Today’s blog is a guest post by Justin Campbell. Justin is a 40 year old single guy living and working in St. Louis. You can read more by him at his blog More Than Don’t Have Sex, where he writes about singleness, Jesus, the church, and how we can all be in it together.
When I was in college and right out of college, ok until I was 32 or so, I spent a lot of time (and I mean a lot of time) praying to God about getting a spouse. It was a focus, I would now say an idol. I wrote songs about it. The songs were about hurt, pain and angst. Haha. I can laugh now but it’s what I felt.
I think it’s really easy as a single to become bitter. You watch others have something that you want and you don’t have it. It’s in your face – especially in the Christian culture. We desire to be with someone and we aren’t. That seems like grounds to be upset.
For me I feel like my anger really started as a teenager. I just wasn’t good with the ladies. But I never saw what I did wrong, what I saw was that I couldn’t get the whatever girl I was currently obsessed with. College was ok, but then after college I fell into the trap of bitterness again. It’s understandable, but it’s not a very good path.
Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to write about the people we get mad at as singles. For today I want to focus on the main person we are mad at – God. That’s right. We might not say it, but really that is where a lot of our bitterness and anger comes from.
Why God?! Why can’t you bring me someone?! I remember one day in my late twenties walking out of my office on a beautiful fall afternoon. I looked at the day, my work (which was going extremely well), the opportunities I had in ministry. I looked at the car I was driving and I thought about all God has provided for me. But I also felt confused. Why could God bring me all of that but not a wife? I would think, “Come on God, I’m trying to follow you. I’m doing your work. I’m trying to live a pure life – when is it my turn.” Can you hear the entitlement? Does God owe you a spouse?
Look I think it is good to be real. If you are frustrated then you might as well take that to God. But it’s dangerous as a single to stay there. It’s so easy to let our focus slide to what we don’t have, what we want so much and what we think we are missing out on.
It’s one thing to share my frustration but it’s another to live in bitterness.
It’s bad because I begin to view the world around me through that lens. It changes how I view my married friends. It gives the enemy a foothold to work with. Can you just hear the enemy’s voice, “See, God doesn’t deliver on the stuff that you really want.” or, “God could do it but He doesn’t want to.”
In one sense it puts the focus squarely on me. It becomes all about what I want, what I don’t have and I’m mad about it. It’s all about me. It also affects me because it makes me way less attractive to the opposite sex. No one wants to date the mad, bitter, feeling sorry for themselves person. I see this in my single friends a lot. I know it because I’ve lived it. Ladies, no guy wants to date the girl who is whining about being single. We are scared of the desperate chick. Trust me. And gentlemen, no girl, and I mean NO girl, wants to date and angry, depressed, focussed on what’s wrong guy.
This leads me to another key problem. When we make it all God’s fault we tend not to deal with the parts that are our fault. I wish I would have had less people who fed me spiritual platitudes about God’s timing, God’s preparing someone for me, and God’s got stuff to teach me, and more people who would have told me how I was doing it all wrong.
We all have wounds that mess us up in this area, are we working on those? Maybe we date all the wrong people – is that God’s fault of something from inside me that I need to figure out? Maybe I need to work on my appearance or my approach – is that God’s fault? Maybe I want every girl to like me too much and have a huge approval idol. Is that God’s fault?
There’s a flip side here and it’s important – it’s not all my fault. I’m going to get to being mad at ourselves later. But the first person we are usually mad at is God and we need to get that worked out.
So are you mad at God that He doesn’t have you married yet? Have you spent time being bitter? How has that affected you and your relationship with friends, the opposite sex, and most of all God?