Tuesday, January 29, 2008

beginning to end the prolonged singleness blame game?

novagirl commented on my last post that she, like me, is stumped when it comes to what to do to work out some of this prolonged singleness stuff: "But what I would like to see is more energy going into prayer and seeking God's guidance on what to do rather than attacking those we disagree with."

her sentiments echo some things that have been bouncing around in my head lately. one of those bouncy things in my head is corporate prayer. i admit, i suck at it. i mean, i can pray out loud, i can initiate praying out loud with my small group, or my family or anyone else. and a few times i've thought, hey i should call up some people or send out an email and get everyone together to pray for/about stuff. i just never actually do it. it's been on my mind more and more lately, especially after reading this post about women praying and this post about praying in general (and listening to the linked message) on carolyn mcculley's blog.

i'm pretty sure that prayer is always a good thing, and i'm even more sure that corporate prayer is music to god's ears. and i think that in this situation prayer would work wonders because it would take the focus off of me (or whoever was praying).

most of us singles are ready to admit we can be pretty selfish. but on top of that i think a lot of us carry around this weird self-focus. when it comes to dating and trying to move towards marriage, we crank up the self focus. i hear it in myself and from a lot of my friends. we ask ourselves what we're doing wrong. we read different dating books. we try different dating websites. we date for awhile, then stop then climb back up and date some more.

i have read almost every dating book i could get my hands on. i've been on match and eharmony a combined total of four or five times. i've gone to therapy, i've gone on several dates that i knew i didn't want to go on just because i felt like i should 'be open' and 'give it a chance' because, well, 'you never know!' now, after the reading and the internet dating and the real dating and the talking to random guys through myspace and facebook and the wondering what i've done wrong and how i can do it better, i'm just tired of thinking about and looking into myself. i'm not done growing and changing and learning, i'm just done fixing myself in regards to the dating realm.

the thought of praying for other single women, or praying for single men just sounds so appealing and helpful and just awesome. i don't know why, but it makes me feel good to think that i could really help other people this way! there is so much good that could come out of it! good for the men and women i (and others) would pray for, good for us as we prayed and shared together, good for us because prayer generally draws us closer to god, and other good that i'm sure i'm not going to think of.

and i don't think that we all have to sit around and pray for our future spouses. i admit, that weirds me out sometimes. i feel like just praying for single men and women in my church or who i hang out with, or praying that more single men would come back to church, that churches would become places they want to be, etc, etc. just lifting all of those desires we have up to Him....

what would happen if we all started doing that? if we could round up a few people? if this time, instead of just thinking (and now writing) about it, i actually step out and do it?

11 comments:

The Learner said...

S/C,

I like it....

Amir Larijani said...

Good post, S/C.

single/certain said...

aww, thanks guys :-)

Novagirl said...

S/C, this is along the lines of what I have also been thinking which is why I joined Women Praying Boldly - www.helpgetmarried.org -- which is the companion site to Candice Watters' "Get Married" book. It isn't about the site per se, but there is a "group" on there that focuses on prayer.

Another idea is getting folks you know to either meet in person to pray or to commit to pray (maybe fast too?) on your own monthly/weekly, whatever, and then share what's happening as a result.

I am thinking more and more that this is the way I need to go, and one major reason is because of what you said -- it helps to relieve some of the semi-obsessive self-focus that I sometimes fall into, e.g., "what am I doing wrong?!?!?" I have been amazed at how some of my single female friends are not totally comfortable with the idea of starting a group. I still need to figure that one out a little bit. I'm not exactly sure what's behind that.

shooey said...

how many authors, sites, etc. are profiting from people wanting to get married? there's something absolutely dizzying and almost annoying about it all. this is getting to the point that it reminds me of the books of diet fads that also crowd the shelf.

where is the simplicity of our faith?

additionally, what about tacking on more and more small groups, followers of this or that author or program?

are we adults in the faith? can we discern the line between true christian community - which causes growth in Christ - and a group that is likely to evolve to a place to additionally remain self-centered, through yet another channel and in the guise of the group.

Communities should not be islands unto themselves. They should be rooted in the universal Church. that is why i see the danger of groups tending to be "followers" of a specific author and/or program. are you a follower of XXXX author, or Jesus Christ?

