So it is the New Year and you, like me, might find that this is the time when ex-boyfriends tend to reappear. Perhaps it is the cold weather in the Northern Hemisphere or the really hot weather in the Southern one. Perhaps it is the nostalgia that surrounds Christmas or the thought of not having had someone to kiss on New Year’s Eve, or the impending Valentine’s Day, regardless it does seem to be the season of the ghosts of boyfriends past. When I received a new year’s text a couple of weeks ago from an ex who I have no interest in rekindling any flames with, I started to think about the year ahead and what I might do more of in order to move away from Mr. Wrong and towards Mr. Right.
Now, at the risk of confirming the zillion, mostly wrong, stereotypes that people have about why people are single, I confess that I have not had the greatest track record when it comes to choosing men. Despite having some very good boyfriends in my twenties, recently I have had more than my fair share of bad ones, one of whom, sadly, was found on a Christian dating site, but seemed to have long given up on God. After considerable amounts of reading some great books over the past two years (many with appalling titles but wonderful content), such as Getting to I Do; Women Who Love Too Much; the Dance of Anger and one of my all-time favorites, Mr. Unavailable and the Fallback Girl, the nagging feeling I had about being the common denominator in all my bad choices was confirmed. Thankfully not only did I realize that I was not making great choices but I also learned so much about how to move to forward and start making some right choices. So, in light of all this great reading and after receiving that text that tempted me to go right back into all the same patterns, I decided that this year I am making the move from Mr. Wrong to Mr. Right, from Mr. Unreliable to Mr. Dependable and from Mr. I Have to Always Try Hard to Please this Guy to Mr. He Loves Me as I am and Wants to Impress me. So here are the four things I will be doing in 2019 to make the move from Mr. Wrong to Mr. Right.
- I am going to keep focusing on knowing the love of God for me and in light of that ask God to help me love and accept myself.
At the heart of choosing bad partners is a fundamental belief that we do not deserve any better, or that we cannot get any better and that someone is better than no-one. At the heart lies a soul that feels unworthy, unloved and unlovable. As a result we compromise all the time, we let guys into our lives who do not deserve us, who do not value us and who do not treat us in the way that we should be treated. However the truth is that if we do not love and prize and esteem ourselves then who will? It sounds very trite but I really believe that so many people suffer with having very low self-worth and too many singles believe that this will be solved by the presence of a husband or a wife.
However, a spouse should not be something that helps us to assign more value to ourselves. We need to know that we are wonderful, that we are loved, that we are unique, that our lives have purpose and meaning and that our Heavenly Father is so proud of us. We need to be able to stand tall in who we are in Christ, because when we do this we are not easily seduced by men who treat us badly, who don’t value us and who don’t see us in the way that our Heavenly Father does, as precious jewels, prized possessions, His beloved children. For more about this check out my earlier post on 5 (Biblical) Reasons to Love Yourself.
- I will, in the words of God to Habakkuk, write the vision and keep it front of me.
I will write down a description of the kind of man and relationship that I really want and then I will keep this vision in front of me and read it over and over so that it will sink in. Actually I have actually already done this, after listening to a great sermon by TD Jakes on the topic and a counseling session in which I was told to do the same thing. I sat down and wrote about my future husband, I wrote as if we had been married for some time. I described our relationship and the things we like to do together and how we talk things through, how we go to church together, how we pray together, how we both have our own relationship with God that is strong and special. How we support particular groups, how we bought a dog and how I feel so safe and secure with him. Writing this vision was so empowering, so inspiring and so helpful in helping me to finally articulate what it is that I really want in my marriage. What are the traits I am looking for, but even more how do I want to feel in the relationship.
I realized that in so many of my relationships in the past I felt insecure, anxious and constantly wondering if things would work out. I realized I don’t feel like that with the man God has for me, with that man I am relaxed, I am confident, I know he loves me, I know he wants to be with me. I no longer feel like I have to perform or earn his love. My husband loves me because he thinks I am wonderful and that He is blessed to have me by His side (and vice versa). I also don’t feel suspicious or mistrusting of him, I am able to receive his love and not think why would he love me. I sleep easy at night. My future husband is reliable, he is dependable, he keeps his word. He takes care of me and helps me, he wants to protect me, he wants to cherish me and I want to be there for him. I don’t need to save him, I don’t need to rescue him or fix him, God is in his life and He is taking care of that.
I would so recommend you do this. Take the time to write down the vision that you have for your life with your future spouse, pray over it as you write and ask the Holy Spirit to give you His wisdom and insight and as you do I believe the Lord will show you the kind of man and kind of relationship that He has for you. Allow yourself to imagine how you will feel with the husband God has for you, think about that and then when someone else comes along you will know if maybe this guy is worth a second date or no way, no day. God has a wonderful spouse for us and it is not someone who makes us feel bad but sometimes we struggle to get a vision of the good. This year I am going to read my vision over and over.
