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Archive for December, 2011

Dearest blogging world, I have missed you in these last several weeks of chaos. Now that the crickets have been shooed, the mantle dusted, and the curtains opened to rejuvenate the space that is my blog, let us move forward with our friendship as I share with you my most recently mulled-over topic.

Are you a New Year’s resolution maker? I am not. I have the heart of a punkish nonconformist in general so I typically reject traditions like this. That’s another topic though. I am actually making some resolutions this year BUT, I have already made and starting working towards these goals, now, thus making them general resolutions relatively unattached to the New Year. One of them regards my seemingly terminal status as a single woman.

For those of you who don’t know, I am about as single as a gal can be. I haven’t been on a date since 2004—gasp if you must—and have no prospects at the moment. Please don’t misread any of this to be written in a tone of woe, it’s not. However, if I told you it’s all been a pleasant ride through flowery meadows free of conflict, my nose would grow in Pinocchio-esque fashion.

Well, throughout all of the tough and peaceful times regarding this issue, I have never experienced anything as weird as what’s happened this year. Apparently, for me, the age of 25 is the official age that several people have decided that my singlehood is pitiful. I am no longer a young independent woman, but a lost soul that must be ushered into a relationship as soon as possible. Such people may even be reading this. If you are, please know that I love you and appreciate the loving intentions behind the actions. This weirdness, which I have come to refer to as the “25 = Sad Sack Phenomenon,” has led me to an epiphany. By the way, I acknowledge that this issue has happened to others prior to or after age 25.

First of all, in total disclosure, I have to admit that I have personally believed the “25 = Sad Sack Phenomenon.” This was the first birthday that struck a chord with me for a number of reasons in the form of a lovely quarter-life crisis. Among other reflections, I was confronted with some gusto by the long-held idea that I would not be single by this age. Shortly after, something started changing in my heart, subtly but powerfully.

Skipping ahead to the past couple months, I’ll share my resolution with you. My resolution is to BE SINGLE. Of course, I am already single in terms of status, but that’s not what I mean. I mean that I want to strive to truly love my singleness (and have already begun to do so. I don’t want to be “single and waiting” or “single with eyes always roving for ‘the one’.” I’ve been this person at times. The truth is, though I’ve often felt that marriage is in my future, I have NO way of knowing that. God alone knows what my future holds and it could very well hold a lifetime of singlehood. Therefore, I want to live as one who is single…period.

What would a real epiphany be without a hearty dose of conviction and self-realization preceding it? Not to worry, friends, as I have had such a helping. A couple weeks ago, I was chatting with God and all of a sudden, I realized a belief I’ve held for a long time which seems to be at the core of my difficulties in this area.

First, I must acknowledge the fact that we, as people, find the task of contentedness with the present to be a near-impossible feat. I am absolutely no exception. In fact, I have a great deal of difficulty living in reality in general, not just this present reality. This, however, is not what I want to focus on for the latter part of what’s becoming quite a long post.

What I’ve realized is that I’ve been looking at singlehood through a very specific lens, a lens that I think many people utilize. I think we have a tendency to look at being in love, or even just being in a relationship, as the ultimate “high” or goal. I remember sitting in a circle of women in college sharing life’s ambitions. I kid you not, at least 90% said “get married and have a family.” I acknowledged wanting to get married as an ultimate goal (though not the only goal.) For the sake of avoiding a tangent, I’m not going to go into why I think that is.

To realize that I regarded marriage as “the ultimate” and grasp the full weight of this realization has been light to a formerly dark corner of my psyche. The flipside of this realization is even more enlightening. If I was regarding relationships/marriage as “the ultimate,” what was I labeling this lengthy period of singlehood to be? The answer: a trial or punishment. A trial or punishment!

Realizing this has given me a new perspective and the fantastic ability to point at such thoughts and exclaim, “That’s ridiculous!” This comes from God alone as I don’t even know how it came to be. It’s the truth though and I think a lot of singles, especially single women, need to face their own tendencies/perspectives in this area and ask with great scrutiny, “What would happen if I actually found full-blown joy, not just tolerance (which we Christians often cover up by saying “contentedness”), in being single?” What would happen if we all did?

I’ll close with a brief look at someone from the Bible. A persecuting Pharisee-turned-Apostle, a Jewish tent-maker and Kingdom-builder…You know him, you love him, you’re probably convicted through his words ALL the time…it’s PAUL! Paul was certainly a man to take notice of, but how often have you thought about the fact that Paul was single? Dramatic pause…

Paul was largely responsible for bringing the good news of Christ to the non-Jews (a.k.a. Gentiles) of his day. He wrote a tremendously large portion of the New Testament. Most sensationally, though, Paul was not about what he did. He did what he did because he knew God in such a way that many modern Christians can’t even fathom. I’m sure he wasn’t perfect, but he was wholeheartedly God’s and God, in turn, blessed Paul with Himself in great Love, Power, Joy, Peace, and Wondrousness. Paul was meant to be single. It was God’s gift to him. Paul was even aware of the magnitude of the gift and regarded singles as highly blessed (1 Corinthians 7, especially verses 34-35.)

That, my dear friends, is my deepest desire. I want to be wholly God’s and experience Him as fully as possible. This isn’t possible if I don’t regard my single status as the gift it truly is. It’s a gift, a blessing, a way of living with phenomenal potential. I must have been breaking His heart to regard it as a punishment. Was He lovingly saying, “Dear Child, you’re missing it!” to someone with cotton-stuffed ears? I think so.

I’m not saying that I’ve renounced dating (not that I’ve much to renounce.) Marriage is blessed in its own way, as the Bible states, though clearly distinct from the single life. Furthermore, I’ve seen some amazing couples that are clearly nestled in the center of God’s will by being married. This past weekend, I was beyond honored to be a part of one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever been to, for one such couple. It was a breathtaking and powerful reflection of God Himself. If I am to be married one day, grand!, though I will not settle for anything less than my own version of such a coupling.

What I am saying is that I don’t want to miss God’s plans for me as a blessed single person any longer. This is the heart of this non-New Year’s resolution. I am devoting myself to seeking, and no doubt finding, all the love, joy, and enchantment He has for me as a single woman. It’s not about patience in waiting, controlling desires, or preparing myself for future marriage though all of these may occur. It’s about living the life I have right now to the fullest. (John 10:10.)

Another great blog on this topic as written by a pastor at one of my best friend’s churches: http://www.facebook.com/notes/stephanie-williams/my-story-making-the-most-of-your-single-life-bethel-university-chapel-october-20/10150920565550217

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