When I was single I remember having this passion for discipleship and ministry in which all I wanted to do was read the Bible, gain the knowledge of the Holy, put that knowledge to action in service and help others do the same.
I distinctly remember being 100% all-in. I was free from distraction in my walk with Christ and it was life-giving and utterly amazing!
And then it all changed.
I’ve recently become aware that my mind is divided. I still greatly desire to spend hours pouring over theology books and doing ministry over coffee. I desperately want to be able to drop everything and rush to the need of a friend, or even to do so at two in the morning like I did in college. I want to do women’s ministry bible studies and mission trips (every single one). I want to do all the things I used to do.
But I can’t.
Everything gets filtered through the grid of family obligations and impact.
I have kids to think about. I can’t simply make decisions, even for “spiritual things” without thinking about what it takes away from my family, even if all it does is make me more tired while not changing anything for them. When I’m tired, I get grouchy. When I get grouchy, I am less self-controlled with my tongue and my patience. Therefore, we all have a bad day & Mommy repents a lot to her children and husband.
And then I was reminded of this passage of Scripture found in 1 Corinthians 7:
But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.” (vs 32-35)
Granted, this entire section of Scripture is talking about principles for marriage. Paul is re-iterating the effects that marriage has on a person – they are divided in focus & interests.
However, as my heart is screaming for a balance between desiring so much to retain the passion for the Word and ministry like I used to have with the tension of how that impacts the other people who are intrinsically tied to me, it perfectly demonstrates one enormous truth to me.
Feeling unbalanced & distracted is normal.
Paul even states that when we’re single, our only care is for the Lord and how to please Him. However, our hearts are divided when we are married – which means we now have someone else to think about.
Our spouses and families are directly impacted by our decisions – whether they be decisions in work, where we’re going to live, how to be involved in ministry, how much time to devote to ministry, etc. We will have tension as being part of a family shift our priorities and perspective.
Let me be clear here: I am not saying that we no longer need to pursue the Lord after we’re hitched to a family. What I am saying, is that it will look different & we will need to consider them before making decisions. There will be friction within our own hearts between what we want to do & what we can do.
So, while I do greatly miss that “apostolic passion” (a Floyd McClung term for excitement and fervor for spiritual growth which encompasses one’s decisions and time), I am so very grateful for the lives that I get to share my life with. I couldn’t imagine being single again with all the time in the world to pursue Christ & be a missionary. Instead, I now get to read super simple books about Jesus feeding the 5,000 with 2 adorable young kids who exclaim, “I think there were too many people in the crowd!”