I was thinking today, and I have to say I am really grateful. I have had about a week of unadulterated silence from my heart. Some may think that this is an odd thing for which to be thankful, but my reasoning is that the silence has given me time to evaluate. Experience alone does not make you wiser, only evaluated experience. So… I have had some time to really do that – evaluate.
First, let me just set the record straight that I am not in some kind of “girl power” type mood where I am going to bash relationships and fly the single flag high like it’s the best thing since sliced bread. No, I very much want companionship, but I want it in its place. While I have been single for quite some time at this point, I have been crowded by too many other things to work through all of this. I mean, crowded for months. I figure that in the last four weeks before my departure it is a good a time as any to think and come to grips about my past, especially with dating, before starting a new adventure. While I have no idea when or where the opportunity of a relationship will come back around, I do know that when it does I want to be ready.
The sum total of my relationships looks something a little bit like this:
I wish I could find a less crass comparison, but there is a raw truth to the Big and Carrie drama. The underlying theme for Carrie was that there was a deep dedication to being 100% in 100% of the time. There was an insatiable desire and expectation of total commitment and surety in that decision for both parties. There was a willingness to go the extra mile to make sure that there was never a question of loyalty. There was an eruption of emotions at the disappointment of finding out that love was not on the same page.
I think I most identify with Carrie’s stalemate before jetsetting to the Caribbean. At this point, it’s a no-win situation because if Big gives into Carrie’s desire to have affirmation for their relationship, he would not be true to himself. At the same time, if Carrie ignores her need to know where Big’s loyalties are, she would be fooling herself and just prolonging the truth. I know when I have come to the realization that my significant other wasn’t sure about me, or wasn’t as committed as I was, that I was completely crushed and traumatized. The pain that comes from this truth makes one want to not longer be part of this world because usually I have given that person so much of myself that I have exposed things about myself that I try to guard except in the most trusting environments.
Vulnerability in relationships is something with which I have difficulty, but once trust has been established, there is a depth of openness one never knew existed (think iceberg). I crave authenticity, and am willing to give it, but it takes a bit for you to earn it. Once I have opened up, to find out that the affection is not what I thought based on shared information, will cause me to feel the deepest sense of betrayal. It’s the ultimate bait and switch for me. If you aren’t ready to go deep, then don’t stick your feet in the water. In fact, just get away from the water entirely.
Since I began dating, I have always wanted that crazy, can’t live without each other type of love. I have always wanted to know that someone specifically chose me, and was completely sure and satisfied with his choice to be with me. I know deep down that this lofty expectation on my relationships stems from the lack of male affirmation in my childhood (that’s a whole different topic that I will not get into). Thankfully, those emotions have been since addressed, but sometimes behaviors don’t change as quickly as the realization of behaviors comes.
Some may ask, “Why is that desire bad or unrealistic?” The answer is very simple – humans are human, but God is always God. The expectation for a human to have such a desire and loyalty that I will always feel comforted is not realistic. Humans hurt each other, intentionally or unintentionally. It’s just fact. That is why as a Christian, I have to rely on this completeness to come only from God. He gives us human companionship in order for us to maybe have a 1/100th of an idea of what true fellowship is like with him, of which we can only completely experience in our eternal existence when we are reunited with him. Yes, we can be loyal to one another and love each other so much that it hurts, but that cannot be a driving force for relationships. in a Christian worldview, relationships are not necessarily about us, but rather a service to God and the other person with positive personal benefits as a result.
Restated, my desire has always been to have “that crazy, can’t live without each other type of love. I have always wanted to know that someone specifically chose me, and was completely sure and satisfied with his choice to be with me.”
What I know both in my head, and now in my heart is that I already have this type of love!
1. That crazy, can’t live without each other type of love…
I can’t live without God. Scripture says that without God there is certain death because my sin creates separation that no amount of human initiated sacrifice can fill (Check out Romans 6:23). Clearly God cannot live without me. He manifested himself in human form (as Jesus) so that he experienced a physical death because of the fact that we were separated. He took on the guilt of my sin, reconciled me to him, and he did this long before I was alive. God has always loved me so much it hurt (check out John 3:16, John 11:25, 1 John 2:2, and John 17).
2. The knowledge that someone specifically chose me and was completely sure and satisfied with his choice to be with me.
God chose me before I was born for a specific purpose that would glorify him (Check out John 15:16). While I do have a choice of whether or not I want to live out that purpose, it does not negate the drive to live a meaningful life. God gave me this purpose and the drive to seek it before I was born, and it is part of my name – Dana. The kicker is, he is so in love with me and wants me as I am so much that he continues to make me better (Check out Ephesians 1:5, Jeremiah 1:5, Jeremiah 29:11, and Philippians 1:6). I was made in the image of God, and in that he is well pleased with me as part of his creation (check out Genesis 1:27-31)!
In 2009 after calling off my engagement, I accepted in my head the fact that I had been looking for love and acceptance from a man, but only God could give that to me. In 2014, I accepted this fact in my heart.
It’s not until the knowledge of things permeate our heart that our destiny changes.
While I still very much want companionship that will lead to a godly marriage, I know that I have everything that I need because I am complete in Christ. I still want that surety and commitment from my future spouse, but now I can see how relationships play out when you misplace that expectation. God will never let me down, nor will he ever leave me. I can be sure that he is always on my side.
Thank you, God, for being patient with me while I literally took five years to completely learn this lesson (the number ‘5’ in Biblical Numerology means “grace”, David also took up five stones to slay Goliath…relationships have been sort of my own personal ‘Goliath’).