Desperately seeking local female friend who loves Jesus, Justin*, and John**
A ramble/rant/possible form of incoherence.
I am trying to reconcile who I am with who God wants me to be as a married woman living in the Philadelphia area. More than that, I think, I struggle with trying to reconcile who I am with what I think Christianity expects or wants me to be.
I’ve written before about how I see differences between myself and other women. I am currently struggling with my role as a Christian woman within the church. I’m 28, married, and currently childless. I’m a minority at my church. Moreover, I’m suddenly starting to feel like a minority in my phase of life. I am having a difficult time accepting that I’m in the stage of life where many of my friends are married and having children and parenthood is not a place God has called me to yet.
I am also struggling with the idea of a glass ceiling in the church: how much can women serve and is that glass ceiling really ordained by God or by power-hungry, chauvinistic men hanging onto an archaic rule that served its purpose for that time and that culture? (My husband warned me that I sound all Brian McLaren with those thoughts, but I happen to think he’s a little biased considering he’s a guy and all.)
I spent the day crying (partially about what I don’t have but also) about what I like: social media; reformed theology; discussing mental health issues; writing fiction; blogging about topics that don’t include fashion, kids, or TV shows; pop music; and going to concerts. I am grieved by the superficial — apart from my faith, I share very little in common with the women of my church.
I whine about the days when I used to be able to call up a buddy and say, “Hey, want to go to a concert with me?” and she’d say, “Sure! Time and date, please!” and we’d just go. Perhaps it’s because I don’t have children that I still feel that kind of freedom. But even if I did, I’d hope that I’d still be able to go. (I attend concerts once or twice a year.)
I feel the need to live two different lives: a life with Christians where I act all Christian and do whatever Christian people do and a life with non-Christians where we share similar interests but nothing that unites as deeply as spiritual things do. Is it wrong for me to want the two worlds to collide? To want the crazy friend who dyes her hair pink and purple, loves music, literature, and Jesus just as much as I do (if not more), and would go to Hershey with me to see Justin Bieber? To want that friend who can say, “You wanna hang out on Saturday and find a place in Philly where a local band is playing?” or “I’m in a really dark place right now in my life. Could you come over, talk, and pray with me?” Perhaps it’s never too late to develop imaginary friends. Or, slightly less creepy, put an ad up on the Philadelphia craigslist. (Maybe imaginary friends are safer, though. Hmm…)
I have friends all over the United States who I connect with on different levels, but in suburban Philadelphia, an area I’ll likely call home for the rest of my life, I still feel lost. I still see myself as the freak loser even though I’ve never gone to school here and have never had anyone tease me here. I have lots of local friends, but when I’m depressed, upset, and hurting, I don’t have that “one” friend I feel comfortable calling. Mostly because I know they’ve all got their kids and their husbands, and hence their busy lives that have little room or space for me.
I keep wondering how to rectify the situation. How to find my crazy Christian friend who loves Jesus, loves pop music, lives within 20 minutes, and can educate me on the greatness of Proust and Faulkner.
Or maybe I’ll just stick to this solitary life of writing novels and keeping hoping and wishing that I had different so I didn’t feel so immature, so isolated, and so alone.
How is a Christian woman supposed to act? In the novel I’m currently working on, my protagonist gets a brief lesson on being a Titus 2/Proverbs 31 (Biblical) woman. I’m feeling about as flummoxed as my character. The Biblical woman is ever working, ever busy, ever faithful, ever diligent. Striving to be like the woman the Bible outlines is striving for perfection — a goal I’ll surely never attain. Why bother at all?
I struggle with ambition. I am an ambitious woman. I don’t know what I want to do but I want to do something. But all I can do is write. There’s not much of a need for that in my local church.
I could go on and on but the rest of my thoughts are a jumble, I’m feeling tired and depressed again about how I’m doomed to live with a 16-year-old mentality in a 28-year-old body and a New York mentality in suburban Philadelphia, and how I have no kids and probably too much time on my hands. I need to get involved in something in which I can utilize my talents regularly but I’m not sure what.