15 comments on “The Selfish Me

  1. Thus he begins on the same note the Apostle Paul sounds. Single life is a calling from God; it is given to some to be single. God has so arranged life that for most people, as they grow into adulthood, marriage is the rule, and single life is the exception. It is good that it is so, for the race would never have been propagated successfully had it been otherwise. Imagine the difficulties we would be confronted with if this were not the case.

  2. Hi Harley, can I call you that? I’m Lil, I found your blog recently and I find it refreshing. It’s great to read an honest single christian woman’s thoughts, from one to another. I too am trying to figure out what to do with this feeling. I have decided to not come to the conclusion that it is Gods will- popular but terribly dangerous and misery provoking in my experience. I put my singleness down to me not dating any christian men… mostly from not really knowing any… not unmarried ones anyway. I think my singleness is not Gods will but my own lack of numbers and effort. I am re considering online dating, but most of all need to get my person in shape before I take dating a christian guy seriously at all. Not my body- I look fine. But I am in a dead end job that I’m not proud of and I have gone back to uni so I feel like a broke college student again which in my late 20’s is terrible for my self esteem. I meet well off good looking men at church and I look down or away. I meet average guys with not much going for them and I’m not intimidated so what do you know, I’m open and relaxed and they think I’m cool and like me. Self sabotage I think. Anyway, thanks for sharing your journey! Don’t give up getting out there!

    • Thanks for the encouragement Lil. I would agree that I too don’t know if being single at this time is God’s will or not but I can only deal with the here and now. It is always a good idea to get your “person in shape” for yourself first and then the person whom you intend on attracting. It’s an amazing feeling when you know and is honest with yourself and that feat is not always easy. I like the fact that you are going back to school-it shows that you are willing to make changes to your life when needed. I wish someone had been more open about real life (single, married etc), maybe I would have made different choices or maybe not.

      • It’s true I think even five years ago there wasn’t as much openness about single life for a christian as what there is now, it was always like this unspoken assumption that it would happen for everyone (unless they were a lost cause) but then time ticks away and it’s like, hmm, we don’t know what to say to you so just ‘wait on God.’ .. or worse, thinking its because of sin in our life or something to that effect, Do you experience this as well? I have to admit I am very mad at married people , particularly those who married under 25, and have since been married for ever, telling still single people how to do relationships and especially how to do sex. I think, if you have been sleeping alone for the most part of 10 years since your 18th birthday like I have, then you can raise your voice at me about this, like so many pastors, both male and female, do. I am currently listening to Andy’s singleness sermons on your main page- what do you think of them? Do agree with all that was said? Was there anything he said that irked you? I am up to the third week- the sex talk- and again, he is raising his voice and repeating himself about how sex is not physical, but in the first talk he said he has been married for 27 years- that’s a lot of sex. So as much as I find his talks open and he is mostly non judgmental, well actually no, he is judgmental through a lot of it, but I can hear that he is caring, I am finding this week hard to get through. And while I agree with him about being loving and patient and kind etc to avoid divorce, it still doesn’t solve the problem of no available christian men, and I couldn’t help but think to myself- were you this ultimate human being when you met your wife? No, I bet you weren’t. It’s so hard. Everything about it just sucks most of the time. I have been a christian for 20 years next year, but I haven’t been in a church institution the whole time and I have to say, worldly people are mostly more understanding or at least kind about the troubles of finding a suitable mate. I seriously dislike the conceit I find in so many lucky christian couples. What are your thoughts?

