Monday, May 2, 2011

Recent Thoughts Part 2 of 3: Stewardship.

I was talking with a co-worker last night about dating. She was shocked to hear that I had never been in a serious relationship. She gasped in shock, “But, you’re American!” American? Why yes, I am. What do you mean “I’m American”? What does that have to do with the number of people I’ve dated? Or i guess not dated? She was convinced that all American youth date and are encouraged to date in middle school and high school. Interesting, right? Now, if we’re counting those type of relationships, I’ll add one to my list. His name was Nathaniel. We “dated” for like two days until I “dumped” him on the soccer field. It was tragic.

Not exactly the type of dating I’m talking about.

I was listening to a podcast this morning on the topic of stewardship. Stewardship being the tending to of gifts that are given to us by God, for a season of time, which we will return back to him one day. We will return them back and give an account for how we used them up while they were in our hands. Money. Occupation. Time. Resources. Energies. Relationships. And, yes, sometimes the lack thereof. This message on stewardship followed a related message about faith, and how a deepening faith will lead to tangible actions reflective of that faith. So, in my mind I married the two. Stewardship and faith and this is the question I’m wrestling with: how do I walk out my faith- in a God whose promises never fail- as i steward the gifts he’s given me?

Among the gifts worthy of stewarding, the one which got me writing this... the gift of singleness. A gift I’ve been tending to for sometime now. And I'm pleased to announce I’m getting pretty good at it. Before I get all sarcastic on you and try to hide my true thoughts, I’ll just come right out here and say it, I think I’m ready to steward the gift of a man. Just keeping it real folks.

Ok, so while I fear I have, in one sentences, refuted my boasting the stewardship of singleness, please let me continue.

When I survey the past few years, it is hard to believe the things I’ve been able to do. Ask those who are closest to me, I think they’ll concur that I am a dreamer at heart! My ideas are frequent and lofty and while I err often in followthrough, the past few years have been the realization of a few of those big ideas. (Can I praise those who are on my “umm... i have a crazy idea” email list? I love you guys- thanks for helping me dream!) I wanted to travel and explore the world. I wanted to get out of California and all that was familiar. I wanted to see Jesus in a fresh way. And i wanted to see if journalism was fit for me. Who can pursue travel journalism sitting in Victorville? How does Korea sound? ha! As I type, I'm sitting at a Starbucks in Korea (random, i know!), in the midst of traveling and teaching, and have learned so much. I think I’ve decided that full time journalism isn’t my cup of tea. And in the short time i’ve been overseas, I am convinced of just how awesome this world is, and well, that the Kingdom of God is moving into this world! I wouldn’t have come to understand these things had I not had the freedom to go and just figure it out! Singleness offers me a unique freedom that is a gift worth stewarding well. When else will I ever have the opportunity to do what I have? I cherish it with thanksgiving.

God has given me this season of “solo”, as my Korean students like to call it, to explore life, see His world, and find out who he made me to be. I am thankful for that. I cannot imagine doing all of this with romantic attachments. Or even soaking in the fullness of this process if i were already married. While I am a firm advocate for traveling and adventuring and doing all of life with a spouse, it is different (obviously) from doing it alone. Solo life allows someone the freedom and space to process and evaluate life- the good, the bad, and the ugly- in the fullness of who God is and who he is forming in you, by yourself. That-- i am thankful for. Sanctification within community and in relationship is essential, however there is something deep and rich to sitting, traveling, living with God - alone- and letting him wreck havoc! There is an intimacy with Jesus, which is eventually mirrored in marriage, that comes only when I run to Him and sit in his sweet presence.

Now, I won’t gloss over the difficulties of being faithful in a season of singleness. You know, nights are often lonely. Love songs on the radio get the best of me sometimes. Flying on a plane alone is scary. And well, cooking a nice dinner for one just isn’t as fun. But, you know, God ways are high! And by golly, if i wait around for a fella, i'm going to miss out on a lot of awesomeness. God has good plans for me even in this season! I’ve seen the fruit of it. I'm not whole when I get married. He is creating me into the image of his Son-- sanctifying me and preparing me for the works he has set before me RIGHT NOW. With no man in sight. Except Jesus... he's pretty critical to this whole thing. Faith means choosing to cooperate with that process and running to Jesus above everyone else even when my feelings want to find comfort in a man. I am the Bride of a good God- who provides all that I need abundantly! I’m the lady of a Lord who has his eyes set on me, rejoicing over me in gladness and quieting me in his love. Faith means trusting that God is who he says he is apart from experience, and that i am who he says i am apart from what all other voices say.

Because, though doubted by some, I'm completely who Jesus has made me to be, even as a single woman.

(and by "recent" i mean relatively recent. i wrote this almost a year ago. sitting in a coffee shop in Korea.) : )

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