I can’t even right now.
Every once in a while I’ll get triggered by an obnoxious Internet meme, and ’tis the season for this one…
Or this one, along similar lines…
I saw others, but you get the idea.
I don’t know how serious people are being here, but let’s assume worst case and break down the items contained herein (I won’t use the three-letter F word, you heard it enough in junior high):
I could see how the first three are negatives in your eyes. 1) is definitely a problem. Knock it off. 2) and 3) are worthy of pursuing a change – I wouldn’t say they’re evil, exactly (James 1:9), but we want to meet our bills and take care of our bodies. May 2017 be the Waterloo of these obstacles in our lives. (Though even if not, our worth in Christ remains untarnished…far, far from Loserville.)
But…single? How does that fit into a set of negatives?
There is nothing wrong with singleness. There is nothing unhealthy, inferior, or inadequate about being single. It’s a station in life. You’re probably at that station because you take relationships seriously and are holding out for someone you can actually go the distance with. I mean, who wants to be jerking in and out of relationships like a 15-year-old learning a stick shift? No, thank you.
Now, that waiting may still not be the station you want, and boy can I understand you there. I eagerly await married life as much as the next guy, and I’ve struggled to appreciate this station. But next to the other “low” qualities we’re trying to shed, singleness sticks out like a sore thumb. You are not a loser for being single. Ever.
I know, I know – “it was just a meme, Brandon. I posted it for a joke.” Perhaps I overreact.
But are you sure?
The holidays have a way of making us feel left out for not having someone to kiss under the mistletoe or the New Year’s bell. The world is hung up on romance. Practically every music genre is soaked in its joys (country music is by far the worst offender – I’ve stopped listening to it for the sake of my contentment). And of course we all went through high school, where having a date was a status symbol. Even I, a homeschooler, still had to deal with all this in youth group and, later, the military. (Nothing will tear your heart out like the stories of heartbreak and betrayal amongst our troops. War doesn’t strengthen romance; it destroys it.)
It’s all left many, many singles tussling with shame.
I’m going out on a limb: I think a lot of singles really do feel like losers, even if they don’t put that particular word to it. And it’s an outrage. Highway robbery. Blatant theft of joy, Satan mugging us at gunpoint, and we’re letting him get away with it.
It’s not like most of those high school or Air Force romances have happy endings. But far more importantly, 1 Corinthians 7 and Matthew 19 (yeah, I know, you’ve heard it before) place singleness equal to marriage in the eyes of God. That old church attitude of singles being treated like unfinished business…well, it’s much more old covenant than new. My brain still does a double-take at this, much as it might upon seeing an alligator in a tutu, but it’s not like I have the option of ignoring God’s words. This is how it is. My view must change. Sure, there’s still the small “loneliness” matter to get around. God graciously hears our sighs. But the fact remains: as creatures of God, you have enormous worth whether single or married.
Of course, with the world not even trying to disguise its golden calf of romance, it can be hard to give these truths equal weight. Like trying to run with a gorilla on your back. A gorilla who just swallowed a dumbbell. Made of neutronium.
So I will use this small meme as an excuse for big, disproportionate jolt of affirmation. You’re welcome.
Look at it this way. God did not fight for millennia to preserve Christ’s bloodline, send that same Christ through the crown of thorns and the Cross, and raise him to life again so that you could share in his resurrection, so that you would feel like burnt lasagna crust for being single. He did not create your inmost being, knit you together in your mother’s womb, weave you together in the depths of the earth (Psalm 139) – not to mention her mother and her mother before – only to have your value darkened by singleness. Your ransom has come at a staggering price, and God paid it without hesitation.
This is not a guilt trip. Creators delight in their work. You, Christian, are the product of an attentive artist, the child of a concerned father, and the heir of a stunning spiritual inheritance. You are prized; you are protected; you are permanently recorded in the Book of Life. Oh, if only my words could do justice to God’s delight in you. You are not ignored; you are chosen. You are not common; you are royalty. You are not darkness; you are light. (1 Peter 2:9)
Someone make a meme out of that.
“But,” you might sigh, “I sure don’t feel like royalty. And what’s the point if nobody is around to see it?”
I know how you feel. Believe me. It might take time, and repetition, to shift our worldview into alignment with God’s. But that is exactly what Scripture calls us to do. It isn’t being fake; it isn’t being religious. It’s the truth. And if the result is a lifted chin and a confident eye, who’s complaining?
This is how I want you to start 2017. Enough with the dankness and faint self-annoyance. You are his prized child, his chosen people, jealously guarded. Make that your reality.