Saturday, February 25, 2012

First, a Rabbit Trail...

Ok, I know that I said that the next post would be about the "perpetual bachelor" but when I started writing, I quickly realized that there is another issue that should be addressed first. Sorry, but the "perpetual bachelor post," although already written, will not be published until sometime next week.
So, first things first. We've all been there... we are sitting around with a group of girls, and one of them starts asking, "What is wrong with Christian men today? Why can't they make a commitment?" The ensuing discussion encompasses many different topics, but never have I heard the ideas that I have been pondering over the last few weeks presented as a possible/partial answer to this question.

Keep in mind, I started this blog because I was asked to share some thoughts with other single women. I understand that some of the principles here are applicable to other areas of life, but this is going to be one of those that mostly applies to... single women. Men, continue reading at your own peril ;) (Or to your own vexation.)

If there is one thing that I have learned over the years, it is that the scenario with which I opened this post is a TOXIC one. I learned that getting together with a group of single women, and bemoaning the fact that we were still single and bashing the single men we know for not being leaders, is not only wrong, but it is really, REALLY bad for us. I remember a time, shortly after I came back from Africa, when I started spending time with a great group of single women. They were wonderful girls, who loved the Lord, and were desirous of serving Him (preferably at the side of a godly man.) I suddenly began to see that every time I left a "girl's night" I was miserable, depressed and dissatisfied. As I began to search for the source of this, I realized... "EVERY time we get together, we end up 'bashing' our single men, and bemoaning our single state."

The next two times I got together with this particular group, I attempted unsuccessfully to reroute the conversation. Then I just stopped accepting invites to this group. I remember stating to a married friend, "It just seems like these girls are 'treading water' with their lives and service, in a holding pattern, waiting for a man. I need friends who are going to encourage me in my walk with God, whether single or not."

Gals, if you are struggling with loneliness and frustration... examine your friendships and your conversations. Are there particular friends whose pattern is to drag you down? Don't get me wrong... these girls were not the only ones at fault. I was QUICK to jump on the "man bashing wagon." I am just thankful that the Lord showed me how very wrong this was. The interesting thing is that when getting together with one or two of these women, the conversation would often be encouraging or uplifting, but the combination of the whole group together seemed to be toxic. It might be necessary for you to limit your time with certain groups or certain combinations of personalities. Believe it or not, I chose NOT to attend a church that everyone thought I would, simply because I felt that the combination of women in the single's group would be toxic for me, AND for them :)

Once again, I am going to get really REALLY personal. I am going to use myself as the example of what NOT to do. :) The situation I am about to describe is simply a conglomeration of a pattern that I have followed for years. This is a scenario that has been repeated several times in my life.

I have a friend who is a wonderful man. When we first started hanging out together, dating WAS NOT an option for multiple reasons, however, the longer I spent with him, and the more I got to know him, the more I respected, admired and appreciated him. I often said, "I am not one to play games. If I like a guy, why hide it?" So, I complimented him, I baked cookies for him. We would "hang out" and talk. I was ALWAYS available to him, and would chat online with him for hours on end, or I'd show up at his workplace with dinner, and just hang out... sometimes talking... sometimes doing my own thing on my computer (companionship) We would go to dinner, or the movies, and I enjoyed EVERY minute of it. BUT.... we were always just friends. Nothing more.

Now, there is nothing wrong with this, but the man knew that I absolutely adored him. I had no problem telling him that I was proud of him for this or that accomplishment, etc. In other words, I was meeting nearly all of his basic emotional and egotistical needs, and yet, dating was still "not an option."

When I see girls in this situation today, my heart just aches for them. I've been there. I want to say, "Honey, if he hasn't decided that he can't live without you after 3 months, 6 months, 3 years of friendship, than 6 years isn't going to do it either." I've been guilty of saying "I'd rather have friendship with him than to have nothing at all." Honestly though, you are doing yourself AND him a disservice. This isn't easy for me to say, and not easy for you to hear if you are currently in this position. I had friends who tried to warn me. Been there, done that. Here's the thing. I was SO sure that if another man came along, I was available, but in the meantime, I was going to enjoy this friendship. Fact is... honestly... I was so emotionally tied to my friendship, that while I SAID I was available for another man, I wasn't. So... the cold, hard truth was, "By choosing to remain in the 'friendship,' I was choosing to remain single." Now, in the language of Anne of Green Gables, or Roxanne it would be "beautiful" to die pining for love. Yeah, well, I guess I'm just a bit too practical for that :)

So, maybe it is time to examine your friendships. Are they helping you to achieve your goals? Are your friendships true, honest, lovely, of good report? Is there any virtue or praise? I know that Paul wasn’t talking about friendships here, but still, it is a good standard to apply. Are your friendships helping you to draw closer to Christ? Are they “true”? Are your thoughts and beliefs about the friendships “true” or are you living a dream?

Maybe instead of spending time pining for what we don’t have, we should be praying that God would help us to be what we should be. That we would learn to be sensitive to His leading, that we would seek to be godly women, desirous of serving Him with a meek (NOT weak) and quiet spirit. We need to pray that we would recognize our weaknesses and bring them to Him, knowing that His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Also, because as females, we are prone to being “emotional” we might pray that God would give us the common sense to deal with our emotions in a way that would honor and glorify Him.

No comments:

Post a Comment