i acknowledged to myself (and my sister) today that i am in a funk. well, its not full-blown yet, but it could really get there in a hurry. i had a conversation with one of my good guy friends this afternoon that has seriously messed with my head. the conversation is a familiar one by one …. which is part of the problem. its not that the conversation isn’t a good one, but it isn’t necessarily pleasant either. it goes something like this:
[guy]: can i ask you something?
[me]: sure, go for it (at this point, i already know what’s coming, and am bracing myself)
[guy]: do you know __________________? (fill in the blank with girl’s name)
[me]: (usually) yeah, i know her. what’s up?
[guy]: well, what do you think of her?
and i answer honestly. sometimes the answer is positive; yeah, she’s a great girl. solid, mature, would fit/be compatible with you, etc. but sometimes the answer is negative: yeah, i guess she’s a nice girl. but i’ve noticed _____________ about her, or she is working through _____________ or _______________ or whatever- pick your issue and fill in the blank.
but more and more lately, than answer has been something along the lines of “yeah, she’s a great girl. for where she is in life and her experiences, she is right on track and solid and growing. but where she is and where you are, are separated by a pretty large gap called life experience/stage of life.” this afternoon, i must admit, i got more than a little frustrated. i have the hardest time understanding why men my age, with no discernable major issues (those are hard to find, let me tell you!) decide that the one for them is a girl who is usually a lot younger, and leap years behind in terms of what kinds of life she’s been through. [just so i’m not misunderstood: age is not the important factor here. i’m not saying that a 22 year old is too young for a person my age, i’m just saying that the average 22 year old isn’t on a level playing field as far as the life they have experienced. i don’t want to teach someone how to be an adult. i want a guy who has a job, pays his own bills, knows, owns, and is working though his personal baggage inside his relationship with the lord. if i wanted someone i had to teach how to be an adult, i’d have kids! but if you’re 22 and think you can keep up with me, much less lead me- email me for an application. (hahaha!)] but seriously- its not that these young ladies aren’t great people; but they are girls. guys, if you want to be men then you need to date women. don’t date down in terms of maturity and life stage.
<discaimer: the reason these conversations are hard is not because i am interested in any of these guys in a romantic way- but whether the interest is there or not, sometimes it just hard to watch what you want so desperately happen to someone else. i love these guys and value their friendships and wisdom in my life, and i am thankful for the level of trust that allows us to have these conversations. fyi 🙂 >
coming from me, a single woman in her (gulp) late twenties, i’m sure this sounds like sour grapes and a whole lot of complaining. and you’re right- there is some truth to that. but there is also a genuine frustration when i watch my guy friends put themselves in relationships where they aren’t being edified, challenged, and cared for like they should be. but the complaining part is what this post is mostly about.
i had a very honest conversation with my sister this evening over dinner, and she challenged me with something that cut to the heart of the matter. [quick background about my sister: she’s awesome. 4 years younger than me, my best friend. has come through a lot of crap that was the result of a string of poor decisions that she made regarding relationships, and now questions whether or not she even wants to get married. but she has learned much, and is an encouragement to me as she allows the lord to heal and change her.] sarah used the example of 1 samuel 8 where Israel demands a king. up to this point in their history, they have been led by judges. sometimes this went well …. sometimes it didn’t. at this time in history, samuel has judged israel for many many years, and “when he grew old, he appointed his sons judges for israel.” but we see that his sons did not walk in his ways- they were easily brided, and ‘perverted justice’. so the elders got together with samuel and asked him to appoint a king to rule over them, ‘such as the other nations have’. when samuel inquired of the lord, he was told to go ahead and appoint a king- this was not israel rejecting samuel’s leadership, it was israel rejecting God as their king. while what they asked was not a bad thing- they wanted the removal of corrupt judges, and the appointment of a king to rule them- it signified a rejection of the theocracy that God had set up. saul is appointed and things go well for a time, but eventually he is possessed by a spirit and tries to kill the shepherd boy who would one day succeed him as king.
what sarah was getting at is that there came a point where she asked god for a boyfriend. and he knew that what would be best for her in the long run would be to give her that relationship. a few weeks later, she met a guy we’ll call chuck. for lack of a better way to explain chuck, let’s just say that if i ever saw him again, i would pull that move from ‘what happens in vegas’ and junk-punch him. “YOU know why.” but after chuck came another guy. and another. and a string of guys who used her and took her down roads she swore she’d never go. sarah said tonight that the only thing good she took from that time in her life is the way she experienced grace and learned to trust in and wait on the lord.
what she asked for (and what i sometimes ask for) is not a bad thing. we are wired and designed to desire and thrive in that kind of relationship. but when we ask for something that is contrary to god’s timing in our lives, we are asking for the worst kind of pain. god knows that sometimes his best for us is born out of the pain of our broken heart but he knows that at other times, his best for us is born out of the pain of waiting. c.s.lewis wrote: “we’re not necessarily doubting that god will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.” as i wrote in an earlier post, god is all about two things: his glorification and our best interest. if those things involve pain, the so be it …. but those situations also provide god with an opportunity to show himself mighty through redemption, grace, and healing.
there are moments when i really- like really want to be in a relationship, headed for marriage. i strongly desire to be a helpmeet, a support system, a right hand. i want to center my life around doing ministry with someone and raising a family with them. but i’m picky- there are qualities that man must be in possession of! and i have a lot to do and learn before i am ready to settle down. and the last, and most important reason i’m still single: god knows that his best for me is accomplished through the pain of my waiting on him. so lord, keep me seeking you …. keep me hungry and looking to you to sustain me. keep teaching me to find my identity and sufficiency in you and not in my relational status. keep me trusting that you love me and have your best in mind for me, and that you are not ‘holding out on me’. keep my heart soft enough to not push against the limits you’ve put on me, so that i don’t provoke you into giving me what i want before your time. keep changing me and making me more like Christ, so that i am better equipped to do and be whatever and whoever you call me to. even when it hurts.