"They devoted themselves to the apostles' instruction and the communal life, to the breaking of bread and the prayers." —Acts 2:42

Anonymous said...

I think prayer should be the answer as well. We all know there are some things we can change about ourselves in order to make us more attractive to the opposite sex. But I don't think a lot of us are praying to God and asking him to guide us on his path, asking him to form us into his likeness. I don't really think any of us are "Doing anything wrong." I think that if anything God hasn't seen fit to provide us with a mate because we just aren't "There" yet. That's my belief at least. Relax, being single for so long does suck... but we should find comfort that we are growing closer to God and he will provide... as always.

Amir Larijani said...

Good point, Shooey.

eHarmony markets itself ad infinitum as a site that will lead you to your soul-mate.

I'll not deny that there is a method to the madness, as almost every potential match I received (on eH) was a Christian. That almost all of them shot me down--mostly due to distance issues--didn't help, but I'll admit that it was probably better quality than [mis]Match.com.

On the other hand, I got to the point where I just threw up my hands and said to heck with this online dating crap. Perhaps it works better if you live in a larger metropolitan area, but outside those zones it isn't all it's cracked up to be.

God's gonna have to run me into someone. Hasn't happened yet, but it ain't for lack of looking on my part.

Maybe I've got woman-repellent on. I thought that taking a shower once a month would help. ;)

Angel said...

Prayer is never a bad thing. You can't go wrong committing yourself to it regardless of who you do it with.

I feel you pain though. I know from first hand experience that it can be exhausting focusing on your singlehood so much. The best advice I can give (not that you asked) is to relax and enjoy life in whatever form it comes in, single or married. To be honest, you could be in it for the long haul, or at least longer than you anticipated. I have very marriable friends who are well into their 40s and have yet to walk down the aisle. Ultimately, none of us have any guarantees that our happily ever after is going to include a husband (or a wife) and 2.3 kids. We've all got to find a way to be happy regardless of our circumstances.

That's where the prayer comes in, I think.

Atypical Christian Woman said...

I agree with Angel's comments. Continually trying to make sense of your perception of prolonged singleness (I am not disagreeing or agreeing with whether or not you are dealing with prolonged singleness because that perception is relative to the individual) or trying to stop it can lead to unhealthy patterns of obsessive thinking.

I have a question that I have asked myself and one you can ask yourself:

What about being single is keeping me from living the life I want?

I don't want to start studying, but I have to. Have a good rest of the weekend.

Amir Larijani said...

Angel:

I'd like to be married, but I'm not about to put on sackloth to mourn my singleness either.

Abram was 75 years old when God called him out of Ur. His wife--Sarai--was 13 years his junior (GASP!!!!)

When he was first called in Genesis 12, he had no children, but God had promised that he would have them.

25 years elapsed from Genesis 12 to the birth of Isaac. During that time, he had trouble telling the truth under pressure (twice), and even tried to "help God out" by having a child through his maid (thus handing us the Palestinian problem).

On the other hand, during that time, he also offered many sacrifices of thanksgiving; when he blew it, he returned to his roots and called on the Lord.

Compare that with his nephew--Lot--who never offered a recorded sacrifice, and ultimately died in poverty with his only heirs being Ammon and Moab, born to his own daughters through a drunken incest scandal.

I guess that is my roundabout, cantankerous, crusty-old-phogey way of saying that I tend to press on with life.

I just get irritated at the would-be do-gooders (Maken and her buddies at Boundless) who blame me for all the travails of single women, even though--as I pointed out today on my blog--the best-available stats don't back them up.

Ame said...

S/C - I love that you actually wrote this out. You really ought to take it further. Wouldn't it be cool if there were some way people could pray on the phone some, too? Hearing voices is amazing. I know it can't always be done ... but maybe small groups on conf. calls. Just thinking "out loud."

The prayer will need to have some kinds of boundaries so it doesn't turn into chat sessions or gossip groups under the facade of "prayer requests."

I've not been a part of a Mom's In Touch group, but their format, as I understand it, would be worth looking into. www.momsintouch.org.

Again, just thinking out loud.