When I was a teenager, I had a crush on this boy named M. Linger. He was just a few years older than me. He was handsome and genuinely kind to everyone. He had medium brown locks that flipped casually around his dreamy brown eyes. Everything about him seemed effortless and cool…from the casual way he invited people to church to the 1967 Mustang he had fully restored. He had a magnetic personality that just attracted people to him. I wanted to be his friend. I dreamed of being his girlfriend. But I couldn’t say two words to him.
I happened to come to church early one day and run into him. For a moment, it was just the two of us alone in the hallway. A thousand thoughts ran through my head: this is your one chance! Say something! Maybe he will see how great you are and fall madly in love with you.
What brilliant, dazzling wit did I say, you ask? I looked up at him and heard my voice squeak, “I just ate, and my food is still digesting.”
Your food is still digesting? Really, Rebecca? That was the best you could do? Great, you’ve just ruined it for us, thanks!…
I don’t even know where that response came from, but I was mortified. As M. Linger just smiled at me politely and moved on, the internal monologue continued to degrade me for my mistake. It was one of the first times I ever tried to really talk to a boy I liked, and it would be the last time I ever let one intimidate me that much. Needless to say, nothing happened with M. Linger. He moved away, never to be seen or heard from again, but I still swoon when I see a finely crafted Mustang like his.
Somewhere in my childhood I got it in my head that everyone has this one special person that they are supposed to meet and fall in love with and live happily ever after.
I considered it my mission in life to find my person.
I looked for him in every eligible guy I met and filled countless journals with my hopes and dreams about him. Sometimes I had little “signs” that this person or that person was “the one”. Other times I felt a “connection” with someone. Many times I thought I heard from God on the subject. I just knew that this person was meant to be for me; we were kismet.
It is amazing what foolish lies our hearts can tell us.
I am embarrassed by how much time and effort I put into blindly pursuing love only to see my own heart broken, time and again, and my sense of self-worth stomped pancake thin.
In the early 90s, there was a movie called Only You that really could have been me. A young girl dabbles in fortunes and magic to find the name of the man she will marry and, years later, she gets a call from him when she is about to get married to someone else. She chases after him all the way to Italy where she meets another guy who is not him but perfect for her in every way. She is challenged to choose between her foolish notions about destiny or the truth about love.
I’ve never dabbled in magic, but I too reached a point where I had to choose between foolish notions about destiny or the truth about love.
Destiny: The Lie
Control your own destiny or someone else will. –Jack Welch
I used to believe I had to get everything right and have my life just so for love to come to me. Then I believed that if love was ever going to come to me, I had to go out and find it. I treated everything I had like some sort of prize you get into a bull pit and fight for; give life your best shot and if it doesn’t stomp you to death, you might just have something.
For destiny to work, we have to believe that the majority of what happens to us is predetermined and beyond our control or influence. We also have to believe we have one specific mate for our full lifetime. We have to trust that we can find that person–despite all odds–and keep them. There is no room in this purview for errors in judgment. If I love the wrong guy, I keep us both from our true mate. We would be constantly screwing up relationships; no one could ever, ever, be happy.
The Truth about Love
“Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised.” –Song of Solomon 8:6-7
Love is full of emotion and passion, but there are no magic signs or kismet wonders that will turn those feelings into commitment. Real love takes more than passion and emotion: it takes commitment.
Instead of one person you are supposed to be with, a Godly relationship would be one that encourages you to be with someone that has a certain set of qualities. (Qualities based on Biblical principles of right and wrong NOT a Hallmark checklist.) The person you are with should be someone that brings out the best in you and someone who reminds you, more and more, of Jesus.
“God is love. Whoever lives in love, lives in God, and God in them.” –1 John 4:16
Relationships take a lot of give and take; nobody is perfect. You grow together as you live out life together. You honor each other with purity standards before marriage and you maintain that commitment in marriage by only truly sharing intimacy with your spouse.
When it comes down to it, love is really about commitment.
I may not be much of an authority on love because I have never been married, and I recently ended a five-year relationship. We were building our lives together and talking about marriage, but something was always missing. We had all the emotion and passion of romance, but it fizzled out when it came to honor and commitment. If honor and commitment were weak while we were dating, why would they be any stronger if I married him?
Wisdom from Grandmama
Some of the best advice I’ve ever had to open my eyes, came from my grandmama. She said: When you are dating, you see the person’s present and past as an example of the person they will be in their future. Imagine everything you see now (while you are dating) is a hundred times worse when you marry them. Could you live with that person? Would you love that person, now and always, if they never changed?
That’s the kind of things we should be asking ourselves when we start talking about long-range plans with someone.