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Hands On Beach

Don’t Short Circuit Your Love Story

Dating

Stories are written one decision after the next: to stay or to go, to say hello or to stay silent, to say yes or to hold out for greater possibility. Good stories present the main character with a choice, and in our lives—in our stories—those choices determine what we allow God to do with our lives. We can choose comfort or grand adventure. We can take the hard road, or the easy one.


We, as humans, have an innate desire to be courageous. Woven into our hearts is the desire to live lives that matter, to live great stories, to be the courageous heroes that overcome our greatest fears just in time to save the day.


But we so often choose the other path. And the problem is that when we take the easy road, the story ends. Our lives fade into the beige mundane of the day-to-day as we bypass the miraculous in favor of the familiar.


***


It shouldn’t be surprising that some of my favorite stories are love stories. I think that’s true for a lot of us. Even war and action movies leave us dry eyed and empty without a girl to come home to or a memory to fight for.


We crave love stories.


And I think we love them so much because, in a lot of ways, they’re some of the most heroic stories we can live.


Starting a business is scary, and the risk of failure is real. But a failed business is nothing compared to heartbreak, and the joy of a success means little without people to share it with.


Love is the greatest risk we can take because it’s the one that impacts us the deepest. Love buries its way into a place that no other battle or act of bravery can.


These days, as my friends and I have reached our mid-twenties, it seems like love is the word on everyone’s lips.


Facebook is exploding with engagement photos and honeymoon selfies. Every day it seems that someone else has a shiny new ring and wildly romantic story to match.


And while we’re happy to celebrate with the lovely couple (who doesn’t like an open bar and the Cupid Shuffle?), this extended wedding season shines a spotlight on our lives leaving ample room for comparison.


Weddings are bright celebrations wrought with painful reminders of unmet longings.


My beautiful, talented, wonderful friends are asking questions like, “when is it my turn?” and, “will this ever happen for me?”


And the more people get married, and the longer you have to wait, the more hopeless the situation seems. It seems like all of the good ones are taken. You try to date but have to choose between fun and attractive, or nice and respectful, as though all four would be too many character traits to fit in one person.


You end another relationship knowing that it’s not right, that it’s not the real connection that seems so possible for everybody else, hoping that there’s something better out there. But by the third break-up, you begin to wonder if there’s really a better option.


Comfort tugs at your heart: someone is better than no one, right? And the guy at the end of the bar is starting to look more and more like Brad Pitt.


You begin to want to take the story into your own hands, deciding the ending rather than having to sit in the risk and uncertainty for one more moment.


But here’s my plea to you: don’t. Don’t take a shortcut to the end of the story.


Don’t refuse the discomfort—don’t just say yes to the ones who are convenient—because feeling chosen can never replace being chosen.


I’m not saying that you’ll miss out on your soul mate—I’m not sure that there’s only one choice for us, anyway.


But instead, you may realize that you married a man who won’t pray for you when you’re sick, or sad, or having a hard day—because your beliefs don’t match up. Or a man who wants to stay close to home when you want to live a life of daring adventure.


You’ll realize that day after day, his distant bad-boy routine is less sexy and more isolating. Or that him looking good on paper doesn’t mean he’ll be your best friend. You may find that your passions for life are fundamentally different, and that his lack of passion—or understanding of your passion— may cause you to resent time spent with him.


What I’m saying is this: hold out.


We’re not talking perfection here, we’re talking about delaying instant affirmation for a relationship that is full of life.


And so hold out for the better story, because there is one. You may not turn around and bump right into the man of your dreams, but the truth is that we have a really good Dad who gives really good gifts—gifts far better than the knock-off versions we sometimes settle for.


In what ways do you settle for less than God’s best? 

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Add a Comment
  1. Catherine says:

    I just got back from a wedding of a dear friend, and it filled me with so many mixed emotions. She’d waited a long time to find someone, and I sat there, wondering how things like this happen and when (or if) I will find someone I want to spend my life with. I’ve tried to follow God’s guidance, but it isn’t always clear, and sometimes you have to take a chance when things aren’t definite. God has protected me so far, and I need to trust that He will continue to do so.

  2. This post is so good and resonates with me for so many different reasons.
    I read your heart here, and more than most, realize the importance and significance of what you’re saying. It use to be hard for me to open up about my two failed marriages…I was half fearful of being judged and half fearful of scaring others away from marriage in their own lives completely…like someone would think, “Oh crap, after this guys story I’m never getting married!”

