We fast and pray on Mondays for men and women to be more fully formed into image bearers of God, and for marriages to be given to those who desire it.
An article on singleness and sexuality was recently forwarded to me by a close friend, and I felt it corralled a lot of the issues that have repeatedly bubbled up when discussing singleness and sexuality as a believers (read the whole thing here!). I think the important distinction between marital intimacy (especially as expressed in marital sexuality) and the intimacy that we all need – married or not – in terms of connecting on a deep level with other humans has been lost in much of the church’s conversation about this topic.
When wedding sermons quote It is not good for man to be alone…we always assume the next line is going to be about how people should get married, but the larger reality it isn’t good for any of us to attempt life completely on our own. Which is exactly why the church is given as the family of God and why intimacy is still a very important topic for those of us not married as of today.
However, finding the right sort of friends, family or church community members to share that journey with is no small feat! Talking about the need for intimate relationships is a different reality than actually building the depth and safety of a friendship where these heart issues can surface and be shared. I am so incredibly grateful to several married friends whose care for my own heart and whose honesty about their own experience has been instrumental in me realizing that we have more in common than what separates us. Life as a woman following Jesus has some common themes, even if the circumstances are different. And I also have friends who have journeyed longer on the singleness road whose compassion and laughter and thoughtful questions have given me hope that I am not traveling a dead-end road by following Jesus in the confusing place called unmarried, celibate, adult life.
During a recent conversation with one of these dear friends, she asked me what sorts of questions would it be helpful for to ask about my heart, my dating life, my sexuality and/or spirituality and my sense of home. What a great question! Here are a few thoughts I had in the process of writing that list for her, but I would love to hear your additions to the list as well!
These are not questions for the faint of heart, and they are not meant to be thrown around without the context of deep friendship – but I believe that asking them and answering them would be a baby step toward building the kind of intimacy that we are all meant for – the deep heart-sharing, life-shaping, soul-encouraging intimacy.
- Heart and Soul
- Where have you felt particularly alive this week?
- What feels dead?
- Are you experiencing the love of Christ? If so, where? If not, what could open the door to more of that?
- Have been pre-occupied with something or someone other than Christ? Who or what has that thing been?
- Suffering and Joy
- What have you had to grieve recently that very few others see? How can I share that with you?
- Does singleness feel like suffering right now? Why or why not?
- Where is your joy? What are you grateful for today?
- Life Relationships
- Where in your life do you feel included? Where do you feel excluded?
- How is your relationship with your parents? With siblings? With married friends? With unmarried friends? With coworkers? Other folks?
- Do you feel lonely in this place? How can I share that with you?
- Are there spots in your life that no one sees at all? Is there someone with whom you can share them?
- Who sees the most of your life right now? Are those folks able to speak truth into your heart?
- Dating & Romance
- In terms of dating / romantic life, what is encouraging? What is discouraging?
- What do you hope for in this area? What can we pray for together?
- Are there relationships from the past that are causing any issues for you right now? Are there soul ties you need to break?
- Is hope alive? Is hope dead?
- Where have you seen the goodness of your femininity this week?
- Where have you seen the gift of the “other” in masculinity this week?
- Do you feel healthy and balanced about living celibately?
- Are there dark spots, addictions or triggers you have noticed recently in this area of your life?
- Big Picture Kingdom Stuff
- What are your hopes for life this week / month / year?
- Are you happy with the amount of time you spend with children? If not, what do you want to change?
- How are you living out imago Dei in terms of “mothering” or nurturing life in this season / this chapter?
- Are you making big life decisions out of an emotion other than trust? Do you feel called to something new right now? What is it?
- What life “question marks” are looming right now? How can I share them with you?
In any case – would love to hear your additions to this list, and praying for us to each know the love of Christ more clearly and more deeply through the lenses of being known by our sisters and brothers in Him.
Praying with you and for you,