Saturday, January 23, 2016

On goals and plans and relationships

Let me just be upfront and say I am not a planner, or a goal-setter. I am not interested in having a five-year -plan, let alone trying to write one, and sometimes I have various desired ends in my head, and can aim at levels of achievement when I want to, and rarely miss a deadline, but I don’t go through life thinking about things called goals. Invariably though, people like me will have friends who do. Usually these people also talk about their “passion”, which, for some reason, makes me cringe.

So, at a lunch gathering a few days into the New Year, someone decided to ask around the table for what were the plans of other lunchers for the New Year. It got me thinking that last year I bought a new house, the year before that I got a new job, so there were no big life changes I felt the need to make for 2016. I did think, well there is always the category of “relationship”, but that I have no control over, such that even if I did make goals I can hardly make another person one of them. (I have thought occasionally, very occasionally, of trying the online world, as I haven’t yet, which I actually think would be an approach that would suit my personality. I could just list myself somewhere, wait to see if any guy waved or poked or whatever it is they do, then we could write for a while to get to know each other, because I like written communication, then we could meet up one on one. This appeals to me sooo much more than the crowd scenario of church and other Christian events, where I find the opportunities to get to know someone are minimal, and the idea of crowd manoeuvring or crowd walk-ups in order to be able to talk to any desired person painful. But that is a whole other topic.)

Back to this post. It was only a few days after that lunch that I received a Facebook message from a fellow I used to work with in Sydney, who asked me when I would next be in Sydney, would I like to catch up for coffee and what was my phone number. I didn’t actually have a huge amount to do with this fellow personally when I worked at the company, but he was always very pleasant to work with. A few months ago he friended me on Facebook, saying he’d not long realised that I’d left, because by that time I was on a different floor, and there were a few intermittent messages. I was always restrained in answering them though, with rarely more than a sentence or two a few days later, because after a time I started to wonder at the correspondence, so don’t feel like I “encouraged” any such thing, and was rather surprised. I also thought, wow, this fellow meant something, and was not just baiting me, or stringing me along, or playing games of any sort, but had intended to be serious and mature and manly and ask me to coffee. And it would have been so easy! (The only downer being that he wanted me to come to Sydney for said coffee, and it would be nice to meet a fellow who would come to me instead of wanting/expecting me to come to him.)

Then I felt myself getting a little angry and resentful with Christian men in general, and one or two in particular, because they wouldn’t behave in the same way. I had to nip that in the bud though. Because the reality is that if Christian men don’t want to ask me out they don’t have to, any more than I have to say yes if they do (though if they are not going to ask they would be better not showing any signs of interest). And it’s astonishing how quickly we can turn what is really our own disappointment and discouragement into anger and resentment with others. The truth is that it is disappointing and discouraging to have been going along to churches and Christian events of one sort or another for years and years by myself, where the men will often barely say hello, let alone ask for a coffee and a phone number.

I also wondered what God was about in dangling another carrot I can’t have, even though I don’t actually want to go out with a fellow who is not a Christian (though perhaps I am hasty in just assuming men aren't Christians, without actually knowing that they could be, and should have that conversation – don’t know).

Anyway, I suspect that will be it for any romantic interludes for the year, and it’s been and gone already (in the end the fact that the guy wanted to have coffee in Sydney was my out, because I could just say that I don’t have any plans to be in Sydney any time soon, which is true). I don’t expect any Christian man that I know to take that sort of initiative, and I am not going to initiate anything – my policy with Christian men, to spare myself any trouble and avoid being some kind of annoyance, is to only treat them as they treat me. I actually thought this article, by Marshall Segal, was a great one. Any mess I have made in the past has been a result of me rushing ahead and not waiting on God, and I have at times felt like it was all up to me, which I detest. None of my attempted efforts have resulted in anything in any case, and I don’t seem to be good at it, and I definitely need to be able to trust God and take the pressure of myself, so am leaving those efforts to God and men. In the end who really wants to be with a someone if God hasn’t brought them along (though exactly how God’s sovereignty is operating in what actually does come about regardless gets tricky), and I don’t have any confidence of that if I have to do everything to make it happen, or run around after a fellow, trying to put myself in his way, so it's convenient for him to do something. As the episode above shows, God can bring a fellow from anywhere to ask me out, without me doing a thing, and there are men out there who will do it.

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