Cheapening the greatest gift

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I’ve lost count on how many days I’ve been in quarantine. Jokingly, I have said that my 712th day was by far the worst.

Most days, I have felt every rough, cracked, wretched edge of my soul. My heart is without reprieve. There’s no busyness, no distractions from the weight I have carried for more years than I can count.

If at any point, someone comes at me with God will not give you more than you can handle, I retort without hesitation, False. God will absolutely give you more than you can handle. It is only in His sufficiency that He will bring you to the place you cannot bear without His grace.

I have filled my life with endless lists and activities, taking short enough rests to take inventory of my mess before diving headfirst into busyness and distractions. God forbid I actually deal with the wreckage created by my sin.

This week, I came to the end of myself. The room spinning, the earth shaking under me. I sat wrestling with God for just one distraction. A television show. A sweet word from a friend. The taste of ice cream. The fresh thrill of an impending Amazon package.

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Everything fell flat. I was just left facing my scars in the mirror.

You see, ten months ago, I started to develop feelings for my single, age-appropriate boss. I dismissed them as quickly as they arrived. Perhaps I was simply fueling my loneliness with a desire for the unattainable. Maybe his kindness was feeding a need I had for this season in my life. I found every excuse in the book and when the excuses would begin to crack, I found shiny and delightful things and activities to distract myself from the wave of emotions that would threaten to drown me if I let them.

It was working. It was working so gloriously that I thought I could go on forever like this. I was coping, I thought, with the emotions I refused to allow to seep in.

And then quarantine happened.

I thought to myself, thank God! This crush will surely diminish itself without the constant reinforcement.

But the cracks began to grow, etching their way into parts of my past I have ignored or swept under the rug.

I sat on my patio, broken hearted this morning, talking to my stepdad. Now, my stepdad is not a Christian but he has watched me grow up since I was six years old. He calls me his Bean, someday to become his Beanstalk. Growing up, I was known as Rudy’s little girl. The inheritance of his snark and humor, intermingling with a deep seriousness was evidence that despite blood, I was his little girl.

I relayed my feelings for my boss, tears dripping down my face. Every conversation with friends regarding this had fallen flat. I knew I needed the gentle directness that my stepfather gives so effortlessly these days.

Have you considered that perhaps you are so torn because you have treated relationships with men so casually? Do you think you have cheapened the word love because you refuse to allow yourself to delve into real emotions? Real commitment?

He was right. I have had a façade with people regarding men for so long. I used words like love, commitment, relationships so casually in effort to appear well adjusted. I could never allow anyone to see through my act, that inside I refused to let my guard down long enough to experience true loss.

Never become so attached to someone you can’t leave in 30 seconds or less. The sentiment echoes in my head.

I sat quietly on the phone, taking inventory of every relationship I had experienced. And all I saw was emptiness and selfishness and vanity. Years of sinful withholding of my heart came flooding before my eyes.

I started to cry.

Perhaps this is genuine feelings knocking on your door, inviting you into a new season in your life.

The fear means you are onto something important.

My stepdad paused. There is a vast difference between a crush and deep love. A crush fades with separation. You cannot or will not exist without that person. There is no wholeness when you two are together. There is only yourself and your vanity.

But your mom and I, he said, exist independently from each other. And when we come together, we are whole. We are one. Isn’t that what God talks about?

You have to weigh where the pressure is coming from. Is it the sense of urgency that comes from having a crush or is it the echo of the pain from how you have treated men and yourself in the past? Are you attempting to avoid hurt? There you’ll find your answer.

I mulled over my emotions and thoughts the remainder of the day. I threatened to quit; I sobbed deep throaty tears; I begged the Lord to give me clarity.

It was at the end of the day that I found the answer. Just take the next step, He whispered.

My Facebook memory for the day stated: Whatever brings God the most glory, do that.

I weighed my options. Every time I made the first move on a man, it was always in the name of boldness in the Lord. I claimed it was sacrificial, that it was surrendering my heart to another. But it was falsehood. I had done it in the spirit of vanity and control. My impatience had hinged itself not even so much on desiring the man in question but in manipulating the situation in order to endure the least amount of pain.

What did it mean to wait on the Lord in this season? To trust the hands that hold me in His sovereignty?

It became not that this man was worth the sacrificial patience of enduring this journey as I waited for the next step but rather that the faith I had in the Lord for Him to complete His work in me was worth eternity in heaven regardless of not if but when relational pain would occur.

At that point of realization, God gave me my next step. The strain of a boss-employee relationship had worn thin but leaving a job that God had immensely blessed me with was not an option. No, walking away would solve nothing but I could talk with our department supervisor about my concerns. To be honest with where I was at and to see if perhaps, I could work under alternate supervision.

I do not know how tomorrow’s conversation will go. I do not even know if the conversation will even occur tomorrow. But I do know that quarantine has forced me to wrestle with parts of my darkness I have only faced in sporadic moments. And for that, I am both annoyed and grateful.

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