Four years ago, my friend Courtney wrote a blog post that pulled me out of a whirlwind of consumerism and grounded me in Gospel realities. I think about it all the time and read it once a year at least. Valentine’s Day seems like the perfect anniversary for this kind of remembrance. Do yourself a favor and read it. Especially if you’ve had a lot of encounters with Glee or any other media that leads you to hope in whatever it is you don’t have instead of hoping in Christ who is everything.
Originally posted February 18, 2008:
I have been pondering this post for quite some time, honestly. As a married woman, many single girls feel I can’t relate to their plight. The emotional roller coaster of wanting to be content but wanting someone to share your life with. However, it seems to me that I should have some credibility to speak to the issue of singleness; maybe even MORE credibility to speak to the issue than someone who is single. After all, I have been single, and now I am not. So the horizon of my perspective has been broadened PAST singleness. I have something to compare singleness to.
With that said, I realize it’s been awhile since I’ve been single. I am THAT girl. I remember seeing my future husband for the first time when he was in 5th grade and wore an Edison Eagles letter jacket. I went to church camp with him. I broke up with him twice (just ask him – he loves to tell people about it), I grew up with him and I treasure that. I found the love of my life at 16 years old, and our biggest concern was waiting to get married until our parents wouldn’t freak out on us (which they still kind of did). April 10th will mark 12 years of non-singleness for me. I’m not rubbing it in. Really. I am saying that I GET that I haven’t exactly been a single adult. So in that respect, I will fall back on the authority of scripture rather than that of my own experience. I can speak to the issue of singleness, whether I am married or single, because I speak to it backed up by the authority of God’s word.
The recent posts on Valentine’s Day and Singleness (there have been many from different people) make me laugh a little, in a totally non-condescending way. People are frustrated because everywhere they look they see a reminder that they are single, or feel pressure that they should have someone. But that “everywhere” that is being looked at is the world! Commercials, mostly, or some form of commercialism, is what conveys this message. I could quite easily post an identical message about how I am sick and tired, and all I would have to do is replace the word “man” with “money”. See, I’m not rich (according to American standards, which are ridiculous). What, you didn’t know? But if I listened to the world all the time, I would be made to feel like I should be America’s “rich”. Just like single girls always feel like they are being told they need a man to be complete. I would be told constantly, if I were listening, that I need money to have a fulfilling life. Even in religious circles, I would be told that the Lord wants to bless me, which somehow gets interpreted to mean God wants me to be rich. So why don’t I have all the money I could want? Why are you single?
The problem is not singleness or romantic relationships, in the least. Nor is it financial windfall. It is contentedness. I know because at one point I was single and I thought that once I got married I would be content. All marriage did was free me up to want something else. Namely, babies. Then I had them. Now what can I want? A house? A mini-van? What else? There is always something. ALWAYS. That is, if I am listening to the world.
But awhile ago, I turned off my T.V. So I don’t get told that I need money. I even went as far as to turn off the well meaning voices of people who I love but who think that if I don’t save for retirement right now I am doing a disservice to my children. I turned to the Bible, where I’m told to sell my possessions and give to charity. I’m told to be generous so I can store up treasure in heaven and take hold of that which is life, indeed. I’m told that in giving up my desires, I find truth, which will make me free. I’m told to delight in the Lord that He may shape and then of course deliver to me the desires of my heart. Which means I may never get a Chevy Venture, but if I don’t get one, I shouldn’t want one either. Whether I want a man or money or kids or something else, contentedness is the answer. Because if we don’t learn to be content, we will never stop wanting, even if we get our coveted prize. There will simply be another piece of fruit in the garden, pleasing to the eye and good for food.
And on that note, a disapproving look to the notion that if you will be content for a little while, then God will give you what you want. So trust God, then he’ll drop a boy in your lap. Hmmm. Is God a slot-machine? I think not. Name it and claim it doesn’t work with money or health, so why would it work with romance? Yet I seem to see and hear hints of this misshapen theology, whether it be on Facebook or in conversations.
I will, at all times, trust the Lord. And maybe never get to own a house or a mini-van. I’ll be okay with that. You might never get married. Will you be okay with that? My husband could die before I see him again this evening. Will I be okay with that? With losing my children? My identity? My everythinginthisworld? My answer, unequivocally, is YES. Otherwise, I will waste my life wanting and wanting and wanting and never being satisfied. Because the only thing that will satisfy me is contentedness. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet lose or forfeit his very self?
All I ever wanted in life was to be a mom and wife. Now that I am one, I love it! I know some of you feel that way as well. Trust that the Lord would not give you those desires unless He planned on fulfilling them. Hard I know, but trust isn’t exactly easy.
Also, now that I am married and have children, I see all I wasted when I was single and had free reign with my time, money and resources. Don’t waste this phase of your life wishing you were in a different one. I did that, only to find out that the wanting was never fulfilled, just replaced with a new want. That is a tricky and effective tool of the enemy. And if the world keeps telling you that you won’t find worth until you find a man, quit talking to the world for awhile and get your perspectives in line with the Bible, because it, my friends, has a different song to sing when it comes to your life and what is valuable.
I advise we give up on the world telling us the right things. It just simply won’t happen. Silence the voice of the world, commercialism, and even American “Christianity”. Don’t complain about it, don’t acknowledge it, don’t listen to it! What freedom. I am blessed beyond belief, and amazingly rich both in this present world and in spiritual things. I refuse to look at what I think I lack when I am surrounded by abundance. What DO you have, single woman? A bridegroom who knows you inside and out, who doesn’t have to work to figure out what the heck you are thinking, who doesn’t leave his face shavings in the sink or dirty clothes on the floor, who doesn’t get annoyed when you do annoying things and who has an incredible plan for your life. Submit to your Bridegroom, wherever he leads you. Into marriage with an imperfect man who does all the aforementioned things, or into singleness for life. His will is good, pleasing and perfect. Duh, right?