Sunday, December 9, 2012

Does the Church embrace singleness?

1 Corinthians 7:32
I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 

Does the Church embrace singleness?  I threw that question out there this morning on my True Love Dates Facebook page.  

It was interesting to read the thoughts and responses from young men and women, but one woman's comment caught my attention:

"It is almost as if it is okay to be a single man but they [the Church] are not quite sure what to do about a single woman.  Many times they feel sorry for her or pray for God to bring the right man. There seems to be a definite double standard.

This statement really caught my eye because I find myself agreeing with her.  Remembering the days of singleness and the Christian culture that I was surrounded by, there seemed to be some sort of a double standard- where women felt less for being single, while men continued on peacefully with their bachelor lives.

I was thinking about this today, and why this seems to be the truth.  Although it's easy to blame the Church for everything, I believe the problem has a lot less to do with the Church, and a whole lot more to do with us...single young women, desperate to love and be loved.  

You see, I wonder if the church does not determine the value that is put on us- but rather, reflects the value that we put on ourselves.  

Looking back, I wonder if the church does not "embrace" singleness because we have a hard time embracing it ourselves.  As a single woman, I remember struggling so much with the idea of being single, as though it were a trial to get through, a temptation in which I had to persevere. 
It took me so long to embrace, enjoy singleness myself. 

As women, I think we all struggle with the same things.  The longing to be valued, loved, and embraced by another human being.  The longing to be walking with someone alongside, someone to witness our lives, in order to somehow make our lives matter.  

As Christian women, I think sometimes we devalue ourselves when we are single and alone.  I think we forget that our value is not attached to our relationship status, but rather to the God who has made His home inside of our hearts.  Our evaluation of self has the tendency to rub off onto the people around us.  

We teach people how to treat us by the way that we treat ourselves.  We teach people how to value us, by the way that we value ourselves.  At the root of the Church embracing singleness, is a long line of individual men and women, struggling to embrace singleness themselves. 

As a married woman now, I look back and I see the mistakes I made as a single woman- longing to be loved, valued, and embraced.  And the truth of the matter is- even in marriage...the struggles with value and self-worth have not gone away.  They still haunt me day by day and the unconditional love of a husband was not the cure that I thought it would be.  The truth of the matter is, the only solution I have found is nestled deeply in the heart of Something more.  Someone more. 

We will not embrace singleness as a culture, and as women at large, until we have truly learned to embrace our God-created, God-restored, God-loved, God-valued selves.  We will not embrace singleness as a culture, until we have learned to be at peace with who are are, standing alone.  And maybe, just maybe, even then we will never truly embrace our "singleness" because that's not the core of what we were meant to embrace. Rather than defining ourselves by the broad brush stroke of a relationship status, maybe our definitions need to run a little bit deeper.  A little bit truer.   A little bit more in line with the God of relationships, who calls us to rest only in Him. 

May we, as women, seek to create a culture in which we teach the world around us to treat us like we deserve to be treated.  Valued, loved, honored and respected.  Single, or not.  We are daughters of a King.  Let's live that way. 

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