Thursday, December 21, 2006

Wrap your arms around my love handles

Okay, I’m getting on my hobby horse.

One of them.

As a kid, as a teenager and then as a young adult I was taught to think that being single was some kind of temporary affliction. Temporary because everyone gets married and affliction because single = lonely, unfulfilled and not yet fully mature. People would say “don’t worry, God’s got someone out there for you” or (and this is my favourite) “when you’re ready, it will happen”. The first assumes that God’s plan for everyone is marriage and the second, that being single is a result of immaturity.

I felt I could never be happy while I was single, that great moments were marred because there was “no one to share them with”. I felt I was missing out on my great purpose because I was single.

Total rubbish, all of it.

It was like a lightening bolt of truth when I realized the loneliest, unhappiest women I knew were married. These women who kept telling me when I was ready or when I stopped wanting it I’d find someone, they were so unhappy! Somewhere along the line, I was being hoodwinked.

My early twenties were rough but as I drew closer to God, things got better and my life opened up. I left my old church and found safety and inspiration elsewhere. I made new friends. I went to University. I started to make plans that were all mine and no one else’s.

I am absolutely content, utterly happy and excited about the future. I am never lonely. I never feel unfulfilled. I am passionate about my life, my friends, my calling. I have so much to do and see.

Marriage is great, but it’s not for everyone. We assume that everyone will marry, save those unfortunate souls no one wants. What utter rubbish. Paul said: if you can’t control yourself then get married because better that than fall into sin (!). But, he said, if you can stay single, do, because then you can give your whole heart to God.

Well, I like being single. I actually don’t want to meet anyone. I mean, if it happens, it happens. But often when I think of the reality of being in a relationship I realize I don’t want it because it would disrupt my life. This may change and I may meet some lovely man who I want to share my life with. But if not, well, all is well because whatever God chooses for me is what I want.

I think we need to stop assuming that getting married is God’s plan for us unless we hear otherwise. Marriage is not a default setting. We should be seeking God and asking Them (Father, Son, Spirit) for guidance.

You Lead Me.


Andrew Brown said...

It seems odd sometimes that so many Christians get married despite what Paul says there, you'd assume they'd be in the minority..

I feel the same way about kids sometimes I think. I'm sure we will have kids, but right now I'm so content not having any, and I think if we never did, we'd still be perfectly happy (sometimes I fear that children would divert essential love away from my wife to them, but I'm not so scared of that now)

I think people often have problems whenever they think their live should be like anything in particular at all. People assume life happens in "stages" (single, married, kids) and to be honest I think most people get these ideas of what things should be like from TV. How many people visualise a "prom" as if it's from a movie? It's harmful to any person as they have expectations of how things should be and real life is often so much different.

I think you've got quite a good attitude with this Sharyn, and the right idea, and I can only say it's shame you maybe didn't realise earlier!

Just to throw a spanner in the works though... We should be seeking God and asking Them (Father, Son, Spirit) for guidance. while we should do that, expect to have to make decisions for yourself.. If God really is sovereign, then how are we ever going to make the wrong decision....

Sharyn said...

Well, obviously I realise God doesn't come down and actually marry someone on my behalf!

The funny thing about God (funny peculiar not haha) is that he always seems to tell me that I've done the right thing (through some sign) AFTER I've decided, not before. (Once again, information that WOULD have been useful to me YESTERDAY).

Andrew Brown said...

Well then it seems to me that you don't need that information!

Anonymous said...

I am so glad to see you exercising this choice.
Did I push the marriage or else onto you? Sorry if I did, I really always wanted you to have a genuine opportunity to choose, even within our previously limited lifestyle!

(I am having trouble putting in a reply here in any other way than anon!)

Sharyn said...

Hi Mum, no I never felt pressure from my family to marry - for this I am grateful! It was more from other angles such as my culture, church and leaders as well as my peer group.

Iain said...

Oh dear, I think Promise Keepers would have something to say about people like you.

Get behind me, Jezebel!

Clearly Paul's teaching on marriage was for those people at the time who were waiting for the second coming of Christ. In order to be prepared, like the servants with the lamps in the Kingdom of God parable, they remained single in order to best serve the Lord.

Now, however, we have a different 'dispensation'. Sorry, I mean Dispensation. We have a Marriage Dispensation, wherein Christians are called to Dispense with Singleness. Because as God said, it is not good to be alone.

For while the Bridegroom is present, we do not fast, but when the Bridegroom is gone we need to get some of our own. I think the Bible is clear: go forth and multiply. When two lie down together they can keep warmer than one.

Don't worry about it, you just need to pray for more faith.

(Do I need to admit my facetiousness?)

Sharyn said...

Ha ha talk about mixing your ... metaphors. Anyway you DO bring up a salient point - people often do quote the "it's not good for man to be alone" verse. HOWEVER, once I actually looked it up (what a radical) and it said "it's not good for THE man to be alone". It was refering specifically to Adam, not to all men everywhere.

So there!

Iain said...

Stop taking the Bible so literally, you Liberal!

Uh, wait...