How to Pursue Your Boaz (Like Ruth Did!)

Is there anyone here not familiar with the story of Ruth? So often cited in Christian circles as justification why women can make the first move, we look at her story with profound interest. I’ve always been intrigued by the lives of the women mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus and every time, I find myself thoroughly enjoying the way they were, in their own ways, rather scandalous.

Every year starting December 1, I re-visit the stories of the people part of Jesus’ ancestry and so once again dwelled on the story of Ruth. I thought of her as scandalous in the sense that she went and “made the first move”, which I figured was acceptable in their context and culture, but I came to see that things went much deeper than that.

The overarching theme of Ruth was Naomi’s bitterness turning into joy as she saw God redeem her and her family. Ruth’s story is that of an outsider being taken in and shown love and mercy. It’s much more of a testimony of God’s grace and faithfulness than anything else.

Don’t we all want our love stories to look like that? Here’s how Ruth got it right.

But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.
-Ruth 1:16-18

Upon closer inspection, we could see that Ruth was anything but the take-control, aggressive woman we made her out to be. All throughout her book, we could only see one thing she was determined about: going where Naomi would go. In fact, it was when she was eligible to get married to younger, richer men that she decided to leave everything behind and follow wherever the Lord, through Naomi, would lead her and call her to. She basically gave up her right to live her life the way she wanted to.

Forgive me for saying this, but we have become a culture so obsessed with self. Instead of looking at our singlehood as an opportunity to serve, we see it as a time to focus on self.

I’m not saying that self-development and discovery is wrong in any way, but while we’re busy bemoaning our relationship status, complaining about the lack of available men, and scrolling through social media sites, children out there are dying of starvation, women are being sold and prostituted, and families are broken apart by sickness and poverty. We are present at every singles get-together and retreat, yet we wouldn’t even sacrifice a couple of hours to be of service to other people.

And then we have Ruth, who laid all of her to serve the person entrusted to her.

She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves after the reapers.’ So she came, and she has continued from early morning until now, except for a short rest.” She gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley. And she took it up and went into the city. Her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. She also brought out and gave her what food she had left over after being satisfied.
–Ruth 2:7, 17-18

From the very beginning, her intention and her service was for her mother-in-law. Every decision that she made from the time her husband died was not to her own advantage. In fact, she basically shunned the thought of marriage and prioritized working and providing for Naomi. Her desire was not for herself. Naomi then had to be the one to convince her to get back in the game again.

And even then Ruth in her humility responded,

“All that you say I will do” (Ruth 3:5).

I think one thing a lot of us overlook is that when Ruth approached Boaz, she didn’t do so because he was the one she desired or because he paid attention to her. She did so because he was her kinsman and culturally, one of the few people who can redeem her family lineage and legacy. She did not do so out of her own volition, she did so out of submission.

Her act of going to Boaz did not speak “I like you Boaz so please marry me” as most of us would interpret it. What she was truly saying was, “In order to redeem the family name of Naomi, I am willing to be a living sacrifice and thus offer myself as your wife.”

Ladies, let’s be completely honest here. We all want to be in a relationship, but how many of us are ready to offer ourselves like that? And if we wouldn’t even let God refine our hearts to get to that point, then why bother magnifying your desire for a guy in the first place?

At one point or another, you have probably come across a Jim/Elisabeth Elliot quote, but I love this one certain line from a letter before they got married:

“Let not our longing slay our appetite for living.”

We’re all always longing for something. Love. Relationships. Family. Peace. Provision. Security. Health. Beauty. Purpose. We’re all longing – each and every one of us. Yet all of these must not in any way hinder us from living; from embracing and thriving where we are now, with what we have now.

I’ve talked to countless women who said they were praying to end up with a godly guy, only to find out 5 sentences later that they’re doing so in the throng of bars, speed-dating, and matchmaking sites. I’ve had single women older than me come up to me and ask me to write about how we live in a generation where men are afraid of commitment and pursuit, more so than any other generation before.

And I’m not going to deny the statistics. The trend goes far beyond the romance department. Working for the ministry, high on the list of our greatest, most pressing needs are male missionaries who would be willing to go places and spearhead certain pursuits. We have a huge pool of women volunteering themselves to go to the most dangerous of places because there is such a lack of men willing to rise up. (While I would love to discuss that in length, this isn’t quite the place or post to do so).

Either way, I believe that this does not at all hinder God’s stories for His children. Our frustration does not in any way give us the right to grab the pen from God’s hands and try to overwrite what He has already spoken. The fact that the cute office-mate you have is brave enough to pursue you does not change the fact that he’s not a follower of Christ. You being convinced that it’s your season to be in a relationship does not mean that you’re right.

If God wanted you married by now, then He would have found a way to bring a man into your life by now. It would certainly entail obedience from both sides, but He is more than capable of using the most unlikely of circumstances to, at the very least, get things moving. He managed to bring Eve to Adam when Adam didn’t even know someone like her existed after all.

