The other night I came home with a turmoil of emotions. Excitement about ministry. Drain of socialization. Vigor of uplifting conversation. Joy about friends’ relationships. An ache for my turn.
I had a choice to make. I needed to choose how to deal with the emotions. I could numbly suppress them by vegging in front of Netflix or I could work through them with Christ.
I knew the former would mute and not manage the turmoil.
So, I pulled out my prayer journal and wrote honest prayers acknowledging the ache in my heart and the longing for marriage, asking questions about ministry, rejoicing in the way God was working through my writing and my words. And I ended like this “God, I can pray big prayers, but it’s all at Your feet. I surrender it back to you. Be glorified in it all, God.”
After these candid prayers (and a bowl of ice cream), I had a peace that was not my own. For me, journaling my prayers has become a habit to focus and steady my heart on Jesus, a means of seeking Christ.
In order to love God, we must seek Christ and fix our eyes on Him. Remember what we talked about last time? The greatest commandment for you and me as Christians, and as single women, is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).
What does that look like in my life and in yours? How can we love God now in this season of life?
While handwriting prayers with a 0.38 Ultra Fine G2 gel pen might not be your preferred method of processing emotions and prayers , it’s something that is a solace for me as I seek Christ. Within our varied personalities, styles, and routines, we all need to acknowledge hopes and questions, hurts and emotions, longings and expectations to Jesus.
Other than journaling prayers, how can we do that? We should prioritize consistent time with Jesus. There are so many ways to structure a quiet time, so many tools, so many ideas. And no one right way. Find a time and place that works for you to meet with Jesus on a regular basis.
As much as I would like to be married with kids, I’ve realized that as a single woman I have a unique opportunity for uninterrupted time with Jesus. I don’t have to check the baby, end a squabble between siblings, or make breakfast for my husband. My morning quiet times are generally without any interruption, and that is a blessing in this single stage of life that I often overlook.
I can sit in my big, beige chair for almost an hour each morning, eating oatmeal from a mug and going through my pink notebook of hymns, Bible study, prayer lists, and joy lists. That time and format doesn’t work for everyone (or even most people!), so find a time and style that does work for you. I’d love to hear what you do or what you plan to try!
As we seek to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, and soul, we can incorporate activities throughout out our days that help us love Him more (because seeking Jesus can’t just be limited to our “quiet time”).
Read and meditate on Scripture. Whether you are reading through the Bible in a year or doing a detailed study of a book of the Bible, it’s important for us to regularly be in the Word. Maybe it happens in a morning quiet time. Or maybe we listen to an audio Bible on the way to work. Or read a passage before we turn out the bedside lamp. Or write out a verse and stick it to the computer monitor as a constant reminder throughout the workday.
Similarly, memorizing Scripture helps us to find the richness and truth of God’s word. I’ve found that reviewing a passage of Scripture in the shower is a great way for me to focus my mind on what is true first thing in the morning instead of daydreaming or worrying about the approaching day. When brushing my teeth or braiding my hair, I’ve gleaned dynamic insights reflecting on the verses that are posted on my mirror. How can you incorporate memorization into your day?
Be thankful. Start a list of little joys and be on the lookout for things throughout your day for which to give thanks. A grateful heart refocuses us on Christ and our dependence on Him. Here are some recent things I’m thankful for: The colors of the sunrise. Steam curls from my tea mug. Mint and chocolate chip cookies. The detail of the snowflakes. Open windows and fresh air. A flower in my hair. What can you use to start your own list of joys today?
Lastly, it’s important to pray. Whether you talk out loud, write full paragraphs, type bullet points, or read through prayer lists, it’s essential to seek Jesus in prayer. Jesus already knows your heart, so nothing you say is going to surprise Him. Be honest and pray big prayers. And pray little prayers. I don’t know how many times I’ve prayed “God, help this to work” as I’ve been troubleshooting a computer as part of my job on the help desk. The God we are called to fully love invites us come to Him with the little cares of our lives as well as the turmoil, like I talked about earlier.
Recently, I’ve started to ask God to be the greatest desire of my heart. While I can’t tell specifically one moment that I’ve seen the answer to this, I can sense God gently molding my heart to desire and follow Him more. I’ve learned the joy of praying like Jesus “yet not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42). It’s a big prayer to pray, but it’s beautiful to see Him faithfully answer.
As we prioritize time with God, savor His Word, and seek Him in prayer, we live out loving the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind. This is the greatest commandment, according to Jesus, but it’s not the only one. The second is to love our neighbor as ourselves (see Matthew 22:37-40).
As single women, neighbors – the friends and community around us – are important. We’re not to live the Christian life alone. We need to seek community and seek service as ways to thrive in loving others. Next time we’ll look into what seeking community can look like.