Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Appetites and Almosts

There were a few sentences in chapters 3 and 4 of Your Secret Name that stood out to me this week. 

"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. 37
This 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. 43
I 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. 56
While 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.

Disclosure: Amazon Affiliate links included in this post. If you click through to Amazon from HopefulLeigh, any purchase you make supports this site.


  1. That quote at the top is very interesting, and for the most part, it's true for the people I know. That's not to say that the men that I know don't place a lot of value on their relationships, because they DEFINITELY do, but I do think that men have a greater need than women to feel needed and that they are able to provide for themselves and their families. Very interesting though, thanks for sharing!!

  2. so glad i now get this in email form...yea! great thoughts and i can't wait to borrow it when you are done. it's hard to wait for things we want. no matter who you are or what your situation is, we are all waiting for something. trusting God while we wait and discerning from Him what step to take next is the tough thing.

  3. Leigh,

    I too have struggled in the past with the single label...being much older than you...I no longer do...but I can truly understand your struggle.

    Now, being a single mother to 4, 2 of which I adopted being single..I know there are other ways to live single. Not sure if you have thought about it...but here are some interesting reads and examples.

    Should Christian singles adopt (written by a pastor's wife I greatly respect and admire:http://aplacecalledsimplicity.blogspot.com/2009/08/should-single-woman-adopt.html
    Two single mommas in Uganda...Katie: http://kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com/ and Gabi: http://rachamministries.org/index.html

    Just food for thought. Blessings to you.

  4. I love this, Leigh. And I think you're amazing. Praying for God's very, very BEST for you!

  5. @Laura, the differences between men and women never cease to amaze me. You're right- there's usually some crossover between those generalizations.

    @Tracy, I'm glad we got your subscription going too! Thanks for the good times yesterday and for always patiently listening to me, no matter how many times we've discussed it.

    @Sandee, I so appreciate your perspective! I've actually been pondering the whole adoption as a single idea lately. I'm not sure what that means but I look forward to reading those articles. Thank you for passing them along and for sharing some of your own story.

  6. Leigh, I love hearing your honesty.

    I completely agree with your statement "The church doesn't quite know what to do with us Singles of Certain Age and this doesn't help matters much either." But I also don't know what I want from the church, as a single myself.

  7. @Marla, thank you, as always, for your encouragement. You make my life better:)

    @Doug, one of the best books I've read regarding singles and the church is Singled Out. I posted part 1 of a review here: http://hopefulleigh.blogspot.com/2010/09/singled-out-review-part-1.html
    I may or may not finish part 2 someday:)


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