The Dating Checklist
Years ago, comedian and actor, Steve Harvey made a guest appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show. He talked about the checklists that single people make when looking for a partner. The issue, he explained, is these lists don’t always match up to the partner that may be for us. He said that we are missing out on someone great because we settle for someone with qualities and characteristics that we think we need. He looked into the camera and yelled, “Get rid of the lists!” This was a radical idea that shook singles all over America.
I still remember the feeling of confusion as we zig-zagged across the golf course near our home in Florida. To me, the pattern made no sense at all. We’d go to what seemed like a random place on each hole, irrespective to the location of our golf balls, and my father and I would sit and wait for his friends to hit.
We’d just…wait. In what seemed to be a random spot, often far away from where our next shot was. Sometimes in these moments, he would comment on the sky, or the landscaping, or something else in life. Then, after a while, he’d take us over to where I thought we should have been the whole time – our next shot.
When my husband, Benjamin, was away at training camp, I was home alone with the kids for about six weeks. And by alone, I mean alone, 24-7. During this time, when I was pregnant, with little ones running around, a new friend and I were talking on the phone. She had guests coming for dinner that night. She asked, “Kirsten, do you have a slow cooker?”
I laughed out loud because that question practically answers itself. I’m all for throwing a few ingredients into a pot in the morning and then, hours later, having the delicious aroma of roast, potatoes, carrots, and onions floating through the house. Is there anything more satisfying in the world?
I think there’s something inside each of us that says we can stand on our own – that we don’t need others. From the youngest to the oldest, many of us have the mentality to do things by ourselves. We are self-sufficient and independent.
I once heard an athlete say, “We would have a great team except for all my teammates.” Yes, we talk team, but we value self. Not only does this happen in sports, but it also happens in our spiritual lives. Doesn’t loving God come down to just me? Yes and no.
What is needed by the Christian today for the undergoing of all things experienced by the Christian today? Is it a newer model of worship? A new set of instructions? The latest innovation in religious technology? A handbook of tips and skills and troubleshooting flowcharts? Do we need more inspirational pick-me-ups? Do Christians need more classes, more diplomas, more specialized training?
There is something the drudgery of daily living and the sporadic, special failures done by us and done to us have in common, and it is this: they require a vision beyond ourselves.
I was reading in Exodus today, in chapters 25–28. (Now, you might be wondering what Exodus has to do with the holiday season, but we’ll get there, I promise!) These chapters are where God is telling Moses exactly how the tabernacle is to be constructed. And I’ll confess that when I usually read through these pages of the Bible, I get a bit bogged down in all the details.
Okay, I skim. A lot.
The late February sky scowled while the wind turned the world sideways. The radio played in the background. Kenny Chesney wanted to know how forever feels, while I just wanted to know how the next hour was going to turn out.
After five miscarriages and other fertility-related struggles, I just wanted to meet my baby boy, and I was so close that I was sure everything was going to fall apart.
You know the feeling.
I love rubber bands. They are one of the greatest inventions ever! They are simple, practical, and useful. And, while there are many uses for them, one of the most basic functions of rubber bands is to hold a group of objects together.
I always keep a rubber band around my wrist. You never know when you might need one! But my habit took on new meaning this past year when my friend and teammate, who also wears one around his wrist, offered me a challenge. When I asked him why he wore his rubber band, he said that it was a constant reminder that God wanted to stretch him daily.
Zechariah 4:10 says, “Who despises the day of small things?” Indeed, everything we do is a very small thing.
The Lord asks this rhetorical question of Zerubbabel, who led the rebuilding of the Jerusalem temple around 530 B.C. The Hebrew exiles were returning from Babylon, which was very good. What they returned to was an absolute disaster, which was not. The temple was unrecognizable to those who witnessed its former glory. Zerubbabel and his motley band of not-always-reliable volunteers would work at its rebuilding for “the day,” which turned out to be one day out of the twenty years it took to complete.
A person’s ride usually tells you something about that individual. A minivan suggests that it is probably driven by a family man—a family man with a big family. A hot hatch with nice alloys and the suspension lowered perhaps indicates that it belongs to a young person. A pickup truck is almost certainly driven by someone intensely practical. An elegant European saloon, in pristine condition, probably points to a late-middle-age driver who has taken early retirement and washes his pride and joy at least twice a week. A person’s ride usually tells you something about that person. That is exactly what we find in Matthew 21:1–11 with Jesus: