rOCD and The One: A Case For Choice

“Start praying for The One. God has a man made just for you, and you need to be patient and wait for him. If you’re not Waiting, you’re not Trusting. If God does not tell you to marry that man, then don’t. If you feel doubt, it’s The Lord saying NO. Men chase, women wait.”–Every Sunday School Teacher/ Youth Pastor/ Pastor/ Pastor’s Wife / Bible School Teacher / Counselor / Dorm Mother / Mentor I have ever had.

 

By God’s Grace this teaching hasn’t completely ruined my life, but it has caused me a lot of trouble, and am learning many hard lessons because of this.

Christians have a sick obsession with marriage: if you’re not married, then you obsess over getting married. This causes an unhealthy dependence on a man when he finally does enter the picture, and can turn him into a god-like being on which we must thrust all of our needs.

I was taught all of my life, that there was one man for me. God must bring him into your life, will reveal with Divine Revelation that he is indeed the Blessed One, and then and only then can you marry him. I grew up surrounded by couples who had had God tell them, with varying mediums, that they were to marry a certain person. Rarely there was a couple who just shrugged and said “I just liked them, so I chose them.” Such couples seemed to be looked down upon a little, for the lack of Holy Benediction.

The stress of Perfection in life, was paramount. Follow the One Path, Wanderers Beware! As a Christian, I was supposed to seek God’s Will for everything in my life. Find the Perfect Job that aligned perfectly with my special, divine calling and duty, find wait for the Perfect Match for me, and I would be under God’s covering and protection.

WARNING! Stepping off of this Perfect Path will destroy your life! 

That was the mould my conscience was formed to. This is deeply, deeply flawed, and horrendously unbiblical. 

THESE ARE LIES! 

This year has been a total breaking down of these perspectives, mindsets, and fears and for that I am forever grateful. I have found such freedom in choosing my life without fear, and know that God delights in this. I’ve sought God for Wisdom, but made my choices knowing God is with me wherever I go. 

This has been extra taxing to my relationship with my boyfriend, and I couldn’t understand myself until I did some research. There is a common condition , highest among Christian women, called rOCD. Relationship Obsessive Complusive Disorder. I know, it sounds ridiculous. The symptoms are most commonly an extreme fear and obsession with finding “The One”, needing “Divine Revelation”, doubting the genuine love between you and your partner because you fear you are messing up your life by your choices, fear of not following “The Plan”, and plaguing fears that loop around and around. The research that has gone into this has shown that women from religious backgrounds suffer from these lies most often, followed by women from abusive past relationships. 

When I discovered that my fears had a name, I could begin to identify and combat them. I had to be open and honest with my boyfriend about the extreme anxiety I had been facing since day one of meeting him, because God had never told me he was indeed “The One”.  Because I had grown tired of twiddling my thumbs like a good Christian girl and made the move to find a man on my own, I must have messed up God’s plan. Because I kept moving forwards in our relationship, though I still never knew if I was going to marry him. I love him, and felt for so long that I was not allowed to because all of the teaching of my life was against this. Yes, he’s a Christian, yes his character is outstanding and upstanding, yes he loves and respects and cherishes me and everyone in his life. Despite all of these things which are rare to find lately, I could not move past the fact that God had supposedly spoken to nearly every couple in my life. My boyfriend is no missionary, he’s no bible theologian or worship leader, he prefers nitty-gritty ministries to fluffy church backdrops….and yet, I deeply love his heart of gold. Can’t I have a say in this? Can’t I choose someone freely because I like their life and their heart…and just because damnit I want to?? Why must everything be so spiritual, that it hinders us from living a free life? 

Why also, must everything be about ourselves? This mentality also creates a narcissistic and narrow view of relationships and marriage. Imagine, it’s not all about me and having a perfect person! It’s about being humble, gentle, patient, teachable, kind, pursuing truth and mercy–it’s not about getting what I can. 

This mindset has caused a lot of unnecessary and unfounded drama in my relationship. My boyfriend should not meet all of my needs emotionally. He is not the “perfect person for me”. He is a fabulous counter-balance for me, but there could be many men in my life that could be great potentials. What is important is the choice. We choose each other because we believe in each other and our relationship. We genuinely want this, so we choose it. He’s not a magical being sent from heaven to be my dreamy hubby–he’s a man God led me to when I decided to take my life and do something with it. He challenges my mindsets every day, while also valuing and cherishing me, and I do the same for him.

I have agonized countless hours away, called my boyfriend to say “idk maybe it’s not right, you know? God hasn’t told me if I should marry you yet”. He, who was never exposed to the ideology before, sits there blinking confusedly while I run circles of anxiety around him. He calmly states why in fact we work well, acknowledges our weak points, and then suggests we pray and continue onwards. Wow. *STANDING OVATION!*

I have known so many, many young women like myself over the years, who sit in torturous silence while they “wait for the Lord to bring me The One”. I hate this mindset with such a passion it burns me on the inside. This ridiculous notion of God only ordaining one person for you by the sound of his voice is found NOWHERE in scripture, and has roots in pagan mythologies. 

The Christian Life is all about God’s choice to Love us freely, and our choice to choose Him  freely. It is not about chains and shackles to the Perfect Life-it’s about the truth that God is with us wherever we go, and His goal is not to hook us up with perfection, but to use everything we choose to bring us closer to Jesus.

I hope if my sisters-in-Christ are struggling with this burden of waiting for Mr. Perfect, you take a step of faith and just handle your own damn life. Seek God for Wisdom, but go out and use your brain. We are Free Indeed. God is with us, none can stand against us. You go, sister! Focus on character and lifestyle choices, not on having 100% clarity and 0 doubts, and visions and dreams: the proof of a good man is in the pudding and that’s what matters. 

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