Friday, June 1, 2012

Okay, but how?

When it comes to the spiritual life, I feel like I am constantly asking "Okay, but how?" When people give me advice, I agree with them and understand the concept, but I don't know how to actualize it in my life. The hardest one I have come across is some advice I received from a friend half a decade ago. I was dealing with some relationship issues and she explained how important it is to guard our hearts. She said that, as women, we should entrust our hearts to the Lord and that men should go to Him first to pursue us. As soon as she said it, I knew it was true, but then the question emerged, "How?" What practical steps do you put in place to achieve this? In the years since then, I have heard this advice from many trusted sources and I am still absolutely convinced that it is sound, but I still feel like I haven't made any progress. I just don't really know where to start.

Okay, maybe that's not entirely true. One thing I have learned is that with pretty much everything in the spiritual life, the first place to start is fervent prayer. So I have prayed... and prayed... and prayed, for God to help me in this, but then when a guy comes into my life, nothing's changed. I still get silly and emotional like I did at 16. There's got to be something I'm missing. There must be some practical things I am supposed to be doing along with prayer to guard my heart, but after 5+ years, I still can't figure out what it is.

I have similar problems with the advice I have been given (and have given out to others) to let men pursue you. This is great advice for women today because in our society we are bombarded by those espousing the "sameness" of the genders, as opposed to their equal dignity. It's therefore easy to forget that men and women are intrinsically different and how this truth affects our relationships. I've finally come to realize that if a man is not willing to take the lead in a relationship, then he's not the type of person I would want to date anyway, let alone marry. That's the theory, but how does it play out in a real relationship? Do I go so far as to say I'll never initiate a text or call? That doesn't seem like a great way to grow a friendship. Do I apply it so liberally as to say that I just won't ask him out directly? No, there's a lot more to it than that. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, but navigating it can be very confusing.

I hope I'm not the only person who has struggled with this, so if any women out there have some practical suggestions or personal experience, please share your wisdom with me!

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