Thursday, August 2, 2012

is God in my singleness?


I had a rough June/July. I tried internet dating more seriously than I ever have before, because I felt that I had waited long enough for something to just "come along" at a time when I was "least expecting it"....everyone keeps telling me that's how it works out, but I had about 7 years of that mindset and nothing ever happened. So, anyways, tried to take things into my own hands and make an effort, and set up a bunch of dates through online services. Most were awful, but one guy was promising. We went on several dates in June, but in July it just seemed he wasn't very into it, and as things fizzled, I had a rough time. Mini-breakdown. It's just so hard to feel like I can't make things work. I know there are always things out of my control, but it's just so frustrating that it feels like there is nothing I can do.  Anyways, my cousin/roomate has seen me beating myself up a bit over this and encouraged me to go to therapy. Blurgh.

So, I went to my first therapist appointment yesterday. Overall, it was ok. I definitely cried a lot, and I articulated a bit more than I have to close friends, so I suppose that was a bit of a release. The therapist was getting to know my situation, and I didn't really have many "a-ha" moments, but perhaps that's yet to come. There was one thing that struck me during my session though. My therapist asked me if I felt God in my pain and frustration over being single. I couldn't respond right away...my first inclination was to give a sunday school answer - "Of course, God has been able to use me in ways I never would have imagined because I'm single"....and although it is true that I think God has been able to use me in particular ways due to my singleness, I have to admit that honestly, I don't feel God in the midst of the pain that accompanies my relationship status. I feel alone, rejected, dejected, unappreciated, unrecognized. It's hard to feel/sense God's love when I'm in that dark place.

I've been reading/listening to some fairly controversial leaders in the post-modern/emerging church movement lately, and some of what Peter Rollins discusses has been reaching me pretty deep lately. He talks about how churches often tell people who are hurting that only God can fill that void in their lives. Call out to God, and he will answer and fill that hole and make you whole and full of joy. Yeah, that sounds great, I've heard that my whole life, but really......? How does that work? When does that happen? Is it really that simple? Since I haven't been able to find that solace and comfort, does that mean something is wrong with me? that I haven't been reaching out to God in the right way, that I'm not listening, that there is even more wrong with me than my pain...that I'm out of touch with God or that he's not even there? If we go on hurting after we have cried out to God and acknowledged the pain in our lives, and he hasn't filled our void/made us whole, do we need to assume he doesn't care/we aren't asking right?  I hope not, because that just sucks.

Some of what Peter Rollins discusses is so much more affirming/ life-giving for me and just feels so much more right as I consider what I believe about God and church. Here's a quote from a blog post of his that I found particularly interesting:
What if the church could be a place where we found a liturgical structure that would not treat God as a product that would make us whole but as the mystery that enables us to live abundantly in the midst of life’s difficulties. A place where we are invited to confront the reality of our humanity, not so that we will despair, but so that we will be free of the despair that already lurks within us, the despair that enslaves us, the despair that we refuse to acknowledge.
In the last few weeks my goal has been to be more open about my pain, brokenness, and doubt. I don't think Sunday School answers to life's problems are going to help me get through my current situation. I'm so glad that I have a solid foundation from growing up an evangelical Christian, and it's such a great springboard for me as I now am starting to take some steps out on the diving board, hop up and down a bit, and get prepared to launch myself into experiencing the "mystery" of God's involvement in my life without the expectations of a divine quick-fix.
 

1 comment:

  1. I agree that there aren't quick fixes to most of life's tough situations. It seems God usually wants us to walk through them and conquer them day by day. Please be careful not to give your feelings too much weight in all of this. We are to believe and trust God's Word regardless of how we feel - we walk by the spirit and not by the flesh. Feelings are fickle and can't be trusted. God's Word is the sure foundation for everything we do and believe. Are you in a solid, Bible-believing church? If you aren't, I'd do whatever it takes to get in one.

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