Let’s talk about envy a little more.
It doesn’t play nice. You’re grinding along and suddenly someone appears on the phone or television with a bigger house, relishing a career they were born for, holding someone’s hand or pushing a stroller. Boom. Envy sweeps over you like a tidal wave. Whoosh. The tabloids and self-help mags shout from the supermarket rack about everything that you’re not. Pow. You hear a story in church about how someone else has finally reached the end of a debilitating trial. Crunch.
You sigh even as you celebrate, wondering why God hasn’t delivered you. The life you have seems to darken and pale.
If envy isn’t a deluge, it’s a leak that gradually covers the floor and wreaks havoc with your soul’s drywall. Let your guard down and your day is shot. It’s a menace within the chest, forceful and unsympathetic.
How do we typically answer?
We sigh, turn to cutesy memes, count our blessings and remind ourselves of the God’s goodness. We try half-heartedly to distract ourselves.
Am I alone in saying it hasn’t been enough?
Perhaps the problem is that we’re resisting a tidal wave with a small pink umbrella. Scripture commands us to do more – much more. If you don’t like the wave, get off the beach.
I saw one of those teachings the other day, yet again. Someone saying “singleness is not something to be endured; it’s something to be celebrated!”
Yes. Yes, yes, yes.
And, at the same time…no.
I understand that such words aren’t exactly intended for me. I’ve got a pretty well-balanced take on my singleness by now. They’re intended for the singles who stuff their Facebook feeds with Relationship Goals memes and think of little else.
But at the same time…those words bring a sigh. It feels like they don’t get it. And while I’m grateful for the perspective, there is an uncertainty I struggle to articulate.
In the last few years, I have spoken with an increasing number of mature, God-seeking singles who have started feeling vaguely embarrassed about their desire for marriage. Reluctant to talk about it, like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. These are true-blue disciples who know the church’s mature teachings on singleness and accept them, but also hear something that might not be intended: the implication that they shouldn’t be struggling with singleness. I hear one unspoken question, in particular, emerging from this group of singles to whom nobody seems to be speaking.
“Why won’t anyone acknowledge that singleness can be hard?”