It seems like the last couple years have been all about transition for me. I’ve had to seriously consider and determine what to pursue as a course of study and as a career. My living situation has been (at least theoretically) up in the air for the last year. And up until this past spring, my church was in a kind of limbo waiting for a worship leader. That last one may seem to be not about me, but as involved as I have been with my spiritual family over the years it was a big part of my life.
Now a few things have been resolved. Besides welcoming a worship leader into our church, I’m set to graduate in May, I have a local job offer for post-grad which I’m considering, and we just found a place to move into. The final bit is huge relief to my mother especially who’s been going through more stress than she likes to let on from all of this.
But for me, the most personal transition of the year had to do with the most common theme of young American life: dating.
Besides this summer, the last relationship I had was in 2011. As much as I hate to admit it, I was tired of being single. Tired of feeling undesired, unloved, unwanted. Tired of not having anyone to cuddle with, to call me beautiful, to whine to, to take me places, to have fun with, to share life with. The feeling of the old song rang true in my heart: You’re nobody til somebody loves you. I wasn’t some mopey sad sack, but I was unfulfilled. So I went looking for fulfillment.
What I found was something to fill the gaps. Someone to do things with, to share with, to tell me he loved me. And I fell in love too, for the first time. But it came at a high cost. I’m not talking about sex. I’m not even talking about heartbreak, although the aftermath of the relationship was one of the most rigorous things I’ve gone through emotionally.
I’m talking about self-examination. One of the most painful pieces of closure that I had to come to grips with was why I entered the relationship: I wasn’t satisfied with Christ. I had to look myself in the metaphorical mirror and admit that despite what I knew in my head, the truth about who He was to me and who I was to Him had not penetrated my heart. I put so much info falling in love with a man I had to let go of, and so little into falling in love with a Man whom I could never really let go of.
I wanted a man to tell me I was beautiful because it wasn’t enough to hear the God of the universe say it. I wanted a man to make me feel worthwhile, to see through my shields, to stick with me, because I didn’t trust God when He tried to do those things.
In all of this, I’ve discovered that there are limitations to what God can do. God can’t make me believe the truth. He can’t make me love Him. He can’t force His love on me. What He can do is offer me all of Himself in exchange for my trust that that’s all I will ever need and should ever want.
I would love to hope that the next man I’m with will be the last one. I’d like to think that I’ve learned my lesson about how to identify what qualities make for a potential life partner. But if not, I do believe that whatever relationship I enter into, I won’t enter it looking for what Jesus is already offering me.