Know What You Want

She’s nine years old and already boy-crazy, staring after the director’s son as he walks out the door.

“Girl,” I say, shaking my head, “you concern me.”

Her head whips around, blonde hair slapping into her face as she plants her hands on her hips and says, “Girl, you  concern me. You’ve never even had a boyfriend!”

Touche, my young friend. Touche.

Because there’s really no way for me to come back from that, is there? No way to explain to anyone—let alone a nine-year-old—that I chose this. The singleness thing. How I wear the “never been dated” label like a crown. Tall and proud. No regrets.

It’s a fact that knocks the socks off of every nine-year-old girl I meet. (Sometimes I think that alone would make it all worthwhile, but I’ve got an ornery streak like that.)

I’m not ashamed of my relationship status; I just find it hard to explain at times. Because most people don’t think that being twenty-two years single is a thing to be proud of. In fact, I’d venture to say that most people, like a certain nine-year-old I know, would say that this actually concerns them to some extent.

Well, I’m sorry that you’re concerned, but I’m happy as I am, thank you very much. So, how have I managed all these years? I’m so glad you asked.

In my book, I talk a little about how I quickly decided that I didn’t want to spend my teen years in the business of broken hearts. I didn’t want to make the mistake of getting completely lost in a guy like some of my friends had done. But I’m realizing more and more every day that what ultimately kept me single was not what I didn’t  want, but what I did  want.

If you truly want to be happy and single, you’ve got to know what you want. (And what you want has got to be more than a husband and children and a cute little house with a white picket fence, if you know what I mean.)

This may sound ridiculous, but the real reason I avoided the dating world in high school is because I knew I was bound for the mission’s field. I wanted that little office nestled in the mountains of Virginia where people came together to further the Gospel throughout the world, and I knew that office was a long way from Ohio. And I knew my heart was never very good at holding things lightly. And I knew if I got too attached, I’d never pack up and go.

So I made a choice. And I kept making choices that led me to this place here and now. Because when it comes time to choose between a calling and a possibility, I’ll take the calling every time.

Because I know what I want. I know where God is leading me. And I know how easy it is to forget all that when my heart starts skipping three steps ahead.

I still believe there is someone out there who will come along and fulfill my dreams of marriage and family and cute little houses void of white picket fences because who needs a fence when the world is your playground. I still believe he will come and fit into all the other dreams like that piece of the jigsaw puzzle that finally makes sense because I’ve turned it the right way.

But I’ve never believed that God would give me two dreams only to make me choose one over the other. And while I believe in sacrifice, I’ve never believed in surrendering vital pieces of who I am in order to become a vital piece of someone else.

Because I choose to believe that there will one day be a relationship that I don’t have to force. And I know, I know, yes, I know that the only way I can be happy right now is by knowing that this is the path God has paved for me. This is the life I was made for living. And I find great comfort in the fact that I don’t have to chase down my Prince Charming; I just have to discern what God wants for my life right now and trust Him to take care of the rest.

You are Enough

Identity. That word is such a huge deal in our culture. It seems that everyone is out to “find themselves” nowadays. I’m not entirely sure what that statement fully means, but I do understand the delicate dance of trying to find your place in the world. But when it comes to identity, I think we place too much value in who other people say we are or say we should be.

In the movie What a Girl Wants, seventeen-year-old Daphne Reynolds dreams of meeting the father she has never known. She tells her mother, “I feel like a part of me is missing, and without the other half, how am I supposed to know who I really am?” Ironically, in Daphne’s desperate quest to “find herself”, she nearly loses herself as she squelches her wild, carefree personality in order to fit in with her dad’s traditional world. My heart always cheers her on as she looks her father in the eye and says, “You know what I miss now? I miss being me. I’ve finally realized that that is enough.”

Being the person you are is all you have to be. It’s enough. Even when people tell you that you’ll never amount to anything. Even when you’ve failed for the hundredth time. You don’t have to adopt the dreams the world tries to shove down your throat; all you have to do is pursue the dreams God has given you.

God is the only One whose opinion really matters because He’s the One who holds firm your true identity. Isaiah 49:16 says, “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…” He bears the scars of a man who was crucified because it reminds Him of you and the sacrifice He had to pay in order to restore you to Himself.  If you want to know who you are, you don’t have to fly halfway across the world. All you have to do is look up into the eyes of the One who calls you His beloved. Let Him tell you who you truly are. He’ll tell you that you are you. Exactly as He created you to be. And that, my friend, is enough.

You’ve written my name on the palm of Your hand, but until you revealed it to me, I had no idea it so closely resembled a nail-shaped scar…