Andy Stanley is the Senior Pastor of a few well known churches here in Atlanta, including Buckhead Church. I've heard my friends discuss the Sundays they've spent listening to meaningful sermons delivered by Andy, but for me... there's always been a wrinkle preventing me from attending.
It was to my surprise, during a conversation last week, that I was told Andy's dating and relationship series is moreso about g-d and living a full life in general. I was ensured it wouldn't be all Jesus, all the time. I figured why not? I'm a woman of faith - I could listen to the sermon online and determine if I was comfortable with the message or not. And to my pleasant surprise, the words delivered by Stanley nearly moved me to tears.
The overall resounding theme was: Be the person the person you're looking for is looking for.
Let's say that again. Single folks - ask yourself this. Are YOU the person that the person you are looking for, is looking for?
Stanley's message resonated as he kept stating that in order to find the right person, we must BE the right person. He challenges us not to play the game - continuing to live in our bubbles, going out, having fun, and living under the assumption that one day the "right person" will just fall into our lives.
Beyond that, Stanley said something that truly hit home with me. He validated the feelings I experience sometimes - the fire in my belly, the physical yearning for a partner. He states, "G-d created us for relationships. It is simply natural that we crave someone telling us you are the most important person in my life, I would follow you anywhere, When you walk in the room, I light up inside, When I hear the garage door opening, I'm excited you're home.
My fellow singletons - do you ever struggle with the above? You find yourself physically aching for a counterpart - a best friend/partner in crime to experience life with. And then you begin to feel guilty for it! Wondering why you can't simply live a content life being single. Who needs someone else?!
Well, according to Stanley, this physical aching is actually the thumbprint of G-d on our souls. We were created by Him to hear someone say "I am forever yours faithfully."
He continues on to say it is possible. Don't give up. BUT - know it does not happen accidentally. We should be always working to further ourselves.
We should remember:
Love is patient. But do we really understand what patience means? Love never pressures. Love creates and gives as much space and time as the other person requires.
Love is considerate. Are you truly taking into consideration how the other person feels ALL the time? Regarding of how stressed you are, or how bad of a Monday morning you're having. Are you really considering your partner's feelings and needs despite your own?
Love is kind. Stanley encourages us all to constantly be working on our kindness - in every single relationship we enter, so by the time we meet THE person, we will be the most kind and considerate version of ourselves for our lifetime partner. He urges us to note: What serves us well now, while we're out "living the life", can destroy us later. Meaning, start living with honor now.
So am I really giving up on the notion of fairytales? Sort of.
During his sermon, Stanley encouraged us to stop approaching relationships like children. He challenged us to decide life isn't about magically finding the right person. Fairytales and make good movies, compelling television shows and enthralling novels. Our best chance for finding love is to simply become the person you're looking for is looking for.
Think about it. It's no surprise great marriages receive no press. After all, how entertaining is it to watch a happily married couple cook dinner, discuss their day and relax on the couch? Just because media chooses to shove broken homes and dramatic relationships down our throat for the sake of ratings, doesn't mean happy and healthy relationships don't exist.
The sermon ended and I felt refreshed and renewed. Of course I want to be a woman worth catching, worth pursuing. I do believe I embody quite a few of the characteristics of the man I'm seeking. I'm honest, loyal, dependable, giving, kind and nurturing. Am I all of these things 100% of the time? Probably not. But I'm working on it. There were so many nuggets of wisdom to take from The New Rules for Love, Sex & Dating - I encourage you to listen! I know I'll be playing it back every now and then to keep myself on track! And while I'm working on me, maybe - just maybe - the person I'm looking for is working on themselves too :)