The thing about the book of Ruth was that there was no angel visitation or apparent supernatural manifestation but her seemingly ordinary life was marked with divine orchestration – all started by her humble act of submission and catapulted by her obedience. Ruth did not just happen to end up in Boaz’s field, where he took notice of her, and it was no coincidence that he was her kinsman redeemer. It was all God, moving behind the scenes all along.

God writes the best stories, but only if you allow Him to hold the pen.

So if you really want to pattern out the way you approach your love life according to Ruth, then here’s how you can start:

Yield. Surrender. Obey.

There Is More to Singlehood Than Being Single

In other words, if you are single, there is a higher calling upon your life in that season than just figuring out how to get married.

Shocking, I know. *note sarcasm*

But let’s be real here. We all know it in theory. In actual life, it can get a little blurry.

Now I do agree with the concept of active preparation. Yes, prepare for marriage even when you’re not married. Know the ins and outs of it before you even get there. Seek knowledge on how to be good spouse. That is wisdom.

On the other hand, I also think that God is interested in who we are becoming as an entire person and not just the part of us that becomes a husband or a wife. Singlehood is not just a season you get past to get there. It is is a wonderful time to be committed to the process of which God conforms our character to Christ.

And beloved, we have to be clear here. God is molding you not just because He wants you to be a good partner but also because He wants you to be a good child, friend, officemate, leader. He’s not just preparing you for marriage life; He’s preparing you for life in all of its entirety.

Please know that you cannot hold against God the fact that you sought first His kingdom and righteousness so “WHERE IS THE SPOUSE THAT WILL BE ADDED TO ME.” It doesn’t work that way. Becoming some spiritual giant is not license for God to suddenly give you a partner. Reaching a certain standard of spiritual maturity is not a pre-requisite to the “one” suddenly coming along. A husband or a wife is a gift from God, given according to His perfect wisdom.

Decide to be the person God wants you to be, married or otherwise, “mature and complete, lacking nothing" (James 1:4).

“Well I’m not called to singleness.”

But sweetheart, right now you are. And whether or not you will be next month or next year isn’t of the issue. It’s the fact that since God has not yet a brought a special someone in your life by now, then it means He has a plan for you as a single person, today. And He will be the One to give you the grace to squeeze everything that you can out of this season, to His glory.

Now please, I’m not saying you’re not allowed to desire to get married. God created marriage! It is His idea and it’s beautiful! Practically prepare, I’m sure your future family will thank you for it! But also do not overlook this opportunity to do so, so much more.

Singlehood is an opportunity to be single-minded about Christ and His mission.

Paul even wrote to the Corinthian church of how being unmarried is a great chance to have no distractions when it comes to serving Him. Our single years give us the ability to pour our resources, time, energy, and focus on the great commission more than ever.

So I encourage you, take advantage of it. I know, I know. You’re already living your single life “to the full” by travelling and meeting new people and exploring new things. And that is wonderful!

But wouldn’t it be so much more amazing not just to see His beauty in every opportunity you can grasp, but to reflect His glory in every opportunity as well? Prayerfully consider how you can not just see the wonders of the world but how you can also be His hands and feet to a lost and dying world. What does it look like to take up your cross and follow Him in this season? You can ask God to shift your passions and focus from the sacred calling of marriage to His sacred calling for your life right now. And you can trust that the steps you take towards this particular calling now will take you closer to where He would want you to be in the future – whether that looks like you with a ring on your finger or not.

You may be asked to pray for your family and community in greater measure. You may be called to pursue further education and gain more skills in preparation for what He has up next for you. You may find your heart wanting to minister to children or the elderly or the sick. You may see yourself on a plane to do a mission trip to Africa or you may stay right where you are, evangelizing to the people around you.

Practice sacrificial love to your family. Share life with your neighbor. Volunteer at your local church. The particulars don’t make it more or less significant; your heart fully surrendered to Him is what matters. As long as your actions are an outflow of your love for Christ, they will make a difference.

And we can overflow because right now, we have already been made whole. We are already complete in Christ. Not when we get married, not when we have children, but right now.

Loneliness is real and desire of companionship is true, but no human relationship, no matter how God-orchestrated, can substitute the joy of being with Christ. With every burst of yearning is a choice to either get lost in the feeling or to turn to God and draw closer to Him. Biological clocks may be ticking, but remember that it’s the Author of time you’re serving. It’s all in good hands.

Be faithful with where you are now, and then He will entrust you with more.

I Give Up.

I give up.

There, I said it. I just can’t do it anymore.

I’ve never really talked about it on this blog and I only shared about it to very few friends, but let’s get it out in the open now.

I graduated from university almost two years ago with the idea that I’ll pursue either pursue world missions, further studies, or work straight after traveling for a bit. Slowly getting my options in a row, my e-mail was full of messages from Stanford MBA Admissions and London Business School, with job-interviews for Rockwell and Ayala lined up.

And so I still recall sobbing on the phone outside Apartment 1B a day after I got back from Taiwan, my brother beside me as the news that I had to put a hold on all those plans because God had other plans hit me out of nowhere. The only consolation I got that night was Wes ordering all the dessert from the menu to comfort me and Janna standing out of a balcony with me as the Ayala lights flickered away from across the street.

