By Coleen York
When I was 19, I found myself sitting in a Christian therapist’s office spilling my guts about relationships. How they sucked. How they hurt. How badly I wanted one that wouldn’t suck or hurt.
Five years of less-than stellar relationship picks and decisions had led me to that point. It seemed that I always ended up compromising what I really wanted for whatever was more immediately available.
My therapist advised me to make a list. A very long and detailed list where I poured out every last feature I ever wanted in a man. The mandatory characteristics. The “wouldn’t it be nice if” … characteristics.
I assumed the list was to help me keep my eye fixed on Mr. Right even when Mr. Right Now came strolling into the picture. Whenever I wanted to date someone, I could run back to my list and see if the really important things matched up. I assumed that this was the whole point of the exercise.
I was wrong.
Although that was ONE point of making the list … there was an even bigger point. One I didn’t get until years later.
After my list was made, revised, giggled over, and read aloud to my therapist, she gave me another task. “Now make a list of who you need to be in order to be ready for that man.”
Huh? What could she possibly mean? I WAS ready for that man. Why on earth would I need to make a list of who I needed to be? I wasn’t the problem. It was THEM. THEY were the problem. I clearly was ready, and therefore, did not need to make any such list. I was like a living breathing list already!
Sigh. It wasn’t until two years later that I actually understood how much more important my list would have been (had I ever bothered to make it). I was nowhere near being ready for my husband at that point in time. And although I couldn’t control all the “thems” out there, I could have controlled me. I could have used the time waiting for Mr. Right by reflecting on the woman God wanted me to become, instead of running every guy through my “list” database to see if they were a “match.” I was like my very own personal dating website.
Don’t get me wrong, God does not require that you have everything all together before He blesses you with a spouse (or with anything else!). We will never have it all together. We will never fully arrive. There is always space to grow, room to learn, and time to be refined. However, if I would have met my Mr. Right after I left the therapist’s office that day, I would not have been who he needed. There were still things in my past haunting me, ugly sins I hadn’t come to terms with and released to God, and, in a word, I was self-absorbed.
Ultimately, I was still focusing on earthly relationships rather than the relationship I had with my Heavenly Father. God wants all of you. At 19, I SAID my relationship with God was my number one priority, but it wasn’t reflecting in every area of my life. I could say that all I wanted, but unless I decided to take the plunge and evaluate my life and character in the light of GOD’S character, it meant nothing.
I needed to find out who GOD wanted me to be, who God already said I was, so I could stop compromising and tailoring who I was in light of whoever came along. I needed to pay attention to God’s voice, not to anyone else’s. I needed to find out just who I was in Him.
Eventually I realized something that truly changed the way I looked at relationships. You will always struggle being “the one” until you know THE ONE who crafted your heart.
Take time to get to know the first Lover of your heart before you go looking for another.