Isolating Singleness

Occasionally I talk about single life on here, after all, I am single and people say you should write on what you know. Bless ’em. When you are working on a book centered on singleness and faith it’s difficult to find new content that doesn’t go towards that instead of here on the blog.

I was thinking about the isolation of singleness recently. That we may find our calendars full of events, plans, coffee and catching up but when we are at rest, we feel some sense of isolation. Loneliness creeps in because for some, the ability to share intimate details, thoughts, dreams of life is found in relationship with a partner. I find that even as a believer, when I take these same things to God that it’s left hanging in the air. While no man or woman is greater than God, the tangible need to talk through life with a person is what this heart desires. To look across the table, sit on the couch and be at your most vulnerable in sharing a hurt that has deeply wounded, unforgiveness that lingers, a deep-seeded hope that you have been praying on for years, and even the humiliating story at the 7th grade track meet.

We were not meant to live in isolation, but for singles (and yes I know marrieds too) we find ourselves there more than we’d care to admit. Even in a crowded room, or on the church pews. I was sharing some time ago with a friend that it’s difficult the older I get to not see someone like me on the platform at church, that the isolating effects it can have to not have a single person in leadership, in the pastor role. But ministry becomes isolating as well, and I understand why so many shy away from stepping into that minefield.

I don’t have any real synopsis to this today, no cure for the isolating effects of single living because frankly, I still battle it myself. That notion of having a very full life, full calendar, but yet feeling so cordoned off from living a life fully. From being able to share all of yourself with someone that is right there in front of you, tangible and breathing…it is almost heart breaking but yet we live it out, we step into it and pray we aren’t crushed with the effects of the isolation, of the loneliness. We know God is with us, He is ever present in Spirit, yet our hearts call for that rib-sharer…

A One-Woman Man

Y’all, I normally don’t post mid-day and rarely link to other sites to get you over there but singles, this one stuck. I wanted to share this post over at Desiring God with you as a means of conversation and dialogue, among both women and men.

Because it is needed y’all.

So here it is. 

I’d love to open up the comments below and get your feedback, your thoughts and well…just your opinion on this. It’s something I am currently writing about in the book and definitely feel the need to place on the table with singles (and marrieds too y’all…)

Bachelor Wednesday

Y’all, I know I said I’d be doing this weekly but if I’m honest I got really sick of watching the Bachelor the last couple of weeks. The main reason being I couldn’t understand the attraction and competition of these women to Nick.

I know some of this show is just the push to get “known” and then capitalize on that to be an internet ad for various products. I’m not naive enough to think they all are in love with this man…and y’all it’d be hard to anyways.

But I know deep down, many of these women are searching for love. They long to be filled with a purpose and mend a heart that seems to have been broken in various ways and by various people. I look at the finalists after watching Monday’s episode and think about how each of them are some pretty awesome ladies, ones that I would more than likely be friends with in a given context. When you have edited content of these women’s stories you can put together a little about why they chose to come onto a national television program to compete for a man. You can see the lies they have been sold in that they need him to make life better, to complete them, to know what love really is for them.

I think that’s why I stepped away from the last few weeks of watching and writing on it, because it just made me sad. That we as women, as a society, have accepted that this is what love looks like or that is what we should be pursuing. Instantaneous physical attraction and just a few hours spent with someone means a match for the rest of our lives? It’s an immature approach to relationships, and most importantly, to a commitment to marriage.

I wonder if that bill of goods is now the generally accepted law among my generation and the Millenials. I wonder if deep down we are okay with the dynamic of our culture in pursuing takeaway relationships instead of deep-seeded growth with one another. Instead of being known by another person deeply, we’d rather have the immediate perception of coupledom and being wanted?

 

Sacrificial Identity

Am I sacrificing my identity to be identified solely in Christ?

Oof.

I scribbled that question across the top of my bulletin, knowing the Holy Spirit was pushing me into a very hard question to address, right in the middle of Sunday morning church.

