A note from E. Eliot on submitting your love life to Christ, and dealing with disappointments

Do you sometimes wish you could just make the decision for people especially when you know they seem to be going the wrong way? Or that you know, as a matter of fact, they are going the wrong way? It happens to me a lot and I’m not saying this like I’m being self-righteous. I’m merely saying this from the perspective of a person who has experienced many things in life. If I could just pass on a little wisdom to people, I would. And I often do, in the way I carefully encourage or write letters or admonish friends to do the right thing or to obey God’s teachings. The difficult part in this is when you know that despite the wisdom behind your advices, people still choose to go the other way. How do you feel about it? Frustrated. Disappointed. Like, really disappointed. I keep thinking and remembering what my dad said about taking advantage of the wisdom that God has given to authorities in your life –parents, accountability partners, people you trust. Most of the time, they do know better because they come with experiences. So why do people still choose to go the other way when the answers are already so obvious?

Over late night snack at a coffee shop with my friend Mitch, we talked about relationships and making the right decisions. I’m turning 30 this year. *gasp. I can’t even believe I’m approaching the big 3-0. My last relationship (if I could even call it as such) was 5 years ago. My views and ideals on relationships, one that is biblical-based, have matured over time. I’m still single despite thinking that I could be ready for a relationship now. If I could have it my way, I would be married by now, happily settled with the love of my life. In God’s wisdom and perfect timing, I am still in this season of singleness. As a follower of Christ, I am commanded to submit and to trust him for my future. He knows best, that I believe wholeheartedly. And because it hasn’t happened, in the meantime, I just trust and go on with life. Life isn’t slower for me just because I’m single. Life happens everyday, and you just trust in God as you wait expectantly, patiently.

I was particularly disappointed when I heard the news about a friend in church who has been making contradicting choices relating to this one guy who has been actively, aggressively pursuing her. On the one hand, she seems annoyed at his constant, aggressive pursuit, confiding in us that she’s pressured to respond. On the other hand, despite this statement, she continues to entertain him, even to her own home. And as for the guy, despite all the boundaries set for him, he still manages to go by different ways of pursuing her outside the protection of accountability partners and even authorities in church like our Pastor. I’ve long given my say on the matter: In the end, this is a result of a mutual decision. He wouldn’t be making all these moves if the girl were not reciprocating or even giving him the chance to do so. We do have our say, ladies. The ball is in our court. And it’s a strong indication of our understanding of our faith in God and our knowledge of Him, our security, and our worth. When we say No and actually mean it, we come from a place of strength, a place of understanding of who we are in Christ, what values we hold dear, what ideals we want to embody. We can put a stop to any such pursuit if it makes us uncomfortable, if we know this man is not a man of God, if the pursuit pressures us to make a rash decision, or if it even hinders our walk with the Lord. This is where biblical wisdom is applied and where accountability thrives. Sadly, this is not the case here. The plain truth is that a “routine” has been established between them, some sort of understanding that belie their words and their actions, making it easier for both of them to give in to emotions and to what I call petty romance. That’s the hard truth that needs no explaining. When you let your heart decide, and in the absence of wisdom and accountability, you pretty much just decide to do what you want and not what God wants for you.

I don’t know how else to go about this situation except to submit it in prayer. I’ve taken on the role of an “ate” or a big sister to her. While I haven’t really become her discipler, being older than her by 5 years, I’m considered her ate and I’ve been guiding her since she first arrived in church, pregnant and going through a complicated on-and-off relationship with her now ex-boyfriend. She was in a broken state, and so beautifully experienced the grace of God in her life despite the mistakes of her past. Her life has taken off in the right direction following her continuous bible studies and knowing God more through church. And as far as I know, people around her, including me, have done everything to guide her to make the right decision. I’ve been very vocal and transparent, even letting her in on some personal letters written by my mom when I first had my heart broken. It was to enable her to see the wisdom of authority, and the protection of parents. For a time, she was very honest with me. It was only when she started entertaining him that there appeared some sort of barrier or gap in our communication. Where she used to confide in me for advice and encouragement, she now started withdrawing. It happens when people know they are in the wrong. You just want to avoid being told off or reprimanded, even if it comes from somebody who truly cares for you.

The thing is, I wouldn’t be this conflicted if I even half-accept this guy, even for just potential’s sake. But I don’t. I don’t see him to be the mature, Christian guy who could make spiritual decisions for both of them. The mere fact that he’s even disrespecting the boundaries and not going through the proper authorities (apart from the parent) indicate his spiritual immaturity and lack of understanding of what a real biblical courtship looks like. For these reasons alone, I am inclined to disapprove of their relationship, as an older sister in Christ and someone who is an “ate” to my friend. This is the part that hurts. When you want them to know that your disapprovals are for good reasons.

It is heartbreaking to see her make wrong decisions. Like I said, sometimes I wish I could just decide for her but obviously, I cannot do that. I can only entrust her to God and at the same time, trust that God would speak to her. The prayer is that she would listen and obey –which is always the hard part.

E. Eliot (Passion and Purity) touches on this topic (I was thinking of her advices the whole time I was writing this) and I quote, “Until the will and the affections are brought under the authority of Christ, we have not begun to understand, let alone to accept, His lordship.”

And in relation to the future, “Does it make sense to pray for guidance about the future if we are not obeying in the thing that lies before us today? How many momentous events in Scripture depended on one person’s seemingly small act of obedience! Rest assured: Do what God tells you to do now, and, depend upon it, you will be shown what to do next.”

How very true.

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