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Already Beloved, Not Yet Pursued

Friends -- for what it's worth, this is as much for me as it may be for anyone else.  Not an expert, just an introvert with some thoughts...

The longer and deeper I come to know Jesus, the more truth I see to the phrase "already but not yet."  In the world of theology, we use this phrase to talk about how Jesus has already come to earth, but God is not yet finished revealing Himself to us.  Someday, Jesus will come back and everything will be known and seen for what it is in the eyes of God.  But for now, we live in an awkward in-between: already knowing more is coming, but not yet experiencing it.

On Valentine's Day, many of us live the "already but not yet" reality relationally: already dating, not yet engaged; already engaged, not yet married; already married, not yet parents; already parents, not yet sleeping through the night. ;)  There's always a next step -- always something more, always something missing.

But for those of us spending today feeling more "not yet" than "already," I just want to say a couple things:

1) I see you -- I'm right here with you.  Just because you're single, doesn't mean you have to be alone.  Hopefully, you are someone with friends and family who know you and love you for exactly who you are year-round, even if no one showed up with flowers for you today. I may not have a date today, but I still have precious and loving people who will show up tomorrow and the day after and the day after.  Ultimately, if given the choice between one date or a community, it's no contest -- give me community.

2) There is a lot of "already" to be enjoyed in this life.  I know there are a lot of words out there about how much we should be enjoying singleness -- and I hear them.  Really, it's a very valid point and we would be foolish to put our whole hope in one life event.  But I also know that sometimes, the repetition of how much we should enjoy something actually kind of erodes the joy itself.  Like someone telling you, "Yes, you SHOULD enjoy breathing oxygen -- you SHOULD enjoy your ability to run -- you SHOULD enjoy Chick-Fil-A and Chipotle (say my friends overseas who don't have these things) -- you SHOULD enjoy the fact that you have a warm bed and a place to stay tonight.  Some people are not so LUCKY."

You already know this... but just because someone tells you to like something or enjoy it or take advantage of it, doesn't mean your heart will absorb that sentiment and immediately display it.  One person's idea of "lucky" may be anything but encouraging to someone else.  And if you're a sensitive soul like me, it actually evokes some guilt because I know that I don't enjoy it like someone else might.  I understand the heart behind the sentiment "enjoy your single years," but in a back-handed way, they may as well be saying, "You don't know what's good for you, kid, because if you did, you'd never long for it to change."  (Pause: I've had some folks say this to me and in addition to unintentionally dismissing my perspective as valid, it also unintentionally does not make much of an argument for desiring marriage and/or a family... Is that what they meant to communicate?  No?  Huh... Maybe advice is just someone else's regret that's been re-packaged?)

In reality, I know that God's timing is perfect and He is sovereign and I also know that someday I will be a married woman.  But I think it's possible to see and enjoy the beauty of now AND anticipate the hope we have for our futures.  It's like saying, "I'm having a lot of fun in 5th grade, but I'm also stoked to turn 16 someday because I look forward to driving a car."  YES -- you can say both!  It doesn't make you a bad Christian to say that singleness is nice but you're looking forward to marriage.  We just shouldn't place all our hope and investment in either one of those two.

I give you permission (for what it's worth) to say what's true about your "already."  Love life or not -- this applies to all parts of life.  It's really hard to move forward well into our tomorrow's if we aren't honest with ourselves and with God about today.  This is why I say I am already beloved, but not yet pursued.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt I am loved and treasured right now, but I'm also confident that I won't spend all my days coming home to an empty house.  And if it turns out that I'm wrong, so be it -- God knew and His plan was always better.

And finally:

3) Don't neglect the power of YET.  I've decided if I were ever brave enough to get a tattoo, this is the word I'd want forever stamped on me.  Those three little letters speak volumes of power into even the most hopeless situations, especially when your hope is rooted in Jesus.  If you're reading this blog, you have a yet to be accomplished.  If God woke you up this morning, you're not done. :)  I don't know what your "yet" is, but I know it's out there and I hope you don't give up on it.  As it pertains to matters of the heart, I don't know what story God is writing with you, or me, or anyone else, but I know His character and I know He's the best author of stories there could be.  He is kind, faithful; He's the giver of good gifts and does not delay or delight in withholding good things from those He loves.  (So, if a relationship is something He is not providing right now, I have to trust that this is the best for right now.)  He is absolutely worthy of your heart and He is faithful to show us when and to whom to give our romantic affections when the day comes.  Don't lose hope -- time spent praying and talking with God about the things of our hearts is NEVER wasted time.  If my testimony has any weight at all, it's in God's ability to change stuff quickly and for my good and His glory.

Be encouraged today:  You matter.  Your story has purpose.  You belong.  You are loved by the Most High God.

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