This article is an adapted excerpt from Theron’s forthcoming book, Something More: Finding the Joy and Purpose of Life, set to be released around Easter 2018.
My family enjoys watching Hallmark movies. They love seeing a romance commence, develop, and bloom. When yet another movie premieres, my loved ones anticipate the time to set aside to view it. I, on the other hand, can be less than enthusiastic about such movies. If you were to ask me, “Why?” my formal response would go, “Because I don’t like chick flicks!” However, an honest reply tells a different story.
Exposing My Soul
My apparent resistance toward and beef with Hallmark movies or any “chick flick” type movie is not due to the unrealistic nature of its endings or its definition of love, although those reasons are topics worth discussing. Rather, my struggle with Hallmark movies stems from the vulnerability it exposes in my soul. As an unmarried person, I aspire one day to be married. As a single person, I desire to enter the realm of a romantic relationship. Yet, none of this has happened for me. So, guess what happens when I sit with the family and watch on-screen two people develop a love for each other culminating in a romantic relationship? My longings for love and a romantic relationship come to light and consume me.
When longings for love and a relationship consume me, my thoughts fixate on the reality of my relationship status. Watching romantic comedies inclines my heart toward desires for romance. Seeing couples together intensifies my longing for love. And, as a single, these contexts provide the reminder my desires and longings have been unmet. The result is I begin to let it take over as my primary identity. As I allow myself to be defined by my relationship status, I answer, “A single and unmarried person,” when asked, “Who am I?” My plea becomes, “If only I had a woman, then I would be happy” as if my main problem in life is I am single and the solution to my problem is marriage. The truth is my problem runs much deeper.
Examining the Problem
My main problem is not singleness. My main problem is sin. This sin has manifested itself through my controlling desire to seek after marriage for a purpose and joy that only a relationship with God in Christ can fulfill. Don’t mishear me. The desire for marriage is not the problem. To desire marriage is a good thing which will bring joy, and marriage itself is a gift from God (see Genesis 2:18–25). The problem in my pursuit for marriage is it has become a consuming desire, where the quality of life depends on my relationship or marital status, singleness viewed as the worst nightmare and marriage viewed as the most wonderful dream. When my desire for a romantic relationship rules my heart, I misplace my worship and misunderstand my identity.
Encouraged in the Gospel
Marriage is a good desire, but it should not be our greatest desire. Our greatest desire in life as we search for purpose and joy is found in a relationship with the One who has given us life. God has created us for His glory and has given us eternal life and joy through the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. “In Christ” we discover our primary identity (2 Corinthians 5:17) and find the solution to our greatest problem (2 Corinthians 5:18–21). While Hallmark movies may remind me of my longing for love, the hallmark of my life will be the love God has shown me in Christ.
Join the Conversation
How can you relate to Theron’s story? What area of life seems to rule your heart and desires?