For the last year or so, I've had a lot of thoughts going through my head about singleness. Maybe it's because I'm facing one of those dreaded Big-0 birthdays and I'm still single. Maybe it's God telling me I have something to share. Maybe it's pure narcissism. We'll see.
Last summer, my pastor, Deron Spoo, did another marriage series. I can't remember how many marriage series he's done in the 9 years he has been my pastor, but I think it was at least the 3rd. If you've been single any amount of time at all, and are active in a church, you have probably heard more marriage sermons than you care to think about. From my own perspective as a never-married single adult, Deron did a great job, meaning that I personally didn't feel picked on when he spoke on marriage...for four consecutive Sundays. However I knew people who were struggling with their singleness who found the series painful.
When it started, I began to wonder why pastors feel the need to preach on marriage so often. There are books on marriage, there are magazine articles on marriage, there are marriage retreats, Dr. Phil counsels couples on marriage, and even the never-married Oprah offers advice on marriage. Is it possible there are any people left who are totally clueless about what it takes to make a marriage work? I realize there are, indeed, but I have to wonder with all of the information on marriage out there if they can't make their marriages work because they just don't want to. Meanwhile, no one ever tells anyone how to be single.
Think about it. Single people are pretty much on their own when it comes to navigating life. We don't have many role models, although certainly several of the apostles were single. Jesus was single for that matter. But we don't know how to translate that to the 21st Century. Google "middle-aged single Christian" and you will come up with two pages - that's right, TWO PAGES of links and most of those are about dating services for older singles or people who are looking to rent out a room to another Christian single.
Half of marriages end in divorce. Of those that make it, in nearly every case, one spouse will survive the other. How those who find themselves suddenly single will handle their singleness will depend on how they view singleness when they're married. Yet it's rare, particularly in the church, to celebrate singleness, let alone just get the message out that singleness is OK. That single people are whole, just as married people are whole, not by virtue of our marital status, but by virtue of our relationship with Jesus Christ. (Deron did make it a point to get that message across as part of the marriage series. Of course that doesn't mean everyone got it, but I appreciated it.)
So while these thoughts about singleness have been floating around in my head for the past year, it is only in the last month or so that I have felt led to start posting those thoughts on a blog. I don't know how long I'm meant to do this, or even how often, but I'll do it as long as God leads.
This morning's sermon was about Noah, and Deron brought up something I had never thought about before. Of all the specifics God gave to Noah in constructing the ark, there's nothing about a wheel or a rudder. The ark was designed to float, not to navigate. So my prayer is that this blog will float under God's direction, and not under my navigation. And I have asked Him to throw in some humor because, well, it just makes life more bearable. And we need all the help we can get!