I went through a season of watching the Simpsons early in college. There was one Valentine’s Day episode where Lisa brings valentines to school for all of the kids in her class. She gives Ralphie one with a train on it that reads “I choo-choo-choose you!” As it turned out, the valentine from Lisa was the only one Ralphie received and he spends the rest of the episode doting over her, convinced they were meant to be.
It’s ridiculous and humorous, but I think there’s something going on there.
Like maybe to make sure if you don’t like like someone to be sure you’re not the only valentine they get. Am I right?
But seriously, one simple locomotive card made little Ralphie believe someone picked him and it completely changed how he was living his life. Living believing the opposite, though, can have just as powerful of an effect. I know I get all kinds of weird when I’m not feeling chosen.
I remember working super hard in sports in elementary and high school, so I would be among the first called when it came to picking teams. Early in elementary school, I was tiny and clumsy, but I worked hard and spent hours training and practicing sports. I loved the return of being picked at the beginning for teams; having people see something worthwhile in me that they wanted to be connected to.
In a season where I find myself single in my late 20’s [gulp], and no amount of practicing catching dodgeballs or shooting free throws can help my chances, I battle feelings of not being chosen. Typically, I find it fairly easy to see the blessings singleness offers (though, I wouldn’t be opposed to experiencing the blessings of another kind of season). But there are days, when doubts creep in and the enemy whispers:
“You know, if everyone in the world had to choose only one person, you wouldn’t be anyone’s first pick. You would be alone.”
It’s probably one of the most devastating thoughts I’ve had in my adult life. And, for me, among the hardest things of singleness.
I think that’s what makes marriage so incredible. You are committing to choosing this one person every single day for the rest of your lives. In difficulty, in jerkiness, in delightfulness, in adventure, in offers of something or someone that could be better, they are the one you pick.
But what I've come to realize is there is often a gap between our feelings and the truth. Even in marriage, as my friends have shared with me, there are days they don’t always feel picked even when they know they are. And the same is true for me.
If you’re like me and battle those “not chosen” feelings, we can hang on to these two things:
- You were picked long before anyone on earth could pick you. Out of eternity, the Trinity had a conversation about you and you were an idea so good they couldn’t shake you. You HAD to be made. If that’s not chosen, I don’t know what is.
- I believe it’s incredibly important to let people know you pick them. We are designed for community; being known and loved and not just out of obligation, but because someone chooses us. However, we were made to be fully known and completely loved. No amount of people choosing you or me can attain that. That’s a Jesus kind of love – one that lays down his life for his friends.
And that’s enough, whether or not it feels like it some days.
And to those who have your person picked and they pick you back, I know there are days that being picked by him or her doesn’t feel like enough. I hope you also feel so picked by your community. We can’t be filled by only one person.
But could I give us all a suggestion?
Show your people you pick them this week. Heck, pick someone you don’t normally pick this week for awhile. But especially for your single people, take a moment to let them know they are picked. Sometimes, on days of doubt or holidays that leave us uncertain we have reason to celebrate, we need a little bit of an extra reminder. A dinner invite, a cup of coffee, a text, just to let us know we’re thought of and worthy of your time and energy.
It reminds us we’re not alone. It reminds us that even solo, wondering what things might be keeping us that way, that we can be picked. It gives us a glimpse of the massive choice Jesus made about us, so embarrassingly and vulnerably choosing those who weren’t remotely interested. In any and every season, that’s you.
You are chosen, my friend. I am, too. Let’s agree to remind each other, okay?