Monday, July 29, 2013

Seating Arrangements

Have you ever been invited to an elaborate dinner party? Maybe it was a holiday like Christmas or a special celebratory occasion and you were so looking forward to connecting with loved ones around the table.

The day arrives. You ring the doorbell and smell a delicious dinner being prepared. As you walk into the living room, you enjoy hors d'oeuvres and conversation with old friends. 

So festive. So warm. So inviting. 

Then comes the announcement that dinner is served. The table is beautifully set, just like a pin on a Pinterest board... 

As you wait to be seated, you realize there's not enough chairs. And to your surprise, the host awkwardly says to you, "Oh, come this way, I have a special seat for you."

...and leads you into the kitchen... to sit at the KIDS' TABLE!

Because apparently the big table was reserved for the couples aka the grown ups. Talk about feeling inferior!

{womp, womp}

Everything was cool until you were sequestered to the kid table where the feelings of inferiority crept rushed in and expunged all of the great stuff going on in your life. Only good enough for appetizer small talk. Suddenly, the only thing at the forefront of your mind is single awareness which, in a twisted way, can sometimes even result in shame for being alone. Meanwhile, moments prior, you were fine.

Sometimes life feels this way for Christian singles. It shouldn't be. It's certainly not Biblical but because some church cultures consider marriage to equate being "all grown up," we feel inferior.

I'd by lying if I said I never feel assigned to the kid table. Aside from being in the marital-status-minority, I'm that 35-year-old living at home with Mom and Dad. I moved back to New York several years ago to complete my degree and figured I'd quickly move on (and away from New York) after that. Well, God had other plans which involved my staying here however I'm nowhere near being in a place financially where I can afford live on my own. While I'm grateful for such gracious parents, I must say I sometimes struggle with feeling there are days less than a grown up.

Why is it that as believers in Christ Jesus, we allow ourselves to feel less than? Why should people be defined as inferior simply because they're unmarried? Our identity is not in who we're married to, our identity is in Christ alone. But we don't always act like it.

Friends, it's time for us to walk in the confidence and victory that Christ won for us. We belong to HIM! Despite the awkward place settings we sometimes get in life, don't believe the lies that singleness disqualifies you because you have been qualified by GOD to share in the inheritance belonging to His people!

So, when you're frustrated about your earthly seating arrangement, turn your eyes to the One who is seated in heaven on the Throne. Though He's high above, you'll never feel insignificant because it is in Christ where your significance lies.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesusso that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 
- Ephesians 2:4-7

Yes, I am single. And yes, sometimes I wish that could change. 

But that is not what defines me... 

I am redeemed, chosen, and blessed! And so are you!

pressing on toward the goal, 

What does your place card say?


becky burdashaw said...

Story of my life! Especially now that I am the only grandchild on both sides of my family who is not married, in a long-term relationship, or has children. And it doesn't help matters that I'm in children's ministry. People assume because I'm single and work with children that I'm totally fine/comfortable/would prefer, to be put with the children. Um, no. I am an adult, thank you very much. The "I assumed you would be more comfortable with the children" line is the one that gets to me the most. Just because I am not married and I work with kids does not mean I am incapable of adult conversation or uninterested in socializing with adults. I don't work with kids because I am uncomfortable with adults; I work with children because that's my calling. And let's be honest, it often takes a lot more skill and finesse to work with children than adults.

And I can TOTALLY relate on the effect living with your parents can have. There have been many times I feel complete shame to admit that I'm in a place where I need/want to live at home again after being "independent" for so long. I often feel like I have to justify my decision to move back in with them, but really, that decision was between my parents, me and God. No one else's opinion really matters in the end... if only I could convince myself of that!

Megan said...

And I thought I was the only 30-ish-year-old single living at home! So awkward! People ask me how old I am because, since I still live with my parents, I must still be in school! What a great reminder, though, that when we are misunderstood by others, there is Someone who knows us and loves us in this awkward place.

Hec Rodriguez said...

Being in my 30's I often day to myself, hmmm if I lived back at home life would be so much easier for me. Since I live by myself I realize...okay God what's up for today. Jenn I agree with you totally when you say ” you felt you were at the kiddie table” at times I often ask myself when would I Get my placement card? When would I be doing to all the cool things couples do... But then after reading this blog I'm reminded that I'm am his guest of honor. I'm his bridegroom and he delights himself with he. Yes..oh how I long for that ” eve” in my garden, but he shows me that he week feast with me until he brings or creates that one for me... Truly this blog his home.. Thank you for sharing it

Amarilis Padilla said...

This was such a good and encouraging read. Great reminder. It is so easy to forget who we are and be lost in titles that we feel we must possess in order to be consider a person of value, but as you clearly stated our worth and identity is in who God says we are. Another person is only meant to compliment us not complete us. When that is squared away the addition will be a blessing and it will work and the relationship can last. There is so much of life that us as humans need to figure out on our own with God before we can include anyone into our lives anyways. =)