One of These Things Is Not Like the Others

photo by Sarah commons "But I wish everyone were single, just as I am. Yet each person has a special gift from God, of one kind or another." [1 Corinthians 7:7 NLT]

"Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that." [1 Corinthians 7:7 NASB]

It amazes me how often I think this very thing (the first part). I come to a new conclusion, or I hear from God in some way and I wish, with everything I have, that everybody was right there with me.

So it has been with singleness.

The beauty of what the Lord has been teaching me is genuine. I no longer pine away for a relationship, I no longer wonder what is wrong with me, I no longer begin sentences (or thoughts) with "when I get married..."

I have spent the past few months marveling that I used to always bring conversations to how I hated being single, or to whatever relationship I was in, or hoped to be in. Now, I have very few conversations without talking about the majesty of God, what He is teaching me, His movement in the world and in my life.

If given the choice, this is who I want to be.

But this has sometimes been met with resistance. Various people have pushed back against these things, telling me that I'll meet someone, or that I'm young. Often, I'm finding, they are saying these things because of the place in which they sit. They met someone, and they did it when they were just a little bit older than me. This is who they are and what they know. This is the story they live.

Paul and I both want this, maybe you do too. I want everyone to be as I am. I want us to be on the same page, nodding in agreement, because that would be easier and safer and might prove, somehow, that I was really hearing from God.

How frequently do I forget the next sentence: Yet each person has a special gift from God, of one kind or another.

God is not a cookie-cutter God. He does not deal in redundancy, always giving the same gift to each person. He knows me intimately: the way I tick, my passions and tendencies, strengths and weaknesses. He loves me powerfully and completely.

Being outside of time and Ruler of the Universe, He had no trouble in creating me, and everyone else, to be utterly unique, right down to the way we would see the world, what relationships we would have, and how and what we would learn.

Quite a thought, isn't it?

I've been noticing lately, that my perspective, my lens, are useful to those I encounter: married and single, young and old. I've been noticing that I need their perspectives, too.

It is tempting to wish for solidarity, for a repeating pattern, for the right way. Even in Sesame Street, in the segment where this post takes it's name, they sing: "one of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn't belong." 

I grew up, with many others, thinking that to be "not like the others" meant not to belong.

Not so in the Kingdom of God.

Here, I belong because God has made it so. There is nothing I have done, and nothing I can do, to change that fact. When I live in that freedom, letting it wash over me like early autumn sunshine, I can begin to appreciate the gifts of others, without diminishing my own.