Chosen and cherished . . . are you? ☆

Remember times on the playground when you waited on tiptoes to be chosen for a team?  Since Ifriends‘ve always been a bit sports-challenged, I was generally one of the left-overs.  I don’t remember being particularly upset about it.  It was just the way it was.  Other memories of being chosen for a desired job, or a scholarship, or a nice dinner out or other special occasion, bring a smile to my face, because I cared very much.

.I have never been chosen by anyone as a life partner, though – a husband. (Wow!  Did I just write that for all to see?)  I wanted to choose someone a number of years ago thinking we were on the same page – but he didn’t choose back.  Ouch!  That crippled my soul for a long time as I fell into the trap of “What’s wrong with me?”  It took years for God to rescue me out of that “slimy pit,” “to set my feet on a rock,” and “put a new song in my mouth.”  (Psalms 40:1-3)

Webster says of the word “cherish:”  deeply loved and valued; to treat with tenderness and affection; to nurture with care; to protect; to hold dear.  That raises a couple massive questions.

“Who do I get to cherish?” and “Who cherishes ME?”

Being cherished, in my single experience, is spending time with another in deep conversation which speaks soul to soul.  It includes things like soft touches on the arm or shoulder as you walk by someone in a group of people.  It includes hugs and friendly hand holds and warm eyes.  It includes someone you love saying your name in a caring manner.

It also includes limits when the other person is married.  “Emotional mistress” is never a term I want to apply to myself!

 In 2001, one of my brothers was very ill with liver failure.  Our every-third-year family reunion was in June, and we all gathered at another brother’s home in Iowa.  Dear Wally and my sis-in-law drove from Florida, and even though he ended up in a couple of hospitals on the way, his smiling face is etched in my mind as he helped spread joy and laughter at being together.  Even though hugging and calling each other endearing names was not something my family particularly did as I was growing up, that reunion was full of both.

In July, 2001, I traveled to China as accompanist for a community chorale, singing the Mozart Requiem and a number of American songs for very responsive and friendly audiences in Beijing, Suzhou, and Shanghai.  When I returned home, one of my first calls was to my brother who was in a Florida hospital waiting for a liver transplant.  I told Wally I loved him, and his instant words, “Thank you, sweetheart,” are as clear in my mind now as they were then.  Those words are a cherished and much treasured memory for the rest of my life as I imagine his smile in heaven now..

Of course, since my focus here in this blog is as a Christian single, I choose to go to Scripture to know the ultimate answer of Who cherishes and chooses me.

  •   * God chose us before the foundation of the earth to bless and glorify His name.  (Ephesians 1:4)
  •   * God lets His chosen ones live with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience [cherishing] for one another.  (Colossians 3:12)
  •   * God equips His chosen ones to work in faith, labor in love, and stand firm in hope.  (I Thessalonians 1:3)
  •   * The clearest earthly expression of choosing and cherishing is meant to be in marriage.
  •   * Marriage is meant to reflect Jesus’ future relationship with His chosen, the Church.  (Ephesians 5:25-33)
  •   * God’s love is everlasting and His choice is unfailing kindness.  (Jeremiah 31:3)

I confess, however, that sometimes the ultimate answer doesn’t quite seem to satisfy the “I want someone with skin on” itch.  How about you?  .

So what in the world is “good” these days? ☆

“Good” is one of those words we use in a great variety of ways:  good day/night, good food, good girl/boy, good job, good vibes, good hair day, good sex . . . well, you get the picture.  Most of these give the idea of fulfilling and refreshing times which make you feel – well – good.

I was glancing through the TV schedule this week, and saw these movies:  “The Good Sister,” “The Good Mother, ” and “the Good Teacher.”  Hmmmmm, let’s see.  The “Good Sister” pretended to be a long-lost identical twin who seduced her husband, finally killing him, and returning to her original identity and a new life.  The “Good Mother” demonstrated Munchausen Syndrome by making her daughters ill so she could play the part of the perfect caretaker.  The “Good Teacher” seduced at least one high school student.

Now, I do understand that the point of these movies was to demonstrate the opposite of “good.”  But, too often in conduct these days, the meaning of what is “good” does get mixed into a crazy quilt of “what makes me feel good,.” but which may demonstrate the opposite.  Sometimes, having a “good” day may come from having seen someone fail which made us feel superior – or “good.”  Eating “good” food may include eating less than healthy stuff which admittedly makes us feel “good,” but which is not so beneficial for the body.  Having “good” sex may be in the context of a couple of high school students having an experience for which they are not really prepared.  But, if it feels “good” it must be OK.  Right?

What is “good” anyway?  Webster says:  “possessing desirable qualities, promoting success, welfare, or happiness; kind, benevolent, gracious, polite, and friendly; clever, skillful, adequate, sufficient, competent and sound.”

