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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Luggage (08/15/05)

TITLE: Luggage for Two Packed for One
By Ryan Barnhart


Single people in the 21st Century continually face pressure from the world, our parents and our friends to speed up our marital process, but I have discovered those influences do not have to alter our way of thinking. I’m twenty-nine years old and choose not to participate in a worldly style of recreational dating so people will often ask me why I’m still single. I’ll say, “Because I have baggage; and not just an overnight backpack for campouts, but luggage for a family of five visiting Disney World for a week kind of baggage.”
They’ll laugh for a moment and then ask, “Seriously, why don’t you date?”
After Christ called me into the kingdom three years ago I seriously did want to wait at least a year before dating again just so I could change as a person, grow in my newfound faith and decipher the mistakes from my past to avoid repeating them in the future. My friends agreed with the new approach until they thought I should pick up the pace. “I want to love Jesus before I love my wife” bought some time with the Christian friends I had made but it didn’t fly with my non-believing friends.
When I’m being completely honest I’ll admit that I get lonely and tired of feeling pressure from others about dating. At that point I do consider jumping into a relationship that God may not approve of and I’m not ready for just to avoid the harassment. I think the peer pressure is worst at weddings, and unfortunately, I have attended ten in the last three years. Each of the envelopes was addressed to “Ryan and date,” but since no companion has accompanied me to any of those weddings, I have been forced to listen to unending sympathy from the brides. When I congratulate them in the greeting line they mix in fake enthusiastic smiles between frowns and say to their new husband, “If I would have known he didn’t have a date we could have tried to set him up with my mom’s cousin’s niece who lives in Honduras.”
I, like most singles, despise hearing “You should meet this friend we have.” At first I liked being set up, but then after the third or fourth unsuccessful attempt I learned the code speak. “She has a great personality” really means “you should just stay home and play Xbox.” Then I found out when women describe me as “such a sweet guy,” they’re really saying “he fell down the ugly tree and hit every branch.”
Sometimes though we are single because the mistakes from our past hurt so much we would rather not put forth the effort pursuing a mate and dating requires. We would rather just hope and pray something miraculous happens. I have a friend who often prays God would allow him to meet an attractive woman who is perfect for him. He doesn’t help God out much though. He usually sits on the couch watching “Court TV” on Friday nights and never wants to go to anywhere to meet people. My pastor once said of singles like that, “Try that with lunch today. Pray that God would drop a burrito out of the sky and see what happens.”
I believe God will provide what we need, but my guess is that the burrito falling from the sky is almost as likely as a beautiful young single woman that likes “Court TV” knocking on my friend’s door. He supported an ex-girlfriend’s abortion before becoming a believer and has since struggled to move forward. The luggage he carries from his past has held him back from making another run at romance.
Don’t get me wrong, I am getting tired of shouldering the luggage from my past as well. Despite what some may believe, it is not my intention to implausibly dream of making a top 50 most eligible bachelors list the rest of my life. I do hope God sets me up some day with the woman He wants me to marry, but before then He still has some work to do with my past. Until that old luggage is finally discarded for a new set of his and her travel bags headed to an unknown destination, I do plan to comply with God’s standard for marriage and will not compromise just for the sake of pleasing others or avoiding being alone.

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This article has been read 670 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Anita Neuman08/22/05
This is a really great, heart-baring article. Thanks for sharing with us! (Extra spaces between paragraphs would make it much easier to read.)
Rita Garcia08/23/05
Thanks for sharing this heartfelt story. All in God's time! Blessings, Rita
Tisha Martin 08/24/05
This is a very good article! I'm glad you've decided to wait for God's timing rather than taking matters into your own hands. (Wish more young people ages 17-and over would do the same! It'd save heart-ache.)

I like this part: At first I liked being set up, but then after the third or fourth unsuccessful attempt I learned the code speak. “She has a great personality” really means “you should just stay home and play Xbox.”

Thought it was humorous, yet in many cases, true.