Not Everyone Likes Elmo: Hope for those without Children

Walking through NYC gives me a thrill, but scanning through baby aisles gives me a heart attack. Aren’t I supposed to love children? I don’t hate them, but I don’t long for 2 am feedings or cleaning vomit off my shoulder. It’s just never been a dream of mine. Yes. I know most kids play doctor or mommy, but I dreamed of traveling the world – without Elmo in my suitcase. My friends around me were having children and shopping for organic baby food, but I was still dreaming of a cozy flat overlooking central park. What was wrong with me? Those around me were reminiscing over their little ones selling Girl Scout cookies and I was recalling memories of spreadsheets and sole-control of the remote. I was excited for my friends. They enjoyed being a mom. They enjoyed posting a million photos of little Timmy baking cookies and Suzy snuggling up with a book. I shared these pictures. I liked them. I even left a few comments. But I didn’t envy them. Not once did I wish for children of my own. Not once did I feel incomplete. Was marriage a hopeless fantasy for women like me? Would I remain single for the rest of my life, because children were not a priority? Well-meaning friends would encourage me to see children as a gift from God. Some pointed out a variety of Scriptures – hoping to guilt me into child-bearing submission. Others simply called me selfish for not wanting a tribe of kids. Were they right? Would I be single forever, because I didn’t desire to experience the “joys” of childbirth? Perhaps, internet dating would offer me the option of choosing “looking for mate without minions”. Click To Tweet

Before losing all hope and delving into a gallon of ice cream, I found hope in the form of A Reality TV Show. As I turned through the channels, I stopped and listened to a couple being interviewed for a new home. The host questioned them and got a feeling for their personality, and the young wife revealed that she and her husband were “DINKS”- Dual Income No Kids. I chuckled at this new-found terminology, but I also questioned if we were ministering to the DINKS of this world. Maybe there were more Millennials who were content without children. Maybe there were more men and women out there like me.

Family has been the center of most outreaches and efforts of church leadership, but what if we were doing it all wrong? What if we were missing out on reaching a whole culture? Here are some questions that can help you approach singles and DINKS differently:

1. Who is your audience?

Sunday morning sermons summarize your view of singles, married and parents. Maybe it’s not fair to put that much pressure on your thirty-minute sermon, but what you proclaim from stage is usually what you cater to in practice. If you continuously speak towards Millennials, then you will have a room full of yuppies and hipsters. If you make an effort to use stories of children for every message, then you can be sure that parents will flock to your chapel.

2. What are your actions?

Are you truly being the church? John 14:15 states, “If you love me, keep my commands.” If we love God, then we will love others. We will tangibly and purposefully show others that they are loved. How do we do that? Celebration and contribution – throw a housewarming party for a childless couple, send a package to a college student and go grocery shopping for an elderly widow. Love needs to be seen – not sermonized.

3. Who are you worshiping?

Christ did not sacrifice himself for the ideal. He died for the individual. Click To Tweet Are we preaching that? Does each person around you see the same love of Jesus Christ or are you deeming certain groups unworthy? God’s love leads us to exaltation – not expectation. I love the way that The Message explains God’s love towards the whole church in Acts 10:34. It reads, “Peter fairly exploded with his good news: “It’s God’s own truth, nothing could be plainer: God plays no favorites! It makes no difference who you are or where you’re from…”Peter was passionate and overwhelmed with this news. He realized that the greatest truth is our God-given identity in Christ. It is living in the confidence that there are no favorites – just highly favored men and women that are loved equally. The body of Christ is the church – and the church encompasses singles, parents and couple without children. We are all one in Christ. We are all complete in Christ. We are all part of the body of Christ.

Not all who are single suffer. Not all who are childless suffer. Not all who have a gaggle of children suffer. Each person is given the desires of their heart – and not everyone likes Elmo.