Over the past several weeks, myself and the guys at the God Lab have spent time repeatedly discussing girls and dating. It’s been quite a focus ever since spring arrived and so did the desire to enjoy the beautify of the world along with our own beauty. This desire for a girlfriend has been very consuming and along with this comes many questions, differences, struggles, and confusion. But, through this difficult and containing difficulty, God has been good and patient.
The story is told a little like Memento – back to front.
I stand there, amidst friends at a wedding reception party. My mind recounts some of my experiences throughout the day and I realize something – something I’ve known for a long time in my head, but very little in my being. I realize that God has this great plan for me and in that great plan is this amazing intimate relationship with a very special woman. I come to realize that this desire to date is really a desire for intimacy. I realize that a beautiful and sweet girl is not enough. I realize, again, that physical intimacy is never good enough – that the physical (sex) is only a way to celebrate the emotional, spiritual, and intellectual intimacy shared between a couple.
Not long before, I am hanging out with friends and a good friend of mine says, with his own girl nearby, “Hey, look at that girl’s boobs” to another (single) friend of mine. My friend’s girl was not very happy to hear this – obviously, and she said that he shouldn’t be looking at other girls’ boobs. Even though my friend only wanted my other (single) friend to check out the girl, it relayed a message to his own girl – “I look at other girls.” I know my friend would never consider cheating on his girl, but that isn’t what is important (as I see it). He wasn’t making his girl feel like she was the only girl for him – there may be other girls he looks at.
Not long before, another good friend left the dancing of the wedding reception to go and sit with his girl and talk to her. His motive was to make sure that she knew that she is very beautiful, the object of his attention and affection, and his priority.
I wonder how each of these girls views this boyfriend’s dedication to them. I wonder if there is a difference. I wonder if each of these girls feels incredibly valued by their boy. [In case you don’t know, I believe that the man is responsible to ensure that his girl always feels incredibly valued, secure, and esteemed highly – because that is how love plays out.]
Not long before, the best man was giving his toast to the groom and the attendees.
FYI: Personally, I see this time as a time when the best man shares memories, portrays admirable characteristics, discusses why he believes in the marriage of the two, and speaks truth and blessing into their future.
This time was spent sharing a few brief memories of the past and fairly superficial statements about the two of them. Did he mention anything about the intimacy the two shared? No. Did he share what makes them great together? No. Did he share anything that called the audience into the relationship? No. Maybe, I just have very high expectations of this responsibility, however I also believe that is shared is indicative of how this close friend saw the relationship play out. If that’s the case, where is the depth?
The day before, I felt relieved. For probably the first time, I felt that God was allowing me to experience in my being what I’ve thought and struggled with for some time. I began to feel alignment between what I felt should be done and where my heart was.
The day before, I stood there completely appalled. This was totally out of character. This girl that has always been the most considerate and sensitive person I know just lashes out at me over a non-issue. But, while this was happening, I felt God telling me, “I know this hurts, but you need to experience this.” I was excited and disappointed at the same time. I was excited because I felt my heart begin to come in line with my head. I was hurt, because this alignment would likely mean that my relationship with this fantastic girl would dwindle and fade away.
The day before, I sat in God Lab and asked questions that I’ve been struggling with for far too long. Do I believe that God has my best interested in mind? Do I believe that God’s way is better than my way? What is the big deal with dating (and marrying) somebody that doesn’t share the same fundamental spiritual beliefs? How do I come to a place where both my heart and my head (what sounds right and others I respect say is right) are in line? Why is there this constant struggle and anguish (every-day) between my emotions, what I think is right, what feels good/right, and how God’s love and good-plan plays into everything?
After much discussion, I again understood why that it’s so incredibly important for me to date and commit myself to somebody with very similar fundamental values and beliefs. Not only are there differences to overcome throughout the relationship, but the most important thing for me couldn’t be shared like I need it to be. I need to be able to share how God is great, what God is doing in my life, how God relates to everything I do, and have that special girl get excited about these things, encourage me with the truth of God, be able to understand what I’m talking about, and move along with me whole-heartedly in pursuit of God. These things that I desire so much cannot happen with this girl that has been closely involved in my life for some time.
I realized that evening that this girl and I would never be able to reach the level of intimacy that I would need to share with somebody I date (and then marry). There would be a plateau because she doesn’t get excited about the same things (spiritual) that I do. I couldn’t share things that are so defining about me. I could count on her to encourage me in the direction I desire to go.
This understanding is very important, but of course, it leaves me scared. I’ve never dated a girl that I could share my spiritual excitement with. So, I’ve always been scared to let go of a girl so amazing in all other areas because I don’t know what life will be like without her. I’m scared that because this is best I’ve known that there isn’t something better in my future. I’m scared to trust that God is in control and that his ways are better than my ways. I’m scared because I’ve never experienced better, so it’s hard to believe that there is better. I’m scared. I struggle. I waver, falafel, and am inconsistent. (God, I need your guidance.)
The day before, I spent quite some time with this girl. And, well, one of the things I love most is discussing life, truth, beliefs, spirituality, faith, opinions, etc. So, after much apprehension, I proposed that we watch a brief Nooma video (009 – Bullhorn). So, we did and it was great, but I left wondering – where are the tough life questions, those that cause change? The discussion didn’t contain excitement, conviction, passion or those things that I desire to see during a discussion. On top of that, I believe my primary love language is physical touch. So, I get distracted easily and tend to the practices of old. Ultimately, I left that night confused and frustrated.
So today, where does this leave me? It leaves in a place of understanding and struggle. I must go forth and seek God first (Matt 6:33). God has shown in many ways when I have lived my life this way, but now that I’ve let dating and the desire for a girl get in the way, life has been much less joy-filled. God is changing me and moving my heart in alignment with what I understand to be truth. I’m scared to trust God, but I’m excited to rest assured that my future is only going to be much more precious and amazing then the best days of now – of me holding on and attempting to control my life. I know that giving up is the only way to win. Why don’t I do it? Why do I want to claim victory rather than give that credit to God? Why am I so selfish and inconsiderate? Why, Why, Why?
“Why” doesn’t matter; only what I’m going to do with the situation. And the same goes for you, the reader. Is there going to be change? Am I going to believe that God’s way is the best way? Are my thoughts and actions going to demonstrate that?