        • Lil,
          The reason why I like this series is because in my short experience I have noticed a few recurring themes in divorce relationships 1. people don’t know themselves (ie. being honest) well enough to take on the responsibility of caring for another person. 2. Many people tend to look to someone else to ‘complete them’ or make them perfect when there is truly no such thing. The bottom line is relationships are not happily ever after and the reality is more difficult than the imagination once the rose coloured glasses are off.
          Only one or two members of my family ask about marital status. Other people have told me that church members will say “God will send him/her” or some sentiments close to that which really is saying ‘I don’t know what to say to you about your status so let me bullshit it with some meaningless cliche. I think, for those of us who have been single for an extended period of time, it is irritating to hear a married person prattle on about a world in which they know nothing (ie.. there are lots of good men out there bla bla bla). I get that they are well meaning; however, I quit listening too intently to couples who have been out of the dating game for ages. Ironically, one of the things newly divorced people are concerned about is how to get back into the dating game and navigating the single life because it had been so long.
          I had one couple suggest setting me up with a man who was maybe 20yrs my senior just because we are both single. They assumed that I would be overjoyed about their suggestion. I smiled nicely and laughed about it later. The sex talk is something I have addressed before and for those who are married they can only speak to a more biblical guideline for addressing that issue rather from a personal understanding (unless they have a sexless marriage.
          I think most married people have a central view – if they can find someone and marry then so can you. There is this ‘what’s your problem, look at all the available men’ mentality. I quit explaining that because there are fish in the sea it does not mean that fish is for me. Christian couples are the worst because there is a stigma with being single past a certain age and the religious institution is geared towards couples and families not singles.

          • Hi Harley. I really appreciate your lucid, gut-level honesty.

            You are so correct that church life is geared towards a certain group. It sucks to come from Dysfunction Junction and be subjected to all the happy-happy horse-hocky about F-A-M-I-L-Y one is constantly exposed to there.

            I have been immensely blessed by so many godly couples that helped repair this broken creature, so I am totally for God’s creation intent and see it as a wonderful thing that He uses. But I refuse to deify it. And let’s get real, so many do. Marriage is the highest good for them. That;s pagan nonsense!

            I note that the coming of the Son of man will be “just as it was in the days of Noah”, i.e. people will be doing all the banal earthly things—buying, selling, marrying—and destruction will suddenly come upon them. So much for the deity of Marriage! On the day of wrath one will be taken and the other left. No marriage in Heaven, either.

            God also makes clear in Scripture that he is interested in the outcast. Really, married believers are to help the outcasts (as they did me), not exclude them.

            I cannot bear being fake with other believers and the power of facade one finds in church overpowers me. So I end up being fake, which is really due to my cowardice, not their “power”.

            I have come to a place where I will chit-chat with pagans, but I absolutely refuse to chit-chat with other believers or play earthly culture games with them. Want to share Christ together? Great! Want to spur one another on to love and good deeds? Great!

            Also, I intend to fully own the freedom I have as a single believer in Christ. No more being sucked into the orbit of the married! As a single, celibate male I am COMPLETE IN CHRIST. Don’t expect pagans to understand that, but I do expect believers to!

            Bless you!

            • JohnJohn, Thank you for stopping by. Ultimately, each person has to choose for him/herself which path is right. As for me and many others, marriage is not and was not the highest priority. I have learn to take people as is and I try to present myself to others without much filter – religious or secular. It takes too much energy to be “fake.” God bless to you and your journey

          • Hi Harley thanks for expressing your concerns. I agree that the church institution is geared toward married couples. I never thought I would be single at this stage in my life but I have seriously only met 5 single Christian men in 28 years. One is totally weird, one is convinced that angels tell him where to go and what to do every moment of every day, one is so eccentric that I cant take him anywhere.. his nick name has ‘crazy’ in it by everyone he knows, one I dated and he was so inept with women he insulted me constantly while trying to be cool, and the other talks so little that the only girlfriend he ever had broke up with him because of it. Its a sobering reality to know that on numbers alone there is not enough single christian men in the world for every christian woman to marry (not in the Church anyway) and I wonder what preachers would think about that. I have picked up online dating again. Two days ago I was supposed to have a date with a Christian guy who cancelled the date three hours before in a text message. I have since written to him asking what was the go and he wrote back saying i was rude for not responding to his cancellation at the time. I said I had no reason to believe that his ‘baby sitting emergency’ was true and knew that he was just standing me up. He hasnt responded. Are men of faith single after 24 just complete idiots?? I dont want to be cynical but I think we have quite an uphill battle in front of us… made so much harder by the non christian guys who are wonderful. Lord help us.

