I realize that thousands of men and women far more experienced than I have talked, written, blogged, and preached on this subject. (Most of those men and women are actually in relationships whereas I am not, so take the following with a pinch of salt…whatever that means.)
Yesterday was one of those days…the glorious sunshiny kind that make you want to be lazy and adventurous all at the same time. But as I went through my morning, I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was missing. I desperately wanted someone to share my Monday with – someone who would be excited about chocolate cookies in the caf, someone who would Netflix with me (because we all know Netflix is a verb now), someone who would lean in and listen just because he cares that much.
This longing for a relationship became so strong that I went and shut myself in my room, sat in front of my Bible, and got really frustrated with God. And I know that he sat there, so very patiently, words ready to whisper, while I detailed how lonely the single life can be sometimes.
As I tried to fall asleep last night, all of these thoughts about love and relationships filled my mind and I knew that somewhere in the jumble of quotes and ideas flying through my head, a blog post was forming.
See, I think as a society we’ve fallen in love with the idea of love.
Pinterest is proof that whimsical country-chic weddings lead to up-cycled homes which eventually welcome babies in knitted beanies. I’m one of the biggest Pinterest freaks out there but a smashed potato bar and cupcake heart attack at my wedding reception won’t yield love.
We as a culture are after experiential love.
The movie magic kind of love…you know exactly what I’m talking about. The girl grabbing your face and pulling you in because she’s finally realized you’re the one that she wants. The boy holding you in his fantastically strong arms, brushing the hair out of your eyes, and kissing you in a spontaneous shower of warm summer rain. A wedding proposal with a photographer on standby…a breathtaking slow dance to an awkward early 2000’s hit. A Lady & the Tramp spaghetti moment (which is totally unrealistic because we all know spaghetti wins the superlative for klutziest first date meal).
The world has presented us with an enticing idea of love that no man or woman can ever fully live up to. The idea is mesmerizing but the system is flawed. We are hurt people. We are imperfect people. We are confused people.
I have heard exceptionally sweet stories of two people stumbling towards one another, finding love, and lasting, but aren’t those stories a rarity? Aren’t they exceptionally sweet because we’re surrounded by failed attempts at relationships?
So where did that leave me yesterday? I saw happy couples at every turn – holding hands, getting coffee, lying on the grass, eating dinner – and my heart said I want that. I want that without all the mess. I want that with sincerity and honesty and vulnerability. I want that.
And God said, “…but those who seek me lack no good thing.” (Psalm 34:10)
And I said, “Gee thanks God but I’m lacking a good thing.”
And he answered, “No, Amy, you’re not. Just look at your life.”
He was right. I may not be in a relationship right now, but the kind of relationship I was wanting yesterday was the kind built on experiential moments of affection…not the enduring I love you even when you’re freaky fresh in the morning with no make up love or the Every day is spontaneous and oozing with possibility love, or even the I’ll stand by you when you’re struggling and it costs me kind of love.
I’m lacking a relationship built on false promises, commercialized desires, and the inability to cope with reality.
But what we are all desperately craving is companionship and because of God’s all-consuming love, I have companionship in abundance.
He knows that after one crazy week, a date with a wonderful man would lift me up. He knows that I miss getting butterflies and he understands that I was created to be a help-mate, a wife, and a mum…he understands because he created me.
Run to the arms of Jesus seems a trite note to end on, especially for those who have hit rock bottom and really just want to find “the one”. I suppose what I’m trying to convey is that you are not alone.
Your frustration is valid, your fears very real. However, your waiting will be rewarded and your cries do not fall upon deaf ears. He hears each and every prayer. So embrace today and rally. I’ve personally found that writing letters to my future man helps me get through the especially tough times. If you’ve surrounded yourself with friends who are on the extreme ends of the love spectrum (hitting & quitting or deeply, mushily, gushily in love), maybe find some new friends who get the single-life quandaries. Don’t ditch the others because they have invaluable advice and do, despite their romantic success, support you.
My hope is that you’re refreshed after reading this – that I’m not alone in calling store-bought love or Hollywood romance for what it really is: empty and tinged with sadness.
You don’t want a significant other who’s clinging on Leonardo-DeCaprio-to-Titanic-door-style simply because he or she is terrified of the alternative of singledom.
You deserve a significant other who has waited just as intentionally for you. A person who delights in your quirks, memorizes the slightly weird, slightly fabulous history of you, and who cannot wait to sit beside you simply because you are a fascinating person and your hand is warm to hold.
Be brave single friends. We can persevere.