Friday, January 7, 2011

A Lesson in Patience

So I just had a total "A-HA" revelation that is leading me to feel a bit convicted. But in a good way because conviction is good. Last night, I was emailing a dear friend who had recently experienced a bad breakup. I decided to share with her the link to the Fusion relationship series called Naked. Yes, it was called Naked after the "naked and unashamed" scripture in Genesis. I started going to Fusion right when the series kicked off and I must admit, learning about courtship and doing relationship in a way that honor God has been some of the BEST relationship advice I have ever gotten. I am a huge promoter of courtship so I had to share with her some valuable info that can help her understand that she doesn't ever have to be in another dating relationship that can lead to yet another tear filled and heart wrenching breakup.

God decided to see fit to have me listen to the series last night at like 1:00 AM. Yes, I was up at 1:00 AM listening to a relationship sermon. I wasn't feeling lonely or thinking about the guy I have "noticed." I just felt compelled to listen again. It's funny because right before Fusion ended for the year in December, we had just wrapped up the Boy Meets Girl relationship series. Guess I needed a brief refresher course.

I listened to the first message last night and made it almost to the end before sleep got the best of me. I went to work with the Naked series still on my mind and listened to the second message: Courting v. Dating. The death match between God's way to be in a relationship and the world's way to be in a relationship. One of the main points Pastor Johnson listed in the differences between courtship and dating is the idea of the connection before the commitment. Often times in dating, the two people connect on such a strong emotional level so quickly, even before they have the infamous "where is this going?" talk. Spending hours on the phone pour out your life stories and deepest darkest secrets or spending all your time together creates this deep connection, feelings intensify, and hearts are left exposed. This all happens while the couple is just dating, just having fun, just kicking it. No commitment, no direction in the relationship, no purpose in the relationship, yet the connection is already established and hearts are intertwined. At some point in the very near future, someone, usually the girl, wants to know where the relationship is going. She quickly realizes that they are not on the same page and the break up happens and the heart break begins. She has bared her soul to someone that didn't think she was worthy enough to commit to. Sad.

In courting, there is commitment before the connection. When a guy and a girl decide that they have been given the green light from God to enter into courtship, they are committing to the idea that if the relationship keeps going in a positive direction, while honoring God, they WILL get married. The purpose of courtship is to get to know each other better, determine if they are both on the same path, knowing all the while that the relationship will lead to marriage. There are no awkward conversations because both people entering the relationship are already on the same page on the front end. They are committing to growing deeper in their relationship with each other and with God, while guarding each others hearts, respecting boundaries, holding each other accountable, allowing others to hold them accountable, remaining pure, honoring God, creating a vision and purpose for their relationship and eventual marriage. They are already committed to the idea of getting married well before they develop those deep connections. The connections are developed over the course of months, not in a matter of days or weeks like in dating.

Back to my revelation. So after listening to the message earlier today, I really didn't think much about relationships or courting. I went on about my day just like any other day. It wasn't until I was on my way to Barnes and Noble did it hit me. Commitment before connection. Commitment before connection. God was telling me I needed to be patient and wait for the commitment before trying to get the connection. I started to feel rather convicted because I knew I was handling a certain situation with a guy all wrong. I realized I was becoming more and more impatient with this guy because I wasn't getting the connection I was seeking and there was nothing even remotely close to a commitment. Keep in mind, there is no sexual or deep emotional entanglement between the two of us. Everything is still very surface and casual, which is probably why I am impatient. I'm not used to having to be patient and allow a guy to peel back the layers slowly. I'm used to dating, which says in the amount of time he and I have been having our random, sporadic conversations, we should be knee deep in some emotionally intimate mess that will probably end in a lot of tears because there was no commitment before the butterflies wore off.

God is telling me to be patient. There is no rush. Allow this guy to lead, even if its just in this friend stage. Allow him to slowly peel back his layers and inquire about my life. Guard my heart and remain prayerful about whether or not this is even a path God wants me to take. I prayed about my error in judgement and asked for forgiveness for being impatient and trying to do things my way. I am thankful for conviction because conviction leads to repentance which leads to forgiveness. My Father is amazing and all knowing. He definitely knows the desires of my heart because I remind Him often. He is jealous for me and wants His absolute best for me. He is still waiting on me to trust Him completely which I am working on. He is patient and loving and doesn't mind letting me stumble a bit along the way. Luckily, He is always right there beside me to catch me if I fall.

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