Hey there ladies, can you do me a favor? Stop taking the break ups personally. I feel like guys don’t struggle with this. They seem to have a good grasp on all the other fish in the sea. But nope. Not us. We eat ice cream and cry ourselves to sleep wondering ‘what the heck is wrong with me?’. There is a scene in one of my favorite movies where one of the lead characters has just found out her husband is cheating on her. She is devastated but rationalizes her husband’s behavior and blames herself. She wasn’t as fun as she once was. She rushed him to get married and a long list of other inadequacies that led to his justified betrayal.
I’ve lost count of the tears spilled wondering where I went wrong. I was too much, or not enough. I did too much of this, but not enough of that. I’m not cured of this thinking, but geesh, do I want to be!
I read a study one time that stumbled upon the differences between men and women regarding their specific relationship fears. The women polled in this particular study claimed their worst fear was never getting married. The men in the study, however, were scared of marrying the wrong person. Why do you think that is? I won’t pretend to understand why men will struggle here. But, I hate that our brains don’t operate more like theirs. Instead Satan whispers, “you’ll always be alone”. And we believe it. The men can rationally recognize they will one day, in fact, drink from the cup of marriage. I imagine their fear dives deeper than I plan on going, but for arguments sake; why is it we focus more on whether we’ll be “enough”, instead of flipping the measuring stick around on the men?
I believe the deceiver has wrecked our gender with this very specific attack. He has convinced us in every area, we are completely and absolutely unworthy of everything. Our punishment? A life of singlehood to reflect on all the ways we have ever fallen short. Until recently the thought of ‘marrying the wrong guy’ never even crossed my mind. Does he love me? Great. Clearly, he’s the right one. That was easy.
The message we, as women, hear the world screaming in our ear is that we are second-class citizens if we have yet to land a rock on that pesky little ring finger. I am beyond guilty of buying into this thinking. If this message was on a shirt, it’d probably be in my closet in every color and cleverly accessorized. I am also, painfully aware of the fact this isn’t an imaginary message, or even a subliminal one, for that matter. Life begins at love. Then comes marriage. You see this in movies, books, and in the life of everyone around you. It is common knowledge that being single is lame. But, marriage is hard and certainly not something to be made worthy of an idol. That, nonetheless, we will keep to a whisper.
It’s like running a 5K. All the cool, in shape people are doing it. They’ll boast of their times and which ones they’ve competed in. They’ll even proudly display a picture of them with relatively no sweat on their brow. Their arms are raised high and they have a champion smile cherry on top. I like cherries. That looks great and I definitely want a neat picture like that. But, nobody talks about the energy spent training up to that moment when you dodge puking and don’t have to ice your knees after. Of course not. That part is hard work. That part sucks. We don’t race to race, we race to finish. For far too long, I’ve believed in a marriage finish line. Everybody come look at how good-looking my husband is. Doesn’t our story make you so jealous? Have you seen my ring? I stayed skinny throughout my pregnancy and my kids are contest worthy cute. I have never had any interest in training. Instead, I just wanted to finish.
It’s almost blasphemous to speak against marriage. Marriage is ordained by God. It was not good for Adam to be alone. Two is better than one. But it was brought to my attention, in a Tom Ascol sermon this weekend at Providence Church, that… are you sitting down? Marriage is important, but not ultimate. SINGLENESS is also ordained by God and this path less traveled, in the apostle Paul’s opinion, is by far the way to go.
Paul is not for or against marriage. Paul is not for or against singleness. And he makes it appropriately known that Jesus hadn’t spoken specifically on the subject, either. Yet, in 1 Corinthians, Paul is simply offering up his own opinions or, what I like to call, ‘The Case For Singleness’. In chapter 7, Paul begins to spell out reasons why we shouldn’t operate as if singleness is just a season we endure until our number comes up. Rather, it is something to be cherished and chosen.
My favorite and most convicting reason called to light in Paul’s letter, regarding seizing our single season (say that five times fast), is that we have the opportunity right now to pursue God with undivided interests and energies. Single means I am able to seek and serve the Lord completely and without distraction. It will only get harder from this point. Instead of being concerned with matters of the Lord, I’ll eventually be commanded by scripture to ALSO love and respect my husband and put the needs of him and my children ahead of my own…every time. I will no longer be able to make decisions that only affect me. As long as I remain single, I will only ever have less to lay down.
Why don’t people talk about this? Singleness isn’t something to be feared. It is a time in your life to be treasured, to enjoy. It is from God AND FOR MY GOOD.
This epiphany has brought me to my next point. All my single ladies… (I had to, sorry), let us stop wasting our life. Let’s capture what it looks like to be romanced by the only Man in our lives. Precious Father, show us what it feels like to be pursued, this way, we can rightfully laugh off all the lame attempts that will ultimately cross our paths. Let us, let Him put us back together. May we be a generation that rises up to be focused on matters of the Lord. I desperately want to seize this opportunity to be single. Think like a dude, statistically, it won’t be like this forever. I imagine, though, I’ll be a far greater wife and mother if I am a good steward of my single walk alongside the Lord.
Care to join me in breaking this taboo? What are you passionate about? What do you desire in the deep dark undiscovered places of your heart? In what ways has God gifted you? What are you good at? What do you delight in? Are you using those passions to glorify Him?
Are you seizing your singleness? And not begrudgingly or because it will be a means to propel yourself out of your current relationship status. Instead, I pray when you read Paul’s account in 1 Corinthians 7:25-40, you’ll find yourself so pumped about being in this specific place and time and season. Let’s train hard and be disciplined now, that way we won’t have to, one day, ice our married knees.