Monday, April 09, 2007

Willing to Wait

Commitment. Restraint. Real, sacrificial love. Sadly, these attributes seem to be missing from the majority of boy-girl relationships. Gone are the days of gallant gentlemen wooing modest maidens; in its place is something lacking any type of real commitment or thoughts of the future. When did everything become so - so casual?

Last Saturday, my sisters Miriam, Jubilee, and I went to Six Flags over Georgia to celebrate Jubi's turning twelve. Braving the cold, we enjoyed the exhilarating roller coasters and the time spent with each other. While waiting in the every-present lines, I couldn't help but notice the couples. They were everywhere - teen girls and guys dominated the crowds, and it was rare to see an unattached male or female. Each one seemed to have their own boyfriend or girlfriend, and they weren't ashamed to make it obvious that this certain someone was theirs. "Public displays of affection" are no longer frowned upon; in fact, no one really even seems to notice anymore. They were hanging all over each other, "making out" while waiting their turn to ride the attractions. No one really gave a thought to the fact that their relationship probably wouldn't last - or perhaps hadn't even lasted - for more than a few weeks. They lived for the moment, gratifying their desires without thought to how this would scar them emotionally and physically.

Somehow, somewhere, we have lost the sacredness of the beautiful relationship that can develop between a man and a woman. Most teens and young adults are caught up in a world of dating, trying out different girls and guys as casually and quickly as they care to. They're not building quality relationships, but are living for the moment. "How will this make me feel?" "How will this girl or guy make me look?" "How can this person gratify my desires?" - these are the questions they're asking. As soon a they have no more use for their date or simply loose interest, it's on to someone else.

However, that's not the way I desire my relationship with a "special someone" to be. I want more - more commitment, more restraint, more thought to the future. I know I'm young and idealistic; I know I'm a romantic; but I truly believe that it can be done. This is why I'm waiting. This is why I'm not spending my energy and youth on relationships that won't lasts. This is why I'm committed to courtship. I'm not going to pour myself into passing attractions. I'm going to wait until I'm ready to enter a relationship with the purpose of discovering whether or not our path together will lead to marriage. I'm not going to freely give out my affection any average guy that wants it; I'm going to withhold myself and wait for God's best, and when he comes, he'll have to work to win my heart and hand. Casual physical affection won't be a part of our relationship. Instead, we'll spend our time getting to know each other in a family atmosphere, learning about each other in group settings, and covering almost every topic in long conversations. One special day we'll share our first kiss - right after the minister pronounces us man and wife.

Yes, I admit that I don't know exactly how everything will happen when I begin courting. After all, God works in mysterious ways. Dreams of a beau coming to call in the evening, bearing flowers and carrying himself as the perfect gentlemen while I am the demure maiden, receiving him with the utmost respect make me sigh happily. As our relationship deepens, I dreamily think of special candlelight dinners, heartfelt, meaningful conversations, and long walks in the moonlight. Yes, my dreams are rosy... the thoughts of being wooed and won. It probably won't be quite like the storybook romances of eras gone by, but I hope that it's special and above all, honoring to God.

All this is most likely going to be many years away, but I am content to wait. Meanwhile, my time won't be spent dreaming about what will be either. My time will be spent productively, preparing myself emotionally, physically, and spiritually for the day that I become a wife, if that is what the Lord wills. I won't merely sit at home waiting for Prince Charming to show up and sweep me away. I will do my best to serve God as an unmarried virgin, devoting myself to His affairs (1 Corinthians 7:34), whatever that may mean. And one day, if it's in God's plan for my life, I hope to embark down the path called courtship. It can be done. There are many ways, many examples, and many stories. When my turn comes, I will, with the Lord's help, seek to uphold our relationship with sacredness, commitment, and self-control, as we learn to love each other unconditionally. With God at the center, it can be done. Until that time comes, I am more than willing to joyfully wait.


Britt said...

Amen! I fully agree with you, Anna!

Elijah Lofgren said...

Amen #2!
Great post, great thoughts, great plans.

Way to wait, You're worth it!!

- Elijah

Ella said...

Anna, I have had a smiliar experience at public places like that. Mine was at a water park!

You know, I love how like-minded we are on this subject. We both long for being won (when the time comes), we are committed to courtship and purity, and my first kiss will also be at the altar.

In today's society, waitng doesn't happen. But I want to be like you do: to look beyond what the world says and wait for romance at the right time with God's best!

Sheila said...

Everything you said sounds just like me. Thank you for sharing it!!!

Miriam Rebekah said...

I also say...Amen! Anna, you are aspiring for a great thing and you will reach it, I'm confident.

It's sad how lax this world's morals are. I know! Let's change them! Okay, maybe that's a little far-fetched, but we can do our part.

I agree with you, Elijah, whoever wins Anna's hand and heart, gets a gem!

Claire said...

Anna, God bless you. You expressed this so well, so beautifully and so humbly. May we all pray for each other to remain steadfast in striving for Christ's standard of excellence and beauty in relationships!

Your Sister in Christ,

P.S. I think the encouraging comments your brother leaves for you are really sweet and beautiful...what a testimony to a blessed brother-sister relationship. I don't have an older brother, but if I did, I would love for the kind of mutual respect you seem to have with yours! :) Praise God.

Anna Naomi said...

Thank you for the encouragement, everyone! It's so wonderful to know that there are so many like-minded young people out there, when sometimes it can seem like you're all alone.

Elijah, you are too sweet. Whichever girl gets you will have a treasure. =)

I agree, Miriam! Let's change the world - or at least do the little part that we can do.

