Happy Monday, friends! Welcome to the beginning of a brand new week. It is good for you to be here! I hope that you are having a fantastic day so far, wherever in the world you may be. When in doubt, just keep the joy and the coffee a-flowin’.
As many of you know we are chugging along in what we like to call “love month.” In fact, tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. For those of you who have a special someone, this can be the most beautiful of days filled with warm fuzzy feelings and chocolate. However, for those of you who may not have a special someone to call your own, the emotions of Valentine’s Day can be all over the place. It is not just the day that cute, but quirky, couples celebrate love and romance. It is also known as “S.A.D” (Singles Awareness Day). In the midst of the mixed emotions that seem to find their home in this time of the year, I hope to encourage you today (especially if you are flying solo at the moment).
Well, today we are going to take a flashback to the days of college-aged Laura (prior to meeting my beloved husband). Throughout much of my university career, I was single. Now, please don’t get me wrong. I was a strong, independent, adventure-seeking, stubborn, and sassy woman who did not let singleness get in her way of pursuing a fierce passion for life. However, I was single. At the time there were a couple “like-interests” of mine, but none of them seemed to work out all that well. Most of the time, I was more than okay with that. But every once and a while, thoughts creeped in that made me doubt who I was and what kind of man I wanted to pursue/be pursued by.
Laura, maybe you are too intimidating.
Maybe your standards are too high.
Maybe this “healthy, lasting relationship” you are looking for is just a naive, impossible dream.
Though I tried my hardest to dismiss these thoughts and carry on in my womanly strength and dignity, every once and a while these ideas became relentlessly persistent and I couldn’t help but become discouraged about relationships, love and all that jazz.
It was during this season of my life, though, that I heard a phrase: Do not settle for anything less than gold. I realized that what I was looking for was not just any run-of-the-mill relationship. I wasn’t looking for someone who would just be fun to date, but no good to do the rest of life with. No. I did not want to settle for any relationship that was less than golden. Sure, I knew it would be hard to find, but I was determined that the next man I dated and allowed into my heart would be marriage material (someone who was a man of honor and respect, someone who was faithful ’til the end, and someone who could run this race of life with me well and encourage me to be the best me I could be). I did not want to settle for a bronze or silver quality relationship. I was going for gold.
During my junior year of college I had the opportunity to take a semester off of school and volunteer in Hawaii for the University of the Nations (YWAM). At the beginning of my six months there, I did not know what to expect. I went to do some of my own soul-searching and to experience something other than the student life of California. I certainly was not looking for a husband.
But then I met him. During my first week on the island I met this dude from Canada, who was also volunteering. His name was Andy. I invited myself to go snorkeling with him and one of our friends one morning before work (come to think of it, it was a rather socially awkward thing to do, but I had never been snorkeling before! Anyhoo…) In the middle of our adventure it began to rain… actually, pour. We scrambled back to shore, gathered up our soggy towels and backpacks and headed for shelter. As we sat under a cabana waiting out the tropical storm, Andy and I chatted about life, our goals, and view of the world around us. As he talked, I thought “Wow, I could marry this man…. But HA! That will never happen. He’s from Canada and probably already taken!” Over the next few months, we got to know one another better and better. As we spent more time with each other (in a non-dating context) I realized what an amazing man he really was (and no, he was not taken). He was absolutely golden.
The thing about it, though, was that it was not enough for him to be golden. I quickly realized that if this beautiful potential relationship was going to work out we both needed to be gold. There were so many parts of my heart that needed to be healed and even more aspects of my life I needed to work on before we could even consider pursuing one another romantically. I recognized that just as much as I wanted to “go for gold,” my beloved Andy wanted to also pursue someone who was golden as well. This prompted a new journey of growth in my life – one that would further develop my character, teach me how to love a bit better, and show me how to best serve and bless others, especially the one whom my heart loved. Yes, now we are married. But that journey of growth will continue to persist and even spill over to other friendships as I learn day by day how to be a better wife, companion, daughter, and friend.
So this month, as we are surrounded by hearts and corny messages of love between admirers, if you are single please, please, please be encouraged. Do not settle for anything less than gold. A beautiful, healthy, lasting relationship is not a dream. It is completely possible and entirely worth the wait. And, friends, whether or not we are single, may we continue to learn what it means to be people made of gold in all aspects of life.