Life Relationships

Sad-Faced Valentines: When Missionary Dating becomes a Missionary Break-up

Let’s face it: Valentine’s Day is overrated. For all those who have been dumped, crushed, and heartbroken or are just miserable in this season of over-affectionate romance, take heart! You’re not alone. This post is part of Converge Magazine’s cynical celebration of heartbreak.

When Campus Crusade for Christ was still blissfully misnomered in all its politically incorrect glory, I became a radical campus evangelist. A good thing, really. Because childhood faith became real, and I got serious about God. I was in university and I was going to make my days count.

This, to the chagrin of one very charming, very “non-Christian” motorcycle-riding love interest of mine. So one day, I sat him down (me all nervous and shaky, him bemused and quizzical) in the University library. And I plowed ahead with the four-spiritual laws. I’m sure I stumbled over every word and made the gospel sound like a poor sales pitch. But he politely pocketed my stick drawing of God, the cliff, the cross, and humanity and we (mercifully) didn’t talk about it for a while.

But the Holy Spirit got to me (that or the persistent naggings of very loving friends) and I knew that I would have to do more than share my faith. Flirtation was bordering on commitment… I would have to give him the talk. New Years’ Eve seemed like the perfect opportunity to do it. So as all our friends were counting down inside a house party, the two of us hunkered down in his car, breathing out steam in the cold prairie winter air.  I laid it out. “This is infatuation. It’s just puppy love. We can’t be together…the most important person in my life is Jesus and we can’t share that…”

“It’s not,” he insisted. To my horror, his playboy persona disintegrated and he began to tear up.

I shall spare you my reaction — and the rest of the sap. Suffice it to say, we broke up, and that was the end of my missionary dating days, as well as a very severe wrist-slap for dabbling in dalliances that I knew would end up nowhere.

About half a year later, my hormones had settled down and I was sitting in the University cafeteria studying. As was my habit, I read scripture before picking up my other books.

“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

I read Isaiah 55:10-11, and just as I read that very last sentence, I looked up and saw an old friend approaching. He sat down to chat and dropped a bomb that showed me God indeed has judicious timing and one hell of a sense of humor: My motorcyle-riding love interest had just become a Christian.

Photo (Flickr CC) courtesy of Marina(imback).