I stumbled across a friend’s profile on Twitter the other day. I hadn’t seen her for a decade so I was interested to see what she was up to.
I was surprised when I read her profile and it simply said: “…Married…”
What? Married? It wasn’t amazing to me that someone had asked her to live side-by-side with them forever. What stunned me is that she wore her marriage as a status symbol.
Looking at her profile, I thought about all the relationships I’ve seen begin and end with a “relationship status” on Facebook. I’ve listened into conversations where couples have discussed whether it’s “too soon” to change their relationship status on Twitter.
I guess what I’m saying is that I shouldn’t have been surprised my friend defined her life by her relationship status, because so many people do.
And I’ll be honest; I once thought being in a relationship was important enough to update on Facebook. I even believed that putting a ring on my finger would somehow mean I was worthy, beautiful and loved.
It was discovering 1 Corinthians 7:17 in my early twenties, one night while home alone, that made me rethink my thoughts on whether or not a relationship status could make me a better or worse person.
My favorite version of this verse comes from the Message Bible:
And don't be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God's place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. God, not your marital status, defines your life.
I sat there and wondered how God had known I needed those words. How God knew I wished to be out that night with a man who loved me.
What I needed to hear that night, and many nights since, was that God had a place for me and that who he says I am is more important than anything I believe about myself.
The night, that verse so amazed me that I spent an hour writing it out and turning it into a poster to put on my wall. I read that poster everyday.
It is so easy to get caught up in thoughts like, “One day when I’m married I will…” or “If I was single I could…” but this verse reminded me that where I am right now is exactly where God wants me. And that my job is to just live, obey, love and believe right here.
This verse helped me when I was single to seek God’s definition of who I am. It reminded me when I was dating that I was first God’s daughter before I was my boyfriend’s date. And in marriage, it has given me the courage to love my courageous husband through 18 chemotherapy sessions, radiation and a stem cell transplant.
No matter what season of life I’ve been in, 1 Corinthians 7:17 has reminded me that regardless of where I am or who I am with, I am exactly where God wants me and in the best place for him to use me.
If you’re reading this and thinking, ‘God, sometimes I wish I was someplace else or with someone else, but I really want to learn to live and obey and love and believe right here’ then you might want to write 1 Corinthians 7:17 down, put it in your pocket or somewhere you will see it every day, and read it every chance you get. I found reading this verse on a daily basis helped to massage God’s message into my heart.
You might be thinking, alright, I want God to define me but what does that look like? Here’s a little list of what it being defined by God means to me.
A women defined by God:
- Knows to whom she belongs (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
- Believes she is God’s masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10)
- Accepts God delights in her (Zephaniah 3:17)
- Embraces others because she knows she is deeply loved by God (Jeremiah 31:3)
- Lives with purpose (Jeremiah 29:11)
- Trusts God is with her always (Deuteronomy 31:8)
As I’ve learned to live defined by God, I’ve discovered that I can find contentment no matter my relationship status.
Wendy van Eyck is married to Xylon, who talks non-stop about cycling, and makes her laugh. She writes for anyone who has ever held a loved one’s hand through illness, ever believed in God despite hard circumstances or ever left on a spontaneous 2-week holiday through a foreign land with just a backpack. You can follow Wendy’s story and subscribe to receive her free ebook, “Life, life and more life” at ilovedevotionals.com. She would also love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter.