In my last post I mentioned that we really struggle to give single people a big vision for God’s work of sanctification in their lives. I was going to go on to say that it’s essential that we do more to help single people really ground their identity in Christ rather than success at work, or being liked, or whatever, but then it occurred to me that that’s a desperate need for everyone in the church.
I’ve talked to many married folks, especially women, about “the moment” when they realized that this person they were married to was never meant to give them their identity. For some people, that’s the end of their marriage. For others, it’s the beginning of a long and difficult journey of finding their identity in Christ and resting there.
I’ve also had plenty of conversations with single folks (um… including myself) about the identity crisis of not having a spouse, of feeling valueless and adrift without this supposed anchor of marriage. It’s daily implied to us that marriage is not simply a good and worthy state, but one that defines us as, and makes us, mature. (Think I’m overstating my case? Name one unmarried ministry leader at your church. Or consider what percentage of your congregation is single vs. what percentage of the leadership. Now, I know… correlation and causation. But it’s something to think about.)
Who am I because of my job? Who am I because of my marital status? Who am I because of who I’m attracted to? Who am I because of my income? Who am I because of where I live? Who am I because of my politics, or my eschatology, or my taste in music, or the food I eat or the education I have or the clothes I buy? All those things, to the Christian, must take second place to the question, “Who am I in Christ?”
And if we spent the rest of our lives trying to work that out… Well, that would be ok.