If you’re single and you know it, clap your hands

Let not our longing slay the appetite of our living.

Jim Elliot

My friends and I talk about this all the time…all…the….time.  We all agree that we want to get married one day and sometimes shy away from really expressing that desire in attempts to avoid coming across as desperate or “on the prowl” because….seriously, yuck.

We realize this desire is a God-given desire and that it is good and normal and healthy and wonderful. Because of this, we pray for each other, encourage each other, and talk about how beautiful we all are and then we sing songs and clap and eat dark chocolate and talk about how cool we are that we are almost 30 or in our 30’s and still single.

There’s the word….

Still...I have never felt so indifferent about a word as I do about the word “still”. I feel like the implication of this word, is that something is missing in order to be fully…complete. I sometimes catch myself saying things like “I just didn’t imagine being 29 years old and still single.” Do you see what I mean? Can you see how the implication of this sentence could be that deep down, I feel that I am somehow incomplete. (Insert Jerry McGuire’s “You complete me” line here….I feel like this line along with Edward Cullen have given women more false hope than actually nailing a project/recipe on Pinterest…)

My point is this:  In my heart if I am totally honest, sometimes I feel that I have either missed or skipped a step in life’s “natural progression”. Anytime you “miss or skip” something, you feel loss or maybe even a subtle emptiness of sorts.  Through the very thin lens of my perception, I think that this whole idea of “something’s missing” may very well have started at a healthy desire to be married, but perhaps took a few wrong turns down “comparison lane” or perhaps began looking to ourselves and others for security rather than Jesus.

We read in Genesis about creation and it is beautiful, it is amazing and it is straight from the mind and heart of God. Then comes the clincher, the miracle and the ah-ha moment….God created man out of His breath and the dust of the ground. Out.Of.Dust!? Amazing. He then and said that it is not good for man to be alone (this is a paraphrase, obviously) so He took a rib from Adam and made woman, Eve. Right then and there…created in the image of God, a relationship so beautiful and so intimate. We all know where the story goes from there…a steady decline and a gigantic mess… and yet a God who steadily pursues, punishes sin and yet faithfully loves. Amazing.

Skip to the New Testament and we see what Paul says about relationship…specifically singleness; that it is a gift and yet it is better to be married than to “burn with passion”.

…huh?

No wonder there are like hundreds of books about singleness and dating and courting, and it is no wonder that we sometimes try to either justify our desire or lay the pressure on ourselves to be content…as if it is some sort of formula. It seems like Paul is saying “Hey, being single is great because look at all that you can do!” BUT “If you are like dying to get married, that is good too so do that if your desire is taking you over”. I don’t believe that Paul is contradicting himself, but showing that both are good…and maybe one implication could be that one is not “more complete” than the other. From the very beginning we can see that a relationship between a man and a woman is good, very good. It is orchestrated by God and it is a Godly desire!  (Insert SBS Timeless Truth here): If you are married, you are completely complete. If you’re single, you are completely complete. What makes us complete is Jesus, not people.

In my attempts to make sense of it all, I slip back into my “still” mindset and begin the question asking session with God: Is something wrong with me? Am I too opinionated, not mysterious enough, too independent, not beautiful enough, more so an older sister type than a wife, too distracted? What, what is it? Then, the question that scares some of us, comes out for a dip in the pool of a thousand questions… “Am I called to be celibate?”

All of this being said, what I think my friends and I are finding, is that it is sometimes far too difficult to look at our lives in the midst of longing and hoping and waiting, and say “This is cake walk, I can totally trust Jesus” and it is far to easy to ask the questions. When you have dreamed of companionship since you were 9, it is increasingly difficult at age 29 to pursue gratitude and thankfulness and “contentedness”. I realize that question asking is not a bad thing…but when the questions turn into self-loathing…the problem no longer is just “What is wrong with me” but  “What is wrong with God”…

In the midst of waiting and trying to convince ourselves that we are “content”, I feel like God is not so concerned about our “I must be content, I must be content I must be content” rather in our position of longing, our honesty in our doubt ,and our trust in His timing. I believe that being content is not a formula…it’s simply trusting Jesus in the “still”.

So what about “in the meantime….”

Well, in the meantime, there are things in my life that I personally want to work on; areas that I want to improve. I know that I will never be perfect in any given area, and that if God someday puts someone in my life, it’s not because I’m faultless and 100% ready and absolutely content in every area. No formula. Do you know what I mean?  In the meantime I do want to grow, I do want to change and I do want to be a continual learner in this area.

But, if at the end of the day my desire changes from:

“God, I want to each day faithfully to you…how can I be more like you, what areas of my life do you want to speak into?”

 and becomes…

“God, why are you withholding something good, what is wrong with me, why don’t you want this for me?”

…then not only am I am grave danger of missing out on what God wants to do in my life in THIS moment, but I am in danger of creating God into my image rather than living out of the realization and miracle that I am indeed created in the image of God. Why? Because with that understanding, comes life, with that realization comes wholeness, and in that I am completely complete.

Okay, this is not meant to be a motivational speech…but…my point is simply this: While some of us are waiting and praying…my hope is that we would be people who live out of a revelation that we are already complete because we have Jesus.

Yes, maybe there are areas that we could do better in…maybe there are personal goals that we are striving for and that is great! But let’s not wait to get on those things until God brings someone into our lives. I love what my aunt says…she says this: “Who you are now, is who you are when you get married” yikesabee.

So who do I hope to be? a great cook, a continual learner, a god-fearing teacher, an intentional discipler, a strong woman, a loving mom, a loyal, faithful, encouraging and hilarious wife. So, in the meantime..I’m gonna get on pinterest and find some new recipes, re-read some of my favorite books and use my amazon gift card to buy some more, read the Bible faithfully, invest in people, love on some kids, be a trustworthy friend and keep laughing with and at people.

 

I’d like to dedicate this blog to my friends who have been waiting…and clapping for a very long time:)

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