Here we have the saying that God disciplines the idolatrous heart by keeping away the object of its desire.
Unfortunately there are seldom given concrete examples of what constitutes idolatry, which could cause self-doubt in singles who are following God well enough. They might worry about how they measure up to a vague idea of idolatry and impurity, rather than having a basic principle to measure their actions with. It seems like there’s this nebulous view of what idolatry is, that anything that takes you away from thinking about God enough is somehow a problem. It’s much simpler.
You can tell if you’re idolizing something by the fact that you will be willing to sin and compromise your integrity in order to get it.
- Dating a non-believer for any reason? That goes against God’s command to be equally yoked, and probably the command to flee from sexual temptation (the world generally disdains chastity). Idolatry.
- Willing to engage in premarital sex because you think that will speed up getting the ring? Idolatry.
- Settling for someone you don’t really love and will ultimately mistreat, because you want the marriage mile marker right now? Great job loving your neighbor as yourself! Idolatry.
It’s cutting corners and sinning to get whatever you feel you need right now, with no real concern for how it will ultimately affect you and those around you.
Honestly, I just had to give those examples because sometimes it feels like Christians will over-spiritualize things and thus if you feel yourself longing for marriage for more than two minutes you’re losing focus on God and everything will go wrong. It’s not necessarily something people intend to convey, but sometimes the implication can be felt. I guess it’s more prominent to me when people discuss a big picture concept but don’t include much detail.
The other problem with this cliche?
People still date and even marry in the Church while having idolatrous attitudes they didn’t fix. Does God hold some singles back over this while others can bulldoze their way into a relationship with wrong motives or whatever? That contrast isn’t brought up much. I don’t know why.
Are singles single because they don’t like being single? Are they single because they have more than a boringly moderate interest in marriage? Why are some people still able enter relationships stupidly? Why does it all seem unbalanced?
I don’t really have answers, I just feel like no one has really asked those questions before.
The old saying that goes with this is: “You have to be content as a single and not look for anyone to date, and THEN…you’ll meet the One before you know it!”
“Put it all into God’s hands and let go…(you’re single cuz idolatry, let go already!)”
Well, maybe that is one dynamic that works for single people who have no idea if they’ll stay single or not and need to not get worked up about if they were super worried.
But I know I have a future husband, I know we’re supposed to meet sometime. I can’t just forget about him or try to ignore him to fulfill some quasi-spiritual formula. Because for me this isn’t simply, “I would like to be married, I need to date but it’s not working so far.” It’s that I have part of my purpose pretty clearly indicated, I’m going to have a husband, unfortunately I don’t know how to find him and the particulars about clarifying that or moving forward.
It’s the difference between, “Don’t worry about something you can’t control at all” vs. “I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to do something when I know what my purpose is. This is about obedience, not idolatry.”
I can’t wait around passively when I know the outcome of my situation. I have to find a way through it.
And now I can finally tell all the cliches they don’t fit me at all, and do not help. I’m certain there are others with similar frustrations. I hope my posts will be a breath of fresh air. I do kinda feel like I have to finish them all before I meet him. xD
(I know, to some extent, that the real fault holding me back is lack of courage, but I’ll talk about that after finish this series.)