Y’all. I don’t know how you get when the Spirit starts doing a work in you, but I tend to want to have a conversation. And you really can’t do that with your pastor digging into the Word with 200 of your other congregants.

Oh, and to think I thought that was it. Nope. Then came the checklist of things I choose to make my identity rather than Christ. Things I put above that list that I had not even thought identified me: judgemental, self-righteous, better than, unforgiving, haughty. Ugh. Y’all, it was not a pretty scene there in that row. Because God was doing a work I had been praying for Him to do, but it wasn’t on my terms. It wasn’t in my controlled environment to address and respond to in time.

Nope…He was there pointing out in the very Scripture I had been reading the week prior, the same Scripture that Aaron had planned to preach on months ago, that my identity was only to be in Him. That at the root of it all, of who I think I am, who I really am, and who others see is the creation that He made me to be, to identify me as-His. That my identity alone should be in Him and not in other things, people, roles or sins.

Yep, sins…because whether I accept it or not, often my identity is in the sin I choose to take for myself. The little ones that don’t seem to matter much in the day to day but that soon become what I am identified as-poor attitude, condescending, unloving, spiteful. It all has to be sacrificed if we want to be known as nothing but Christ’s.

It means choosing grace, hope, love, kindness, goodness, meekness in every single thing. It means understanding that the identities we desire for ourselves, whether they are roles, jobs, prefixes, or any other good thing are not the very best thing for us, they are not His intention for us. And so to be identified in Christ, all the lesser things have to be cast aside, sacrificed and laid down. They must.

If I sat here and said it was easy, then I’d be identified a liar as well because it is not y’all. And it’s not a once and done, it’s a continual fight to not pick up those things we think are good at identifying ourselves as and choose Christ instead. But as we move into our identity being solely in Christ, we find the choosing can be easier, the fight not as hard, and the sin identifiable before we engage in it. It will also mean wrestling with areas we didn’t know we were identified with, sins we couldn’t possibly be connected to, and choices that we hadn’t realized we’d made in order to be identified as anything other than in Christ.

Becoming the Woman He’s Praying For

Recently I was looking back through the archives here on the site, pulling some content to expand on for my book. A couple of falls ago, I wrote on praying for your future husband. As I looked through several of those posts, I realized I hadn’t really been paying much attention to that part of my prayer life in the last few months.

Part of the reason (or maybe all of it?) is as I have grown older I am coming to terms with my singleness, that perhaps it’s just not in the story of my life to be married. As hard as that is to type, it’s harder to face head/heart on. If I am really vulnerable with y’all here, I don’t think it’s truth though. I believe firmly God does not give us hearts of companionship with another if it’s not meant to be part of the story of our lives. I think we often supplant the need for His Presence with that of a person, pushing into relationships or elevating dating/marriage to the level of our relationship with Christ (that’s a whole other chapter in my book…).

As I started to kind of pull through the mess that was my heart, God’s will, desires and my writing on the topic I started to lean into a really hard question, and it’s where I land today:

Am I becoming the woman that my future husband is already praying for?

If he is praying for me, just as I am praying for him, would it not seem to fit that I would be pursuing the difficult, leaning into God, working through producing fruits of the Spirit? Before I get too far into this, let me also say that we shouldn’t base our growth as a Christian, as a person, on anyone’s desire for who we should be to them….Not in the least y’all, so don’t start down that twisted path of becoming someone you were not created to be. No, what I am pointing to is if my prayers for him are for him to become who God has created him to be, then I should be focusing myself as well on living into God’s will and design for my life.

Maybe the question needs to look more like this…

Am I becoming the woman God has been desiring me to be in order fulfill His will in my life?

I shouldn’t desire to fulfill a standard of a man, but when the man whom God has created for me to be his partner is fervently praying for me to be in God’s will, for protection from the enemy, to grow closer to God? How can I not desire those same things for myself? When I look at the ways to pray for him, am I also praying and seeking those same things for my own life?

