Its been just over four years since I last had the guts to write anything about this. I’m still not married. I just turned 30, so, you know… tick tock, tick tock…
As you may have picked up or know, my small corner has gone from being in Norn Iron to being en France. Maybe I should change it to my “slightly larger” corner. Not quite the same ring. But anyway. I’m procrastinating.
Having been through the ravages of culture shock (she said, as if its all done and dusted), when a young homeland lady on a semester abroad here got in touch with my mission asking to meet someone here in France, I took pity and went to meet her for an hour for drinkypoos. I was careful to order nothing alcoholic, especially since even having a coffee in this country requires that one enter a “den of iniquity”.
If you’re not from Northern Ireland, you’re not going to understand that. But its funny, I swear.
So we chatted and I graciously bestowed every bit of my vast wisdom about all things surviving cross-culturally. Then our drinks arrived. Hmmm… what now? So we chatted more generally about life and family and all sorts of inane things that came to my feeling-slightly-awkward-trying-to-make-conversation brain. Its was fine, we’re meeting again in a couple of weeks so I can introduce her to someone else at the Language Café.
But as I walked away from the meeting, one point of our conversation came back to my mind. She had asked me about my family and I’d told her about my two sisters. She asked if they were married and I said yes. Normal, huh? Except as I pottered back to my car I replayed my inner workings to that question… I was very careful to mention that my sisters were 4 and 6 years older than me and that they were only very recently married and that therefore means in the natural order of things I have at least 4-6 years before the world needs to start worrying about my naked fingers and half-empty bed.
As a single woman, I dread pity. I dread comments like “Och sure, plenty of time yet” and “How come a lovely girl like you isn’t married yet?” I have deep feelings of irritation (slash burningly sinful hatred) when my Uncle ticks my sisters off his fingers and then asks whether or not he should buy himself a hat any time soon.
If you didn’t spend Saturday Nights with our Cilla, you’re not going to understand that. But its not funny anyway.
You see, the thing is, I want to be married and somehow connected with that desire and the fact it is unfulfilled I have a sense of shame. How come a “lovely girl” like me isn’t married?? (That’s a rhetorical question. Just so you know. Try to answer and I may kill you.)
Through various internet linkage this morning (you know how it goes, you’re looking for the conversion of oz into gms for your pancake batter then suddenly you’re reading an article about the astrophysics of gophers in the Sahara), I ended up watching this 10 minute video about the definition of shame. She says shame is “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance or belonging.”
The reason I feel shame about being unmarried (still being unmarried? I’m not sure this is all that new…) even though I want to be is because there is a voice which tells me I am “flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance or belonging”.
So why am I exposing my bits on my blog? Because shame is a lie we all believe. It may have nothing to do with your marital status or unfulfilled desires, but it might show up there for you too. You know that voice, right? The one that says “How come God doesn’t give me what I want and really desperately hope for or need? What have I done wrong…? What’s wrong with me…?”
Romans 8:1-2 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”
Romans 10:9-11 “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”
The voice that tells us we are “unworthy of acceptance or belonging” is lying. Part of breaking shame is naming shame, bringing it into the light. So that’s why I’m exposing my bits on my blog, because I choose to walk into the light of God’s incredible love and acceptance of me and thought you might like to come with me.
I also found this sermon on shame worth a listen : click here