Something worth finding is worth making an effort for

I’m writing this during that wonderful time of year when the fields are giving up all their crops – the grain is being harvested and barns are being filled.  If you live in the country you can’t help but notice the fields changing – and chances are you’ll be held up on the roads by the mass of tractors going about their business and perhaps even be kept up at night by the late night combine harvesting.

Those of you who’ve been members of friends1st for a while will probably know that I have a small hay barn and once again this year, I’m pleased to say it’s been filled up with hay. But tragedy struck recently when, having returned home after doing a repair on the roof, I discovered the next morning that I’d lost my mobile phone, and that it was most likely lost in the barn. Out I went to find it and, to my great delight, ringing the number from my husband’s phone I heard my ring tone and was able to move just a few bales to retrieve the phone. It was wonderful that it still had some charge left otherwise it would have been mighty hard to find – and that it hadn’t dropped right to the bottom of the stack – which would have made it much harder to retrieve.  But the whole incident made me think.  If my mobile phone had been my engagement ring say, a needle even, or something of priceless value, then I would have done all that it took – even moving every single bale of hay and individual piece of hay if necessary to find it – however hard work that would have been and however long it would have taken.  Imagine yourself in that scenario – yes you’d do the hard work necessary if the prize was worth it.

Does this sound familiar? If it does it’s because Jesus told a similar story about the Kingdom of Heaven retold in Matthew 13: 44 – 46

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” (NIV)

Now I write all this to make you consider that finding the soul mate you are hoping to find by having joined friends1st is a bit like me looking for something of great value in my hay barn, or the men in Jesus’ parables looking for treasure or pearls. In both cases, to find what was looked for took a great amount of effort and was extremely costly (in my example in time, in Jesus’s parable in money!). I was prepared to give up the time, and the men were prepared to sell all they had, because the prize was worth having.

And it’s exactly the same with dating! Yes it seems like hard work, but if you keep that prize in mind, you’ll be willing and keen even, to do that hard work.  And yes that prize is out there for you, I’m pretty sure. But it is going to be hard work (in the majority of cases!)

Because we are looking for something quite unique as Christians and we are not looking for just any body in the population, but someone who shares our Christian faith we are searching for something that at times feels like it’s a ‘needle in a haystack’. Imagine literally what that would be like. If you were doing that you’d have to be incredibly thorough, you’d have to have laser sharp vision, you’d have to be incredibly  determined and incredibly persistent.

All those characteristics are what you need when you’re looking to find your Mr Right or Mrs Right in a bunch of dating profiles and that’s because,  like a needle in a haystack, the profiles we send you, by and large don’t shout and go “hello I’m over here come and find me”. No the needle sits there quite quietly amongst all the hay and, although it’s a  bight shiny object, perhaps it’s now become a bit dulled by the amount of time it’s been sitting there or perhaps it’s right at the bottom of the haystack. Chances are you won’t find it without doing some hard work.

In the dating context that thorough work means contacting people whose profiles you don’t necessarily like at first glance.  And the reason for contacting people whose profiles you don’t necessarily like is because most people don’t write their profiles very well. Even people who have great photoshoot and have an enhanced profile interview done still don’t necessarily come across as they would if you met them in person. Perhaps they haven’t included all their interests, maybe they’ve included some things that were right for one point in time but not right for them now; maybe they’ve left some things out; maybe they’ve put emphasis on something that wouldn’t be the case if you were to meet them.

Remember the whole purpose of reading a profile is purely to establish a contact and to have something to say to that person when you first  contact them. It isn’t so you can judge them (despite that being what everyone does!). Now we’re all human and we do judge people’s profiles the whole time – I would I’m afraid probably do  exactly the same if I were you but I am telling you that you have to NOT do this – you have to say to yourself, “do not judge”,  but use these profiles purely to establish the first point of contact. It’s hard to do this but try writing it on your folder as  a reminder to yourself everytime you read someone elses profile.

Essentially all I’m asking you to do is to make a contact with other members by email, letter or by phone call. That’s the hard work bit!   At that point, having made contact with them yourself,  you can decide what your first impression of them is. Have they responded to you; have they been polite; have they been courteous; do they share the same view and values as you; do they share the same interests; are the things that put you off really true in their lives etc etc.  If they aren’t what you are looking for,  that’s fine,  now (but only now you’ve done the hard work) you can put a line through their profile and say that isn’t the right person for you.

I know most of you won’t do this, I know you’ll continue to judge and most people will continue to  tell us they’ve contacted very few of the profiles we’ve sent them, my friends you’re only cheating yourself when you do this.  When you do this, it’s like me standing in front of my hay barn and saying well I can’t see my phone or the needle and it’s obviously not there! What a stupid thing to say that would be! How could I possibly tell by just looking at the haystack. Obviously I couldn’t. And I promise you it’s the same for you and the profiles we send.

I trust this gives you food for thought. Reflect again on Jesus’s parables and what you are looking and hoping for. It’s worth a lot of effort, isn’t it?