I never wanted to be the engaged girl.
I never wanted the cute couple-y pictures, the wedding registry, the save-the-dates hung on a hundred guests’ refrigerators.
I much less wanted to be the married one, who, in my mind, would be set apart from single people in an irreversible, superior way.
I didn’t want my attention to be centered or focused around one individual.
I wanted options. I wanted control.
I wanted to remain “normal” like most of my friends, and that meant being unmarried.
I didn’t want to need anyone. In fact, I always thought it was wrong or unwise to say I “needed” someone, that I only needed Jesus.
I thought I was too good at being single, that finding someone to match my passions and beliefs and would would put up with my quirks would be too hard and take too long.
So a year ago, when I wrote about being engaged with the world around me, I believed it was impossible to come true in the marital sense for at least another few years.
And then Brian happened.
And now I’m the married girl, the one whose top priority is another human being.
I’m the one who somehow found another human with a matched set of passions and beliefs and complementary set of strengths and weaknesses.
It didn’t take long. It was effortless.
And I didn’t get the cute engagement photos, the bachelorette party, or the rehearsal dinner.
Instead I got January 7th: my birthday turned wedding.
With a small crowd of family and friends gathered around us in the snow with the Rockies behind us, I said the irreversible words that would commit my life to a man, would narrow my options to One, would replace control with cooperation.
And now I’m seeing that I do need another human.
I need someone who would make me take time off from work to take care of myself because I’d never choose to do that on my own.
I need someone whose consistent presence brings my sin and selfishness into the light.
I need someone who lovingly breaks down my walls of avoidance and is patient when I want to be alone.
I need someone whose humor is my best medicine, who reminds me and reminds me and reminds me of my beauty.
I need this other human.
Friends, you need other humans.
And other humans need you.
Because you’re one in a million.
And by “a million” I really mean, “two million.”
Did you know that your personal strengths, in order of influence, make you one of two million people, according to the Clifton Strengths Finder?
I’ve spent the last twenty-four years thinking I was replaceable, that no one relied on me enough to really need me.
I didn’t think my passions and strengths mattered- they were simply convenient to my employers and peers to have around.
But lately I’m realizing that what I dream of, what turns my attention, matters.
I see now that another human being- Brian- needs the Jesus in me to build up the man he’s becoming, and that I need the Jesus in Brian to be the tangible evidence of grace that I’ve had so hard a time understanding before now.
Do I deserve this?
Will I continue to live as if my knacks for organization and adventure and discernment are worth overlooking?
And I hope you won’t either.
Friend, there’s a reason you love to paint.
You were made to teach, to guide.
That hankering you have for climbing? It’s necessary.
Your passions aren’t an accident, and they certainly shouldn’t be disposable.
The people around you need them.
You need them.
And you need Jesus.
I need Jesus.
To make us all that we’re meant to be.
To pull us into the closest proximity of our purposes.
To make us unique.
It’s not by chance that we’re so vastly different. We’re not products of an assembly line.
I need your strengths to complement my weaknesses, and the people you have yet to meet, plus the ones you already have, need your strong points to do the same for them.
You are not by chance.
You are not disposable.
You are not worth overlooking.
Friend, you’re needed. You’re much needed.
So speak up. Speak kindly. And let Grace encounter you like a warm summer rain.
Let it enliven you from the inside out, until you can’t help but shed a layer or two of fear or complacency.
You were made to be fully engaged with the world around you, to center your attention and focus on the One who sustains the breath you just took.
So go. And do. And love. And encounter other human beings who are waiting to glean from what you have to offer: your passions and quirks, your story.