read Acts 4. My married friends beg me for dating stories. They lean closer. Their eyes widen. Their mouths drop open. “No,” they say. By which they mean, “YES.” “You’re so lucky,” they say. Do they mean it?
A few are less enthusiastic. They shake their heads. “I couldn’t do it,” they say, when you talk about first dates with virtual strangers.
Oh, yes you could. Dating can be fun – as long as we have the right attitude. It’s fun to meet new people. It’s fun to talk alone to someone. It’s fun to share your heart. It’s fun to make someone smile. It’s fun to dress up.
But do you have to be single to have that kind of fun?
“How did you lose weight,” one of my married friends asked.
“Divorcitis,” I said.
“Oh,” she said. She frowned. “Do I have to get divorced to look like that?”
We laughed. She has a great husband. And as Joyce Meyer says about lusting after other spouses – the grass isn’t greener on the other side: “you’ll just have to mow that lawn, too.”
Luckily, you don’t have to get divorced, be single, or be lonely in order to live your life as if it were one big date. You can date your real life.
Really? How? How can we enjoy our lives as if we’re on a really fun date? How can we be that present, feel that pretty, sparkle and shine, and dress our best, no matter what?
Guess what? We already have everything we need. Like Dorothy’s ruby slippers, the way home is with us all the time. We just have to access it. We need someone to tell us how to click our heels together three times.
Ready? Here goes. I’m going to be brief – to lift sentences out of Acts 4 – and hand them to you on a silver platter. Consider them like appetizers. Take the ones you want. And if you like the look of them all – take them all. Help yourself. These are the kind of appetizers of which we can eat all we want, be satisfied, and yet always come back for more:
(1) we are all “ordinary people” with “no special training” for life. But who else does God have to work with except ordinary people? He will equip us for whatever jobs He wants us to perform. We can relax and be ourselves, our true selves, without feeling the need to brag, exaggerate or talk non-stop about what our therapist has just told us are our father and mother complexes – in other words, we don’t have to turn off everyone we meet with our self-involved insecurities and make them run for the door before the waiter even brings the menu.
(2) If we feel restless, dry, worn out and lacking in purpose – in other words, if it feels like a dateless week, month, year or lifetime – we can slip away in our minds to God. We can ask for His help, inspiration and attention. Close your eyes. Imagine God smiling at you right now. I know – it sounds a little silly. But remember? All ye who haven’t been on a date in years? Dating brings out the silly. So try it. What do we have to lose – except the blahs.
(3) You ARE beautiful. Really. I’m not just saying that. And I CAN see you – it’s amazing what blogging software can do. I can see that you’re made in God’s image. What does that mean? I have no idea. But I know this – if you get to know God, you WILL glow. He is the author of life. Knowing Him and spending time with Him will make you more yourself, more beautiful, kinder, gentler, sweeter and more alive. It will rub off the tarnish, and enable His image in you to shine forth.
(4) If you’re still feeling unattractive, icky, dried up and like none of your clothes fit and you should pull down the shades, slip back into bed, and pull the covers over your head FOREVER… consider this. God frees us of shame. That’s what the cross is for. Sometimes I imagine an enormous white cross spanning the horizon, as big as the sky and beyond. That’s how big God’s forgiveness is. It’s big enough to cover our every short-coming, flaw, mistake and wrong. The cross literally decks us out in our most beautiful clothing. That’s why Peter says here in Acts 4 that there “is salvation in no one else” but Jesus. It’s because there is no way to be cleansed without God dying on the cross in our place. The cross gives us the freedom and beauty we crave. It’s the perfect outfit, the one we’re really looking for every time we open our closets or walk into Bergdorf’s. It’s there for any of us, all of us, no matter what our background; what we look like; no matter how many pounds we’ve gained; no matter how many times we’ve yelled at someone; no matter how many times we’ve despised someone – perhaps even our spouses – in our hearts; if we’ve cheated on someone; if we lied; if we said the wrong thing; or even if we just hit the tennis ball out – whatever. Whatever it is that makes us feel small, empty, shriveled, dry and inadequate – that’s where the cross fills us up. God’s sacrificial love makes us feel loved and attractive. It removes our anxieties and obsessions so we can be present – to ourselves, and to everyone we meet. God’s love calms and soothes us. We sparkle because we have a secret admirer. We can eat better. We can fit exercise into our days. We can be freed of guilt and shame. We can be clothed in Jesus’ perfection – and be perfectly dressed for every occasion, no matter what.
(5) And if that works for about a nano-second, and we think, “yeah, yeah, Caroline, that’s you. But what about ME,” guess what? God is there for you, too. Whenever we feel like no one is listening, or wants to listen, and we don’t even have the energy to call someone, and we worry that we’ve made God up – we can STILL talk to God any time. Even if we doubt Him, He’s still there. When we doubt, we can tell Him we doubt. He already knows about it, after all. We can ask for faith. Or, and here’s where our brains can start to hurt, we can thank Him for faith – and in that moment of thanking Him in faith for faith He gives us more faith. And there’s more. Just as the new believers did here in Acts 4, if we ask for boldness, for God to stretch out His hand toward us, or for Him to work miracles, our houses will shake. We can be “filled with the Holy Spirit”. God does this for any who ask. He does it for all who ask. And in turn, like these new believers, we find that when God fills us with His fullness, we can share more freely. That’s because we start to feel like everything we have – every minute of the day – the whole world – isn’t ours, but a gift.
Your life is a gift.
You are a gift.
Why not? Isn’t the world waiting for you?
posted by Caroline Coleman in carolinecolemanbooks.com on August 29, 2012