All things that "strike a chord" in me.
There are many days I feel like I’m walking a tightrope. Sometimes the difference between well balanced and raving lunatic seems to be a hair’s breadth.
For example, as a 40 year old man, there’s a dream I’ve been holding onto for quite a while: marriage. It’s something I’ve wanted since high school. Maybe it’s because of all the movies and TV shows I’ve seen, but I’ve always imagined that I would see her across a crowded room, our eyes would meet, and we’d both know it was true love (thereby eliminating the need for the awkward step of actually dating). We’d wade through the sea of people, slowly making our way toward each other, introduce ourselves, kiss, and live happily ever after.
Unfortunately, I live in reality.
No crowded room. No eyes meeting. No kiss. No happily ever after.
After this much time as a single man, I’ve been questioning God lately; is marriage even in the plan for me?
It’s in this question that I find my latest tightrope walk. I know that the probability of my finding and marrying the love of my life grows slightly slimmer with each passing day. At some point, I have to be OK with that. So I now walk the line between letting go and giving up.
Outwardly, the two look very similar. Either way, I move on from my idea of how I thought life was supposed to be and somehow forge ahead. The mental and emotional ramifications, however, are vastly different.
In giving up, theres a sense of final resignation to it all, as if to say, “Well, if this is what it’s going to be, then I’d best get used to the idea.” There’s a sadness, a frustration, even a little bit of an anger to it. Like a petulant child who doesn’t like the way his game of Monopoly isgoing, so he scatters the pieces across the room, yelling “I don’t want to play anymore!” Probably not the healthiest option. Definitely not the way I want to live my life.
The problem with this approach is that it presupposes that God promised me a romantic happily ever after. He didn’t. He never did. Nowhere in scripture does it say that there is someone out there for everyone (I’ve checked. Repeatedly. It’s not even in the Apocrypha.). This is something we humans have come up with to comfort our single friends or ourselves in lonely times. The only guaranteed good relationship God ever promised is one we choose to have with Him.
The other option is letting go. This is less a tantrum, and more of an offering. To let go is to say to God, “This is my dream, but it may not necessarily be Yours, so I lay it at your feet, never to pick it up again. If You choose to give it back to me, I will gladly accept it.” Choosing this eliminates entitlement and bitterness, leaving only possibility ahead. It gives God the opportunity to lead me into something greater. It’s a way of showing God that I trust his judgment before my own, that His plans are better than my desires. It also means swallowing a hunk of pride the size of a Cadillac.
Admittedly, I jump back and forth over this line a lot. I like to think I’m less the spoiled brat today than I may have been several years ago, but the brat comes back every so often, usually in the moments I’ve let myself wander away from the feet of God.
And, so, I’m letting go of this dream . . . again. I do so with hope still intact. Feels like it gets harder as time marches relentlessly on. But, as a new year begins, so does hope seem to reignite. So, I let go of my discouragement, and embrace hope. I lay my plans and expectations at the foot of the cross and ask God for the plans He has in store.
And maybe, just maybe, this year I can figure out that happily ever after doesn’t always end with a wedding. But one can hope. . .