Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Why Won't He Ask Me Out?

I read this article on Relevant Magazine entitled Stop Waiting for Him to Ask You Out. The article builds on the case that a woman shouldn't be stuck waiting on a man she likes (and who she thinks likes her back). Instead, she should just initiate and voice out her desires. The biblical basis for this, says the author, is Ruth who took the initiative with Boaz who eventually became her husband.

I believe that the author has raised some valid points. And I'm happy for her, since she eventually married the man she liked.  I, on the other hand, have my own opinions about this issue but I'm not married (so, it's up to you if you're still going to hear me out on this despite my disclaimer).

It is rather torturous for the woman to wait while the man seems to be sending hints and flirting. I've had my share of experiences of hanging out exclusively with a boy. I don't like wasting my time with men I don't like, so I honestly thought along the way that the relationship could be leading somewhere only to find out that the hanging out was only exclusive on my end or he only thought of me as good friend. In other words, I fell into the trap of assuming too much. The experiences were heartbreaking and put a dent on my relationships with these men.

However, these experiences don't necessarily make me an advocate of taking the first step with a man.  Why? Because while it's true that  waiting can be torturous, a man who doesn't/can't ask you out on a proper date (he's clear that it's a date) says so many things about him and yourself...not one of which is exactly ideal. For me (and I emphasize for me), a guy who can't ask you out and be clear about his intentions falls into one or more of these categories:

 1) He just doesn't like you

2)  He does like you, but you're just a "friendgirl" - To read more about "friendgirls" click this enlightening article Your Friendgirl Deserves Better. It's a highly recommended read.

3) He's too insecure to do so - he's afraid to get rejected. He might be "playing it safe" for a while and waiting for you to get attached to him or for you to have deeper feelings for each other, thus lowering the chances of rejection.

 4) He's not sure about you - you might be number 2 or 3 on his list of considerations, and until he's sure that you're number 1 forever, he doesn't want to make a move. I think this is have the privilege to choose who to court. However, this is not cool if he's not sure about you, BUT he's already making it seem -- intentionally or unintentionally -- as if he wants to commit in the near/far-off future (again, read:  Your Friendgirl Deserves Better), which is defrauding.

  5) He doesn't have the money to ask you out. 'nuff said.

...which all boils down to: he's not ready to commit or he is, just not with you (the movie, He's Just Not That Into You comes into mind haha)... It might hurt, but better the truth than a lie. Think about it, would you really want to be with someone who can't make up his mind/doesn't like you but is already flirting with you, waiting for himself to be ready or waiting to "feel" a "connection"  that you're The One?  When Jesus decided that He wanted a relationship with us, He wasn't confused. He died for us while we were sinners. Love was a decision and not a feeling. It was difficult and He cried out to His Father to take the cup away. But He pushed through. Loving us was  commitment, regardless of whether we responded with a yes or no.  Romans 5:8 says,

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us

I had to realize this the hard way, but I'm still happy God made me go through that, so I could appreciate this truth about Himself.

Just like a godly man told me, a man who has the heart of God will protect me not just physically, but emotionally. He will not risk my feelings or make me feel confused. He will be resourceful and he will pray about his decision. And when the right time comes, he will be clear about his intentions and he will pursue me.  Am I being too idealistic? Just to be clear though, I say this not to bash men or put them down. Rather, these are my standards as a woman (which I didn't have before).

To the men, maybe I am presumptuous about my conclusions. I'd like to know, why won't you be clear about your intentions/ask a girl out instead of just "hanging out" exclusively?

More than that though, my question to my fellow women is, what are we doing twiddling our thumbs (or flirting back), waiting for a man to ask us out when instead, we should be seeking God and His Kingdom?  Why aren't we out there being salt and light to the world?  Why are worrying about tomorrow if we know that God's will for us is good, pleasing, and perfect? Why aren't we guarding out hearts? Why are we offering our minds and hearts to another man when we should be offering these to God, our ultimate Lover?

