12/29/11

if he knows Jesus, then he's dateable, right?

I didn't involve Jesus in my dating life until I was around 18. I've always known Jesus, as long as I can remember. But he really wasn't an active part of my life until my freshman year of college. That's when my relationship with him became mine; became real & became something worth living for. Entering the world of Christian dating was like learning how to walk all over again. There were all these rules and guidelines. Everybody got married at like...17 it felt like. And a lot of the boys were wearing these masks of false chivalry that I had no idea how to see through. I quickly adopted my only dating rule.

If he knows Jesus, he's dateable. 

That was about it. Did we meet at church? Did he talk about Jesus every once in a while? Alright. God wants me to date him. And boy, did that rule burn me. Being someone who does pretty much everything at 150%, dating was no exception. Having not yet learned the whole cliche but n "guard your heart" mantra, and believing that since these boys loved Jesus they were trustworthy, I invested everything in my next few {disastrous} relationships. I dated boys I had no business dating. Some because they had baggage and issues that no girl should be a part of carrying. Some because we just had absolutely nothing in common. Some because we were worse for each other than Sid and Nancy.. But it was all because I was holding them to one, single standard. Whether they knew Jesus. And while that should always be a game-changer, it can't be the only one. Because let's be real, we all know people who know Jesus and still treat others like dirt. We all know people who go to church, have bible verses in their "about me" on facebook, but don't talk like Jesus. Don't act like Jesus. And realistically, have no interest in being anything like Jesus any way. 

I know that this can start to read a lot like me simply pointing fingers. I'm not. For a while in the beginning, this was me. At church every Sunday, Proverbs 31:25 firmly placed on my facebook page, but stringing boys along like it was going out of style. That quickly turned into me being strung along. I'll never forget the first boy I liked after I started going to church. Very well respected and known in the church I was attending, I was pretty confused when he went out of his way to talk to me. I was used to the one making all the moves. Church Boy asked me for my number, started calling, and took me on a couple of really creative dates. It was one of the most innocent and pure relationships {I use the term relationship loosely} I was ever a part of. Until one night he asked me if I was going to kiss him goodnight. I had already decided that the next boy I kissed would be my boyfriend, not someone I was just hanging out with. I politely explained this to Church Boy, who promptly disregarded my words & went in for the kill. Shocked, but naive enough to still be charmed, I left floating. I was quickly crashed back to earth when Church Boy informed a few weeks later that "I'd gotten the wrong idea about what was going on with us". Cute. My first Christian heartbreak.

But I'd partially done it to myself. The only measuring stick I held Church Boy {and the next 2 or 3 guys I went out with} up to was that he knew who Jesus was. His disregard for my choice to wait to kiss him should have been a major red flag. None of these boys were seeking Jesus at the time. None of them had any interest in centering our relationship around Christ. I can remember once, in a really difficult time, asking one guy I was dating if he'd prayed about a big decision he was making. When he answered "no", I asked if he wanted to pray about it now. His answer to that was also "no". Red. Flag. I attribute some of my lack of direction to the fact that deep down, I'd already bought in to the lie that no man worth having would ever want me. That these day dreams of a man who reminded me of Jesus were just that-day dreams. & I carried this in to every relationship I was a part of in college. It took about 22 years, 3 failed relationships, & 1 major heartbreak to realize, you know...at this point, I'll pretty much date anyone {cringe}. But it's the truth. I had become the queen of making excuses for the boys I was dating, even when I knew that they were awful. When my friends looked at me like I had two heads as I told them stories of things done & said, I would spit out "we met at church!", "he's been a Christian forever!". Sometimes I even resorted to lying, both to them and myself. "He really makes me a better person" & "he pushes me to know Christ more". No he didn't. I had learned how to tune out anyone who spoke ill of my decisions.

I had decided that even if he wasn't, I was going to make him "the one". 

This April, a youtube video changed my life. This one, in fact. You really need to go watch it before you keep reading. I'll give you a second. Back? Okay. The whole thing just blew me away. I felt like God reached in my chest and stuck His finger straight in my heart. Every word breathed truth into my life, into the way I lived, into who I was. I had to watch it about 5 more times to really soak it in. And suddenly, there it was. What I had been missing hit me straight in the face. I had been failing to hold up the men in my life to a righteous and holy standard, and here it was, in words. 

When you speak, I will be reminded of Solomon's wisdom.
Your ability to lead will remind me of Moses.
Your faith will remind me of Abraham.
Your confidence in God's word will remind me of Daniel.
Your inspiration will remind me of Paul.
Your heart for God will remind me of David.
Your attention to detail will remind me of Noah.
Your integrity will remind me of Joseph.
And your ability to abandon your own will will remind me of the disciples.
But your ability to love selflessly and unconditionally will remind me of
Christ.

I clung to the verses of this poem for dear life. I prayed over them, journaled them, memorized them. I began praying that God would make me into the kind of woman that a man like this would love. I started praying for my future husband again, a practice I'd learned in youth group, but had abandoned around the age of 15. I prayed these things over him, that they'd be traits God would be cultivating in him. I stopped looking around for a man, and started paying attention to the huge work my Father was doing in me. And I started praying that it would be really apparent to me when this man walked into my life. I'm kind of terrible at praying intentionally, I like to pray in all-encompassing, not too specific ways because I feel like I'm being demanding, but 1 John 4:14-15 kind of disputes that mentality. So I started praying that there would be no question. I took the prayer from the poem and started praying it over myself and my future-"But to my Father, my Father who has known me before I was birthed into this earth. Only if you should see fit. I desire your will above mine, so even if you call me to a life of singleness, my heart is content with you-the One who was sent." 

Matt Chandler once did a sermon on singleness and dating, and he touches on the fact that so many girls are earnestly praying for a mate and seeking righteousness, but 90% of their focus is still on
finding someone. You know that super awesome Christian line that everyone throws around-"the second you stop looking, someone walks into your life"? All that does it set you up for failure, because you "stop looking" with the hopes of God dropping some really great guy in your lap. It just doesn't work that way. We have to have faith that we serve the Author of Time, and that he knows the very second that it's right. Let go of your preconceived notions and abandon your need to be with someone, for the all-consuming love of the Father. And don't do it because you think that means he'll give you a boyfriend, please. Do it because no one's going to satiate your need for love or make you feel more complete than He will. And because it's what he's created us for, to love him. And maybe, one day, some guy will walk in to your life that reminds you of Solomon. Of Moses, Abraham, Daniel, Paul, David, Noah, Joseph, the disciples. And most importantly, Jesus. And all the past heartbreak, all the doubts and arguments with God, will be faint memories in light of the joy and thankfulness. 

1 comment:

Rebekah said...

I started reading this post yesterday and abandoned it halfway through, because I didn't feel as if it really applied much to me. I came back today, clicked on the video and then had to go and redo my make-up.

I married the first boy that asked me, because I was afraid no one else would ask me. As a divorced, single mom now I often feel that same fear. That no one again will ask.

And you know what? It's ok if they never do. I have been saved since I was 5, but I've been running from God for 30 years. In the past few months He has been gripping my heart, pulling me toward him.

Keep doing what you are doing!! You're being a blessing to me.