by Becca Christensen
A few months back I was having a conversation with a friend/coworker about dating. We’re in really different seasons of life. She’s a single mom. I’ve never been married or had kids. We were both in the beginning stages of dating someone new. The first couple weeks are always exciting and so I was pressing her for more info.
In the midst of getting the scoop on her new man she said something that’s stuck with me. Having made an effort early on to have open conversations about her standards and values, she said, ‘I told him – this is my story, but I’m not requiring it to be yours’.
I can’t even begin to unpack the wisdom in that one sentence. Flash forward and I’m sitting around a dinner table with 3 girlfriends. As usual the conversation of guys comes up. One friend says, ‘I was interested in him but he wanted someone who had grown up like him’. This friend had experienced what I would venture to say many newer Christians have, the unfair expectations of someone who grew up in a Christian home.
Now, stick with me here.
Even though the premise of Christianity is grace, we Christians aren’t always so giving. Sometimes we expect everyone and especially those we date to have the same story we do. It’s not only unfair but it can deliver a rather crushing blow to the recipient.
I was fortunate to grow up in a Christian home. If there’s one thing my parents modeled it was to keep God first. I watched carefully as they did that in their relationship, Dad’s career, our home, etc. I had every opportunity to get it right. However, I’ve shared previously my testimony involved a few years of really searching on my own, away from those teachings.
I’m thankful for that rocky patch in my faith because having needed a lot of grace when I made my way back – it’s easier for me to extend it. It’s my story and I don’t expect it to be yours. Maybe you didn’t have to take a vacation from your faith in college to realize it’s the only way to find true joy. Maybe you didn’t go to church a day of your childhood but you found Christ as an adult. Maybe you’re still trying to figure it out, that’s ok too.
What I would say isn’t ok is expecting other people to have your story.
This isn’t my criticism of that boy who didn’t date my friend. Obviously I got one side of that story so I would never judge his heart. That concept stayed on my mind after the conversation. Without having the words my encourager gave me just months ago, I adopted the concept long ago. Your story doesn’t have to be like mine.
What I look for in a man and in all relationships is this – where are you now? I want people to look at my story and see a girl who needed a savior desperately. I want them to see a girl who found him, loves him, and has given him the highest place of honor in her life – never to be dethroned.
You could look at my life and say I had it easy. Or you could judge my college years when I was straddling the fence trying to figure out what I believed. The truth is, both of those are chapters of my story but neither are the whole story.
Don’t miss out on loving people because you can’t relate to their story. Some of the most amazing people have totally different backgrounds than you. Don’t get hung up on that, you will miss out.
Becca Christensen works at Grace Family Church as a Ministry Assistant. She loves to travel, entertain, read, spend time with family, and root on the Indianapolis Colts. In addition to contributing to the Beautiful Blog, Becca leads a table at Beautiful Monday Nights. You can read more about Becca on her blog, www.beccachristensen.wordpress.com.