The idea of settling is close to my heart.
It hurts to admit that because the core issue behind why I tend to settle is because I often doubt God. Sure, I freely give Him the parts of my life that are safe: If I just got a raise I will be excited to give back, when I am surrounded by Christian community it’s natural to praise His goodness, if He answers a prayer that is pressing in my life I will wonder to myself how I could have doubted His faithfulness. But then a problem hits and everything changes.
Usually the root of any problem is my will clashing up against God’s; I wanted that job and it didn’t work out, I was in love with that guy and the relationship fell apart, I couldn’t imagine living without this friend and they ghost. You name it, I have probably asked God why He allowed that hardship to happen.
Honestly, I think that I question God because I struggle letting go of the areas closest to my heart.
The more I care about something the more I, knowingly or unknowingly, push for my will. There is no better example than my love life. From day one God and I have battled over men, relationships, intimacy, break ups, make ups and everything in between. Dating is complicated and I spent years not only ignoring God’s leading but actively chasing guys that I knew were wrong, pushing to settle for less than His best.
Growing up in church, I knew what we, as women, are intended to enjoy (and that I think we all want deep down). Ideally, we wait for the man who loves and lives for Jesus to pursue and love us like Christ loves the church. He will be intentioal in his pursuit of our heart, respect our purity, be our equal yoke and lead us to a life that is adventurously surrendered to Christ.
The problem is, that’s not always sexy, fast, or even practical today. So I took love into my own hands and started subconsciously attempting to settle.
I began to let the world dictate my expectation of love. My friends told me it was unrealistic to expect a man to give up porn so I chose to settle for one who only looked when I was gone. Culture told me I needed to dress a certain way to get a boyfriend so I wore lower cut shirts. College consistency reminded me that it was crazy to wait for sex so I eventually chose to settle there too. At the end of the day, all of these choices were made in efforts to become like everyone else. I was having fun on the surface but deep down I was plagued with shame and insecurity. Attempting to tailor God to fit my lifestyle, I was going to church and living parts of my life attentive to Him but holding tight to my plan for love. I was pursuing guys, damaging my intimacy, breaking my own heart through unmatched values and exhausting myself by doing everything I could to be with the wrong guy. Do you know what that reality is?
It’s ACTIVELY choosing to settle for less than God’s best.
I know from years of firsthand experience that it will never bring you the love that your heart was created for. In fact, we couldn’t make the enemy happier than when we listen to the lies of culture instead of the truth founded in our faith. Every time we choose sex over purity he smiles. Every time we choose to stay in that dysfunctional relationship instead of waiting, single, he celebrates. Every time we settle for being objectified his heart skips a beat.
He specializes in making good look bad and bad look tantalizing. The enemy not only knows our personal weaknesses, he wants us to feel isolated so we run to the wrong men for affirmation, acceptance and identity.
Obedience was (and sometimes still is), risky. A few years ago I had a lot of doubt, fear and wounds surrounding relationships, purity and identity. I remember being so damaged that I couldn’t imagine why God would come through for me after I turned my back on Him. I felt unworthy of the life that He still called me to live, especially because I knowingly rebelled against Him. But when I ran back to His open arms, said yes to what felt scary, and stepped out in faith, God didn’t fail. He showed up for me in that season and He continues to every day. He filled me up with His unfailing love and gave me the strength to start healing my vision of love, believing that He had so much better for me. I still doubt, but His Word, His Spirit and my community continue to remind me that no matter what I did I am forgiven and free forever.
The reality is that God will continually fight our desire to settle because He wants better for us than we could ever imagine. The battle for our future has already been won. We are property of Jesus and He has an incredible life laid out for us marked by deeply fulfilling relationships.
The moment we decide to focus on Him over the need for attention and temporary lust He is there to speak truth into our weary souls. I thought He wanted to control me, I thought He wanted to take all my fun away and I was convinced I would have a miserable life if I gave it all up to wait on Him. But when I finally hit rock bottom I realized that He had always had been there - every time I failed he caught my tears. With eyes full of love He patiently waited for me to give up my selfish lifestyle and stop striving to get love on my own. When I finally turned the slightest bit He wrapped me in His arms and breathed life back into my haggard heart.
The day that I decided to trust him with men is the day that my life changed.
You and I were created for so much than average. God has called us His own, cherished daughters of the King. He is the author of love and not only quenches our wayward desire to settle but also provides the way to live whole in Him, before a man. He gives us rest and assures us that when the time is right He will bring us a worthy partner. Our God is good and He not only wants to meet our expectations of love, He wants to blow them out of the water. I wholeheartedly believe that He has a man so tailor made for you that you will spend the rest of your life uncovering why you were created for each other. That is the confidence and hope that we can live our single life with; when we wait on Him He never fails to answer, in His timing.