About six weeks ago my car got totaled. Actually it got flash flooded out. (By the way if you have ever wondered how long you would have if you crashed into water before water seeped into your car – answer – not very long, as in get out of the car immediately).
At any rate, this meant I needed to go through the insurance process and then go find a new car. My insurance company was very fair, and I had a little extra money to spend. So I went about trying to find a car. Now here’s the deal, I was committed to not take out a loan so I had exactly what I had. I also knew what kind of car I wanted.
I visited around 20 different dealers, looked on all the websites (even craigslist). There were lots of ok cars, but not so much “my car”. I’m 6’4″ so there has to be room. I’m in it a lot as most of my job is out of my office. It needs to run a long time – my last car (not the totaled one) lasted for 322,000 miles. And I wanted a V6, because, hey, I’m a man.
About two weeks in I found one. All the cars I had seen like the one I wanted were at least $1500 -$2000 more than I had and this one was no different. We met, I drove it, but at that time, the dealer couldn’t go that low. His price was fair, I just didn’t have it, and I had to walk away.
You see the key to car shopping is actually pretty simple. Don’t quit looking, don’t buy something you aren’t a little excited about (aka spend a fortune on something you don’t like), and always be willing to walk away.
I could have bought a car the first week and it would have been fine – but I would have been disappointed. I also could have become discouraged – which I actually did. But I had community and people to encourage me and loan me vehicles etc. Finally I could have caved and spent more than I wanted to. But I was able to walk away.
I share this way too long example because I think it totally relates to three traps we can fall into in looking for a spouse.
Let me just come right out and say that I’ve done all three of these things wrong. . . many times actually.
First, we can for sure quit looking. There’s are lots of ways to get discouraged. Maybe we go on a lot of dates, but after a while get dating fatigue and we just want to stop trying. Or maybe we go on no dates and after a while we just quit asking. Maybe we get our heart broken and we just don’t want to go back out there. I’ve for sure been all of those places. The key in my opinion to this is not dating alone. In other words you need people in your life who walk with you in this area. People who can encourage you, tell you what they see you could do better, or just let you vent. But we needn’t give up.
Secondly we can go with something we know in our heart either isn’t right or just doesn’t excite us. We say things like, “there’s nothing really wrong with her”, or “I know he’s not a believer but we get along great and he’s open to it”. Now we have to be careful here. If anything we in our culture have overplayed the whole don’t settle thing and instead often turn to consumer dating where at the first sign of trouble we bolt. That’s not what I’m talking about. But I’ve stayed with stuff longer than I should or tried to make stuff work that I wasn’t into, and that’s at best a waste of everyone’s time.
Which leads to the final trap. We have to be willing to walk away. Here’s what I mean by that. Again, I don’t mean run away. I don’t mean that we walk away because of consumerism or because of fear. But we need to approach the whole deal with knowledge of “I don’t have to do this.” I can either choose to do it or not.
This is especially key as a guy. You have to realize that you don’t need that girl. You may be willing to wait a while for her, or be willing to listen if she changes her mind but that’s different than chasing her. When we like someone as a guy, we can often get locked in to the point where “getting the girl” becomes the point. And this just crushes us. And it makes us less attractive and keeps us from moving on.
We can get in our head that there could never be anyone else. But here’s the truth. There will be. To be honest, knowing you CAN walk away, makes it more powerful when you choose not to. Knowing that there is not this one perfect soulmate, frees you up to choose to be with someone and begin to become that.
The main key to all of this is having our identity and confidence in Christ. Knowing that I’m ok no matter what allows us to keep risking, not make desperate choices and know that our life doesn’t depend on it.
Which of these traps do you mostly fall into? What drives you to that?
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Couldn’t the points you make also apply to finding or leaving-a church? Thanks for your insights.