- I am going to spend more time in the Word and ask the Lord to help me trust Him in the waiting.
So often in the past I ran ahead of God. I would meet someone and even though the still small voice in my head was crying out ‘stop!’ I ignored it. I wanted so much for things to work out with each of these guys that I kept ignoring red flag after red flag, after red flag. And then when things ultimately failed I felt so broken, so wounded and so, so foolish. The embarrassment and shame that sometimes sweeps over those of us who are not yet married when again another relationship fails feels overwhelming at times. I often wondered how I could keep going in general let along how could ever I date again. But thanks to the Lord, I did. I think though it was all down to the fact that although I believed and trusted the Lord, my lack of comprehension of His amazing love for me meant that it has been hard to trust Him. Even more so after waiting for so long to meet someone, I sometimes find myself wondering where is God, does He really love me, does He care?
But the older I get and then more time I spend in the Word of God, the better I understand God’s love and good plans for me. I also I start to understand how waiting is often a very integral part of God’s plan and that I can trust Him that this waiting is for my benefit. That this waiting in faith on God is building my faith and deepening my relationship with my Heavenly Father. And the more I understand that the more I wait with patience, I wait with expectation and I wait in the knowledge that I am in the hands of the living and loving God. As I read His word I see and internalize the truth that there is nothing that anyone can do to me that He will not work for my good, there is no good thing that He withholds from me, He is always with me and if I am waiting on something then it is because He has a better plan for me and knows exactly what I need, versus what I want. This year I long to grow in my relationship with the Lord so that every night and every morning I sleep and wake with the confidence of knowing that His plans are always better than mine and that nothing and nobody can stop them.
- I am going to say yes more often and get out of my comfort zone
It is fair to say that I suffer from a mild form of social anxiety when it comes to attending events on my own. But last year I really felt the Lord say that He wanted to deliver me from self-consciousness which is what I feel intensely when I am alone at church or other events. While I think that feeling uncomfortable going to things alone is pretty normal I do believe that God does not want any of us to live in fear of this. I believe He wants us to live life to the full, Jesus says that He came that we might have life and have it in abundance. When I am fearful of going to events and choose not to go because I am worried that I will have no one to talk to, or that it will be all couples and I will feel embarrassed because I am alone, I don’t believe that is living life to the full. I know that God wants me to trust him to take care of even the smallest details of my life, after all He has numbered the hairs on my head. He cares about who I will speak to. He wants all of us to enjoy our lives and to be confident with our heads held high and not ashamed of who we are, of who He has made us to be.
Most of my social anxiety comes from worrying about what other people will think and say. I wonder will they think there is something wrong with me if I am alone, will they be looking for that major flaw that I must have which will explain why I am single. If I go to a wedding will I be sentenced to the children’s table or to talk to the grandparents and when everyone starts dancing together will I look like a sad spinster. I wonder if being alone makes me look pathetic, undesirable, someone who has not been chosen and therefore must be inherently flawed or covered with scales, in the words of Bridget Jones.
But the truth is I have been chosen by the Almighty God. I have been dressed in robes of righteousness, He calls me his beloved daughter. My worth and value do not come from my marital status they come from who I am in Christ and anyone that can’t see past my marital status and uses that to judge my worth frankly isn’t someone I need to waste any time on at all.
I don’t need anybody to be my date, I need somebody special. Somebody who I am proud to be with and who is proud to be with me. But I need to be confident in the Lord about who I am on my own, I need to know that I don’t need anything or anyone beside me to give me confidence and assurance because I have Jesus.
So this year, 2019, is the year to move from dating Mr. Wrong to meeting Mr. Right and I can do it because I already have Mr. Perfect, Jesus. It sounds pretty corny and maybe to a degree it is, but it is also true. As Christians we are called His Beloved, the Church is referred to as the Bride of Christ. One of the most common metaphors used to describe heaven in the New Testament is that of the wedding feast. There is wonderful song called ‘You’re Beautiful’ by Phil Wickam and the last verse says-
When we arrive at eternity’s shore
Where death is just a memory and tears are no more
We’ll enter in as the wedding bells ring
Your bride will come together and we’ll sing
And that my dear friends is the truth. The wedding bells will one day ring for us all, whether here one earth or in eternity. But it is the eternal bells that give our lives significance and worth and meaning, not the earthly ones. Once we know that, once we internalize and digest and own that then the Mr. (or Mrs.) Wrongs will disappear once and for all and I believe that in due time Mr. (or Mrs) Right will appear but they will always be in the shadow of the most beautiful man of all, Jesus.
If you are still waiting for Mr/s Right be encouraged that this year could very well be your year, or at least put you one year closer to meeting that special person. But remember that you are precious, chosen, loved and important just as you are because you are the beloved child of the World’s Best Father!