1. “Are we currently experiencing an earthquake or is that your biological clock ticking?”
2. “I just know you are going to find someone soon and be married within 6 months!”
3. “So tell me, any new guys in your life? Wink, wink!”
4. “It’s too bad you’re allergic to cats. They make great companions. Especially in large quantities.”
5. “Why don’t you just put yourself out there more?”
6. “There are plenty of fish in the sea!”
7. “God is going to bring him into your life when you least expect it!”
8. “You’re still single because guys are intimidated by you.”
9. “Guys don’t like girls who can eat more Christmas cookies than them.”
10. “My coworker’s brother has a sister who has a son who has a friend who just got out on parole…He’s tall!”
11. “You’re just too picky.”
12. “Why don’t you create accounts on eHarmony, Christian Mingle, Plenty of Fish, Match.com, and heck, put up a Craigslist ad ‘Single and Christian on Christmas’ just to cover all your bases?”
13. “If all else fails, I heard a rumor that the government might be legalizing marriage of first cousins.”
14. “Enjoy being single while you can!”
15. “Do you know what happened to all the Christmas cookies?”
Very excited that Converge Magazine picked up this post! Check it out here.
I’d like for everyone to take a moment and look at my left ring finger.
Yes. It is naked.
I’m going to stop you right there, like you’re a telemarketer trying to sell me a lifetime supply of gold to hoard in my non-existent safe:
I’m good, thanks.
In an effort to save energy on both our parts, I’ve taken the liberty of compiling the most frequently asked questions with my responses. (Laminated for durability given the undetermined amount of multi-year usage.)
1. Have you met any nice gentlemen recently?
Three weeks ago, I ordered something online through Amazon’s two day shipping. I received a knock on my apartment door, and I opened it. Before me was a FedEx man in a brown uniform holding a brown box. He handed the box to me, smiled, and said, “Have a nice day.”
2. Why don’t you try online dating?
Someone once told me kidney stones were as painful as childbirth. When compared to online dating, kidney stones sound like a combination of winning the lottery, going to Disney World, and frolicking in a meadow full of daises and labradoodles. While eating an ice cream cone.
3. Why don’t you move to where there are more eligible bachelors?
Are you referring to an actual place in America? Or in a utopian piece of literature?
The truth is, I’m happy. Honestly. I’m not pulling your leg — my fingers aren’t crossed behind my back because they’re too busy balancing a mountain of Christmas cookies.
While I’m thankful you’re praying God will put the right man into my life — and soon (I’m still not quite sure how to interpret that) — I’m pretty sure God knows what He’s doing with me.
Right now, I’m single.
And right now, I’m loving every minute of it.
I’m not living like marriage is my end goal, like it’s the only reason God put me on this earth. I’m here to know Him and to make Him known — in my workplace, in my friendships, in laughter, in writing, and in utilizing my gifts and talents. He has me in my current job, city, apartment, church, sphere of influence, and relationship status for a reason.
I’m content right where He has me.
(Isn’t that all that matters anyway?)
So let’s talk about other things — important things — like how many cookies you think I could shove in my mouth at once. And how Christ alone completes me. And what He’s doing in my life.
Speaking of important things and Christ, rumor has it that it’s His birthday.
The best Christmas present I ever received was a doll house my dad made for me. Two stories, the shingled roof was taller than my seven-year-old self. There were bay windows with sheer curtains. Wallpaper, crown molding, and hardwood floors. Electricity that lit up wall sconces and table lamps. My Barbies were in heaven, and so was I.
And then there was the Christmas present of yourself as a baby in a manger. There were shepherds with their sheep. A heavenly host singing heavenly melodies. Wise men and their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. You gave the gift of your son, so we could ultimately be in heaven with you.
As I look over my Christmas list full of gifts that don’t last, I know there should be a better way to give gifts. There should be a better way to give gifts like you did.
You gave yourself.
Maybe it’s giving my time instead of giving a shirt on sale from Sears. Maybe it’s making a homemade card with heartfelt words instead of a gift card to Starbucks. Maybe it’s making a doll house instead of buying one.
Maybe it just means giving myself to others like you did for me.
I’m trying to be a person that relishes moments. Like catching a firefly in a jar, I want to take in the beauty of a fleeting experience by being fully present.
I’m thinking about this soak-up-experiences-like-a-sponge state of mind while the colors from a sunset streak across the sky like the atmosphere is your canvas and you’re the Master Painter. I’m thinking about this while I’m catching up with a kindred spirit through an invisible connection from my computer to hers on the other side of the world. I’m thinking about this as I’m visiting my parents’ home for the first time since Easter and we’re sitting on the couch together with no lights on except for the multi-colored glow of the Christmas tree reflecting off handmade ornaments decades old.
I’m savoring these moments as they are all special and fleeting and precious and I want to make time for them and do them justice. Because important things not only need to be remembered but need to be relished in the moment.
I’m thinking about all this on the first day of Advent, a time when we are preparing our hearts for the coming of your Son.
I’m thinking about how I usually relish the moment that is the Advent season—cookies stuffed with peanut butter cups, white lights that look like icicles, glass ornaments, music about sleigh bells and winter wonderlands, malls with 50% off bargains, movies about humans that think they’re elves and travel to New York City and fall in love with a blonde Zooey Deschannel.
I’m thinking about all this on the first day of Advent and wondering how I can be more fully present in these fleeting four weeks before Christmas.
