1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18. These verses have been running through my mind all day but truly encompass what I’m learning to do and be more intentional with this season.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (NKJV)
Today I had the joy of having some wonderful conversation with a good friend of mine. She is my co-leader for a youth group we lead together and has quickly become an accountability partner, fitness journey friend, and sister in Christ I can rely on. Words can’t describe how much she has impacted my life and walk with Jesus. But even more so, we are able to give each other Spirit lead advice and share wisdom with each other. This is truly something everyone should have in their lives. All this to say, I had a situation I needed to talk about and get advice on.
Every good story starts this way so I thought I’d give it a go: so there’s this guy. Now before I go into this, I would just like to say: no we are not dating, no we haven’t had any conversations about feelings for each other, and I am going to be prayerful about this whole situation (as I should be with everything). See how 1 Thess 5:16-18 fit in? As I was saying, there is this guy who attends my church who has caught my eye. If you have read my earlier blog posts, you’ll know my (relatively non-existent) history with men. If you haven’t read them, I highly encourage you to but for the sake of context for this post, I’ll give you a quick rundown.
Here is what you’ve missed on “Sabrina’s Love Life”:
- Boys ignored me in high school, I thought I wasn’t pretty/worthy of being loved
- 1st real boyfriend in college, he broke my heart
- This lead to mistrust of all men, didn’t date since then
- Final semester of college, rededicated myself to the Lord
- God intervened and gave me a whole new perspective on dating and love
- Post grad life: I’m taking this step by step, day by day
There ya go! Now that I’ve been home, I am attending and serving at an amazing church. Since I’ve been there, I have met many amazing men who I now count as friends and brothers in Christ, but this one guy in particular absolutely intrigues me. I have never been in this situation before so navigating all of this is very new for me! As I’ve gotten to know this person, the Lord has been revealing to me all of the characteristics to look for in a future husband. (DISCLAIMER: I am not saying because 1 guy caught my eye, we are automatically destined to be together. That would make me kinda crazy & I’d be really jumping the gun, especially since I don’t know him on a deep level yet) One day, I sat down and had a long talk with the Holy Spirit telling Him that though I longed for a relationship, I had no idea what to look for. He has been so gracious in showing me through Scripture and prayer all of the things I should be considering when it comes to dating. Here are some of the things I’ve learned:
- Love Jesus first so he can love me well
- Be actively pursuing the Lord in every aspect of His life
- Have a healthy prayer life, be disciplined
- He should have a church home and be serving in some way
- Be in Christ-centered community that he trusts to keep him accountable
- Be a leader in the relationship & help bring you closer to Jesus
- Be respectful and open to correction
- Seek wisdom
- Be kind and loving towards me
- Encourage me
There are so many other things I’ve learned but we would be here all day. Maybe I’ll write an article dedicated to that soon. Let me know if this is something you’d be interested in! With all of this new knowledge in mind, I asked myself, “What is it about this guy that you like? What draws you to him?” As I gave my answer, the characteristics I was giving closely fit to the things I was supposed to be looking for in a future husband. This guy loves Jesus and has a genuine relationship with Him, he isn’t afraid of correction, he attends church and has a great community (I’m a member of his community actually), he serves in the church, he is kind, he’s encouraging, seeks wisdom, and is someone I could really see myself being led by. I hadn’t EVER considered any of those things when I was in high school and college longing for someone to take notice of me. And it got me thinking, “God really was looking out for me. He allowed things to go the way they did so that I wouldn’t keep being let down and heartbroken. How did He know to do that?” It turned into a thankful moment that I didn’t have much experience dating because with the way my confidence was, I would have been happy to date anyone so long as I felt wanted and loved. But God showed me I’m worth so much more than that, Amen!
Once I thought it through, I began praying and thanking the Lord for not only telling me what to look for but also showing me what that looks like in real life. My heart felt a joy it hadn’t felt before: the joy of finally understanding what God meant romantic relationships to look like. After that, I began to be intentional with noticing what our interactions look liked. What did I find? He makes me laugh, he celebrates my accomplishments, he is easy to talk to, we have similar interests, we both have a heart for student ministry, we love our communities, it’s so evident that he has a real relationship with God, he leads me in understanding Scripture deeper, and he is kind. That is what a Godly man looks like! Of course no one is perfect but how wonderful would it be to know that together you and your person could be imperfectly perfect together, leading each other closer to Jesus? I don’t know about you but that sounds wonderful to me. Thank you, God, for creating marriage and thinking of love!
As I mentioned earlier in my post, I had a great conversation with my co-leader about how drawn to this guy I am. She encouraged me to place this in the Lord’s hands and to be open to where He leads me. But I also let her know of a few insecurities I had. For example, what if this guy is called to a life of singleness and I’m dreaming of something that would never happen? Or what if he thinks I’m too young for him (he is around 6 years older than me)? And what’s worst, what if he doesn’t feel the same way about me? All of these questions stormed my head and I could feel my wall of protection coming up. But I remember once God told me, “Sabrina, you’re not guarding your heart. You’ve barricaded it with walls.” That was very convicting. I was afraid to let myself get my hopes up because I didn’t want to be disappointed and hurt. In order to keep myself from getting burned, I just don’t make a fire. But I never once stopped and thought about how fire is also a light and is used to keep you warm from the cold. I thought I was protecting myself when all I was doing was keeping my hands closed from receiving the blessings God was waiting to give me.
