I’d like to honor the single Christian woman who is working late tonight instead of being taken out to dinner. (But, please keep reading even if that’s not you. If you’ve ever been disappointed with God, I hope this encourages you, too.)
THE LONGING FOR FAMILY
A 38-year-old, single Christian friend of mine told me recently that she got a promotion. The only problem, she said, is that she’d rather be a stay-at-home mom, “packing school lunches.”
This isn’t someone who’s simply dreaming about the greener grass on the other side of the hill. This is a gal who has sought to steward her talents for God’s glory. She earned a graduate degree and is in a job leveraging her strengths and bringing about great flourishing around her—both in and outside of work.
But the natural longing for family of many Christian women like my friend is real—it’s God-given. This is why stewarding your vocation as a single Christian woman can be confusing. As you apply yourself and advance in your career, it can feel like you’re getting further away from marriage and family. I’ve heard women say:
I’m afraid that if I pursue my work with vigor that it will signal to God that I’m less interested in marriage and family;
I’m afraid that my Ph.D. scares men away.
As someone who was in this demographic for many years, I wanted to share a few thoughts about what I have learned along the way.
1. CHOOSE TO BE FULLY ALIVE.
Christian singles, and others who similarly wait on God’s timing for something, have a choice to make. We can either keep our hearts alive to the Lord, or turn away from him and kill our desire.
It’s comforting that scripture recognizes the often-hard reality of life this side of heaven—that there is longing and disappointment:
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life (Prov. 13:12).
What do women long for? While women do value significance and meaning in their work, they also long for intimacy in relationship.
Seeking intimacy with the Lord has sustained me in the “now, but not yet” aspect of life and God’s kingdom. The Bible instructs us to be honest and pour out our hearts to the Lord (Ps. 62:8). This way, we keep our heart alive and its longings close to the surface, though painful. As we open our hearts to God and his will, he can pour out his love and give us both a vision and a desire for what he is calling us to do today.
An additional benefit of choosing to be fully alive is that it has a ripple effect on our relationships, family, and even our work.
2. BE FULLY FEMALE.
God has made us uniquely male and female, in his image (Genesis 1:27). The fact that he has you in the office and not at home nurturing children right now is not a mistake. Not only are you designed with specific talents unique to you, your perspective as a woman adds richness to a work product that otherwise might only have a male perspective.
While women have different strengths, being fully feminine may mean letting an empathetic, nurturing side show through as you interact with colleagues and add your input to projects.
God has also designed many women, like him, to be strong protectors of the weak and vulnerable. Author Carolyn Custis James writes that the Hebrew word for “helper” (ezer), used to describe women in Genesis 2:18, can be defined as “strong helper,” even like a warrior. Without the work of women, our society would be a much different place.
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Source: Urban Faith