Consider this a make-up post for yesterday when the internet was being hateful…
It’s been written before. I think I’ve written it before, but it bears repeating, especially now when all I hear is “when you find the right guy…”
First, I want you to know that I’m a romantic. I love romance and I am huge supporter of it. I wished for a long time that it would happen to me. And it did, but not in a God-centered, all about Jesus way. I had what the world viewed as a romantic encounter (actually two…) and I didn’t care for either one. I realized that I wanted real romance, the kind that God gives and in that same instance realized that it may never happen to me. It wasn’t a new realization, it was just reinforced.
“I know that God has someone special in mind for you. You just have to wait.” “Don’t worry, Nicole, you weren’t made to be single.” “One day, you’ll meet the right guy, and then…”
And then, what? Then, I’ll find out what a horribly selfish person I really am (Lord knows that I am). Then I’ll find perfection? Then I’ll be happy? I’m not necessarily a keen observer, but I have watched lots of people who are married and they aren’t always happy. Marriage is hard. Love is hard. I don’t need a romantic relationship to know that because I love the women who told me those things and sometimes it’s hard to love someone who keeps implying (albeit unintentionally) that I need romance to make my life complete.
I am sure being in love is wonderful. I am sure that meeting someone who agrees to spend the rest of their life with you is awesome (and mildly nauseating? No? Must be me…). However, the Church needs to stop the message that being single is a waiting period. That being single isn’t enough because “God calls most people to marriage.” What if he does? Does that mean that we should just hold our breath? I know most of my friends would say “No! Of course not!” but that’s what’s implied by your “just wait” philosophy.
It’s true that I hate getting my hopes up only to see them dashed. I am a worst case scenario person. I got it from my dad. I use it to my advantage now. When I decided to move to China I walked through the worst case scenario and in the end decided that God was still sovereign and that it would work out. Being single IS NOT the worst case scenario. The worst case scenario is being alone with no money, no God, and no food. In this scenario there are no friends, no family, no support system. Being single just means that my day-to-day life is different than my married friends. I don’t have someone to eat with or fight with. And that’s okay. (Side Note: I actually do. Her name is Emily and she’s my BFF…but we room together and she hasn’t always been around).
I’m 25. I know I’m not dead yet. I know I have plenty of time should that delightful, God-fearing man poke his head into my life. I know that I will be absolutely terrified, because who asks for that kind of trouble? But if it doesn’t happen, I know that I will be blissfully happy. I have friends who love me unconditionally. I have a family who loves me unconditionally. I have God who loves me unconditionally. I don’t need a man to show me love, because it’s literally all around me.
Romance is a lie sometimes. Romance deceives us into believing that there is only one kind of love worth having. It makes us want an attachment to someone who will understand our souls, in a Jane Eyre kind of way. It robs us of the ability to see the world in the proper light and becomes an obsession. What would happen if instead of encouraging women by saying that one day their prince would come, we told them that love is here, now, in Christ and that he is all you need. Corny, yeah, but kind of true.
God gave me the relationships I have now. I have girlfriends that I have fought with. I fight every day to keep those relationships, because they matter. I have friends that have seen me through thick and thin, who know my deepest darkest secrets and who looked into that darkness and somehow loved me. And who somehow told me that they saw Jesus work in those dark places. It’s not the same, I know. Having a husband is different. I know, from what I’ve seen that it’s blissful and happy. That sometimes the other person does complete you.
My parents are one of those disgustingly happy couples who have shown me that marriage is hard work. It’s compromise and grace. It’s love and understanding. It’s stubbornness and a battle of wills. It’s sacrificing pride and learning humility. They fought. They fight. They will continue to do so, because they’re human. They broke things and then fixed them. People left in anger, slamming doors, only to return with softened hearts. They had ridiculous moments when they fought over who would die first because they don’t like the idea of living without each other (they insist it isn’t a fight but a discussion). They have an almost perfect romance, because it’s real. I love my parents. One of the things I love most is that my mom never says “when”. She knows that all her children might end up single. None of us have had any sort of real romantic relationship and three out of four are officially adults. She’s proud of who we are and hopes to have grandkids one day, but trusts God with our lives and that we will end up glorifying Him, single or not.
The point, dear Church (and others), isn’t to find happiness. It’s to find God. Some people find Him and glorify Him more when they spend their lives with someone else, like my parents. Some glorify Him better when they are alone in their apartment in Shanghai. I don’t know that having a man in my life would be better. Maybe I’m just too proud. I don’t want to think that I need someone else. I’m just getting used to the idea that without God I’m dead.
So, pleasedearGodI’mbeggingyou, stop saying “when”. It may never come. “If” is much better. Daniel 3:16-18 has been part of my life since moving to Shanghai. It’s been referenced in almost every Christian spirituality book I’ve read and many a post has been made, because it’s a beautiful verse and a beautiful thought. “Shadrach, Meshach and Ebdnego relied to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.'” Maybe I’m taking this way out of context, but I don’t think I am (please, correct me in love if you think so…) “But even if He does not…” save me from physical death at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. “But even if He does not…” take away this dreadful cold that plagues me and makes me want to jump of my balcony. “But even if He does not…” give me a spouse to spend the rest of my days with. He is still God and He is still good. This is my motto right now. God can do what He wants, He’s God. But even when He doesn’t do what we expect Him to or what we think is right, He’s still God. He’s still righteous and holy and perfect.