Monday, November 4, 2013

Stop Looking?

The Comment:
When you stop looking they say that is when he comes into your life... Is it wrong to think that is bogus?
Is it wrong? Probably not.
But, that's probably not what you're really trying to ask. Wrong implies that it's sinful, bad, incorrect thinking. It's not any of those things. Can you be skeptical about that statement? Absolutely. But, it's also hard to refute that in some instances that has proven to be true...that sometimes, someone has stopped looking....and then immediately he did appear.

I don't personally hate the statement. I don't love it, either. I think my biggest beef with statements like that is that they tend to generalize things too much. They seem to come with a invisible clause that makes you feel like a person is saying, 'Until you stop looking, you won't find him.' Which might be fine if it were true. But, it's not. There are too many other cases where people are looking and find the love of their life.

I think that's often the problem with dating/relationship advice. People have a tendency to get caught up in what they know to be true and good in their own lives and then they think that it must be the standard for how it's supposed to be. It makes sense, but I think it often breeds a certain feeling of inadequacy in others if they don't feel like they measure up or are doing it 'right'.

There were countless times where I heard the same phrase that you mentioned (just Google the quote and some version of the idea is smattered I was convinced that my problem was that I never could seem to stop looking. Everywhere I looked, I saw potential. How could I ever get to a point where I didn't? It seemed unfathomable to me. When I talked to a cool guy, I couldn't help but wonder... when I walked into a new place, I would scan the room for attractive males. And yet the words of many ran through my mind... if only I stop looking, then maybe this will happen.

So sometimes I tried. I really tried.
I prayed about it a lot, recognizing that if it were to ever'd have to be some supernatural force. It typically resulted in me not feeling like a very good Christian. Clearly I'm too focused on men and not enough on the Lord... and if I really cared abundantly more about God, I wouldn't be so caught up in wondering about all the 'what-ifs' with guys. Guilt plagued me. Not only did I feel incompetent in focusing solely on Christ, but I thought if I couldn't do that fully then I would never even meet a guy.

It was weird how the two got so twisted together in my brain. I struggled a lot with balance, with feeling like I idolized males too much...and even if anything ever did happen with a guy, I was scared that the Lord would ask me to give him up because I would be too obsessed or something.

It doesn't work like that. It was flawed theology.
The Lord isn't cruel and out to get us. He is jealous for us, absolutely, but He loves us and wants good things for us. He wants to bless us with things...while simultaneously refining us into a better image of Himself. He also doesn't work in a one specific way all of the time.

And, I think we need to remember we hope for romantic love here on earth and as we offer advice to others who hope for it. Just because it worked for us in one way doesn't mean it's a general rule for how it's going to (or how it should) work for someone else. Just because someone tells us that's how it worked for them, it doesn't mean that our story is going to look anything like that.

Mostly I think we just need to relax. To not look so hard to find some formula, some potion for love to magically appear. It'll happen. And when it happens, that will look different, too. You may know immediately you've met your husband or it may take you three years to figure it out.

We have to be people who allow for the Lord to work uniquely in our own lives (and other's lives) and to be willing to follow Him above all else. If that leads us to and through different things where we are simultaneously wondering what man we might meet in the process... cool. Don't let it deter you from walking wholeheartedly with the Lord though. If following Him fully leads us to and through different things where we are completely oblivious to anyone of the opposite gender that's around us? Cool. Keep doing your thing.

There isn't a right way. It's not hopeless if you're more like me and feel unable to turn off that 'switch' that makes you stop looking for a mate. It doesn't make you a bad person, a bad Christian, a pathetic or desperate lady. It's just part of who you are and it's good to be aware of it... and good to not let it consume you.

And so... maybe it's okay to think it's bogus sometimes. But, it's not entirely bogus--it can't be (for all those people out there that it 'worked' for). Maybe that's how it'll be for you. Maybe it's not. Just don't get caught up in the generalizations for how it's 'supposed' to look when you finally end up with that guy. Be surprised. Be open. Don't feel like you have to be doing it all a specific way in order to get the desired result.

Allow the Lord to orchestrate it all.
It's abundantly better that way.

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