I often notice people becoming uptight when we begin discussing the issue of trusting God with relationships. This is because they equate trust in God with passivity. But since when did “trusting God” mean “do nothing?” We’re all rather attached to eating, right? But do we sit at home waiting for meals to come to us? No, we work to purchase food. Similarly, if you want the job, you apply for the job. If you want to get involved in your church, you show up at the small group. And if you want to get married, you take initiative with members of the opposite sex by building healthy relationships with them and either pursuing or being open to pursuit.
This doesn’t mean just go out and pursue anyone and everyone. From a female perspective, I can say that this is perhaps one of the most odious patterns we observe in single guys. The guy who is clearly not discerning in his choice of date but employs a shotgun approach. One time I turned down a guy’s invite to accompany him to a party because I already had plans. Thirty minutes later he called back and asked my roommate to the same party. I’m sure his intentions were pure, but his actions gave the impression that it mattered little to him which girl he took.
However, if you want to get married and the Lord has clearly (or possibly) put a godly woman in your life, do something about it. My friend Jacob is a missionary in Europe. He met Amber when he first moved there three years ago, and their paths continued to cross. One night a group got together to watch a movie, and Jacob looked at Amber sitting next to him on the couch and thought, Why have I never considered her? Wow. She’s a godly woman. They began dating and last month he proposed to her during a team trip to Paris. They’ll marry in January.
Women often feel they are completely powerless. But they may not realize that their negative perceptions of the guys who are not asking them out may be keeping those very guys away. One male friend described this attitude as “poison.” I had to confront this attitude in myself several years ago:
My mom recently asked, “So what are you looking for in a guy these days?”
My reply was, “I’m not sure, but I know what I’m not looking for.” This statement reveals a critical attitude that on further consideration I believe is unbecoming of a Christian woman. Regardless of whether these men are potential mates, I should be considering how I can spur them on to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24). As I allow God to replace judgment and criticism with openness and love, I will be nurturing characteristics valuable in a marriage relationship.
Women, do your very best to be receptive to every guy who shows interest. It doesn’t mean you have to say yes to every date. It does mean that you treat men with respect and choose to look for the best in them. It may also mean being open beyond your comfort zone. I’m not talking undisciplined vulnerability here. I’m suggesting Christian women not rely on worldly dating games, such as playing “hard to get.” Certainly you will make yourself unattractive if you throw yourself at the guy, but staunchly refusing to ever reciprocate signs of interest may discourage him. These tendencies are often based in pride: It’s his job to pursue ME. I deserve to be pursued. What you mean is “I deserve to be pursued in the way I THINK a man should pursue me.”
A lot of healing needs to take place between the sexes. I will address this more in my next blog. We should be the aroma of Christ to one another. Trusting God with relationships does not mean sitting at home and never interacting with the opposite sex. It means deliberately walking the straight path, keeping your eyes open to the possibilities.
Read Part 5 here.