Misery loves company.
In my experience, misery loves being the most miserable too.
If I could pick one question or topic that makes me giggle the most it is probably that singleness is “hard.” People will say things like, “being single must be so hard for you!” Or, “I can’t imagine being a single person today. You’re so strong.” Or, “how do you manage?!”
A couple things here: 1) Being single is not hard. It may be annoying or inconvenient when I don’t want to go grocery shopping, but it isn’t hard. Hard is battling cancer, dealing with unemployment, or having your husband get hit by a car and break an ankle within a year of each other. 2) I usually give in to the question and make my life seem as difficult to the outsider as possible.
Remember when I said misery loves being the most miserable? When people ask about how difficult a certain season in life may be, I sometimes tend to play into the misery. I try to 1-up the miserableness.
“Man, singleness must be so difficult.”
“Oh, it is, plus, I can’t have a cat in my apartment.”
“Dang! Well, we can’t have cats either because of allergies.”
“Oh, you have allergies? Well I have chronic bronchitis and can’t breathe for an entire month out of every year, and I’m not married, so…”*
See where I’m going?
There have even been times when I’ve completely flipped the conversation to be all about me and my un-married life. A friend may be talking about how hard ministry is for her and I’ll chime in with, “yeah, I hear you. By the way, did I mention I’m still not dating?”
I think some of us (myself included when I don’t check myself…) want to be the most miserable. We want people to pity us. We want to play up our issues like our problems are way bigger than they are.
Why do we do this? Why do we allow discontentment to be the focus of our lives rather than rejoicing in what God has done and continues to do?
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8)
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t recognize or mourn hardships in our life. There is a time for that. But, as Paul writes in the verse above, we shouldn’t think or dwell on these things. We should rejoice in the truth that the Creator of all has made us new creatures, redeemed and brought back in to right relationship with Him.
Being single can sometimes be hard, especially when I make it my ultimate hope. Being single can be tough when everyone around you is getting married and having babies. Being single isn’t hard when I look to Jesus and think about the fact that He washed away my sins.
My challenge is that I’ll quit being the 1-upper. That I’ll let the Holy Spirit invade my life in such a way that others will see that my life is full of joy because of Him.
*side note: these are hypothetical conversations, but if I have actually had them with you, I’m sorry.