I have a confession to make. I had a revelation this morning that, I have had no problem being single from the church, yet for some stupid reason I can hardly handle being single from men. When I had that revelation, it hit me pretty hard.
Let me back up and lay some ground work. Everything in the Bible corresponds with things that are happening in real life. There’s a parallel of sorts that takes place between the spiritual and the natural. We are a spirit, we possess a soul and we live in a body.
The spirit is the real you. The soul consists of our mind, will and emotions…this is the dangerous part of you and the part that gets us in the most trouble. Then, of course, there is the body, which is nothing more than a vessel carrying us through this life.
Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
1 Thessalonians 5:23, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
That being said, we are the body of Christ. But what happens when you divorce the church? I mean, I know there are those who will argue this point, but from personal experience, my personal relationship with God has always been intact. But I divorced the body of believers. Oh, I dated around by visiting a few different churches for awhile, but nothing ever held my attention, so I never joined.
Six years ago, me and my husband of 18 years divorced. I was single for a year, and although I had great times, the single life just wasn’t for me. So I jumped into a marriage, a very toxic marriage at that. The thing is, that I never realized how toxic that marriage was until it ended 5 years later, just 4 months ago.
Ironically, I have attended and been married to some toxic churches as well. Being a part of a church where all the rules are man made and controlling, is much the same as being in an unequally yoked, controlling marriage. You never realize until you break free exactly how toxic either relationship has been.
I’ve also been in, for the most part, a great marriage, as I have been in some great churches.
So once the divorce from either a church or a marriage is underway, a lot of things happen. There is a lot of bitterness that presents itself, and you have to make the decision as to whether you are going to allow that person to control your emotions, or are you going to forgive and let go and move on.
Often times you become angry at yourself for being so blind and not seeing the signs.
The change in routine can be devastating to most. A lot of times when you leave a church, you lose most of your friends. When you divorce a spouse, you lose friends, but you also lose so much more. In both situations, you become lonely. The quest to fill that void becomes almost an obsession for some. You start filling your time with harmful things. I won’t even begin to list what those might be, everyone has their own ways of dealing with things, so you won’t find any judgment from me, but you know just as well as I do when you are in a downward spiral.
And so begins the process of trying to live again.
For single people, most enter into the modern world of dating…and let me tell you, it is a very ugly world out there. You will be mistreated, disrespected and made to feel cheap. Your self-worth will take a huge nose dive and you will continue until you hit rock bottom.
The thought of being lonely will drive people to do some crazy things that are totally out of character.
Eventually, you will have had enough and suddenly the bar will get raised. You will make mental lists of what you want. You will constantly edit that list with each new experience.
Some people want to jump right into a new church and will take the first one that the people seem to accept them rather than waiting patiently to see where God leads you. You may try out several before getting that feeling that this is “the one”.
Unfortunately, as mentioned above, I was fine with being single from the church. But the truth of the matter is that when you put God first in your life, everything else falls into place. Notice, I didn’t say it would be easy. The enemy will come in like a jealous ex-girlfriend and try to destroy everything about you. She is not happy and she sure doesn’t want you happy. But you have to stand firm. The bar is raised and that doesn’t just make it hard for potential mates to get over, it also means it is hard for you yourself to resist lowering the standard on a whim or temptation.
I know what it is to abound in God’s grace. I know what it is to be loyal and faithful and to stand firm, even when I stand alone. I know what it is to enjoy all the benefits. I have seen some miraculous things in my life. There are over 32.000 promises in God’s word, and I have experienced them. I have lived in the promises of “houses I didn’t build and vinyards I didn’t plant”, I have seen God destroy those who rise against me. He even does it now…now that I am not living the perfect biblical life, now when I struggle with loneliness and the desire to make a man happy. When I struggle because I want to love and nurture a man, the way I was created to.
The bible says that it is not good for man to be alone.
I have been married basically all of my life. The single life is not for me, but I won’t settle for less than what God has for me. I did this last time, and now, like Moses in the wilderness, I’m making another trip around that mountain.
Yes, I struggle…we all do, but God is faithful and He still uses me. Before you judge me and tell me that God can’t use me because of my sin, remember this: David had an affair, Noah got drunk, Jonah ran from God, Paul was a murderer, Peter denied Christ…and the list goes on. God is no respecter of persons, if He used them mightily…even in their mess, He can and does use me mightily, and he’ll use you as well.
So realizing all of this, I have 2 very important goals to accomplish. The first is to find the right church that will push me to accomplish what God has for me to do. I have dreams, I’m going places. Some of it I know and some of it I don’t, but there are things that I am called to do and I will do them.
Secondly, I will find a respectful, spiritual leader who is like minded and headed down the same road as I am, that I can share my life with. I will not settle.
The church is a community. A body of believers that are supposed to be there to encourage and push you to the next level in every area of your life. Notice I didn’t say beat you into submission or to control you. The church community is needed. Everyone needs that “Iron sharpening Iron” friend.
I’m not even going to lie, I have basically no one I am close to who I can be real with and who I can bounce the Word around with. That is something that I miss terribly. I lost that when I divorced the church and when I divorced my husband of 18 years. That is something that is vitally important to me.
One of my favorite verses is 3 John 2:
Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.
This verse for me sums up all of life. Several years ago I coined the phrase “Soul Prosperity”, which by the way, I will have tattooed across my wrist. Put the stones down, it’s ok, I already have 2 tats, and yes I’m getting more…Anyway, Soul Prosperity is my battle cry and my prayer.
So with that, I must find a good church to date.
Speaking of dating.
When I was in junior high, I went to a private school and one of the teachers made a statement that stuck with me through all these years. He said, “Every date is a potential mate”
Today’s dating consists of hooking up when the mood strikes. Folks, believe it or not, that is not what I am looking for.
I mean some people only go to church on Easter and Christmas. Just as some people only pray when all hell breaks loose in their life. If that’s the case then all you are doing is looking to God as a friend with benefits.
Whatever happened to old fashioned dating or courting? Where is the commitment? Yes, you have to initially talk to people to find out if there is even a snowball’s chance in hell that you might possibly work out, but once you find that person that you click with, DATE him or her. That doesn’t even mean you are boyfriend/girlfriend. Show her respect show him respect but most of all, show yourself respect. Again…I’m working on it, but half the battle is knowing, the other half is doing. I mean, some of it can be modernized. Meet at a certain place, in public and do stuff together. Eat, play games, whatever, but show respect at all times. I’m going to just leave that right there, but you catch my drift. When you’ve dated for awhile and everything still looks promising, then take it to the next level and by that I mean the boyfriend/girlfriend level.
Well, I’ve got things to do now that I have raised the bar, set the standards and openly voiced my goals…
So let the dating begin…