Laying it Bare

More Sunday mornings than I would like, I wake up and a feeling of guilt sets in as I remember the series of mistakes I’ve made the night before. Most of these errors in judgment are considered standard behavior for a 26-year-old single on a Saturday evening: one drink too many, dancing in a manner that wouldn’t exactly make my mama proud, associating with men who are not the righteous type (and not in an '80s catch phrase kinda way—sorry bad joke in an effort to break the tension of an altogether too serious post), etc. But these seemingly mild-mannered mistakes set my floundering Christian heart reeling with guilt. There have been times when I’ve purposefully slept through church to avoid driving the self-loathing stake deeper as I’m surrounded by fellow church goers who I’m convinced have it all figured out.

Even writing this is causing some discomfort. Partially because I’m opening up my shortcomings to the world at large, but mostly because I’m laying it bare in front of my Christian friends. And while they are not the type to throw stones, I admire them and don’t exactly want them to see me as the giant ball of sin I am.

No, this is not an easy post to pen, but I was inspired by this guy. And while my behavior may seem less disgraceful than porn addiction and reckless sex, I’m no less ashamed. Especially considering the fact that I’ve succumbed to my weaknesses in the much more recent past than Max’s three years. But I came to the realization that wrapping myself up in a cocoon of chagrin is not going to make things better. Especially when I saw how God battled Max’s demons when the hapless sinner finally admitted to himself (and God) that he was not strong enough to do so on his own.

I realize that this is a bit off-topic from my usual singlehood narrative, but it all ties together. It’s likely that I’m way off base (as I so often am), but I get the impression that singles struggle silently in their sin more than others do. In my conversations with singletons (more specifically Christian singletons) and through reading blogs like Make It Mad, I realized how hard we work to put on a front and pretend it’s easy to battle temptations that seem designed to specifically derail the singles of the world. Temptations like the drinking that goes hand-in-hand with the social life of a young single. Or compromising our bodies in an effort to either feel loved or to keep someone we love.

For me personally (and I’m sure for others), I fear that admitting these things are actually a struggle for me will make me look weak in my faith. Especially when there have been times that I’ve felt the very act of being single is sinful in the eyes of some. Now I realize that most Christians don’t share this view and God certainly doesn’t, but one of my weaknesses is that I feel I have more to prove. This all makes it even more difficult for me to open up about my shortcomings. In turn, I don’t get the guidance I need, so I continue to do the very thing I hate. It’s a cycle that I hope I can break by owning my shame and asking for help. Even if it does open me up to embarrassment and possible judgment from others. Because pretending I don’t struggle is only going to lead me to further rely on my own strength to resist my demons. The same strength that has failed me so many times before.