By Better Days Global, May 22 2018 08:54AM
I write the following not aimed at any church or people in particular but out of my personal experience over the last eight or so years. Previously I have tried to voice this but either it falls on deaf ears or is forgotten quickly. Many people are in similar situations, and in the same way that we would continuously call people up on other unacceptable behaviour, this is something that needs addressing time and time again, until we do a better job of it. What I write is personal but I know many other people who are either living this now or have done previously.
It is with trepidation that I address what I am about to write because I feel that for the most part it is done in love, but please see things from the other point of view and how this can make people feel. Be reminded of what it’s like to have a physical wound that you repeatedly injure...a cut perhaps, that you keep knocking, causing it to bleed again and again, over time, the cut is going to get worse and take longer and longer to heal. Maybe the area becomes infected, the cut won’t go away, people look at it, wrinkle their noses, it hurts...but it’s physical, so we can see it and we know that it hurts or it’s frustrating. What I write is like that cut, only it’s unseen, and you can’t see the damage going on underneath the surface.
For years I have been on the receiving end of comments and prayers and ‘banter’ regarding my relationship status, been told ‘I’m on the shelf’, and felt that the ‘people who have prayed for years for a partner’ comment at the end of a sermon was directed at me.
Why do you define me by this? Because it really isn’t who I am, yes it is a part of me but I am so much more.
Why is my singleness something that you feel the need to draw attention to? Rejoice about something I do have, the talents and gifts God has given me.
Why do we need to linger on this fact? Quite simply, we don’t.
Do you feel I need another person to make me whole? I don’t, I have Jesus, and he makes me whole.
Would you approach a widow/er in the same way? Or the divorcee?
Would you go up to a childless couple, of whose story you know nothing about, and give them banter or tell them you were praying they would conceive?
I hope and pray that the answer to that is no. Please stop drawing attention to what I don’t have, and focus on what I do have. You don’t know my story and how I feel in my current life stage.
I would be surprised if anyone really knew and understood the journey I have been on, my life has been an adventure, with ups and downs, people have come and gone. My past is full of a variety of stories, a lot of these include testimony of all that God has done in my life, all that He has led me into, the places He has taken me, the people I have met, friends I have made, experiences I have had. I have been so fortunate to do and achieve so much in my life but there are also stories tarnished with disappointment or sadness and I don’t need to you to make me feel like a failure because things haven’t worked out.
I do not need fixing because I’m not in a relationship or married. But those comments hurt. Media already tells me I’m not good enough and I don’t need to be made to feel that way by you as well. I need you to love me and accept me for who I am and the stage of life I am in now.
I also don’t need excluding because I am a single person. It’s not an illness or a label hanging around my neck. Please look past that and see me for who I really am.
I am a person. A human being. Created by God, my Heavenly Father.
Just the same as you are.
Please, from this day on, would you think before you make those uninvited comments. Please would you remember that who I am is enough. Please would you encourage me to walk closer with Jesus than make marriage an idol. Please would you go against the pattern of this world and recognise that living for Jesus is far more important. Please would you build a meaningful relationship with me and get to know who I really am.
Like I try to do with you.
Church, we are all here for a purpose, to serve the risen King, let us do that in unity, spurring each other on, recognising what we have each been gifted with and not pointing out what someone might be painfully missing. It can be hard enough with someone highlighting it.
This doesn’t just apply to singleness, it covers a broad range of subjects. There are many people that we will meet in our short lives, many of whom are fighting battles and struggling with issues that we know nothing about. Treat people lovingly, welcome them with open arms for who they are and with what they are working through.
How much more of a unified Body of Christ would we be if we looked beyond what one another didn’t have but valued the opportunities that can provide? God loves each and everyone of us, with the same amount of love, we are called to mimic that. Let’s start today.