It was really about time I started being honest with myself.
As the words were coming out of my mouth, I knew it was me talking, but it was like I was sitting in the back of the room listening to myself thinking, “It is about time you came to that realization.”
You see, tonight I preached about singleness. Tonight I made some jokes about cats. (But come on, it was funny. I said, “In 2009, the average age for women to get married was 26 and for men it was 28. I’m not entirely that good at math, but I know well enough that means I have at least six more years before I should start buying cats.” It’s only a matter of days before someone gives me a comedy show? At least a small spot on comedy radio? No? Oh, well, alright then.) Tonight I talked about how the season of singleness is really a gift from God. This is a time where we can have undivided and undistracted attention on God.
Then I said it. I don’t think I really planned on saying it, but the words were coming out and they were all honest. If my mom had been in the room, she would have been, “I’ll been telling you that,” with a motherly patience because only loving moms can realized that some lessons we need to learn for ourselves.
“I believe that dating prepares you for marriage. And, if I were being completely honest, I’m not ready for marriage, so I should not be pursuing any serious dating relationship because right now, I simply don’t have the time to give the priority that he desires. I am not ready to be dating. I need to be using this season to focus and build my relationship with God.” At that point I had pretty much abandoned my notes.
Now I didn’t say this, but today I realized on Facebook that the guy who once scratched his name plus my name into the back on a metal slide in the community park in my small hometown got married last month. I remembered seeing the notification that he got engaged, so I guess the logically conclusion I should have drawn in my mind was that he was going to get married sooner rather than later, but it still hit me like a flying hot potato.
After a somewhat confusing and awkward conversation I had with a friend of mine recently, I realized that I am dealing with some anger about my singleness. I am mad that my friends are getting engaged and I’m not. I am mad that even the dorkiest of kids are pairing up and I, who has the ability to cook and bake and fold laundry and vacuum and would make a great wife, am still sitting on my couch by myself on a Friday night. Sometimes I am angry, but why? I will experience many seasons in my lifetime.
Sometimes it is easier for me to embrace those seasons. Makes sense, I rarely ever come around to embracing actual seasons like freezing cold winter, so why do I assume it should be easier for me to embrace my life seasons?
This is what I preached about tonight. Like most sermons, I’m preaching just as much to myself as anyone else. Here’s some highlights:
We read Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 7: 32-35 (in the Message paraphrase): “I want you to live as free of complications as possible. When you’re unmarried, you’re free to concentrate on simply pleasing the Master. Marriage involves you in all the nuts and bolts of domestic life and in wanting to please your spouse, leading to so many more demands on your attention. The time and energy that married people spend on caring for and nurturing each other, the unmarried can spend in becoming whole and holy instruments of God. I’m trying to be helpful and make it as easy as possible for you, not make things harder. All I want is for you to be able to develop a way of life in which you can spend plenty of time together with the Master without a lot of distractions.”
Our singleness is not a prison sentence. It is a season in which we should focus on ourselves and our relationship with God. It is a time to spend:
1. Falling in love first with God
2. Trusting God to provide
3. Cultivating friendships and serving the people around us
It is not easy to spend this time “hustling while I wait,” but it is worth it.