*This blog is based, in part, upon actual events and people. Certain actions and characters have been dramatized and fictionalized, but are inspired by true events and real people. Certain other characters, events, and names used herein are entirely fictitious. Any similarity of those fictional characters or events to the name, attributes, or background of any real person, living or dead, or to any actual events is coincidental and unintentional, so I better not get any phone calls from certain ex-boyfriends and former crushes accusing me of still pining over them. Three words: so over you!!! And to my paranoid, emotionally needy, velcro-clingy type friends who think, in discussing poor choices and screwy relationships that I'm talking about you. Guess what? I AM!!!!! All names have been changed to protect the innocent from harm and the guilty from embarrassment. *
Like many of us, I didn't have great examples as to what a Godly relationship was really like. As I went through my teenage years and young adulthood, I always seemed to gravitate towards men who resembled emotionally the dysfunction around me. Because I thought so little of myself, I would immediately latch on to whoever showed me the time of day.
When I moved to Tennessee, I was determined not to repeat the same mistakes. I had to first come to the realization that, although I didn't deserve the treatment I'd received from these various individuals, I did bring much unnecessary heartache upon myself because I was making very poor choices concerning those to whom I gave my heart. As I sought God's heart concerning the whole matter, He showed me that my biggest mistake in all this was that I didn't take the necessary time to really observe someone's character before entrusting them with my heart. So, I asked Him first what I needed to be watching, and this is what He said...
1. Does this person practice what they preach? Are they someone who tells me to do or say certain things but they don't live up to the same standards themselves?
2. What kind of person are they when they're under pressure? Do they immediately freak out and lose their cool? Are they someone who exemplifies a life whose confidence is totally grounded in God?
3. What kind of person are they when someone has wronged them? Are they the type that easily holds grudges, because if they are, it is a major red flag. If the person will easily take offense and hold a grudge against someone else, they will at some point be the same way with me. Someone who takes offense easily isn't walking in maturity or in the fruit of the Holy Spirit, and the Bible specifically warns us to steer clear of hot tempered men.
As I implemented these three tests, I discovered that I was able to save myself a lot of heartache, but I wanted to go deeper with it. (Yes, I believe that we are to trust God to bring the right person to us, that it's not just us merely going out and choosing on our own. However, the Bible says so much about watching the company you keep and making wise choices, and just as we have to choose God's best when He presents it to us, we can also choose the Devil's worst!) As I prayed more, I said to God, "It's not enough for me to know who the wrong ones are. I want to know what the right one looks like. It'll be a lot easier for me to say no to the wrong ones if I know who and what it is that I'm saying yes to. Is there any man in the Bible that you can point out to me who serves as an example of the Godly Husband You have in store for me?"
At that point, God told me to read the Book of Ruth and look at Boaz. As I read it, God pointed out some very specific things about him...
1. Boaz, whenever he praised Ruth, always emphasized her relationship with and devotion to God. A Godly man's first concern for his potential mate is what kind of Christian she is and her walk with God.
2. Boaz, when Ruth came to work in his fields, told his workers to throw extra grain in her path so she'd have more to take home with her. However, he didn't tell Ruth that he was doing that for her. Boaz wanted to bless her and help meet her needs, but it wasn't in order to lord it over her or make her beholden to him. He wanted to bless her for the sake of blessing her, and he didn't care if she knew or not that he was the source of the provision. How many people have we had in our lives who did for us because they wanted to use it to control us?
3. Boaz made sure that Ruth was safe while working in his fields. Her welfare was his top priority.
4. Boaz recognized Ruth's integrity and sought to encourage her to press in and become the woman of God that God intended for her to be. Too many times, even among Christian couples, one partner ends up taking the other's eyes off God.
5. Boaz was an older single man. It was unusual for someone his age in that time to be single, but Boaz was content in that which God had called him to. He was deeply rooted in God's Word and spent much time alone in God's presence. I thought back to all the guys I'd given my heart to that had this restlessness inside of them, a restlessness born of unhappiness and discontent from seeking fulfillment in things other than God. Boaz put his whole identity in God, and although he had to wait a long time for Ruth, it was obviously worth the wait.
6. According to Jewish Biblical law, if a man died without having kids, the man's widow was to be married by the dead man's closest male relative to have children in the dead man's name. Although Boaz was a close relative of Ruth's late husband, there was another male relative who was first in line to marry Ruth if he so desired. Boaz wanted to do right by God and Ruth by offering Ruth to the closer relative first, even though it might mean that Boaz didn't get Ruth. Boaz's top concern was Ruth's spiritual welfare, and he wanted what was best for her, whether it included him or not.
7. Boaz was known as being someone of integrity and a man of his word, and when he made a promise, he stuck to it and carried it out immediately. There aren't too many men like that in the world (or the church) today.
Ruth's first husband was named Mahlon, which is Hebrew for weak or sickly. Boaz in Hebrew means strength and swiftness. What a great picture that when we wait for God's best, it turns out to be so much better than what we could get on our own. The truth is that we don't often wait for God's best, or take the time to observe character, because we, deep down, don't really believe that WE are worth the wait. We often buy into the Devil's lies that we're incomplete without someone, or there's something wrong with us, so we better settle for what looks the best at the time. If we can see how dearly prized we are of God, and how greatly He wants to bless us in this regard, than waiting for the right one is so much easier.
When I pray for my future husband now, I call him Boaz. Having this picture of "my future yes" has made it a million times easier to guard my heart and steer clear of the wrong ones, the ones that God clearly sees as "definite NOs." More importantly, though, I pray and concentrate my energy not on finding a Boaz but on becoming a Ruth, someone to whom a Boaz would be drawn. I pray that all the characteristics that made her stick out so much to Boaz would be evident in me. In the meantime, I know, too, that I am the Bride of Christ, and I need to learn what it means to be married to Jesus, both in how I relate to and love Him, and just how dearly prized I am in His eyes. If my heart is fully His and I am grounded in the fact that His Heart is fully mine, then when my Boaz does come along, my future yes will be wholehearted, unequivocal, and totally without regret.