    I’ve experienced both sides of adultery in my two marriages (I cheated in my first marriage and she cheated in my second marriage) and the affairs absolutely get all the hype in regards to why those marriages failed. But for the most part people don’t have an affair just to do it…there are reasons they have…and bad choices are attached to those reasons…some of the reasons you (Stephanie) absolutely nailed in your post today.

    If we’re honest, waiting for God’s best is so hard sometimes…painful even. But I can tell you…from where I’m standing and what I’ve lived through in my past…God’s best is worth waiting for.

  3. caylalalala says:

    Very much needed this read today. God speaks through you. Thank God and you!

  4. Most definitely needed this today as I am feeling stuck right now. God definitely used you to speak to me about someone in my life and I am glad I came across your post!!

  5. Lori says:

    I’d say the fact that I read this today, while struggling with a decision I recently made, is no coincidence. I’ve been asking God to affirm or negate my decision, and I’m pretty sure he just used your writing to speak to me. I know I’ve even thought most of things you shared at some point in my life, but somewhere along the way, I convinced myself to think differently, to be okay with “less”. Trust me, coming from someone beyond their twenties, holding out for what you know you deserve and what God wants for you only gets harder. Thanks for reminding me what I already knew deep down.

  6. laceybastman says:

    Ummm, why are you so deeply speaking to my soul? Stop it. Stop it right now!

    I’m just kidding. Don’t stop. Because really…I need to hear this. Sometimes I just want to GIVE UP and accept that there is no one for me!

  7. Lisamarie says:

    Stephanie, this was a well-written, beautiful post and I envy your polished voice. Keep sharing, you’re so clearly being used.

  8. Julia says:

    Wow… God revealed some beautiful truths to me through your words. Thank you for writing them. 🙂

    Recently, I broke it off with a great guy I had been seeing for about two months. We would keep trying to make the relationship work.. and it kept falling apart, even over such a short period of time. What I realized is, despite all of his wonderful qualities, there was just this nagging feeling within me that he is not the guy for me. He could tell I wasn’t truly invested in the relationship. For the most part, I can’t explain why I feel this way, which made breaking it off all the more difficult. And today I got to thinking about the whole thing and wondered if I just missed my chance with someone great.

    I realized right before I walked in the door after work, weary from thinking about all this, that if there is this nagging feeling in my gut, I should pay attention to it. I should listen to the small voice of God, even if it means being single. I have been thinking about how I felt when I knew I should move to Oregon, where I now live. I ‘just knew’ God was calling me here… it just felt right… it felt like home. I am inclined to believe this is similar to what I’ll experience when I meet the person I will spend my life with… as I get to know them, it will feel like coming home.

  9. Nancy says:

    Again, as your other readers commented, you absolutely “nailed” this topic. It makes me recall being in my mid-20’s and feeling like I’d never find someone who I wanted to spend my life with. At one point, I finally gave up, deciding to move to another city where I thought I’d want to stay instead of pursuing what felt like an endless string of bad relationships. Immediately, I met a man whom I later married! I still moved but it worked out anyway and we’ve been married for almost 32 years!

    My advice is to pursue your other goals for your life, pray a lot and trust that at some point things will work out the way they’re supposed to.

  10. Diana says:

    Really needed this… thank you Stephanie for yet another heart felt truth filled post.

  11. Kelly says:

    Thank you for this reminder!

  12. Catching up on your blog today, and I love this post so much, Stephanie! My season of singleness has stretched out longer than I had ever imagined it would (I turn 30 next month), but I am only recently finding a bigger faith and confidence in God’s plan for me and His goodness to not only give me this desire for marriage (but also fulfill it!). I fully believe that He will indeed bless me with a creative partner and best friend in life and ministry, and I am both delighting in the current season I find myself in and also eagerly awaiting what the future holds. I’ve written this verse on my heart during this time: “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.” Love that verse and reminder that we can be confident in the desires God plants in our hearts and His plan to fulfill them in His perfect way and time. As always, thanks for sharing these beautiful and hopeful words. xo

  13. […] How to identify and avoid overtraining Mindset of the class of 2017 What is the SLOE food movement? Don’t short circuit your love story When picky eating doesn’t get better How social media is changing the way we approach death […]

  14. […] Image credit: The Lipstick Gospel […]

  15. […] But instead, you may realize that you married a man who won’t pray for you when you’re sick, or sad, or having a hard day—because your beliefs don’t match up. Or a man who wants to stay close to home when you want to live a life of daring adventure.”  – Don’t short circuit your love story (The Lipstick Gospel http://thelipstickgospel.com/2013/08/13/dontshortcircuityourlovestory/#.U_ms4ki2UUM) […]

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