See, my first few months as an MU Tiger have been a crazy roller coaster of ups and downs. I broke up with my boyfriend of a year, within the first two weeks. I received a bid for a sorority and almost joined- but at the last minute, changed my mind. I ate greasy pepperoni pizza from Rollins at midnight on a Tuesday with a frat boy…when I should’ve been writing a paper due the next morning. I discovered, out of necessity, that caffeine gum works. I went on my first laughably bad date. I lost touch with some friends I thought I’d be close to forever. I gained some friends that are just plain amazing. I acquired a job of writing freelance articles about everything from dating- to the importance of owning a home generator. I attended five concerts, cultivated a love for caramel apple cider, and saw Mean Girls for the first time. I made friends with a bum, became addicted to the Student Center’s sushi, and perfected the fine art of running to class in high-heeled boots.
And through it all- the mistakes, messes, and tears, as well as the effortless happy days- God has been by my side.
This year, I decided to do my best to trust God no matter what. Because, honestly? I had no other option. I was desperate. I was alone, for a while I was heartbroken, and I really had no one to turn to. Except God, He kept reminding me. Looking back at the online journal I keep, I came across this entry on August 18th, a Saturday:
I feel so…not good enough, being here. I’m not good at making friends. I’m not good at meeting new people. I’m not good at being lonely. I’m not good at living alone.
Depressing, eh? But this is how I felt. This is how I felt until, through a lot of prayer, everything changed.
I think sometimes we feel like God wants us to be happy: so why aren’t we happy?! But this isn’t necessarily true. In my case, I believe God removed all the stuff getting in the way of my relationship with Him. He made it so He was all that was left. One morning in church, I had my first experience with the song You Won’t Relent. “You won’t relent until you/have it all/my heart is yours” we sang, a hundred voices crying out as one. That song hit me. Hard. I realized God wanted control of my heart, my life, because of His enormous love for me. And I decided something: for once, I was going to allow that.
I stopped praying: “please, God, allow ___ to happen,” and switched to a form closer to this: “God, let this happen if it is in Your will. But if not, remove this desire for it from me; I want to want Your will.” And those prayers were answered. Sometimes with a kind-of “no, this is not part of my plan for you,” and while difficult to understand at times, I still knew God’s way was best, and still felt his love.
But I was also confused, as plans I thought would be successful kept falling through and guys I thought were interesting kept inexplicably dropping out of my life. Why was God saying no?
So, in the midst of all this, just trying to figure things out, I made my way one Wednesday evening about a month ago to CF Live, one of the campus ministries I hadn’t tried yet. I knew I’d be back when I heard the pastor talk about the focus of the upcoming retreat. “We’re going to talk about what it means to be real men; real women,” he said. “Our society has gotten this all mixed up. But we were created differently; we’re built for different things. We’re going to check out what the Bible says about how to live as men and women of Christ.” With those words, I was hooked. Many Christian ministries avoid the controversial: because, well, it’s uncomfortable. But this isn’t okay! God’s Word itself is uncomfortable: it’s full of things that offend nonbelievers. But, as the Bible says, we as Christians are to be in the world but not of it. What the world thinks shouldn’t matter. And when regarding relationships and gender roles, especially, the world is all kinds of messed up. The world is all about tolerance, “anything goes.” But I disagree with that, and I believe my views are biblical: women shouldn’t be the leaders and initiators of relationships. Men should protect women. Sleeping around isn’t okay. Divorce isn’t okay. Living together before marriage isn’t okay. So when it seemed this brand-new-to-me Christian group was going to face these issues head on, I knew I wanted to go to the retreat. Plus, the promised focus on relationships seemed like it would have very practical application to me: I’d recently ended a relationship I knew in my heart wasn’t right or God-honoring. I didn’t want to make that mistake again. I wanted to do it right.
I attended the retreat, at first knowing no one. By the end, I’d had a fantastic time, met some great people, and really connected with God again. I felt completely renewed. Plus, I learned/remembered a lot about the way relationships are supposed to work. The right way. God’s way. I prayed a lot, that God would eventually send me a God-fearing guy who would actually make me better, treat me the right way. A guy worthy of respect. A guy worthy of my time and affection.
And you know what?
I met one.
At the retreat. But I didn’t know it at the time.
I didn’t quite realize it until yesterday, actually, when I agreed to become this guy’s girlfriend (after which I spent the entire day walking around campus with a ridiculous grin on my face). Because he loves the Lord as much as I do, that’s easy to see. He’s talented, smart, driven, and fun. He’s passionate about music. He’s really cute. He’s an Instagram-using, coffee-drinking, dog-loving total gentleman who clearly values me quite a lot. And I have never felt such instant chemistry in my life.
I believe this turn of events is something to celebrate. 🙂
So, to sum this up, from what I understand: God took away some things I used as “security blankets” in my life, and said no to some things/relationships I thought I wanted–>which caused me to rely on Him in a real way–>which gave me a greater hunger to learn more and connect with other Christians–>which led me to CF Live on a random Wednesday evening–>where the message was excellent and I heard about a retreat which I decided, on a whim, to attend–>which is where I learned more about doing relationships the right way–>which gave me motivation to wait for a great, godly guy–>such as the one I met at the retreat, happened to spontaneously connect with this last weekend, and am now dating, after a rainy day coffee date.
So, never would I claim I understand everything about how God is working, in any event. But I’m fairly sure I understand why He said no to some things I wanted, just a few weeks ago. He had something so much better in store.
Things are making sense.
Song of the Day: On Top of the World by Imagine Dragons