There was a time, not too long ago, when my wife would find herself drawn into the weekly drama of the Bachelor and the Bachelorette. At first I made fun of her, wondering how in the world any reasonable person could be drawn into such drivel. But I confess, soon even I began to wonder who would receive the coveted rose each week, wining the eventual marriage proposal.
We eventually fully broke up with the show, finding the secret was not watching the first episode. Ok, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, we can move on.
I found myself thinking about the Bachelor in church this morning. You see, serving with children each week I seldom have the chance to attend adult church. So, I was excited for an opportunity to attend service while visiting my extended family in Michigan. I admit I was hoping for some spiritual fuzzy feelings, maybe even a tear or two during the service. Everything about the service was great, but I left feeling…normal. As I sat in my car reflecting, I admit some disappointment over my lack of emotional expression (stirring, movement), I thought, “Oh no, I’m just like contestants in the bachelor.”
After watching a few seasons of the Bachelor, one thing becomes crystal clear. Some people “get” marriage while many do not. It’s pretty easy to tell the difference. Many speak about the search for true love as a quest to find the person who gives them the most fuzzy feelings. Their plan is to then kindle and keep those feelings alive for the remainder of their life. Anyone who’s been married for longer than 6 months understands this plan is laughable. True love goes way beyond feelings. It’s built on time and trust and respect- things that go deeper than periodic passion.
But I admit, in my relationship with God, I’m often no better than a contestant on the bachelor. If I’m honest I’m looking for a God who gives me warm fuzzy feelings. I approach each Sunday morning hoping to feel something special. These feelings are supposed to sufficiently fill me up for the week, confirming that God and I are good to go until we meet again the following Sunday.
Feelings are fickle. They come and go with highs and lows. Faith based on feelings and those searching for their weekly fuzzy-feeling fill-up are destined for spiritual disappointment. What inevitably happens to every feeling-focused Bachelor contestant as soon as the headaches of life hit? Their relationships crumble because their special feelings aren’t as evident during difficulty.
As I sat in the parking lot I talked the whole thing over with God, sharing how I was feeling. The conversation didn’t end with a beam of light from heaven, but it felt good to be honest with where I was in that moment. I love how Oswald Chambers said, “The mountain is not the place for us to live, we were built for the valleys…We never live for the glory of God on the mount, we see His glory there, but we do not live for His glory there; it is in the valley that we live for the glory of God.” May we all develop our friendship with God beyond that shared by contestants on the Bachelor.