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Saturday, June 20, 2009

I'll probably regret posting this...

Inspired by many things, this post. Sparked into action partly by this post:

you need to read that first!

beware some brutal honesty...i've pondered for a long time whether to post this. I want to do it in a spirit of contributing to discussion without fanning flames of indignation or pain or annoyance or anything else, so please take it as such!


Short of God Himself, I would say there a few things less praise-inducing (or attractive!) to a Christian girl than the man Bish asks if we could see in the post linked to above.

(having written that, I've decided it's not true. But the point of emphasis still stands – we really, really want to see Christian men like that!)

I'm tired of seeing young girls, friends (and myself) worn out in disappointment with Christian men who are not what is described. I'm tired of arguing against the temptation to turn to non-Christian men, because in actual fact they seem more manly (and, yes, caring...) most of the time.

I'm tired of young girls, women, friends, (myself) succumbing to the temptation to lead and control the godly men we know, instead of encouraging them in responsibility. I'm tired of people (especially men!) thinking I want to stay single simply because I get on with life and am not whiling away my days waiting for/desperately seeking out prince charming.

I'm tired of sin.

I'm longing to see Christians of the male gender be MEN not boys. I'm longing that they would love God with all their hearts and follow His Word, kneeling at the foot of the cross, all their days. I'm longing that should they choose to stay single for the sake of the gospel, that they would remain admirable and encouraging to the women around them.

I'm longing that should they choose to marry for the sake of the gospel, they would seek out their wife, under God's Headship and leading, (not making it obvious to all and sundry that they're desperate for a wife – that's not gonna make any girl 'chosen' feel special or loved or secure) and love her as Christ loves the Church.

I'm longing that Christians of the female gender would be women, not girls. That they would lean on their Father daily and allow His Holy Spirit to shatter their insecurities and need for control in all areas of relationships. That they would love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength...and allow Him to love them back with an even stronger, even more all-encompassing love. That they would use their single days for the sake of the gospel and the Church, not worrying whether these days will ever end but concerned only with Christ and His Kingdom. That if those single days never end they would know contentment and joy in God our Saviour. That if they find themselves in a relationship, they would work at it and see it not as a sense of security or identity but as a blessing and would seek to love and encourage the man God has given them to be a more godly man in word, thought and deed.

I long that the rest of the Church would stop silly match making games and careless talk about "maybe she likes him..." etc. That there would be proper, explicit teaching about relationships in the church - about how they are not our security, about how they can be great, but also hard work, about boundaries and godly choices, about divorce, about the roles of men and women in relationships and about how those who are single within the church can seek to fulfil those roles to the extent that they are brothers and sisters.

I long for relationships and marriage to be neither a topic addressed with cynicism nor as a state of being to be desired above all else in this life. I long for single parents (made such by death or divorce) to be supported in the church and made to feel at home and loved – not as though they are the odd ones out or (in the case of divorce) 'the ones who got it wrong...'

I want to see greater compassion and support for married couples from singles - instead of resentment. I want to see greater compassion and support for singles from those who are married - instead of incredibly unhelpful comments about how hard relationships are (ie you're 'lucky' being single) and/or how God is in control and/or "you should find yourself a husband/wife" and/or "oh you're 25 now...better hurry"

I want this in myself, I want this for my friends, I want this for the Church...I want this for God's glory. I want to stop feeling like I'm 'past it' in the relationships stakes or that there are no godly Christian men out there who I can respect enough to submit to and love and trust. I want to stop being cynical about marriage because of all the bad experiences I've seen my (Christian and non-) family and friends go through.

I want to get married. I want to have kids. There – I said it! But I refuse to believe that that is my aim in life, no matter what the world and the church and my family and friends may think/want/tell me. I will pray for that blessing, but I will not pine away my days by seeking it or making it an idol or wondering if every new Christian guy I meet could be 'the one'.

And I want to marry a man who understands that, who doesn't want me to make him or our relationship an idol. I want Christian guys to get this – that there are so many girls like me longing for a godly man to love them and care for them, even though it doesn't probably look like that at face value because, hey, we're getting on with life. We want the guys to dig a little deeper, to get to know us, to prove themselves worthy of our trust by showing an interest beyond what we show the rest of the world. Not because we're playing games, but because we've been hurt, because we're scared, because we don't want to mope, and because we're fighting with everything in us to put Jesus first, not marriage.

I want to know what it is, as a Christian girl, that I need to 'get' about guys!

I want to be a woman of God who cherishes Him first and foremost, who pursues righteousness, who seeks to further His kingdom...and who enjoys godly friendships with godly guys without any agenda or disappointment.

I want a lot...and yet not much. I want Jesus - and Jesus can do it all.


Anonymous Thomas said...

There is no reason to regret posting that! I agree with you! Ephesians 5 tells us as much. It's hard for us young men (me, anyway) to live sacrifically, and I'm pretty cetain most young women I know would have some trouble with 'the husband is the head of the wife'!

I once heard someone speak about this passage, and part of his talk noted that these verses as they relate to marriage were about order, not importance (ie: Woman -> Man -> Christ -> God). It is valuable to remember that. The man is not more important than the woman, the woman is not more important than the man. But the woman is suject to the man, as they both are to Christ, albeit with their different roles within the relationship.

