married was like a mighty oak tree, then I am a waffle. There is that much space between the two. However, I spend a lot of time talking to (sometimes AT, sorry friends) people and have noticed some really consistent patterns in our experiences within the church and within our varying churches and denominations. Sometimes knowledge or insight can be a burden, and I have been pretending like I do not need to write this for a few weeks. I figure I should stop hoping the weight of it will go away soon. So here we go. Things I wish the church knew (or actively knew, you know?) about single ladies.
#1. We are not always okay.
In the beginning… God created Adam. He walked with him and talked with him and told him that he was His own. Adam had what we all wish we had: the ability to be physically with God. As I sit here at Starbucks with an empty chair across from me, I think “It would be great if Jesus walked in and got a chai tea latte and sat down and we talked about everything in life.” I tend to think that so many of my fears and doubts would be diminished if I could just see my Lord, if I could sense his presence in a tangible way.
In Genesis, we get this account of God creating Adam and putting him in the fabulous garden (he was not made in the garden, weird huh?) and he gave him a purpose, to take care of Eden. He says “it is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” After that is when God gives him the job of naming the animals. I love how the Bible says it. “He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.” How much laughter was involved? The first time Adam saw an elephant, did God delight in how amazed he was by its long trunk and big ears? I can almost picture the first encounter with a turtle, with Adam leaning in closer and the turtle quickly pulling inside of its shell, causing the man to jump back in surprise at how well it fit inside itself.
But even after this, the Bible says no suitable helper was found for Adam.
Did the laughter die down, and God had to see Adam staring lovingly at the herd of wildlife, none of them able to verbalize smells and opinions and even adoration of God? I imagine that God noticed it, could sense it in the depths of Adam’s spirit. Adam probably didn’t play games with God, smiling and saying, “oh no.. I’m fine.” Maybe Adam said “they are not like me, I can tell.”
Because we are made in the image of God, there is a desire to know and be known. Intimately.
This desire is not limited to a divine relationship. We are created to desire intimacy with other human beings, even before we knew about falling in love or being married or creating families. It was just there, like a dull ache in the spirit.
You know what this means to me? What it really tells me about myself?
Pastor Bill Heck once said it. He said that we were created with a God shaped vacuum in our hearts, something that will never be filled or satisfied. But we were also created with a man shaped hole that nothing else – not even God himself – can fill.
Yeah yeah, can God create a rock so heavy he cannot even lift it? I don’t know and I really don’t care. I just know it is true. Truth and fact are not the same thing, and saying “God is enough” to every situation is more of a fact than truth. Tell that to someone grieving the loss of a loved one, or someone who can’t seem to keep their heads above water. I’m just saying what I see in the Bible. A perfect, SINLESS relationship with God is not good enough for a human being, and it was God himself that said it.
God’s response wasn’t to create a small group or a “body of believers” or the makings for an epic bromance. God’s response to the ungoodness of man being alone was to create the core of a family nucleus. That is the answer he gave to the impending emptiness of mankind.
It is in our DNA to acknowledge that even in the strongest, most faithful of walks with the Lord, we have a burning desire to share the journey with another person. For some reason, a lot of us are ashamed to admit that desire, trying instead to constantly be the strong independent women people would like to believe we are.
So I’m saying it. Sometimes it sucks and upsets me and all I want to do is lay on the floor in my pajamas, listen to Coldplay, stare at pictures of Darren Criss, and cry. Sometimes I’m not okay with the fact that I am a waffle and marriage is a tree and there’s not a whole lot I can do about it. And often, I am not okay because I always want to understand things. If Jesus came and sat across from me with his chai latte (I’m guessing iced), I’d just want to know WHY. Give me some insight or something. But that’s not how he works. He answers questions with questions and gives instructions in stories. Understanding and trusting the Lord is more about discovery than disclosure.
For the most part, I breathe deeply in the peace of God and feel rested and secure in the place I’m at in life. But every so often, the breathing is shallow and frantic and I am just not okay with it because it is not good for the man to be alone. There’s nothing wrong with me, I just get not okay. I wish the church knew or at least remembered that.
The truth: I’m not always okay.
The appropriate response: Just let me be not okay once in awhile.