Maybe it’s not about praying more for a spouse but being intentional to pray for that person to be who God created him to be, and then also praying for you to be the woman who God created you to be…After all, He’s still in the business of answering prayers if we listen and pray in His will, seeking wisdom and relationship with Him above all others.

Bachelor Friday

It’s been quiet this week around here as I have battled quite the cold/flu/sinus infection concoction that seems to be after everyone in these parts. Have any of y’all had this crud? It’s rather infuriating just how easily something like that can take you down for days. I digress though, y’all didn’t pop over here to hear about my sickliness. On to the Bachelor…

I had to go back and re-watch the first half hour again because I was in such a sick fog I completely blanked on who went home and what occurred between the crazy and the crazier out there on the patio furniture in Wisconsin.

My poor namesake Sarah, I was rooting for ya girl. You had a funny opening line as the “runner-up” when you met, you seemed bright and witty…much too good for this dude. You even weighed in to the Corinne crazy to help guide her a bit, but alas you went home, and were you ever emotional about it.

That’s what struck me this week (over the voodoo dolls and two-on-one date nuttiness) is that you get very vulnerable when you open yourself up to a relationship with someone, even in the format of a reality show and knowledge that 20+ other women are vying for this same guy.

After a few interactions with a person you get a certain comfort level that allows your heart to open up at the possibility of something more, that this could be the person you marry….Women, we tend to get invested at that point. We put our focus and our heart into it much more than a guy for the most part. We look beyond the present and start to see a potential future, leaving our hearts open and willing to look past circumstances or rational thinking (sometimes) at what might be a life partner.

I watched Sarah break down in the post-ceremony catch up at how she wants to be loved, and I think at the heart of the matter they all do, much like we all do at our core. We desire that love when we release ourselves at the possibility of a relationship. We find we do want that even if we’ve kept ourselves guarded and unexpecting of anything further. It takes courage to be vulnerable and also realize you are wanting love like that in your life, the love of another person who is right there in front of you and you see a connection with. It hurts all the more when that’s not what they desire or it doesn’t pan out how you had given yourself the freedom to hope it would.

So we find ourselves much like Sarah was on Monday night, emotional and questioning if love was meant for them…wondering if love from another is what we all are destined to have.

Bachelor Friday

As promised in last week’s post, I have this week’s Bachelor recap thoughts. I had to watch it Tuesday since I had plans Monday night, and then you know, life happens.

 

Y’all I nearly came unglued when one of the girls who is all of 25, and did not receive a rose at the ceremony, is sobbing about how she’s tired of being single. At 25. (insert largest eye roll ever) I hope your 35 year old self sees this a decade down the road and claps back at you for it. From what I could see of her brief stint on the show, she seemed likable and rather put together. She was very pretty and truly was looking for a companion.

But darlin’, don’t bemoan to a camera how you are tired of being single at 25. There is no sympathy for that. None. Am I being harsh? Probably so…

But here’s the thing. While I don’t know her detailed dating life, I do know at 25 it’s hard to bemoan your singleness. Especially when you elect to go on a television show where you vie with 30 other women for a man. You’ve probably been single for a couple of months, maybe even a year. But I can guarantee you that you don’t know what the single life is like with clarity and perspective.

Maybe I am completely wrong about it, but you’re not even at the average age for women to get married in the US , so darlin’, hush up.

Being single means you get to discover who you are, YOU. Not who you are with a man, or how that defines you. You get to do you, figure you out at 25, at 30, and at even 40. It opens up your life to who you are meant to be and not defined by the ring on your finger or the man at the end of that aisle. Single and 25 means you get to explore, travel, learn…spend copious amounts of time with friends and family, dig into the career and life expectations. You get to figure out what YOU want.

Piece of real advice here for the 25 year olds bemoaning single life, the guy I wanted at 25 is most definitely not the guy I wanted at 28, at 30, at 32 and now at 35. Truth be told, the older I have gotten the more I have seen what I truly desire in my life isn’t defined by the presence or absence of a man at my side. Be single with yourself to see what you really want, and who you really want to be. For yourself.