My Facebook news feed has been taken over by engagement announcements. I thought I could remain unbothered, but I am human and petty.
In my less petty past, I eagerly scrolled through these announcements, “oohing” and “ahhing” over the happy couple. I could click that “Love” reaction button with sincere best wishes. But a few weeks ago, I grimaced and rolled my eyes. My first reaction was not “awwww” — it was “ugh.” Fear-inducing thoughts went through my head as I looked at that particular engagement post.
“Not another one.”
“I can’t believe she found someone before I did.”
“Am I about to enter that stage where I am left behind in the relationship department?”
Just so it’s clear, I have absolutely no issue with the girl in the engagement post that sent me over the edge. She is a sweet, kind and humble person. The problem was not with the post, but with my heart. My heart was accusing God of overlooking me.
“No good thing does He withhold”
I’m a late-twenty-something single female, and my search for Mr. Right can preoccupy a good amount of my thinking. Our culture loves the idea of love; reality dating shows like “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” are popular for a reason. In fact, if you sit through one episode, your brain will start to go numb to the contestants going on and on about how finding that one special person will change their life for the better. Finding that special someone is everything and then some.
This, combined with 28 years of Disney princess movies, can start to mess with your mind. In fact, I start to believe that the ultimate good in my life is not a relationship with Jesus, but my relationship status. And since that’s my ultimate good, what business does God have keeping that from me? Aren’t we told in Psalm 84:11 that “no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless…”?
Tale as old as time
I’m hoping it’s obvious why that reasoning is so incredibly flawed. At the root of it is a lie as old as time: God cannot be trusted. This is a devastatingly destructive mindset. Satan knows it, too. If he can succeed in eroding trust in God, he’s significantly damaged our ability to recognize God’s faithfulness and love towards us. Once that happens, the next deception is that not only is God holding out on us, He’s blessing everyone but us.
Friends, it can be so difficult to see through the absurdity of that accusation against God, especially when we are dealing with a withheld heart’s desire that is simultaneously plastered all over your social media. I don’t know about you, but my relationship with Him suffers while I’m struggling with seeing through the fog. Here are two suggestions I’ve found helpful for continuing to nurture my relationship with God during these times:
1. Take a social media break
This depends on what you are dealing with, but nine times out of ten your friends are posting about that thing you are wanting (new job, new baby, new boo). Social media depression is a real thing, folks. As I shared earlier, it can really get under my skin to constantly see people with what I want.
While it’s noble and godly to rejoice with those who rejoice, it might be a good idea to step back and mentally regroup from a constant barrage of other people’s celebratory posts. Posts that don’t tell the whole story can falsely lead you to believe that someone else’s life is all good, leading you into a deluge of self-pity. It’s OK to take a step back.
2. Get really honest with God
Who else is uncomfortable with the idea of letting God know something is breaking their heart? I am the queen of “I’m fine,” and I often take that same attitude to God. Isn’t that the holy thing to do? After all, He gives and takes away and we just need to have a stiff upper lip. I think David, whom God called a man after His own heart, would beg to differ. We have records of his prayers in Psalms, and so many of them are painfully raw.
Because God highly values a relationship with you, He deeply loves and longs to comfort you in the pain of unrealized desires. How will we receive that comfort if we don’t go to Him? I’ve found it extremely helpful to tell Him immediately when I recognize I’m heading into self-pity. Sometimes I let my resentment fester and I go to Him with clenched fists and tears. Whenever I go to Him, He has always been faithful to meet me with a timely, personalized word of encouragement that I come to treasure.
Maybe you are dealing with the same unrealized dream that I am, or maybe it’s something else. Whatever it is, may we grow to see that God is not overlooking us or holding out on us. And may we find that He leads us to an even deeper satisfaction in giving us himself.