I wanted so much to be in a relationship when I first read Elyse Fitzpatrick’s book Because He Loves Me last year. From where I stood, it seemed like if only I could have a man of my own, then my life would suddenly become perfect.
Whether our treasured idol is comfort, romance, respect, security, or significance, we worship these false gods because we believe that if we obtained them, we’d finally be happy. (pg. 134)
I had circled the primary “treasured idol” of my life: romance. I underlined “we’d finally be happy“ and drew a line from that to the word “romance”.
If I had romance, I would finally be happy, had been my thought. But after reading this book, God began to illuminate my thinking. Idols aren’t just figurines we bow down to; they are whatever our heart treasures more than God.
The premise of Because He Loves Me is that in order to gain godliness, we need to not focus on changing ourselves; but rather, we need to focus of the gospel—what God has accomplished for us and how much He loves us. When we realize how deeply we’ve been loved, our lives begin to orbit around God.
I find that I can love others because I have been so loved. I find that I don’t covet, because I know that God is good and He gives me all I need. I find that I want for nothing, because God fulfills my deepest desires.
But it’s so easy for me to forget His love! When I do, my mind starts to wander: If only I had (you fill in the blank!)…
In glancing through Because He Loves Me again today, I remembered the false expectations I had for romance before I started courting.
I’m not saying that it’s not fun to be engaged. It’s great, and I’d have my life no other way. It’s such a thrill to hear, “I love you. You’re so precious to me.” on the phone. It’s wonderful to watch the sunset at the beach with him by my side. It’s exciting to get a letter in the mail in his precise handwriting, “Trent… Theresa.” I love looking at my beautiful diamond ring and think about the fun times ahead of us. I get a kick out of putting on makeup when we’re together because he leans against the wall and gazes at me with a “you really don’t have to do that” smile. And then we both laugh when I curl my eyelashes because he gave me such a hard time for doing such a pointless thing.
I expected that once I got engaged, we would constantly have dates at Italian restaurants and walk along softly-lit waterfront paths. We’ve realized that dressing up and going out to eat is not only expensive, but also stressful. We enjoy ourselves so much more in our jeans at his house eating his mom’s good home cooking. For us, “dates” aren’t usually planned events. They just happen when we’re together, whether we’re getting Subway and eating it at the beach, or going on a walk, or watching a movie, doing dishes, or just sitting and talking.
Now, my mind often wanders to marriage, and I idolize it—just as I once idolized a courtship. When I find myself doing this, I have to take myself aside and tell myself that someday marriage will be a reality, just as courtship is now a reality.
But life won’t suddenly become perfect on our wedding day. I’m sure it will be wonderful, but not like I’m thinking.
So what do I look to that will provide me with happiness and fulfillment?
God, of course.
He’s the answer to every question. If I’m always looking to my circumstances to bring happiness, I’ll constantly be dissatisfied.
So even now, during my engagement, I’m reminding myself, don’t wish your life away!
Photo by Laura J. Wright