You may have heard as often as I… we need to have our heart’s desires fulfilled in God before we love someone else. Especially in guy-girl relationships. Rather than bringing a broken, insecure heart to my boyfriend then husband…I have to be satisfied by Jesus first. Sounds good, right? Sounds like I have it covered, right?
As of a few weeks ago, I was pretty convinced that I was free from those insecurities in a future relationship. I thought, okay this ‘season of singleness’ is for me to be prepared just in practical ways. Things like simply learning how to cook and sew because I KNOW I’m lacking on those ones. However, for awhile I’d been pretty up in myself, thinking that I was “secure enough” spiritually for a relationship.
So imagine me, Kayla Norris, one quiet Saturday afternoon, curled up in a window seat reading a pale-blue paperback book on relationships. Leslie Ludy was writing about her “dream man” and how God fulfilled her desires first, before Eric ever came along. She brought her weaknesses to Christ and He satisfied her in abundant measures. He then brought her husband to pursue her in perfect timing. While reading, I nodded my head along in agreement. However, a disgruntling curiosity tugged at my heart. (Or I should say, the Holy Spirit.) I finally relented and spluttered, Okay, God! Are there desires I haven’t let you fill yet?! So, as many single university girls do, I pondered my “dream man”. For our daydreams quite often point to our insecurities.
But wait, I protested, as I went through the list…
- I’m not the one who dreams of a knight-in-shining-armor who will sweep me off my feet.
- Neither do I dream of a man who will tell me I’m beautiful without makeup on.
- I don’t feel a need to have a smooth-talking date to parties, nor do I require a fearless hunter to kill spiders for me in the middle of the night.
- I’m not waiting for my life to “start” by getting married.
- Neither am I doubting right now that God has someone perfect for me, one day in the future.
“So…” I thought through most of my teenage life, “I’m good? No insecurities, then?” Wait… before you, my reader, make a noise out of disgust…Hush, I do have daydreams.
I close my eyes gracefully and envision a future husband… someone, simply, to be with. I dream about belonging to a man who will not hop on an airplane to a faraway country, leaving me behind so often, but instead… someone who walks through life with me, us together… keeping my heart at home, despite the chaos of my cultures, countries, and crazy job of a primary teaching. I want someone to be, simply… always with me. (And you girls reading this will see where I’m going with this. Cheering me on, or wanting to shout, THERE IS A MAN LIKE THAT FOR YOU, NOW!)
But, darlings. I want you to realize that what may seem completely obvious to someone else can be a huge epiphany for another. Or, in my case? Amongst all my daydreaming… I knew in my head that Christ was always with me, but I had not let that knowledge fulfill my heart now. I had forgotten. I was waiting, waiting, waiting (sometimes with remarkable impatience) for that ideal man who Jesus picked out for me, subconsicously thinking that only then everything would be better. The dream, for me, was a fake filler. Can’t you hear the twisting manipulation with God? “I will only be fully satisfied when you give me someone to love!” In short? I trusted God with my future, but I did not trust Him with my present. In doing so, I ignored that hole, stuffing it with my empty hope of the someone who would fulfill my deepest needs for belonging. Somehow I thought I’d only be truly happy when I was married to that perfect combination of a Jesus-loving Mr.-Darcy-and-Mr.-Tilney… oh dear.
That Saturday night, my book was left alone on the window seat. I tumbled over on to my lavender-and-green quilted bed. Tears washed over my shaking frame as I realized how weak I had been without knowing it. I am loved, He said. Simply and utterly.
In the midst of that love encounter, a snapshot from the previous day was sent to my spirit like a text from an iPhone. Lunch break, on a Friday, I remembered. The middle of practicum. Taking a breath, for loving children exhausts me. I catch eye of a scene. My associate teacher, cell phone pressed to ear. Snippets of a conversation. It’s her husband. She’s smiling. I smile, too, for what a joy it is to see true love.Yet… there in the hallways of the office it hit me. A revelation so desperately needed that I took that whole Saturday to fully process it… and up until now.
Out of all the hours she had in the classroom, out of all the things that happened in her day, out of all their love, they could only talk so much. What would it be like for me, then, with a human husband and a teaching job? He won’t be able to be with me at all times! He won’t understand the students, my countries, as much as I need someone to, and he won’t be able to give me strength at any moment I need.
And there? There my ideal man fell from the pedestal my dreams had inflated for him… a ballooning prop that would collapse with the weight of just one person. No man was meant to be there. No relationship was meant to fulfill those desires.
Yet… wait. I remembered someone.I thought of me and Jesus, after our couple weeks in the New Zealand primary school classroom.
I thought of how He listened to me and talked to me at any moment, in any part of the day… whether it was walking under the lane of giant, bare oak trees to Bethlehem College ….. or leaning over a seven-year-old’s desk to help them spell “beautiful”. I could chat to Jesus, the Lover of my Soul… whether I was lost in the grand, red-chaired assembly centre… or in those brief moments where I took a breath just before gingerly stepping out into the staff hallway to face a mysterious unknown, otherwise known as “professional education”. He was there.
So then, Jesus, the Christ who died for me, could speak tenderly to me in my bedroom in our quiet morning times when I didn’t know how to face the classroom again… and also at the end of a super-charged day where I was emotionally and physically exhausted beyond anything I’d experienced before. He was there, with me.
All that to say?I found the most worthwhile lesson in the world, while being a teacher in a classroom myself. He is with me. Satisfying the deepest corners of my soul, fulfilling the most desperate needs of my heart. Not just once-in-a-while, but daily.
He is with us. How am I so sure? I don’t know. It’s one of those things… when you spend time constantly with God… you become more aware… that He is in those places you never expected… walking with you because He is just so utterly in love with you that He can’t bear the thought of being away from you. It takes a little faith and lots of imagination… oh and so much more.
“Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away?” (Jer 23:23) He is not a God far away! We have been brought near. And when my global lifestyle stretches me out beyond anything I can bear, stabbing me with the awareness of my insecurities? I remember this, oh the commission then the promise:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”(Matt 28:19-20)
And who said that?!“…they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us).” -Matthew 1:23
Wow. I like that. I like that because when you love someone, you want to be with them.It’s that simple.