Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Challenge to Singles on Valentine's Day: Reflections on Love

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Mark 10:46

1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus… Philippians 2:1-5

It’s common around this time of year amongst singles to joke (complain...gripe, add your own verb here___) about Valentine’s Day.  If you’re like me, you try to laugh about the day centered around romantic love and displayed by flowers and chocolate and candlelit dinners, by dubbing it “Singles Awareness Day", proclaiming that you will buy yourself a comfort gift, and spend the evening with the only men who will ever be faithful; Ben and Jerry (for the record, I prefer Blue Bell, but the title did not work for my “clever” and “completely original” joke). 

Quite obviously, such jokes are rarely more than thinly veiled loneliness and, let’s be honest, a bit of narcissistic bitterness.  Maybe that sounds harsh, but if I’m being brutally honest with myself, then it really is the truth.  My heart aches with a longing for marriage and romantic love and quite often becomes jealous of those who have found it.  This entire month, not just the day itself, seems like one big reminder than I am still “alone”, still single, and sometimes it’s hard to deal with.  How easy it becomes to slip into a “woe is me” state of mind, to mumble and grumble about how “nothing ever seems to go my way” and blah, blah, blah.  It looks absurd as I type it now, but appears to be the most solid logic when I think it in my own head, and I sincerely doubt I am the only one tumbling around with these thoughts.

Add to the mix well intentioned friends who want to set you up with “the greatest most perfect guy (girl if I have any male readers)” and things get more complicated.  At first I loved this idea.  (Dude!  He comes with a recommendation!)  Then I discovered that my over analytical mind doesn’t really deal with one on one set ups too well.  So on top of feeling lonely on this day, I then begin to feel guilty!  I’m hurting other people’s feelings by not liking the guys they’ve introduced me to!  I must have a fear of commitment! I’m so ungrateful!  There must be something wrong with me!  Yaddah, yaddah, yaddah…

Again, I don’t believe I’m alone in this black hole of internal dialogue.  What I do believe is that this “Singles Awareness Day” I’m being challenged and majorly convicted.  In the verses I have listed above we are encouraged to have the same attitude as that of Christ.  Jesus, the Word with God from the beginning, through Whom and for Whom all things were made, became flesh to be a servant to those who hated him, to die for those who deserved to die. He didn’t come to be served and loved and pampered, he came to wash stinky feet and suffer His own righteous wrath for evil He did not commit.  His love is so great that He gave dirty, rotten evil doers His righteousness that we might be able to enter into the presence of a holy, holy, holy God and be called co-heirs with Him!

So what the heck does that have to do with Valentine’s Day?  Everything.  Aside from being the most baffling love story in history, it is a challenge and a reminder to all of us, not just singles, to love and serve others above ourselves. It deeply convicts me when I find myself in that black hole of narcissism and focuses my vision first upward and then outward.  It impresses upon me the great love lavished on me (1 John 3:1) and challenges me to lavish similar love on others.

God is challenging me this month.  When I start to think about how lonely and “unloved” I feel, I need to first, remember His love for me, and second, to seek to show others His love as well.  Rather than grumble about “Singles Awareness Day” I am praying to have an attitude the same as that of Christ, and focus on serving and loving those around me.

1 comment:

Brandon said...

That does seem to be the challenge of your generation and mine. I know quite a few christian, never married, single gen X'ers. The world has skewed our view of what marriage should be and the expectation of a single person (see all chick flicks or 40 YOV).

Keep the faith, remember God is both sovereign in this and doesn't owe you a mate (that isn't his promise) or any specific blessing. He does promise to provide for you, to love you, and to have you best interests at heart. Sadly oor view of what that is, is a bit wonky.

As some one hitting 40 this year (and still a virgin), keep the faith, God is still good. Another thing to meditate on is: as much as you are wanting a mate (a good thing) what other blessings has God given you, that you are taking for granted? Use this time to build your walk and mediate on the greatness of Gods total provision.