As a socially awkward and introverted teenager, I was ecstatic when I found “belonging” in a thriving high school youth group in the San Francisco Bay Area. I grew in confidence and leadership in this Biblically centered environment and received so many good gifts from God. But as with everything in life, these good gifts came in a mixed bag. Once I established a circle of supportive and fun female relationships, I discovered that it was kind of “a thing” to start a Hope Chest: a chest full of household items that would be joyfully unpacked WHEN one got married and established her own household. It was our idea of a good time to visit department stores, making decisions about our future dish patterns and household color schemes and planning purchases for our chests!
Yearly we anticipated the upcoming sex and dating teaching series in youth group. We eagerly sat on the edge of our seats as we listened to the speaker tell us that sex is awesome beyond imagination in marriage. Our interpretation of the message was this: “Get married so you can experience life’s highest good with God’s stamp of approval!” And many of us did get married young and quickly as this seemed the best strategy for “following the rules” and at the same time satisfying what seemed to us to be our deepest longings and desires.
Interestingly enough, I don’t remember ever hearing a talk on the beauty of the single and celibate life.Read More