"Most men define who they are by what they do- their jobs. Most women define who they are by who they know- their relationships." -p. 37This was very striking to me. I have had a season of unemployment and it was very disconcerting to not have a job as an identifier. However, throughout my life, I have primarily defined myself by my relationships, or lack thereof. I pride myself on the friendships I have maintained over the years, from grammar school to different jobs to random connections. I strive to keep in regular contact with my extended family. I view myself as Daughter, Sister, Cousin, Friend, Auntie.
And then there's that other identifier I wish I could shed. Single Woman. Marriage is something I desire but it hasn't happened yet. Now that I'm getting older (although, yes, still young in grand scheme of things), I feel the weight of my singleness all the more. The majority of my friends and relatives are married. I fear how I will come to be labeled if I never get married- even if that is God's best plan for my life. (Ack! God, I don't really mean that quite yet!) The church doesn't quite know what to do with us Singles of Certain Age and this doesn't help matters much either.
"I felt like He had dangled yet another dream in front of me, only to yank it right back when just inches from my grasp." -p. 43I haven't dated all that much, for reasons I'm never sure of. However, I did have one very short relationship. I won't go into the history but suffice it to say, at the start, I thought he was quite possibly The One. When it ended abruptly, I was furious with the guy, to be sure, but also at God. Why had He let me experience something so wonderful only to yank it away?
I had had a break from being known as Single Woman, only to put that label back on, akin to pinning an S to my shirt. I was not pleased. I can now look back and realize that Mr. Wonderful was not as wonderful as he seemed. We would never have been a good match in the long run. There was blessing in that heartbreak, though I definitely didn't see it at the time.
Speaking of Esau: "He let his stomach get the best of him, listening more to his urges than to his better judgment. He sold his birthright for a bowl of stew. On the verge of tasting a new name, Esau preferred a pot of pottage instead." -p. 56While I want to be known as Wife and Mother, I have not let that desire sway me in settling for less. Truthfully if I wanted to be married for the sake of being married, I could have done that a long time ago. But I want to know true love and I want to experience God's best for me. I continue to wait, some days more gracefully than others.
Esau's story sobers me. He's not the only one that allowed his appetite to get the best of him. I don't want to settle. I don't want my hang ups about being single to lead me down a bad road. I don't want to view singleness as something "wrong" with me, as if marriage is the ultimate reward for Christians. I know that's not true, no matter how many of the people around me believe it to be.
I want to hone my ear to God's voice, instead of my urges. I want to move past the almosts to the actuality of my life, even when it doesn't turn out the way I had planned. I want all of this to be enough.
This post is part of the Your Secret Name Read-Along hosted by the ever-lovely Marla Taviano.
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