Lately, my thoughts have been filled with dating/marriage in general and what I'm looking for in a husband, thoughts that have been spurred on by the (maybe) attentions of a handsome gentleman for whom I am harboring more than a bit of affection. In keeping with my tendency to write soul-baring letters to guys of whom I am fond, last weekend, he received a curious bit of my brain. Half of it addressed something we'd discussed earlier in the weekend, and the rest was a ramble on why I wasn't sure I could marry him. (To be clear, he didn't propose and we're not dating, but our conversational topics often veer in the direction of marriage.) I won't tell you exactly what the note said, but here are some thoughts that have been running around in my head since then.
Some of the attitudes that I have long held toward members of the opposite sex have so often caused me only pain. Thinking that for some reason I have some claim on a guy is absolutely ridiculous, especially when he doesn't share the feelings that I have toward him. Assuming that just because I like someone that he will like me back leads to all kinds of nastiness. Firstly, if he likes someone else, there's tension. If someone else likes him, there's tension. That tension breeds jealousy and prevents meaningful friendships from forming between people who otherwise might be close friends.
What has happened to me often enough that I should have learned my lesson by now (and apparently am finally coming around to it) is that I derive my self-worth in that particular season of life from the attention of whatever guy I'm chasing. This method of valuing myself necessarily leads to discontentment. No other human being is ever going to love me so consistently and so thoroughly that I can have a positive self-image all the time just because he loves me. The only relationship I have that works that way is with God. He loves me despite my failings, and He is faithful even when I am not. I am a daughter of the King of kings, beloved of Him and an heir with His Son Jesus Christ. Therein lies my identity. Not in what some guy thinks of me.
This leads me to the idea that if my identity truly lies in Christ and I am embracing that idea and being satisfied and fulfilled in it, then the man who is to be my husband, the man God ordained for that purpose, will naturally be attracted to me because of that quality of my life. I hope to marry a man who loves God more than he loves me, who is seeking to live a life that is glorifying to God. Such a man would be seeking a godly wife, and that is what I hope someday to be. (This has not been running around my head with the other thoughts. It just came up, and I figured I might as well include it.)
Satan, of course, does not want me to be satisfied with the love of God. He wants me to keep running after other things. So he gets inside my head and tells me that it will feel so good to have that guy in my life, to have him paying attention to me, to be the girl on his arm. While all of this may be true in the fleshly sense (and from my general experience, this holds true), when I am no longer that girl, when he has another girl in his arms, it doesn't feel so good anymore and I'm back where I started wondering why on earth anyone would want to be with me if he doesn't and thinking I'm not good enough to get a guy as amazing as that one. HA! Again, this goes back to the identity in Christ thing. My value as a human does not lie in the fact that a guy likes me enough to date me or dance with me. It lies in the fact that God loves me so much that He sacrificed His own Son so that I could know Him.
To Satan, I speak the truth of the love of my great big God. I am worthy. I am loved. I am beautiful.
Yes, I know this is so much easier said than done. Trust me, I'm living it right now. I am so blessed, though, to have friends praying for me and building me up in the truth that is Christ Jesus, friends who prayed over me for the weekend, that I would enjoy the whole event and not spend the whole time wishing he would look at me (those prayers were answered by the way, thanks to an incredibly faithful God), friends who know my heart and know what I desire but who also know that my plans are not necessarily the same as God's plans and who provide godly, biblical wisdom, encouraging me but also reminding me to live in reality and not in the fantasy inside my head. For these friends, I am so thankful.
At the end of the note, I told him I wasn't expecting an answer so he didn't have to feel like he had to call or write. Still, whenever the phone rings or I have a facebook message, my heart jumps (along with my stomach), thinking it might be him. It hasn't been him yet and it may never be, but that's okay. I continue on in my prayers for contentment, my prayer for a godly husband (if that is God's will for me), and I am constantly seeking to grow more like Christ in my daily walk with Him. It's a tough road, but "tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope." (Romans 5:3-4) Maybe this isn't much as far as tribulation goes, but it is still an opportunity to grow, and for that, I am grateful.
"But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me." Micah 7:7