Sunday, June 23, 2013

Missionary Dating: Flirt to Convert the Masses

So, I'm gonna quit hiding it: I'm looking for a man.

Life just seems to go in circles when you're single: It's all about seasons. Over the years, there have been long stretches where I've sat back and busied myself with non-male related ventures, living up the single life and learning to be content in the wait. And then there are other seasons where it's just twitterpation to the max and boy-crazy restlessness sets in. It's like when a new crop of students would roll into the YWAM base, all us single girl staff would have "periscopes up," subtly (or shamelessly) scoping out the new prospects. At times like these, I seriously consider patenting a "Find a Man" App. Surely there would be a market for such a brilliant invention...

Scratch that...what I need is NOT a "Find a Man" App. What I need is a very specific offshoot of that concept, but FAR more necessary: I need a "Find a Missionary" app.

After all, we've got eHarmony and ChristianMingle to scout out potential mates and dates (if any of you  have tried both, which I have, you realize that the former really is a "marriage site" as it claims, and the latter is for Christian boys who can't make up their minds. Or, in the words of a co-worker, "The guys only go on [ChristianMingle] because they want [to hook-up with] a virgin."). But even fishing from a pond stocked with men who love Jesus isn't quite narrow enough for some of us mission-minded gals. They tell us there are a lot of "fish in the sea," but I, personally, have to keep throwing back a lot of
em because they're not so much swimming in the direction of the nations. (This America pond is a bit stagnant...).

My friends and family are praying for a good catch and I'm praying for a missionary. I don't think those two things are mutually exclusive, of course, but I do want to be very specific in my requests. And, just being real, those requests are coming on a daily basis now. By seriously upping my prayer level over the last six months. I've gone "persistent widow" on Jesus, unrelenting in my request for a mate and ministry partner.

After all, wasn't it God who put both callings in my heart to desire?

This morning, my pastor said that the mark of spiritual maturity is when we come to fully desire what God desires. For the last 3 years, it has been my constant prayer that God would "set my heart where He wants it to go." So, here I am. I keep returning to the three core desires of my being: To know God, to be a missionary, and to get married. Surely, after all those prayers and intense seeking of God's will for my life, there must be a reason why I always end up back here. It must mean one thing: Those desires are GOOD!

Someone had to say it! Single gals in particular suffer the stigma of being labeled "desperate" if we voice our desire for a husband and children. When we ARE brave enough to vocalize this [godly!] longing, we are shushed with a little pity pat on the shoulder and cliche admonitions like "Be content in your singleness" and "Make Jesus your husband." These are probably the same  people who take a purely "spiritual allegory" position on the Song of Solomon. Not gonna lie, I don't draw much from SoS as a single, aside from frustration. [And ironically, in this twitterpated state, Paul tells me it's actually better for me to marry than to "burn with passion."]. Hmmmm. The Bible is a strong advocate for marriage, it seems...

Now, before you go all 90's "Well, duh!" on me, let me just say that we really do NEED to be reminded of that! How often have you (assuming your the target audience single gal reader of my blog) felt "desperate" any time you've expressed your desire to be married? Most likely, you weren't actually desperate (my theory is that if you were truly desperate, you would have been married by the first breathing option that showed interest), but you felt that pressure to be content and stop desiring marriage so strongly.

Forgive me for the repetitive thought, but just allow it to sink in: Singles, it is OKAY to desire marriage! We were made for companionship. We were made to have babies. We were made for sex. We were made to walk through life with just one person for the rest of our lives. We were made to experience the amazing allegory of the relationship between Christ and the Church this side of heaven (okay, so there is some allegory in SoS, I'll admit. I think that's more clear in Ephesians 5, actually. I still think Solomon was talking more about sexual positions than allegorical positions. But I digress..).

Before you protest about what we were made for with the myriad of examples out there of brokenness (divorce, infertility, singles never marrying...), let me point out that marriage, sex and babies were God's ideal designs for us. Yes, there is sin in the world and a very real enemy that breaks, taints and takes away God's created blessings, yet these blessings are all still available to hope for, to pray for, and Lord-willing, to attain. Don't fall into the world's trap of cynicism and lose hope just because you've been (or you've seen the ones you love) hurt.

I'll close with this thought...

I just finished reading a book called "Shattered Dreams" by a brutally honest Christian psychologist named Larry Crabb. In the book, he made a fascinating comment about the state of modern Christianity that made me think WE need missionaries (or at least prophets) to bring us back to the Truth. We have, as Crabb says, become "practical Buddhists."

At the core of the Buddhist religion is the belief that the way to achieve peace and perfection (Nirvana) is to eliminate all desire. Stop wanting so much.

Sound familiar? We hear some derivative of that all the time in Christian circles. Crabb turns the thought on its head and exposes our misunderstanding of the Truth:

"''Don't let your hearts be troubled. Find some way to feel less pain, to reduce your desire for what you do not have. If you succeed, call it contentment. Call it deep trust.' We think that's what Jesus taught. But it's really advice from Buddha."

Jesus never asked us to kill our longings. Desire is another God-ordained creation we can add to our list: We were indeed "made to crave." Don't silence the longing. Embrace it. Be honest about it. And pray the Lord brings it to pass.

As my roommate and I were driving home tonight, I told her how dumb I think it is when Christians skirt around the actual asking for a spouse for themselves or a single friend. They pray the ever-so-holy: "God, if it be your will that my sister gets married..." or the spiritual anti-ask, "God, help them to realize they need you more than a husband." What's up with that? Adam had perfect communion with God and God very directly pointed out that it was "not good" for him to be alone. GOD said that, not man! Clearly God wants His children to have spouses. MARRIAGE, not singleness, is the good we were created for!

So I've started boldly praying, in Jesus name, for spouses for my single friends. None of this disclaimer non-sense. God already knows what I'm gonna ask, so I might as well be real about it. It's like praying for someone to get healed. Do I know whether or not God will heal that person? Of course not. I just need to pray and trust Jesus to do His healing thing. The same is true with marriage. Maybe not all those people I pray for will get married, but I will pray it! I want to stand in faith and not doubt. God's not into double-minded waves: He's into kids with mustard-seed faith and boldness not to beat around the bush. Just ask already!

(And just to encourage you, if you're a subscriber, you're most likely already in my "Single File" prayer list. Even if you haven't got the guts to pray regularly for a spouse for yourself, at least you've got somebody else advocating for you. You're welcome...) :)

Go ahead: Be honest about what's in your heart, persistent single. Ask God for a spouse. He who finds a wife finds a GOOD thing. Single gals, that's YOU! You are the good thing--an answer to a godly man's prayer! And single guys, don't be ashamed or too scared to settle down. Your wife will be a blessing and you were created to long for her until she's in your life. Go find her (and send your single buddies out to find the rest of us!) ;)

So, friends, allow me to be the first to proudly proclaim (as Nia Vardalos' just said in the movie that's playing in the background), I am officially "open for wooing."

Tell those missionary men they know where they can find me :)


  1. I am officially open for wooing too! :)

  2. Just one question: when it comes to age gaps in marriage, how big is too big? :)