Something I’ve noticed when I was single, that I’ve noticed in many of my single friends, is that we have a specific way we want to find our future mate.
We want to be close friends first -then date, then marry. We have ideas about sex, kisses, and maybe even wedding flowers. We might have our eye on someone – but most of us don’t. We’ve just created a scenario, one that may be impossible to fulfill.
The summer before I got to know my husband I had fallen really, really hard for a man at my school. He was tall, black, and one of the most forgiving person I had ever met.
He worked in my classroom – which made me his supervisor. I know that I shouldn’t have done it, but I did. He offered to fix my cars seat belt; I offered to make dinner, things went forward from there.
We taught Summer school together and that was fun, but other parts weren’t fun. I wanted us to be best friends. I wanted us to work together and then play together. He had told me how much he thought of my work with the disabled kids (we taught severely developmentally disabled kids together) and I really thought we’d just be together and have a wonderful time.
That was not my idea. It was like he read “The Game” that awful book about how to jerk around woman and make them fall for you. We’d be set to go to some place like San Francisco and he’d come to pick me up, and instead of telling me I looked nice, he’d say, “You didn’t have to dress up.” He’d not show up for dates, when he did he was at least thirty minutes late. Things had to end, and they did. But my feelings for him didn’t.
The thing about getting involved with people like that is that it’s exciting. You never know what is going to happen next. Will he show? Will he be thoughtful? Will he blame me? Will he forget about me? What is going to happen next?
The answer to all these questions is: I don’t know. It didn’t make sense to me why he would treat me so badly. I still consider that relationship to be the stupidest thing I have ever done.
Anyway, fast forward to my husband. He was kind, he told me I was pretty – He showed up fifteen minutes early – (one of my friends told me that I should tell him he couldn’t show up early until we had consummated our relationship). He was fun, but not too exciting – compared to my previous relationship.
One day, on a trip to Yosemite, I was advised to make a list of the things I liked and didn’t about my boyfriend. I did. I went for a walk. I came back and I know my friend had read my list. She said, “Shows up on time – that’s so boring.” “Plans picnics in the park – so boring” “Surprises you with flowers – boring, boring, boring.”
I went for a hike up to Vernal Falls. I thought about all she said. She was right; I was crazy. I went back and told my boyfriend what he was ready to hear. I was ready to start pre-marital counseling.
Jeremiah promises “I know the plans I have for you, plans to bless you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” This verse is often, like so many verses, taken out of context.
Jeremiah 29 also says, ” 10 This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. [b] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
Seventy years, years! They will wait in Babylon’s territory for seventy years. Only after that time he will come and heal them, bless them, and give them hope. That leads me to believe they will be with out hope during their time in Babylon. Their future will be unknown. During that time they might seek him, but not find him. He will feel like he will be absent from them for those years.
When he appears, he will be refreshing and beautiful. But he also promises that “13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD”. He must be sought with my whole heart for me to find Him.
So it’s easy to quote Jeremiah 29:11, but the true meaning is more difficult to take.
What does this have to do with me dating? In my case, I had to repent, completely, from my actions. I had to switch my adoration of the first guy to God. I remember my “life verse” from that year. It said, ” 1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.” My heart was so far away from Christ during that time – I learned a lot about my priorities – and about my heart.
For a Christian, really loving someone has to start with your heart on Christ. All else comes secondarily. My husband and I didn’t really know each other at all when we started dating, and when we started marriage counseling we learned a lot about each other. I’m sure that others say that the best way is to be friends first, but that wasn’t the way it worked for us. We fight; We wrestle and we have wonderful times for ever. But for both of us we spend time in captivity.
I continue to struggle to put my heart on the throne of Christ. But most days I continue to try. For now at least, my days of captivity are over.
More about this later.