I’m taking a break from Facebook for a while. No, it’s not like I’m deleting my Facebook and then coming back several months later; I’m just not going to log in for a bit. For one thing, I need a break. I’ve gotten into the habit of spending a large amount of time checking old statuses from years past, browsing through my newsfeed to see what everyone’s been up to (without directly asking them), and basically wasting time from other important things like cleaning my room and doing my taxes. For another thing, next Tuesday is Valentine’s Day, which means countless Facebook updates leading up to and through then.
V-Day frustrates me. For the couples out there, it’s the one day you’re supposed to do something for your loved one. But the way I see it, if you’re in any kind of committed relationship, you ought to be doing something every day for your loved one – you know, to build for the long-haul of the relationship? And for the singles like me, it’s the day you’re supposed to take some sort of “leap of faith” and get your crush some flowers and candy in the hopes of winning her over. I’ve tried that. It doesn’t work.
And yet neither of these reasons is the cause of my Facebook vacation. I’m taking a break because I don’t really want to be reminded that I’m still single. I know, I’m supposed to be content with being single – and that’s exactly why I’m trying to avoid the reminders. For some reason, I’m just not happy about the fact that I’m still single.
You see, about a year ago I wrote a post entitled “Season of Solitude.” When I wrote it, I sincerely believed that I’d be close to dating somebody within the next year. But ever since writing that post, I’ve been challenged with the idea of living out my days without ever marrying.
And please, don’t jump to say, “You’ll find somebody eventually; just hang in there.” That doesn’t help either. That’s not what I’m getting at. My challenge isn’t just to “hang in there”; it’s to live my life as if marriage wasn’t even an option. It’s like God’s asking me, “Can you see yourself being 50, 60, or maybe even 70 years old, single and content?”
Psalm 23 begins, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Given my deep desire to find a woman to spend the rest of my days with, this is a tough passage to swallow. What is says to me (and maybe I’m wrong for thinking this) is that I’m not quite content with God. You see, I have a disagreement with God when marriage gets brought up. If God were to audibly tell me that it’s not His plan for me to marry, I’d probably walk away. And I know for a fact that’s not how my heart is supposed to be.
If I was truly content with God, then wouldn’t I be content? Wouldn’t I be saying the words, “I shall not want” and really mean them? Perhaps I’m wrong; maybe the desire to marry comes from walking with God. But I don’t think that’s true for me: I’ve wanted a wife long before I started following God. When all the things that this world has to offer are considered, finding a wife is probably the only thing I care about. After reading through the tough passages in Scripture, I find that I cannot be okay with this.
When I listen to the prominent pastors of our Christian society, I actually don’t hear very much about celibacy and how one could glorify God through that lifestyle. And yet I have no doubt that any one of them would say you certainly could and should glorify God through a life of solitude. But even so, they don’t write books about it. In fact, it’s just the opposite. They write books about marriage instead.
I point this out because I often think that celibacy – devoting one’s life solely to God and the work that He has commanded them – gets cast in a negative light. People might start thinking you’re trying to be a Catholic priest or a nun and Lord knows He doesn’t want His Protestants doing that… (sarcasm).
In all seriousness, though, I don’t hear much talk about living an entire life single. At best I’ve heard about people getting married “late,” like in their 40s or 50s, but they’re still getting married. They didn’t die a bachelor. And yet Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 7 should not be overlooked: “I think that in view of the present distress it is good for a person to remain as he is. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife,” (26-27). That’s a tough pill to swallow.
Yes, I understand Paul also says it’s better to marry than to burn with passion. But I don’t want to overlook what’s being said about celibacy because he brings up a very clear point: One’s priorities are divided if married – especially raising a family. I’m not saying it’s not the same for singles; just pointing out that a married man has more to focus on than an unmarried man – usually. And given that Paul, Jesus, and plenty of other Biblical characters lived and died as single men, it’s probably best that I don’t ignore celibacy as an option.
Truth be told, I don’t want to die a single man. But the closer I grow with God, the more I realize life isn’t about what I want. It’s about what He wants. And if we genuinely trust Him as a loving Father (says a fatherless kid who clearly has some trust issues), then we are compelled to believe that no matter what the circumstances may be, God always wants the best for us – even if we don’t.
I wrote this a week before V-Day because I wanted to encourage my single brothers and sisters to think this thing through. I know that I need to make some changes in my heart about how I approach the subject of marriage. But what do you think about being single for the rest of your life? Do you think you can do it? Or are you like me, a little resistant to possibly letting go of the desire to marry?
(Facebook users please use the comment section on my blog; I may not be on for several weeks maybe even months, so I won’t see what comments you might make on the Facebook links. Thanks).