Thursday, April 19, 2012

[ Women & Relationships : Part I ]

I was asked to be on a discussion panel to be asked questions by college age ladies. My first react was, "Goodness gracious, balls of fire, no." Any thought of talking in front of a group of people makes my heart skip a beat. Add in the fact that we'd be talking about relationships and struggles and relating to men and modesty and so on. The thought of this made my palms start to sweat and I hadn't even agreed to do it yet. So, you know what I did? I agreed. Even better than that, I survived.


There's a few things that I am passionate about. The first one is always, at all times, continuously pursuing being a better woman of God. I do realize how redundant that sentence is, yet that's how I see it and approach the topic of who I am in Christ. The second thing I am passionate about is helping others see the same thing. I am passionate about them seeing their potential, seeing their opportunities for growth and seeing that they should never-ever, under any circumstance stop growing in Christ. I'm not someone who usually accepts mediocrity or being okay with where I am at. I am not someone who is okay with making it work and then just going along with it. I want to improve. I love efficiency. I love learning how to do better at everything. My marriage. My friendships. My job. My womanhood in Christ. Does that seem like a lot to swallow? It is. Yet, it is something that flows naturally into everything I do and who I am. While it can be exhausting at times, I have been given this passion for a reason. A reason that I can't ignore. Because of that, I agreed to do that discussion panel. If what I have to share can help in some way or some part of a woman's journey, then count me in!


A number of questions that were asked were good, thought provoking questions. Questions that I've asked myself at some point in high school or college. Questions that the Hubs and I worked through as we dated for 3 years and then moved into being engaged before getting married. The following questions were asked of us:
  1. How do you know when you've met Mr. Right?
  2. Is it possible to be physically beautiful and modest at the same time? Why is modesty important? Do guys even notice modest girls? Are godly men actually looking for women with a quiet and gentle spirit?
  3. Is is possible for all of us to learn how to be content in life like the apostle Paul? Or do we seriously need relationships?
  4. Is there someone out there that God wants for us? 
  5. How come as a college, we tend to focus more on relationships, rather than independence in women? Is this harmful?
  6. Is it true that a man desires respect above love?
  7. As a woman, is it appropriate to be the leader of the relationship?
These questions are important not just because they help define how you approach relationships but they are important because women are asking these questions. They submitted them, which means someone somewhere is wondering about each one of these. So, this is going to be Women & Relationships Part I. I'll have Part II and if that gets way to long, we'll do a Part III. I'm not an expert. I'll always have an opinion and some thoughts. But more than anything, I want my experiences to speak into the lives of others and to allow God to use how he's working in my heart to touch the hearts of others.


[ Women & Relationships : Part I ]

1.  How do you know when you've met Mr. Right?

Most of the time you just know. However, that's a horrible 7 word answer and this wouldn't be a very fun blog if there wasn't more to it. Luckily, there's a lot more. A whole lot more that goes a whole lot deeper. 


Here's my story when I began to ask that question, but first, let me give you a bit of background: I met my husband at college. We started dating a month and a half after we had met for the first time. Both of us will admit that it was fast. We talked about all sorts of dreams and connected on a level far too intimate too fast and both of us look back and would admit that to anyone. Even though we jumped in head first, there was not that moment where I thought to myself, "This is the man," and had sun beams glow around him and the angels started singing. It was a gradual process. One that I asked for guidance from my parents with.  I journal and read my Bible a lot. I prayed. I wondered if I was in love with him. I didn't want it to be something trivial. I had said to other boys before, but always casually and not understanding the weight of my words. This time, I wanted it to be something special. Those were words that were meant for one man and if I chose to love him, it would be a choice I couldn't take back. 


So what did I do when I had an huge life changing decision and wanted to dig deeper? I asked one of the smartest men I know, I emailed my dad and asked him 2 questions: 
How do you know when you love someone? 
How do you know when it's more than like?
It took him a couple of days to reply [his eldest daughter was asking about falling in love with a young man, a couple days in a timely reply in light of the circumstances!], but when he did, it confirmed everything I had thought and prayed about. Everything I had wondered was answer by God through the words of my dad. Here's the jist of what he said:


#1: What does God say on this topic?
It’s important, first and foremost, to ask what our divine Creator has to say on this topic of falling in love and romance and spending a lifetime together. I look Godward first because I believe that as the One who created us, He has every right to take the role of Leader in our lives. The fact that He can and does dictate how I live is not a painful thing, but a beautiful thing because He is not only sovereign (with full right to reign over me), but He is also a loving, compassionate and merciful God (who knows and desires what is best for me). Therefore serving Him and asking what He wants is not difficult. So I ask: What does God say? What does He want? To summarize the imperfect understanding I have from the Scriptures: God gave men to women and women to men as a gift. The gift they offer to each other is the gift of relationship. Outside of my relationship with God, the greatest gift of my life has been my friendship with your Mum. I believe God gave her to me and me to her that we might – with God’s wisdom and strength – craft a beautiful life together that is filled with knowing and serving God together to bring glory to Him. You can see that our marriage is this intricate dance of three persons, each of whom is essential to the success of my friendship and marriage with Mum. Obviously we need other to have a marriage. It may not be so obvious, but we also need God to have a marriage; He is essential to our matrimonial success. He really is. 

#2: What is love?
In the West, we tend to view love in the Hollywood style – romantic, you fall into it, it’s feeling based, it’s subjective, it comes and goes, it almost catches you by surprise and you just go along for the ride as long as the ride lasts. In the East, love is very different. It is decidedly un-Hollywood, will based, more objective, it comes and stays, it’s a decision you make and the ride you choose lasts a lifetime. You may need to be reminded that the Bible was written from a decidedly Eastern mindset which knew nothing of the Western view of love that dominates the media and our mindset today. 

This means: Love is more about commitment than it is about emotion. Do we fall in love? Yes, I think the phrase “fall in love” is fitting to describe what takes place when we are “captured” by someone’s presence in our lives.But at it’s very core, love is more decision than feeling and you choose to love. Of course, feelings are important – hugely important – because we are emotive, relational beings whose feelings are dependent upon feeling a connection with another person. But we also need to recognize the commitment that love and marriage take. There will be times with whatever YMOI (Young Man Of Interest) you end up marrying when you will have to choose the path of most resistance – the path of loving commitment. And out of it you will forge a beautiful marriage which I contend will be more beautiful because you chose to love rather than because you felt like loving.


Those two questions have huge implications. They changed how I view love. How I approached the idea of finding Mr. Right and whether or not he was going to be THAT man. 

So how do you know? Asked yourself some questions: 
  1. Can you see yourself doing this with your YMOI for the rest of your life? 
  2. Are you crafting the kind of life together right now that brings honor and pleasure to God in the way you relate to each other? 
  3. Are you growing closer to Jesus as a result of your friendship or is your friendship getting in the way? 
  4. If your friendship is getting in the way of growing closer to Jesus, do you really want to pursue a life together? 
  5. Can you picture yourself staying committed to loving your YMOI for the rest of your life? 
  6. Do you see that component of commitment in yourself? In your YMOI? 
  7. Can you see yourselves living that life of commitment to each other?

So, how do you know when you've met Mr. Right? Most of the time, you just know. Call it intuition, call it whatever you want. It's an age-old answer and stands true for most people. You will just know when you've met him. But for me, someone who doesn't just take a intuition at face value and has to dig deeper, digging through each of these questions and finding where they fit in my heart, that's how I knew when I'd found my Mr. Right.


*** I'll be back with more answers to questions *** 


[ Women & Relationships : Part II ] 
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