Christ and Contentment

I’ll be honest from the get go before I put all of my thoughts and feelings on a page for the public to see… this will be one of the most genuine entries I’ll probably ever make. Some of that has to do with the fact that I’m currently crying. Most of it has to do with this being one of the hardest seasons of waiting I’ve endured in life thus far, so I won’t attempt to sugarcoat that.

I’m pretty sure it won’t shock anyone who reads this (assuming the people who are currently reading this know me well enough to want to read it) to find that I’m not the girl who has planned a wedding her whole life. I can honestly say that I never spent time looking at wedding catalogs or Pinterest or any of that kind of stuff because I never cared to. For most of my life, it’s been really easy to compartmentalize the whole ‘marriage’ thing and put it on the back burner because I had other things I was more concerned with and plenty of stages I told myself I needed to move through before even considering marriage as an option. Within the past year or so, that’s slowly changed. What use to be an occasional thought now feels like a consuming desire. It’s so foreign and weird because it was so easy to put away from my mind for so long and now I feel like I’m doing all that I can to make myself think about anything else. Within the past few weeks, it feels like my life is revolving around the thought of “Will I get married? And if so, when?”

In the midst of this, it’s been so easy to lose sight of everything else that matters. The most detrimental part of that is how it has impacted my ability to see and treasure Christ. I find myself thinking something along the lines of “If I could just get married, then… I’d become a better Christian… I’d focus more on others… I’d be content and able to recenter my relationship with the Lord, etc.” But the Lord has continually reminded me that, if I’m not content in singleness, I won’t be content in a marriage because my contentment shouldn’t hinge on my relational status. My contentment should only be found in Christ. When it is placed in anyone or anything other than Him, the results are disappointment and devastation 100% of the time.

Here are a few recent scriptures and comments people have made regarding them that the Lord has used to remind me of this truth:

In the book of Philippians, Paul is writing to the church at Philippi to remind them of Gospel truths and to encourage them to always rejoice in the Gospel and the Savior we have in Christ. If our joy is founded in Christ, our circumstances will not sway our satisfaction and foundation in His infinite worth. Paul isn’t just writing these truths, he’s living them. He is clinging to them while he is in prison. He is suffering for the sake of the Gospel and for continually choosing Christ over the things of the world. He writes:

“Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.” (1:12-14)

Instead of bemoaning his hardships, he is pointing out how God is being glorified through them. If Paul could say this as he sat in the miserable conditions of a Roman prison for preaching the Gospel, shouldn’t I be able to say the same for singleness? Shouldn’t I be able to trust that, for now and for however much longer the Lord wills for this season of my life to last, its turned out for the greater progress of the Gospel?
Even if I don’t see it or understand it right now, I have to believe its true because otherwise the Lord wouldn’t will it. The same can be said of any season when the Lord allows us to suffer or endure trials. It is for the furtherance of the Gospel. It is so that you can proclaim His goodness in the midst of something that doesn’t seem good. It is so that you can confound the world around you when you respond with joy in every circumstance because Christ is your hope and ultimate source of satisfaction.

On some days, it feels extremely easy and tempting to want to give up. Not in the sense of giving up on life (I’ve struggled in that sense before but, by God’s grace, that’s not something that has been a temptation in this time), but just in giving up on trying to obey God’s commandments. Psalm 73 has always been a passage I go back to when I am tempted to pursue what the world sells as “satisfactory.” Asaph writes about how he envied the wicked and saw what seemed like rewarded injustice and wrestled with his own affliction when he was seeking to live righteously. I can’t say I know exactly how he felt when he wrote “surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and washed my hands in innocence,” but I think I can relate to some degree. There are times when I look at people who seem to be living pretty well all things considered even though they seem to be disregarding God’s Word (and a lot of times standing in direct opposition to it) in every way and it is genuinely hard to trust God in those moments. In my arrogance and self-righteousness, I think about how quickly I would punish such people or judge them to make sure they get what they deserve.

