Monday, January 4, 2016

What on Earth Would God Want with a Hopeless Romantic?

I am a romantic. Not the kind that watches sappy Lifetime TV, or reads all those silly novels with Fabio on the cover; but the kind that enjoys solitude, and can be dark and brooding when left to my own devices. I am passionate about the people and things I consider priorities, and I tend to process events in terms of the feelings they evoke rather than details. Being a romantic can mean getting your passions squashed by people who are "just trying to talk some sense into you." Romantics tend to jump headlong into things best tip-toed into, finding themselves broken and alone, double-crossed by their own impetuosity.

As a child I was told I needed to control all those urges in order to be a good Christian; that I was too impulsive, I was too boisterous, and though my intentions were good, my execution was all wrong -- not what God would approve. I tried to fix it. I tried to be more practical, more soft-spoken. I'd read the stories about the women in the Bible, and tried to do things the way Ruth would do them, or Mary. They were blessed, exalted women; true women of God. Can you imagine how frustrating it was for an eight year old to try to become a gleaning widow? I'm sure I didn't even know what gleaning was. Or to picture myself glowing angelically, and gloriously belting out the Magnificat like some character in a Broadway produced nativity scene, and try to become that? Needless to say, I never succeeded. I felt as though I was not being who I really was. I felt like I was trying to become holy, and while everyone else liked that kind of thing, I didn't. It was easier to give up than to struggle that way. God had just made me wrong for the Christian life. I'd been put here by a God who didn't even love me enough to give me a fighting chance to be what I was supposed to be, to be what He wanted.

So what has changed? For one, I have gone from being a hopeless romantic, to a hope-filled romantic. You see, what I failed to realize until very much later in life, is that none of us has a chance on our own. Put a seersucker suit on a pig, and it's still a pig in a seersucker suit. God isn't interested in any of us changing who we are; He wants to change what we are. A lost romantic, to a Spirit-guided romantic. A sinful introvert, to a Christ-purified introvert. A Godless sanguine, to a God-loving sanguine. Once He changes our status, our position before Him, we are free to become whomever we desire to be. Oh, I'm not gonna say being with Him doesn't alter those desires a bit, but if we trust God is who He says He is, it's all good -- the Bible says so: "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)

When I became a mother, I didn't just decide to "act more maternal." I was still very much the person I was moments before my child arrived, but it was his presence that instantly changed me from a childless twenty-something to a mother. What I was. And it was my growing love for my child that transformed me from self-centered and impulsive, to other-centered and responsible. Who I was. It didn't happen overnight. I made mistakes; I still do. On my own, it can be a disappointing struggle; but with God's direction, I have that fighting chance. Love gives me a desire to change, a desire to be a good mom with every fiber of my being.

The Holy Spirit has shown me, no matter what my current role, some of those romantic tendencies are exactly what He needs from me. My passion for life keeps me striving to do better all the time. The fact I am content in solitude gives me a love of nature I enjoy sharing with others, and for years, allowed me to concentrate on my job as a homeschooling mom without feeling robbed of a social life. Being so close to my emotions helps me empathize with others; and some of the mistakes that came out of my impulses taught me to recognize those same tendencies in others, and help them through difficulties.

No matter who God has made you, or even who you've become along the way, there is a God who wants you to know Him. A God who is in His very essence, love. A God who wants only the best for you. A God who will not leave you or abandon you. A God who, the moment you declare your desire to love Him, will change what you are. A God who, as you walk with Him daily and grow to love Him more and more, will inspire and direct you to become the best "who" you can be. Even if you've got a little bit of a romantic left in you.

Post a Comment