The Adulterous Single

I thought a commandment didn’t apply to me.

Yep, one of the TEN COMMANDMENTS.

It’s the one about adultery. Because I’m a single, I definitely felt like that just didn’t apply to me. I’m good on that one God, because obviously, doesn’t apply! That was my exact thoughts. Mark it off, I’m good.

But here’s the thing on this. I don’t have to be married to commit adultery. Obviously the very literal line of thinking leads to sexual immorality, whether it’s pre-marital or any of the other related immoral acts related to sexual relations. The one that hit me though was that I have a propensity to an adulterous heart. A heart that puts so much above my covenant relationship with God. A heart that will easily lean into work, people, stuff with more love and focus, giving itself away above my first love, that love with God.

Ouch.

Adultery does apply to me as a single individual. It applies to all of us, regardless of our marital status. It is a heart issue, it’s a covenantal issue. One that starts with God and my heart, not at the altar with another individual.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Proverbs 4:23 (ESV)

Never has that verse become more vivid, breathing and real than looking at it in the context of my adulterous ways in relationship with God. Everything I do flows from my heart. Every action, thought, word…every bit of it, and if my heart isn’t committed and pursuing the love of God in all things? Well that’s where the convenient opportunity of adultery slips in. When I am not guarding that fickle heart, being on consistent watch of it’s consumption and output, then it’ll easily wonder to other, lesser loves. It’ll pursue side pieces that catch it’s eye rather than God Himself, the One Who has proven faithful and good, over and over again.

As much as I’d like to believe I have that adultery thing on lock-down as a single gal, the truth of the matter is that I am far from it, and it does apply to us all. My adulterous heart should be the guarded heart, giving life to the relationship with God and not to the other pursuits that so easily ensnare and entice me from my first love.

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…)

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.

Bachelor Mondays

Not since I was interning at my first job out of college have I watched The Bachelor. That’s right kiddos, 2003 was the last time I chose to watch women vie for a man’s affections. Let me just say that in the last 14 years, times have a’changed.

Thanks to a writing project AND The Popcast Bachelor recaps (I shake my fists at their infectious podcast suck of needing to know) I am now experiencing life in Bachelor world once more. My roommate can attest to the fact that this is how I watch on Monday nights:

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It’s confirmed some things I long thought about the show, and it’s also caused me to question the juggernaut that is the female culture in it’s current state. This is, after all, my thoughts and opinions but y’all, I’m worried for my fellow ladies out there in singledom. I also have my questions about why a 36 year old man would want a pool of women whose average age is a decade younger than him, but I think we can all deduce that issue down to one thing….

Last night as I was watching a young woman devise a plan to make sure the Bachelor remembered their relationship (involving a trench coat and whipped cream mind you) was the important one, I could only think that what we’ve been sold as women is exactly what we’ve accepted. Use your body to get his attention, that’s all he’s looking for, all that any man wants. That we have to compete with one another for him rather than encourage and empathize and get to know him to see if what he values and what we do mesh…if he is who we are seeking to have as a partner as well.

Watching The Bachelor showed me more than I cared to see about dating life these days (and more of certain women than I ever want to) but it taught me a valuable lesson that when I question whether my standards for being pursued or being in a relationship are a bit too high that it means I value who I am as well in the relationship and am not just turning into someone who I think he wants me to be in order to not be alone. It also affirms my desire to talk with women of all ages (and the men of our generation as well) about what singledom is, how we can walk it with beauty and dignity, and how we can all respect and enjoy single life and the pursuits of relationship without the degradation of ourselves in the process.

I didn’t show up to the Bachelor watching to preach on a soapbox but to see what a decade-plus later is teaching us and the Millenials about dating life, about relationships and boundaries. But I am also here for the hilarity that is Dolphin-Shark girl, how many times I hear “I am here for the right reasons” and the moral compass that keeps getting reset each week. (Also Corinne…y’all that’s a whole book in itself) I am here for the fun of watching dating life play out in a weird vacuum, edited for entertainment and then presented to the masses starved for a break from their own relationship woes, or lack thereof.


Join me right back here each week as I look a little deeper at the episode and what it can teach us all about dating and the single mindset.