>Had a great weekend at camp this weekend with the teens from CCS. We went bowling, played some Presidents, lit a few fires, and made some late night N-and-Out runs. Plus I got to speak … always a privilege. Then we got home and to my surprise I realized that Valentines Day had snuck up on me, unawares.
Everyone used to talk about Valentines Day as if it was this horrible thing for single people. Up until last year, I’d always been single on Valentines Day and it never bothered me… I never really cared. But, amongst the many positives that come out of failed attempts at intimacy with another person is the fact that it whets your appetite for it. You realize what you’ve been missing out on. Its like the first time I discovered Redbox… “man, I should’ve been doing this all along!”
As I’ve talked with several people around my age (26), I hear the same tension: the tension between having a huge desire to meet someone and the tension between being socially acceptable and not ‘coming across as desperate.’ This twenty-something phenomenon is something that’s new to me. You’re not in college anymore, but you’re also not in the same bracket as the majority of people around you that are getting married or dating. If you’re a Christian and you go to church, you get looks like you’re some sort of alien or something because you’re not married (see Jon Acuff’s blog from this morning on awkward “you’re single?!” conversations you have at church). The socially typical time for you to meet someone, fall in love, and get married has come and gone, or is almost gone, and you’re left coming up with excuses of why you’re not married: “I’m career driven,” “I’m picky,” “I haven’t met the right person,” … all things you tell yourself, and maybe they’re true, but they don’t satiate or quiet the deep desire that you have that society and culture has taught you to be ashamed of … the desire to be intimate with another person.
Or maybe I’m just projecting myself onto you… 🙂
Either way, we all hunger for intimacy. And I never knew I hungered for it until I had a piece of it and lost it. This deep hunger is both a gift and a curse. It is a curse when people chase after it in empty ways … in things that on the outside promise to satisfy that hunger but in the end just kind of leave them feeling empty and numb…kind of like eating chips and salsa on an empty stomach. Sex will solve it, they say. A boyfriend or girlfriend will solve it. Romance will solve it. So we have sex and wake up feeling further away from that person and not closer. We date and realize romance, while fun and exciting, if pursued as ultimate is really more of a fascade.
This desire is a gift when it is embraced unashamedly and viewed as the fuel that burns within us and drives us to love other people deeply. Its a gift when we start to see it as the compass that points our hearts to God.
This post is for all of my single friends and for every single person that for whatever reason has been led to be ashamed of that desire … led to “want less” than to “want more,” to apologize for feeling such a deep desire. Your desire is a holy gift that will find its supreme fulfillment in the Creator of all desire. Its meant to point you towards the author of intimacy … to Love Himself …
“Shouldn’t we be more content? Perhaps, but contentment is never wanting less ; that’s the easy way out. Anybody can look holy if she’s killed her heart; the real test is to have your heart burning within you and have the patience to enjoy what there is now to enjoy; while waiting with eager anticipation the feast to come… contentment can only happen as we increase desire, let it run itself out towards its fulfillment, and carry us along with it…”
So while you are waiting… love and be loved. Your Heavenly Father created you with that desire to have a boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife. It was he who said “it is not good for man to be alone,” and knows what you need before you even ask. He clothes the flowers of the field with splendor, will he not clothe you and take care of your needs, his sons and daughters?
I will never be ashamed of my desire to get married someday to a wife who loves God more than me, to journey towards God together because I know that if I peel away the layers of that desire, in the middle of it all is a desire for God Himself, the only source of true intimacy. And should he choose to give me the gift of a wife someday there will be great rejoicing! 🙂 But I know that marriage is only a foreshadowing of the intimacy, fulfillment, and delight that I was created to find in God himself, and one day I will realize the Ultimate Redbox: what I was missing out on all along…
…I’ll finally realize why the metaphor the Biblical authors chose to use for Heaven is a Wedding Feast…
“Heaven,” wrote Jonathan Edwards, “is a world of love, where God Himself is the fountain.” If you are single on this Valentines Day, my hope and prayer is that you are drinking from the Fountain.