A reminder that tomorrow we will commit to praying and fasting for God to bring marriage to those of us who desire it, to strengthen both men and women in their personal and relational lives, and to bring change within our hearts, minds, and spirits.
This morning I spent some time reflecting on the past few months: What life looks like, where I am with God, where I am emotionally, etc. It was appropriate timing considering I haven’t written for a few months and want to bring my most authentic self to the table.
As I sat in silence I was overwhelmed with the recognition of rich blessing: healing in the life of a certain family member I’ve been praying for daily, a season of professional growth, a new and surprising sense of confidence in myself and who God has created me to be, along with less anxiety and fear than I typically experience. Things are good. (And of course along with this realization I find myself tiptoeing around carefully, wondering when it will all blow away).
Next to this goodness sits my dating life, something I can only describe as an utter mystery that includes elements of both tragedy and comedy. I have endured some spectacular flameouts this summer. Consider the guy I went out with four times and was growing attached to, only to have him abruptly call and say, “I’ve met someone else and really want to pursue her. Sorry.” Or the guy from Oregon who rode his Harley to San Francisco to meet me for a day in the city, only to later ride off into the sunset (literally) and never call again.
The thing I can’t explain is that in the midst of it all I have more resolve and motivation to keep going than ever before. In the past, the above scenarios would deeply wound me and make me question my desirability or attractiveness, even my value. It would take me a long time to put myself “out there” again. But now, while I definitely feel the sting of rejection and the grief of losing yet another opportunity, I find myself refusing to let these events dictate my belief in myself and/or my efforts to meet someone wonderful.
So, while from one perspective my dating life might look like an exercise in chaos, from another I see it as further evidence of God’s blessing and movement for change in my heart. The truth is that for much of my Christian life I’ve feared God’s disappointment rather than known his radical acceptance and love. Now, with baby steps, I find that the times I intentionally meditate on God as lover versus judge, my own self-acceptance and confidence increases. And that makes weathering the storms of so many aspects of life – not just dating and singleness – more tolerable.
It makes me wonder what our lives would be like if we could fully internalize the radical love and acceptance of Jesus. No fear. No judgment. No disappointment. No rejection. No feelings of not being enough. Just grace and acceptance for being who we are, exactly as we are.
I’m certain it would be absolutely transformational.
In that spirit, my prayer for all of us this week is that we “may have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all of the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” (Ephesians 3:18-19, New Living Translation)