(Shellie Here: This is a submission from someone who's a part of my South Africa family [where my mom, her husband and my brother live]. I have shared several email exchanges with Andrew over the years re: matters of the heart and so I asked him to share what's on his heart, as it relates to relationships, at this stage in his life. Love is journey. Enjoy.)
First of all, before I understood what it meant to "rest in the Lord”, I used to have the usual stereotypical list of things a man, even godly men, want in a woman that I could take home to my family and present as a my helpmeet. I wanted the whole ‘package’...looks, spirituality, family values, drive, career-success---a supposed Proverbs 31 woman and then some! It's unreasonable and immature. To want a superwoman is ridiculous in the natural, I know.
I’ve been through wonderfully-hurtful relationships where I believe there was genuine human-love between me and women who weren't ordained for me because it served no greater purpose. I realized from my past that the hurt and the risk are even greater if you're sexually involved. Again this is before Christ and I started really walking together instead of Him willingly-dragging me along. Willingly because I was saved; dragging because I had no clear purpose or calling.
Especially as a man, I had to learn two things. Firstly, the fear of the Lord, which came about because my father and I entered into a healing transition in my life about that time. It kicked started my relationship with Christ to be real and to then include that refreshing heavenly-fear, deep honor and respect for the first time in my life.
Why am I mentioning that? Well, biblically we're taught honor our father and mother that "it may be well with you" (Exo 20:12). That healing, this newfound respect, this re-definition and re-affirmation of manhood that my father blessed me with, opened up an entirely new window into my relationship with God and understanding how to worship Him with my all. Living in a disciplinarian home in a mostly non-disciplinarian society resulted in a mess male-ly, spiritually and even emotionally. But once my father and I moved into that dimension, so did I with God. I had to learn to deeply fear him as well realize that humbling and submitting yourself, not only bolsters your manhood, but confirms it both in the earthly between father and son and divine between Father and me as His son.
So, I begun to not do do do for God, instead I begun to ask, to kneel, to pray and yes even to beg God. I discovered how to prostrate myself before God! Holistically on issues like money, behavior, image and finally relationally. I firmly believe, that I wasn’t courting anyone without knowing my calling. Now that I’ve found it, God has released and blessed. I can say this because before, my list was ‘generic’. This time, I humbly waited on God to show me a woman who unknowingly-yet-willingly fit into a purpose greater than either of us. Together two people ordained for love, are called to build something that confirms the deeper meaning of "the two shall become one". I'd even say anything else God does is damage control rather than favor or blessing. It's more than just ‘compatibility’. This is what I believe for many men, especially if you have a clear calling on your life, and all do (e.g. fatherhood, watch the movie Courageous on that one!).
Once I trusted or "rested"/"shabbated" ('furiously' as Louie Giglio puts it) in Christ, out of deep, wonderful fear awe and respect for Him, I started to chase my calling...then everything else started to fall in place. Especially romantically! And now even the courtship process is different. You realize that not only do you respect and cherish this woman, but also you don’t wanna mess with the bigger calling that's on her life, either. In fact, you honor her as well because you realize how brave she must be to be willing to chase after God's desires in a world that stereotypes women. Then on top of that, she lets you blend your vision and dreams with hers and together you two shoot for that bigger purpose!
It humbles you.
It even keeps you honest, because every honest man wants to be David or Solomon lets just be real LOL!
It makes you start asking your elders for intercessory prayer. Then privately, telling no one, you go to Christ asking for signs and confirmations from God Himself!! You pray more than ever before! Why? Because God is gearing you up for the much-need yet missing-in-action priesthood of homes and societies assignebt. You realize that it's about the "seek ye first the kingdom"-calling over your life, and the "all these things shall be added unto you" purpose.
Oh and by the way, after that happens, God throws in that list you sacrificed on the altar of humility for free and then some! "Eye has not seen nor ear heard what the Lord has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Cor 2:9) "with all their might, heart soul" (Matt 22:37)..." ...but God reveals them through His Spirit, who searches the deep things of God" (1 Cor 2:10). So yeah...if that aint "deep", I don’t know what is!
Andrew Adar is Kenyan-born, American-raised and South Africa-residing. He's an IT business owner, youth minister and author of the ActivatedJesus series. His second book, "Divinely Designed: Creation vs Evolution" is coming out in July. Check out www.activatedjesus.co.za, email him at email@example.com or catch him on Twitter: @andrewadar. Ahavah Shalom...and BE Activated in Christ!