I used to think I had it down.
Friends ---> Dating/Courting--->Engagement--->Marriage.
Let's just say my oversimplification was good for my own head but as I watched friends, family, and everyone in between fall into relationships, I realized my black/white viewpoint of the world was grossly inadequate.
Since August I've been in a relationship black hole. Not because of a certain person or people but simply because the reality around me didn't match up with the reality I thought of in my head. I could not neglect my ideals but I could not hold onto them with such a vice grip anymore. I also could not fall into the trap of relationship relativity or pragmatism. I can never accept "Whatever works for you, do it." There had to be some way of looking at this? A middle ground?
I remember back in high school when I made my "list" for what I was looking for in my future spouse. I actually still have it. The words etched on that paper reflect the height of my idealism. They reflect my "disney-esque" hope that if I was prince-charming that I would find my perfect princess. It wasn't till college when I had a rather rude awakening that people don't believe that works. I cannot tell you how many people chided me for limiting myself or for putting some type of false expectation that some unknown woman would have to deal with. As the years continue to pass since that list was written, those who chided continue to ask me, like those who doubt that Jesus is returning, what about those words now? Just give it up...
Those words would be easy to listen to but like I said there are some things I can't give up. As I get older the pressure from those around me, who themselves are stumbling into love, seem to be pressing me to get "in the game". As if I was benched and they can come to the sidelines to substitute me in. All the while giving me "tips and game plans" that worked for them, hoping that it will improve my game. Yet, still, it doesn't fit. I can't give up my own experiences in the game and try to make others my own. It's like Lebron says, don't try and be me...be better.
Stuck between idealism and pragmatism has led me to some conclusions and to some rather abstract, open-ended realism. I look at that list from high school and although some of the things on it are pretty random, I found that many of those things I still want. Unlike high school though there are new realities that have been added. For instance the list consisted of fragments or simple verbs, adjectives, adverbs. "Lovely...Dainty...Inner Attractiveness...Smile of a goddess...etc." It would be foolish of me to just "settle" and give up on these things. I want them. In fact I don't know any guy who wouldn't. Yet, I also find that there seems to be a level to each of these things. When they are just "stated" they seem to be "non-negotiable". They seem to be absolute. Undoubtedly some of them are: A girl, a Christian, call to the ministry, etc. Yet, some of the other things seem to have an asterisks. Maybe even scale of 1-10 by which to compare themselves by.
It used to look like this: "Dainty".
Now it may look like this: "Dainty: 8/10".
The reality of high school has evolved. As I grow closer to God, my eyes are open to new realities and depths of beauty. Things which seemed to be so clear are beginning to have color. Verbs are given adjectives. Things I never knew are opened up to me. So I expect it with my future spouse. It is not setting false expectations. It is the natural outworking of the command of God in Scripture: "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." (Philippians 4:8)
As I learn more of God, the larger my capacity to see beauty is. I can have my lists but God is the filler in-between the lines. I can have my expectations. But as is the case with my salvation, my life, and my future: "Since ancient times no one has heard,no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him." (Isaiah 64:4) If Jesus then is the giver of abundant life, not just in the future but also for now, then I am promised not that my expectations are to high but that they fail to really capture what He is capable of doing for me. Therefore, the unknown factor is not that my list limits God or what He is capable of doing; instead my list is inadequate to capture the capabilities of a limitless God. The crux of course being if my list is written with eyes that are fixed on Him. Is He my delight? Is He my love? "Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight." (Psalm 119:85) For following Him leads me to Delight...
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Posted by Brother Bell at 3:04 PM