Not that I’m sitting outside a restaurant right now bawling as strangers did their best not to stare at me, but I find myself in the same internal setting once again: bewildered, a little lost, plans in a disarray as I turned down yet another job interview earlier this week because God told me that I can’t do so until He says go. I honestly can no longer count the number of times I’ve had to say no because He said so, and it’s been wearing me thin.

Don’t get me wrong. As much as I’ve been jobless and living in the province, the past year has been the most wonderful year of my life as it has been full of surprises, adventures, and so much of Him. 2015 made sense.

2016, so far, not so much.

You see, He told me beginning of this year to sit back and watch everything unfold because this year will be far better than 2015. But all I could see unraveling is my heart; the frustrations and doubts buried beneath layers of “God, it’s okay”, “I trust You”, “I surrender to Your will” coming out.

The first quarter of the year is almost through and let me tell you, nothing quite spectacular has happened so far. And so when He whispered a date to me twice earlier this month, I held fast to it.

“March 19.”

I counted down the days in fear and anticipation. But March 19, 2016 came and went without anything significant happening, and I felt my fears being justified. That is, until He told me again.

“March 19. Ask Me why.”

Those three extra words, and my head fell in shame. Out of my desire, I assumed instead of clarified. And when I clarified, I found out we were talking about two completely different things.

He asked me to check out my journal entry from March 19 of last year. I was baffled because I knew full well that there wasn’t anything special going on this time last year. But I wasn’t going to make the mistake of pushing what I wanted, so I did.

I approached my bookshelf praying dearly to God that I didn’t mishear Him on this one, and upon scanning my entry on March 19 of 2015, I knew I hadn’t.

Staring right back at me were words I have spoken in the past, words that resonate in me in the present.

“Teach me how to wait on You. I want things to come to pass as I like, but I know You have something better planned. It’s only March 19, and I know You have so much more in store. I will not go ahead of You. Teach me to enjoy the anticipation. As much as I want to pull off the blindfolds and see where I’m headed, I trust You. It’s hard. Some days, I feel like I’m just being stupid. But I know no word from You will ever fail. I wait for Your work and story to unravel.”

The stark contrast between my perspective last year and this year humbled me. I have allowed impatience and discontent to get the best of me. I have wanted to take control of circumstances as I have before.

He so perfectly knew that the best person to remind me of how I gave up before was me from a year ago. He perfectly orchestrated this meeting of past and present. And I know He will perfectly weave the past, the present, and the future.

That’s why, yet again, I give up.

I give up trying to predict You. I give up trying to chart the future and mapping out in my head all the things that were to come my way. I give up fixing my eyes on what is seen.

Rather, I fix my eyes on the One who sees the unseen; the One who already knows the journey, the climax, and the end of my story; the One who, as we speak, is working behind-the-scenes.

I don’t know what I’m waiting for, but I know whom I’m waiting on.

For if there is one thing I’m not giving up on, it’s this: that He is.

My dear, no matter where you’re at, know that He is. He is faithful. He is sovereign. He is trustworthy.

It’s okay to give up to someone like that. And when you do, He will give back. Indeed, it might not look like anything you’ve expected, but it just might be beyond your wildest dreams.

“For when you did awesome things that we did not expect, you came down, and the mountains trembled before you. Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.”
-Isaiah 64:3-4

Let’s Take It Slow

Let’s take it slow

Not because I’m playing it safe, but because I’m not
Truth be told, you’re the surest thing I’ve got
And so I want to hold on to this feeling and stretch it out
I want to know everything that makes you laugh, cry, and pout

Let’s take it slow

Because I want to explore every nook and cranny of your soul
I want to know what tears you apart and makes you whole
I want you to be a part of every page of my book
I want to capture and memorize every whisper and stolen look

Let’s take it slow

Not because I don’t want to make mistakes, but because I do
And I want to see every flaw that there is about you
Not to judge you or to deem you unworthy
But for you to know that I’m beside you even when you feel lowly

Let’s take it slow

Because I want to make sure these minutes turn into hours
And I want to spend my nights with you talking under the stars
Because being with you, the hours feel like minutes
And I want to make sure that our love won’t feel pressured by limits

Let’s take it slow

Not because I’m not ready, but because I am
And we need to let this unfold as in God’s plan
Together, we will have a love that lives and dreams
Yet we have to acknowledge that love takes time; it’s not as easy as it seems

Let’s take it slow

Because yes, you’ve been running through my thoughts all day
But I do believe it is wisdom that we don’t immediately follow what our hearts say
So let’s wait a while, there’s only now to lose and a lifetime to gain
For you’re all my dreams come true and I’ve never been more certain

Let’s take it slow

Not because we’re bound by rules, but because I want to honor God
And you know, you really have to go through my dad 😂
Because relationships aren’t a formula of one plus one equals two
It’s a different story for each, but I hope this one leads to “I do”

Let’s take it slow

Because in you, I’ve found something good and I’m not letting go
But to reach the end, we wait and keep it down low
For God’s still molding me, like He is doing with you
And we’ve got to be aligned to Him to have a love that is true

So let’s take it slow