There were five members on the panel. Each man stood for an invaluable asset to the company; their strengths were envied by some and revered by others. Walking into the boardroom, I felt nervous but I knew that I had a chance. The director of the group, Lay Preacher, inclined his head as I sat down to face them.
“Morning,” said Evangelist. “God’s greetings.”
“Hey,” I said with a smile.
Bible Worker tutted. I heard him mutter “that won’t do” and I immediately questioned his utterance.
“You see, Miss Phoenix,” said Missionary, “we’re looking for something special. At the moment, we’re not too sure about you.”
“What’s wrong?” I said.
“Your skirt for a start,” said Elder. “Where is it? Knee length is too high!”
I squirmed against their admonishing glare. This wasn’t an interview; it was a trial, spot lights and all.
“The thing is,miss,” said Lay Preacher, “we like humble women. A Proverbs thirty-one woman. We’re not sure you’re the one for us.”
There’s a lot of relationship advice circling the internet these days. There’s even more in church. I’m not sure what’s happened, but the recent church trend is an early marriage—I heard of one second-year university student tying the knot the other day. It’s like a mating season; everyone wants to get with someone and with it comes relationship books, DVDs, CDs and seminars. Then people start making their “list of standards”. Standards are fine, but there’s a problem when your standards make you come across as spiritually superior.
Both men and women in church have a habit of looking for their partner, rather than allowing God to choose for them. We’re limited by what we can see, so our requirements can at times be silly and superficial. There are girls out there looking for their “men of God”, always chasing after the guys who preach and do missionary work in their droves. My nature causes me to be healthily suspicious of such people, not because preaching and missionary work is wrong, but because those things are very much outward displays of piety. What are these men like on their “off” days, when no one is looking to praise them?
I have a friend who is one of those guys. He does a lot of work in church, eldering and whatnot, and he has caught the attention of a few people. When we were talking about relationships and our personal preferences, he kept on referring to himself in the plural.
“What we like is … What we’re looking for is girls who are…”
It took me almost a week to process that his usage of “we” was strange, arrogant almost. It gave the impression he was talking on behalf of an elite, exclusive company; drawing up a checklist of all the traits a Godly woman must have and screening the cream of of the crop in church. It confirmed my suspicions. When people compare their potential mate to their own spirituality i.e., looking at the situation on the surface, a problem is bound to occur.
But the LORD said unto Samuel, “Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”*
Shouldn’t that be proof enough to let God take control of everything? I don’t actually mind relationship advice; I like talking to my elders at church, older people who I respect and whose marriages are still intact and asking them how they would go about seeking a partner; I like talking about it with my dad, who always has something interesting to say; I don’t even mind a study on it every now and then, but this sudden onslaught of information is madness.
(Does this blog post ironically count as dating advice as well???)
So anyway, I’ve decided not to concern myself too much with all this stuff. I’m sure once you get into the right relationship it’s great, and I can’t wait for that experience, but at the moment, I’m going to take my time with it—I’m still young, after all.
So it looks like I’ll have to step out of the boardroom. It’s pretty brutal in there.
*1 Samuel 16:7