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31 Days to Keep a Tender Heart: October 3


It’s hard for me when caring people who mean well and want to encourage me in the process of trusting God and waiting on His timing say the wrong thing.
(Before I get into this any further, please know that if you have ever said something like this to me, then I forgive you.)

People often tell me, “Oh Jody, it will happen when you’re not looking for it.”
To this, I secretly want to respond, “Oh, really?! Well, that’s helpful because I have a lot of control over this desire and I can just stop looking for it to be fulfilled whenever I want. Thanks for sharing the magic formula with me. I guess if I had realized this sooner, then I could have stopped looking for someone and been married a long time ago. Too bad, I’ve been doing it wrong all this time and suffering needlessly.”

Sometimes, I’m so frustrated by this comment that I don’t even want to respond with a sassy retort. I just want to hit the person making the comment. I want to yell at them that they have no idea what my experience is like and comments like this just hurt my feelings and tempt me to undergo a complete emotional shutdown. I usually stuff down all of this hurt and anger that bubbles up in my heart and bite my tongue so that I can nod politely at the person who is speaking. This is also when I usually tell myself that I should stop talking about my struggle with singleness because it will help me to avoid receiving this type of advice, which feels so painful.
The real problem is that I wish that there was a magic formula that I could follow. Like a heavenly vending machine, so that if I just put in the right amount, then my husband will instantly be dispensed. I wish it was just something I was doing wrong so that I could correct it and find someone. But, the reality is that finding someone to marry is more complicated than this.

Here is my system for handling my heart gently when caring people make offensive comments:

1)      Stop and calm down. Take a few deep breaths before you say or do anything.

2)      Remember that this person cares about you and just wants to help.

3)      Remember that there really isn’t a “right” response to someone who is feeling the way that you feel and this person is probably trying the best that they can to encourage you. They aren’t trying to hurt your feelings.

4)      Entrust your reaction and feelings to God. He does understand how you feel and He will help you know how to respond.
I am also trying to teach myself to understand this statement differently. An alternative interpretation is to hear: “Jody, I can only imagine what a difficult process this is for you. I hope that you can find joy and peace in your relationship with God that will comfort your heart. I hope that you can enjoy all of the blessings that He is giving you now and that this pleasure will supersede the pain of waiting and not knowing. I pray that He will help you to steward this desire well so that you can celebrate your present even as you are excited about the future.”

This is something that I would be encouraged to hear. And now, if I ever start telling you how I’m struggling with my singleness and you want an idea of what to say in response, you have an idea.
Still counting gifts:

·         #461: Beautiful running weather

·         #462: Capturing the view with my camera

·         #463: A spontaneous prayer meeting with my parents

·         #464: Nespresso while I’m getting ready for work

·         #465: God’s grace to hold the hearts of each hurting person I meet

·         #466: Fasting with a real desire to see God, rather than legalism

·         #467: Meeting my sister by chance in the basement (We usually only see each other on weekends because our schedules are completely opposite)

·         #468: Playing Ticket to Ride with a neighbor friend

 

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