“As soon as you stop wanting it/praying for it, the Lord will drop it in front of your face,” I said in a somewhat sarcastic tone to one of my friends. We were talking about how hard it is sometimes to listen to well-intentioned Christian women give advice that, well, honestly, isn’t always super helpful.
“If that’s the case, I am never going to date anyone,” she said “I don’t think I’ll ever not want it or stop praying for it.”
One of the major blessings in Christian dating community is that we like to help each other out. We like to send encouraging songs, give “girl power” pep talks, and share stories about how God has worked in our love lives. However, with that, sometimes Christian women tell stories of their dating experiences and how the Lord dropped a man in their lap, and what emotional state they were in when it happened, how amazing it was, how the timing was great, and the stars aligned. We take God’s plans and we tend to romanticize them a bit…
Something that’s hard about these stories is that they’re real. The thing with Hollywood movies is that if you watch them enough, they influence the way you perceive and interact with the world, but you can at least remind yourself they aren’t real. It gets significantly harder when other women in our lives pray so hard, or, don’t pray at all, for a relationship, and it happens. You can’t help but wonder what you’re doing wrong, or how you could make it more clear to the Lord that you are indeed ready for a relationship and what is it going to take for that to finally happen?!
God wants our hearts
All advice must be taken with a grain of salt. I have heard women say that they were desperately asking God for a relationship and when they finally became content in their relationship with Him, the right guy happened to walk into their life. There is truth in the freedom that comes from letting go of expectations and hopes that we demand God gives us. There is a release that God honors when we put down our idols and desire him more than anything else in our lives. While we need to keep our hearts focused on God, desiring a romantic relationship is not a sin. Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to rid yourself of that desire – it’s fruitless and painful. Wanting a relationship with another person more than a relationship with God is unhealthy and will ultimately result in pain. But, God designed us for relationships with others and that desire in and of itself is not bad.
As I mention in my book review on Lady in Waiting, praying for a relationship is not transactional. God’s main goal in my life isn’t about giving me what I want, it’s making me into who He wants. I believe God prepares BOTH people for a relationship. If you are not the person God wants you to be for the relationship you are going to end up in, you better believe He will grow you into the person he wants you to be before getting you there. (This is not to say that you must be perfect to enter a relationship, simply that God’s timing really is best.) Praying for a relationship, or not praying for a relationship – I don’t believe that’s necessarily what moves the heart of God. I think what moves the heart of God is pursuit of Him.
God’s timing is perfect.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-11
The hardest thing is trusting in God’s timing, especially when we have our own timeline that we want God to follow. I hate to inform you, but it’s the other way around. Trust that God is taking His time to prepare you AND the other person into who He wants you both to be. (Easier said than done, trust me, I know.)
Some better advice might be, “KEEP praying for it. Just remember who you’re really chasing. ” Something that I have been praying for over the last year is that God would grow me and my future husband into who he wants us to be. Pray that God would grow you both individually first. Pray that He would be working in your lives separately before they come together. Most importantly, pray that your desire for your relationship with God would be at the forefront of your time and energy, and trust that God will make your love story beautiful in it’s own time.