The Validity of a Human (alternately: I’m Not Single)

We live on this big old world, hurtling through space around a big old sun.  Our wobbly trajectory sits in a perfect little belt that isn’t too hot to fry all life or too cold to freeze it off.  South Dakota winters are begging to differ about that last one, and yet South Dakota winters can’t keep away South Dakota springs forever.

That’s the beautiful thing, see, not only do we have life, but we have wind that burns your face and heat that burns your face and treacherous seas and unruly storms and these things inspire poetry.  Because amid the bleak palette of January, there is the promise of a June so bright that color almost develops a flavor.  The wailing storms that tantrum their way through town leave behind greens so vibrant they escape our full comprehension.  The sea is anything but safe and yet the danger only makes it more dazzling.  The summer sun is unbearably hot, but when it sets, the sky is still ablaze with sparks.  I’m not even scratching the surface of the enormity of creation and the minute detail carved into every square millimeter of it, but you get the idea.

And we haven’t even started on people.  We have eyes and noses and ears and opposable thumbs

and four-chambered hearts

and a sense of moral direction

and distinctly patterned irises

and emotions

and miles of nerve endings

and an innate need for interaction with other humans

and freckles and fingernails.  Holy cow.  When you begin to think about just how much detail God put into creating humanity, it’s difficult not to be awestruck.

Let’s go even more detailed.  God created this big old world with all of its wonders.  He created humans, weaving together a system as complex as as it is commonplace for us.  No details spared.  And he used the same method to create you.  He set your eyes at just the perfect angle and brushed them with color and expression.  He sculpted synapses in your brain to fine tune the quirk in your smile.  He etched your fingerprint with the concentration of a master artist coaxing their work to breathe as they sketch.  He planted each hair follicle in your scalp, your arms, even the tiny wisps behind your neck.  He made you a marvel.

God does not make marvels just to sit around.  He has a purpose for you and he is using you in this big old world for big old things.  Maybe he’s leading you to be a teacher because he is giddy at the thought of children having the privilege of being shaped by your instruction and your care for them as people.  Maybe he is leading you into science so that you can discover a new gene pattern and help to predict and prevent dementia.  He might place you in the kitchen of a restaurant so that you can bring people together over the shared experience of your impeccable culinary creations.  He could use your voice and your proclivity with language to translate the Bible orally in a tribe where their native language is only spoken.  You might not know how God is using you right now, but the fact that you are striving to listen to his guidance and live in his love along the way is immeasurably valuable.

The point is this: You are God’s child, created especially one-of-a-kind with priceless worth.  You are a human, created in God’s image for his purpose.  That is what defines you.  He is what defines you.

Okay, cool.  Where exactly is this going?

In a different direction than most of what I write, so bear with me.  Hopefully it will do some good, at least for me to formulate my thoughts.

I am not in a dating relationship.  That is a fact about my life and that’s the whole story at the moment.  And that’s cool with me.

Here’s the deal.   I see all sorts of encouragement for “the girl who thinks she’ll be single forever” or “the girl who is embracing the single life” etc. etc. etc. all over the internet.  They all sound pretty much the same too: “You can take this time to get to know yourself and show the world what you are capable of.  Be patient, this is leading you somewhere wonderful.  Be grateful, God is using you in powerful ways.  Be confident in who you are.”  And this message goes far further than just the internet.  Friends and family repeat the same mantra.  They see worth and are just dying to express it, to remind me that they love me.

Which is great, really and truly without even a little ounce of sarcasm, it is a splendid thing to encourage people who are not dating other people that their lives have value.  My question, though, is this:  Why are those people the ones we feel the need to encourage?  Why are the same articles not aimed toward people in relationships?  People who are hurting and questioning and needing to be reminded that they have a  rich and abundant purpose in their Creator?  Or people who exist as valuable and valued human beings in general, whatever their situation?

Because within those noble encouragements comes the message that all of this value I have is leading up to someone noticing and wanting to date me.  “Be patient, God does everything in his timing.  (Eventually the right man will show up.)”  “It’s completely okay to be single.  (Especially because you haven’t given up on finding love.)”  “You can do so much with this time.  (You are at a different stage of life and when you finally find yourself in a relationship, you will grow past it.)”  It’s hard to talk about this phenomenon, because all of the advice and encouragement really is given in the best of intentions, but consoling me for being outside of the club only makes me feel like I should feel sad that I’m not in it.

So from henceforth, I am not single.  That phrase makes my nonexistent man friend the defining factor of my existence.  Remember what we talked about earlier?  The thing that defines me as a person and my worth in that personhood is my status as God’s dearly beloved handcrafted work of magnificent art.  I am God’s child.  It’s also true that I am not dating anyone, but that is not who I am.  Nor do I need to be assured that I have value despite that fact or because of it.  That fact has nothing to do with it.  I have value because I am God’s child and he is using me.  End of story.

I apologize if that all comes off as aggressive or affronted.  I am neither of those things.  Or I hope not to be.  I just wanted to add a new opinion into the pool.  I hesitated on even writing this post because it sort of feels like perpetuating the whole attitude that I want to change, but I hope it was a valuable perspective for you whoever you may be.

(Let me know what you think in the comments.  I want this to open the opportunity for a discussion instead of me just throwing my thoughts around.  I’d love to hear from you.)