Thursday, February 16, 2012

What to do with singleness?


Was over at (in)courage just now and read a post called When a Comment Breaks Your Heart.  I shared my two cents (or maybe 5 cents, boy I can't keep things to a minimum can I?) and thought I would post here as well as this is just such a hot topic I know for many in the Christian world.  And I get it, believe me.  I got it the first time around...and I know as a future divorced woman with kids, I have probably many more single years ahead of me.  But I just wonder if we in the Christian world sometimes make too much out of this when we are single?  And when we are married, put too much pressure on the singles to get going? Does life really not begin until you get married?  I look around at my single friends with no kids and am jealous of all they have gotten to do with their lives so far...and feel like my life actually stopped when I got married.  Not that NOT talking about it would be the answer, for then we would all just be stuffing our feelings and that's not healthy.  But why do we stress the importance of marriage - especially as women - as the way to fulfill all our longings and dreams so much?

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My Reply: 
Wow, this certainly struck a cord in me.  Not because I'm mid 30s and single...but because I'm mid 30s, going to be single again soon and now have 2 children I have to do it with.  My heart breaks because I had dreams that I tried to fulfill on my own, thinking God was fulfilling them...and now they are forever ripped at the seams - affecting not just me but my kids.

I won't pretend either to have any answers for you - as I am still in the process of trying to figure out myself...but I kind of think that is the point.  God made us so uniquely individual...and we are each on our own individual journey while at the same time being in this together.  I guess I just want to share, with as much sympathy and care as I can - that just because you do or do not get married...that perhaps putting all our hope into that one relationship being what will ultimately fulfill our every longing...well, I just think that ultimately that will lead to some really major disappointments whether we do or do not ever get married (again).

Our culture and our Christian culture tries to make marriage and motherhood all there is to fulfilling a woman....we've come a long way baby, but we are still told subliminally that this is what defines us as being worthy.  I can tell you from experience -my own and many other moms I know - being married with kids is not AT all glamorous.  It is isolating and depressing and unfulfilling most days.  But I know until you experience for yourself, the "grass is always greener".  I guess here I would just say that a marital relationship - while highly important if you are in it - is still only PART of your total self.  Trying to make it ALL of yourself will only lead to heartache and misery for both you and your spouse.

As I've gone about my journey (which you can read at www.realmamareallife.com)...I've discovered that I'm really a romance addict (google it if you can, I  bet many of us ladies are this...or I talk about it on my site.)    As a recovering romance addict I keep developing crushes that lead me to hope for the future.  I've come to realize, though, that always focusing on the future isn't allowing me to focus that time and energy on the past, figuring out what my part of the failure of my marriage was, what wrong expectations were...not allowing me to grieve what I have lost and not allowing me to live in the present, enjoying the things God is doing in my life.  By dreaming about Mr. Right-for-me...I'm totally missing my life here-and-now.   But the here-and-now can be lonely, especially after having someone for 11.5 half years...I get that...these are just some of my thoughts as I look at my life and not knowing if God will ever bring another man into my life.

The young adult group I was part of at church for a bit did an awesome series on all this actually...here is the link to it.  The one my Lindsay Sturgeon I think would specifically interest you on this topic:  Mythbusters

Lastly, I highly encourage you to listen to the message about dating from the above series as well.  I have NO idea what you have or haven't done or committed to in the dating world...and I know this isn't really what you were writing or inquiring about.  But I know from experience how turned off to "dating" we Christians can be...when in all actuality God could be waiting for us to "get in the game" so to speak in this area in our life.   Here is my story.  I came out of college when Mr. Josh's book "I kissed dating good-bye" was all the rage.  I was a semi-new Christian, from a more conservative part of the country...and I took to that book like a fish in the water.  I bought into it hook, line and sinker.  I told God I didn't want to date, but just find the man I was to marry - marry him and start my life together.  I was willing to give up all my other dreams if that is what He wanted for me.

Well, that is basically what happened.  I met and married the first guy I ever really dated.  Sometimes this works...sometimes this doesn't.  For me, it didn't.  Yet, as I ventured back out into the single world...and this series came along and I was talking to friends about how they approached dating life, I was challenged to take another look at dating.  I have to admit I was still really skeptical.  I didn't think it was good Christian form to date, that someone who dates like they are in the world isn't really trusting God in this area of their life.

But, I tried my best to listen to this message with open ears.  And even though I am quite a ways off from being able or even ready to date myself, I wanted to read some of the books the pastor suggested.  I wanted to see if there was something I was missing...and so I ordered "Boundaries in Dating" and "How to Get a Date Worth Keeping" and have been shocked that they make really good, biblical points as to how and why a Christian should date.

Just a few of my thoughts on all this for what it is worth.  Just know that us married and previously married folks also suffer from loss of dreams, of expectations...

Blessings to you,
the Joy Gal

Read more in this series:
Is Singleness the Plague?

Becoming the Right Person, Part 1

Becoming the Right Person, Part 2

1 comment:

  1. Holli-

    Hello. My name is Jen, and I have been reading your blog as a "ghost" for some time now. (I went to high school with you at MHS.) I don't know what compelled me to write to you today, but I just feel like I have to. First, I think what you are doing with this blog is admirable. While many of us are still keeping our thoughts a secret in a daily or weekly (or even periodic) journal, you are putting your thoughts and experiences out there for the world. Again, I think that is courageous and should be celebrated. In my opinion, you have a message to tell and should definitely continue doing this. Just know that you have a fan out there as you go through this new phase of your life.

    And while I can't even imagine what you are going through right now as a soon-to-be divorced woman and single mom, I want you to know that you have support out there in the bloggersphere. In today's article, you talk about how many aspects of your life ended when you got married and had kids. I want you to know that I did the reverse....I got married a little later and just had my first little bundle of joy in December 2011. My materntiy leave has given me time to reflect since I am usually in a "go-go-go" mode and will probably get back to that grindstone when I go back to work in late April. I guess my point is this - most of my twenties were spent in school and on my career. While I also got to do some other fun things, like travel, I got lost in my career to the point where I became kind of a robot, only focused on career advancement to the detriment of my family and friends. And for that, I am regretful. I can only be thankful for a tremendously loving and patient husband and family. I guess you can lose yourself in a career, married, single, whatever. So, please understand that even though we are in our mid-thirties, you are in a much better place than you think. You are awake and fully experiencing your life. You are curious, joyful and willing to put yourself out there. Praise God!

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