Confession: I write a dating blog, and my relationship is not perfect. And neither am I.
Second confession: I’m sitting on the sunlit patio of a coffee shop drinking caramel iced coffee and worrying that my fears, baggage, and harsh words have finally struck too deep of a nerve with my guy.
That he won’t text me back. That we won’t get together tonight. That we’re done.
Because this is what I do sometimes as a product of childhood abandonment and other baggage, despite my best attempts to find full healing through God, counseling, and writing a memoir (unpublished).
Right before I met my guy, I had fully surrendered my love life to Jesus. While I knew God was teaching me lessons about His love and my worth to Him with each dating experience, I was exhausted, and the continual rejections were bringing things to the surface, issues I thought were healed, done with, conquered. Ever heard that onion metaphor? Like once we’ve dealt with one issue, God peels another layer to work through? Something like that.
So just like someone would take a surrender chip for alcohol or overeating or overspending, I took a blue chip for love.
“God, I give you my love life. I lay it on the altar completely. I am tired. I am weary. My heart feels like it’s been through a salami machine.”
One of the guys I cared about told me he was moving across the world. Another had fallen off the face of the earth with no explanation. Another was moving to another state. Others I had dated or gone out with a few times were getting married or had gotten married to the women they had chosen over me.
I was done. Surrendered. Spent.
And within just weeks, I met my guy. Classic, right? Still, both of us had some very real baggage, though we were working through it, and neither of us were in any kind of rush to be in a relationship. In fact, we didn’t officially start dating until my neighbor friend, not knowing my guy was outside working on his bike, exclaimed very loudly, “Who’s that dude you’ve been hanging out with? Are you guys DATING?” To which I looked at him and looked at her, and when he nodded “yes,” I said, “Yes.”
But what has made this relationship different are things like the following:
- JESUS. I practically tiptoed into this relationship, and God had to provide blaring reassurances to me to enter it. Still today, Jesus is in the center of us, no matter what we face. Even this moment, when I’m feeling insecure, I’ve been leaning on Jesus and putting us in His hands in trust. A chord of three strands is not easily broken.
- Community. My guy and I belong to a number of different small groups and have a good number of friends in common, including a pastor and his wife, whom we pray and break bread with. Healthy community strengthens your bond, gives you support, and enriches your relationship.
- Similar values and desires for relationship. We share the same core values and beliefs.
- Patience and understanding. Because we both acknowledge and own our flaws, we can extend a larger circle of grace to one another as we learn and grow, separate and together.
In no way am I advocating not working out your baggage or turning a blind eye to a potential partner’s, but I am saying that sometimes God brings someone into your life before you feel fully “ready” or “perfect.” And you know what, will we ever be? Now I am definitely advocating you continue working through your issues with the right supports, not rush the relationship, and ALWAYS keep God in the center, but sometimes He brings you someone who grows you “through” relationship.
And this relationship is growing me. It’s exposing icky things I thought were healed and forcing me to face them; it’s preparing me for marriage someday as I realize how things like my extreme independence, self-sufficiency, and performance-for-love mentality need to be worked on and laid on the altar daily. I am learning how to slow down and listen better; how to be less selfish; how to trust that I am lovable despite my past and despite my yucky as my guy displays grace to me over and over again as I work through issues that just won’t go away overnight.
So as I sip the remainder of this iced coffee and pull my sweater a little tighter around my shoulders (Fall is definitely here!), I put my fears again in God’s hands. His love is unconditional, and He has us both. In that, I can always trust.
Have a wonderful week. You are loved unconditionally by the God of the universe!!!