The First Kiss

So I’m still waiting on finding out if I have breast cancer or not but in the meantime, it’s been interesting to see what things have come up for me.

Of all my biggest regrets, it’s been my dating life. I’ve had one relationship that lasted eight months but the rest have been a series of first and second dates. I’ve never dated anyone I’ve been super passionate about.

I’ve been in love once with a guy that I didn’t date. He said he loved me too and hoped that I would meet someone that loved me as much as he did. He just wasn’t ready to date and by the time he was, he didn’t want me.

Sometimes, I wonder if he was full of it. I say yes. I hate to admit it but I used to put up with an obscene amount of bullcrap. The more I have learned to love myself, the less crap I tolerate.

So I’ve dated a lot but I haven’t dated well. The one thing people really don’t know about me is that despite the fact that I dated someone for eight months, I have never kissed anyone.

Never.

I’ve never even held hands with anyone.

My longest relationship was with someone who was not affectionate.

Before last week, I hadn’t told anyone that before. I’ve been really ashamed.

Here’s the thing: I never intended to wait to kiss someone. Before you start in with how honorable it is that I’ve waited, know that it wasn’t on purpose.

And I was doing okay with it until it hit me that I could die before I get a chance to be loved by someone. I wasn’t okay with that.

My married friends have all told me the same thing. They tell me how lucky I am that it hasn’t happened yet. They say I’ll be grateful if the only man I kiss is my husband. They told me that being affectionate with other men can lead you to feel less satisfied when you get married.

But is it awful that I don’t care? I feel like an alien. I am almost thirty and I’ve never held hands with someone. What if I die before that happens?

I know. I know. I know. Christ’s love needs to be enough. Heaven needs to be enough. But is it terrible that I still want to experience romantic love before I die?

Someone told me recently that I should desire Christ alone and that I should disregard my desire for marriage. I think there’s this sentiment among Christians that in order to be Godly, you must forsake the desires of your heart. I disagree with that. I actually think that’s a very Buddhist mentality, this idea of releasing your desires. I believe it’s possible to have a hunger for things but at the same time, seek God first. And I think it’s a balancing act. I think both the desires of your heart and your love for Christ can coexist.

I think it’s important to grieve heartache and rejection, grieve the life you don’t get to have. Just don’t stay there. I said in a recent blog post that I used to ask people their love stories and how I saw recurring themes. When people suffer real rejection, a lot of times God has already opened another door. You’re just not paying attention. Stop beating down a closed door expecting that if you knock hard enough, it’ll open. That rarely happens.

I don’t know what’s next for me but I know things usually become darkest right before a breakthrough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture credit: <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/couple-in-winter_1399322.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>

Advertisements

Easy.

Recently, I was talking with a friend about old loves and moving on.

It’s interesting. I’m in a season where I’m getting renewed clarity about my life, primarily when it comes to men. It’s like a vase that has broken and as I’m picking up the pieces of glass, I notice where the cuts are, the shine of the glass against the light and then I attach the glass back to the vase.

So we were talking about old loves and how difficult it is to move on. I’ve told her a few times about my first love but I made a point of explaining the process it took to move on.

Oh, man. I argued with God over him. I begged God to work it out. It got to a place where I would even take friendship over nothing.

It was during this time that I was on a journey of self-discovery. I had been in counseling, working through my issues with marriage and I decided that I would research the topic. Books helped but I wanted real world insight. I started asking couples their love stories and despite the vast differences between stories, I found recurring themes.

Every couple I spoke with had a oneness I had never seen before. And before you jump in and say, “well, duh, that’s a part of marriage”, I also interviewed engaged couples and saw this same occurrence. Elizabeth Eliot put it simply in The Mark of a Man, that a man will know the woman he is supposed to be with when he recognizes her as his rib, not that she is exactly like him but that she comes from him. This is obvious before marriage.

When I think back to past relationships, it was never like that. It was as if we were two pieces of a puzzle that almost fit but didn’t. And some puzzle pieces fit better than others but at the end of the day, it all felt like grasping at straws. Even with my first love, we almost fit. It was so close to perfect but I look back and see how hard everything was.

The other recurring theme was this idea of effortlessness. The relationships themselves may have had conflict and turmoil but it was like there was a magnet that kept bringing them back together. They weren’t struggling to connect or spend time together. One particular story that sticks in my mind was one I watched play out. These two friends started talking more and more and always seemed to find one another in a crowd. I actually remember approaching them one day and the girl gave me the dirtiest look. I promptly walked away. I laugh about it now. They’ve been married for three years.

I watched this girl recently trying to earn this guy’s attention. As I watched her talk herself up and honestly, grasp at straws, I realized you can tell right away if two people are going to get together. God really doesn’t make it a secret. I had flashbacks to past encounters with men where I thought things were headed in a certain direction but when I look at it now, it’s pretty obvious that nothing was going to happen. It’s like painstakingly obvious.

Because when a guy likes you, he makes it known. It’s not confusing or unclear. I think back to those times and realize how much time I wasted stressing out about guys that were totally friendly but interested in other girls.

Because there was always another girl. I was always late to the game and one by one, these guys dated and married the girl they had set their sights on. And I wanted so badly to be the girl that gets chosen. I wanted to be the girl he thinks of when he’s ready to date.

In the midst of getting over my first love, God told me He wanted it to be easy for me. He wanted dating to be easy. I fought Him so hard because I didn’t want easy. I wanted my first love.

But, as I told my friend, I am really, really grateful God is smarter than me.

