When my now husband and I were first getting to know each other, I was an anxious wreck. We met through online dating – which I said I would never do because I didn’t want to be talking to a forty-year-old pretending to be in their twenties – and we hit it off right away. I knew I wanted a man who would initiate conversation, so when Nick sent the first message, I was intrigued (because not many are brave enough to do that). We talked all evening long, and I remember going to bed that night thinking, “I want to talk with this guy again tomorrow.” So, in the morning, I sent him a “Good morning, how are you?” text…and promptly threw my phone across the room because I was so stressed about coming across as clingy. Thankfully Nick didn’t see it that way, and we haven’t missed a single day of talking – either through text or in person – since that initial hello.
Online dating is a strange, strange world to navigate. You’re trying to get to know a person through sentences and paragraphs, through little snippets shot out into the air during the day. Between the get-to-know-you questions and trying to figure out if this is someone you want to spend more time with, you’re also trying to not read too much into what they’re texting you. It can be so easy to add tone or imbue meaning into words that the original sender never intended. If you want to romanticize the whole ordeal, you can imagine that you’re back in Victorian England where the only way to correspond was through letters…only your letters travel much faster and far more frequently now. But no amount of romanticizing can make up for the anxiety that regularly swirled around my heart as I tried to figure out if this man I liked could eventually be someone I loved…maybe even someone I married one day.
I remember praying, “Lord, if this relationship isn’t from you, then make it clear to me. Give me a definite “no” so that I know not to pursue it.” And then I braced for impact. I braced my heart for the no I knew would inevitably come because it all seemed too good to be true. I tightened my muscles, readied my soul, and waited. And waited. And waited some more. I tried to figure out what was anxiety, indigestion, and the Lord’s conviction. I waited for the other shoe to fall, but nothing happened. In all that time, I kept praying that the Lord would show me clearly that this wasn’t a man I should pursue. I was so focused on hearing the Lord’s answer correctly that I completely missed the plethora of “Yeses” he was pointing out to me.
Chasing after something wonderful and good that brings us joy and is God-honouring can be scary; because somewhere along the way, we’ve convinced ourselves that we don’t deserve good things. But God is a good father and wants the best for His children. He delights in giving good gifts. Don’t blind yourself to the wonders and glory of God. Don’t bind yourself to the anxiety of the world masquerading as the convictions of the Holy Spirit. And don’t be so braced for the “No” that you miss the “Yes.”
When I look back on those early stages of my relationship with Nick, I marvel at all the ways the Lord told me that this man was a keeper. And I shudder at all the ways I tried to convince myself that it was only a matter of time before it all fell apart. When it comes to our hearts, we have to be careful, but let us not be so cautious that we miss out on the beautiful things the Lord has in store for us. You can – and should – listen for the “yeses” and “nos” of the Lord, but don’t be so focused on hearing one that you miss the other. The Lord is a good father and has amazing things in store for you, don’t be afraid to follow His guidance and walk towards them.