Christianity --Youth Issues/Confused

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Question
This is something that I've been struggling with for the past few months, as I have been very confused lately. First off I guess I'll start off letting you know that my dad is a Pastor, so I know a Lot of stuff, and gave my life to Christ when I was 6 years of age.  I am now 17.5 yrs old,  but from about 5th grade to 10th grade I staggered off the wrong path and got involved with liking the wrong guys and getting into a few situations with guys that I wish I hadn't.  Fortunately I managed to stay pure even throughout those rough patches.  But all of the guys that i thought werw
Perfect for me, ended up being jerks, weirdos, or just plain perverts (hate to say it, but it's true) The next couple of years I developed bad anxiety partly due to having a friend who I thought was going "to help me find the right guy by the end of the school year".. Pfft yeah right.  I finally realized what a mess my life was in, that girl who I thought was my friend moved schools, I gained some real friends and decided to just start all Over and put everything in the hands of God.  And I'm really doing well.  I cannot believe I didn't stick with him the whole way through.  

Now that I've got that part out of the way, here goes to my real situation I'm in.  The church that my dad has been pastoring at for the past 8 years has a family that we've been very good friends with.  They have a son and a daughter, the guy, I will just call him M has decided to go into ministry and become a pastor.  He starts seminary in the fall.  He's 5yrs older than me, but ever since last summer he has been acting strangely around me, and we talk more than me and his sister now, which is weird because me and her have always been good friends.  So anyway, I have always wanted to be like my mom when I got older and that is to be a pastors Wife, and so when last summer when he officially decided to look into going to seminary this upcoming fall, combined with the way he acts around me now it's starting to be like, whoa, is it possible that we could ever possibly be together? Cuz that thought had never ever ever crossed my mind before!  

Problem is I don't want to like him in such a way like I have other guys in my life before, because NONE of them have ever turned out good.  I pray almost every day about him and say Lord, I don't know if he is the one you have picked out for me, and please give me patience to know in your time.  
But I just can't seem to stay patient and I'm just kind of afraid because I've been torn apart so many times before by guys.  Carl, Is there any advice in the bible that talks about relationships and waiting on The Lord? Because I read my bible all the time and just nothing seems to stick out in this time of confusion.  

ANY advice on this subject would help me A TON
Thank you so so so much in advance!

Michelle M.

Answer
Michelle -

Thanks so much for writing and trusting me with your problem.  I cannot think of a Bible story that directly affects your problem, but I do have some thoughts that I'll share that may help you.

First of all, you're only 17.  Being dumped on and rejected by guys several times by your age really isn't that big a deal.  I know that you were hurt, and I don't want to trivialize that, but that is essentially "normal" for teenagers.  Very rarely does a teenage romance last into marriage.  I'll say that again.  Very rarely does a teenage romance last into marriage.  From personal experience, by the time I was 17, I had either been the dumper or the dumpee a half dozen or more relationships.  And I had another 4 or 5 semi-serious gf's until I met my wife.  After I met my wife, I had only 1 more date with someone else (we were apart, and she had a date, too, and came back to me to 2 days later).  An interesting part of that story is that we both went down to the levee to find a spot to make out with our dates within a quarter mile of one another at the same time.  We've been together ever since and just celebrated our 44th anniversary.  We met at 21, married at 22.

Now for the other elephant in the room.  You're 17.  He's 22.  Did you know in some states he could be charged with statutory rape if you got mad at him and brought forth charges?  That will stop in a half year when you become an "adult" at 18.  But your brain won't become an adult until you're 25 - most medical studies say the human brain is not mature until around 25.  A 5 year differnce is not all that unusual or a problem once you're 21 or so, but if I were your dad, I'd not allow you to date him until you were 19 or 20.  You still have college to attend, right?  Part of the whole idea of "growing up" is dating casually and not getting into a relationship until it happens.  It sounds like you're ready to get married now and settle down with your pastor.  But will you go to college?  It's really tough to do that while you're married, expensive, too.  Maybe dad will pay, but again, if I were your dad, if you got married, the First National Bank of Daddy closes.  You've got to be broke and married in order to grow up.  We got married right out of college (actually both of us needed 1 more semester at different colleges), and on at least 1 occasion had only peanut butter to eat.  I say that most young people MUST go to college.

The other thing is that you said that M was acting "strange" around you.  Strange like he wanted to rip your clothes off and toss you into bed? or strange like he wants to ask you out, but hasn't.  I'm thinking that maybe you just have a teenage crush on him because he's older and going to seminary (I tried seminary once, didn't work out for me - it's really tough), and he's the ideal candidate to meet your dreams.  But Michelle, he hasn't even asked you on a date!

You're still too young, Michelle.  You have to experience life some.  Waiting is difficult.  I know.  I once looked for a new job for almost 10 years.  Wound up getting the best job of my life with the same company.  I subscribe to the school of thought that God has planned for you to have the "just right" spouse for you, if you wait.  I think that's why too many people get divorced - they didn't wait long enough or build their relationship long enough.  Some of our friends (including 3, count'em, 3, pastors), are divorced.  God does have a plan for you.  God has a plan for your future spouse, too.  You may know him now, or not.

I have 2 scriptures for you.  Not exactly about relationships, but about patience.  It's not easy, I know.  I used to be more impatient than I am now.  Now, I'm retired, and I just let life happen, and everyone (meaning YOU) should live like that.  Read the scriptures.  See if they help any, and please send me some feedback or ask a follow-up question so I can see how I did.  We do this for free and for the feedback we receive, good or bad.

Jeremiah 29:11 (The Message)  

I know what Iím doing. I have it all planned outóplans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.


Isaiah 40:31 (New King James)

  But those who wait on the Lord
   Shall renew their strength;
   They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
   They shall run and not be weary,
   They shall walk and not faint.


Michelle - God loves you, he wants you to have the future your desire, but in HIS time.  He's got a spouse planned for you.  Just wait, and wait some more.


Hugs,
Carl

Christianity --Youth Issues

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Carl F.

Expertise

I can answer questions from teens & young adults concerning their faith walk and on social issues which affect their lives. I can answer questions on sex, homosexuality, or drugs, and anything else that might be troubling you. After 30 years in youth ministry, nothing shocks me, and I promise to give straight answers to any and all questions. I can also answer questions from youth workers on problems they`re having with programming or with their groups.

Experience

I have been involved in youth and young adult ministries as a volunteer for over 35 years. I am currently a volunteer youth minister in a suburban UM church - I have a small group of 7th and 8th graders.

Organizations
United Methodist Church, Chrysalis, Walk to Emmaus, Cursillo

Education/Credentials
Several training seminars, 9 years at National Youth Workers Convention, 1 year at Princeton Forum on Youth Ministry

Awards and Honors
Certified lay speaker for UM Church

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