What to expect when you’re out there expecting.

“You deserve to be with someone who makes you happy.”

“You deserve someone who won’t complicate your life.”

“You deserve someone who won’t hurt you.”

You’re told what you should expect. You’re told what you deserve. You create an idea in your head and heart of what you want and need in a person. The world tells you that you’re too picky. The world tells you that you’re settling. But the truth is, the world doesn’t define what you need. The world doesn’t know what your heart needs or what your heart wants. The world can’t possibly decide what is good enough for your life, because the world isn’t the one living it. Stop listening to the world. Stop basing your standards on what the world deems acceptable. The world accepts abortion. Stop letting a place that seeks to destroy you, convince you that they know what’s best for you. There has to come a point in your life where you stop listening to what the world tells you and listen to what God tells you.

The only way to find a relationship completely committed to Christ is by first committing yourself completely to Him. One thing people abuse is the idea that if you live for God, you can make any relationship work. In my opinion, that truth only applies in marriage. Marriage is a covenant; something that is never meant to be broken. But when it comes to dating, if someone isn’t committed to Christ the way you are, your relationship will suffer. That reality is unavoidable. You can’t make someone want Christ in their life. You cannot simply hold to the truth that God will help you make a relationship happen with His grace, mercy, and love if you’re not first and foremost living your life for Him. Why would God help you make something last or make something happen if you’re not willing to let Him have full control? He won’t. His will for your life isn’t to live happily ever after and have the best love story in this world, with the cutest wedding. His will for your life is that you GIVE your life to HIM, regardless of what you are given in this world.

In terms of dating:
“But I’m living for God, why can’t my relationship work with __________?”

I’m just going to be honest and ask: Why are you bothering with someone who doesn’t want God the same way you do? God never commands you to compromise the depth of your love for Him by loving others and staying with them. Staying with someone and making it work doesn’t somehow boost your relationship with Christ. Will it teach you love? Yes. Will it teach you patience, forgiveness, and grace? Absolutely. Will it push you closer to a God – honoring relationship? It will for you. But if that person you’re pursuing doesn’t want God the way you do, they won’t want Him in the relationship the way you do.

Plenty of godly men and women are out there wondering if their standards are too high; wondering where their man or woman of God is hiding. This is me saying, keep on. Don’t settle. Honoring God with your life is worth eternal value; something that lowering your standards for someone else isn’t.

What should you be expecting?

First of all, you shouldn’t expect your man or woman to be RIGHT where you are. I spent many years expecting the man for me to be heading down the same path in this world. I expected him to be interested in what I was interested in. I expected his likes and dislikes to align with mine perfectly. I can’t tell you how wrong I was. The only desire and passion you NEED to have in common is that you BOTH want to serve your Savior with your life. Everything else is just icing on the cake. Part of the loving and learning process is building off the strengths of each other. If you want your future person to love something the way you do (kids, sports, missions, etc.), don’t deny every person that doesn’t fit into that category. I have learned more about loving and appreciating things this past year than I have in my entire life. YOUR future man or woman will help you love things in a different, new way, because that’s what love does. The beauty in love is that you’re always learning, always growing, and always stretching your heart. Your future person will complicate that heart of yours, because they’re going to show you how to be better. They’re going to make you want to be better. They’re going to make you want to work harder to make love work, to make relationships last, and to stretch yourself in ways that you never knew you could. Love will always make you a better version of yourself.

Second, stop telling yourself you can fix someone. The person for you doesn’t need to be perfect, just as you know you aren’t perfect. But for the sake of your heart, stop settling for someone, because you think your love for God will somehow channel through to their heart. Can you encourage them and love them? Yes. Can you point them toward Christ? Absolutely. But DON’T give your heart to someone who doesn’t realize the eternal value of it. The only way someone will value your heart eternally is if they first, realize the eternal value of their own, in Christ. They cannot begin to comprehend or understand how fickle this life is if they don’t want Christ to control it completely. Their excuses of “well that’s not what I believe in” or “well I don’t show my love for God the same way you do, but it’s there” or “be patient with me” are all very appealing to our compassionate heart when you feel something for someone. But please tell me what will happen when you feel God calling you to do something with your life and your significant other doesn’t even understand the concept of being called and directed by God? How will that result in a God-honoring decision? Your significant other cannot want Christ simply to have you too.

I spent many relationships trying to make them want God the same way I did. That’s not to say that I am somehow holier than they are or better than they are. That’s saying that I’m selfish. That’s saying I was willing to focus on making someone want God rather than telling them it has to be a heart change for God, not me. That’s saying that I made the decision to grow romantically involved with someone who wasn’t what God had for me to begin with. “I want to be the one for you spiritually” is probably one of the most contradicting statements I have ever heard. The one for you spiritually will be the one who wants God so deeply, that whether they have you or not, they are content with God nonetheless. One doesn’t try to be spiritually fit for another person. If it’s a genuine commitment to God, you won’t have to pretend or attempt to be something, because you’re already working for it on your own. That’s not to say that just because you’re committed to God, you don’t have to work for a relationship. You still have to learn the importance of sacrifice, commitment, and selfless love. There will never be a day where you have mastered love. Love is not something to be mastered, it is something to be lived. Never accept someone wanting God, only because they want you. That feeling will fade away.

Finally, expect struggle. It will grow tiring, and equally as frustrating waiting for your special someone. You pray, you guard your heart, you grow interest in someone, only to find out that the feeling isn’t mutual. Don’t grow weary. God gives us what we need, when we need it. Never let the idol of having someone to love overrule your desire for your God. Expect a true follower of God. They exist. But they aren’t running down the wide, open road of the world. They’re on the narrow road, and chances are, as empty as you may feel that it is, it’s actually filled with godly men and women, waiting just like you. Expect them to be guarding their heart. Their life may have a messy past, and their home life may not resemble yours. Your interests may conflict. They may go completely against what you’ve always gone for. They may be a little selfish. They may be a little insecure. They may be a little stubborn. They may have burdens that you’ve never experienced. They may have ugly scars. But you know what they’ll have? Jesus.

If they don’t have Jesus, then they don’t have any business having you.

Stay encouraged. Follow Him. He won’t ever leave you or forsake you, and He will always provide for you in every circumstance of life. Don’t compromise your heart for God for the heart of someone who doesn’t value that importance.

Don’t ever let anyone make you feel like you don’t deserve what you want.

If a godly person is what you expect, keep expecting it. Don’t settle for what the world tries to convince you is love. The fuzzy feelings won’t save your soul. The words of another person won’t save your soul. Christ must be your first love, before anyone can give that same love away.

Follow God. Having faith is expecting something to happen without seeing or having tangible proof that it will. God brought you this far, maybe He just needs to bring you a little farther to catch up with that man or woman you’re waiting for. Let God guide your expectations, not this world.

Keep on.

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