I’m stuffing my firefly jar too full of meaningless activities and sugar and shopping that I forget to embrace fully the sole light, the sole reason, inside. I want to savor this season because it’s special and fleeting and precious and I want to make time for Jesus’ birthday and do it justice. I want to be the person that relishes in the anticipation of You coming to earth to dwell amongst us as a baby, Emmanuel, You are with us—the Light of the world.
I’m a plagiarist.
And the copy and paste shortcuts on my keyboard weren’t even utilized.
It started out innocently enough. I’m at work receiving praise from a colleague, and we’re not talking the throwing-flowers-at-my-feet-let’s-erect-a-statue-in-your-honor praise, we’re talking the one-pat-on-the- back-and-a-teeth-showing-smile praise.
And I received it without any hesitation.
No online websites or articles were copied and pasted (including Wikipedia), no one received $20 dollars from me in exchange for a B paper on sustainability in Eastern Europe, and no books from the library were harmed in the making of this act of plagiarism.
All I did was forget to cite my source. (Even after years of constant threats of expulsion from institutions of higher education and multiple copies of the MLA handbook.)
When someone comments on my seemingly chronic state of smiling, I receive it without any hesitation. When someone compliments me on a wise word I said, I receive it without any hesitation. When someone notices my personal contentment and joy, I receive it without any hesitation.
I receive it as if I am the one responsible. As if I, through personal hard work and perseverance, created within myself a content, joyful, and wise spirit. As if I manifested these characteristics of my own accord.
But I know full well that every good and perfect gift comes from You.
The hope I have in your grace and Christ’s sacrifice, gives me a joy that radiates. Your love keeps me in a seemingly chronic state of smiling. Your Holy Spirit grants me wise words in difficult conversations. The promise of Christ’s power to give me strength in all situations cultivates contentment within my soul.
This is all a sign of Your hands at work—not mine.
I’m guilty of taking Your work and passing it off as my own.
I’m a plagiarist that needs to start citing her Source.
Remember that phase I went through in elementary school where I would wear a blonde wig around with a black beret? I’m pretty sure I also tried to convince people I was Australian.
This would have been cool except that I have enough red curly hair on my head to make wigs for every man, woman, and child in Northern Ireland with enough leftover for replacement fur for Scottish Highland cattle. Also, apparently all of my attempted accents sound French. Which would have made more sense with the beret (alas, hindsight is always 20/20).
To everyone who was unfortunate enough to experience me at that time in life must have thought I looked ridiculous.
I was NOT cool.
At the tender age of twenty-seven, I’m still not cool. At least, in the world’s eyes.
Because I’m a Christian.
Movies, television, and songs all say I need to look like a model, love recreational and casual sex, and party like there’s no tomorrow.
Of course I’m not cool because as a Christian I’m called to do the exact opposite—stand firm in the promise God created me for a purpose, looks and all; sex, while awesome, is to be saved for marriage; and while we are to enjoy the life He has given us we aren’t supposed to be getting drunk and living recklessly. To the world, my life sounds awful. Void of all the things that are supposed to make you feel alive and happy. I’m swimming against the flow of today’s tide. I’m counter-cultural. Christianity is counter-cultural.
Christ was counter-cultural.
Christ wasn’t the cool kid on the block. He wasn’t the strong warrior everyone was expecting. He was a humble servant who said crazy stuff like “the first shall be last and the last shall be first.” He spoke in parables and answered your question with a question. He said if you want to follow him you have to deny yourself and pick up your own cross. He captured many, but lost many more. And he died the death of a criminal on a cross.
But he also did some really notable things. Like turning a few fishes and loaves into enough for five thousand people. Or casting out demons. Healing the sick. Raising people from the dead. Including himself. So that we could have eternal life.
Now that’s pretty cool.
Being a Christian may mean that my co-workers aren’t going to invite me to Happy Hour after work because they know I don’t want to indulge in gossip about everyone else at work. Being a Christian may mean I can’t have sex with my boyfriend until I’m married. Being a Christian may mean I’ll be playing board games instead of drinking games on a Friday night. Being a Christian may mean that people may make assumptions about me and my beliefs or judge me because of who I serve and who I believe in. Being a Christian may mean that a television show of my life wouldn’t make it to primetime—or even straight to DVD. Being a Christian may make me seem not cool.
But being a Christian also means I have a fulfillment from something, someone greater than myself, greater than anything this earth can afford. I was created and called for a purpose by a Heavenly Father who knows the exact number of hairs on my head. And who knows the plans He has for me even before I was created. While life isn’t perfect, and I am not perfect, God promises comfort, peace, and strength when I seek Him and seek Him with my whole heart because he sent His son to overcome it all. He forgives me when I screw up. Daily. His mercies are new every morning. Being a Christian means I make sacrifices for things of this world to pursue things that are of Him—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Being a Christian means my time, money, and life are not my own—but belong to someone who holds me in His Hand. I can choose to pursue Him and let Him lead me to His best for me. And He has a best for me. Being a Christian means I have the choice to accept Christ as the Savior of my soul and Lord of my life. Being a Christian means Christ gave His life for me so that I can live forever with Him. All I have to do is say yes, and follow with my heart, mind, soul, in words and in actions, denying my earthly self to follow You—my heavenly Father.
Being a Christian means I’ll look ridiculous to anyone who experiences me at this time in life because of the love I have for You—like a blonde wig and a black beret on a redhead. Like David singing and dancing when the ark of your covenant finally came back to the temple.
I’ll become even more undignified than this when living my life for You.
And I’m cool with that.