Last semester there was this girl.
Well, if my past is any indicator, this means that a lesson was about to come.
Anyway, there was this girl, and over the course of a few weeks, feelings began to creep in.
The time came when I decided that I wanted to date her. I liked her, and I had prayed about it, and I felt confident that it was the right thing to do.
Never follow your feelings.
I am so glad that one of my good friends stepped in when he did, since my mind was romantically drugged and clear thinking was not something that I could fully do at the time. He told me I was going a little too fast and that I should take a week to fast and pray about what the Lord wanted me to do. I was going to see her the next day, and he told me that I should pray that God would give me a sign as to which direction I should move toward.
I didn’t want to do this. I didn’t want to wait. But I knew in my heart that my friend was speaking truth into my life and that this was the wise thing to do. So I spent some time praying that God would shine a very bright light on the path that I should take. In my heart, however, I really wanted to pursue her, and I was pretty sure that I would.
When I got together with her the next day, I sort of forgot about my prayer the previous night. We got into a conversation about life goals, and all of a sudden she said something that hit me like a ton of bricks.
Now, it wasn’t something terribly big. Neither was it something that I would have considered to be so important to me. But as certain words left her lips, I felt a blow to my heart as the previous night’s prayer came rushing back to my mind. God was clearly pricking at my heart that this girl’s passions, although God-honoring, did not match my own.
When I got back to my dorm room, I sat on the couch and had a fight with God. Why, God, why? Why would You do this to me? I really liked this girl, and He was splitting us up. Didn’t He know how much I cared for her?
Then it hit me.
Like two tons of bricks.
God shot me the question: If you really care for her, you would desire what I have planned for her.
It was as if a wave of truth rose up and washed my clouded mind. I had not been really loving her, but had been selfishly desiring her. I had been lying to myself by saying that I wanted the best for her, but my infatuated heart was telling me that I was the best for her.
God told me that if I had really cared for her, my heart’s desire would have been for her to be in God’s will. If it meant that I would not end up in a relationship with her, that would be OK. God desired for me to rest so completely in Him that my heart would be at peace with whatever He had in store.
To truly love someone means that you love and follow after God so much that you are at peace if that person is taken away from you.
She had become my idol.
God wanted me back.
This mindset has really changed how I think about relationships. This week, I have actually begun pursuit of another girl. But this time I have saturated myself in prayer, and God has given me the heart to say that I am OK if I do not “get the girl.” I want what is best for her, and I make sure to pray for her best every day. I surrender myself to the Lord’s will every day, because I could not have this mindset otherwise.
Remember, to truly love someone means that you have surrendered her not to your desires, but to God’s perfect will for her life.
Copyright 2012 James Eldridge. All rights reserved.