Other definitions:  “possessing moral excellence; real and actual; full and complete; honorable; unblemished.”

A man approached Jesus one day saying, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  Jesus’ first response was, “Why do you call Me good?  No one is good–except God alone.”  He didn’t define “good,” nor did he deny that this adjective actually correctly applied to Him.  He just went on to demonstrate how the goodness of God might apply to this inquirer by listing some of the 10 Commandments:  no adultery, no murder, no stealing, no false testimony, do honor father and mother.  The man said he kept all those.  Jesus then told him to sell all he had, exposing the man’s heart concerning the commandments He had not mentioned:  no coveting, no gods before God, no idols, no taking God’s name in vain, and keeping the Sabbath holy.  This very wealthy man went away sad because his real heart attitude and understanding about what is “good” was revealed for all to see. He had not kept all the Commandments after all.   (Luke 18:18-23)

Now, of course, the question I often ask myself is “What is good singleness – as opposed to what is good about singleness?  I have to admit that while I want my life to reflect the character of God, I do covet once in a while – especially when I go to a wedding and hear the words, “to love and to cherish.”  While I do not have any carved idols in my home, there are times when my wants control my thoughts and actions as strongly as if they were idols.  Frankly, there are times when I have not viewed singleness as “good” because it has not felt so good!

Well, here’s what I’ve decided.  Good singleness is based upon the unwavering belief that God is the ultimate of goodness – far beyond what I can possibly describe.  Even when I grieve over losses of what I’ve never had, or ache with the tension of unfulfilled desires, God is still good!  It is my assignment from Him to pursue contentment and joy – in the condition I find myself – for the good set before me.  Good singleness comes when I celebrate the life He gives to me.

Paige Benton writes in Singled Out by God for Good:

“His goodness is not the effect of his disposition but the essence of his person–not an attitude but an attribute. . . I am not single because I am too spiritually unstable to possibly deserve a husband, nor because I am too spiritually mature to possibly need one.  I am single because God is so abundantly good to me, because this is his best for me.”

What do I do with deep longings which feel like losses? ☆

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about longings which feel exactly like losses – even though I’ve never experienced the longed-for thing.

Can you really lose something you’ve never had?

Apparently a lot of song writers think you can because when I googled™ that question, a whole flurry of song lyrics came up.

I remember the exact moment when I realized that not one drop of my DNA would go beyond me.  I was at a family reunion and watched as my married brothers gathered their children and grandchildren together for pictures.  While my personal desire to have children has always been tied to husband first, children second, the realization was still quite like a sledge hammer blast to the heart.  I melted into a puddle of tears and fled to a quiet corner to be alone.

That awareness has served to give me great compassion for those married folks who ache to have children, but for varying reasons, cannot.  Some go through the heartache of hoping with expectations which are dashed to pieces over and over.  It brings some couples together in heart-to-heart ways they would never had anticipated.  It tears other couples apart as each person deals with grief in different ways which shreds their relationship to pieces.  Other couples struggle as one spouse wants children, the other does not.  Each of these bruising experiences has its roots in that fateful day in Eden when Adam and Eve disobeyed God.  Not only did they live their whole lives suffering the consequences, but they passed that legacy on to every one of us.

Paul understands those effects when he wrote Romans 8:35-39.  He asserts confidently that the love of Jesus Christ cannot be shaken by trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, violence [sword], death, life, angels, demons, present, future, powers, height, depth, or anything else in creation.  Well – that about covers it all, doesn’t it?

There are times when I allow some of these admittedly huge things to hide God’s love from my sight.  There is a line in verse 4 of Charles Wesley’s great hymn, “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing” which says, “He breaks the power of canceled sin, He sets the prisoner free!”  Think of it!  Even when we have Jesus as Savior and Lord in our lives today, we are living through the consequences of sins He died for 2,000+ years ago.

He wants us to live in the reality of canceled sin which has no power over us!

Read some more of Paul’s words in Colossians 2:14-15 from The Message:  God brought you alive–right along with Christ!  Think of it!  All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ’s cross.  He stripped all the spiritual tyrants in the universe of their sham authority at the cross and marched them naked through the streets.

“Longings reveal something is missing in our lives yet our attempts to fill up the hole often leave us terribly unsatisfied.  I explore the question, “What if our longings are sacred, given by God for a purpose?” **

Longings come in all shapes and sizes.  There is no “one size fits all.”  More and more, I believe that my longings are truly designed to drive me deeper into knowing God with every ounce of my being.  Jesus alone is my Savior, is always with me, will never fail me.  No person on earth can fill those shoes.

So, what about you?  What are your longings?  I appreciate your comments, and invite you to read Janey’s thoughtful comment to the post, “really good resolutions for us all.”    I also see that I’m off on an internet trail of great thoughts from others about singleness and Godly longings.

** From website, “Deeper Devotion” by Elizabeth, a spiritual director

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *