After a sermon on singleness and after Jennie’s story earlier this week I thought it was about time I found a way to tell my story. I’m good at analysing situations, being objective about what is going on, deconstructing cause from effect. I can write about singleness in the church, I can write about dating, I can even write about marriage as far as that might seem from where I am now.
Where I am less sure about navigating my course and finding words to describe and explain is when I am the subject. I used to think it was because I was taking an objective standpoint, unburdened by emotional vagaries.
What I am actually doing is denying that I have any part to play. I pretend I don’t exist. Like a researcher conducting an anthropological study I assume I am invisible, that my presence is irrelevant to whatever may be in my sights.
So when I write about the dynamics of dating in the church I write about other people and not me. And when I think of whether the level of single people in church, and my church in particular, is a problem, I do not write from a personal perspective.
When I write an open letter to the ladies I may use language that conveys emotion, I may come across as honest and brave. But too often these emotions and this honesty is on someone else’s behalf, or in a corporate general sense.
Even now, I’m finding ways around actually telling my story by telling you how I avoid telling my story. The mind has remarkable agility when it comes to finding guises for respectability to avoid what needs to be done.
I am single. And I always have been.
And that’s where my story starts and ends. But a lot happens in between and I should therefore have something to say about singleness. It’s not a category or a label I use very often, perhaps partly to shield myself from having to decide whether or not I am happy with that status. If I don’t define myself in this way I tell myself that I am letting other parts of my life take the leading roles, maybe in my more spiritual days I view this as doing what Jennie speaks of: I am getting on with my life. I have never considered myself to be waiting for life to begin.
Maybe I have done a good job at getting on at life. But I have done this by seeing singleness as a part of my life that doesn’t matter.
It’s not mattered because I have disconnected myself from it. I have stepped outside of my situation and my relationships with others and tried to get on with life.
Whatever attraction or rejection I may feel or have experienced has been categorised as unimportant and more or less ignored. So when I have liked a girl, and not had the guts to do anything about it I have forced myself to get over what I define as infatuation. Or when that girl starts going out with someone else I tell myself that I was never going to make a move so it doesn’t matter.
I told myself that relationships don’t matter.
But I still wanted friends. I still wanted to be wanted and included, and a part of the crowd. I looked on enviously at communities forming and thriving, or relationships that helped each other get better. And while defining romance as an unnecessary addition I still wanted it.
This narcissistic self denial had an impact as I viewed women I liked as out of my reach. I confused attraction with infatuation and thus justified relegating it out of sight. Without making a move, without ever being rejected, I defined myself as rejected.
Because my singleness was a thorn in my side that I needed to ignore. I not only saw it as a problem, but I decided that it was other people’s problem and not mine. I did not want to be viewed that way, I did not want to be needy, or viewed as the reject that I had subconsciously branded myself.
Most of all I was ashamed. I was ashamed at never having gone out with a girl. When I was at school I hid behind my Christian piety, when I grew a little older I learnt that the bravado covered over others in the same place as me. But that was years ago now.
Now it is something a bit more painful. To go with the singleness is a legacy of not asking girls out. Of failing to stand up and man up when it was the thing that good Christian guys do.
My postulating on relationships came at a price. The price that I knew one day I would have to pay. With a post like this that lays it bare. This is my confession.
5 thoughts on “My single confession”
Actually Danny, you’ll find you’ve pursued a rather biblical course of life – you don’t hear in the Bible about men dating, but hear about men finding with God’s leading and by listening to their hearts the one they are meant to be with – a wife they truly can commit to, love and devote themselves to. You will definitely have an advantage of being able to offer the lady of your future your undivided self and a gift of an untarnished past. So shine on, man. And be proud of who you are and what you stand for. You’re a rare gem.
I agree with the sentiments above, I like the sincerity of what you have written, but think you’re in danger of reaching the wrong conclusion – be careful of internalising this rather carnal teaching that is being bounded about in the body of christ these days about men pursuing any godly woman they are attracted to… carry on walking in the way God has ordained for you and he’ll bring a wife alongside you, and then will green light it when its time to make a move…
I would like to respectfully take issue with the last two responses. Perhaps you know the blogger personally, in which case you may have some ground to make your statements. I do not, nor have a read very many of Danny’s blog entries, so I am speaking only from the perspective of the immediate context of this writing.
But what I hear is a man who has been to some extent motivated by fear. And that fear has prevented him from doing things that may have been from God (perhaps even pursuing the woman God would have him marry). That is not healthy and Danny, I admire your candidness in openly admitting this. (I hope that besides speaking of this on your blog, you are talking with “real live” people who can help you and hold you accountable. )
Having said that, I also know that often our motives are mixed – the good with the bad. I encourage you to be fair with yourself as you work through this. And remember, God is a God of grace, and despite any missed opportunities in the past, God can do exceedingly abundantly above what we ask or think.
God’s blessing, my brother.
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