Hey ! It’s been a while since I wrote Longing for Love: Waiting, yet Satisfied. And the man that I was praying for (yes, those hypotheticals were spoken out of experience :-), is now my boyfriend. We’ve been dating for a year and a half, and we’ve known each other for 3 years (the first of which was mostly hi and bye). Some may think – prayers answered, job well done, you’ve got the man of your dreams – well actually NOOOOOO – THE JOB IS NOT NEAR DONE ! The praying cannot cease and if anything it has got to go on all the more!
Guess what! The uncertainty I encountered in waiting to see if my feelings were reciprocated – is NOT nearly as painful + anxiety riddled as the uncertainty I have experienced in dating. And this is especially true when you enter into a relationship with A LOT of fear and hurt. It’s easier to walk away- hurt ? Yes, but not as scathed as one would be in a breakup- so there’s fear of that happening … As difficult as some of the moments in waiting were and are, I often had to task myself with remembering the moments of rejoicing more – rejoicing in what the Lord was doing in my heart and eventually finding out ways he’d been moving on my boyfriend’s heart as well(I still have to do this). Most importantly I love what the Lord was and is teaching me about suffering, waiting ,& finding my all in Him.
I have to remind myself about these joys now, because it is so easy to be discouraged- I have even battled with depression over the last few months (I’ll do a post about this and emotions soon). I admit I’d identify family and the desire to one day have my own as a frequent idol of my heart,but the Lord has been ironing that out one day at a time. Most important to me is serving in whatever capacity He has called me to and right now that is as a single woman: I am a member of Living Hope, daughter, sister, friend, chemistry teacher, coworker,and a student. This is where the Lord has called me to serve presently…
Embarking on this new season I have allowed fear and anxiety to paralyze me (more often than I’d like to admit). However, despite the presence of those fears- I found encouragement when I realized the Lord has equipped me for this and this is a call to DEPEND on Him all the more. This season of life – especially dating- has been and continues to be an exercise of trusting in God no matter what the circumstances are! Prayer, fighting for holiness, studying Scripture to know God personally, and laying your life down for others in service are still VERY much important! Married or Single – Christ is our JOY!
Christ must be our joy, and He himself is our peace! And as I encounter fear, my weaknesses, and failures, I have found the strength to push forward by His grace and not my own understanding or the lack thereof. That has NOT been easy! I have felt very heavy and especially restless the past 6 months. My heart is weary and sin creeps at the door waiting to appeal to my impatience, anxiety, or selfishness. I am driven to depend and lean on the Lord more and more but amidst the mounting uncertainties – I have on numerous occasions given in to being driven by this weariness and anxiety.
I remember initially embarking on this new journey, although my boyfriend & I had been friends , I was extremely anxious (I am quite prone to anxiety). This boggled my mind initially especially because for a little while I could not put my finger on what was making me so anxious about being with a guy who had been nothing but a channel of grace in my life & a joy to get to know up until that point. And then it hit me while I was reading a Desiring God article about the uncertainty in dating:
How am I supposed to be vulnerable without security, promises or covenant?
How was I to react to this anxiety caused by the inevitable uncertainty of dating, without becoming defensive or withdrawing?
How does the grace of Jesus Christ meet us in the midst of this new season that often tends toward performance anxiety (at least I know it does for me)?
Over the past year I have battled with anxiety over my job situation (working part-time and really needing to work full – time) , graduate school, settling into a new career & work schedule, regretting taking on school loan debt, and lingering anxiety over the past (it still pops up & I have to tell myself to stop talking to myself [thanks D. Martin Lloyd-Jones & Psalm 42]). And to top this all off – a new relationship!
Let me tell you – the truth of the matter is that : ” affection + vulnerability with a lack of covenental commitment creates a tension that tends to end either in a breakup or a marriage” (and that can be scary to think about). Dating brings so many emotions, ups & downs. It can be pretty complex. However, the comfort of this is that:
“Dating is an emotional complexity that we were not intended to endure for long [tell me about it!]. Uncertainty in dating pushes us forward with purpose. It unsettles us & shows us idols in our hearts. It makes us anxious. Uncertainty is soil of the Psalms (Ps 38:17; 88:3). . . That tension was not meant to be immediately resolved. It is an unsustainable (but not purposeless) relationship-form in the long term, meant to lead you to depend on a heavenly Father who cares for you, and promises to provide for you, regardless of your relationship status or prospects.”
So do I have an immediate answer to those questions I posed initially?
YES: Trust myself less, Depend on Christ more! And pray for help from the Holy Spirit in guiding & leading me in what this looks like !
In the words of Paul Tripp from one of my favorite devotionals :
“God is a resting place, trusting self is a minefield!”
God is not going to forsake me in this journey. He has not only given me Himself, His Spirit and His Word but He has given me people and resources of wisdom, pointing me to Him! He will work things out for His glory & for our good. And He will honor our desire to seek Him & please Him first, above the desires of our own hearts. My favorite part of wrestling through the anxiety that naturally comes with dating- is learning to trust Him more all the while enjoying this new season! Yes, dating is very uncertain, BUT what I do know is that the promises of God are CERTAIN. There is rest here! I am, of course, uncertain about the outcome because I don’t know what that will be yet. There will be more tough conversations and moments ahead, but God knows the outcome, and I’m tasked (not alone though- thank you Lord!) with being content & satisfied that His knowing is MORE THAN ENOUGH!