Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Engaging and Risking Part 3: When Single People are in Your Family


Theory is a beautiful thing. But it’s easy for theory to stay in your head (or on a blog) when you don’t have a practical way to implement that theory. Thus, the reason for a Part 3 in this mini series.
I’ve actually experienced this worked out in real life in beautiful ways. And having a taste for this kind of community makes you long for it even more. I’ve had married friends who weren’t afraid of me as a single and loved me and accepted me and didn’t morph into “We can’t talk to you until you’re one of us” syndrome. Those are the kind of friends who are perfectly comfortable with me popping over to their house, raiding their fridge, and using their cable. Those are the kind of friends who let me cook soup for them when they are sick and let me take their kids to the park when they are having a bad day. Those are the kind of friends who took me on vacation with them because I’m way more fun and less chaotic than another couple with another four or five kids. (I’m also an extra adult wrangling children).
And those are the moments I forget I’m alone. Because I’m not alone. I get to be a part of a family and even though I have winy moments where I complain to God and tell him how badly “I want my own family” I almost feel like he’s staring back at me saying, “Duh, you do have your own family.” The Body of Christ is set up like a family and we’re called brothers and sisters, sharing the same blood. Christ’s blood. That’s why it’s imperative that you don’t leave single people alone. That’s why it’s imperative that single people pole vault their way into the lives of other people in the body of Christ.
If you take the risk and reach out to single people and you get rejected, I’m sorry if this sounds harsh, but that’s part of life. That’s part of being human and being in community and being in relationship.
If you take the risk and reach out to married people and get rejected, I’m sorry if this sounds harsh, but that’s part of life. That’s part of being human being in community and being in relationship.
My vocation happens to be a vocation in which I experience rejection on a daily basis. I’m quite used to it, actually. Not used to it to the point where it doesn’t hurt, but neither does it shatter my world and keep me from reaching out again. And again. And again.
It gets easier with practice. So you should practice. My first semester of seminary I initiated coffee with eighteen different fellow students.
Two of those students actually became friends.
Two. Out of eighteen. Those odds suck. But if I hadn’t initiated at all, I wouldn’t have those two friends. And they are friends whom I really like and think will probably be friends forever.
So where do you start? Well, you could start by sharing this blog series on your newsfeed, just to get the conversation going. But if you stop at that, than you’re resorting to passive aggression. Though I do employ that method from time to time, it doesn’t usually win friends or influence people.
The whole point of Part 3 is to exhort you to action, to take theory and implement it into real life. It’s much safer to scroll down a page. I guarantee you’re less likely to get hurt. But you also cut yourself off from the joy.
And it’s pretty amazing joy. God knows what he’s doing when he outlines patterns for relationships in his word. I can’t imagine what life would be like for me if I retreated from the world because I felt like I had nothing to offer because I was single.
I can’t imagine what life would be like if my married friends left me on the curb because they felt like I had nothing to offer because I was single. Or because they were scared of me. Often it’s the latter that keeps married folks from reaching out. They’re afraid of different. They’re afraid of what they don’t understand.
But how do you overcome fear if you don’t understand? How do you understand if you don’t engage? How do you engage if you don’t risk?
It’s time to go skydiving.




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