This is difficult to grasp - society doesn't make it any easier, our own selfish wills make it next to impossible. As you say, 'Jesus can do it all'.

2:34 AM  
Blogger Welshie said...


1:47 PM  
Blogger Kath said...

Amen, and in tears right now at the rightness of this post. You've hit all the nails firmly on the head. Mate, keep believeing the utter ENOUGHNESS of Jesus, and keep on saying these things and calling all you know to these things. This is vital stuff which is SO counter cultural.

We need to be obesessed with Jesus. As one who has recently found herself in the relationship zone without a map of how to do it, it's only Jesus that helps us not make idols of each other, it's only Jesus that provides us with the security and love to love each other, it's only Jesus that can change our stupid selfish hearts, I've known that for all the years of singleness and I know that now... (it's the daily living of that which is so hard!)

Keep on Cezza (mwah haha)and keep reminding all the people around you that is really is all about Jesus, all about being his dearly loved child and all about living the life of love he has called us to, single/married/whatever it's all about Ephesians 5:1-2 and not much else.


3:35 AM  
Blogger Kath said...

Also, a word of warning, no man is going to be obessesed with Jesus all the time, in my thinking about whether to get into the relationship zone I always found it fairly unhelpful to be told to look for the perfect Christian man, no-one is godly all the time, no-one seeks God's will first all the time, any man who you go out with/marry will be a massive sinner. Some days he'll want to love Jesus, some days he won't, some days he'll inspire you and help you to godliness, some days he won't.. Grace has to fit into the picture of what we want in a man!

Probably the better test is are they repentant, do they long to serve on their good days, and are aware of how little they love Christ on their bad days, do they desire to love Christ above all, do they respect you.

We can't measure the guys against perfection, they will always be lacking, but ask the question one stage back...
do they get Grace in all it's freedom and wonder and long to live more in the light of Jesus each day...?

Are we encouraging the guys around us to know and love Jesus in their brokeness, to be honest about their sin, to be humble in their dependance on Jesus for everything?

Are we doing that as daughters of the King of Kings, are we sumbitting our desires, hopes and plans into His hands and being content through it all.. (or are we sometimes just trying to do that!!).
Oh dear, you've made ME rant now! Haha. Lets talk soon and rant at each other!

3:42 AM  
Blogger andy cottingham said...

Well said. The sad truth is that decades of unbridled feminism have made men terrified to be men. Watch any ad. break on the TV you'll see the weak man lazing on the sofa while the woman attempts to hold the whole family together. Men & manhood have been under constant attack for so long it seems they have universally decided to abdicate responsibility. What is needed is men who will be role models for a generation who have none.

The church is actually a brilliant place for this to happen. Pray for your leaders, support and encourage men in their masculinity and believe for a better day.

3:51 AM  
Blogger Welshie said...

amen to all of the above...! Thanks for your helpful comments. Andy (and Thomas), I'm well aware of how damaging women can be and i don't think that came across enough in my post...but what i do know is that as much damage as we do, we (I'm sure it's not just me!) want guys to fight against that and be the role models you describe. Yes, women are contradictions. The things I don't want to do, that's what I do...

Kath - miss you!

10:42 AM  
Blogger Hughbo said...

I don't think you will regret posting this!

Love what you say...

Separation/stigma between 'marrieds' and 'singles'... reminds me of the illustration someone used of a church who's 20s group was called "Pairs and Spares"!!

Teaching on relationships etc. - everyone bottles it... Mark Driscoll, one of the few I know who speak up on that stuff... but he's not my pastor.

I've found, as a guy, that there is a tension going on - on the one hand not wanting to idolise relationships, not wanting to be 'desperate', wanting to wait for God's lead and guidance, but equally realising that, as a man, I have the responsibility to seek a wife, to be the initiator of a relationship, and that this is God's design.

Initiating is hard. Why? Because rejection is hard... it crushes pride, it makes you feel really small, and the next time makes it even harder... I think it's even harder if you've already got a deep friendship with someone - there's the fear that someone will get hurt, and it will all get weird!

Guys get messed about too. Guys get hurt and therefore get scarred as well... and don't tell anyone, but guys have feelings too!

UCCF is poorer for the loss of 'Welshie'!

3:39 PM  
Blogger Stephen Harbage said...

I randomly came across your blog this evening and was really struck by it. I thought it was a REALLY Godly post and so many good things, thank you for sharing! Thank you, it has encouraged me.

Kath, thank you for your advice (as I apply it the other way round!). Great gems.

Hughbo, I am shocked at that 'pairs and spares' 20s group! That sums up a lot! I do think that those things you said that were hard are changed a lot by having your identity firmly in Christ. Then rejection doesn't matter as much (makes a Godly perspective A LOT easier)!

Ceryn, I didn't understand this line though:
"I want to know what it is, as a Christian girl, that I need to 'get' about guys!" - what do you mean if you don't mind me asking (you don't have to say)? Or is that what Kath answered about us not being perfect?

3:29 PM  

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