I have a friend who just got some wonderful news. I asked her if she were going to post it in a group on Facebook that we’re both members of and she said she wasn’t sure. I asked why and she said she didn’t want anyone to feel badly.
I totally get this. As Christians, we’re completely fine sharing our bad news and asking for prayer but when something good happens, we feel guilty about it. As if life for us is only supposed to be hard.
I struggled with this when I started dating Tall-Shadow, whether to share it publicly. I write to women who are living in the day-to-day difficulties of hard, hard marriages, and to women who are recovering from divorce and are nowhere near ready to date, and to women who have been trying to find someone for a long time. I didn’t want to make anyone feel badly.
And yet, if I were to have left out that part of my life, I would have been leaving out a significant part, along with the lessons I’m learning, so I decided to move forward with sharing about him and about us.
But something interesting has transpired. At first, I was grateful to hear a common thread response but now I’m starting to worry just a tad.
When I post things about Tall-Shadow doing something for me, like plant flowers or paint a table and chairs for me, I occasionally get comments like this:
So these kind of men really DO exist and not just in fairytales?
I sure haven’t ever met any; my heart’s desire one day is to find one.
Am I hallucinating??
I completely understand these statements because my heart used to be hurting like their hearts are hurting now.
But then, on the other hand, I also get some like these, and these are the ones that are disconcerting:
Don’t lose hope, ladies! They ARE out there! I was blessed with one when I least expected it (and didn’t even want it).
What I see is hope… hope that there are solid Godly men out there.
Both of you give all of us so much hope!
I am grateful if what Tall-Shadow and I have is giving women hope because that reflects that there is something about our relationship that is light-filled, that is different from what these sweet women have experienced. This is a good thing.
And yet, what I’m concerned about is this…no one should hope to be Tall-Shadow and me (other than Tall-Shadow and me) or should hope to be like Tall-Shadow and me. No one should hope to be me (other than me) or should hope to be like me. No one should hope to be dating Tall-Shadow (other than me, ahem) or should hope to be dating someone like Tall-Shadow. In fact, no one should be hoping to find a man at all.
What you should be hoping for is this: that every day you are becoming more and more who God created you to be, and that if it’s in God’s best interest for you to have a partner someday, that you’ll have one.
I’m grateful if our relationship gives you hope that healthy relationships exist. But I’m nervous if our relationship gives you hope that you will in fact one day find a man of your own who treats you like Tall-Shadow treats me.
I didn’t even dare hope for that. Before I joined Match last year, I wasn’t even interested in dating, wasn’t even looking for a man. (It was my girlfriends’ idea for me to get back out there.)
So, I guess I’m coming to you with a word of caution today. My path is not your path. I have no idea if every one of you single ladies who read my blog will find a man, let alone a good one. God does not promise us this in Scripture. Just like he doesn’t promise that our marriages will work out, our pregnancies will come to term and yield healthy babies, our books will be published, our dream jobs will fall into our laps, we’ll be able to make ends meet every month, our bodies will never be riddled with disease, our kids will grow up to lead amazing lives, and on and on and on. He promises none of that.
But what he does promise is this: that we will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living (whatever God deems as his goodness for us) and that Jesus came to give us life and life abundant (whatever God deems is abundant life for us), but nowhere does it promise each one of us that we will find a partner or that all of what we want will come to pass just because we want it desperately.
Life is hard. God is good and faithful. But hope is tricky. Please, sweet girls, make sure you are hoping for the right thing…not that your circumstances will turn out as you desire but that your God will be present to you no matter what may or may not come.
If this post encouraged you, you’ll benefit from Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage.