After graduating in summer 2012, I took a gap year. I simply needed a year out to figure myself out and tick some stuff off the to-do list. I am an avid believer in self-improvement so I made a list from learning to ride a bike, to baking, to doing a study of every chapter in the bible before I have to face the distractions of the grad job. I even threw in the good old write a quality novel while I was at it (and I’m still on chapter 1 after how many months). Basically, over the few months of my life, I am meant to become a superwoman and acquire every skill I need in life.
I can hear you wondering why I decided to waste your time by posting about my to-do list. And no it isn’t so you can tell me that my goals and timescale are not only impossible but also more than slightly ridiculous. Putting it on paper has pointed that out way too clearly, so please step away from the comment box for a minute longer. This post is less about the list, but more about the motivation behind the list.
If I am being honest a lot of the skills I want to gain are based upon the type of wife and mother I want to be someday. So I want to learn how to bake, so I can bake with my kids and I want to learn French so I can teach them the language. I am in no way saying that I am ready for marriage or kids, but somehow I find myself preparing for it.
Generally, is that such a bad thing? No! It’s a little bit weird in my opinion, but definitely never a bad thing to be prepared. In fact, if anyone had suggested to me that this isn’t a great thing, they would have been subjected to an impassioned and very long speech about how preparation is vital to doing anything well. Examples and illustrations included.
The issue is that for a 22 year old, I find that I think about marriage a lot. Please note that I said marriage and not weddings. This could be because apparently I’m mature for my years (they haven’t seen dance along to the fimbles yet – if you don’t know fimbles it means you don’t watch shows aimed at 4 year olds). Maybe it’s because I have people of marrying age in my life, or maybe it’s because as soon as I finished my degree people started asking me where my husband was like I went to uni to find a man. But this post is not about why I think the way I do; it’s about whether it’s okay for me to think the way I do.
If anyone asked me what the most important thing in my life was I would instantly answer “my relationship with God”. If I was then told to take some time to think about it, I would come back with the answer “my relationship with God”. But my actions don’t seem to match my answer.
For example, I recently received two consecutive emails from a Christian friend. They were sermons. The first email was about being a good Christian. I clicked on it, but I had to be up by 5am and it was already late, so I would check it out tomorrow. Then the second email came. This was another sermon. It was about marriage. I clicked on it and my 5am wakeup call didn’t matter so much.
While it is great to think about my future marriage, am I doing it at the expense of my present? When I think of the future are there more important things than marriage to think about?
At present, I am not a wife nor am I a mother. Right now, I am a recent graduate, a friend, a sister, a daughter and a child of God.
When I get a job, I will still be a friend, sister, daughter and child of God.
When I get married I will still be a friend, sister, daughter and child of God.
When I have children I will still be a friend, sister, daughter and child of God.
Those are part of my permanent identity. Most important is being a child of God because that is the identity that follows me through life to after death.
So isn’t that what I should be preparing for the most? So what if this world comes to an end before I get married? What will I tell God? That if he gave me more time I would have been able to spare sometime after I got married to focus fully on Him?
This is the full picture!
This life is temporary, we are not going to be on this earth forever, so we have to figure out what important to us and focus on that. What's important to me is living a life that glorifies God and spending eternity with Him. I don’t know how I became so focused on marriage, but the reason doesn’t matter. All that matters now is making my actions match my words.
The bible says watch your salvation with fear and trembling because sometimes we can be distracted from God even by the things he considers to be good. So my mantra is Matthew 6: 33 “seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Father conform my heart to match Yours and cause me to live out Your will,