By: Ruthie White
Today I am 19 and a half years old. That’s not super significant in itself. Nineteen, I’m convinced, is the most boring age of all. But it’s significant to me because 6 months ago, on my birthday, I made a resolution to wait until March 25th to date or even pursue liking a guy in my mind. The idea of having a boyfriend, the perfect boyfriend, to love me and give me attention was an idol in my life for so many years. I was always wanting that, and even though I really did love God, that was becoming such a distraction in my life and, at times, it became something that I put above Him.
About 7 months ago, a really painful experience was caused by my foolish desire to have a guy in my life, even if he wasn’t necessarily the right guy. I was tired of waiting. I was tired of learning things. I was tired of having relationships that were a flop. So I pursued a relationship that I thought would be perfect. Turns out it wasn’t, and turns out I wasn’t done learning things! As a matter of fact, I have learned more about relationships from this situation than any other relationship of any kind I’ve ever had. I learned so much because the pain in my life caused me to really examine the state of my heart. It was the beginning of the greatest blessing of my life. Through this time of being “man-vegan” (don’t think about that phrase too much, lol) God has taught me so much.
- He revealed to me how susceptible I am to idolizing relationships. My personality is extremely romantic, loyal, emotional, and caring. I value friendships and people so much. I have wanted a husband and children for as long as I can remember. Those are good things, but our sin nature perverts good things into things that can eat us alive. I started elevating my natural desire for the blessing of a husband and family higher than it should be, and it started taking my focus and love away from Christ Himself. And if you didn’t know, God deserves every bit of our attention and love, and that’s kind of important.
- He reminded me that He is the only One who will ever love me fully. I hope I find a man who loves Jesus sooo much and who loves me a lot too. (Really, that’s basically all I want. It’s rarer than you’d think.) But even if I find this man, he’s going to be imperfect, and even on his best days, he will never fill every hole in my heart. God’s love is perfect, relentless, unconditional, deep, and we completely don’t deserve it. People who love Christ can love in absolutely beautiful, selfless ways. But their love still has nothing on God’s love. He’s the One who loved us first. We need to love Him first too.
- He taught me that He is the only One who will ever satisfy me. J Pipe always says, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” That has really been my heart cry during this time. I want my life, everything I do, to bring glory to God. Don’t you? But here’s the awesome truth: reflecting His glory starts with us being satisfied in Him. What does being satisfied in Him mean? Well, a lot of things. It means loving Him with everything we have because everything we have has been an undeserved gift from Him. It means seeing Him as enough; being content and always joyful in Him despite the circumstances. For me personally it means saying, “Even if I never get married, never have children, never go to graduate school, never get to teach college, never get to have a song I’ve written recorded, or never have the opportunity to lead worship at a large scale, YOU ARE STILL MORE THAN ENOUGH. I will still praise you and bless your name because while I deserve destruction, You have given me life!!”
As you can see, I wouldn’t trade this time of growth in my life for the world. Along with these things, here are a few other, I guess, less-spiritually-significant blessings I experienced.
- I started being a better friend to my guy friends. Since I didn’t let myself have a real crush on anyone, it was easier to focus on them first without just hanging out with them in order to, in some cases, ultimately try to benefit myself through a romantic relationship.
- I had so much more time!!! I have spent so much time in the last few years talking/texting/facetiming/snapchatting guys that I like. Spending time with friends is never a waste, but I always used to spend so much time on a guy that I liked even when we weren’t in a relationship. I don’t regret getting to know them really well, but I regret the feelings and excess time wasted, and I wish I had that back. Honestly, telling myself I can’t have a crush has been great selfishly…I’ve just had so much time. 10/10 would recommend.
- This experience helped me overcome envy in my life. Everyone’s got their own “deadly sin.” Envy is mine. When I see other people happy and succeeding, especially with things I do, like music, it’s so easy for me to despise that person and their gift. I know, it’s terrible!! I hate it. And I do the same thing with relationships, ESPECIALLY if a girl is with a guy that I like or have liked in the past. However, since I’ve essentially taken myself out of the relationship equation, I’m actually genuinely happy for people who are in relationships when I’m not. What a happier place that is to be. (Also it was good timing because my sister got engaged and has been planning a wedding during these months. So again, LOOK AT GOD! What awesome sovereignty). This awareness has helped me see all kinds of envy in my life and has empowered bring it to God quicker as well. I’m still far from perfect, but I’m a lot more content.
- I’ve finally realized for myself that making the effort to try to get a guy to pay attention to you and actually pursue you is just not a good idea. I’m not saying to never ever make a move or tell a guy you like them, because in some situations in 2018, I think that’s totally appropriate. For example, if y’all are really good friends and you know that he really needs a boost to realize that he’s actually not in the friend zone…I don’t know, I guess in that situation it would be good to be like, “Bro, ask me out!!” But, in most situations my advice is: just don’t try if he’s not pursuing you. It’s not worth it. If he wants you and loves you as much as it requires to actually make a commitment to you, by golly, he better get up the nerve to make the move himself!!! I know, I know, you really like him though. But I promise, it hurts less if you don’t give yourself false hope. That sounds depressing, but it’s really not! If he doesn’t want you, that’s his loss. It’s okay. Give yourself space and time to get over it. Trust me, you’ll get over it. Let God bring the right person into your life— quit trying to orchestrate it yourself.
Plot twist, this little self-discipline I did, which I thought was temporary, actually isn’t. When I woke up this morning and thought, “Oh the six months is over,” I was like, “Well RJ, nothing better change!” I mean, I guess I can go out on a date now if I want to, but I’m not going back to how I was. Doing this has revolutionized my relationship with Christ and how I think about life and relationships. I pray that I will remain completely satisfied in Christ while I continue to be single. I pray that I will remain completely satisfied in Christ even if He brings some hecka awesome dude in my life. Lord, I want to be satisfied in You. Continue to show me what that means.
Ruthie wrote an original song that accompanies the lessons she learned as discussed in this blog post. To listen, click below.