            • From my perspective, there are no single Christian women, just a lot of women with a veneer of “Christianity”. They may talk-the-talk, but they don’t have a truly-Christian outlook on life. Many that I have met are as self-centered as any unbeliever. All the Christian women I know are already married to great guys.

              I don’t think the problem is lack of single Christian men and women, but that there are none in our limited circle of friends. We also don’t have a good way of meeting good prospects outside our immediate circle, other than through the internet, and that is iffy at best. As we get older, we become more set in our ways, and settled in our location, and really don’t have any interest in moving outside our “comfort-zone”.

              Internet-dating sites often bring people who actually have no business even thinking about dating and marriage. I met a lady, who after much conversation, revealed that she was really only interested in a man from her own church background (Baptist), who lives in her home state (Virginia). Why she contacted me (Presbyterian, in Florida) is totally beyond me. I met another lady on the same site who only “thought” she wanted to be married. She had been engaged many years before, but her fiance died two months before their wedding date. She wasn’t over him, even though it had been over 25 years. Again, after much conversation, it became obvious that she also had no business being on a dating site. If she did get married, it was only going to be for the companionship, because she couldn’t bring herself to being willing to enjoy the full intimacy of marriage. Her father had sexually-abused her, so sex was out of the question. She told me that she shares her bed with her dozen or so cats. Two people in a sexless “marriage” are just room-mates.

              We are going to have to trust God to be our “match-maker”, and when He does, be willing to step out in faith and move forward in the relationship. Just because it doesn’t seem to be a “perfect-match” to us doesn’t mean it isn’t to God. He has His purposes, which we will rarely if ever totally understand. I certainly don’t understand why God brought a woman into my life who abandoned me less than six weeks after we said “I do”. I do know that He is using this time of me being a married-single to work on me, because I am at-best a work-in-progress.

              God bless!

              Steve

    • Hi Lil,
      You are NOT alone in having low self-esteem. There are a LOT of us in this old world. I have thirty more years experience having low self esteem than you do, and the longer I have it, the harder it is to overcome. I have had four failed marriages, on top of everything else.

      The root cause of our low self-esteem is our valuing ourselves as the world values us, based on our accomplishments and performance. The problem with that way of thinking is that it reduces us to an “it”…a “thing”…a “commodity”, instead of elevating us as a person, made in the image of God. Since I was quite young, my “value” was based on my performance, so I never developed a true sense of person-hood. I, like you, always felt “below” the high-achievers in life, and have wondered for many years if I was even “worthy” of a truly GOOD wife. Perhaps you are feeling much the same way…”unworthy” of the kind of man you would really like to be your husband. I could go on and on…

      The true “cure” for low self-esteem is to see ourselves as God sees us. We are made in His image, and are each His special creation. That gives us intrinsic value as a PERSON. Secondly, as believers, we are children of God, and heirs with Christ, and we are loved and valued beyond our wildest imaginations by the God of the universe. What I am saying in a nut-shell, is that we need to get our own view of ourselves in line with God’s view of us. That is hard to do, but it is worth the effort.

      I would recommend that you buy and read “Search for Significance”, by Robert S. McGee. He is a very “warm” writer, and the book is thoroughly Biblical. I have read it three times in the last few months, and I am still getting new insights with every page I read. I am getting there, but I certainly haven’t “arrived”.

      God bless!
      Steve

      • Hi Steve thanks for your encouraging comments. Youre right I do have low self esteem about my worldly things… but I actually know who I am in Christ and I still dont feel better about the other stuff because quite frankly I know I am under achieving. This is actually because of anxiety that I have had for years stemming from long term bullying in peers, at home and in the work place. Nobody would know this though as I am very strong. I guess I just want to have what is only natural which is a pride about my achievements- I dont think thats unreasonable. Im a HUGELY creatively gifted person who had that close to stamped out of me by my parents and it led me to hate what I chose instead. I am now getting back to it and Im predicting that I will feel better about myself along the way.

