So many singles spend time thinking about who they should date and spend time dating a variety of people to find one that they like… I have to tell you, I did the same thing and below is one such story. In retrospect, I think I could have saved myself a lot of heartache by simply asking God to lead me from the beginning. This story spans from summer 1999 to summer 2001.
Tired of Being Alone
In my late twenties, I was tired of being alone. I wanted a boyfriend. I hadn’t been able to find someone who I liked who also liked me and who shared my beliefs. I had been a believer for about a year and a half and there was so much I didn’t know about walking with the Lord.
I actually remember the very moment I turned from God’s plan for me. I was standing outside work and was looking at a man I knew from there. He was very confident and had charisma. He was a strong man – something I always looked for because I am a strong woman and knew I needed someone who would not be run over by me!
The problem with this particular man was that he had a drug problem and he frankly, he was not walking with the Lord. That said, he was somewhat interested in me and I was definitely interested in him.
So as I stood there outside my work, I dismissed all the warnings the Holy Spirit was sending off inside me and decided I would choose my future. His voice became softer and softer over the next few months until I really didn’t hear Him anymore – I’d tuned Him out.
Losing My Religion
What I find interesting is that the world seems to know more about how Christians should live than Christians do. As this man watched my behavior – he even flat out told me I was “losing my religion” – and frankly, he wasn’t wrong.
I had started doing all the things I had previously been very self-righteous about; I started gambling, began doing drugs with him (and paying for them), and not only was sleeping with him, but I had him move in with me.
Although he had said early on he would visit church with me some time, he never did. Not only that, my church attendance tapered off because of the changes in my interests and activities. And because of the size of the church, if any noticed I was missing – they never called. I got one card in the mail, but given my outright rebellion it was too easy to set aside – it had been condemning and had hurt my feelings.
I, the clay, had moved myself off the Potter’s wheel and was allowing myself to be molded by one who’s heart towards me was not God’s.
Days rolled into months as we stayed high – numb to everything trying to suppress a growing ache.
He would not marry me. He didn’t believe in marriage. I compromised myself again telling myself he was worth it. I nearly lost my home – almost went into foreclosure because of the amount of drugs and money lost on gambling and I was sued for other monies owed that had been spent supporting this drug habit.
As he continued to either not work or work part-time, he decided I could make more money at another job and so at his direction I quit the job I enjoyed that had been an answer to prayer and left for a corporate position that made more money, but left me working much longer hours and much more stressed.
The things I loved, the things I believed in were one-by-one sacrificed on the altar before this man that I had unintentionally made my god.
If this is not the man…
The thing was, I felt as though I genuinely loved him. And although I’m sure I did, in retrospect, I was also probably dealing with a good portion of ungodly soul ties. In my heart I treated this relationship as though he were my husband and I gave of myself and my resources as though that were the case.
One day a Christian friend I hadn’t spoken with in a while called me to tell me she was engaged. She was in her mid-thirties and was still a virgin. She’d met a wonderful Christian man and he’d popped the question!
When we hung up the phone, I simply began crying as the realization became so clear that I was never going to have the life I wanted with this man… at least not this way. All the seemingly small (and some not so small) concessions that I thought I’d been ok with now overwhelmed me.
I prayed for the first time in a while. I said, “Lord, if this is not the man You have for me, I just pray You’d take him from me because I want the one You choose, but I don’t have the strength to leave. I cannot imagine my life without this man, but I trust that You will bring me through this. I want Your will to be done.”
Less than two months later, he broke up with me. I discovered later he didn’t intend for it to be over – little did he know he was simply doing God’s bidding. Had I known he didn’t intend for it to be over I never would have moved on. God is so merciful.
When he left I was heartbroken and cried for three weeks straight. Some days literally having to leave work because I couldn’t contain myself. During that time I began going back to church. I was still involved in a lot of sin, but I was at least beginning to move the right direction because I had put myself back on God’s path.
God’s Perfect Will
I believe that God has a perfect will for each of us. I picture it something like a navigation system where the start point is where we are and shortest route in-between the end-point or way-point is God’s perfect will. So often though we take a wrong turn or intentionally go a different way, but constantly God is giving updated directions for the shortest route – the optimum path.
I took a nearly two-year detour from God’s perfect will for me, but, in His mercy, the moment I turned He put me back on the path to His destination for me.
And the beauty of God is that He uses all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
Through all this God knocked some pride and self-righteousness out of me. He’s taught me to extend more grace to others because one never knows or fully understands why or how someone ends up in a particular predicament.
Some lessons learned:
- Choose God’s path – even if you don’t understand why He’s taking you a particular direction (like keeping you single when you don’t want to be) – He has a plan and you can trust Him to have your best interests at heart
- Listening to God can save you a LOT of heartache
- God sees everything – the beginning and the end – He knows who is the right person for you. Trust Him in that.
I think one of my biggest regrets is that I totally lost my witness and this man (to my knowledge) is still not walking with the Lord. God has a plan and a call for his life and I no more want to see him miss his than I want to miss my own!
To this day I pray for him every time he comes to mind… for God’s will to be done in his life and for him not to miss all that God has for him. God loves him so. And just like me, God has good plans for him – plans for hope and a future, plans to prosper him and not to harm him (Jeremiah 29:11). Those are the same plans He has for you too… 🙂