Every day, there are teachable moments. Sometimes those moments are just between God and us, and other times we just witness someone's Rome burning, as we struggle to get downwind of it. We all buy magazines, read devotionals, and listen to other people farther ahead of us on the path so that we can make some sense of this crazy existence commonly known as life.
The frustration comes when we see a train about to derail in someone's life, and we try to warn them, but they just waive happily from the window and act like they are at Disney World or something. It gets closer and closer and then we are supposed to go fish them from the train wreck. I for one am tired of being a first responder.
When you meet someone that you have to compromise your standards to be able to relate to, it's a sure sign that they are not worth your trouble. Those who can't commit, who keep messing up, and who conveniently leave you stuck with the tab are generally not going to outgrow these tendencies. Rather than sign on for a lifetime of trouble, why not just leave this particular baggage at Gate 1 and clear out quickly before you get attached to it? Apparently, women tend to think that they can change this behavior, and many actually walk it down the aisle. Believe me when I say that the only force that can change anyone's behavior is God.
And for that to happen, most of the time, we have to make a conscious choice to seek His will. Oh, sometimes He will track us down, but more commonly...He will bring us to our knees so that we have no choice but to look up.
I've tried to understand the whole need that many of us have to find someone and settle down. I mean, what are these women who are married to guys on death row thinking? Or girls who keep taking back someone who is clearly not interested in a relationship? Our traditional dance goes...we are attracted physically, we see if we fit in their lives and they in ours, we see if our interests are in common and then we try to get God to bless it. Wouldn't it be better to work in reverse? To ask God to bring the right person, to make sure that we are ready and then let something grow out of that? Oh, but no. Of course not. To form the spiritual connection first and then see if it develops would be just so incredibly old fashioned.
Long term marriages are apparently incredibly old fashioned too.
I'm not angry at people for making mistakes. Lord knows I have made more than my share. I am angry that people seem to believe that the relationship is so necessary in their lives that they are willing to sacrifice their other relationships (family and friends) to keep them going. I'm angry that young girls cannot see that a jerk only going to be more of a jerk as time goes on and that's all that they'll ever be unless God intervenes and changes the heart. I'm angry that so many people use the good graces and finances of other people because they put their own needs first. I want to just jump up and scream at young men to grow up and quit spending your parents' money, get an education, and make something godly and decent out of yourselves instead of partying it up, breaking hearts, and waiting for Mommy to come clean your bathroom because you are too dang lazy to do it yourself.
That's what we're raising these days, by the way. Young men who think that they don't have to grow up and take care of themselves. Can you tell that I have a zero tolerance policy for young men who refuse to grow up? That extends to mothers who don't demand that they do, by the way.
So, here's my advice on behalf of those who have tried to explain something and found that these words of wisdom have fallen like popcorn kernels on the cosmic floor of the movie theater of life.
1. Date the right people. Quit making excuses for a bad fit in a relationship and get out of it. Stop analyzing situations, excusing bad behavior, and expecting someone to grow up. Believing in somebody should mean that there is actually something to believe in. Refuse to be treated poorly - even once. Don't ask friends to help you interpret someone's stupid actions. There is no interpretation. They're stupid. Not ready. Immature. Leave it at that and move on.
2. Focus on God. Quit trying to attract someone. Keep your focus on God and ask Him to bring the right person to you in His time. It will not be on your time, I assure you. But He is a far better matchmaker than you ever will be. I find it interesting that kids who were raised in church will not attend church in college. These same kids who were not raised to go to bars will end up there thinking that they'll find something worth having...like that's going to happen.
3. Listen to people who love you. Stop telling everyone that you know what you are doing. Assume that you don't...because if other people can see that something is not right...it is not right. Stop. Look. Listen.
4. Follow your dreams. The ones that don't include being married and having a family. If you focus on that, you will never have another opportunity to dream big dreams without responsibilities again. Think about that. If you are older, following your dreams might lead you smack dab into Mr. Wonderful who shares your passion for animals, skydiving, hiking, or whatever.
5. Life is short...but marriage is long...so choose well.
I know that to many of you reading this it might seem like I am angry about something specific. And you would be correct. I'm tired of seeing wonderful women act like they'd better grab the brass ring that is coming around because another one might not be coming along anytime soon. That shows a total lack of trust in God and faith that He knows what is best for you.
Relationships aren't easy...but if you keep getting into nonproductive ones, you'll discourage the right kind of relationships from your life. And who wants that?
So, at the risk of alienating some of you, I'm sending this out as food for thought. I know I sound a little cranky, but that would be because I am a little cranky. And because I really want the best for the people that I love...friends and family. I wish that it could be easier...this road of life...but some of the biggest potholes involve relationships. Keeping everything in perspective is like driving on a newly paved road.