I want to be very upfront with you for a second about myself, and my experience with singleness. Sometimes I feel that the topic of Christian dating is a little overdone – and keeping that in mind as I write this piece, I think some blatant honesty could be refreshing. So, here we go.
I have had a deep, persistent fear that I am not worthy of – and therefore will never experience – the type of relationship and marriage that I dream of having.
I cringed as I typed that because it doesn’t embody the faith and confidence that I long to have as a daughter of Christ. How often do we talk about this in all the blogs and books and sermons that exist on the subject of romantic relationships? How often do we actually take off the cloak that says, “I know my worth, I know my standards, and nothing is going to change that,” to reveal the self-underneath that radiates this uncertainty and insecurity?
I know I can’t be the only one. And that is exactly why I’m sitting here with my fingers to these keys, hoping and praying that the God of all my thoughts and emotions can turn my situation around for the edification of not only myself, but for the good of you also and His glory in all of it.
I was perusing through the book of Ruth in my new study Bible a few days ago when I came across three verses that really struck a chord with me. A few weeks ago I decided to change the translation that I use and it amazes me when I hear a well-known verse stated in a totally new way.
It caught my attention how Ruth 2:1 introduces the character of Boaz by referring to him as “a worthy man of the clan of Elimelech.” (ESV)
A worthy man.
It is one of my biggest dreams to meet and be united with such a man. I aim to make the most of my season of waiting, but I long to build a home and a family and a life of purpose with a man of integrity who loves God and exhibits the characteristics of Jesus Christ. I want to hear his voice, reading the Bible to me in the early morning. I want to hold his hand as we sit in church. I want to raise children with him and hike with him and cook dinner with him and explore cities with him and worship next to him and age with him.
But there’s a part of me that feels, especially compared to other young women around me, that I’m not worthy of a “worthy man.” Whenever I consider my potential for having that type of relationship, the enemy floods my mind with a long list of my spiritual faults, physical imperfections, and past mistakes.
I have not always lived in purity. I am not always on good terms with my mother. My family has a history of drug abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and mental illness. Some days I struggle to pray. It has taken me years to temper my severity – well, sass, really – with grace and gentleness. The list goes on.
I don’t often feel like a worthy woman; at least not in the sense of being a deserving woman. So I found it even more interesting when in Ruth 3:11, Boaz addresses Ruth with this: “I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman.” There it is again. A worthy man meets a worthy woman.
And it begins to dawn on me when I re-read this verse in the New King James Version, which replaces the word “worthy” with “virtuous,” that I have grossly misunderstood the whole concept of what it means to be worthy.
Worthiness is not wealth, a flawless appearance, or moral perfection. All of those things are either temporal or unattainable. Your worth isn’t relative to a stained past or a dysfunctional family or a persistent battle against a particular sin.
Your worth is rooted in the grace of Christ. Not only does His love cover your human shortcomings in forgiveness, He goes even further to transform you into a new person – a new life – with entirely new potential to experience His great plan in your life. And the person God has for you will understand that.
Because this, ultimately, is the purpose of a godly relationship: to exhibit the love, grace, and commitment of Jesus to His beloved people. There is no impeccable human being to be found anywhere on this earth; there are ugly moments and habits and people hidden even in the lives that appear to be the most immaculate from the outside looking in.
So as quoted from one of my favorite movies, Old Fashioned: “Maybe love doesn’t have to be perfect to be worth it.” Maybe you don’t have to be perfect to be worth it, either.