A Week of Stretching

 

I should preface this post by saying that lately, I have gotten into the habit of bottling myself up. I’m one of those people who tends to put up a front. I put my best foot forward, rarely discussing what I’m really going through or how I’m feeling. But I got convicted by that this week so today, I am going to write a super awkward post about probably one of the most ridiculous weeks I’ve had in a long time.

It all started with an Instagram post from this social media influencer I follow (I know, I know. Very millennial of me. I don’t care. Her posts are awesome.)  Anyway, she shared this post about this five day prayer challenge for praying for your future spouse.

Here’s the thing: I don’t pray for my future spouse consistently. I keep meaning to but I always find an excuse not to. It’s just so uncomfortable. I pray when I’m moved by the spirit. I have, however, spent much of my time praying for the men I have fallen for. An act, I would learn later this week is actually super unhealthy. But we’ll get there.

So I felt like this was a good opportunity to grow. I’m all about growing. I signed up for the challenge. I received the first email on Monday.

Day 1: Pray their house isn’t built on sand

Basically, it was about praying that your future spouse loves Jesus fiercely. I spent the morning trying not to pray for the guy I had been pining for the last eight years. I had reached this point a few weeks ago where I decided I was going to move on from him. It was right around the time I decided to be a foster parent.

Day 2: Pray they are breaking ties with every ex-lover

This was actually super convicting for me. On the one hand, they were talking about “lovers” as in idols, so that could be anything that separates your future spouse from God and honestly, loving you. So I was on board with that. The convicting part for me was this little secret I’ve been carrying for over a year.

I still follow my first love on Instagram.

I actually get a lot of enjoyment from knowing what’s going on in his life, because he uses it on a regular basis. It’s not like I still want to be with him or anything. He was just such an important part of my life that I take comfort in knowing he’s okay. But I realized it’s a load of crap and I should probably unfollow him. Actually, I should definitely unfollow him.

Day 3: Pray for “Godly Chemistry”

This one was interesting. It wasn’t talking about chemistry in the traditional sense but rather that “Godly chemistry” has to do with matching purposes. I used to equate this with compatible jobs. For example, I first fell in love with my first love over our shared passions for nonprofit work. I mean, I saw our whole freaking future together. And man, did I argue with God over it. I told God repeatedly why we made sense, what impact we would have if we were together.

The hardest lesson to learn for my little pragmatic heart was that matching purposes between spouses has more to do with how you’re both wired. Elizabeth Elliot describes it in The Mark of a Man by that a man will know his wife because “she comes from your rib bone.” She meant that a man’s wife is a reflection of who he is. Still doesn’t totally make sense to me but I tell my guy friends this all the time.

Day 4: Pray they don’t eat the apple

So I literally prayed this over a month ago, in the spirit. This was about stopping with dating other people. Amen.

Day 5: Pray they are “hiding & seeking”

A very well-known trait of mine is that I like to take the lead in relationships. I have asked out every guy I have ever dated or liked. About three years ago, I realized how sinful my behavior was. Don’t get me wrong – I love a strong, confident woman who knows what she wants and goes for it. But I wasn’t doing it for that reason.

I didn’t want to be found. I didn’t want to be pursued by a man. I didn’t want to be wanted. Being “found” meant opening myself up to being loved. Weirdly, I preferred rejection by my own hands than intimacy with another person.

The devotional said to pray that your future husband will “find” you and you are in a position to be “found.” I was really confused about what it meant to place yourself in a position to be found so I asked a friend to explain it to me.

She explained that while it’s the man’s job to find, it’s the woman’s job to be found. She does this by basically ignoring other men by pursuing Christ so deeply that she doesn’t notice the men around her.

It hit me that I think  I have reached that point. I really do. So my week was crazy emotional and now I really don’t know what to do with myself.

Probably unfollow that guy on Instagram.

All the Single Ladies (and men)

I still remember the conversation I had with my stepdad at 19. I had watched a boy I had fawned over for three years fall for someone else, a heart-breaking, soul-crushing spectacle that I wish I could have avoided.

But I was on the mend, relieved to be finally okay when I sat across my stepdad in our dimly-lit living room and proudly proclaimed that I was not planning on ever getting married.

This was not a new sentiment but one I had shared over the years since the tender age of eight. As much as I liked guys, was attracted to them, enjoyed spending time with them, I found that I valued my freedom much more. At 19, I had every intention of becoming a missionary and then adopting a daughter later in life. This was going to be my story, sans a man.

Over the years, I dated purely out of rebellion and fell in love with a boy that never loved me back. Before you feel sorry for me, you should know that I genuinely believe that I deserved the treatment I received from said boy. You reap what you sow and I had sown discord and heartache with every man I dated.

By the time I got to counseling, I had a trail of pain and idolatry following behind me. I told the counselor I believed I had the gift of singleness, which was why nothing had worked out. He responded curtly with a no, you idolize singleness. There’s a difference. People with the gift of singleness don’t break hearts and use people the way I did.

So I went on this journey, exploring the darkness I called marriage and for the last three years, I have wrestled with, sought out and ultimately idolized the very thing I ran away from. It brought me here, to this very day when I finally admitted to myself that I had a problem. I had traded one idol for another and I was done. My heart exhausted; I threw up my hands and told God I’d take whatever life He’d give me.

I had finally been throw out of the whale. I was free.

I realize I might never get married or I might marry someone for fifty years. Whatever the case may be, I’ll be okay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Picture credit: <a href=”http://www.freepik.com/free-photo/girls-looking-at-her-funny-friend_909409.htm”>Designed by Freepik</a>