When I was in middle school, I used to count the boys that had crushes on me. I wanted…(gosh… i groan when I write this because I know why I did it). I wanted care.
I wanted to know that I was desired… and I wanted the proof in numbers that I was worthy. I didn’t care if I actually wanted them back, but I wanted them to want me. It was a really brief stage in my life, and definitely not definitive of who I was as a whole… but the desire was there.
Fast forward to high school, and I was trying my best to make my boobs look bigger so that I would be the acceptable image of beauty to everyone. I wanted for all men to think I was THEIR perfect picture of beautiful because I thought that the numbers held more power. I thought my boyfriend would be less likely to leave me if I was esteemed by all. I heard how he (and other men) talked about girls and I felt so insecure that I wasn’t enough.
I got to college and had a radical encounter with God as my romancer. He showed me that I was a Song of Songs woman and that He created me to be unique… not to be palatable by all, but to be vividly myself. I handed over my control little by little… because I realized that even though having lot of men want me may 'feel' closer to what I want (to be adored and married to who God wants for me), it's not closer at all.
The number of people interested in you does not determine your worth. And… going even further… does not indicate you are closer to ending up with who God intends for you. If 700 people are interested in you, yet none of them are the one God planned for you, you are no closer to having your heart’s desire in romance.
But you have lots of choices- which must be at least nice, right?
This brings me to my other point- the only reason that having a ton of choices feels like we are closer to finding our future spouse is because we are holding a belief that our logic will decide who we marry. If logic chooses, numbers matter. We can analyze people's behaviors and traits until we eliminate everything we think is undesirable and then we are left with our perfect choice.
So, in this logical way, we judge the people we consider dating. Some of us choose the one who is the best looking, smartest, easiest-to-talk to, most understanding, richest, kindest, coolest, etc. We look for flaws and break things off when we find them. If we are looking to our logic to make the decision, we are constantly putting our dates against other people. We judge them and rank them to determine if we want them.
And when we judge someone, we fail to see his/her beauty in its fullness. If I am only looking at my brothers-in-Christ as for how they can best suit and serve me, I fail to acknowledge all of the ways God planned them for greatness. They weren’t created for my glory, they were created for God’s. If people pursue me, and I decide their worth based on my own judgments, then I am judging God’s beloved (and ranking them). If I'm judging them, I'm not loving them.
Of course we can't marry everyone, and choice is important. I'm not saying there isn't something to be said for choosing who you marry, but I am saying that deciding who we marry based on how someone measures up in comparison to others is not fostering healthy, encouraging environments within the body of Christ. Can we blame people for comparing themselves to others if their destinies actually DO rely on them beating out the competition? The only way we can avoid judging someone in this way is to not rank them based on how society ranks them.
Instead we can *prayerfully* ask God for true discernment on who is right fit for us, and we can be our most authentic selves. We can truly love all ...and be free from comparison and free from wanting to appeal to the masses.
If I rest on God's discernment to show me who my spouse is, I can truly be free from wanting everyone to like me because I don’t need a ton of options to choose from. I can also be free from judging the single men around me. My choice isn't resting on their measuring-up-- its resting on God's peace…
And I believe and hope that -just as I am asking God to open my eyes to this person- God will also open his eyes to me.
And it won’t be because I have logically earned my spot, and out-competed all other women around me.
Because if I win someone's love by being the smartest, prettiest, funniest, most understanding person they've met, I ALSO RISK losing that love when they've found someone more of those things than me. I don't want to be in a competition with all of the women in my life- I don't want to live in fear when I meet awesome women.
And I don't want all the men around me to feel judged and compared either. I want for my future spouse and I to know we aren't chosen because we beat out the current competition. I want there to be a holy peace from God. Because if it based on discernment from God, I will be completely free to FREE… and secure and confident that I don’t need to keep proving myself to keep my mate. I want him to feel that security too- knowing I'm not judging him to see if he is worthy, or comparing him to see if there is someone better... but instead I want him to feel confident that God led me to him and he can rest in this security.