Confessions of a Neurotic Single Woman

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November 1, 2000

I wish my brain had an off switch. I could really use that right now.

You see, I'm headed to Australia this week on a business trip, where I'll be working closely with a single Christian man in my age range. The only other thing I know about him is his name and that the first time I'll meet him he'll be standing at my airport gate holding a sign with my name on it.

Here's the problem: I can already picture telling our children that's how Mommy and Daddy met. I can see us spending six months of the year in the States and the other six months "down under." I mean, that's the least I can do for my in-laws.

Yes, I need help. I know this. But it doesn't seem to stop these irrational thoughts from floating through my head freely and often.

I have to confess that this isn't the first time I've had thoughts like these. A few weeks ago a friend of mine set up a lunch after church specifically so I could meet one of her husband's friends. He's a musician - so of course I could picture us writing songs together and traveling across the country for his performances and my new travel writing career (scary, isn't it?).

I've tried on guys' last names before they've even arrived to pick me up for a blind date. I've sat through first dates listening intently as guys have told me about their families and professions, all the while picturing what our children would look like.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a stalker. Nor am I one of those scary single women who has her entire wedding planned and is just waiting for her leading man to grace the scene. And I know I'm supposed to "take every thought captive" (2 Cor. 10:5) and think about things that are true (Phil. 4:8). Trust me, these Scripture verses have been my mantras on days when my mind has, well had a mind of its own.

But I also know I'm not alone. When I dared to share my thoughts about Mr. Aussie Dream Man (who in my head looks like Ian Thorpe and sounds like Mel Gibson) with a single girlfriend - hoping for a needed dose of reality or an antidote for the shameless musings of this hopeless romantic - she nearly fell off her chair with sympathetic laughter. "You have those neurotic thoughts, too? I thought it was just me!" she said before regaling me with tales of her own runaway romantic thought life. I suspect there are many more singles like us out there (you know who you are!).

So just what makes otherwise well-rounded, independent single people melt into a pile of mushy musings at the mere hint of an interaction with an eligible (read: breathing) man or woman? I don't know. Naivete? Immaturity? Rampant creativity? The fickleness of the female mind? Too many Julia Roberts movies? Your guess is as good as mine.

But lately I've been wondering if this is necessarily all bad. Couldn't at least part of the cause be an admirable kind of hope? I mean, what kind of person continues - in spite of dumpings, dry spells, and skyrocketing divorce rates - to hope that "what's behind door number three" just might be our Mr. or Ms. Right?

Maybe it's the realization that we still get to experience falling for our life-long love, if there is one in God's blueprint of our life. That happens only once in life - and (at the risk of sounding Pollyanna-like here!) we still have that to look forward to. While there's something warm and wonderful about a couple who've been together for decades, there's also something breathtaking and beautiful about that original meeting and falling in love process. And I think our God, who's the author of all love stories, appreciates our eager anticipation of his writing this chapter in our lives.

Of course we shouldn't run ahead or outside God's plan for our life and we shouldn't let our thought-life get risque, but I wonder if some of this wide-eyed wonder is what God meant when he told us to strive for childlike faith. I'm sure he'd appreciate that kind of eager anticipation of his master plan in ALL areas of our life.

Perhaps that's the lesson here. Maybe instead of stuffing these creative ramblings, we should strive for this kind of optimism and hope in our jobs, friendships, families, and beyond.

So, in a couple days I'll board a plane bound for Sydney - armed with 2 Corinthians 10:5 as well as a broader sense of anticipation for what God's going to do. But don't think that won't stop me from applying a fresh coat of lipstick before I step off the plane and into Mr. Aussie Dream Man's life!

I'll let God take it from there.

Camerin Courtney

2003 Christianity Today. Used by permission.