Two reminders generally follow that thought pretty quickly.
One being that I’m not God (obviously), so I need to shut up and stop thinking as if my judgments would be right and pure because I know nothing of holiness apart from Him.
The second follows right along with what Asaph goes on to say in verses 16-20. No matter how successful and happy the wicked may seem on this earth, they will stand before a holy and righteous God on the Final Day and they will face the wrath and punishment that will result from all the things they seemed to “get away with.” (One realization that I pray to be reminded of often lest I be tempted to revel at such a thought is that the only reason I won’t be standing with them is because of the precious blood of a perfect Savior that was shed freely and undeservingly on my behalf.)
So basically, even if it seems like someone does the wrong thing all the time and never has to face any consequences for it, it still isn’t worth it.
It isn’t worth being separated from God.
I love the verse Asaph chooses to end the chapter with:
“But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
that I may tell of all Your works.”

No matter how appealing something is or how satisfying it seems to be, it will not rival the satisfaction that comes from union with the Lord of all.Which brings me to the last scripture I’ll dwell on for a minute.
Later in the first chapter of Philippians, Paul is verbalizing the tension he feels between desiring to depart and be with the Lord while also desiring to remain on earth to continue discipling and exhorting fellow believers with the Gospel. He writes the well known verse:
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
When one of our pastors preached over this verse a few weeks ago, he made the point that, if you were to insert anything else in the place of ‘Christ’ in this verse, it becomes a false statement.
If ‘to live is money,’ to die is to lose all the money you had.
If ‘to live is to be with friends and family,’ to die is the end of those relationships.
If ‘to live is to achieve,’ to die is to lose all that you achieved.
And the outcome is the same for every single thing you think to work into this statement.

‘To die is gain’ can only be said of Christ because He is the only everlasting treasure (Ps. 16:11, Matt. 13:44-46). He is the only One who can sustain and satisfy the soul. We can seek satisfaction elsewhere, and we will so long as we are left to ourselves, but we will never find it.

As of right now, it’s a battle to believe this every day. I don’t cry very often but I think I’ve cried daily for the past 2 weeks. Sometimes because I feel like I’ll be alone for the rest of my life. Sometimes because I don’t know how long this will last. And sometimes because it honestly just sucks when it seems like I’m watching everyone else get what I want and I end up wondering if I’ll ever have the chance to know what it’s like to be in love with someone or to have a family and get to be a mom. I’m not admitting all of this in hopes of receiving pity (seriously don’t text me if you read this and feel bad or something because that’s not the point of why I’m writing it). I’m being real about the fact that it’s extremely hard to want to follow Jesus when doing so doesn’t align with what I want and when it means things aren’t happening according to my ‘timeline.’
However, in the midst of it and even in the lowest moments, He brings to mind passages like Lamentations 3:21-26 and I am reminded once again of His faithfulness and goodness.
It’s all I can do sometimes to just cling to this hope and ask Him to sustain me through the hardest days.

I don’t expect a bunch of people to read this; it’s more just my attempt to process what seems to be a constant struggle right now and to remember truth in the midst of it. I’m so grateful for the Lord’s faithfulness to surround me with people and resources that remind me of the Gospel over and over again, especially on the days I don’t believe it. Singleness is hard, but in all reality, every stage of life is hard in its own way. Every stage of life will require us to trust in God’s plan instead of trying to make our own. As fallen, sinful, and selfish human beings, we will always seek to make things happen in our time. But when He gives us grace and faith, we can rest in believing that His timing is perfect and His plan is truly better than any other.
That’s the hope I know I can cling to now and for all the hard days that are to come.
Single or married, my song and story remain the same:
Jesus Christ has saved my soul and my purpose here on this earth is to proclaim the glory of His name.

In all my sorrows, Jesus is better – make my heart believe 

In all my victories, Jesus is better – make my heart believe 

Than any comfort, Jesus is better – make my heart believe 

More than all riches, Jesus is better – make my heart believe 

Our souls declaring, Jesus is better – make my heart believe 
Our song eternal, Jesus is better – make my heart believe

In Christ,
Allison Grace


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