Selfishness is sneaky. Sometimes it comes upon us in socially acceptable ways. Perhaps we want something that the world thinks is good; but, do we want it so badly that we make it an idol in our lives? Has there ever been anyone who has not been consumed with wanting something? I think we all have… in some area of our lives.
When I was younger, I was obsessed with the idea of getting married. At the time, I was not ready for marriage – and I knew that – but I was obsessed with worrying that he would never come. What would I do if he never came? Yesterday, all of those feelings came back to my mind. After six years of marriage, it seems silly to me that I spent all that time worrying when God showed up, with His perfect plan, at just the right time. I could’ve been a better friend, who was more available to others, if I had not been obsessing over the future while remaining so focused on myself and my worries.
Shortly after getting married, I started focusing on babies. This is not uncommon and it’s a good thing for a woman to want children; but, after waiting to be a mother for a while, I began worrying again. What if I never am able to have children? What will happen to me if I’m never a mom? As these thoughts fill me from time to time, I’m reminded of the years that I prayed for a spouse. God did not fulfill that dream when I wanted Him too; yet, in retrospect, He fulfilled it right on time.
I’m told that wanting children is a good thing and not to feel guilty for wanting them so badly. This is good advice; however, there is another element that I can’t seem to ignore. In the past few years, I have found myself wanting children to the point of excluding good things from my life. There have been times I’ve stayed away from my peers because I was embarrassed to be childless. It seemed like every married person my age had children. I felt like I had nothing to offer the world. When I’d hear of other people becoming pregnant, I fought anger in my heart. As much as I wanted to be happy for them, I found myself crying and asking, “Why?”
This past year, God has done a true work in my heart. I know He is far from finished with me in this area, but He has shown me some things. He has shown me, through various instances, that He has my best interest at heart and that He loves me more than any earthly parent could ever love a child. He has not forgotten me, and just as He did for my marriage, He has a perfect plan in action. He’s brought other people’s children into my life and allowed me to enjoy them and to learn from watching them. He’s also allowed me to see this season in my life as a gift.
It still hurts, some days more than others, but there are things I can do for Him during this season of life that I won’t be able to do once He blesses me with children. His plan is perfect and He is never late. Overall, He’s taught me not to allow my “good” desires to make me selfish.
So, is wanting to be married selfish? Is wanting babies selfish? Not at all. The selfishness comes when we allow our desires, not matter how good they may be, to become an idol and guide our lives instead of surrendering our lives to Christ. When what we want is all we can see, we can’t follow Christ with our whole hearts. We push people away, we become selfish with our time, bitter in our hearts and minds, and ineffective in the Kingdom of God when we focus on what we don’t have.
Where are you right now? Are you focused on wanting something so much that it is clouding your mind? Is it keeping you from striving hard after Christ and His will for your life? Do you find people avoiding you because all of your energy is focused on what you don’t have? If you are finding yourself obsessing over an issue, pray about it and ask the Lord to manage it for your good – He’s much better at that than you are anyway. Marriage is a gift, but singlehood is a gift too. Sometimes we don’t realize certain seasons are gifts until they have passed. I’m not saying the wait will be easy and painless; but, if you are in Christ, you won’t be alone. And at the end of the day, Christ is a far greater gift than any husband, wife, or child, could ever be. Surrender your desires to Him and get lost in serving Him. He will take care of you and give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).
Are you focused on something so much that it is distracting other areas of your life?