Joy – By Any Means Necessary
NOTE: I began writing this early January 2014....
In the past few years I've saw a few close friends of mine either get into a serious relationship, engaged, married, have one child (or more!) or some other major event tied to a relationship. Now before you roll your eyes, this isn't one of those "23 Things To Do Besides Get Married Before You're 23" or "I'm Single and Absolutely 100% Happy With That Because Jesus is My Boo" posts. I'm writing this because of two issues. Anxiety and Discontentment. Issues that tend to plague women whether single or married; mother or childless.
Recently, during a time of prayer with some friends, I saw how prevalent discontentment was rooted in all of our prayer requests. The single women and our issues with dating, the married women and their longing for children. I don't want to get too detailed, however, each of us in some way or another and to some extent seemed really bogged down by our request. Speaking personally, mine was recently letting go of a friendship with a guy because feelings had immersed on both sides, which would be tough knowing that soon I'll be moving to Portugal for a 5 year missions trip; eventually we'd have to say goodbye.
Sure, I have about a year or so before I move, but I do not want to set both of us up for heartache by 1) trying to play catch up with my friends and 2) continuing a relationship that will not let me glorify God fully. And this is where my post begins....
I think, for this time - however long it shall last, God will be most glorified in my singleness. I'm not checking myself into a convent (although if I did, I'd so be like Maria from the Sound of Music...irrelevant side bar), but it's clear that dating at this juncture may not be logical (with me going to Portugal) and may just be an excuse for me trying to play catch up with society as opposed to wanting to genuinely grow with someone, push them closer to Christ and glorify God fully in our relationship.
Well, I put this post off due to a busy weekend and before I knew it, that weekend had ended and I was in a relationship! Since then, I've ended that relationship and decided to not go on the Portugal trip (at least not in the next year!). Where do I begin?
I kept the original post above just to show how easily things can change when we (I) decide to make our (my) own desires interfere with what God is trying to say and where He is leading us (me!). Now for an honest update...
The guy and I broke up more recently due to my coming to terms that I cannot save everything (or hardly anything for that matter). By everything I mean people. My prayer since January had been that God would point me towards the truth, that I'd be still and that His will would be done by any means necessary - and I meant any. Over the course of this time this young man and I both realized that we had a very rocky foundation - to make it plain, our relationship started in sin and not with God. I'll spare the details for now. Nonetheless we tried to make it work and prayed hard (or at least I did) that the purpose of our relationship would simply be to seek God's kingdom. I had no idea where any of it was going. No idea what God was doing, but I figured as long as I'm diligently seeking His will, regardless of how things began, He'd lead me/us in the right direction.
However, it's difficult for a couple to try to seek the kingdom of God when only one of you truly has a relationship with Jesus. Yep! On the surface, the talk was barely the there, the walk was barely there, but I thought "who am I to judge, surely he knows Christ!". Well, my friends, as you attempt to build a relationship/friendship and set boundaries, ask to pray or for prayer with someone, true colors begin to show. Maya Angelou once said when people show you the real them, believe them! I had to come to terms (with the help of some awesome Godly women in my life) that this friend of mine did not really know the Lord like I thought he did (or like he thought it did...) and it was time to take a step back.
The main problem was I threw out my "list". I used to think that my "list" (you know the list I'm referring to) was overly spiritual and unattainable - which in some cases it was...my list showed others that I'd rather marry Jesus and I'd critique any man (which is every last one) who does not live up to that standard.
While my list was quite off the charts, one thing would give a great boundary and it remains - that is, that a man must love the Lord more than he loves me, and that must be clear in how he lives his life. I think everything else will flow from that. It's the commandment Jesus gave and it's certainly enough. You must love the Lord your God with all your soul, heart & mind (Matthew 22:37).
It was clear that this guy was more in love with me than he was with Christ...HUGE NO-NO! I refuse to knowingly be the subject of someone's idolatry and furthermore get in the way of whatever God was/is trying to do in his life - it's obvious he's looking for truth, but I can't stand in the way of that search (or aid him) just because I desperately want to see a redemption story work out before my eyes. I still pray for him, that he'd surrender, but not so that we can be together. I want the will of the Lord to be done by any means necessary. So...I'm single :)
In regards to Portugal, the short relationship we had was really a blessing in disguise. Over the course of the past few months I really took time to come back to the question I'd asked myself about Portugal, "why not?!" and realized that I was reacting too soon. I've stepped away from the team, but continue to support them through prayer. I still have a heart for missions, I'm just not sure what that will look like for me in the future (near or distant). If the relationship hadn't happened it would have been a long time before I sat down and prayed hard about Portugal. I was ready to go! But oh how things can change when we step aside and become sensitive to the voice of God.
So, I haven't the slightest clue what God is doing (how many times have I come to this conclusion? Anyone?), but it's okay. These past few months have taught me that God is able and He is sovereign. He calls the shots. I'm merely just an actress in His play and life is not about playing catch up or going along with what "feels" right. I have the honor to experience redemption and missions everyday that I'm walking inside His will by putting all my trust and hope in Him regardless of how things play out! There's so much joy in that - everlasting joy!
God loves our lasting joy in Him much more than he loves our temporary comfort today (John Piper)