Up until recently, I had a regular pattern I followed in dating: meeting someone > being cautiously excited > losing my dang mind with feelings > it ultimately not working > trying to orchestrate any possible scenario to make it work > losing my dang mind with feelings > moving on > backsliding > meeting someone.
I met good guys and ones you can just smell the bad on, but it never made a difference. Even if it seemed like a good thing, it never worked out. I’ve told God countless times that I was ready, now was the time. I could practically feel the excitement as I waited. And waited. And waited. Eventually someone would come along and I’d start my cycle again.
There are a million reasons I never tried to break the cycle, but the biggest one was moving on for real would mean that option would be gone and I’d be left with nothing. Give me ill treatment, but please don’t leave me without prospects.
I needed to hold onto these small teddy bears because it was something to hold onto. Because I have yet to see His plan play out, I don’t fully trust God with what’s next. Instead of believing in His big plans, I cling to what feels good now.
At 27, it’s actually not hard to understand why I feel like I need something tangible to put my hope in. While the average age for woman to get married in America is 27, there’s so much societal pressure, especially in the church to accomplish this sooner. And yes, accomplish, as if it’s another point you can use on your spiritual resume to sell yourself. Most of the people who attended the same Christian college as me are married, and I haven’t had a real boyfriend since I was 18. Needing something makes sense.
The idea of someone is better than the reality of having no one.
But these ideas only hurt me. They consume me. They distract me. Even worse, they show these guys I’m here whenever they might want me again and I’m way too eager to let things go and try again. Although let’s be real, ‘try again’ is usually just some texts that give me hope and then he’s gone again. But I’m always ready to reply, ready to charm, ready to be wanted.
Occasionally I justified this behavior. I’m just having fun, right? It doesn’t mean anything. I’m young and want to enjoy myself. I’m not doing anything that bad, comparatively speaking. That’s what the world told me, and I listened.
Except it did mean something. It always means something.
Even now I try to act all breezy and cool, but I want a husband (even typing that makes me feel as if I’m betraying some ancient decree that a woman should never appear too desperate). I’m not looking for a four-year boyfriend. I’m in my late-20s. I know what I want. I want a man who loves God and is going to lead our home and be my partner. I’m not trying to rush into kids or anything, but at this stage I’m not looking to date a few people. I want something passionate and magical and hard and challenging and real.
And yet it only recently occurred to me I wasn’t fighting what I wanted.
Our message series at church for January was ‘Fight For It,’ and it’s also the driving theme for our year. It was really inspiring and I took notes about how I was going to fight for my own victories, but never once considered fighting for my romantic life.
Then we talked about fighting for your family, and slowly it all began to click.
Nehemiah 4 discusses the dangers of rebuilding the temple and how they had to be ready to fight. He tells the people “Don’ be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!” (4:14).
While God was obviously on their side, Nehemiah didn’t say it like “no big, guys. God will deliver us so be chill.” Even with the promise of God, it was still a battle they had to fight. They had to trust in His delivery, but they were responsible too.
Too often I rely on the delivery, but refuse to do the work. I expect God will give me this great man I’m waiting for solely because I’m checking all the right boxes. Maybe I even thought my dedication to growing my faith was fighting for it, but now I see differently.
I tell God this is what I’m waiting for, but every time an easier option strolls my way, I give in. I give up any fight I had for what feels good now.
Recently I said no. I won’t give details, but I had the opportunity to satisfy what I wanted now and backslide into old habits, but I didn’t. I walked to my car, closed the door and screamed. Yep, that actually happened. Partially out of excitement, but also partially because I couldn’t believe I had something and let it go. Do I not know who I am?
And then I realized something incredible.
For the first time, I was actually fighting for it. I knew what I wanted and I refused to let a moment deter me. I’m actually ready to wait. I mean sure, I’ve been waiting, but my waiting wasn’t full of trust. There wasn’t a battle to trust God. It was just waiting for something to satisfy me now and telling God I believed His plan.
If I want something different for my life, I need to pursue something different. It’s so simple, and so important. No matter how hard I tried, clinging to guys who didn’t want was never going to give me the story I wanted.
I know myself well enough to realize it won’t always be this easy, and the devil won’t let me go without a fight. There will be bigger temptations I’ll fight on this journey as I wait, but instead of accepting defeat, I know I have another option.
I’m going to remember my God, who is great, and I’m going to fight for something real.