves - instead we will be able to meet the needs of the other and of a family.

I know this experience can be difficult, but I urge steadfastness, self-control and an eager pursuit of the Lord and what is before you. It will pay great dividends later. May Jesus give you peace, wisdom, self-control and guidance brother :slight_smile:

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(C Rhodes) #9

@AlphaOmega. I just wanted to add. That even in close relationship with another, the strength of that relationship is found in your relationship with the Lord. Often we aim at the wrong target. As Sean has advised, now is the time of cultivation. Now is the time to live fully with your alpha and omega being found in GOD. Human relationships are only the beautiful bows and decorations on the Primary relationship. That’s your relationship with GOD. The Primary relationship is the gift. When that relationship is true it brings finesse to all other relationships.

That is why we are admonished to seek first the Kingdom of GOD and His righteousness. All other things are added. Matthew 6:33. The very best you will ever bring to any relationship is a heart sold to JESUS. Make a continuous investment into your Primary relationship, and wait on the beauty GOD will add to your life. Your parents will love you for that. Your future wife will love, adore, and honor you for that. And your children will rise up to call you Blessed.

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(Russell Mashburn) #10

I though I might add a few words. Hope that’s ok.

Be aware if you do meet someone nice that might be the one. Be protective of your heart. When I was young I assumed the girl I was dating felt the same as I did. If you ever get hurt it’s a pretty difficult experience, but like any experience you learn from it.

I’m 41 and recently single. another heartache for the same reason.

Love everyone and be quick to forgive, but be cautious. Some people can be reckless with your heart. Love is the best thing, but it can really hurt also.

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(Vili) #11

@Russmash1
Is there supposed to be a comma in between on the second paragraph?

And thank you so much to all of you for your help, @SeanO and @cer7, and the many others that have contributed.

(Russell Mashburn) #12

Sorry, it does seem a little off. I meant to say…If you meet someone and it gets serious, be protective of your heart.

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