I started writing a whole ‘nother post earlier this morning, but I got some news today and felt compelled to switch gears. I’m actually still learning everything that comes after this paragraph, so I’ll just pray, type and see where it goes…
A good girlfriend called me today and told me that someone close to her had just called off her wedding. The groom-to-be did the unthinkable. My friend was pretty discouraged and she wondered out loud, “Why does it seem like the girls who do everything the wrong way are winning?” To her, it seemed like the fact that this promising union was now broken sends the wrong message to the “good” girls.
Her rationale and resulting frustration made a lot of sense. If you strive to do things God’s way, you’re supposed to be the girl that gets the guy. We both came from a background where the older church mothers would advise us to “keep that skirt down and those panties up,” “wait for the right one,” and call your “husband” forth by praying for him. If you do these things, then you’ll be swept off your feet by prince charming and you’ll live “happily ever after.” Sounds great…Except it’s not right. And it’s not always true. Because what they don’t tell you is that THIS > your efforts to do things God’s way…is not about THAT > being found by a husband. And the problem with making it about that is that it becomes the end…and the pursuit of God’s way becomes the means.
When you make God a mile marker along the way and place anything else at the “finish” line, the race becomes about you. If the “end” doesn’t materialize, it leads you to question whether or not God’s way works. You may wonder if “it” isn’t happening because of something you’re doing or not doing. When we perceive that our “goodness” is failing, we tend to put His on trial. If God is not responding to my “good” by blessing me, then He’s not being good to me.
In the beginning of Philippians 3, Paul lays out His credentials and other “good” things that should give him favor in God’s eyes. He’s been circumcised, Jewish pedigree, was a “Pharisee of Pharisees” and was obedient to the law. But as the chapter went on, he realized how worthless it all was compared to the “infinite value of knowing Christ.” To “win Christ” and to be found in Him and clothed in HIS righteousness is to discard your own. In God’s economy, to win Him is to lose you.
Then in verses 3:13-14 (ESV), the Apostle Paul says this:
“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
His “upward call” is the “finish” line…fellowship with Him is the prize. You cannot be “good” without God. He is the means AND the end. He is this life’s ultimate necessity…It is impossible to successfully pursue Him without Him.
It’s not about desiring a husband any less…it’s about wanting God more. What we’ve been setup to believe God for is not enough. The privilege of knowing Christ is a blessing and a mercy to which nothing else compares. His love for you is unending and, should you dare to put Him first, He’ll make Himself at home in your heart. He paid for your life with His own…redeemed you from the hand of the enemy and opened the door for eternal companionship. He’s invaluable…a Gift that keeps on giving. In Him, fullness is the order of the day. God should be wanted for who He is…not just what He does. His presence is too valuable of a treasure for such small aims.
To be quite honest, this post has convicted the heck out of me. Lord, I’m sorry. Sorry for having such an unhealthy attachment to my “happily ever after.” My desire to please You should stand alone with no support from underlying desires and motives. Lord, please find my obedience to be an appropriate response to your grace and mercy in my life and not just a way to encourage Your will. Help me to cultivate a lifestyle of dependence as I run this race. And most important, help me to always know and recognize You as the grand prize of this life. For when I commit my life to the pursuit of Your heart, You make me a “good” girl who wins.
Ashley Patrice, that was INCREDIBLE!!! And something I never thought I’d hear you say. Blessed me even the second time around. Girl, you had my saved self repenting again.lol Keep letting Him use you to bless the nation;). Love you
Honestly, I never thought i’d hear me say it, LOL!!! But this was ALL God…i can’t take an ounce of credit. If nothing else, my goal is to dispel the myths surrounding this desire. Instead of corroborating it, we must add some much-needed perspective. There’s nothing wrong w/wanting to be married, but it can’t be the primary thing. God has to be. I’m learning slowly, but surely:). I love you, too, sis;).
I am pleased at your words of encouragement & remembering of God needs to be the “PRIZE” in this walk of faith. I agree with you regarding what we as women are taught in church. As the years go on & your age increases you have to come to peace within your self that God is enough and strive to live a happy life. Enjoying all that God has blessed you with & not allow the enemy to short change you into thinking that you are “less than” in any way shape or form.
Thank you so much for the encouragement:-). I’ve known for the longest that it’s necessary to get to the point where God alone is my satisfaction, but it was always such a hard thought to conceive of, mainly because of the tangible aspect. But I’m encouraged more and more as I lean on Him during this time of my life. And by knowing that I’m not alone in this;-).
