One of the creepiest -- and most entertaining -- things about the Internet is that it seems to "get you." Pandora always seems to know what song you want to hear next. StumbleUpon is a veritable rabbit hole of brilliance. Pintrest, Tumblr and Twitter seem to anticipate your every whim.
It's all fun and games. Until it gets super weird.
Today I was whiling away my life on Facebook as usual, when I noticed one of my sidebar ads. Underneath this-and-that artist who sounds like Bon Iver begging me to visit their Bandcamp, I saw something peculiar. "Be a Nun!" it declared.
What do you mean, "Be a nun!"?
I know I am very-super single, and I know I post a lot about going to Church, but that does not mean I am sitting in a tiny, windowless room singing "Climb Every Mountain" all day long.
Don't worry, says Internet, if being a Nun isn't for you, I bet I know what is: Christian Dating. Artist Dating. Dating for Almost Vegans. Date a Millionaire.
Happiness is a click away, it seems to whisper, try it now for free.
To me, "Be a nun!" and "Find your soulmate NOW!" are two extremes on the same continuum. All of it rubs me the wrong way. Just because I'm single now doesn't mean I want to be celibate forever. And just because I'm not dating Mister Dot Com doesn't mean that my life won't be complete until I do so.
Don't get me wrong. Being a nun and dating, respectively, are both about having healthy, strong relationships, learning how to give and being a part of something greater than oneself. I dig that.
But what if I want to be single right now? What if I choose to enjoy the life I have in this moment? What can the world sell me to make things better if I am happy with the way things are?
That's the goal for me these days. I have to ask myself two questions: Where am I, and how can I be content, wherever that is? My recent piece on The Huffington Post, on faith healing and why I would opt out, has caused quite a stir. As I re-read it the other day, I got to thinking. What if I applied this same thinking (and faith, as it happens), to other areas of my life?
Instead of focusing on upward or lateral mobility at work, what if I just focused on doing the best I can with the job that I have right now? Instead of wistfully imagining Ryan Gosling waiting for me at home with dinner on the table (okay, that will always happen), what if I made the most of my time alone by using it to take better care of myself with exercise, sleep or eating right?
But how?! HOW DO I GET THERE?
"The Lord is my Shepherd," says the Psalmist, "I shall not want."
This thought hit me right out of the blue today, like a Frisbee to the face.
For me, faith is an integral part of the process, because I believe I have been given what I need to get through whatever day it is. "Grace is sufficient for me," the Apostle Paul writes in his letter, "For when I am weak, then I am strong."
Of course, I am not necessarily leaping out of bed each morning and skipping through every day with glee. And that's not what I'm committing to. I'm committing to acceptance of where I am and what I'm doing, the same way I advocate for a faith healer to accept what I look like and how I move.
For my peers in the Faith, God is faithful. For those who are not, you've made it this far! All of you are doing fine. It gets rough, but you're growing from where you are. Otherwise you'd be dead. Don't stretch and strain and hurt yourself. Just accept who you are, where you are, whenever you can.
This post also appears on In Case of Fire, Use Stairs.
Follow Beth Hopkins on Twitter: www.twitter.com/bethahop