When I was in college, I lived across the hall from a guy named David. He was a great friend who was solid believer. He was a spiritual mentor to me in many senses, but he had an acute Achilles heal: He seemed to have a knack for finding girls who were trouble.
At one point during our junior year, David showed up at my door saying he really needed to talk to me. He looked like he was about to be sick, so I invited him in. He proceeded to tell me that he was sure he had met the love of his life, a girl he was convinced was his soul mate. Her name was Lindsey, and she was someone I knew fairly well. She was a girl who, in my opinion, seemed to have less-than-stellar character. It was pretty obvious that David was on the fast track to drama, if not total disaster.
He asked my advice, and I told him the truth—that he should slow down a bit and get to know Lindsey a little better before he jumped into anything. I told him to wait and pray about it. But, like most men, he became too excited to put the brakes on. He told me he had never felt anything like this before. He said she was “hot, smart, and funny,” the perfect combination of traits he was looking for. A week later David and Lindsey were in a serious relationship.
Everything seemed to go well for the first month or so. Then, David showed up at my door again. This time, he had tears in his eyes. He was upset and confessed that he had lost his virginity to Lindsey. He said he felt empty and lost, like God was “a million miles away.” He said he thought they should take a break from the relationship, but he felt very attached to her. When he had shared his thoughts with Lindsey she became very angry at him. For both of their sakes, I advised him to slow things down a bit. We prayed together, and when he left that night it seemed like he was clear-headed. He seemed focused on renewing his relationship with God, and taking some space from his girlfriend.
But instead, David just became more entrenched. More “screw-ups” followed, along with many break-ups, and knocks at my door. The further their relationship went, the more it became characterized by fights, jealousy and deception. In the end, Lindsey ended up cheating, and when he couldn’t take any more, David finally ended things. He was a shadow of his former self as he sat in my apartment, holding his head in his hands, asking me, “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I find a good girl?”
I didn’t have an answer for him at the time, but since then I have learned a few things, mostly from making my own mistakes along the way. And it turns out there is an answer to the great mystery of how to find a girl that is not only what you want, but what you need. The right girl.
The answer is, we attract what we project.
Here is what I mean: If we are broken, we will attract broken people. We will also be attracted to broken people. Even if our brokenness is not apparent or obvious to others, we still “broadcast” our wounds. Most of the time this happens subconsciously. If we have not allowed God to heal our deep sources of pain, then they will undoubtedly influence who we “connect with.”
In David’s case, he came from a broken home where his mother cheated on his father and divorced him. In her place, his stepmother was distant and cold. He grew up never receiving the comfort and nurture from a mother figure that he needed. Lindsey’s father left her mother when she was very young. So, David was essentially drawing and being drawn to someone who would echo his unique set of issues. When put together, they formed a dysfunctional, insecure union.
If you haven’t yet met the right girl yet, if you have a history of broken relationships, or if you are currently in a dysfunctional situation with another, it’s time to start paying attention. If you are always drawn to troubled members of the opposite sex, it’s time to allow God to change not only your tastes, but your broadcast signal. Your relationship troubles are illuminating the fact that there are areas in your life that need growth and healing. It’s time to allow God to heal your wounds so you can have a healthy relationship. It’s time for you to take a step back and focus on becoming the person God wants you to be. It’s time to get serious about personal and spiritual growth.
This is the best advice I have encountered on how to attract the right girl: You must become the type of person you want to attract. And for Christians, this means allowing God significant access to your deepest character flaws, scars, and insecurities, that he can begin changing you. He can do this if you are willing to be intentional about drawing near to him in prayer, meditation, the reading of his word, and the seeking of good counsel. It is not an overnight formula, but if you commit yourself to this process, you will put yourself in position to draw in a person who is loyal, trustworthy, and most of all, righteous. He desires for each of us to heal from our wounds so we can become balanced, confident, and secure. In so doing, He can change not only the type people you attract, but the type of people you are attracted to.
David eventually met the right girl and got married. He is finally in a healthy, God-centered relationship. But he didn’t find the right girl until he took time to first focus on his own healing process.
The drama and difficulty with relationships you have experienced in the past can be used for a purpose: To reveal to you how God wants to change you to be more like him. To start the process, begin with this prayer: God, reveal to me the areas I need healing and growth so I can be more like you. Help me to be the person of character you want me to be. Help me to attract and be attracted to someone who values you above all else.
She is out there. Now, you must allow God to prepare you for her.
This is an excerpt from The Tin Soldiers: Become Who You Are Meant to Be. It’s an essay/devotional for guys who are looking for new direction, purpose, and hope. It’s also for women who have guys who have birthdays. It’s also for people who like to laugh and hear a good story amidst their daily spiritual reading. It’s also for guys who don’t read (much).