Part 1: http://jilds.tumblr.com/post/59991037844/demystified-part-i
How are we to respond?
In college I saw how ates and kuyas in the faith met each other, and how God brought them together. Their love stories were inspiring, and I thought it’s a breath of fresh air for its antithesis to how the world sees relationships. The latter believes it is merely founded on attraction and chemistry, the former goes beyond what is merely superficial. My mentor once said, attraction is important but it’s not the end-all, be-all of things. So by all means Im shocked to hear how things may be different now in Christian circles. It’s either I’ve been living in oblivion all the while, or that times have really changed.
We grew up being told that we are to value our walk with God – as well as the molding of our character to be more Christ-like – is important. How does that change knowing men around us may not see things the same way?
Nothing changes — what the Bible says is still what the Bible says.
For a time I’ve been observing these things, had these at the back of my head, and revisited these from time to time. As I read through the scriptures I didn’t get answers specific to the questions that ran in my head, but over time I learned of certain principles that made me stop asking. I was reminded once again of what ought to be really important, and what I should focus my eyes on. (Please also take note that the verses here are those I encountered in various times, and that it isn’t specific to dating. The principles Id present here are rather general and applicable to many situations instead of just one, hence one needs to consider the context in reading and interpreting these verses).
Going back to the conversation with my friend, before we parted I told her one thing: “You are a wonderful woman of God, and you deserve nothing less than a committed guy – committed to Him, and then to you.” It’s one thing for the man to be godly, and another one for him to be completely set to love you. Maybe all people have standards – there are men who’d never settle for anything other than a supermodel girlfriend, whereas there are women would never date someone who’s “less significant” than a fortune 500 company CEO, and the list goes on. Everyone have their own things to write in their lists, I guess it’s just a matter of whether or not it’s valid.
When our conversation ended, I thought it’s time for me to revisit my standards. My list isn’t long to be honest, there are only 3 non-negotiable things, and a lot of many others are negotiable. My non-negotiable (godliness and spiritual maturity, leadership, and financial independence) remained to be non-negotiable. I added a note to the first trait though – that he ought to be a man of substance; not shallow and superficial who’s too fixated on the physical or on things that are of little importance. For me that can’t be more important. One day, out of submission, he is going to make decisions for you, for your kids, and he should make wise ones. That won’t be possible if he’s too rigid and shallow. His world and his perspective can’t be too small to contain your big dreams, or the ideologies you’re passionate about.
Take care of yourself
Much has been emphasized on being godly, and it is often misconstrued for being very busy at ministry work that one no longer finds enough time to take care of one self. On the contrary, some take it too far – they do it out of insecurity or looking for men’s validation.
A friend once said, “you are a masterpiece to be enhanced, not a mistake to be corrected,” and I believe that can be a good view of self. When a perfect God created man, He said it’s beautiful. But whatever God made beautiful, sin destroys either through insecure thoughts, or one’s lack of self-discipline. Hence I think the proper response is to groom and take care of one’s self. Little by little I’m starting to learn that although one can’t be vain, a woman should groom in such a manner that she’s celebrating the beauty God gave her.
Moreover, be all you can be for the Lord
This is what the wife of our senior pastor from CCF Alabang told us. It seems too simple, but when you really come to look at it, that principle entails a lot already — from grooming, to improving one’s intellect and knowing more, to growing one’s character, progressing in one’s career, maturing in the faith, and basically doing well in all other aspects of life. That also means that you try to be all-out in all of your life’s roles – as a Christian, a daughter, a boss, a subordinate, a servant in the ministry, a responsible citizen, etc.
In this pursuit I thought it’s necessary to be always reminded of who you’re doing this for. They say for us women, we have to pray for God “to open his eyes” so that maybe he’ll start to notice you. But what if his eyes are perpetually closed, and that he may never really look your way and see you? Would that make you feel that your efforts to be a godly woman is wasted?
Is it lack of faith to see things that way? I don’t think so, because in truth God may give us painful NOs when we’re praying for something. There was this time I casually blurted out in prayer, “could it be possible Lord for him and I to end up together?” Over time I thought it’s not His will for us, and I realized he may never see me in a romantic light, and that was hard. For a time a controller in me hates losing that I was tempted to exhaust all possible alternatives for him to change his mind, but I thought it’s a waste of time. Life is better spent chasing after more noble pursuits, and once you realize that you know how very small of a concern this love game is.
Whenever you feel unappreciated by the people, learn to ask yourself “for whom am I really doing this for? Whose validation am I really after?” That guy would choose to keep his eyes shut, but take comfort over the fact that God saw everything you did. And I shared in in my blog before, I dream of that one day – after going through all the pains, hurts, and heartbreaks of life – Id be face to face with my Father one day. And that He’d tell me that I have finished well… I have run the race… I have fought the good fight.
Godliness brings true contentment
I had a study of 1Timothy 6:6-10 (godliness vs the danger of the love of money) and there was one striking realization I got from it: true godliness brings contentment. Contentment here springs from knowing that Christ is all sufficient, that who He is in our lives being Lord and Savior is much better than what He gives. Although the context here is about money, the application can go beyond our contentment with material things. I thought godliness, if it’s genuine, should bring real contentment in every area of my life. And by godliness, that ought to mean I embrace with great joy what God wills me to be.
Trust on the Sovereign God
I encountered this verse on Isaiah 45:6-7 (NASB)* that reminded me of one all-encompassing truth
“There is no one besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other, the One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these.”
God being sovereign means he allows things to happen in our life. That includes the blessings that come our way, the trials — He allows all these things to happen. This has been my comfort when we were going through rough times in the family, or why heartbreaking wars take place, or devastating calamities wipe out nations, and thought this is true even for the less important things in life like the matters of the heart. Like in all things it may not happen how you thought you’d want it to happen, but God causes all things to work for good — our response is to trust.
There are many things Ive learned, but for this post I picked on just a few for brevity. The purpose of the post is not to say Ive been ahead and that I sorted everything out, it’s more like putting into writing what I once knew. Hopefully it would serve as a good reminder to me in the future.
So to summarize and answer the question, is godliness overrated compared to looks? To best answer this question, ask Him who ought to have the final say on things. Consider what He has to say in His word. In Proverbs it says “Charm is deceptive and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
Prioritize the things and the traits He values.