Claire, yes, I have the best brothers! Elijah and I have always been close. I thank God for our relationship!

It's so encouraging to know of all these waiting girls! =) I know that your future husbands will be blessed by your commitments.

Luke said...

We also need to remember to pray for those in the world who believe they need that kind of attention. They don't know that their entire satisfaction in life is found in Christ. It should also humble us to have compassion for others because we all have areas in our lives that we seek something other than God for satisfaction in some area of life. Even as Christians we can be blinded to think something other than God can give us happiness besides Him. May He guard all of our hearts from anything the world offers in place of Him!
Thanks for posting the Truth, Anna and Miriam!

Anna Naomi said...

Thanks for the comment, Michele. It's all too easy for us to be caught up in our own little world, without thought for those seeking God. Thank you for the reminder that we need to pray for and help the other people, who may not be like us in this regard. We forget way too easily...

thepatriot said...

Great post Anna! You definitely set a wonderful example for preparing our hearts and hands for married life... I really admire your diligence and work. God bless you and your future husband!

Elizabeth Ellen Moore said...

A lot of your post sounded like something I would write! I too want God's best for me in His timing, and in today's world that can only be accomplished with our Heavenly Father's help and guidance!

Robert said...

You make some good points in this post.Real love is missing in today's relationships.We need to get back to courtship with it's romantic and biblical view of marriage.

There's a quote by Elisabeth Eliot I saw that is a good example of what a relationship should be.She said "A woman's heart should be so hidden in God that a man must seek him to find her."

Anna Naomi said...

Thanks, Jen and Elizabeth! It's always encouraging to get comments. =)

Robert, thanks for sharing that quote! I think I'd heard it before, but it's so true. Thanks for bringing it back to my memory.

Anna S said...

This is so true. Thank you for writing this! Thank you! You are so blessed to understand it early enough! I lost my youth and innocence pursuing meaningless relationships such as you described, until God in His divine mercy saved my soul. How I suffered! But He in His love did not count me beyond repair, and I will forever praise Him. It is possible to start over - but it is certainly better to do things right from the start.

Emily said...

Hello girls,

What a beautiful blog you both have! I have enjoyed reading some of your posts.

And amen to this post! I am 21 and have made some dreadful and foolish mistakes with regards to romantic relationships. I wish I had had your attitude and views when I was your age! But, by God's grace, I know them now and if/when the time is right, look forward to embarking on a beautiful courtship.

It IS worth the wait, and your views are not idealistic - they are possible. Let God write your love story, there is no-one who could do it better.

May God bless you both. In His care, Emily

Mark said...

I think your words are inspiring to any Christian who has sometimes seen other young people apparently being intimate and has perhaps wondered, however briefly, whether they might be missing out.

Truly, it's the people who value themselves and each other so little that they are prepared to enter into transitory relationships who are losing the greatest opportunity and joy possible in relationships between men and women, namely giving themselves unconditionally and forever to the one person that was chosen for them by God.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Anna, you've got the right picture of this. I a married now, to a wonderful loving Christian man. But in my past, when I was a teenager, I had made many mistakes, some of which included freely giving my affection to other teen guys. I don't even know why, I think it's because I wasn't a mature Christian yet, and because I was hurting and wanting to fill a certain lack of feeling loved by trying to get "love" from others. Although, of course, those guys mostly just wanted me for the wrong reasons (immorality, etc).

Oh, Anna, how I WISH I could return to those years! I know God has forgiven me, but if I could start over again, from my teen years, I would haven't even "dated" any guy whatsoever. I would have spent that time and energy on God and on getting to know HIM better, and on taking the opportunities to serve Him that I had missed out on; that I had put on the backburner.

It truly is the best to wait. Trust me I know how hard it can get for many; I used to WISH and I couldn't WAIT for the day I'd be married, etc. I think it was mostly due to my past fear that I'd end up never married.

Married life is rewarding, challenging, but also a learning experience on how God's relationship is with us. It's about agape; striving to unconditionally love your spouse, and it does aim to better your Christlikedness. My husband has taught me much about Christ's character, despite his sin, flaws and humanness. You learn to love more like God loves us. It's truly a beautiful mystery, as Paul said.

I couldn't wait to get married, then now that I am married to my dream man, I wish I had waited patiently and cast aside the distractions I had allowed myself to indulge in back then. I so wish I had focused on God more, and such.

:) So I hope no one here feels discouraged. Trust me, the wait is SO worth it, and so beautiful to experience. You don't want to get used to being with a guy before you get married. The worldly ways of "dating" and "love" speak such lies and create such profound desensitization and future dissatisfaction.

I wish I had waited until the altar for my first kiss, instead of giving it away to someone not committed to when I was merely 14.
But as I said before, though I missed out on the greatness of waiting and the specialness of purity, God has forgiven me.

:) You will never regret waiting!
Keep honoring God like you are, and if you fall, get right back up in His grace and loving embrace.

Anonymous said...

Like the person said before me, I have feared at times that I may never get married. I am so glad though that I have never had a boyfriend. When I do happen to meet a good guy who seems like mr. right I am planning on courting him, not dating. I have siblings who have made choices that I know I never want to do before marriage. It's sad they made them but it has shown me that I don't want to do what they have. I want to court my futur husband and be with him in group settings. I feel that I could get to know him way better that way and it will make it easier to be myself that way. Being alone can give the temptaion to be someone I'm not but if I'm with more people and with people who know me it will be easy to stay truer to myself than being alone with a guy. I am so glad I have kept my purity so far and I want to continue keeping it until that special day when I am married.