You can call my choices “safe,” and I won’t argue. But, that isn’t what I am going for. I want my choices to honor God. I remember a choice I had to make when I was nineteen; I sought the counsel of a couple of friends. They were not friends that I saw or visited on a daily basis, but they were my brother and sister in Christ. I knew they would encourage me to make the right choice. They did just that, at a time when other friends were giving me opposing advice. I did not make the easy decision, or the decision that felt good. I did not “follow my heart.” I decided that I could not date a classmate and friend that I was very much attracted to. He and I were friends, and we had a lot in common. There was also a mutual attraction that sent sparks flying whenever we were around each other. He was not a believer, and so we never dated. I have been told more than once in my life that, if I really wanted to be married, I could be. It always makes me think of that man; he was the kind of man who would have married me. I am thankful for those faithful friends who reminded me that it really wasn’t even a choice.
Twenty years later, I cannot regret my decision. You could call it the “safe” decision, but if I had become involved with someone who didn’t share my values, I may well have compromised them. When we allow ourselves to become romantically involved with an unbeliever, it will at best result in heartache. Most often, it will lead to sin. Whatever happens, it will hinder our relationship with God. When we allow ourselves to make exceptions and go outside of God’s plan, we aren’t trusting Him with our desires. We are putting what we want before God in our lives. I shared an example of this from my own life in last week’s blog.
I know that it isn’t always easy or straightforward. God may bring someone into our lives who becomes a challenge to our resolve. It may be an unbeliever at school or work whom we cannot avoid, and we can develop romantic feelings for that person. Or, we could become involved with someone who is misrepresenting himself. These are difficult situations, and there will be temptation. I don’t have all the answers, but I do know is that God is faithful. He can just as easily bring a believer into our lives, when it seems impossible. We need to resist the temptation to second guess God’s plan for us, and we must never settle for less than God’s best.
. . .And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
This is the very heart of my purpose for this blog. I did not write a book or start this blog because I hoped to become a voice for Christian singles. I want to point people to God by sharing my journey, as I seek to live a life fully surrendered Him. To surrender my life, I must trust Him with my relationships and submit them to His will. First and foremost, then, I must act in obedience to His Word, which is His written will. I will add to this prayer, and He will guide me. All types of human relationships have their difficulties. Romantic relationships, however, seem to have the greatest power over us. We need wisdom the most and seek it the least because it feels good to “follow your heart.” But the heart is fickle and easily deceived.
I feel strongly that, as a single person, I should not live seeking romance or looking for a husband, but I should live for Him “who calls [me] into his own kingdom and glory.” (I Thes. 2:12b) We who choose to follow Christ take risks and make sacrifices to serve Him and to spread His Gospel. But we must not compromise in our personal lives, somehow thinking that we can separate our “love life” from our Christian life of service. Our Lord has called us to surrender our lives completely.
Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.
I Peter 4:1-2
The lesson God has taught me, over the last decade of my life, is that joy and contentment come through surrendering control of my life to Him. I will trust the Lord with my future, and give Him my desire to be married. I won’t pretend that I am able to do this perfectly. Surrender is a daily battle that I must choose to engage in. Some days are more successful than others, but each day I learn more about what it means to know Him and follow Him. Following means that God is in the lead. He doesn’t follow us, we follow Him. Over time, it seems to get easier. The more I trust the Lord, the easier it is to trust Him because He is faithful to those who seek Him. From this perspective, I am certainly making the safe choice!