It was about 3 years ago when my good friend Mei Ling came to visit Kansas City and stayed with me at my apartment. While she was there for a short time, she organized a massive college reunion at Chipotle with everyone in the KC area that could come. She also invited one of her guy friends who was in KC at the time in the hopes that he and I could get to know each other, a secretive set-up or fact-finding mission if you will, which Mei Ling called, “It’s Just a Burrito!” (meaning, you’re not going on a date or committing to like this guy, just be open-minded and come eat a burrito with everyone). Although I was reluctant, I agreed. It helped to be in a group of people, and to have Mei Ling as my “wing man” to observe things somewhat objectively.
As it turned out, we had a great group at Chipotle, this guy and I had some chat time, and that was it. I didn’t feel any connection or interest in this guy, and Mei Ling confirmed by her observation that maybe there wasn’t anything there. But hey, it was “just a burrito”, no harm done.
Well, I don’t think Mei Ling knew how much her visit encouraged me at the time. Up until then, I had just healed from my long-time crush getting engaged, I didn’t have any guy friends in my social circles, and I didn’t really talk to guys at church (or acknowledge their existence). I realized I had given up hope of meeting someone in order to “protect” my heart from constant heartbreak and disappointment. But I also realized that I was storing up lots of bitterness that was preventing me from serving Christ fully by truly serving and caring for the Christian community, both sisters AND brothers.
Mei Ling’s example of reaching out to others made me examine my heart and to start “forcing” myself to be as involved as I could at church and to go to the group parties that could be so awkward. My motivation was almost all selfish at first–to “put myself out there” so that good Christian guys knew of me and would want to date me; but as time went on, the group activities became a little less awkward as I focused on others and how I could serve them. Looking back on that time, it wasn’t just a lesson in serving others as a single, it was a lesson in serving sisters and brothers in Christ for a lifetime. God calls us as believers to be involved in Church community not only for our encouragement, but especially to serve. The Body NEEDS all of the parts! The Church body, working together, is His plan for continuing to reveal Himself to the world.
As you all know, God did not “reward” me for my changed attitude by providing a husband right away from my circle of church friends in Missouri, as I thought He might, as a special favor to me. He saw everything in my life (and how it fits into His plan) and knew everyone inside and outside of my small social circle. He chose to take me out of that comfortable social circle (which had taken a few years to get comfortable with) and send me to a different country with no potential husband prospects that I could see. God provided, in His time, the husband He had picked out for me. God made it clear as Matt took the initiative to persue me. Let me tell you, though–I almost disobeyed God by not going to Russia, because I couldn’t see how I would ever get married.
I’m not saying that going overseas to be a missionary will guarantee you a husband. Nor will faithfully serving Him right now, wherever you are. What I can say is that obedience to Him is good and worth it all the time. Above all, He is worthy of our obedience. We are called to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, not to earn anything, but because we’re grateful that we’ve already received His greatest gift–Himself.