I am just going to put this out there – I am a ‘list’ addict. I am that person who makes a list for almost everything. I enjoy making a list because they can serve as a To-do list and I get to strike out the completed actions – it gives me an honest sense of achievement.
It was no exception that when it came to my ‘ideal man’ – I had to have a list of characteristics this man ought to have before I could agree to be his woman (this was my ‘the next man I date must be my husband’ phase, so no time for jokers). As a Christian lady, I didn’t think my list was unrealistic – it wasn’t materialistic or superficial as such; well so I thought. Plus I knew what I liked, I knew what made me tick and I had received counsel from friends who had secured their ‘ideal man’ about the need to be very specific about what you want when you go to God. So having a list of my ideal man’s characteristics made plenty sense. Even the bible says ‘…you have not because you ask not’ – James 4:3b. So I was ready to describe my ideal man to God in detail. Some of the items on my list looked something like this:
- He Should be a Christian and love the Lord
- He should be 6’ 2’’ exact ( I am 5’ 9’’)
- He should be should not take himself seriously
- He should know how to have fun ( I needed someone to match my energy)
- He should be dark skinned
- He should have excellent diction etc.
- The age gap should be 3 – 5 years etc.
So before I go into the heart of today’s post, let me just say the days I was praying for my ideal man, it was opposite day in heaven because I only got at most 3 things on my list and none of those had anything to do with physical attributes.
Okay so there is nothing wrong with making a list, but you need to understand your list is a PREFERENCE and in the face of God’s will/choice for you, it must give way. You need to ask yourself, what is the basis of my list – is it based on the relationships around you, media( movies, magazines, social media) or your natural inclination to certain things.
I found out that my list was very myopic and as such I would turn down guys because they didn’t match my list (without even being courteous enough to get to know them) and i thought nothing of it because to me I had asked God for something and was holding out by faith. So within the first five minutes of meeting a guy, I would do a mental cross-check against my list and if they lacked in anyway, – say he was 5′ 10″ – my guards were up straightaway – I wasn’t interested in knowing him or spending anymore of my time with him. The list also meant there was a time all I was doing was keeping an eye out for ‘any man’ that fitted the bill – especially the physical criteria – I wasn’t even checking for character or connection, after all I had done the hard work on producing a list. I had filtered my wheat from the chaff.
After a few years of filtering men by my list, it got me nowhere. ABSOLUTE ZILCH! I remember praying to God one day and telling Him that I see what He is doing, because every guy that remotely came close to fitting the bill did not in as much as wink at me, it was the ‘non-listers’ that were showing up. It was the classic case of ‘the one you like liking another’. I think the only thing that saved me was my old fashioned ways – I am not one make the first move on a guy so even though everything on the inside of me was giving the green light, I was as neutral as they come externally – apparently my poker face game is pretty good.
Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. So I went back to God to find out if he got my list in the post – I was happy to resend it if He didn’t. Then it dawned on me, my list was an imposition on God. I was trying to box Him in a corner and have my way. It turns out my list was pretty much a mould that I had made and I was basically asking God to fill that mould with ‘human juice’ – Thank God I am not God, imagine the kind of world we would live in where everyone is 6’2″ – as per what I considered ideal in a man.
With the list I was closing my mind to a world of possibilities because I had a formula for what I thought was my ideal man but the truth is in life there are many things we don’t know we like or do not like because we have no experience of them. Same with relationships, you may think you wouldn’t like a certain type of person because you have never had an experience with their type. But that is myopic – short-sightedness with cataracts even.
‘Romans 12:2 – And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.’
Notice my list had nothing about character, it was mainly physical and how the man would make me feel – extremely selfish. Thank God it was opposite day in Heaven when God chose to answer!
My fiancé would score 30% or less if it was based on my list. In all my human wisdom I wouldn’t have chosen him for myself.
So naturally, after we got together I made a list of the things I like and love about him and the kind of things that came up on this list was evidence of a surrendered heart – i.e. after I prayed ‘ Lord let Your will be done’ and I took my list out of the driver’s seat. Some of the things on my list include:
- His maturity
- His politeness
- His perseverance (He really is…our story is 5 years in the making)
- His calmness (Despite thinking I wanted an energiser bunny)
- His ability to speak with wisdom etc.
- His generosity
- His passion
- The age gap ( I know! I know… thank God for mercy!)
These are the things that matter most to me now and form the basis of my love and attraction towards my fiancé. It does not bother me that he is not 6’ 2” because the truth is, the only reason why I wanted a man that was 6’2’’ was because I thought it was cute to have to tiptoe to kiss your man and being a tall lady myself the man had to be a few inches taller (that has Hollywood inscribed all over that). Wow!!!- that is embarrassing but that’s the truth with some of the items on people’s list – they are superficial and neither add nor subtract from the purpose of the relationship yet we tabernacle over them. They don’t add to your purpose or destiny. Many times they are based on feelings and the physical. Please don’t get me wrong, you need to be attracted to whomever you are with but that should not be all you consider.
Something else I have learnt is that you shouldn’t only look our for things you are attracted to in the present, think of the future. Look out for the deeper things, think of where you are going in life and the kind of man you will need on that journey or the kind of man you would want your children to call ‘Daddy’. Separate your wants/nice to haves from your needs.
In conclusion, it is okay to have a list, but unless God Himself inspired that list, understand that it is but a preference – i.e. a nice to have. God knows what you have need of, and he already reserved your own spouse for you. So relax in the knowledge that God who knows the end from the beginning has you covered.