wrong-time

What do I do when I’ve met the right person at the wrong time?

by Lisa Cotter, posted in Relationships

I think I might have found the person that I’m meant to be with, but the timing is just not right. I want to respect the situation, but at the same time I’m afraid if I don’t do something I’ll miss my chance.”

He’s in a disaster of a relationship with a real wretch. She recently went through a rough breakup and isn’t ready to start something new. They work together for a “no fishing from the corporate pond” company. These are the plot lines that Hollywood rom-coms are made of. And if you’re Catholic, we can throw in a few more….

In the past, his faith and values didn’t line up with yours, but things might be starting to change. She’s declared her intention to discern a religious vocation. He’s a 1st year FOCUS missionary on the dating fast. (I’d buy a ticket to see that last scenario dramatized with virtue on the big screen.)

However it comes about, few people get excited about meeting the right person at the wrong time…yet here you are. So, you do your best to keep Mister/Miss Right in the friend zone, and you try to get to know them without things turning romantic—but time gets the best of your heart and you find yourself longing for something more. Now what?

Simply put, give it to God.

But I’ve done that,” you plead. Well, let me push you on this. Are you anxious about what the future holds? Are you afraid that you’re going to mess it up? Anxiety and fear are not of the Lord; if that’s where you are, I get it, but that means you haven’t really given it to God.

When you meet someone you’re attracted to, a sense of urgency often arises. You think if you don’t act now, then maybe you’ll miss your chance. But if there is a legitimate reason for you to hold off for now, then you’ve got to learn to trust in God’s plan for that potential relationship.

1 Peter 5:7 reminds us to “Cast all [our] anxieties on Him, for he cares about [us].” Believe it. God does have a plan, and if you let him write your love story, it might not be what you were expecting, but it will be amazing. 

Waiting can be hard, but if you know that’s what needs to be done, then give it to God and focus on the duties that He is calling you to right now. Giving your best to your academic endeavors? Great. Growing in your faith life? Perfect. Striving to be a good friend, family member, and citizen? Winning. Couple this with prayer and frequenting the Sacraments, and you won’t need to fear that you will somehow mess it up. And you definitely don’t need to fear that God will mess it up:

God: “Great job trusting me with your love story and being faithful to me when I asked you to be patient. But while you were doing that, I introduced that amazing person to a real jerk and now you’ve missed your chance. Hilarious, I know!”

Yep, not gonna happen.

God’s not a jerk. He cares about you. He wants you to be happy even more than you want to be happy. Be faithful to Him and He will be faithful to you. If this person is really the person that you are meant to be with, God’s plan will win—and He will reveal to you when the wrong time has become the right time. Give it to God.

And because I can hardly write a post with out a pragmatic section, here are three ways to get you through the wait:

Pray about it, but not obsessively.

If you’ve given it to God, sometimes the best thing you can do is to leave it with God. You don’t need to keep reminding Him about in prayer… every day, every hour, every minute. Now you’re obsessing. As odd as it sounds, sometimes passing the intention off and letting go of it is better than rehashing it every day. You’ve told Jesus your need; now move on. He won’t forget it.

Don’t mentally stalk them.

If your mind is filled with thoughts and dreams of this person whom you can’t pursue at this time, you will only set yourself up for failure in the waiting category. Focus on the here and now and live for today.

Be their brother or sister in Christ.

It would probably be awkward if you suddenly cut off all communication with this person and ignored them for the unforeseeable future. So in the meantime, treat them like you would any other male or female friend and do your best to stop seeing them as a potential date.

Finally, don’t rule out the idea that maybe the right time will never come along. Perhaps it is God’s Will for this person to enter a religious order. Maybe given time, you’ll realize that you are actually not a match made in heaven. Be open to that reality and thank God for revealing His Will to you, in His time and in His perfect way.

Be saints—it’s worth it!

P.S. Here’s a post on doing a dating fast for those who are considering one!

This post originally appeared on focusoncampus.org.

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