David Roller, the bishop at my church, gave a message at a conference. He told us how he and his wife have been married for years and the two of them sometimes walk together holding hands in public, to which people go “awww” because love is such a rare find in our American culture. People are lonely and searching. As he said it, “Every love experience in your life has led you towards Jesus, who stands there arms open and waiting for you.”
The problem is Jesus isn’t always a popular subject. Neither is God.
You’ll remember that God doesn’t love you like your girlfriend, but He cares for the well-being of His creation. He gave you the complete freedom to sin, and He also gave you the choice to follow Him. He still wants to see each and every one of us make the most out of life, so it worries Him when you reject His teachings to go off on your own and make poor choices. The Lord is the first to call us into a relationship.
I remember a few years ago I was just starting out at a new college and I went on my first real date with a young woman my age. The relationship only lasted a few months and it was hard when it ended because I had feelings and she didn’t feel the same way after a while. I failed all my classes out of my own struggles, and I had to rebuild. I went two semesters on academic probation followed by one semester on the dean’s list. I eventually graduated.
You’ll forgive me if I write about that sometimes, but she was the first person I went on a date with in college. We’re not friends today. I was very timid back then but she per-sued me. Just like working at Walmart has taught me how to work with people, and how to stand up for myself against unruly customers. I no longer have some of the crippling anxiety I used to have. I came to realize it wasn’t entirely my fault things didn’t work out, because I am fearfully and wonderfully made by the Lord and I am here to do great things. You, as the reader, are also fearfully and wonderfully made.
I went on a dating site and I ended up talking to a new person every month, most of them I never got to meet in person despite getting their numbers, attempting to make plans, which for me felt very shallow – I knew all the questions they answered about themselves but other than that we were just browsing through random people.
I decided the past few months that meeting women online wasn’t working for me, and if I was going to find the relationship I was looking for, it was going to be with someone I met in person and we had time to grow together and share experiences. You know, it’s too early to say but I asked a friend out for coffee the other day and she seemed excited. And in that case, we don’t have to rush into anything we can just take time to get to know one another better and see what happens.
So one thing that got me through my college experience is a Christian community that is active on the college campus and occasionally does outreach. We don’t want to be, like, praying in a closet somewhere, haha. The college group is a different kind of relationship because we are a community that supports one another through faith, and if one of us is struggling we help them along the way or we confront them on issues.
What should we be doing with our lives while we are waiting for something to happen? Someone once mentioned that God calls us to a process, He sends us on a journey and He wants us to learn through the process and make us the person He needs. I find in a lot of ways I have changed from the person I was a few years ago and I owe that to my experiences, and to my college group, and the book series by James Bryan Smith, and to everyday at Walmart.
But I’m always single. I have a family full of divorce, re-marriage, and arguments. I have friends who are struggling with different things. One of my friends who is married once told me that marriage is like a ministry, you have the opportunity to minister to your spouse on a daily basis and look after their needs. You won’t really get far with your marriage or your relationships with friends and family if you are just looking out for your own interests, as many people seem to do.
“Rebuilding walls requires sacrifice. Reconciliation is costly because it is the way of the cross. We kid ourselves if we think we can enjoy restored relationships without paying a price. We have been reconciled to Christ but have we been reconciled with our neighbor, our family, our friends, even our enemies? What are you willing to pay?” -Jill
My aunt passed away recently and she was very family oriented. My uncle and her threw large parties on the holidays. At her funeral, my cousin came up and said that success is not measured by your wealth or your possessions, success is measured by the people you have in your life who support you and stand by you through the good and the bad. My aunt and uncle did that for him. I hadn’t seen my family in a while, and her funeral gave my family a chance to re-connect for a change.
The Lord always has a plan for you and your life, and I have found He looks to fulfill His plan when the time is right. Not just when you want it to be right. Many of my friends get into the worst relationships. Two of my friends recently started dating, but neither of them were in a good place two years ago where they would have been good for one another and able to hold down a successful, Christ-centered relationship. Their love came when they were ready and The Lord could see it too. And so I’ll say the right person will always find a way. And I’ll say I’m 24 now and single, but my friends are 28 and better for the journey.
If you have Christ at the center of your life, and you have a kind and humble heart, then I think the right relationships will find you and bless your life.
– James –