Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Saturday 28 November |
Saint of the Day: Pope St. Gregory III
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Are you God’s moody girlfriend? Selfish boyfriend?

UPSET AND SELFISH

Shutterstock

Tom Hoopes - published on 06/01/20

Tell him how you really feel. Listen to what he has to say.

I was talking to my son one Sunday morning about the spiritual life and the need to be consistent. This is the benefit of having a son who has tried seminary, tried dating — and is now engaged.

“You know what it’s like?” I said. “It’s like being a good girlfriend or boyfriend.”  And it made a lot of sense.

We all know there are different types of girlfriends.

Romantic comedies stereotype them, women’s magazines give you advice on which kind you should be, and Buzzfeed lets youtake a quiz to see which one you are.

I’ll limit myself to just one type: The moody girlfriend. 

This is the kind of girlfriend who, when you call her, you never know what you’re going to get. Her personality is totally dependent on her mood. Sometimes she’s great — loving, generous with her time, and full of good humor. She’s the greatest girl in the world. 

Other times she’s abrupt or angrily silent, but unwilling to say why. Whatever you propose doing she rejects, and doesn’t give you a reason. You’re left sitting at the edges of her mood, waiting. 

We all act like God’s moody girlfriend sometimes.

We’re God’s moody girlfriend when we sway and sing, or kneel in reverence, with intense fervor whenever we feel delighted by supernatural things. Other times we wake up, remember we should pray, and decide not to. Or we sit through Mass unfocused, our mind elsewhere, not even trying to pay attention — or, to be honest, trying not to pay attention so we can think through the plans we are making in our heads.

Be a better girlfriend.

Far better is the girlfriend who makes an effort to include her beloved, whether she feels like it or not. Her manner is not always the same — she still has ups and downs — but her care for him is steady and deep. She isn’t just generous when she’s in a great mood; she’s generous when it is difficult — when it costs.

But this is not about girlfriends. Boyfriends can be even worse.

You may have experienced (or may have been) the kind of boyfriend who always keeps the girlfriend guessing. Sometimes he calls her. Often, he doesn’t. 

You start to notice he calls you when he wants you to fill some need he has — for affection, for a favor, or for affirmation — and he doesn’t call you when he doesn’t need that. Worse, he doesn’t call you when you need those things.

He is funny when other people are around, but what you get one-on-one is the not-so charismatic version of him. Or when you do get the charismatic version, when he’s in charm mode, you know you will have to listen to him a lot, and that he won’t notice how little he is listening to you

This is us all too often with God.

Sometimes we pray. Often, we don’t. We don’t talk to him regularly, we don’t build a relationship. He mostly only hears from us when we need something — affection, a favor, or affirmation.

We have a lot to say about God and are even eloquent when we have an audience — at a Bible study, talking to a parish friend, or posting a deep thought on social media. We are alight with piety when others are watching, but alone we give him perfunctory treatment in prayer and are eager to put him aside to focus on what we really love. 

And, just like a bad boyfriend, too often when we pray, we do all the talking. We rapidly say the things a lover of God is supposed to say, but we don’t give him a chance to get a word in edgewise.

Be better with God.

Don’t base your relationship on your moods. Don’t treat God like an imposition on your time who is only good when you feel needy, and can otherwise be safely ignored.

Court him.

“Call” him.

Tell him how you really feel.

Listen to what he has to say.

Do more than that, because he isn’t a girl or boyfriend. He’s God. Baptism is your marriage, not your first date. Your love should survive arguments and misunderstandings, and your relationship should be fruitful now — you’re not preparing for later.

Above all, be consistent. It should actually be easier than being a good boyfriend and girlfriend, because in this case, your Beloved is perfection itself.

Tags:
PrayerSpiritual Life
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful...
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to t...
FIRST CENTURY HOUSE AT THE SISTERS OF NAZARETH SITE
John Burger
British archaeologist confident he has found ...
PRAY
Cerith Gardiner
12 Things we can be grateful for this Thanksg...
VATICAN POPE GOOD FRIDAY COLOSSEUM
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Learn to pray with the early Church and to di...
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio's favorite prayer of petition
EARTHQUAKE
Bret Thoman, OFS
Two earthquakes couldn't stop these Italian n...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.