I say we, because I've asked myself these questions many times. What am I doing about my singleness? Am I  being good steward of this season in my life?  Is God still the focus of my life? As Song of Songs 8:4 wisely admonishes us:

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you:
    Do not arouse or awaken love
    until it so desires.

God cares for His children and He is in control of everything.  As women, we don't have to worry that we're ugly or unloved  just because the man we like is not asking us out or that our biological clocks are ticking and we're losing time.  I've felt this way many times, and it breaks my heart to see other women forgetting their identity in Christ.

It's painful to realize that we've lost our focus on God. But guess what, God still pursues us and loves us. He wants us to live life to the full, whether we are single or married. He wants us. He wants YOU, completely and without any inhibitions  And He's absolutely clear about His intentions; His sacrifice on the Cross is enough evidence of this. Don't wait on man. Wait on God.

One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.

For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock [...]

I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.

~Psalm 27:4-5; 13-14~

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.
~Psalm 130:5-6~

Monday, May 6, 2013

And You Call Yourself a Christian?

Identifying myself as a Christian has sometimes led me to acquire a holier-than-thou attitude.  For instance, just because I have moved on from a particular challenge in my personal life quite easily makes me think that other Christians should be able to move on from similar challenges just as easily.  I also have the tendency to “preach” and tell people how they should feel and what they should be doing when listening and reserving judgment would have been wiser.

Just look to Christ, geez!

I have my own biases about how things should be done, because I have this tendency to think, “I’ve been there, done that. You’ll get over it.”  Or worse, “You’re just being plain un-Christian by putting yourself in that situation. Stop sulking and just look to Christ, geez.”

Being in relationships with others has revealed to me my lack of compassion and my tendency to condemn others of their faults.  We each have our own personal relationship with Christ, and it is not mine to assume how God should move in a person’s life.

Someone who is emotional and in pain sometimes begins to doubt that God is in control all the time and that God is good all time. He needs God's Word to realize that these are truths regardless of his feelings and circumstances. But he most probably won’t truly realize this through my self-righteous postulations and hate attitude.

It's not only what I say that matters

I was called to be “salt and light”, to speak words that “build up” and encourage others, that show compassion rather than condemnation. Yes, there are times when I have to rebuke, especially when a person has given me permission to speak into his life or when I see that what someone has been doing is detrimental to himself and others as well. But I am asking God to help me towards a healthy balance of speaking what is true and speaking this truth in love. There are many ways of conveying the truth. I not only have to watch what I say but also think about how I say it and examine why I say it.

The perfect Christian

Observing my non-Christian friends rant about Christians, I think one of the common complaints is that Christians are self-righteous and tend to sound as if they’re perfect.  I know I have the tendency to be like this, as well. But I thank God that He has been exposing this about me.  I want to cut people some slack and be patient with them.  This is hard for me, because I can be a bit of a control freak. It's also hard for me to hold my tongue when it comes to injustice and emotional abuse. But I know that even as I speak now, the Holy Spirit is doing His work to cultivate gentleness, self-control, and patience in me. I'm not saying that we should just be passive when faced with wrong. I'm just saying that we can't tell people to do the right thing by using the wrong means.

A text message

Last weekend, I was particularly touched by a friend’s text message.  She knew that I was going through a challenging period, and she told me that she thought of me and couldn’t help but cry.  I appreciated her message, not because she cried. But because I knew she was letting me know that she shared my burdens.  I have given this person every right to rebuke me, but she knew that that wasn’t what I needed to hear at the moment. Listening to me the past days, she probably knew that I had rebuked myself enough and had been feeling God’s discipline.

There is a time to speak. There is the time to give advice. There is a time to challenge. There is a time to listen. There is a time to stay silent. At all times, I hope I never forget to love just as Christ loved me.

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love. 1 Corinthians 16:13-14