I’ve been thinking a lot about boy and girl relationships recently, as most of my single friends are in that place where they want it to happen pretty much right now.  I am probably not in any position to offer advice or guidance, and I definitely do not have a lot of experience, but I still wanted to write out my thoughts about some aspects of it.

Obviously, we know that we should be patient and wait on God to bring us the right girl or guy.  We get that, and we don’t need even one more reminder from well-intentioned folks.  But during desperate and lonely moments, our head starts to spin with questions.  “What if it doesn’t happen for the next few years?” “What if I am supposed to be “doing” something because God helps those who help themselves?” “How am I supposed to know what I want if I don’t get out there and spend time with a lot of girls (or guys)? “  “What if it <gasp> never happens to me?” And so we start to panic, and those panicky emotions begin to shape our actions…especially our choices related to socializing and hanging out and being with the opposite sex.

Maybe we choose to hang out pretty much all the time when we are not working, put ourselves into as many social events as possible…just in case the right person is at one of them.  Maybe we go to them just hoping, hoping for a connection to be made.  Maybe we have a good time, and meet some cool people, but it tends to leave more to be desired.  Because in the back of our mind, we are like…come on God…do something….do something now…I just don’t want to be alone anymore….I want my big love…I want what everyone else seems to have….  None of this is inherently evil or sinful or dishonoring to God.  It’s real, it is our reality, it is our humanity.  But it could lead to us getting in the way – and staying in the way – of what the Lord wants to bring about in our life.  And for me personally, I am so tired of trying to bring about things in my own life – I so want Him to just take everything out of my hands, and take over completely.

I am so tired of trying to bring about things in my own life – I so want Him to just take everything out of my hands, and take over completely.

I really believe for my friends that God is going to do it.  The statistics – according to Census Bureau Statistics – indicate that nearly 100% of Americans over the age of 70 have been married at least once in their lives.  I’m not making this up. The odds, if nothing else, demonstrate that it’s pretty much going to happen to you.  But there is something else – we have to remember that we have the Lord on our side, and He knows our heart, and He has placed these desires for marriage on our heart.  I think we get into trouble when we compare ourselves to other people we know who haven’t yet met their dreamboat.  I know I used to do that all of the time – “Jane has served You soooo faithfully all these years, and You know how badly she wants a husband…why won’t you do it for her, God? Is that how it is going to be for me, too?”  But I don’t know all of the facts, and I don’t know Jane’s story, and I don’t know the story of the guy God has for Jane…and so I just need to focus in on my story, and my relationship with God, and not compare my situation to others.  It does no good.

It’s funny that we are quick to compare ourselves to others in ways that make us feel like we are missing out on something good that God should be giving us – “Bob has an awesome family whose parents don’t fight, why don’t I?”….or, “Jenny keeps having these health problems and struggles daily with aches and pains, and my body is starting to fall apart, and so I guess I’m going to suffer the same plight….”  We so much less often compare ourselves in ways that remind us how good we have it…”Austin can run fast on the soccer field and so can I, thanks God for both of us!”…or “Brooke just worked through a miscommunication with a friend, and God helped her, and I believe that God is going to do the same for me the next time I have a miscommunication!”  Nope, we just don’t see things like that as often as we’d like.  We are grateful when they are pointed out to us, but the eyes of our heart aren’t naturally wide open to see them….  I sure wish mine were, all of the time, so I could see what He sees, and be so much more thankful and content, and not so much thinking about what I still need and want in my life – related to the relationship in my life, or not related to the relationship in my life.

It doesn’t matter if you are doing it at a bar, or a club, or at church get-togethers, or online – the bottom line is that often it is prompted by fear, and chock-full of human effort.

Anyway, the problem I see in all of this is that our actions and choices seem to be laden with striving.  Human striving.  Our lives seem to absolutely brim over with it.  Human arranging and maybe even human manipulating (just a little) and human “gotta-get-what-I-can-get-while-I-can-get-it” thoughts and notions and behaviors.  Just to cope with the waiting.  Just to get by.  It doesn’t matter if you are doing it at a bar, or a club, or at church get-togethers, or online – the bottom line is that often it is prompted by fear, and chock-full of human effort.  Even though we’ve been praying to our God to supernaturally  {*outside* of our natural ability and actions) to bring along the one for us that only He could create and bring, and to exceed all of our expectations.

But we forget about that.  It’s easy to do – I know I’ve done it.  And so we spend ourselves directly or indirectly, overtly or subtly, and *try* to make something happen.  Something, anything.  Because oftentimes, especially with the way we’re feeling when our *singleness* gets the better of us, anything is better than nothing.  And you know you won’t go too far sexually, so it’s okay.  You know you won’t give him or her all of your heart, so it’s okay.  You know that God will understand because He knows you’re human and you’re doing the best you can.

But even as you’re trying (and especially when you’re by yourself again and have time to reflect), you feel somewhat drained.  You are feeling like this shouldn’t be so difficult – that you and him (or her) should just slide together, that you both should “click”.  And you struggle with confusion, and you wonder if you’re reading his or her emotions and actions right, and you think, maybe next time, maybe it was just an awkward day, maybe he or she needs another chance, maybe I need to do more, maybe I need to be more.  But no matter what, you realize in time that your efforts to make some kind of match only lead to short-term improvements in your emotional state.  And they never lead to your true desire being fulfilled – in this case, a heart-level intimacy with another, deeper than any other on earth – a love relationship to last an entire lifetime.

We are not supposed to “arrange” life – it cannot be arranged, and every time we try we end up mucking everything up.

I know we are not supposed to just push through this waiting period – while God is preparing us or preparing our future spouse.  We are not supposed to just endure.  Because when we are just persevering and trying to make it until something amazing happens, we are not “living” as God intended, as we were created to do.  And, we are not supposed to “arrange” life – it cannot be arranged, and every time we try we end up mucking everything up.  You know this to be true in your past relationships, and in other areas of your life.  And this leads to the worst kind of heartache – because all along we have this quiet but nagging suspicion that we need to hold out, focus on something else, expend our efforts in other ways, be still, and just TRUST that He would come through.

Waiting for your love-train sucks.  Waiting is extremely painful,, almost to the point where you can’t take it anymore. Waiting is full of very sad nights, and horrible gnawing pangs of loneliness that seem to burn up the insides of your stomach, and sometimes (often?) giving up the hope that it is ever going to happen to you.  Sometimes it is your way of coping, and other times you really mean it.  It often leads to self-deprecating thoughts where you wonder if anyone could love you past your faults, if something about you is fundamentally unloveable and even repulsive, if it is just not meant to be and you’re destined to be single forever even as everyone else couples up, if the biggest blessing in this world that you’ve waited your whole life for is just always going to be out of your reach.  I know what it is like to wait for a very long time, and I know it often is not a happy time.

Waiting is full of very sad nights, and horrible gnawing pangs of loneliness that seem to burn up the insides of your stomach, and sometimes (often?) giving up the hope that it is ever going to happen to you.

But I also know we are supposed to live in a certain way while waiting.  This way will not come easy, or everyone would already be doing it, and I would feel no need to think about this or blog about it.  None of us will do it perfectly, but I believe that we definitely can do it.  We’ll talk about it as we continue forward.  I ask for your grace should anything I type hit a nerve.  I am praying so hard that all of my words come across with love, and are God-inspired.

Source for Marriage Statistic: Kreider, RM (2005). Number, Timing, and Duration of Marriages and Divorces: 2001, Table 3. Current Population Reports, P70-97. Washington, D. C.: U.S. Census Bureau.

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