  3. You might be willing to share a corner of your island with me, but I doubt you would ever be willing to share your life with me. You have made physical attributes #1 on your husband “shopping list”, instead of the far more important spiritual, relational and intellectual aspects. Oh, and I am probably twenty or so years older than you are. What I have to offer is a degree of spiritual maturity, relationship experience, and a high-level of intelligence. I am no Chippendale, and no amount of fixing-up and dressing-up would ever change that.

    Some close friends in my church are an older-man/younger-woman couple, and they have been married for about twenty-five years. She is in her early-to-mid-forties, and he is in his upper sixties. He signs MD after his name, and she signs RN after hers. It has been known to work…

    Perhaps the reason you have had that almost unbearable desire to be married has to do with God’s original design for mankind. In Genesis 2:18, we read “And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him””. Those words are an affirmation that God, when He created mankind, hard-wired us for an intimate relationship with another human being. That intimate relationship includes both what is supposed to go on in the bedroom, and in fact all of life. We were created to be in a relationship with someone who knows us better than anyone else on the planet…and still loves us…in spite of our flaws.

    There seem to be a few people that have a true “gift of singleness”, but i suspect that the majority of singles are single because they are too self-centered to be married. They have short-circuited God’s grand design…for their own selfish purposes.

    I would invite you to examine WHY you want to be a “contented-single”. Perhaps you are trying to short-circuit God’s intentions and design…

    God bless!
    Steve

    • Steve,
      I don’t dispute the benefits of a good relationship. I don’t dispute that God’s original design is to find a partner. I don’t dispute that my spirituality has taken a nose dive with occasional moments of recovery. I don’t even dispute that I have selfish and shallow characteristics when it comes to certain things. I am being honest with myself about my flaws and barriers. I can identify my strengths without a moments thought but it’s the dark ugly side that most of us hide from ourselves.

      My list in regards to mate over the last few years have changed – with different things moving up or down, additions and subtractions. Since I have been on my get in shape kick these last 2-3 years, I have added the physical. I also think a lot of people are single because they have not found the mate who knows them better than themselves. I too have not found that person as yet (or will I ever?) and I can not identify anyone in my past that would be compatible enough to my personality. When it comes to marriage, at this point in my life, I can choose to live in the here and now and be okay as a single or make myself miserable because I am still single.

      The funny thing about personal attributes are you have to find the person who appreciate them. I have friends who have wonderful attributes such as yourself and they are still struggling to find their compatible. This mating thing is not an easy game so I choose to take a different view on life- as a contented single.

      • I pray you find contentment as a single, if that is your desired state. I have never really been a “contented-single”, and certainly not a “happily-single”. Once I am shed of this farce of a “marriage”, whoever would be interested in me will have to take me as I am. I have spent far too many years trying to be whatever whoever wanted me to be, starting when I was quite young, and I am tired of being someone’s “it”.

        I know this mating thing isn’t easy. I have three failed marriages to demonstrate how difficult it can be. Every one of them was intended to be “til death do us part”, and they turned out to be “til death or dis-convenience do us part”. When they got done using me, or I was used up, they hit the “divorce” button. The current one is shamelessly living with another man.

        Commitment is a rare commodity these days, and is often considered to be a dirty-word. When my dad passed away October 1st, his passing ended 59 years of hell for my mom. He tried to run mom off numerous times so he could have a different woman, but she stuck like glue. She stayed with him while I was at home so I could have two parents. After that, she stuck with him because of her commitment, and so that the Lord’s name wouldn’t be dragged through the mud. Dad had numerous affairs, while he was a pastor and missionary. Had mom left dad, his shenanigans would have likely become known, tarnishing the Lord’s name whom he claimed to serve. Everyone thought he was a great man, Mom and I know very differently. Dad was the reason I had very little childhood…why I became an “it”…

        God bless!

        • God told us that we are not to enter into marriage lightly, that we would have many worldly cares and sorrows. Not all are intended for marriage, many are to be single. If some cannot live a clean life being single they should marry to avoid sinning. Being married is not God’s design for everyone. After serious consideration, many choose to remain single after being on the other side of the fence.

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