My co-leader reminded me that those voices of “protection” are keeping me from being open to God’s plan for me. She let me know that I have to fight that fear and doubt. God can’t let me down! It is safe to have hope in Him and this is something I am focusing on this season. I want to practice keeping my hands open to receive His blessings for me. I’ve learned to trust Him, now I must have faith. It’s a big step but it’s one worth taking.
I have recently been studying and memorizing 1 Corinthians 7. This is a relatively popular chapter about love and marriage. But something that people don’t often realize is that this is also a chapter about how to thrive in singleness. When I first began reading this chapter, I was wondering why I was going through it. I thought to myself, “I’m a super single Pringle. I’m not dating anyone, there aren’t any prospects whatsoever. Lord, why am I reading this?” And the more I read, learned it, and sought understanding, I realized how much it changed how I understood relationships. For those of you who don’t know, marriage is a calling as is singleness. Not everyone was meant to get married and Paul clearly outlines this in this chapter.
“For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one as his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that. But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” (1 Cor 7:7-9, NKJV)
To give you some context, the apostle Paul is writing a letter to the people of Corinth about how they should be doing ministry and living a life for Jesus. Paul spends the first 6 chapters of 1 Corinthians discussing all of the issues he has heard about going on in the church. And it isn’t until chapter 7 that Paul addresses the things that the people of Corinth actually wrote to him about! He says in chapter 7, verse 1, “Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.” (NKJV) Paul hadn’t even gotten to the things that they wrote to him about because he knew that there were other things that needed to be addressed! How many times has the Holy Spirit done that for me? He knew there were things I wasn’t saying or bringing up in prayer and it was apart of His plan to address all of those things first BEFORE He even began to unpack the things I needed help with. Isn’t God good like that? Working on things you didn’t even know you needed help with and still getting to the problems you knew you had. Yes and amen, y’all!
It continues with Paul saying, “Nevertheless because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife and let each woman have her own husband.” (verse 2, NKJV) It then goes into what a Christ-centered marriage looks like and later in the chapter, it addresses the single people and shows them how to live their best life as God intended for them. Paul says, “But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And so I ordain in all the churches…Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called.” (verses 17 & 20, NKJV) If you didn’t catch that, Paul is saying just live in the way God is calling you and that looks different for everyone. And that’s ok!
Finally, towards the end of the chapter, Paul writes, “But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord-how he may please the Lord. But he who is married cares about the things of the world-how he may please his wife…and this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distractions.” (verses 32-33 & 35, NKJV) How amazing is that? This truly gave me a whole new perspective I never was even close to having! First, Marriage is a calling & not everyone is called to it. So in short, if you don’t have a man or woman by your side, that’s ok. You are NOT lacking in anything! You are whole and complete and you don’t need anyone by your side to start living, you can do that now all by yourself. Second, God intended for marriage to look a certain way: mutual respect for each other, offering each other the affection due to each other, for both people to enjoy His gift of sex, and to use marriage as a way to minister to people. Because it is a calling, there is a purpose behind marriage. It was intentional in its design and God was not mistaken when He created this awesome gift. Third, while you are single (either by calling or in waiting to be married) God has you right where He wants you. In being single, you have the ability to place all of your focus on the Lord in everything you do! When you’re married, you have another person to consider and worry about. You may have kids that need attending to as parents. Work and life in general become a priority and you aren’t as free to do whatever it is the Lord is calling you to do.
All of these things and more are the reason I have genuinely come to love being single. If it weren’t for Jesus, I wouldn’t have anything to do during my week! Everything I do in my schedule is for the Lord and I don’t have any distractions. What a blessing, y’all! And I get to focus solely on my relationship with Him and discovering new ways to actually fall in love with Jesus which is something I am working on right now. You may be wondering, so how does all of this fit in with the guy you like? Great question! Here’s my answer:
I am enjoying the life God has given me and living every day for Jesus. In doing housework for my mom while she’s at work to me serving in student ministry, & working on my fitness journey. All of it is for and because of Jesus. In terms of my feelings for this guy, I know what to look for now in a Godly man, which is something I couldn’t say before now. I don’t know his place in my life yet but for now, he is a friend and brother in Christ. I am giving his place in my life to the Lord and I will actively be praying for my future husband and for this guy. And if it just so happens he is my future person, I would NOT be disappointed haha!
I’m so thankful for all of the things I’ve been learning and this guy is absolutely being used by God to help me know what to look for. I will be confident and keep an open posture so that I can receive all that God has for me. Finally, I won’t be afraid to let things happen organically and authentically. And if he happens to think the way I get emotionally invested in Korean drama TV shows is endearing, that’s always a plus. 😉