I can't think of a single time in my life when falling in love was easy. Falling was easy, the love part not so much. It's been five almost six years since my last relationship and while singleness used to bother me to the point of depression, I now understand why waiting is important.
Love isn't the feeling of just 'knowing', it's a supernatural response to the work of the Holy Spirit. And it takes a lot of growth and transformation in our life through the work of the Spirit, to fully grasp what love is and isn't.
In the past year, I've sat back and watched successful Christian relationships and engagements end bitterly. These relationships were in the spotlight and people on the sidelines cheered them on as they approached their wedding day. From a distance I admired the relationship, I longed for the same in my own life. When the relationship ended, I realized the grass wasn't greener on the other side. But isn't this true for most of us in relationships? With social media, it's hard to resist the temptation of putting our business out there for the rest of the world. It even looks like a fairy tale on the outside, but in reality, relationships are difficult.
It takes two whole people to make relationships work and last. Not two perfect people, but knowing who we are in Christ individually and allowing our lives to complement each other, not clash.
This was a very difficult thing for me in past relationships. I was the one who carried the weight, I was the strong one. I fell hard and easily, and I thought it was love. It's only been in growing in my relationship with God where I've been able to understand what love really is and how it's meant to be mutual not one sided.
More importantly, I'm beginning to realize when each of our identities are rooted in Christ and we fully embrace the work and transformation of the Holy Spirit, true love occurs naturally, not forcefully.
Here's the thing, not many of us talk about the Holy Spirit. We don't mention it. We talk about God, Jesus, but we neglect the Holy Spirit's significance. Jesus told His disciples He would give us another helper who would be with us forever. (John 14:16) Jesus knew we couldn't do anything on our power and strength. And while we have God and Him as our 'go to', we needed something other than Jesus and His Father to survive every area of our lives'; the Holy Spirit.
With the Holy Spirit's power in our life and relationships, we learn to be more gentle, patient, self controlled, kind, faithful, and loving. The list seems pretty demanding, especially from the perspective of a woman. Our emotions can sometimes get the best of us, do I need to remind us of our time of the month? But, the truth is ladies, apart from God, His Son, and the Holy Spirit, we can't have successful relationships.
I've settled a lot in my life. I settled for what was comfortable and seemed 'right'. I settled for the abusive relationship and the pseudo relationship where all the perks of the relationship were there, but the commitment wasn't. I've had my heart broken more times than I care to look back and reflect on. And I realize looking back what was missing from each relationship; God, His Son, and the Holy Spirit.
We can't force others to love us unconditionally and forever. If either of our relationships aren't right with the Lord, it affects everything. We haven't become whole persons and we aren't complete in ourselves.
This is a hard and convicting truth, especially as a single. It's a truth the Lord reminds me of daily. He reminds me apart from Him I can do nothing. He has to be the center of any future relationship and I have to stay in His will. While it's easy to want what 'used to be', He promises me the waiting is worth it as long as I stay plugged into my source; Him. He reminds me each time I'm tempted to look elsewhere for companionship and fall into old patterns of behavior, to grab hold of the helper He sent and let Him guide me.
Falling in love was never meant to be easy, it's meant to be fulfilled by God in our lives separately. When both individuals are secure in their identities and know who they are in Christ, love will be what it was supposed to be from the beginning; two identities becoming one.
We can be happy. We can be whole persons. We don't need men in our life to define our worth. Yes, we need prayer and we need each other. But we can't let others create our happiness for us. We need the love of Christ to renew our hearts, create a new Spirit in us, and reveal to us the presence of the Lord is enough.
All our needs are spiritual, including love. Falling in love was meant to be deep, spiritual, and intimate not easy. And this love is worth waiting for. Written by Julie Caulder