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Rarely do I read a book that really strikes a chord with me. The Sacred Search was one of those books. The only other book that has made me feel so deeply is Redeeming Love.
I think it was divine intervention that caused me to even hear about The Sacred Search. I was looking for a book to read, and two people in the same day mentioned The Sacred Search either to me or on social media. So, I knew I had to give it a shot.
As soon as I finished the book for the first time, I wanted to flip back to the first page and start it over. The premise of this book comes from Matthew 6:33–“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” According to The Sacred Search, we are searching for someone who we can seek first the kingdom with, rather than seeking first the kingdom in hopes God gives us a spouse.
Written by Gary Thomas, a writer-in-residence at Second Baptist Church, takes a more realistic approach to relationships. This book is not a book about waiting for God to bring you a spouse and what to do in the mean time. The reason it really hit me so hard was because Thomas basically tells his readers that sitting around saying God will bring a spouse is not only foolish, but being a bad steward of the time you have as a single person. He made some analogies to drive home this point, which you should let Thomas tell you when you read it yourself!
I think a lot of people, both Christian and secular, believe in this idea of “the one.” Thomas makes a direct argument for why this is not the case. He pulls from stories in the Bible where masters send servants to find a wife for their sons. He also shares stories where women have told him they found “the one,” but voice concerns that their boyfriend has a major character flaw, such as being abusive or an alcoholic. What happens when your “one” is has a major character flaw? Do you stay with him because there is nobody else out there in the world you could marry? Thomas often asks his readers to think about the life they would create for themselves and their children, because this relationship will end up affecting more people than just the two of you should you have children. Contrary to the notion of “the one,” we get to choose who we marry, so we must change our mindset in the search.
An ever-present theme in The Sacred Search has to do with how infatuation affects the longevity of our relationships. Thomas warns that infatuation will go away, and even gives a timeframe he has discovered during his ministry, and what is left is what you’re stuck with for 50+ years. Divorce is not an option, so he wants to help his readers make the wisest decision they can. To do this, you have to understand that you will eventually no longer be infatuated with your partner, so we must stop placing all the weight of our decision in this column and start dating smarter.
Thomas gets practical by asking his readers to figure out what kind of life they want to have. Do you want to travel on the weekends, or do you prefer to stay in and read a book? Does your partner want to move overseas for missions while you want a home in the suburbs? What does your image of marriage look like? By identifying what you want from marriage, you will be able to better date for someone who has a similar picture in mind. Marriage will be a lot harder if you’re constantly fighting for your picture of marriage versus your spouse’s.
There is no shame in knowing what you want, which I thought was a really refreshing thing to hear. If you want to have a house in the suburbs, that’s great! Now you know that and can date with it in mind. Thomas offered a strategy that requires a lot of soul-searching, which was very helpful. However, towards the end of the book he asks his reader to consider how Jesus would date.
Dating isn’t something we like to ease into nowadays. But Thomas talks about how we should date with integrity, caution and respect for each other. He talks about how one of the greatest acts of love is withholding our feelings and not acting on them for the good of the other person. In fact, he used the story of Jesus and Lazarus as an example of this very idea. I don’t do the teaching any justice, so you’ll have to go read it for yourself. I’m telling you, it’s good and extremely convicting.
I really enjoyed reading this book, and I have gone on to read it a few times since picking it up. For those of us who know why we should pursue a Godly relationship, but need help with how to get ourselves there, The Sacred Search is a good tool to have in your toolkit. Not only did I learn so much, but it caused me to run to God in prayer.
If you haven’t picked up on it by now, I recommend this book wholeheartedly to anyone who is wanting to be married one day. It will challenge you, teach you and inspire you through the uncertainty that can be the single season. I wish I had read it earlier! If you have read The Sacred Search, let me know your thoughts on my latest Instagram. If you haven’t read it, you can order it here!
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Holly Hoehner has her bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Oklahoma. She considers herself more of a Russell Westbrook than a Kevin Durant and enjoys learning about and participating in the digital age, blogging about anything that comes to her mind and creating witty Instagram captions. Holly was raised a die-hard Sooner fan in Edmond, OK.