Can we also ponder about the need to compare ourselves with fish? Just a side thought. People, more often than I would have thought and more often than I am comfortable with, like to express their surprise that I am still single.
But you’re gorgeous.
But you kayak.
But you’re great at:
And if that wasn’t enough, parents tend to like me too.
Basically, I am the recipe for relationship. And I’ve heard these things enough to start believing them. So why is it that I am single?
For starters, there is another factor others do not see. When you have a good recipe, adding more to it does not always get the best result. You see, when baking, the ingredients are important because they are tested in heat. Even too much of a needed ingredient can turn to disaster real quick and ruin the whole thing.
I have found that, when tested in the heat of relationship, I’m a wreck. All of that pretty packaging begins to crinkle. That solid wall of a woman seems to crumble into the same little girl in middle school who had braces and hand-me-down clothes from her big brother and was most comfortable lost in the crowd. But even then my heart yearned to be known.
Even at that young age I owned a pair of hot pink suede shoes – one piece of clothing that could articulate that there is a spark of life within me.
But it’s a scary thing to be known. At times, being known can feel like I am being found-out. That someone will discover that I am actually not all that they thought I would be – that, in essence, I am a fraud.
I do my best to be sincere, genuine, and authentic. I try to be a woman of my word and a woman of the Word.
So, if I am not measuring up, I tend to feel the sting of this deeply. But I think we all tend to do this – we create our understanding of a person based on what we know and we tend to create the rest in our own imagination perhaps without even realizing it. This creates a false sense of a person and, of course, they won’t measure up. But not because the person is wrong, but because the image created is incorrect.
It took me a long time to realize this – because I do this too. It takes a lot more time and grace than people care to give to truly dig into a relationship; to allow the discovery of another person to awe them, instead of becoming disappointed or dissatisfied with who they wanted them to be. Recognizing this allows us to get to know someone – who they really are.
And this will stretch your limits of grace.
This will test your ever-loving patience.
This will be the death of you.
And I think that is the point. The heat of relationship is meant to bring out these things – so that we can see them, so that we can choose to die to that part of our self, so that we can recognize that we are always in need of grace and to always lead us back to the only One who is capable of offering the grace we need. That’s what makes it uncomfortable, that’s what makes it messy, and that’s what makes it worth it.
And it’s taken me a few years to realize that I’m worth the messy.
But when this line of reason begins to waiver and I am the one to ask this question, no amount of reason is useful. It is these moments that I am reminded, often times by others wiser than me, that my frustration in one situation in my life should lead me to a deeper place – a place reason seems to fail. These moments cause me to be brought to a question that can cut through any reason and feeling.
Do I trust that God is good?
If I trust that God is good, that his very character is goodness, and he is using all things for his glory and my own good, then my heart is quieted. Remembering that if I am single, this is the best place for me as ordained by God who is sovereign over all things – including my life and my heart. And in this shift of attention – off of my perceived lack and on to an eternal purpose – that I am also reminded that my life and my heart are a small story in the glory of God. Lest I forget – this life is short and it is all that I have, but the Lord is not constrained to my life and my time and my expectations, yet he pursues me.
And as unfair as it sounds, this is what makes him God and worth my messy.