Singleness: disease or identity?

Found the following great article on the topic of — what else? — singleness and identity. But first, a word from Hollywood:

We live in a cynical world. A cynical world… I love you. You complete me.
— Tom Cruise, Jerry Maguire

There is a horrendous problem with the suggestion that we should spend our time as singles becoming the right person for someone else; it makes us believe that until we find that someone, there is something wrong with us. If we spend our time, energy and emotions preparing for some unknowable, unforeseeable future mate who will be the indication that we’ve finally bettered ourselves enough to deserve the love that goes hand in hand with marriage, and that mate doesn’t come, we receive a message that we are unworthy of marriage, unworthy of love, unlovable. We are less of a man or less of a woman because of our singleness. And that message is a complete and utter lie.
— Beth Parent, Relevant Magazine

Do you see the philosophies at odds here? On one side (and it’s indicative of both secular and Christian cultures), you have a decided dependence on other people for one’s sense of worth.

On the other side, you have an independent sense of self. And if you’re a Christian, ideally you draw that worth from your Creator, content with His foreknowledge of your creation.

In the absence of a mindful creator — a source of unfailing love and acceptance — our independence can look like cynicism. Deciding to live apart from the approval of others can appear as a denial of human community, as Jerry implies with his profession of love to Dorothy.

But living in deference to the Creator is anything by cynicism. It is choosing to assume our wholeness as people from His likeness. On the contrary, this consciousness should impact our human relationships. It should spur us on to cultivating human companionship, yet not drawing identity from it.

Ms. Parent goes on to conclude that “the only real reason I’m not married is because I’m single.” That’s so self-evident, but profound at the same time! Perhaps the most obvious of observations is actually the best indicator of God’s direction. I’m single right now, not because I’m in some sort of marriage boot camp, preparing for the marathon of my life. But instead, I’m single to more fully be the Rob God could want for me.

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  1. I’ve always hated that message that if we haven’t found someone yet, we have made some mistake or that something is wrong with us. That’s a horrible message to send to singles.

    For me, I’m choosing not to worry needlessly about something that God hasn’t given me yet. And that’s how we should all view marriage- as a gift given from God. Singleness, too, is a gift from God. Each has its unique nuances, as well as its challenges.

  2. You single people are all freaks!!!!! πŸ˜›

    Just kidding of course. Great thoughts all around. I think one of the worst mistakes any person can make when they are unattached, or even after they are attached, is to not cultivate a relationship with themself and also with God. It is trite but true that you have to really know and love yourself in order to cultivate meaningful relationships with others. So many people defer the opportunity to really find out who they are and what they want to do simply because they are out there looking for someone else to fill a gap in their life.

  3. If I look to James to bring me fulfillment and happiness I become irritated and disappointed with him very quickly, then we both wish we were single. πŸ˜•

  4. What you guys have is very special….

    I am happy and fulfilled in my life with Jimmy, just can’t always count on him to meet my every need. You’ll find out soon enough…. πŸ˜‰

  5. Man, I am always three days late! Rob, I completely agree and I love your attitude. It’s so true. Speaking of idiotic statements, I’ve had people tell me that because I met Jim in college I was really only going to school to get my MRS degree. Oh, that ticks me off. I’m sure you can imagine; you’ve seen my looks before! πŸ‘Ώ

  6. I can’t help but wonder if in our inherently self-absorbed state, we tend to take the wrong perspective on our identities as a whole.

    Perhaps the key to our identity is not our singleness or marriedness at all — and neither is God’s purpose thwarted or magnified by either state. Both states offer benefits and shackles to spiritual growth.

    Rather, our identity should be who we are in Christ. By that, I mean concentrating on what it means for us to be indwelt and empowered by the Holy Spirit — simultaneously justified and progressively sanctified — in any situation.

    I think that we (I) get so bogged down and looking at life as an experiential / existential view and trying to fathom, through that experience, an infinite God, that I forget that I don’t have to understand the whys and wherefores of life (not that it is inherently wrong, mind you) — I forget that, as one of Christ’s sheep, my circumstances in life are at best secondary.

    Don’t misunderstand me — we are physical beings and that stage of existence is essential in our walk with God — but our status (single, married, healthy, sick, poor, rich, etc.) is not who we are in Christ. Rather, our identity is in the spirit of sonship, by which we are enabled to cry “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15-17).

    I shouldn’t be consumed with being a fuller “John” — I should be consumed with being less “John” and more Christlike…each day pursuing holiness and dying to self and not analyzing the self…I would think that the dividends in any relationship, be it parallel or vertical, would be greatly increased.

    Okay…now I just have to remember this tomorrow πŸ˜‰

  7. Well, the internet has now officially and utterly creeped me out. Somebody suggested that I google myself. Having never done it before, I thought I’d give it a go, and what do I find? I’ve been blogged about by complete strangers. That’s it. I’m finished with the whole thing.

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