Since dumping cable, I have become an avid YouTube viewer. My diverse list of subscriptions includes airline pilots, historians, and dairy farmers. I don’t know how my sister and I first came across the dairy farming vlogs, but we have been following a couple of them for about a year. My favorite part of these vlogs is the calves. When new calves are born, they are taken from their mothers and given their own stall in a row of other recent arrivals. Nature is cruel, and separating them from their mother and the other calves keeps them healthier. I’ve observed that when people come by, the calves get excited. I suspect this is primarily due to the prospect of being fed, but they seem to want attention, too. Tails wag with excitement, and you can see that they enjoy a pat on the head or having their face rubbed. Lately, I feel like one of those calves: isolated and living for those rare times someone comes by, with hope that I might get a pat on the head.
I sometimes think God keeps me isolated because I can’t be trusted to handle any actual affection. My track record for the handful of years that I received attention from men is pathetic. I made one stupid decision after another. I know I have learned a lot in the twenty years since then, but I have only had one real opportunity to demonstrate that I can act like an adult, make good decisions, and guard my heart, in spite of my desperation for love and affection. The chance to prove my maturity came thirteen years ago. I got set up with someone, and we went out a few times. I surprised myself with how well I handled the situation. In the end, it hurt to be rejected, as it always does. But I wasn’t heart-broken because I hadn’t let myself become more attached than was warranted under the circumstances. I felt like I had passed a test.
Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.Psalms 16:1-4
I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”
As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.
The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names on my lips.
Looking back, I wonder if thirty-years-old just happened to be the point on the graph where my ratio of maturity to desperation was most optimal. I know I have matured more in the years since, but at the same time, those are years where I have not received any attention. I worry that in spite of my efforts to focus on following Jesus, my desperation level has also increased. Is God keeping me isolated because I can’t be trusted to have a man in my life? Am I the kind of woman who would cast God aside and put Him second, if I had the opportunity to belong to someone else? I want to believe that I can handle balancing devotion to God and a good relationship with a man, but when I look at where my relationship with God is right now, I see how divided my heart already is. Perhaps God has separated me out in order to keep me true to Him.
The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup;Psalms 16:5-8
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
I bless the LORD who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the LORD always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
The dairy farmers know what is best for the calves, so that they can grow up strong and healthy. How much more perfectly God knows exactly what is best for me! Scripture tells us that He satisfies us with good. His good is more than enough for me; I should never cease to praise Him for this. God desires my sanctification. It must be best for me to go through this refining process alone, or He would have given me a partner. I know it isn’t actually an issue of whether or not God can trust me. Rather, He knows my weaknesses and my limits, and He will not allow me to be tempted beyond what I can endure (1 Cor. 10:13). Instead, He leads me in paths of righteousness, and He keeps my feet from slipping.
Therefore my heart is glad and my whole being rejoices;Psalms 16:9-11
my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
This week, God brought me to Psalm 16. Verse five begins, “The LORD is my chosen portion. . .” In years past, I have been told that if I wanted to be married, I could be. Not only is this true, but someone always came to mind. I believe he would have married me, if I had allowed myself to have a romantic relationship with him. For all of my stupid mistakes, this was a situation where I decided that my relationship with God was more important. We were flint and steel, but he was not a believer. I remember sitting in a friend’s room at the academy, while she and her future husband, my dear sister and brother in Christ, encouraged me to make what I knew was the right decision with regard to that young man. Now, as then, I seek God’s will for my life: “I say to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.’”