Monday, October 11, 2004

on being single...

I am a hopeless romantic. I actually possess items that I would like to use at my wedding reception. I also have plans for my dress, the ceremony and, of course, the music. I have paintings and a vintage blanket for a future nursery. And I have dreams of sitting on the back porch with my soul mate, watching our children run barefoot through our garden digging for worms. These are all things that are deep in my heart. However, over the last year or so, I have come to recognize another section of my soul. This space has been hidden, clouded by all of the things I thought I needed and that my family seems concerned that I don’t have. I have discovered a place in my soul that has assured me that I could be content in a single lifestyle.

Many people would probably laugh at the idea of me being content as a lifelong single. Most who know me know of my intricate plans of marriage and babies, home and hearth. However, most who truly know me would probably agree that I would be ok without those things. When I became a Christian at the age of 15, I was pulled out of a lifestyle where relationships were everything. I was always dating somebody, even though I was too young to make any kind of commitment to another person (or, for that matter, to make wise choices as to who I should date). I was counseled very early on about the importance of guarding my heart and refraining from physical relationships. I took this advice to heart, and perhaps the reality of it permeated through my glands to ward off any would be suitors. I have not been asked out on a date, going on 13 years now. I am fully aware that the apprehension to dating that was brainwashed into me during the True Love Waits epidemic probably caused me to miss out on potential relationships. I also know that I have been a friend with enough guys that my personality is not completely unapproachable, and that the entire burden does not belong to me. I have to believe that somewhere in the midst of those 13 years was God, either a. saving me for an incredible relationship yet to come or b. preparing me for singleness.

Have I grown selfish in my time as a single? Have I grown so comfortable with myself that I no longer want to share that comfort with someone else? Society seems to enjoy writing singleness off as a selfish decision. Perhaps it allows a blind eye to be turned to the shades of selfishness that lead to 50% of marriages ending in divorce. Humans are selfish creatures, despite our marital status, and that is simply a fact of life in a fallen world we have to daily contend with. I know that I have lived in a selfish manner for the past several years, and I know that I am taking steps to turn that lifestyle around. It was very easy to ignore that fact, until I took a serious look at my life and realized that it wasn’t fit for me to live in as a single or as a wife and mother. I look at the life of Rich Mullins, who I’m sure would take issue the amount of sainthood he is given in so many people’s eyes (including my own), and see what it is to truly live for others. In his short life, Rich was dedicated to bringing the love of Christ to people who may have never felt love. As a single and childless man, Rich consoled the hearts of more women and touched the hearts of more children than he ever could have as a father and husband. I don’t know what kind of deep longing existed in his heart that may not have been fulfilled, but I know that he sought the heart of God, and that he sought authentic community with other believers, and that this was manifested in a life that was poured out with great intensity.

In high school, I became the Christian my church leaders wanted me to be (and I am forever grateful for their spiritual guidance during my early years). In college, I began to understand the freedom I had to question some of the things I had accepted at face value, and I simultaneously began to pull away from the church and grow deeper in my faith. I spent the first two years out of college feeling completely lost and alone. And now, over the past four years, I have truly begun to grow into myself. I have found a church home that encompasses so much of what my heart, and my understanding of God’s Word, tells me the Church should be. My personality has turned in directions I would not have imagined. My goals and priorities have taken a drastic turn for the better just in the past year. Had I married someone during any of my previous stages of life, I feel like I would have become stagnant in that form. I know that the person I would have chosen to give my heart to would not have been the person I would willingly entrust it to today. Had I handed my heart over, I would have never grown into the person I have come to know and love.

Do I still hold out hope of finding love and being able to pass that love along to my children? Of course. But the part of my journey I have arrived at is that spot in the road where I have realized that marriage is not my destination. Living a full and free life in Christ is my destination, and encouraging others to join me in my journey. If I should find a soul mate traveling along the same road, it will be a great blessing. And if I should have the opportunity to give life to some little travelers, I will accept that gift with great responsibility. But what I have decided is that I will make every effort to fully enjoy the journey, not in the meantime, but as if it is the only time I have been given.

4 comments:

crs said...

hey there, not much to say on this topic since it seems the season is haunting all the lonelies out there...including myself. linked to your site through kevins...i'm a fellow obu'er and whatnot...am now in iowa...uh...dunno if you remember me or not...i'm cade

Kimberly said...

iowa? isn't that where they filmed "children of the corn"? thanks for stopping by & for posting ~ its always nice to know that others are reading (unless i start getting some kind of creepy people... not sure i'm prepared for that!). i'll have to stroll over and visit your site...

JEB said...

wow, kimberly. thanks for being so open and honest. this is an amazing post.

methy said...

"Have I grown so comfortable with myself that I no longer want to share that comfort with someone else?"

Sometimes I wonder if I have ever not been that...