You, me and the dog

I heard a pastor once say that the best sermons are the ones that convict the speaker as much as the listener. So this blog post is as much for me as it is for you. Bear with me while I process out loud.

A few years ago, I asked God to remove the temptation away from me to date anyone other than my husband. This wasn’t a ploy to manipulate what I wanted from God or even protect myself from unnecessary heartbreak. This was a desperate attempt to rid myself of some awful sin in my heart that was destroying my relationship with God.

And He responded. I haven’t been asked out since. Oh, but I have pursued many a man. I have prayed over every man I have ever had an interest in. And with every freaking man, I thought God had told me this man was the one. I found signs everywhere I looked that confirmed this prophecy. Each time, my heart grew sick with waiting and analyzing and hoping and honestly, pretending I had given it to God when in reality, I was holding on to my logic and reasoning. Especially because my spiritual gift is prophecy, I was convinced God had told me who I would marry.

God was patient with me, right up until the third time, when in the middle of my obsession God firmly told me, This isn’t your job.  As a woman, it’s not my place to pursue and while I am a firm believer that a woman should make a move if she wants, God doesn’t want that for me. He just doesn’t. I’m a raging control freak and if I didn’t get it under control, I could never honor my husband in submission.

So I started to let go and experienced a lot of freedom. I prayed for my husband and myself. Most recently, I asked God to remove the desire of other people from both of us. I wanted freedom for myself but I also wanted to be safe with my husband. I don’t compete for a man, not anymore. The hardest thing about this prayer is watching my desire for someone I have wanted forever slowly go away. There’s still a part of me that wants that man but each day, it becomes a little less.

I’ve fought with God over this man probably more than anyone else. I’ve asked God why I can’t have my choice. I would choose him a million times over. Shouldn’t that matter? Shouldn’t my choice matter? But God has been very clear with me. The second I asked God to take away the temptation of other men was the moment I relinquished my choice. I surrendered that to God and He honored that sacrifice.

I have fought that and even at times, regretted it. I questioned how God could love me and let me leave the choice with him. But I realized I had already done that with my job.

Two years ago, I had been struggling to find employment. I had applied for job after job, getting close but not getting hired. There were jobs I interviewed for that I thought was my dream job. They were everything I thought I wanted and I grieved not getting those jobs. I got to this place where I asked God to bring the right job into my life. I was done searching, done looking. I clearly didn’t know what God wanted. And He brought the job into my lap. I didn’t even apply for it. I actually remember not wanting to interview for the job. It was in the same line of work I had done before, where I had gotten burned, and I was wary of going back. But I trusted God through this and I got the job. This job has blessed me more than I could have ever imagined and I’m ultimately grateful I left the choice with Him.

It has only been recently that I have begun to see the treasures in letting God take my choice from me. Not everyone would agree with me. Love is a choice and we honor God through that choice. But for me, I would rather choose God a million times over and have Him give me His best rather than be ordinary by either choosing my spouse on my own or by allowing my emotions to dictate how I make decisions about my spouse.

God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him – Jim Elliot

The best advice I could give you is to let go of how you think your life should go and let God direct your path. You won’t be disappointed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture credit: <a href=”http://www.freepik.com/free-photo/close-up-of-couple-holding-hands-in-black-and-white_980072.htm”>Designed by Freepik</a>

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Why I Didn’t Want a Wedding

It’s no secret I’ve never wanted a wedding. For external reasons, including money, hating dancing in public and not wanting a day all about me, I have told anyone who would listen that I fully intend on eloping. It’s never gotten much deeper than that.

And then today, I spent the day packing up a good friend’s house. She and I have known each other for eight years. We’ve bonded, fought, laughed and argued our way through the various seasons of life we’ve both been through. Today, I was thinking how easy it’s become, being friends. I love her like a sister. We packed, ran errands, watched a movie. It was a good day.

