Love Connection – Passage 2/15/09 – Part One

love-connection-jpgWell, it is Monday again already.  And I woke up early to get started on more great questions that students have texted in during last night’s message.  So, I drove to my office, but then realized when I saw the gates closed on the parking lot that it is a holiday and my office was closed.

Which brings me to Starbucks.  And really, I can’t think of a better place to sit and answer questions.  To my left is an older couple (maybe in their 60’s) sitting across from each other at a small table, drinking drip coffee and sharing a breakfast sandwich.

starbucks logoTo my right is a younger couple (maybe 30’s).  They look as if they haven’t seen each other in a while.  She just came in and they got all “weepy” and started kissing.  Now they are cuddle up in the comfy chairs staring deeply into each other’s eyes.  They might need a private room.  🙂

And in front of me are two guys holding hands.  Ahhh, the diversity of relationships at the local neighborhood Starbucks!

So, with all this love “brewing” in the air (pun intended), let’s get started with the newest round of questions…  I’ll respond to two more today and then answer the final two from this weekend tomorrow…

Question #1
How do you know if you have found the “right person”?

This is a great question because it has to be one of the most frequently asked and discussed inquiries of most people.  Think about it.  How do you know that the person you feel drawn toward is a good person for you to spend your whole life with?  It seems like such a major decision.  You don’t wanna choose the “wrong person”.   After all, “the rest of your life” has such a long sound to it.   Too long to be stuck with someone that you don’t like.

Now, different people may have different responses to this question.  But let me give you my perspective.

First, as we discussed last night, I think we can be too preoccupied with finding the “right person.”  One of the great myths of true loveour culture’s recipe for love is that there is just one “right person” out there for you and that when you find them they will be able to meet all of your needs 100% of the time.   It is a myth that quietly whispers to us that we are incomplete without this one person who was created to fulfill our every need.

In this way, I don’t think you will ever find the “right person.”   According to the Bible, to hope in anything  (or anyone) else besides God for complete happiness will always end in disappointment.

Consider the words of the prophet, Isaiah:  “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who HOPE in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not be weary, they will walk and not faint.”

What Isaiah is saying is that everybody will let you down eventually.  Even the gorgeous young man that you think is PERFECT!   And in that way, maybe there isn’t a “right person” out there for you that is destined to complete you.

Possibly, there are many flawed individuals (just like you) that are out there.  And some of them will be more “right” for you in the sense that they have similar interests and personality, etc.  But, maybe you aren’t created to be with any of them specifically.   They could be the right “type” of person for you, but not “THE RIGHT PERSON” for you, if that makes any sense.

holeMaybe what is needed is to stop looking for the “right person” and focus on BECOMING the “right person”.  A far bigger problem in relationships today is that too many of us aren’t really ready emotionally, spiritually, and mentally for a good relationship no matter who the other person is.   We are looking for something that is missing in our lives.  We are looking for someone to come and fill a hole in us emotionally or mentally.   And our relationships are built on finding the “one right person” to fill this need, rather than built on finding ways to show sacrificial love to another person.

When we focus on finding the “right person” our relationships become about trying to help ourselves, when true love is centered on others not ourselves.

Listen to the words of Jesus about the greatest type of love available:  “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”  — John 15:13 (TNIV)

For a love relationship to be successful, it must be built on more than you trying to better yourself.  It must be based on your choice to give up your rights and preferences for another person and them choosing to do the same for you.   This is love.  And if we can start to find the completeness in our life before engaging in these relationships, we will BECOME “the right person” that can succeed in a long-term relationship rather than hopelessly assuming another person can do it for us.

Question #2
Why would you want to change what you want—like your dreams—to have someone else be happy?   Are you saying that you should change yourself so many times that you are not you anymore?  How do you do that if everyone is telling us to?

This is a really good clarification question that I am glad that someone asked.   I changed how it was initially worded in the text in order to hopefully make it more readable, and so I hope that I have captured the main idea of it.  If I haven’t accurately represented your question, please text me back or let me know.

This question has to do, I believe, with the encouragement I gave last night to stop looking for the “right person” and become the “right person.”   And to some degree, I think I kind of responded to this in the question above.

However, I do want to be very clear with this point.  Becoming the right person does NOT mean that you must change who you are, your dreams, your hopes, your personality. Rather, I think it means approximately the opposite.

you-complete-meThe problem with viewing love as an attempt to find the “right person” is that we get caught in the trap of thinking that our goals, dreams, hopes, etc.  aren’t good enough and that we need someone else to come and complete them.  Looking for the “right person” minimizes what God has already given us.  We become willing to compromise what we want and feel called to, in order to find the one prize that will bring us ultimate happiness.  And then we discover that the advertisement for the prize wasn’t totally accurate and it has let us down.  But, by that point, we have given up so much.

For example, I can think of several people that I met in college.  These people were at a Bible college because they had felt since they were very young that God had called them to ministry.   So, they came to study and pursue their goal and the calling they felt from God to serve people in ministry.

However, these specific people also met love interests while in college.  And because they believed in “finding the right person,” they believed they were destined to marry them.  The problem:  these love-interests weren’t interested in ministry.  And so what happened?  These called, gifted students abandoned their dreams and ignored the call of God in their life to marry a person they believe “God had created just for them.”

They compromised.  They believed the wrong recipe and gave up what God created them to do.

Now, in “becoming the right person” you don’t need to make these concessions.  It is a process of learning to accept yourself.  To know your strengths, gifts, beauty and identity and worth as a child of God.  And to also be honest and acknowledge your weaknesses, fears, hang-ups, and struggles.

In this process, you see the good and the bad, and through relationship with God, you learn to be content with who you are.  Knowing full well the holes in your life, you allow God to fill them, and you become confident knowing that you don’t need another person to have a great life.  You won’t be looking to another human being for questions about whether your life is successful or significant, you will look to your identity in God for that.

When you have reached this point, you will have outstanding relationships because you won’t need to “change” who you are to fit another person or to make them like you or complete you.  You will find relationships in which you can be the person that God created you to be without fear or compromise.

Now, real love does make sacrifices.  But, these sacrifices won’t be a sacrifice of your worth at this point.  Actually the opposite.  You will sacrifice for your partner because of your recognition of their beauty in their identity in Christ too.

Becoming the right person isn’t about changing “who you are” so much as it is about changing where you get your confidence, strength and identity.   It is a process of discovering “Who’s you are” and being content with “who you are.”

And it is the biggest key to good relationships.

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One thought on “Love Connection – Passage 2/15/09 – Part One

  1. on the “How do you know if it’s the ‘right one'” question… I waited until I was a little older to get married. So I had a lot of “dating” experience. One thing my husband said after we met that struck me…he said that for the first time in his life he did not feel like his relationship with me was in conflict with his relationship with God. He did not feel like he had to choose one or the other but felt he could have both.

    That is what is “right”. Because all kinds of people will like you and want you but most of the time they want you on their terms not on God’s terms.

    True love does not cause a conflict in your relationship with God.

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