We’ve been talking about relationships in our Home Community this last couple weeks. Which inevitably leads to long and poorly-thought-out blogging. Here goes.
Lord knows I’ve been in my fair share of relationships, and they’ve certainly run the gamut of complication and commitment. As a self-termed serial monogamist, I’ve spent the vast majority of years I can remember tied to someone else. I suppose for my own sanity I have to believe that some good has come of the variety of experiences I’ve had, and I’d like to call that good “perspective.” In any case, I’ve certainly given it the old college try. (I just used “Lord knows,” “run the gamut,” and “old college try” in one paragraph… apparently, talking about relationships ages me about 40 years)
We Christians like to complicate the heck out of the dating process. We load it up with expectation, apply a shameless ton of pressure, and try to spiritually one-up each other with sanctimonious rules, recommendations, and restrictions. We build boxes and place ourselves in them, hiding behind walls of timing and circumstance. I don’t mean to be skeptical, but I question how many of us truly feel a strong calling to be single or married and how many of us just want to feel called. And further, I feel sometimes like we’ve drawn a crazy line in the sand – you’re either trying to get married or trying to stay single – no room for middle ground, or dating, or getting to know someone, or just plain not knowing at all.
I struggle with this, because in my heart of hearts I’m a huge fan of the not knowing. I’ve tried to create a plan for myself a thousand times- for now, I’ll be single, I’ll have this career, I’ll move to this city, I’ll go to this school, only to watch it crumble away in seconds over a conversation with a stranger or advice from a friend. And I love that. I love that no matter what I think the plan is for my life, no matter how sure I am that I know myself and what I need right now, I have a God who will knock me on my sorry butt and prove that He has me figured out in ways I can’t begin to imagine. I love meeting someone who makes me wonder “What if?” or looking back on an old relationship and realizing how necessary all the unexpected pain was. I love that God waits for the moments when my heart is its hardest to swoop in and surprise me. I love that I never, never see it coming.
Being single isn’t the resting place for me that it is for some, which, in a strange way, is why I’m okay hanging out here for awhile if that’s how it turns out. I’m vaguely uncomfortable, being single, and I think that’s a good thing… we should be uncomfortable, at least fairly often, because it’s awfully hard to grow when you’re sitting around being all cozy. I’m trying to listen. I’m trying to stay open to whatever could be. For a while, being single was the place where I felt the most challenged, but I do feel like it’s getting easier lately. Which could very well mean that the time for a new challenging situation is just around the corner. Or not. I have no idea! Isn’t that kinda great?
I think we’ve only just begun this conversation as a group, and I love that we’ve opened a dialogue. My hope is that none of us get too comfortable in our current situations, that we don’t avoid relationships because of the potential difficulties or cling to them because we’re afraid to be alone, and that we remember how much we can learn from each other. I hope we can learn to be content but not stagnant, and that we can seek to grow closer to God in whatever our current situation is – single, married, or somewhere in between.