Hard to Love

I’ve prayed a lot of weird prayers in the last thirteen years. Like a lot. Like things I would never say to another person but I’d tell God because He already knows.

Perhaps one of the weirdest prayers came at a time when I was a complete hot mess. I had come out of an incredibly traumatic household and was knee-deep in the thick of counseling. If you’ve ever experienced what trauma does to a person and what happens when you’re finally free, you already have a picture of my behavior in your head. I was abrasive, decisive and pushy. Of all the things to come out of my relationship with my stepfather, it was this recurring thing he used to say to me when he was angry.

No one would truly love you if they really knew you.

I genuinely believe this one sentence sums up every last damn fear I have ever had. Every isolation, seclusion, tarnished relationship and inability to commit to another person could be traced back to this one sentence.

I’ve absolutely sucked at community. My dating life was a mess of leading men on and walking away before I could be rejected. Or I would swing the other way and pursue men because I never thought I was worth being pursued.

To this day, the idea that a man could be thinking of me and want me is still so farfetched. It’s not that I think I’m a terrible choice. There’s just this part of me that still operates under this one sentence.

In the midst of all this darkness and shame, I asked God for a favor. My heart was starting to open up in this new way that I wanted to love and be loved. I asked God if He would let the man I marry see me at my worst and love me anyway. I wanted my stepfather to be wrong.

“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.” – Timothy Keller

There’s times I’ve regretted asking for such a difficult request. I’m convinced that’s why now every man I could have been interested in has seen ugly parts of me. I’ve scared away more men than I can count just by continually screwing up.

I think it’ll mean more when the guy sticks around. When he pursues me because he sees who I am becoming through Jesus rather than just who I am now.  He’ll see past the mistakes I make. I’m going to keep telling myself that I did not, in fact, make my dating life exponentially more difficult.

But you know, maybe less weird prayers in the future.

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