Monthly Archives: September 2011

Dear Christian Singles: This isn’t the Hunger Games

We all sat stationary in the circle, sizing up our opponents before the signal to start sounded.  The girl to the right of me was tall and slender, her red hair cut in a trendy way and her gladiator sandals revealing perfectly manicured toenails.  The blond immediately opposite me was as cute as a pixy.  I was convinced her ethereal look housed the most manipulative competitor of all.  The tall, dark haired man to my left also scouted, and settled on the blond.  The seconds ticked by, laced with energy as we drew our mental battle lines. The food and supplies laid out before us tempted us to venture directly into the fray.  My initial instinct was to run and get as far away from the pandemonium as I could.  I was considering an escape route as the signal sounded.

“Alright guys, let’s pull out our Bibles and take a look at the book of James.”

Why is it that a “Singles Group” can look more like the opening moments of the 74th Hunger Games than a time of Christian Fellowship?  Simply put, because many singles view it in the same light.  We are on a playing field that will only be thinned out as the game progresses and if we don’t act soon, we’ll be destroyed in the process of the winner being revealed.  It’s easy to fall in with the “There can be only one,” mentality that was made famous by the McCloud clan and made its most recent resurgence in the popular young adult series.

The funny thing is, for those who are familiar with either parallel, that conclusion was birthed out of misunderstanding and power hungry enemies pitting would be alliances against one another. 

As I’ve embarked on this new journey of discovering a full life in the Single scene, I’ve been surprised at the twisted paradigm that has been presented to and embraced by many young single Christians. 

We view the girl sitting next to us as potential competition rather than a sister in arms.  We size up the guy next to us, wondering if he may be the one, all the while feeling the growing apprehension as he strikes up conversation with another competitor.  As time passes and the field of play is thinned, desperation sets in, discouragement takes root and we’re tempted to climb a tree and wait for the end to come. 

We didn’t really have a shot at winning anyway, right?  So, might as well be “content” with our loneliness.  We let fear begin to weigh in before faith as circumstances push us into contact with other players.  We question motives, compare abilities and appeal and find ourselves more isolated with every cannon, I mean wedding bell, that declare someone else is out.

Divided and distrusting, chances are, we will never survive, and on the rare chance that we do, we’ll be so haunted by the process of elimination that we’ll find it hard to function in community. 

It’s got to stop.  So many battle lines have been drawn in the church, from denomination to dateability.  When will we realize we’ve bought into a lie, meant to keep us weak, segregated and manageable?

Ladies, the other single girls near you aren’t the enemy/competition.  If we are focused on seeking God and His Fullness, we’re not going to be Husband Juked if we build strong female relationships.  Not to mention it’s not fair to try and hang our hopes on a guy…really, how can he be expect to carry that load? 

So consider this the Mocking Jay pin.  Let’s rally to hope and realize that we are strong together, focused on what unites us and not who will be left standing when the last cannon sounds.       

This post may have been about ‘singleness’, but maybe I need to broaden the field.  How can we as Believers get past the competition mindset and build strong relationships across the board?

Note: Guys, I’m not purposely leaving you out.  I don’t really know how singleness effects guys (probably because I see fewer single guys in the church than girls, and I tend to avoid relationship talks with them).  Feel free to weigh-in in the comments. 

Single Bucket List Item of the Week: Make an effort to build relationship with someone I am tempted to view as competition.

Disclaimer: This is in no way meant to be a parody of an actual meeting…it is a parody, not a reflection on any particular group/entity. 🙂

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Hey, bro, don’t kid yourself. You’ll never “do better” than me!

If you are a girl, I would be very surprised if at least one heart ache had not been followed by “Don’t worry, you can do so much better than him”. 

Or, maybe you’ve been asked out by someone you’re not blatantly interested in and the thought has been rephrased as “I could do worse”. 

I’ve heard this phrase uttered by male and female alike.  I’ve said it myself.  And I have to ask:

When did we start using a sliding scale to rate the merit of a Godly relationship?

When did our response to rejection become a turnabout of fair play? 

I was discussing this with my roommate recently.  Being girls (I can’t lie), we debrief together.  If someone asks one of us out or approaches in a manner as more than friends, a recap and request for advice is soon to follow.  The statement of “I can do better” came up during one of these conversations.  Cue wheels turning as the statement struck a chord. 

Who died and made me the judge of someone’s romantic/spousal worth?  Just because they’re not for me (either by lack of interest or lack of divine backing), does that make them less?  Does that make me less in their eyes if our proverbial shoe were to be placed on the other foot?  Where does this need to bolster my own self-esteem at the expense of someone else’s God-instilled worth come from?   

And if that’s not what I boil it down to during that girl talk, what do I tell myself?

Cue right hook from the Holy Spirit…wait, let me rephrase that…cue still, small voice that feels like a two by four across the face.

“It’s not about you doing better, but about you obeying better.”

Come again?  You mean to tell me that someone’s interest or lack thereof should be judged by obedience to the voice of God?  Now, before we start sectioning off, pitching tents and picking a camp, whether you believe there is ONE person for someone or that it comes down to choice, this applies. 

