Good doctrine protects us from all kinds of errors and all kinds of fears. One of the important things you must know, understand, and believe is that God has planned good for you and not evil. He loves His children. His
Providence rules His world and He governs His people with kindness. â€œAll the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimoniesâ€ (Psalm 25:10). If you have a solid biblical doctrine of Godâ€™s omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience, this will protect you from many doubts, worries, and fears about the future, as well as keep you from fretting over the past.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The unmarried woman can expect to be assailed with temptations to worry about the future: What if I never marry? What if I marry, but it is too late to have children? What if there is no one for me after all? What if I missed â€œGodâ€™s bestâ€? These are questions that are impossible to answer because all â€œwhat ifâ€ questions are not really questions at all, but doubts. They disrupt your peace and bring troubling thoughts; they rob you of your joy by introducing fictional and future trials. Jesus said not to borrow trouble because each day has enough of its own. These sorts of thoughts are temptations, and God wants you to learn to deal with temptations, whatever form they take.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Jesus tells us not to be anxious about our lives (Mt. 6:31-33). We are to cast all our cares on Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).Worrying will only make life miserable. It is fruitless. So how do you deal with temptations that come in the form of â€œwhat ifâ€ questions? This may seem like a simplistic answer, but here it is: ignore them. Do not answer them; in fact, do not listen to them. Rather, ask what good things God has given you to do today. Focus on todayâ€™s duties. This is a fruitful use of your time. Recognize that those â€œwhat ifâ€ questions are temptations to get you to feel blue, worried, lonely, or anxious. Do not engage in a conversation with yourself about this stuff. Ignore, ignore, ignore. And set your mind on something helpful, something that is profitable. This is how we fear God. And when we fear God, that holy fear swallows up all our other petty fears.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â If you have a long history of worrying about such things, it may take you a while to change your habits. You may not even realize how much time each day you are thinking such thoughts. Start paying attention to your thought habits and reject the questions. Do not listen. If you were listening to a radio station that starting playing obnoxious music, you would change the station. Do the same thing with the conversation in your mind. Change the station.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Jesus has promised that He will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). This is the reason that every Christian can be content with the circumstances God has given. He is always with us through every trial. Thomas Watson, the great Puritan preacher, wrote that â€œIt is our work to cast away care; and it is Godâ€™s work to take care.â€ Godâ€™s Word is full of promises to us; we must believe them and rest in Godâ€™s care for us.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The other harassing temptation that the unmarried woman can be assaulted with is to fret over the past. â€œMaybe I should have married so-and-so after all.â€ â€œI wonder if I was being too pickyâ€¦â€ â€œMaybe I should have gone on that singlesâ€™ retreatâ€¦â€ Notice that temptations about the future often begin with â€œwhat if,â€ but temptations about the past often begin with â€œmaybe I should haveâ€¦â€ or â€œI wonder ifâ€¦â€ And of course, these have no legitimate answer either. The only way to respond to â€œWhat if I never get married?â€ is to say, â€œWhat if I do?â€ And the only way to answer, â€œMaybe I should have married Steveâ€ is to say â€œMaybe I shouldnâ€™t have!â€ Some wise saint has said, â€œDonâ€™t doubt in the dark what you knew in the light.â€ If it was clear that Steve was not the one back â€œin the light of day,â€ donâ€™t begin to worry about it now. You may be feeling lonely which affects your good judgment. Once you get into a worrying state of mind, you have a low sales resistance to other sins: self-pity, bitterness, self-centeredness, etc.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â If you have sinned objectively, confess it. For example, if you knew that Steve was a godly man that you respected highly, but you didnâ€™t want to give up your non- Christian boyfriend, then that is certainly an objective sin to confess. But doubts donâ€™t go away even if you confess them all day long because you are confessing the wrong thing. Donâ€™t confess the doubts; rather, confess listening to the doubts, and then forsake the wrong doing. Quit listening! Change the station! Donâ€™t fret about the past and donâ€™t worry about the future.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Have you ever noticed how unattractive worry is on other people? Being anxiety-ridden is like taking ugly pills. This kind of worry is really self-centeredness. It is all about me and my life and my future. On the other hand, a spirit that is resting in the Lord and rejoicing in Him is lovely to behold. This kind of spirit can focus on others and is not distracted with its own needs. Cultivate this kind of internal beauty and quit taking the ugly pills.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â As you get rid of worry of all kinds, replace it with the right kind of thinking. You are not living out Godâ€™s second best. He is writing your story, and it is a good one. Believe Him. If you are walking in faith, you have grounds to believe that your story is a blessed one. But if you are living in disobedience, you may think you need to take the pen to write the next chapter yourself. You might be afraid of what God has in store for you. But He promises blessing to those who walk in His covenant. If you are living in disobedience, then you have no grounds for assuming that the story has a happy ending. But if you are walking by faith, confessing your sins, and seeking to please God, you can know that He will bless you. Your faith may be tested, but so is everyone elseâ€™s. Remember that testing produces patience, experience, and hope (Romans 5:3-5).Â God tailors our circumstances according to our soulâ€™s needs, for our soulâ€™s good. This should be an encouragement! God is concerned with our souls, and we should be as well.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Godâ€™s promises are not just for the married people. They are for all those who are His. Your duty is to believe Him. Believe that He is ordering your life for your good and His glory. Then look around to your duties so you can serve Him more devotedly, more entirely, more fully. And ask Him to give you great joy in your duties as you trust Him. Refuse to play any guessing games or â€œwhat-ifâ€ games that destroy your joy and trouble your soul. You can then be sure that not only is your life not Godâ€™s second-best plan for you, but it is the abundant life that Christ promised, a life that is vibrant and self-sacrificial, full of peace and overflowing with joy.