Recently, I saw a friend post something on social media that was probably two complete paragraphs long about how they longed to be in a relationship. I wouldn’t say that I was surprised to read something like this, not because there was anything “wrong” with them, but because as a twenty-something-year-old, it is not uncommon to be surrounded by the constant pressure to be “In a Relationship”. It’s like you graduate High School one day, then the next day, you find your Facebook Newsfeed to be filled with photos of date night meals here, baby sonograms there, and “Oh, hey look! That awkward social outcast from Middle School is actually really pretty now and just got married to a really cute guy.” Ugh, the pressure of it all!
Now I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong to want to be in a relationship, but personally I think that it’s a waste of time to want something so badly that it hurts. But I suppose if you are dead set on the idea that you’re ready to start dating and “find your true love”, you can ask any professional counselor (or really just a do quick Google search) to find out that many people out there will tell you this:
“Before you love someone else, you must first love yourself.”
Don’t get me wrong - I believe this to be a very beneficial piece of advice, but I also believe that some of you are probably thinking, “Hey, this is too easy!” because obviously since you are so ready to be in a relationship, you probably already know that you’re loveable, right? And you’re probably also thinking that if you’re so great, then why can’t you seem to find that one person who can make you feel so special and loved, the way all your couple-friends feel loved? I can’t give you an answer to this (sorry), but I do feel that before you cross this advice off your “How to Make Someone Fall In Love With You” checklist and move on to the next one, it’s important to establish what “loving yourself” means, according to a verse in the Bible. It’s so easy to think that “loving yourself” means treating yourself to a nice meal, playing hookie to go to a relaxing day at the spa, buying 2-ply extra soft toilet paper that doesn’t crumble in your hands, and so on. These are all great, but according to the book of Proverbs, Solomon writes:
“To acquire wisdom is to love yourself; people who cherish understanding will prosper.” (Proverbs 19:8 NLT)
So contrary to popular belief, it turns out that “loving yourself” according to this verse isn’t so much of a selfish act that gives you a free ticket to be arrogant or to treat yourself to luxurious items all the time. Rather, Solomon tells us that if you really want to love yourself, you need to be studying to accrue wisdom. While this includes reading the Bible (and actually putting it into practice) and spending time in prayer throughout the day, it also includes reading other books on wisdom, learning from mistakes of people around you, and getting advice from leaders in your church. In another book in the Bible, it states:
“For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic.” (James 3:15 NLT)
We tell ourselves that we don't believe in fairytales, but we do dream of someone to come sweep us off our feet. Someone we can call our own. Someone who makes our eyes twinkle when that person walks in the door. Someone to grow old with - a person to look at in 50 years and say, “LOL you have more wrinkles than me” and laugh until you cough your lungs out. It’s normal. It’s not a bad thing to want any of these things, but what happens many times is that this want evolves into something greater and people end up entering a dangerous zone of desperation and so much jealousy that they can’t allow themselves to be happy for the couples around then. This isn’t what God wants, and it is “not God’s kind of wisdom”. So stop feeling sorry for yourself! You can’t rush God because God knows what he’s doing.
Meanwhile, enjoy life with no strings attached.
Feel happy for people who are in love.
Love your friends and family with all you’ve got.
Most importantly, grow in your walk with God -- that means TRUST Him and love Him abundantly.
The more you invest in the Word, the wiser you will get. Instead of focusing on your wants all the time, ask God what He wants for you and don't worry about the future. Then, once you finally find that person you want to date, you’ll be thankful that you had that period of time to acquire wisdom. Not to mention, that person (and all the people around you, for that matter) will also be thankful because wisdom is an attractive quality that will only help your relationships grow. It will guide your decisions to help you avoid plenty of hurt and heartache.
Proverbs 3:6-7 (NLT)
Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you.
Love her, and she will guard you.
Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do!
And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.