I had a birthday recently and I will admit, it was a birthday that I was not looking forward to. I turned the big "Three Oh" this year, and I found myself in that spot (where I constantly keep going) of comparing myself to others my age. We live in a culture that tells us we need to have career choices and everything figured out by the time we graduate high school, as well as the church telling us we should be married with kids by the time we're 25. Well, I've failed in both areas. I will admit, however, that my progess was indeed hindered by extreme immaturity and lack of diligence in my early twenties.
I remember when I was 19, I was working at this job to save money for school, and I had this coworker who was just about to turn 30, and I remember thinking how pathetic it was for him to still be working at a dead end job at 30. I remember thinking to myself "I am NOT going to be like that when I'm that age". Oh, how arrogant I was. I knew that when I turned 30, I would have a vibrant career (as an actor, HA), and perhaps be married, as I didn't exactly have a strong desire for it at the time, but my thought process had been tainted by my culture.
Well, things didn't go my way, I moved to Washington instead of going to acting school, and I was left not knowing what to do with my life, but it was fine, I still had time. I went to community college and studied acting there, as well teaching (as I then decided to pursue a career as a drama teacher), but that wasn't a good fit for me so I left rather than waste money on classes with no idea as to what I wanted to do. I started going from job to job, I worked hard, I even went to New York for a few months to study acting as I had a brief desire to open my own acting studio, but that eventually fell through. My chronic illness I was recently diagnosed with then began to take its toll and I spent my late twenties sick, and lost over a year of my life stuck in bed, but it was through that process which brought me where I am at today. I absolutely love the career path I am on as I'll be employed by the end of this year.
If you've found yourself still reading this exegis of my boring life, I don't share all this for no reason, but perhaps because someone reading this might relate. Maybe you're at a spot where it seems everyone else has things figured out except you. Or maybe you do have things figured out, but you just aren't getting what you want. Another vice we've seemed to have inherited from our fast paced culture is impatience. But waiting is good as "patience produces character" (Romans 5:4). I would say that coupled with patience is diligence, to keep pushing forward, and to work hard, as laziness is not only one of the seven deadly sins, but there are multiple Proverbs written about it as well.
So maybe you've found yourself, like me, late to the party (although I think it's lame to evaluate our entire life based off careers and relationships), but that's okay. As to the former, a career in the end, is just a job. A job which will produce money, which you can't take with you when you're dead. As long as you work hard and are diligent, God is always faithful to provide. And as for the latter, the older I get the more I am coming to the truth that we are not entitled to a spouse. I think this is something very toxic that the church has (perhaps unintentionally) hammered into us. Growing up in the church we believe we are entitled to a spouse, we believe God has "the one" out there for us, but this is in no way biblical. "He who finds a wife, finds a good thing... (Proverbs 18:22)
Many people in the church treat love as if they are waiting for a train, or for some big cloud parting moment where God brings "the one" into their life, but that's not how it works. How horribly sick is it for me to think I am entitled to someone else? God doesn't make us love Him, so why would it work that way for us? All it would take for "the one" principal to fall apart is for us to use our free will. All it would take is one divorce, or one person to marry someone else. They then divorce "the one" and are now married to someone else's "one", and the whole framework falls apart. The only thing God gives us is a command, which is to not be unequally yoked. This even stretches back as far as the Old Testament where God told Israel that they could choose to marry anyone exept from the Canaanites (as they were evil). God gave them boundaries in regards to marriage, he didn't provide spouses. The only time in Scripture where we see God purposefully bringing people together was for bringing about the Messiah, that's it. When we come to the realization that we are not entitled to a relationship, it's liberating because we can then stop blaming God. Marriage is not a right. Let me say that again, marriage is not a right! But it is a blessing, and some people, for whatever reason, never get to partake of it. I once met a man in his late 60's, maybe early 70's, and when asked if he was ever married he said "Nope, I never got married, I always wanted to, but I missed that train." We need to bring ourselves down to reality and realize that not only are we not entitled to that, we aren't even promised another day. I don't want to misrepresent what I am saying, as singleness is a blessing as well. We know this from 1 Corinthians 7. What matters most is not our earthly relationships, but our relationshp with God.
I will admit, the latter part of this blog was not planned, but I felt it needed to be said. It just irks me when people say nonesense like "God has someone for you in His time" (usually said by someone who was married at 20 and has no concept of what it means to actually wait). Even though it's said with good intentions, it's unbiblical and can actually be more damaging than encouraging. As you start getting older and start seeing all your friends getting married except you, you begin to think there is something wrong with you, or that God is witholding it from you, or that He's punishing you in some way, and none of this is true.
All I know, or care about (even though I may lapse in my contentment), is growing my faith in Christ. I've now come to the age where I've been single for so long it's hard to imagine my life any different, and if it stays that way, then that's okay, as all my love is devoted to God. My life will be in no way wasted. So if anyone can relate, just remember not to focus on the years you think you've wasted. God, in His divine nature, somehow uses (even our bad choices) for His glory and our good. "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. " (Romans 8:28)