If I weren’t a Christian, I’d be married by now.
Then again, maybe not.
But I can’t help but think that there’s some truth to the above statement.
Truth be told, there are a lot of non-Christians who are not married, and when I look at my un-churched friends trying to navigate the dating scene, they seem to have as much trouble or more than my churched friends. They have no problem hooking up, but seem to have trouble finding someone worth holding onto.
Also, I will say that even though I’m of “marrying age,” I must admit that I can’t quite picture myself married at this very moment. I think I lack the selflessness that marriage requires, and I often have trouble thinking beyond my needs and concerns. Then there’s the fact that I really do enjoy my own company — perhaps too much — not to mention the fact that there are still some other things I’d like to do before I settle down. I suppose that there are things that I do and things that I am that keep me single, and I wonder if religiosity is one of them.
Apparently I’m religious. At least that’s what I’ve been told. One male friend once said that I’m “so holy.” A female friend called me “devout.” Another male friend called me “godly.” I’ve bristled when I’ve heard these terms because I know me. I don’t think I’m “devout” or “holy” or “godly” at all. I’m not as devoted as I could be or should be. I just think of myself as someone who believes in God but who sometimes struggles with that belief.
But apparently I’m told that I love Jesus, and sometimes I can’t help but wonder if it’s my religiosity that keeps me single — if it, perhaps among other things, is what turns men off. Certainly, for my part, it is why I haven’t considered many men as romantic potential. When my aunt asks me why I’m not dating, I say it’s because there is no one to date. Sure there are many a few intelligent, attractive guys around me, but do they love Jesus? The last thing I want to do is embark upon evangelistic dating, trying to convert someone to Christianity or Adventism.
I sometimes get the sense that men think, “Simone’s pretty. Simone’s cool. Simone has a great personality, but she’s religious so it won’t work. I know she wants someone ‘religious.’ ”
And unfortunately, if they truly think like this, they’re right.
But I do want to get married…eventually. And while, yes, Jesus is my husband, we all know that you can’t have sex with Jesus.
And so I wonder, if I weren’t a Christian, would it be any different? Would I be better off?
I’m sure the question has crossed the minds of many women who are single for longer than they had imagined. If I weren’t a pastor, I’d be married by now. If I weren’t an Adventist, I’d be married by now. If I weren’t a Christian, I’d be married by now. If I weren’t doing missions, if I weren’t serving God, if I weren’t going on God’s errands, I’d be married by now. We want Jesus, but we also want marriage, and sometimes it’s hard determining which one we want more. There are a lot of Christian women regretting the decision to put their hand to the plough, sometimes having to make the hard choice of picking between the Son of man and the son of man, between heavenly companionship and earthly company.
Sometimes choosing Jesus is not all that appealing. Jesus just seems to be the impediment to all of the other things we want in life.
I think men sense that I will not be dropping my panties or spreading my legs unless and until he puts a ring on it — a stance which I guess is decidedly unsexy.
They know that I won’t be sending any pics of my titties anytime soon. They know that I will delete their dick pics. They know that I, to quote Ciara, keep the goodies in the jar. They know that I don’t do games or put up with foolishness. They know that they must come correct or not come at all.
And I guess that is why I have scared them all away.
After all, I’m not offering any milkshake, so I mustn’t be surprised that I have no boys in my yard.
But I offer Jesus. I choose Jesus.
If I weren’t a Christian, I suppose I might have more choice in potential partners.
I’d be less discriminating and selective, which could be a good thing, but then again who knows the trouble I could have gotten into and what I would have allowed into my life.
I’d have tried a lot more things… I’d have been more adventurous, perhaps taken more risks… I’d have gone to more places, places that I don’t currently frequent as a Christian.
I’d probably be having a whole lot of sex…I think. Maybe…
Definitely my relationship track record (or the lack thereof) would look much different. I wouldn’t have been so selective with my partners, thus I would have had more partners.
I might have had a pregnancy scare or even been a mother. Or a battered woman.
I’d have had a few swigs of Grey Goose and a few sips of Courvoisier, and maybe even tried smoking some ganja.
And perhaps I’d be more jaded and my heart would be a little more tattered and bruised.
Just because I’d have had more boyfriends doesn’t mean I’d be married. Honestly, I don’t know if more boyfriends is good for my heart. And although I’d be more experienced, I still might be single because when it comes to love, none of us really know how to do this thing “correctly.” No one really knows what they’re doing or what to do, despite spouting evidence to the contrary.
I’d be searching for more, wanting more than what the relationship could possibly ever give me.
We would probably be living together, and I’d make breakfast in the morning, and I’d prance around naked, and he’d softly kiss me goodbye on the forehead before going out the door, leaving behind an empty apartment and an even emptier girlfriend.
We’d go to parties or get-togethers and we’d be all educated and erudite, sipping decaf chai and discussing the merits of veganism and farmers’ markets, and I’d have a lot of knowledge but no real wisdom.
And after the love-making, after the climax, after my body has calmed itself, I’d roll over and wonder, “That’s all? Is this it? Is this all there is?”
I’d live for my husband and kids because I’d have nothing else to live for. I’d live for people who could too easily be taken away from me and thus take me away from me along with them.
