Thursday, August 14, 2008

Romance as it Should Be?

A friend of mine is doing this project about how to truly be a man of God, one must love their sisters' in Christ self-sacrificially. There are a lot of proponents that go into it, but mainly he's focusing on how men need to exhibit more modesty and chivalry towards women. For example, in order to be a modest person, a guy would be careful about the words he would say to girl, so she would feel loved and valued, without being played.
I honestly give him a huge amount of respect, and think that he is on a great journey to discovering what it means to be 100% devoted to the cause of Christ. Ultimately, it should have an effect on every relationship, even what you say, how you dress, and how you act around people of the opposite gender.
Thus, he has been asking me all of these probing questions, about how to be a better man of God. What are ways to be more cautious, etc.? So, he asked me yesterday to talk to him about the inner workings of a woman's mind.
To be completely honest, I have no idea how the inner workings of a woman's mind is. Guys think they don't understand women, and what they don't understand is, it is so difficult to understand yourself sometimes. For example, it's not like I choose to freak out at awkward moments and get really emotional about things, it just happens sometimes, and I constantly have to try and sort those emotions out.
Yet, it has got me thinking a lot about relationships, and what it truly means to have a godly relationship. That doesn't lead someone on, because that isn't godly at all. That puts the others interests before you own.
Today, I went for a hike to clear my head. I ended up writing my friend 3 pages of how I feel things have gotten so messed up. This is what I told him:

You asked me how you could be a better man. If there was a way you could genuinely care for the women in your life, without having them interpret your actions as having to do with ulterior motives.
I would never claim to be the right person to ask that question. I've interpreted affection from men wrong so many times, that when they do have genuine motives, I'm so closed off, it never goes anywhere.
I've been thinking about your questions a lot. About the conversations we have about changing the world, and how I can't stop laughing when I talk to you. Ok, so the latter is probably sleep deprivation, but you get the point.
For whatever it amounts to, you put far too much pressure on yourself. You are far more a man than most anyone I've ever met. The fact that you care enough to ask accounts for something.
However, like i said last night, it has to be a two way street.
I'm sitting here, on your rock, and the rain is starting to come down. It's beautiful, and the hand prints of God are everywhere.
In moments like these I feel very conflicted emotions. I feel so loved and close to God, in ways that only happen in nature. I feel 100% confident and completely independent, yet dependent on God at the same time. Yet, there is this huge part of my heart that wants to share these memories with someone. To be able to process information and love in a tangible way.
that is why I wonder, if I get so conflicted about how I feel at times, and yet I am perfectly content to be single, what must someone, some girl, who truly hasn't felt the greatness of God feel? One who doesn't feel completely loved? Wouldn't she desire to find that love elsewhere?
That would be a truly dangerous place to be in, because suddenly the love and wholeness we are supposed to feel in Christ gets wrapped up in a person other than him.
Donald Miller says that we often mistake a desire to be loved for love. I can't tell you how many times that has happened in my own life. But, the problem is, you can't put two half people together and make a whole person. You have to put two whole people together to do that. Which seems like a completely illogical thing, but is completely true.
The issues you talk about often stem from the fact that both men and women are seeking their fulfillment in something other than Christ, each other.
Some of these people may even love Jesus, but when society tells you you are incomplete without someone attached to you, even Jesus doesn't seem like enough. That's where things fall apart.
If we truly understood what it is like to be loved by the creator, all other relationships would pale in comparison (editorial note: not to mention the change in how we interact with one another).
The fact that so many of the people we know rush to get married stems more from a misconception of who they are and the true purpose of marriage than anything else.
Marriage isn't for us. Well, not entirely. It is to be an example of Christ's sacrificial love for his church. If we viewed marriage that way, it redefines a lot of what we hear.
Even sex would be an action, not of exploitation or self-fulfillment, but a genuine giving of oneself for the other in the most intimate way possible.
It would be striving to show Christ's love in a small way, not only to the one we love, but to a world that is so desperate for love.
Until Christian universities, parents and churches start teaching that, it will be difficult for things to change. For girls to stop looking for love in all the wrong places, and for guys to be the men they need to be.
I've heard far too many girls say they would die if they were single (editorial note: I'm not really sure what that means for me!) There is this desperation that one doesn't exist without a mate. No, it is without the creator that we don't exist! It is supposed to be a desperation for Him we are supposed to have.
There are plenty of times I long for the deep intimate relationship marriage offers, but if it isn't in the proper context, it isn't truly what God wants for me. He wants me to experience His love, and self-sacrificially reveal His love to another. I can't do that unless the man I marry and I are 100% desperate for God.
That's why I am content to wait. For as long as it takes, which could honestly take me to the true wedding banquet when Christ returns. That is also why I strive to have my teens understand their relationship with Christ and the radical love he has for them.
You can only be a radical, if you experience the radical love of Christ first.

It's so odd how the church, something that was meant to be completely different than the world around it has adopted so much of the world's attitudes when it comes to how we treat the opposite gender. Romance isn't about the good feelings you get, it's about the feelings you give to another. Remember, it says in scripture that we are to love each other the way Christ loved the church. If Jesus died for the church, that really changes what it means for us to be in relationship with one another.

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