Monday, June 21, 2010
Here are some thoughts and a challenge in the weekly email reminder for the group across the nation that is fasting and praying for singles desiring marriage on Mondays:
June 20, 2010
This is your weekly reminder that we are praying and fasting this Monday during lunch (or however God leads). Hopefully, you can find a friend to pray with you. And as you pray, please remember to pray for 1) marriages for those who long (or should long) to be married, 2) courage for men to move into relationship and marriage with a woman, and 3) courage for women to see where we need to change.
As well, here are some things you might consider:
Sometimes in navigating this whole relationship thing, the question of respect pops to the forefront. So much has been written recently about men's need for respect. There's that Love & Respect book. There's Man Enough. And it's not just in books. One man (whom I respect very much) told me that women often seem comfortable with their own longing for unconditional love. But when it comes to men's longing for unconditional love--which for them equals respect--well, that can make women blanch. "How," he reported many women asking, "can I unconditionally give respect to someone I often don't actually respect?"
Actually, that's a good question, especially in the realm of dating (though beyond, I believe, too). We're all called to be good stewards and have basic guidelines for who we let into our hearts. In dating, wouldn't "a basic intrinsic respect" for the guy be one of those guidelines? And is that something a woman just gives or is it something a guy needs to earn? A bit of both? Also, what's respect-worthy? And what does respect look like anyhow? Is it something we do? We think? Feel? And what does respect look like outside of marriage, when there's no discernible mutual commitment?
Here's our dilemma: we know that the men around us are longing for respect--and we even sense that women have an ability to give or block this--but we're filled with genuine confusion about what respect means in practice, especially when our hearts, which God calls us to steward well, are rightfully involved. Should we then just try and swallow our anti-bitterness pills, shake our heads, say wistfully, "Who knows?", grabbing our girlfriends for a glass of wine?
I want to suggest an alternative. When we are lost or confused, that's when we actually have the motivation to seek God's guidance. Jesus says that when we seek, we will find (Mt. 7:8). Solomon says that when we humble ourselves before God--honoring his perspective--we begin to get wisdom (Pr. 9:10). David says that taking refuge in God and receiving his counsel opens us up to the path of life and joy in his presence (Ps.16). And Paul, Peter, James, Luke--and all the rest of those NT writers--repeatedly point out that a person being and doing the above, indwelt by God's Spirit, will be a person whose heart can and will really love.
So, putting the pieces all together: What if our confusion around respect is in fact an invitation to seek God? What if finding more of God looks like receiving his joy-filling Presence and gaining wisdom to travel in his path of life? And what if becoming this kind of person means becoming far less likely to blanch and far more able to give and receive love, in whatever expressions would best serve the other, including respect? How cool would that be? It takes faith to believe it could be possible (especially in light of such genuine uncertainty). But if you'll risk it....
DO these four things this week:
* Take one hour to pour out your confusion, concerns, and questions about men & respect to the Lord. Seek his Presence. Open yourself up to him. And if possible, talk and pray about it with a wise friend as well.
* Take your concordance (or go to Biblegateway.com) and look up the word "respect," writing down as many of the the verses as you can and meditating on them. Begin saturating yourself with the idea of respect in general, whether or not it has to do with men and women in particular.
* Ask a man you trust what respect looks like to him, both within and outside of marriage.
* Ask the Lord to show you: what might respect look like this week in my current relationships even with just one man? Ask God for wisdom. Write down what comes to mind. He can & will lead us tenderly, daily and concretely.
Why? He loves us. He does. He loves you, me, and all of us who are swimming in this crazy, chaotic culture. When we bow down, he is relentlessly committed to lifting us up, revealing to us the path of life and filling us with joy in his presence. And he is committed to making us--married, single, or in between--wise & great lovers, even when love needs to be respect.
Many Blessings in the Journey,
Cache' Connections encourages its members and friends to join in this movement to adversely affect this "singlehood phenomenon" that is rampant in our times. Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the weekly email/prayer list.