The other day I came across this super random story in 2 Kings 4:8-37, and by random, I mean it was never illustrated in my children’s study bible so I kind of forgot it was in there. Basically, it’s about this Shunammite woman who takes care of the prophet Elisha every time he comes through Shunem. After a time, Elisha acknowledges that she’s a true “hostess with the mostess,” and asks her if she wants anything. Her reply is, “Nothing. I’m secure and satisfied in my family.” What’s important to note, is this woman doesn’t have a son in a culture where having a son is a big fricken deal. When Elisha asked her “what do you want?” a son was probably what bubbled up in her heart immediately, but “nah! I’m cool!” came out instead.
How often do we beat down our own desires?
I know I do it all the time with my singleness.
In some ways acknowledging my desire to be married feels pretty pathetic.
I’m not completely certain, but I’m assuming this Shunammite woman felt the same way about admitting she wanted a son. From the text, we know she was a “leading lady” of the town and as a result probably had everything she needed in terms of material possessions. I even wonder if she had a bunch of daughters too. I can imagine she felt pretty guilty for wanting something beyond the abundant blessings she already had.
In all respects, I have a pretty great life. I have amazing friends and a family that loves me. I have a cute little apartment, a zippy little car and a job I enjoy. So, I feel insanely stupid anytime I admit my desire to be married.
As a result, I’m hesitant to tell my story, even though I write a blog for single Christian women.
What I’ve come to realize is I experience immense amounts of shame around wanting to be married.
Brené Brown defines shame as “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging.”
Shame as a single person is feeling both pathetic for being single, but also stupid for not wanting to be single anymore.
Shame is that terrible, evil voice that asks, “What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you keep a relationship together?”
Shame is the fear that you’re going to die alone and no one will ever care about you.
I think Satan is a big fan of shame because shame prevents us from telling our stories. And when we don’t tell our stories, we don’t connect with people. Shame creates disconnection and disconnection creates isolation and feeling alone is a terrible place to be.
There is this great scene in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix where Luna Lovegood, a very odd, yet lovable character, is talking to Harry about Voldermort, or “You-Know-Who,” the epitome of evil in the Harry Potter series. Harry is convinced that Voldermort has returned, but no one believes him and he feels alone and isolated. Luna responds beautifully:
But I suppose that’s how he’d want you to feel … if I were You-Know-Who, I’d want you to feel cut off from everyone else, because if it’s just you alone, you’re not that much of a threat.
(You can check out the scene below …)
So welcome to Single Christian Girls, the space where you don’t have to feel alone.
You are worthy of love, acceptance and connection.
After my last blog, a friend texted me this:
I always think I’m strong for being, “I’m happy single,” but stuff was just turned upside down and I realized I really would actually like a significant other at some point soonish. And that’s okay. And it shouldn’t be weak or desperate but strong and admired to admit it to people and talk about it genuinely.
According to Brené Brown, one of the earliest definitions of courage was, “to speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Therefore, wouldn’t fully acknowledging and owning our heart’s desires be the purest form of courage?
I think so.