I was innocently scrolling through my Instagram feed the other day—liking photos of sunsets and coffee mugs, when this popped up:
"Single Ladies...If you run after God like you run after a man, He will send you a man you won't have to run after."
I've heard versions of this said multiple ways: You're running through a forest (the trees are men here) and when you look at the trees you'll never hit them. But the minute you look up (at the Lord) you'll run smack into a tree (a man). I hear it all over the place—from married friends, from single friends, from the Church. If I'm being honest with you, I think I've even spouted off some crap like this myself. And it's got to stop, for these 4 reasons and many more.
1- It implies that God's ultimate hope for you is that you'll get married. When I read the Bible, I don't see that. It seems to me that God desires us to love and honor Him and love people well (see Matthew 26:36-40). His longing is that we'll run after Him with or without the promise of a man.
2- It's theologically unsound. Tell me where in the Bible I'm promised a husband? I've heard people cite Psalm 37:4, "Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." But, what that verse is really saying in context is that as you delight in the Lord, your heart will be shaped to want the right things—the things He desires for you....and that's not always going to be a man.
3- It implies that those who are still single are obviously not following God in the best possible way just quite yet, because if they were they'd have a man. This means those who are married are at a higher level of spiritual maturity. Single and married ladies alike—the Lord uses unique circumstances and relationships to stretch, grow and refine each of us in different ways. Whether God uses a spouse to draw us closer to Him or other relationships, we all have the capacity to grow.
4- It makes it seem like everything will be easy and you won't have to try at all. I think this is a dangerous lie Christian circles are especially guilty of telling. I had a conversation with a high school student the other day who was nervous about talking to a boy because if this kid was "the one" then God would have made it easy and would have made him talk to her. What are we communicating to girls in the church?!?! Here's the conversation I had with her—Yes, God has a plan for your life. Chances that He's going to have your future husband show up on your doorstep, unannounced, presenting himself as your future spouse are slim to none. You have to put yourself in situations where you're meeting new people and actually engaging with them. And after you start dating someone, even if they are the one you're going to end up marrying, the road to the alter will not always be easy. (Live with three engaged girls at once and you'll see that first hand.)
Here's the bottom line. I believe God has something incredible planned for you and me. For the majority of us, that will probably include marriage, and for some of us that won't. I think wanting to be married and have a family is a wonderful sweet hope—heck I want it! But, I refuse to live each day seeking God in hopes that one day He'll give me a husband. I'm going to run after Him, period. Who's with me?