Alone at Heart: Looking to Fill the Void
- Monday, September 10, 2012
Married or not, I think we all, at one time or another, feel alone at heart.
Sandy is single, and she's felt that way many times.
"I don't like being single," she told me one day with tears in her eyes. "I've always wanted to be a wife and a mother and I can't imagine that God wouldn't have that in store for me."
Sandy has heard all the classic lines:
Trust in God's timing, not your own.
Focus on your relationship with God and then He'll give you a relationship with a man.
When you stop looking for love, you'll find it.
But the lines aren't helping anymore. And now that Sandy is approaching her 30s, she's frightened that her possibilities of finding someone at this point in life are growing gravely slimmer.
"The worst thing is coming home at night to an empty house and walking through the door into the silence," she told me. "There's no one to welcome me, no one to be excited that I'm there." Sandy knows in her head that God is there, but she still feels alone at heart.
Vickie is alone at heart as well. But she has been married for 30 years. She admits that when she married at 18 years old, she never imagined she would ever feel alone. But living with a man who tends to distance himself from her emotionally whenever there is conflict or stress, has left Vickie walking alone through much of her marriage.
Sorting Through the Myths
From the time most of us were little girls, we heard that our key to happiness was to fall in love, marry, and live happily ever after. And so, from the time we're fed the fairy tale, we convince ourselves that as long as we find someone to share our life with, we will never walk alone. But it just isn't true.
If we marry a man who travels often or is consumed with his job, we may find ourselves feeling alone. If we marry a man who seldom communicates or won't make an emotional connection with us, we may feel alone. If we never marry, or we find ourselves eventually divorced or widowed, we may feel alone.
I believe it's because we, as women, were made to be "helpers" (Genesis 2:18). We were wired for relationships. We also know from Scripture that God created us, as women, in His image (Genesis 1:27), and so our nature to love and be loved completely not only reflects God's characteristics, but His perfect design for us as well. But God knew good and well that men in and of themselves would not be able to completely fill our emotional tank. In fact, I think He was planning on it. I think by making us with needs that only He could fill, He was reserving a place in our hearts for Him alone. Perhaps He was placing in us a well so deep that only He could fill it, and that way, married or not, we would be neither content nor complete until we were in close relationship with Him.
Scripture also tells us that God is a jealous God (Exodus 20:4-5) and He will be second to no man in our lives. He demands—and deserves—to be first place in our hearts. To you and I, He wants to be The Man...the One who keeps us from feeling alone at heart.
Putting Marriage in Its Proper Place
While it is natural for us to long for marriage, a marriage here on earth is temporary. It will last, at the most, until you or your spouse dies. But marriage with the Lord will last into eternity. And I’ve found that in my own experiences of being lonely at heart (for the most part, married to a pastor who is an introvert and very busy in ministry), focusing on my heavenly Husband is one sure way to get my mind off of unmet expectations in my earthly marriage and to still live in joy as a woman much loved.
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