Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"Let not our longing slay the appetite of our living."

"Many waters cannot quench love, 
neither can the floods drown it: 
If a man would give all the substance of his house for love, 
it would utterly be contemned."  ~Song of Solomon 8:7

I have always loved this verse, partly because I hope that one day when I am married this will be the description of the love between my husband and I.  "Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it."  The flow of the music in these words are mystically romantic, at least to a girl with extreme romantic inclinations.  Like me.  However, in our "girlish romantic inclinations" many times we can distort the view of true biblical love.  We develop a false misconception of happily ever afters, goosebumps and shivers down the spine, sentimentally romantic candlelight and flowers, irrationality, and...you know...all those things girls love.  Basically the belief that when two people fall head-over-heels there is nothing but happiness and passion and bliss and eternal peace is, quite frankly, the idea that has brainwashed our minds by romantic novels and Hollywood.

But don't get me wrong, there is happiness and passion and bliss in true love.  There are happily ever afters, goosebumps and shivers down the spine, sentimentally romantic candlelight and flowers, and so forth in true love and marriage, in a biblical, God-defined way.  We cannot automatically dismiss the love-making as off-limits to Christians as something irreligious, and make love into some hard-core lack-of-feeling mentality.  Definitely not.  God delights in love and marriage.  The Bible speaks many times on the aspect of love between a man and a woman, and even the romantic details that follow (Song of Solomon is an perfect example).

Nevertheless, girls are emotional.  Very emotional, very dramatic, very romantically inclined, and they we love every aspect of those wishy-washy feelings of love.  Why? We are women.  When a movie ends in a very happily ever after we get a feeling of gleesome "Oh I can't wait until that happens to me!"  Trust me, girls are oftentimes hard to understand, even for me being one of them, especially when it comes to our romantic tendencies.  Unfortunately we would sometimes rather live in a romance fantasy than the real world.

There is a destructive force of evil conforming the minds of young people today regarding love and marriage.  Not only are they encouraged to wait to get married until later in life, but when they do get "involved" there is a lot of fantasy regarding intimate relationships between young men and women, and it is initiated by Hollywood as a flirtatious and selfish type of love.  However, this is totally contrary to the biblical definition of true love.  

This post is not specifically targeting the differences between the world's version of love versus the Bible's, important though the subject matter may be.  Instead, I see most of all a disturbing amount of longing and sighing amongst girls wishing and hoping and praying for the right man to come along, especially Christian young women.  Perhaps it is because we are trying to live according to God's standards, which includes courtship and marriage, so we are often unhappy with our situation in life as we wait for "the one."  We may know what true love is, and we may be waiting expectantly for it, but sometimes we are so downright discouraged that we become discontent with our lot in life.

"Let not our longing slay the appetite of our living." -Jim Elliot

I come across the above quote one day in a book and it cause me to pause and wonder.  Jim Elliot was writing to his fiancee Elizabeth (who would later become his wife), and it surprised me that he would have such a surrendering attitude.  At that time they were both separated by many miles, and it was rare when they were able to see each other.  Yet still Jim Elliot wrote those words to her.  He understood how hard it was to surrender his life completely to God in every area, especially when it was concerning his love life.  More than anything he wanted to marry his beloved.  Nevertheless he understood that a person's intense longings must not slay the appetite of their living, or it will waste their life.

Because girls are eccentrically romantic we tend to look to the feelings that make us feel good.  In doing this we do not realize how easly we sow the seeds of discontentment.  Whether we are still waiting, or whether we know who God has intended for us, we all can have the same problem.  Our longings will absolutely destroy the moments we have for living a life dedicated to God—out of marriage or in marriage.  If we succumb to  disastrous feelings of longing that we cannot control, how will we ever be satisfied with what God has given us?

Trust me, I now that waiting and hoping is no easy task.  God gave every woman an inner desire to be loved by a man, but that is not a license for not living our lives.  In each of our lives—no matter our age or station—we can all invest in the families that God has placed us in, and develop the gifts He has blessed us with.  All too soon we will be starting families of our own, if it is God's will.  One day we will be enjoying an incredible amount of happiness as the man God has for us woos and wins us.  Then our womanly desires will be completed in an even fuller sense.

But until then, we are complete in Christ.  We have His love.  We are His part of His bride.  More than anything else, we are to be satisfied in Him.

And then one day we will be united in holy matrimony, and experience something grand and marvelous beyond our wildest dreams—biblical romance at its fullest.  In my opinion, that is far better than what the world has to offer.

"Delight thyself also in the LORD; 
and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. 
Commit thy way unto the LORD; 
trust in Him; and He shall bring it to pass." ~Psalm 37:4-5


Joy said...

Dear Rachel,

This has been a truly lovely, challenging post to read! Thank you for sharing those thoughts so as the Lord has been directing you. It has actually been something I had been pondering and realizing that because many of us girls, don't believe in dating but waiting for the 'one', we can become discontented with our 'lot', sigh and dream and do not live our lives to the fullest for God's glory, but waste our days dreaming of that day when we meet 'Prince Charming' etc. We start idolizing and day-dreaming far too much, when we could be growing in the Lord more, dwelling in HIS presence and delighting in Him. We can invest in our families now where we are, an opportunity we won't have later on in life when we will start our own families (if it is the Lord's will).

When the time comes, there will be happiness and fulfillment in marriage in the Lord's will and perfect timing, but only if our desires and life have been first fully fulfilled in God. Recently, I read a really wonderful sermon about delighting in God and this whole issue in many ways. It really blessed me, and I posted it here if you'd like to take a look: http://joy-live4jesus.blogspot.com/2011/10/this-time-i-will-praise-lord.html

Yes, it is hard waiting and hoping, but as you said it isn't a license for wasting our life. This quote from Jim Elliot is very poignant and true. Actually, I've sometimes thought of posting about this issue, Rachel, having noticed this romantic discontent in the 'waiting' often in my own life and in other girls, but you have said it ever so much better than I could have done. Do you mind if I put a link to my blog with your post?

God bless you and your lovely family. Thank you for blogging about such issues and being a blessing to other girls, including me!
Love in Christ!

Savories of Life said...

You blessed me very much, it is easy to think we have seen Mr right when he is nothing but soemthign that could bless us and make our life easy. Now I wait for the man I can serve ! Do fokllow me.

Joy said...

P.S. something out of the subject, Rachel, how is your book coming along? I can hardly wait to read it!

Rachel said...

Thank y'all for sharing!

Joy, of course you may post a link! Feel free anytime—I would love it! =) And as for my book, I haven't been doing any writing this past month because of the business of the season and everything going on in my life, but hopefully I can get back to it right after Christmas and the New year! Everything depends on the Lord's timing, but my prayer is to have it finished by May (please pray for me in this!).

Joy said...

Rachel, I'll be praying that the Lord will give you wisdom and strength to be able to finish your book soon :). By the way, I've posted a link to your post on my blog @ http://joy-live4jesus.blogspot.com/2011/12/update.html

It will be lovely if you could visit my blog sometime soon!