Tuesday, July 8, 2014

wholly single...

Small town, Midwest America is a beautiful place, quite possibly one of my favorite places in the entire world simply because it is home.

In this small corner of the world, corn fields abound;
people wave to just about anyone, whether they know them or not...but chances are good they know them, since everyone knows everyone;
your road companion is often times an Amish buggy;
your graduating class is small enough that you usually know and have talked to everyone;
about 90% of the population would identify themselves as Christian or religious;
a Friday night's entertainment usually consists of a high-school basketball game, a bonfire, or hitting up the local theater, Wal-Mart, or hang out spot;
and, typically, by 22, 23, or 24 you are married, engaged, or pretty darn close.

All is blissful and well...but that last part (the marriage part) has started to rub me the wrong way recently, not because I think getting married young is bad, but because it has become a standard of living that ostracizes the singles into a category that portrays them as the leftovers, the unwanted, or the defective.

Especially at a small, Christian college in this Midwest oasis the pressure to find Mr. or Mrs. Right before you graduate is intensely high. I feel like I'm constantly fielding questions from genuinely good-natured and well-intentioned people about if I'm seeing anyone and why I don't date more.
As I give a half-hearted response of, "Oh, well, we'll just have to wait and see...", I usually get a slew of semi-encouraging responses that range from, "It's really just a blessing that you can focus on God and school without any distractions," to "Mr. Right will be here before you know it. One day it's just going to hit you out of the blue."

Don't get me wrong, I SO appreciate that I have so many friends and family that care about me, encourage me, and want to see me happy.
But, I think the problem lies right there: they assume that being single equates to being unhappy or searching for more. The slightly pitying tone in which people respond when you tell them you're not seeing anyone instills a lie in people that says: I'm so sorry. You must think you're doing something wrong. You must hate your life. You must want so desperately to be with someone, anyone!! 
And eventually, singles will begin to believe that they are, in fact, defective, doing something wrong, or deserving of others pity. But, that. is. just. not. true!

God made you. He hardwired you. He knows you to the very core of your existence and he has a unique and individual plan for you and I'd wager to say that He doesn't want you (or any of us!) to settle for anything less just because we feel like the world (that means you, pestering sisters, married friends, pushy mothers, nosy aunts, etc..) expects things to happen a certain way.

Side note to put everyone's mind at ease:
Do I want get married someday?
Yea, probably!
Am I opposed to people getting married in their early twenties?
No, no, no!! Almost every member of my family has married before turning 23. There's nothing wrong with it!

What I do oppose is the intense and ridiculous pressure to find one's soulmate before a certain deadline (i.e. your college graduation, your little sibling's wedding, your mother's death, etc...)
Being single does not equate to being less whole or desirable than the dating or married woman.

So, be single.
You're not unwanted or pitiable. You're not any less attractive or admirable.
You have things to conquer & learn, so get to it and stop waiting for Mr. Right to come along so you can do those things.

And gosh darn it, be selective.
Don't settle for just any old guy off the street who treats you "alright".

If a guy asks you out, it's okay to say no!
There will be more fish in the sea, girl.

A few months back my dad wanted to see me, so he offered to pay for my gas to come home.
I earnestly obliged.
He's a Jr. & Sr. high principal, so his Friday night consisted of supervising and supporting the bulldogs in their home basketball game. Often, if I'm home, he'll ask me to join him to keep him company, and this weekend was no different.
So, off we went to the game.
He dropped me off at the door before he parked because it was raining and he didn't want me to get wet.
He paid for me to get in to the game, and then we stood together in our little corner of the gymnasium as the game unfolded.
The team's water jugs leaked on the floor in front of us, and rather than finding the custodial staff to clean it up, he looked around for some rags, got down on his hands and knees, and cleaned it up himself.
After the game, he readily began helping to clean the gymnasium and put away the water jugs, chairs, etc...
He's a principal. That's not his job description.
But he's humble.
He's a servant
And he genuinely cares for the people who serve that school.

He takes criticism, complaints, and pay cuts, yet he continues to commit himself diligently in ways far beyond his job description... kind of like how Christ continually commits himself to us, His children, beyond all contracts, job titles, or preconceived notions.

As Freudian as this might sound, might I suggest: look for a man like that.
A man that pays for you, sits with you, reflects Christ with and to you.
A man that is humble and kind.
A man who goes above and beyond.
A man who puts his phone away and pays attention to you.
A man who looks you in the eye & truly listens to your heart.
A man that sings with you and laughs with you.
A man that is there in the good and the oh-so-ugly.
A man that knows, encourages, and is willing to deny himself to see your desires and dreams fulfilled.
A man that worships with his words, his thoughts, his actions, and his life.
Look for a man that knows the God of love, so that he can reflect that love to you and others.

And if you have to wait....then, WAIT.

You are no less of a person, no less desirable, no less whole, no less functional, no less capable because of it.

"The woman who is content with where God has her in life, who is content in her singleness, is not vulnerable to the emotional persuasion of foolish men who wander through her life. But the woman who doesn't trust God's goodness, who doesn't wait on God's timing, or is controlled by the feeling of incompleteness without a man in her life- that woman ignores red flags, lowers her standards, justifies a lack of godliness, and in the end gets hurt by the very man she wanted to love."

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