I have a habit of falling head over heels for girls at the first sign that they might be interested in me. This infatuation is annoying. It seems any time I find someone who could possibly be that wife I've been looking for my whole life, I get focused on that one goal.
I understand infatuation is a normal and acceptable process in dating. And it's not so strong that I can't accomplish what I need to do; in fact, if anything, it's helping my performance and reminding me of what's important. But I'm having trouble sleeping, and I can't go to bed without reviewing over and over conversations we've had. It's not worry because I trust that God is sovereign. But I'm trying to rush into a relationship.
Is there any practical advice you can give me to help me step back and perhaps calm my overanxious heart?
Joy and excitement over a potentially budding relationship is perfectly normal. The concept is God’s idea, and it’s good. God gave us all this potential for affection, both giving and receiving, so we want to celebrate it in the proper context, not immediately wish it away.
We celebrate these hopes and emotions not by stuffing them, but by anchoring them to Christ, so that they won’t be tossed around in all directions every time a different wind comes along. When our feelings are "anchored" to Christ — submitted to the Spirit and Scripture — we can rejoice and affirm them without shame or guilt.
Don’t get me wrong; as believers we’re not immune to hurt and heartache, as probably all of us can testify, but that which is a result of an "un-anchored" heart will be significantly reduced as Christ fills emptiness only He can satisfy.
Think of it this way: The more our hearts become captured and captivated by the person of Christ (an ever-expanding process), the less we are prone to allow it to run after everything that "seems" fulfilling, whether a relationship or anything else. We become more discerning and wise about our choices, and we avoid crooked and dead-end paths.
One of the benefits of being anchored to Christ is having the mind and wisdom of God available to us to help us sort out the good from the bad, the wise from the foolish. The simple gift of wisdom, when we receive it and put it to use, can keep us from a host of hurt and heartbreak. I think what you need most is wisdom and the discipline to respond to it.
You asked for practical advice, so here you go. First, God has promised wisdom to those who ask, but note, we do have to ask. James 1:5 says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who give generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him."
This is great news. This means that you can actually bring all of this to the Lord even before any relationship exists and ask for His wisdom ahead of time. Then, when opportunities arise, you ask more and often: "Lord, you are the God of wisdom. I need your wisdom right now to know whether to take the next step in this relationship. You said if I would ask you, you’d give it without reproach, generously! So please guide me through your Word and Spirit as to what to do."
Obviously you’ll pray it however you want, but it’s as simple as that. God doesn’t want you to keep running into walls and getting your heart broken. He desires to give you wisdom, but you must ask Him for it, regularly.
Next, I’m going to challenge you to read a chapter in Proverbs every day, starting today. Whatever date it is, read that chapter. As you read, use it as a prayer guide by turning the verses into prayers.
For example, Proverbs 4:5-6 says, "Get wisdom! Get insight! Do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will keep you; love her, and she will guard you." These are a great couple of verses to pray over my relationships. "Lord, I ask for wisdom and insight to keep me from the wrong path on relationships. You know I struggle with falling head over heels too soon in relationships. Lord, help me love wisdom so my heart will be guarded. That’s what You promise You’ll do for me, and I thank You for it!"
I challenge you to do this for the next two to three months. Daily ask God for wisdom with relationships and then pray through a chapter of Proverbs. As you build into your life a culture of intentionally seeking God’s wisdom rather than passively hoping you’ll catch it somehow, you’ll begin to notice a marked difference in how you manage your desire for marriage and your relationships in general. God will bring these things into proper context and secure them to the steady anchor of Christ. Worry and anxiety will melt away and peace will come.
Accountability will help you stick to it, so tell a friend you’re doing this and ask him to check in on you. Or better yet, ask him to join you; then meet once in a while to see what changes you’re noticing. If you decide not to do anything, don’t expect anything to change. If you decide to take up my challenge, let us know and keep us posted on how it goes.
Copyright 2012 John Thomas. All rights reserved.