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Are You Suffering From S.A.D.?

14 Feb

No, I’m not talking about general sadness. Nor am I talking about Seasonal Affective Disorder (although it sure has been a booger of a winter this year, so I feel for you if that is the case).

I’m talking about Singles’ Awareness Day, more commonly known as “Valentine’s Day”–although it is perhaps just barely more commonly known as such. I feel like I have heard the former title increasingly touted in recent years by smart, trendy, single young adults as a tongue-in-cheek way to bemoan their mate-less state on the day that’s all about romance.

I’m thinking this might not be such a helpful idea.

Now, there is nothing in the world wrong with wanting to be married. It is a good and natural desire. God approves of marriage. He invented it. He likes it. He likes that you like it. There is nothing wrong with asking God for an awesome spouse, and not even anything wrong with asking, “Um, okay, for real… is it time yet?”

But I would like to issue a challenge to all those suffering from S.A.D. today– rejoice with those who rejoice (Rom 12:15). And by “rejoice”, I don’t mean “Shut up, grin, and bear it.” That’s not rejoicing. Rejoicing means observing a happy couple and truly experiencing positive emotions as you do so.

Now if you’re in pain over desiring marriage, and that pain is exacerbated a bit by the fact that it’s Valentine’s Day, that’s one thing. Talk and/or cry it out before the Lord and meet Him there as your Comforter, Friend, and the One who loves you with a perfect and everlasting love. But if you find yourself looking at all the couples out in public, or in your circle of friends (where singleness tends to sting the most), and thinking miserably to yourself, “How come so-and-so is in a relationship and I’m not?!”, “Why isn’t it MY turn yet?” or “This just isn’t fair!” …Well, let’s just say that there’s probably a bit more happening there than just pain.

Comparing ourselves to others is not wise (2Cor 10:12 {somewhat out of context}). I’d go so far to say that self-comparison is the prime breeding ground of envy. Comparison may start with things like: “She’s married and I’m not. She’s happy and I’m lonely. She’s going on a romantic date and I’m moping at home in my PJ’s. It must be because she’s prettier than me / more popular than me / etc.” Before long, it can turn into a full-fledged pity party, complete with complaints of the unfairness of life, shallowness of guys, and perhaps even a nagging thought that she doesn’t even deserve to be married as much as I do, and all the guys I know are immature and undiscerning, except for all the good ones who are taken by all those stupid pretty chicks (insert pouty face here) (insert discounted self-bought Valentine’s chocolate into pouty face) (insert chick flick into VCR) (insert tears of misery into Kleenex).

For guys, I hear tell that it has to do more with “that jerk who gets the girl despite the fact that I’ve been really nice to her”, but as I am not a guy myself, I’ll not venture to fill in the blanks on that one. Feel free to do so, yourself, though, if you’re feeling it.

The point is that self-comparison is just one short step ahead of self-pity, and self-pity is part and parcel with envy. Envy is not only clearly identified in the Bible as sin, but is a toxic disposition that eats us up on the inside (Proverbs 14:30 calls it “rottenness to the bones”) and interposes strife and division into what otherwise could be healthy spiritual fellowship (1 Cor 3:3). At best, it makes us depressed that someone else has what we want, and at worst, it makes us sure that they don’t really deserve to have it, whereas we do. We can’t rejoice with the one who’s rejoicing, because we’re too busy coveting what they’re happy about.

Yuck, yuck, yuck. Single friends, we don’t need to wallow in that kind of mess. Nor do we need to commiserate in it, patting each other on the back because of how wronged we are by how 1) life has not bequeathed unto us a spouse/”special someone”, and  2) the rest of society has the gall the celebrate the fact that they have one. That sounds like a thoroughly depressing way to spend the day, and I’d prefer to opt out.

I think it sounds like much more fun to celebrate Valentine’s Day as “Yay! My Friends are Married! Day” (Y!M.F.A.M!D… okay, so the acronym needs work), and actually rejoice with those who rejoice. That means we don’t compare, and we don’t envy. It means we thank God for our friends and their marriages and ask Him to bless them and strengthen them. We rejoice in God’s leadership in our friends’ life (as well as our own). We pray for them and support them in their marriage, rather than resenting that they beat us to non-single status.

Why be S.A.D. when you can rejoice?

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4 Comments

Posted by on February 14, 2011 in My Two Cents

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

4 responses to “Are You Suffering From S.A.D.?

  1. Dorean Beattie

    February 14, 2011 at 8:21 am

    Genius, as usual!

    One thing, though. Isn’t envy just a symptom of covetousness? Or maybe a form of it. I can’t decide. Either way, that puts envy directly into the sin category. Seems to me…

     
    • Amanda Beattie

      February 14, 2011 at 2:54 pm

      “Envy is not only clearly identified in the Bible as sin…”

      Yes, I agree! 😀

       
  2. Alison Lam

    February 19, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    I take the time to have a big get together with all my special girl friends and celebrate the awesome friendships we have and the Bridegroom we are so privileged to be loved by. And feast and enjoy fellowship. Does it have to be just something for “couples”? Nope, I don’t think so 🙂

    Bless you for this post. I agree. It’s not a time to bemoan our “s.a.d” state. Quite contrary, it’s time to celebrate! We have so much to be thankful for.

    Have an awesome year!
    Alison in New Zealand

     

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