A reminder that tomorrow we will commit to praying and fasting for God to bring marriage to those of us who desire it, to strengthen both men and women in their personal and relational lives, and to bring change within our hearts, minds, and spirits.
A few months ago some girlfriends and I took a weekend trip down to Southern California and Disneyland. While there we spent an afternoon at California Adventure, a companion park to Disneyland, and after riding several roller coasters decided to take a respite on a seemingly benign ferris wheel with Mickey’s innocent head gracing the center. Only, as we learned soon enough, this was no ordinary ferris wheel. Our compartment was an enclosed cage that not only swung back and forth, but unexpectedly slid down spokes of the wheel as it turned. Inside the cage we had no way to predict when or how the compartment would move or when the ride would be over. Just when the wheel slowed and we were sure we could get off, up it would go again. The four of us are roller coaster enthusiasts and all of us were caught off guard at how this simple little ride rocked our wills…and stomachs. (Okay, maybe just my stomach).
Today, as my brain rattled in preparation to write, I surprised myself at connecting this journey of singleness with being on the ferris wheel. I’ve always thought of it as more of a roller coaster: Up, down, loop through loop. But the truth is that with a roller coaster there’s at least some idea of the track’s direction and when the ride will stop. On the ferris wheel the cage limited our vision such that all perspective was lost. Of course this was just a ride that did eventually stop and provided many laughs and more than enough embarrassing pictures that should any of us feel the need to blackmail one another at a later date, we’ll be set.
But the ride we take in our single lives is very different. We hope the wheel will stop, but can’t guarantee when or if it will. Sometimes we scream and bang on the walls of the cage demanding to be set free. Sometimes we circle and slide round and round, too tired to scream, with resignation or bitterness in our hearts. And then there are the blissful moments when the ride does briefly stop (as it did in the park to let others on or off), and we sit gently rocking, quiet and content in the present moment, peaceful with what is. We breathe, get our bearings, gather our resolve, say a prayer, and root into our identities as Jesus’ beloved daughters and sons.
Roots. On a ride that shifts, changes, rocks and rolls, roots are what we need. Roots that bury deep into the rich soil of God’s love and delight in who we are, exactly as we are. This is how we can endure the unpredictability of the ferris wheel, because when we hold tightly to our identity as God’s Beloved we start to shed the false notion that our relationship status is all that defines us. Only when I work on claiming this identity do I become more aware of how I frequently over-attach to the part of myself that longs for relationship. Remembering that I am beloved of Christ gives the other more hidden parts of myself – the parts that don’t live on the ferris wheel – permission to come forward and I feel a bit more grounded, a bit more balanced.
We are more than what the ferris wheel dishonestly tells us we are: people simply buffeted around by any number of things we can’t control in the single life. It may not be realistic to get off the ride completely. But in more fully owning our God-given identity my hope is that the ride will become more peaceful and less fearful. This is my prayer for all of you as the week begins.
In His Love,