Tuesday, August 02, 2005


The other "C" word

If I were putting together an alphabet book for Christian singles, there's no doubt that the word I'd list under "C" would be "contentment." In all the counsel I've received, this is the "C" word that comes up most frequently. However, I've lately realized that there's another "C" word that has played a major role in my singleness: complacency.

Although it's true that the primary reason why I've remained single so long is God's providence, one of the major secondary causes for this has been my complacency. By this I don't mean that I've been lacking in the desire to find a wife, but rather that up until the last few years I'd been satisfied to do little or nothing about pursuing what I desire, instead relying on friendships with women to satisfy some of my desire for companionship. In this manner, I (unconsciously) strived to enjoy some of the advantages of the married state without incurring the liability of committment or the risk of rejection.

During my season of complacency, God spared me from overt sexual immorality, and I managed to treat my friends with a degree of kindness and a giving spirit, but although I avoided blatant fleshly sin, I now see that it was God's sheer mercy that it was so. In fact, I had to bring many of these friendships to an end when it became evident that either my feelings or those of my friend were shifting from the agreed-upon "just friends" arrangement. It was wise that I backed out, for in each case to be more than friends would have been at best unwise or at worst adulterous, but this begs the question of whether I ought to have gone along with a "just friends" situation to begin with. Although I once thought that such friendships could be good and proper so long as both parties were in agreement regarding the relationship, I no longer think so, so for several years now it's been my practice to keep friendships with women on a very casual level unless we're actually dating/courting.

Although I'd long believed that my lack of success in finding a spouse was strictly on account of circumstances beyond my control, I now see that I am responsible for a number of lost opportunities (including a couple gals I rejected because I then believed that God had through a personal prophecy promised me someone even more wonderful), not to mention a lengthy period of total inaction. Moreover, I allowed sinful fear to hinder me from incurring the risk that my advances may be rejected rather than accepted. I am to blame for all this, not God, so I have sought His forgiveness and His grace. I have foresworn the idea of being "just friends" with any woman whether single or married, and I'll consider a close friendship only if she and I are agreed that we are willing to take the relationship to wherever the Lord may lead. If either she or I are unwilling to consider the possibility of marriage down the road, I'm not going to hang around her like I used to hang around my woman friends of the past. As of this writing, I'm still waiting to meet someone who's willing to pursue such a relationship, so I'm concentrating on hanging out with other Christian men.

Thus, my story is that of a guy who has in many ways seen great mercy from God in sparing me from sexual immorality, but who's come to regret the foolish way I used my time and opportunities for so many years. Nonetheless, I believe that I serve a merciful and gracious Lord, and thus remain confident that He will somehow work out all this, the good and bad, together for my ultimate good. Whether or not His plan will involve giving me the spouse I pined for so long but did so little to pursue I will leave up to His ultimate wisdom.

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