In Love's Waiting Room? There's Hope!
By Stacie Ruth Stoelting
Valentine’s Day always catalyzes the “I’m so sad I’m single” syndrome. People dive in and jump out of relationships so quickly. “In a relationship” or “no longer in a relationship” flood the front pages of Facebook today.
But how should Christian singles (of marriageable age) handle relationships in real-life? Many temptations exist today. My friends ask questions all the time. And I get asked out. So the topic seems pretty popular in my circle.
A couple of years ago, a guy really tempted me: I was asked to accompany a dashing serviceman to an exquisite ball. (Yes, a ball like in “Cinderella” ball! Hey, girls, stop squealing! You haven’t read my answer to the invitation.)
I refused. Why? He wasn’t a believer. So my ball gown remained in the closet that night.
Some people may say, “Hey, Stacie, you’re way extreme. It was just one date.” Well, one date launches a rocket of emotions and unacceptable possibilities.
Now, I am not against trying different ways to meet people. I’m simply not going to rush or push. That doesn’t work. (Think Abraham and Hagar.) In spite of ample opportunities, I’ve chosen to date some, but not much. Why? I want to guard my heart, guys’ hearts, and utilize Christ-centered criteria.
Yes, I’m a super-busy, unmarried twenty-four year old woman with a passion for the Gospel. I keep my romantic status private on Facebook for good reason: I’m not dating for attention. I’m dating with intention.
Matchmakers flock to me and offer their best services –and sometimes their sons! But I gently, kindly refrain from most. Why? I believe that my Maker is my matchmaker.
Believers seem to fall into three categories:
- Non-Committal Intellectuals: Some believers enter an unhealthy reasoning cycle of non-committal syndrome. They put a mask on worry and call it “analysis.” It causes many to become oblivious about the obvious. Many hearts break as a result of intellectual worry.
- Emotional Plungers: Some mix up feelings with faith. They “feel” that they’ve met “the one,” therefore, they have and so they plunge. They do a high-dive and wind up struggling to survive later on.
- Balanced and Brave: These believers realize that marriage is serious business, but also draw their courage from Christ. They proceed cautiously and purposefully. They don’t date/court for years and years (or merely days) to make a decision. They decide to commit or split within a reasonable timeframe. Then, when they rely on faith and a Christ-centered formula (see below) to find “the one,” they commit without letting fear rule their hearts.
Feel like you’re in God’s “love waiting room” today? Are you single (of marrying age and stability) and stalked by matchmaking mothers? Do you desire to follow after Jesus without compromise?
Here are a few tips to stay centered on Godly concepts for finding “the one.”
1. Keep Godly love your first priority. Follow after Jesus. Don’t make marriage your ultimate quest. Seek to love God and others. Then everything else will fall into place.
Take it from Jesus:
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
“… love the Lord your God out of and with your whole heart and out of and with all your soul (your life) and out of and with all your mind (with your faculty of thought and your moral understanding) and out of and with all your strength. This is the first and principal commandment. The second is like it and is this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Excerpt from Mark 12:30-31, AMP)
2. Don't let romantic feelings fog logic. See if the person's character fits a " logical formula" for compatibility. Don’t settle for less than God’s best.
Jesus-following + mutual passions/interests+ attraction + similar sense of humor + compatible families and child-rearing beliefs x prayer + character consistency over time (i.e. at least a year) = potentially “the one”
3. Adhere to the Word first and foremost –and act on it. Avoid using a dating/courting book as a handbook that replaces the preeminence of Scripture.
“But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” (James 1:22, NASB)
4. Don’t reason your way into a bad situation. Also don’t reason your way out of a good situation. Being human, we all have a way of making a wrong choice seem right at the time. We also make the right seem wrong when we’re frightened. But, as believers, we have the Holy Spirit to guide us. He tells us and uses Scripture to guide us.
“We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.” (2 Corinthians 10:4, NLT)
5. Trust your Maker to be your matchmaker. His hand moves at His perfect pace. Ladies, relax and enjoy life without trying to make guys like you all the time. You can’t force God’s hand to bring you to someone. Guys, keep your eyes on Jesus and He’ll open your eyes about which woman to court/date. Ladies, enjoy being pursued. You’re treasures that deserve to be hunted as such. Guys, enjoy your role of hunting for a Godly woman and treat her as God’s princess. Send her flowers, treat her with kindness and Godly love, and show her the chivalry isn’t dead.
“He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.” (Prov. 18:22, NIV)
6. Believe and behave like a believer –not as a secular dating “actor” or “actress.” Never let the world’s “lust lies” belie the truth. The world tells us to dress sexy, get unwrapped, and then thrown away by various men/women. This is so wrong. God desires us to pursue Him first and be holy as He is holy.
“But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” (1 Peter 1:15-16)
7. Date only those of potential “marriage material.” Don’t mess with masses just for intellectual or lustful entertainment. After all, every marriage begins with a date/meeting. Every fire starts with a spark. Be sure the fire was started by God.
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Col. 3:2, NIV)
It’s easy for singles to single out marriage as the only thing to think about. But God doesn’t view us as “singles” or “marrieds.” He loves and uses us as we empty ourselves of ourselves and fill up on Him.
Yes! A Christ-centered marriage is a gorgeous thing. But if we never meet “the one” as described in our “faith-based formula,” then we remain just as loved and used by God. On the flipside, God doesn’t bring a kind, Christian, compatible and attractive girlfriend/boyfriend into our lives to torture us with questions about whether to remain single or get married. Prayerfully keep an open mind to receive what God sends. Tear down worry walls and step out in faith – not fear.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17, NIV)
Now, I’m naturally a very affectionate person who gets excited about the possibility of marriage someday. Lately, I’ve tended to sense that God might want me to get married because of the unrelenting desire to help and love someone exclusively while serving Jesus together someday.
Regardless, I trust Jesus. I’m going to live my life for Jesus, enjoy adventures with Him, and lean on Him for the future. It’s that simple. It’s that wonderful! (If you don’t understand what I just said, get to know Jesus for yourself. Simply click here.)
By the way, I still had a ball without going to the ball! God provided a much better way for me to spend my time. I don’t regret it a bit.
When God sends His best to you, run with it. And, wow, you won’t regret it! Just remember: Relationships and life aren’t sprints; they’re marathons. Let’s run for Jesus!
Note from the Author:
Connected! isn’t a typical monthly column. Think of it as an e-mail. Feel free to reply. Reply to: [email protected]. After all, I want to be a friend and introduce you to my Best Friend, Jesus Christ. We’ll cover issues relevant to our generation. Most of all, we’ll connect with Christ. If you don’t know how to connect with Him yet, click here.
Stacie Ruth Stoelting and Bright Light Ministry share how to have victory over stresses, tragedies, and trials! As a young Christian single, she already has experienced helping the hurting. At 15, Stacie Ruth wrote Still Holding Hands, depicting her grandparents’ romance, and victory over Alzheimer’s. Celebrities (i.e. Pat Robertson) endorsed it and/or Bright Light Ministry. At 20, she sang for President Bush. In dramatic programs for all ages, she speaks, acts, sings, and entertainingly inspires. Now, she is writing books for teens (e.g. Catching Faith Stealers in the Act). Visit www.brightlightministry.com.
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