So last night B, my college-age daughter, called me from school. She has been frustrated for awhile with the Christian fellowship she's involved in just because she's a ~deep~ kind of gal, and well, her friends just ain't there yet, y'know? But she's good for them.
The other night she was at their life group meeting, and one of the girls was brooding over the one thing most girls that age have on their minds: marriage. "Ohhhhhhhhhh, I just don't know if God has someone for me to marry/ what if I never get married/ I want to get married/ what guy would ever want me/ when will that guy I like ever notice me/ no he never will notice me because I'm not desirable/ I'm not pretty/ what if God means me to be single all my life/ will anyone ever love me/ no no one will ever love me." That whole dialog.
And the other girls were "encouraging her in love," right? That means they were all about, "Ohhhhhhhhhh, I know God has someone for you/ you're beautiful/ no really you are/ yes yes you are/ God has His timing/ you're very desirable/ yes someone will love you/ God has the perfect guy for you/ just wait on Him."
Well, I get the feeling B has been very tolerant of this kind of talk for quite a while, very patient with all the girly stuff that she just can't identify with right now. But apparently she reached her breaking point the other night. She said, "Mom, I blasted them, and I'm kind of proud of myself. They just stared at me. But I'm so sick of the way girls are always vomiting rainbows and flowers and unicorns. I had to set them straight!"
Vomiting rainbows and flowers and unicorns??? No wonder she's an English major! I about fell off the couch laughing! That is the funniest thing I've heard in a long time and an absolute TRUTH about the way women talk to each other! I love my B, and I'm so glad she has such a wonderful spiritual head on her shoulders!
Basically, and I hope I do her thoughts justice, she told them what a completely self-centered view they have of it all. Their hearts need to be wholly His, anxious to do His bidding, not wondering what He has in store for them. It's all about Him! They need to be all about falling in love with Him, and He can fulfill all their heart's desires completely. No man can ever do that, and they're in for some bitter disappointment if they're waiting to be fulfilled from marriage. Jesus will not settle until He is their everything.
Boy, what was the verse she quoted from Song of Solomon? I can't find it exactly, but she pointed out how the bride rose in the night and wandered about searching for her lover. She was distracted from everything else, and troubled until she found him. And that will be their lives too in marriage. Marriage will bring with it the troubles of the world and distractions from the One who does fulfill.
Wooooohoo! You go girl! I can only say, I sure wasn't there when I was 19! And as much as that may not have been what some of them wanted to hear, it does beat the rainbow, flower and unicorn vomit they expected!
I have to admit, I've been guilty of girl vomit myself in my relationships with other women. As I thought this over this morning, I decided that some women need to hear vomit, and some would be better off if I gave them the truth straight up, the way B did. For example, my sister Becky, happens to be very hard on herself, and she doesn't have a lot of people in her life to remind her of the rainbows, flowers and unicorns. So I consider that my job. =) I have another friend, however, who could use a little more straight up truth, and I've been guilty of giving her the girl vomit she likes. Very guilty -- I'm ashamed as I think of it.
I'm not sure she could handle the straight up truth, actually. I guess I pretty much assume that if a woman isn't facing the truth on her own between herself and the Lord, if she's out looking for schmoozy, schmaltzy sympathy rather than (wo)manning up and steeling herself for the hard business of faith, then she just doesn't have the strength or the will to do it at all and my words will only irritate, not help.
You would think there would be a happy medium, something between blasting people's socks off and kissing their feet. Sadly, though, I don't think there usually is. It's a paradigm shift that is usually required, and that's a little harder to ease your way into.
For example, at my stage of life, the dialog about wanting God to provide the husband has sometimes shifted to whining about the husband God provided. For some, B's admonition comes true: only Jesus can fulfill their heart's desires completely, and if they had hoped to find fulfillment in marriage, they have now been bitterly disappointed.
So I listen, completely, thoroughly, wholly understanding their pain -- because I was not where B is spiritually at 19...or at 26. I was one of those girls pining away for marriage, and I am living proof that Jesus does not give up on us until our hearts are wholly His.
I understand pain in marriage. (So does T, by the way.) So having been there, and being one who still hangs out there occasionally even now, you'd think I'd be better able to hear their pain and then point them in the right direction.
But how do you sneak up on the idea that they need to stop crying and quit being so selfish. That they need to let their husband be who he is, warts and all, and make the desire of their heart to be nothing but God's glory. They need to say to themselves, "Lord, I am here to glorify You, whatever that means. My desire is not my happiness, but Your glory here on this earth. Please show me how to do that." And God, being who He is, will not fail to fill their hearts to bursting with the very joy they had been looking for in the first place.
That's a big leap from the perspective of the woman annoyed with hubby. It's much easier to listen to the list of minor grievances and nod sympathetically. When trouble looms on a grander scale, however, say divorce is on the table, then it's easier to skip the girl vomit and go right to the spiritual reality.
One day years ago my world was rocked by something T said to me. We had just learned that my niece had been dating a married man 17 years older than she was. She broke up his marriage, and now they were living together. The man was about our age and had two kids approximately the ages of our two oldest kids. It would seem that the man got a pretty good deal: my niece is hot, makes good money for herself, and doesn't ever want kids of her own. In other words, lots of sex and no responsibility. You can see why this might have caught my attention. I mean, what would keep T from going to find a deal like that for himself??? So I asked him, and he said, "I don't know..."
Hel-lo! That was not the right answer. I called my sister, Becky, sobbing, and her response was not girl vomit. It was majestic. She said, "No matter what T does or doesn't do, your job is to glorify God. Nothing can keep you from that."
Oh, how the weight lifted! I have never experienced such immediate emotional relief. It was truly joyous, and I have never forgotten the principle. She reminded me that God was still on the throne, and I needed to keep Him on the throne in my heart. My commission is to serve Him, He is my first love, and nothing T would ever do could change that.
Do you see what happened though? I had taken God off the throne in my heart and put my own happiness and security there instead. Really, I was hoping God would be diligent to keep my happiness on His throne. Share the seat, maybe? No, our God is a jealous God. He will not share the throne of our hearts with anyone or anything else. But our happiness will never be an issue while He is seated there!
It's a tough assignment to tell a hurting woman these things, but I'm so thankful my sister did. The truth brought about a joyous healing and relief. Rainbows and flowers and unicorns would have only deepened my pain.
Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you;
O Israel, if you would listen to Me!
Let there be no strange god among you;
Nor shall you worship any foreign god.
I, the Lord, am your God,
Who brought you up from the land of Egypt;
Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.
[ P.S. - T has never given me any reason to think he's out chasing hotties, just so you know. I can't imagine what would account for his answer, except that he's just a guy. =} ]