Tom: “Feel like you’re embarrassed by me.”
Ann: “That is accurate.”
Tom: “Can I at least change my Facebook status to “in a relationship”?
Ann: “Definitely not.”
Tom: “It’s complicated?”
We live in a world where Facebook relationship statuses are so familiar to us that television shows, like the above quote from Parks and Recreation, are able to reference them and audiences know exactly what they are talking about.
Facebook currently offers users a list of 11 relationship status options. Not only is there “single” and “married”, but you have the options of “in a relationship” and “it’s complicated” as Tom mentioned above, “engaged”, “in a civil union”, “in a domestic partnership”, “in an open relationship”, “separated”, “divorced”, and “widowed” (obviously, some of these options are not conducive to a Christian lifestyle). You also can simply choose not to display this information on your Facebook page.
But despite the many relationship status options Facebook grants users, there is one that is missing: Follower of Christ.
In a Relevant Magazine article, blogger Dinuki Suraweera writes that our relationship Christ is where we should find our value and purpose. However, many us of find ourselves distracted by earthly relationships.
Suraweera says that after establishing a new relationship with her boyfriend, she got sidetracked herself:
“As I eagerly embraced my new title of girlfriend, I found myself losing sight of my heavenly identity—the bride of Christ and a prophet to the nations (Jeremiah 1:5). Instead of keeping the ultimate purpose of a relationship at the forefront—to glorify Christ—I easily got caught up in regularly scheduled date nights and having a plus one to weddings.”
This is so easy to do, regardless of relationship status. Many singles dwell on finding a spouse. Those who are dating wonder when marriage will enter the conversation. And married couples can get lost in one another, forgetting that the purpose of marriage is to draw closer to Christ together.
Christians need to put their relationship with Christ at the forefront of their lives… prioritizing this relationship over all earthly ones.
How do we do that? Suraweera suggests asking yourself three questions about your current earthly relationship:
“I am asking you to reflect on where your identity is rooted. Is it in a relationship title or in who Christ has called you to be? Is your desire for a relationship driven by the need for validation and affirmation or is it anchored in the mission to serve Christ as a team? If Christ chooses to remove your relationship status tomorrow, would you sink into a pit of discouragement, dissatisfaction and unworthiness or will you take joy in the fact that you get to serve Him regardless?”
She continues, “It is the godly response to these questions that has allowed countless great men and women of Christ to persevere even after their title of husband, wife, mother or father is taken from them at a moment’s notice. It allowed Elizabeth Elliott to continue her work as a missionary even after Jim Elliott was viciously taken from her. It led Horatio Spafford to pen one of the most beautiful hymns ever written after his four beautiful daughters drowned. These believers understood that they had a much greater calling that doesn’t end with their relationship status.”
I do not wish that the Lord takes your relationship away. After all, God invented marriage to be a perfect picture of Christ and the Church. These types of relationships are a way to help one another grow as followers of Christ. But if your relationship did end for whatever reason, you should still remain secure in your number one relationship: Jesus Christ.
Suraweera says, “From a Kingdom perspective, your relationship status is as fleeting as a click of a button while your relationship with the Father will endure forevermore.”
Crosswalk.com editor Rachel Dawson writes, “Even if I never have a ring on my left ring finger or have a man to call husband, my purpose and my identity will still be secure in God. The Lord has created each of us for relationship with himself first and foremost, and my relationship with him should take precedence over any romantic relationships (or lack thereof).”
Friends, that’s a beautiful description of the relationship that should define you. May you find your purpose and identity as a Follower of Christ.