It’s no secret that I am a certified bookworm – like, the kind of bookworm that highlights passages of Fitzgerald in bright pink and memorizes Pride & Prejudice. I pay homage to the literary greats by seeping up their words, and yet there are some words, specifically God’s, that I struggle to highlight…pieces of one book in particular that sucker punch me right in the gut.
The Bible is God’s love letter to me – and I hope that you, whether now or years later, read it as his love letter to you, too.
But like all good romances, Jesus and I have had rough patches. I spent time this week reading through my old prayer journals and needless to say, he has been far more gracious to me than I deserve.
This post is one I’ve hesitated to write because, well…it’s born of my own disobedience. I’m writing it anyway, though, because I know it’s needed. How? I searched for posts like these when I wanted validation and assurance that I wasn’t alone in my pursuit of relationships with nonChristians.
If you’ve ever worn my shoes – especially if you’re still wearing them – the idea of dating a nonChristian (and being called out on it) makes your stomach drop. It has to.
I cannot tell you how frantically I scoured the Bible hoping that somewhere, I’d come across Jesus saying sweet children, go for it. You choose whoever makes you feel warm inside because you’ll be the one to change them. You’ll conquer their unbelief and I’ll help you do it.
Oh the audacity of me. I don’t tell God I’m going to change people. He inevitably face-palms and changes me. Because let’s be honest here, he’s God. He can do whatever he wants, any way he sees fit. And he does not need me to accomplish his plans.
The reality is, dear friends, if we are Christians desiring a fulfilling relationship with Jesus, chasing after a relationship with a nonChristian will distract, break, distance and confuse us. I have tried it – twice. I did not learn from my mistakes the first time around and (very, very stubbornly) went for round 2. Fortunately, God taught me a whole lot – he spoke loudly and clearly into my heart and he continues to heal me from the hurts I endured.
You are welcome to interject here. You are welcome to shout at me from behind your computer screen and say yeah Amy, that’s you. You screwed it up, but my story is different. I’m actually pretty darn good at the love thing and this is all a part of God’s plan.
Here’s what I’ve discovered:
I was so jealous of beautiful loves when I dated outside of God’s best for me. My heart was desperate for a pure, sacrificial, selfless love – an earthly version of what Jesus felt for me as he hung on that cross.
And the reality is that any nonChristian will never quite understand the cross or its significance, will never quite say the right words or meet your expectations because you. were. made. for. more.
If any piece of you – no matter how small – believes that to be true tonight, I’m praying for you. I’m praying that you’ll be brave enough to stand up and sever unhealthy ties. I’m praying that you’ll choose singleness over brokenness. It might sting now but chances are it’ll wound you later. I know it isn’t easy.
I know you’ll have to wrestle and you may cry a lot of ugly tears.
I also know that such a weight was lifted from my shoulders when I walked away from the messes I created. When I surrendered my love life to God and said please have your way, I found freedom. And as I creeped on friends’ wedding photos, freedom is what I always noticed radiating from each bride’s face. Those women, satisfied in their relationship with the Lord and consequently satisfied in their relationships with new husbands, smiled truly content smiles.
Don’t be afraid, either, of what the world might say. I have met so many lovely girls with the same story as me. We have an instant connection in our vulnerability. We can readily admit how embarrassed and humiliated we felt telling Jesus that we thought we knew better than him. We can also share in one another’s joy as we talk about how Jesus said don’t you worry about a thing, darling. I love you more so now than ever before.
Why am I able to blurt all this out into cyberspace now? Because I’m currently falling in love with God’s best for me. I finally can join the ranks of Christian girls on fire for Jesus and dating the real deal. My real deal is named Matt and he sends me texts like this: “God said to tell his beautiful daughter hi and remind her that she’s my beloved.” Does that not make your breath catch? How sweet is he?
Praise God for opening my eyes to the flaws in my past relationships and enabling me to be loved by someone who loves him first. Do not settle. Joy comes in the morning – my soul knows it full well.