My worth would be more easily tied and closely linked to the man in front of me than the Man above me who died for me.
I’d have a shifting perception of myself, depending on whether or not I’m in a relationship or the quality of it.
I might be happy but hollow.
I’d be amused but aimless.
I’d be coupled but not complete.
I’d have pleasure but no purpose.
I’d have company but no companionship.
My body would be satisfied but my soul would not be sated.
I’d have a husband but I wouldn’t be whole.
I’d be a good wife or girlfriend, but not the best I could be.
I’d have a warm body next to me but a lonely heart inside of me.
I’d accept a superficial versus a sacrificial type of love because I wouldn’t have known any better. I would have never been exposed to anything better.
I suppose that’s what attracted me to this Jesus in the first place. As a preteen and a teenager, I quickly learned that despite being an A student, or even if I tried to be kind and Christ-like, appearance was all that mattered. I didn’t quite make the cut. Cue Jesus. Finally I met a Man who accepted me in a world that was unkind. Before others I was not pretty enough or skinny enough, or I was too smart or too serious or too much of a goody-goody, but before God I was just enough. I wouldn’t have to prove myself to Him. I wouldn’t have to earn His love. I wouldn’t have to perform or convince Him that I was loveable. He would love me no matter what I looked like. Man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart.
In turn, I let Him see the red-eyes, puffy face, snot-filled episodes that I hide from the world because of my pride and the image that I try to proffer. Before Jesus there are no pretenses. I can just be me and be accepted for who I am.
At least with Jesus, your love will be reciprocated and not unrequited.
Jesus will never wake up one day and decide that He doesn’t want you anymore.
He won’t share your intimate moments on social media. He won’t hog all of the covers on the bed. He won’t snore. He won’t have halitosis.
I will never find Him sleeping when He should be working.
I wouldn’t have to check His cellphone because I can trust Him.
I will never find Him in bed with another woman.
While some men could care less if I tripped, He orders my steps.
Some men won’t notice a new hairstyle, whereas He numbers the hairs on my head.
I can talk to Him at any time of the night and not worry that I am coming off as needy or clingy. In fact, He wants me to cling. He wants me to come to Him with my needs.
He’ll keep our appointments. He won’t forget that I exist.
He’ll pursue me. He’ll call. He’ll show up when He says He will.
When I do bad, if I go off and flirt with flings or have extra-marital affairs, and when I end up feeling like the scum of the earth because of all of the “bad” things I’ve done and my own self-defilement, He won’t reject me. He will enfold me in His arms of love.
If I gain weight or become disfigured or handicapped or confined to a wheel chair, He’ll still want me. He won’t leave me.
He’ll hold you so tightly that the fragmented pieces of your soul and broken heart will fuse themselves back together.
Men die. Men cheat. Men divorce. Jesus lives. Jesus is faithful. Jesus is committed.
I want stability. I want fidelity. I want security. I want unconditional love. I’ve come to realize that only Jesus can provide these things.
In a world of facades, broken promises, flimsy vows, starter marriages and conditional affection, I’ve come to realize that Jesus is the only Person who has “earned” my love, the only Person truly worth loving, the only Person whom it is “safe” to love.
It wasn’t long for me to realize that this is the love I long for. This is the love I want.
I’ve been rejected and I’ve been disappointed and I’ve realized that as wonderful as people are or can be, they will be prone to let me down. It’s part of their very nature. So I want Jesus. I just need Jesus.
I know it’s not really sexy to love God, but I choose Jesus.
I know it scares the men away and perhaps makes me unattractive to some (but not all) of them. But I choose Jesus anyway.
A life without a partner can be hard and lonely, dreary, stigmatizing and ostracizing. But I can survive it all if I have Jesus. A life without Jesus is death to me. So I choose Jesus.
Fickle fallible flesh or the faithful Word made flesh? I choose the latter. I choose Jesus.
As wonderful as a guy may be, he can’t give me the intimacy for which my souls longs. I choose Jesus.
If I choose a man over Jesus I have nothing. If I choose Jesus I have everything. I choose Jesus.
I can choose between a lover who can leave or a Lover who died, sees me, knows me and yet chooses to stay. I choose Jesus.
I’ve decided to stick with the better portion. I choose Jesus.
Regardless of whether I am single or married, there is no one else with whom I’d rather journey through life. I choose Jesus.
He is Strength. He is Light. He is Life. He is Love. He does not only provide these things — He is these things. He is for me what no man can be. He does for me what no man can do. I choose Jesus.
If I weren’t a Christian, I’d probably be seeing someone right now. I may even be married, but my heart would yearn for more. Jesus is my more. I choose Jesus.
Yeah, if I weren’t a Christian I may be married by now, but the truth is some of us are more worried about the ring than we are about the Crown.
For some of us, singleness is the cost of discipleship and this is the cross we bear before the crown we wear.
Ideally we’d all find partners who love God, but some of us may have to make a choice between love and Love, Life and Salvation.
If that’s the case, I choose Jesus.
I choose Jesus because he is worth choosing. He makes all other choices clearer, including the choice of a spouse.
I choose Jesus because He chose me first.
I choose Jesus.
Originally published at simonesamuels.wordpress.com on October 31, 2015.