If you’re anything like me, you’re elated that spring is finally here (even though it was covered in the Michigan snow!) Daffodils, tulips, and Japanese cherry blossoms will soon start to bloom.. With so much life sprouting up and beginning to bloom in the world around us, the Across My Heart team caught on and was inspired by the theme of growth.
We all know that although our teen years are an exciting time, there are growing pains that come along with the maturing process. For some it’s friends and for others it’s handling stress at home or at school. For me, the growing pains included relationships with boys – or lack thereof.
When dreaming doesn’t go as planned
For as long as I can remember, my dream has been to become a wife and mother. In my mind, the ideal scenario was to start dating in late high school, get married fresh out of college, and start a family not long after. The only problem was that there was never a guy in the picture. I finished high school without dating anyone, so needless to say, things didn’t start out the way I had imagined.
I got so discouraged when I thought about my lack of a boyfriend as high school went on. I had friends who were in relationships, so why weren’t things working out the way I had imagined? Why wasn’t I ever in a relationship like so many people my age? What was wrong with me? What I didn’t realize at the time was that my desire to be in a relationship was all because of selfish reasons. Why hadn’t I ever dated anyone, what was I doing wrong, why weren’t things going the way that I had planned. I idolized the idea of being in a relationship.
During this time, I read a book called Get Lost by Dannah Gresh, which has the tagline, “A girl needs to be so lost in God that a guy has to seek Him to find her.” This book was instrumental in helping me release the craving for a boyfriend and turn to God to satisfy the longings of my soul. In Get Lost Dannah Gresh writes, “Part of getting lost is getting over yourself. Letting go of your plans, your desires, and your dreams. Stepping away from the things you are forcing and controlling. Releasing yourself from a fixation on things you think you need.”
Releasing our desires to God brings freedom. Loosening our grip on our carefully laid plans and giving them to God frees us from the bondage that our desires brought. Dannah Gresh writes later, “Getting lost means getting over yourself so that you can experience the all-encompassing love of God in such a way that you are directed by His desires and dreams.”
Allowing His dreams to define us
Looking back at my time in high school, I can see that I wasn’t ready to be in a relationship, as badly as I may have wanted it in the moment. As a college student, I am so grateful that I didn’t date in high school. I wasn’t ready to be in a relationship like that because of how selfish I was. It also helped me to avoid a lot of potential heart ache. Song of Solomon 8:4 says, “I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases.”
I wrote this all in past tense – like it’s something I’ve gotten over. To be honest, I still struggle with these overwhelming desires. I have to daily surrender the control that I think I have over the plans of my life to the Lord in prayer. But in reality, I don’t have control over any aspect of my life – God is ultimately sovereign. It saves a whole lot of stress and anxiety when we hand our illusions of control over to the One who has planned out our days. Proverbs 16:9 tells us, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
Finding freedom in letting go
I found a nugget of truth in a song called “Sing My Heart” that Ella Fitzgerald sings. (I have a thing for jazz, especially swing music.) Ella sings the lyrics, “If it’s to be, we soon shall see and if it’s not to be, no power on earth can make it so.” Even this secular song recognizes that we really don’t have control over the outcome of our lives or our love lives.
Releasing our plans and relinquishing control is a hard part of the growing up years (and even in the years beyond!) We like to grasp at things that we think will help our lives turn out like the way we’ve always dreamed. But there is freedom in letting go of our striving as God works His perfect will in our lives.