Weddings are the things of fantasies. A woman wears a gorgeous gown, all eyes are on the groom as he looks at his bride. The room is full of all the people who love the bride and groom, people who have cheered on the relationship through its various ups and downs. At the center of the wedding is the couple but the celebration is really for all of us.

But of course, my mind drifted to another time in my life. One where I was impossible to know and hard to love. I was alone, drifting in emptiness. I went to parties I didn’t care for and shared conversations with people who couldn’t be bothered to share their story with me. I have no friends from that time in my life. Not one. Nobody stuck around. Nobody tried to fight through the wall I had built for myself. Nobody bothered.

They’re faces of people I see on Facebook but I have no emotional connection to any of them. And they don’t have any connection to me.

I spent all day with someone who loves me like family and I couldn’t stop thinking of the people I never got the chance to love, who never got the chance to love me. But I couldn’t help but feel grateful. Grateful for the friends who stuck around. The friends who tore down the wall I had built for myself. The friends who bothered.

I imagined what it would be like to be in a room full of people, all staring at me as I walk down the aisle in a dress I’ll never wear again. People who barely know me, because so few people have walked alongside me in my journey. It’s my living nightmare. The wedding becomes a question of who really loves me and who’s just here out of politeness. It feels false and artificial. Because a wedding is about everyone involved in the process of a relationship, not just the couple. 

I’ve been wrestling with this idea that someday, I’ll get to go back. Go back to that place where I wasn’t particularly loved and show them they were wrong. I’m enough, really enough. I replay it in my head all the time. They’re all in a room and I’m sharing the details of my life now, what this beautiful mess has become, and I finally have their approval. And somehow, in this fantasy, I’ve accomplished completeness. I’ve earned their respect. And they’ll all want to come to my wedding.  

But that fantasy hasn’t come true. It probably never will. What I have now has to be enough. Spending the day packing dishes into old boxes for my friend, I started to believe this could really be enough. And maybe I’ll have a wedding. Maybe I won’t. But it’ll be my choice.

 

When You’re Not The One Getting Married

I’m a Christian.

Christians get married. Young.

Younger than I am now.

Lately, everyone seems to be getting engaged, married, in the baby-making phase of life.

And I’m over here lucky if I remember to eat dinner.

One of my biggest shames has been my dating life, speckled with commitment-phobia and just ongoing cases of dating the wrong guy. I have often said that this is where I am most like the world.

I’ve known sexting and drunken dials to boys who broke my heart. I have looked the least like Jesus when I’ve dated.

And two years ago, I told God I was done. I surrendered my dating life. I told God that I wanted the right guy to ask me out. We were done with dating for the sake of dating.

Of course, I failed immediately. There was online dating, which was dumb. Such a joy-thief. And then of course, there was the one who got away. The one I told earnestly how deeply I cared for him and he responded with a “God’s not telling me to pursue you” to which I responded with indignation. Surely, he was wrong. But I lost the argument and two years later, I still wish the conversation had gone differently. I still wish he wanted me.

So I surrendered my dating life to God but wrestled Him for control.

This wasn’t about kissing dating goodbye. Surrendering my dating life had everything to do with the condition of my heart while I was dating.

Somehow, God got through to me. I laid down idols I didn’t even know I had. I sobbed in groups over fears of marriage and commitment. And God fought for my heart. He fought for the desire in my heart to know and be known by someone who would honor every messy part of me. Everything in me grace is working to change and grow.

And it’s beautiful, friends. The girl who told her parents at 19 that marriage wouldn’t be a part of her story now desires a God-honoring commitment to another person.

But….it’s hard. The waiting is hard. Each day that goes by, I think that maybe it won’t happen. Maybe 19-year-old me was right. And those social media posts of all the engagements, marriages and baby announcements start to feel like the devil tempting discontentment. Some days, I don’t want to be joyful for the one that has a different story than me.

Maybe I won’t get married. Maybe that wasn’t the point of this two year journey. Some days, it aches in me that possible truth. But the beautiful thing is that more days are coming that I’m not so discontent. That’s just Jesus, embracing me into the woman I’m meant to be.