Every once in a while I’ll get triggered by an Internet meme, and ’tis the season for this one…
Or this one, along similar lines…
You get the idea.
I don’t know how serious people are being here, but let’s break down the labels 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 a problem. I pray for people’s freedom there. 2) and 3) are worthy of change – perhaps not necessarily evil (James 1:9), but we do 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 (though how you got there can still hurt). 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 go the distance with. Who wants to be jerking in and out of relationships like a 15-year-old learning a stick shift? Perish the thought.
I know, I know – “it was just a meme, Brandon. I posted it for a joke.”
But are you sure?
The holidays have a way of diminishing us for not getting a kiss under the New Year’s bell. The world is hung up on romance. Practically every genre of music and film is soaked in its joys (country music is the worst offender). We all went through high school, where having a date was a status symbol. Even I, a homeschooler, had to deal with this environment in youth group and, later the military. (Nothing will tear your heart out like stories of betrayal amongst our troops. War threatens family.)
It’s all left many, many singles tussling with shame. I think a lot of singles really do feel like losers, even if they don’t put that particular word to it.
And that is an outrage. Highway robbery. Blatant theft of joy. Satan mugging us at gunpoint, and we’re letting him get away with it.
Let’s remember that few of those high school or Air Force romances we envied had happy endings. But far more importantly, 1 Corinthians 7 and Matthew 19 place singleness equal to marriage in the eyes of God. That attitude of the church’s singles being treated like unfinished business…it’s much more Old Testament than New.
And that’s just scratching the surface of Scripture’s truth.
God did not save and redeem you so that you would wallow in self-hatred. He did not fight for millennia to preserve Christ’s bloodline, send that Christ to the Cross, raise him to life again and share his resurrection with you, only for you to 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, and her mother and her mother before – only to have your value darkened by singleness. Your ransom has come at a staggering price, one that Christ paid without hesitation.
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 registered 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)
The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17b-19)
Someone make a meme out of that.
This might seem alien to you. My brain still does a double-take at all this, much as it might upon seeing an alligator in a tutu. That’s how deeply we’ve let the world shame us. “I sure don’t feel like royalty,” you might sigh. “And what’s the point if nobody is around to see it?”
Sure. It may be hard to give these truths equal weight with the world’s golden calf of romance. Like trying to run with a gorilla on your back. A gorilla who just swallowed a dumbbell. Made of neutronium. It take times 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 pray you will start 2018. Enough with the dankness and faint self-annoyance. You are his prized child, his chosen people, jealously guarded.
May that be our reality in 2018.