I think my favorite of the many parodies of LMFAO’s original is the NASA one, but then I have a soft spot for nerds being super nerdy. Of course, I’m currently listening to electro swing, so you can take my music taste with a grain of salt.
So here’s the thing: mad celebrations and party hats, Reader, because this week was the first step toward Officially Being an Official Ministerial-Type Eventually. I have my local church board behind me now (they affirmed my plans for candidacy, is the official language) and am on the docket for going before the full church later this semester. There are now a whole lot of things that I have to do, but this is pretty much the first Announcing Myself step, and it went pretty damn well.
In going official about being ministerial someday, I get to start thinking about what that will look like. And, frustratingly, part of that picture will be my dating life.
I don’t know that I’ve mentioned relational status on here before, Reader, mostly because I like privacy but also because it really isn’t anyone else’s business. But the funny thing about going into professional ministry is that suddenly a whole bunch of you becomes other people’s business, whether it really “should” or not. Especially because I’m relatively young and I am female, the fact that I’m not married and haven’t spawned at least one mini human will cause several comments as to what I’m doing with my life—to be perfectly candid, it already has. I have had the conversation with the well-meaning parishioners who are convinced that if I would take the time to talk with some nice young boy (occasionally their nephew or grandson; yeah, I’ve had that attempted match-up), ministry/work/life/Valentine’s Day would be that much more pleasant.
My dear and lovely Reader, if you ever come across a clergyperson, feel free not to comment on his/her relational status. Even if his/her spouse is standing RIGHT THERE. Hell, especially if his/her spouse is right there. While you’re at it, if you ever come across a breathing human, feel free not to comment on his/her relational status until s/he brings it up him/herself.
I’m serious about this. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to have people attempt to fix me up with someone out of some weird concept of making me happy. I get the feeling behind it, I do, and I appreciate that (most of the time) it truly does come from a place of love and consideration for me. But it’s never actually that; when someone tells me that there’s this person I should date, what I feel like they’re telling me is that I am currently incomplete, that I would be happier/healthier/wealthier/wiser/whatever with someone else.
And what that tells me is that, all love and consideration aside, you don’t know a damn thing about me.
Let’s start with the obvious—if you want to fix me up with a guy, you’re assuming I’m straight. Whether you’re right or not is something you for sure aren’t going to know now because hey, my sexuality really isn’t part of our friendship. If I’m out with you and I oogle somebody (politely, of course), then it is part of our friendship and there can be commentary. If all we do is talk to each other about your kids at the bi-monthly potluck, the sex I’d like to date is pretty off-limits.
Then there’s the assumption that I would work well in a relationship with this person you’ve suggested (or anyone at all) because I’m so super cool and lovable. Again, I appreciate your friendship, but you’ve never dated me. You have no idea what kind of tar-filled pitfalls I may sneak out of the shadows when I’m in girlfriend mode. I could be single for very, very good reasons.
Or I could be single because of some very, very bad reasons. We each of us carry our own stories of heartbreak and sadness; some carry stories of abuse and fear. We’ve never had that conversation, so your assuming that my not being in a relationship currently is something that should be rectified is running completely over the fact that I may be flat-out terrified of getting that close to someone else. Or I may just still be really sad about the last person I dated, or having never dated at all. Thanks for considering my emotional welfare, friend.
I realize this sounds rather snippy and selfish—good. It is snippy and selfish, because it drives me nuts that people still feel like single is something to be fixed. Yes, I am painfully aware that God created man and woman together and He said it was not right for them to be alone and so on and so forth. I’m also aware that Paul said it was better to be single. It depends on what you’re doing with the relationality and sexuality that God gave you—if I truly were painfully lonely and sad about it, I might be doing more to get out on the dating scene. If you don’t see that I am, your need for me to be un-single isn’t seeing the whole picture that is me. I’m having a pretty rocking time figuring myself out, actually.
God loves me all by myself. God will use me in ministry all by myself—and maybe someday God will use me in ministry with a significant other. In the meantime, if you decide that you “love” me enough to try and stuff me in a relationship without talking to me about it first so I better fit what your idea of a woman/minister/twenty-something/human should be, I will decide that you are not the kind of person I need to have around all that often as a support system.
But I want you to be free from care. The unmarried person cares for the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord. But the one who is married cares for the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and he is divided. (1 Corinthians 7:32-34a, LEB)
(Oh, and just so you know, Reader—sorry I almost forgot it: there won’t be a post next Friday, as I’m off visiting a seminary. Wish me luck!)