It seems to me that prayer/seeking God’s go ahead/direction would be the first step of those who are waiting for The One, their Rib, etc.  But even if you believe that God has left the sorting out of multiple matrimonial options up to the individual, it’s still something to seek God on.  In all things, we are to commit our ways to the Lord so he can direct our steps (Ps. 37:4-6, Prov. 16:3.)

So, really, our worth has absolutely nothing to do with qualifying for a relationship.  When we bring that into play, it’s like saying “I can do better, but whoever ends up with him/her, that’s the best they can hope for”.

Not one of us is more or less worthy of a divinely orchestrated romance and only arrogance and pride say otherwise. 

So, I’m passing on the challenge.  Let’s seek more and judge less and trust that the One who began the good work is faithful until it’s done or Jesus comes back and if we tune our ear to him, we’ll end up with what’s “best” for everyone involved.

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Single, not Solitary…

Can you hear it?  The epic soundtrack building to a crescendo as, a dark field littered with the hopelessly oppressed is broken by a shaft of light descending to illuminate a lone figure, staggering to stand up, braced on her sword.  Using its point as an anchor, she crawls backward, toward her army’s line.  She sees a friend to her left and attempts to reach out, only to cringe back as a white horse gallops up and a shining knight jumps down and scoops up her dejected compatriot.  The instant he holds her in his arms, she is transformed into a shining princess and as they mount and ride back to safety, the lone living figure on the battle field collapses, feeling all hope is lost.

Love is a battlefield. And many times, for the Single soldier fighting to stay alive, it can be a dark, lonely place. 

Dramatic much?  Yes, very much. 

All metaphors and epic battles aside, I’ve been thinking a lot about Singleness.  If I’m being completely honest, over half has probably been more of the dramatic perceptions and hopeless feelings of being alone.  Probably a good deal more than half…depending on the day.

I know I’m not the only one. 

The slight irony…I’m really happy being independent.  I enjoy the freedom I have.  But somewhere inside, the God given desire for a husband has mingled with the social pressure to be part of a couple and the lie of being less because I’m not.  It can be a confusing, dangerous cocktail of condemnation. 

Somewhere along the way, I think I bought into the idea that being single is a season to be endured until the real season begins

Kind of like being at the airport.  You have to wait, just like everyone else, until you board the plane.  There are a few things you can do (read, get coffee, watch other people moving on to their destination), but there is always the fear that if you leave your gate (explore, meet new people, take a nap), you may miss the boarding call; and we all know that the real trip only starts once you have buckled your seatbelt, have turned off your electronics and take off into the wild blue yonder.  Sometimes, it’s more like being stuck on the tarmac with a crying baby in front of you and a kid kicking your seat behind. 

Why do we view singleness as a holding pattern?  Why is it the dreaded world between worlds where you can see the doors to so much promise, but if you’re not careful, you’ll get dazed and stuck there, never really living life? 

So many times, as Christian Singles, we are encouraged in staying pure and preparing ourselves to be Godly spouses.  That is awesome.  But what about living a full, promising life? 

How can we get rid of the interim mentality that has been associated with singleness and embrace life here and now?

Somewhere along the way, these musings fused with ponderings on Bucket Lists.

You know, those things you want to do before you die, like ride an elephant or discover a cure for cancer (even though you’re not a doctor of any kind).  We have aspirations, but what good is having a list of things you want to accomplish with life if you aren’t actively doing it. 

I wouldn’t want to find myself confronted with 6 months to live and a lifetime’s worth of dreams to experience.

This is my new journey.  And lucky you, I’ll probably be documenting some of it here.  So, if you are married and a thought like “Oh no, another single’s going to whine about being alone,” crosses your mind, stop right there.  If you are a single thinking “Oh, someone who can commiserate,” hold the phone.  These posts, which will now be under the tag “A Singles Bucket List: <insert topic>” are not about whining or commiserating or trying to hold on until.  It’s about living.

So, whatever your relationship status, let’s commit to live fully and love fully, wherever we are.

Lyssah

Singles, do you find it hard to be single?  Why?

Married-s, looking back, is there anything you wish you would have accomplished/done/experienced while single?

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Medium Despised

I can’t despise the medium
Into which this life is breathed
Though without its inception
My heart may have been spared
I won’t reject the message
Though pain is mixed within
The sacrifice so tainted
By the tear stains left behind
I can’t despise the medium
This picture I wouldn’t have chosen
This sonnet I wouldn’t have written
This lesson I cried
To learn
I won’t reject the message
This plot so twistedly woven
Though my emotions desire
And would opt out if they could
Every stroke
A cut that bleeds
The flesh out of me
Every word
A tattoo
That leaves me maimed
Every note
A joy
Seen on the other side of the darkness
Every color
A road less traveled
A burden less bared
But if not for this medium
It remains
A masterpiece unseen
A truth remains a dream undreamed
A hope left unplanted
A future still dim
But if not for this message
A wise woman unborn
A strong woman
not conceived
A future
Left Unlived
I embrace the medium
Color mixed with pain
I embrace the message
Truth that still remains
I embrace the Master
Seen in the work of his hands
I embrace my Maker
And submit to his plans

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