Thank you for sharing such an awesome message. I too struggle with this from time to time and each time God gently reminds me that He is all I need. I’m so glad that you were courageous enough to let Him use you to share this truth. Grace is not dependent on who we are but who He is…I never cease to be amazed at the depth of Gods love for us sinners. May God continue blessing you Ms Brown. I always knew that the Lord had a special calling on your life and I’m so blessed to see it materialize and share in learning on this journey with you. Love U girlfriend! Take care.
I sure wasn’t ready for the waterworks that ensued just now, lol. This post definitely did a number on me. A lot of times you have to experience something before being able to extract any truth. It hurt quite a bit. But I’m thankful for the conclusion He gave on the matter. Not sure I could have arrived there any other way. Thank you so much, girl…I love you, too 🙂
I couldn’t say it better myself. I think this way of thinking is the best way to view our relationship with God. Its always been about having a true, no strings attached relationship with God. This life down here is not for us… its about winning people over. Heaven is where all the fun begins. So keep your eyes on that and all the rest will come as God sees fit. Love you Ash and thanks for letting God use you!! 🙂
Thanks, sis…I love you, too :-)!
Great post, Ashley, thanks for sharing!
I had to learn to “let go and let God” several times. It’s not like I realized I was holding on too tight to the “happily ever after” idol that I never turned to it again. Like you stated, longing for a husband is not what this is about. But we also fall easily into the trap of “if I do THIS, then THAT will happen” – as we teach equivalent retaliation (tit for tat) in this world, ignoring that God’s grace isn’t a bargain we get for good behavior. Our motives have to be pure, yes. But that doesn’t keep God from blessing us anyways, even if He will have to correct us along the way.
The worst thing we do to ourselves is the famous thought “what’s wrong with me”. There is nothing wrong with self-reflecting thoughts when they are directed towards God; meditating on His word and examining it against our own heart’s desires or motives. But the direction this thought is taking is down, not up. It is not looking for God’s will, for HIs direction or has any love in it. Deception. Disguise as humility and “openness to criticism” when there is in fact just the question that is looking to point out all that is “wrong” and that is a form or condemnation. Women are especially prone to ask this question and we also contribute to this dilemma when we “assess” other people’s circumstances with this as the leading question for our “analysis”. How about take it to scripture each and every time? I’m preaching to the choir here. I wish I was not as analytical as I am and try to figure everything out and instead would run to God and try to “figure out” / find out what His desires are for me and chew on that instead and lay my logic, emotions, automatic reactions, expectations and worries at His feet.
My reply got really long…oops =) Your post triggered so many old and recent memories and topics along the way. I pray I will treasure God in my heart more than anything in this life and let my identity come no one other than Jesus, not an idolized image of being proposed to or married, or whatever else the image is.
Corinna…girl, that was AWESOME! I couldn’t have said it better myself. The crazy and unfortunate thing about that quid pro quo thinking is that it’s okay simply because you want what His has. But our motives are SO important. God wants to be wanted for who He is…He’s more than enough. And when we are in Him, we have all that we need…nothing lacking. If He has a husband for us, HE will be the one to deliver. It’s not our job to seek him out or make it happen. The mind must be stayed on God. And with regard to the “what’s wrong with me” question. I can’t count how many times I’ve asked that question…even recently. And I won’t even get on my over-analyzing ways, lol…I’m working on that :-). Thank you for this…good stuff! We need to connect soon…
Thanks for your further insight into the “happily ever after” dilemma. I needed to HEAR that again…
Thanks, Amanda :-)…seems like (for myself) a constant reminder never hurts a thing, lol…
Ashley, to God be the continued glory as you continue to grow in Him understanding His fullness. I am so inspired by you for taking the time to share not only for support but for others to learn. God gives us the desires of our heart, but not to compromise our relationship with Him. He is to be our everything and all other parties a compliment to His creation in us. You are awesome! Well done , thank you for sharing. Blessings always.
Thank you so much, Ruth! I’m thankful for every opportunity to learn…I couldn’t become without them. I sincerely appreciate your ear and your prayers :-)…love you!
I really enjoyed this blog Ashley! When we learn it’s all about God, we save ourselves heartache and frustration.
Hey sis! So true…and definitely not something you learn once and it’s all good. I’m learning it’s a daily decision to trust in and rely on Him. Knew it before, but application is more than a notion. Working on a few other related posts :-). Love you!
ASH- love your page God will always speak when you keep him first he has a plan for your life proud of you young lady AUNTIE OWINNA LOVE U
Hey Auntie! You sure just made my day:-). I need to catch up with you…been running on “E” lately:-(. Will call soon…love you!
paper now – Edward G. Goldschmidt, Sam M. Julian