3.15.11 – 12:48 pm
Body: Canon Rebel XS
Lens: Sigma 24-70mm EX DG
WARNING: This could get ugly. And it probably won’t be concise. If you’re one of those who would like to continue to maintain a surface level relationship with me and would rather not have your opinion of me tainted by a look at some of the innermost workings of my sinful, emotionally train-wrecked heart and mind, I strongly suggest you stop reading now. Enjoy the P365 photo of the day and come back again next time. And yes, I am completely serious. If you feel compelled to read on, please check your judgments at the door and have a seat.
Level One: Through a recent series of unfortunate events and my sinful responses to all of them, the Lord has been showing me a glimpse of my own heart that I’ve never seen before. For the majority of my life, I’ve considered myself an optimist with a die-hard resolve to be hopeful and to believe the best about people. Naturally, that’s gotten me into a lot of trouble. You can’t just give your heart and your trust to everyone in a world full of sinners. That kind of foolishness will get a girl hurt. A lot. Over and over again. I would know. But to me, the alternative is just too depressing. Fear of becoming a jaded, bitter Christian has often driven me, against my “better judgment”, to remain open, trusting, and hopeful. Or so I thought.
Level Two: Lately, the Lord has begun to show me the way I really think about other people, specifically, the way I believe they think about me. In any given social situation, if someone shows the slightest sign of irritation, I assume it’s me they’re irritated with. If a friend doesn’t respond to my phone calls or texts (on multiple separate occasions), I assume it’s because they don’t like/trust/care about/want to talk to me. If I see a change in a friend’s behavior regarding me, I assume it’s because I’ve done something wrong and they’re mad at me. If a friend cancels plans with me, I assume it’s because they’d rather be anywhere else, doing anything else, with anyone else but me. Basically, with very few exceptions, I assume that no one wants to be with me at all, that I am a priority to no one, and loved by no one.
Now before you go getting all offended, realize this has absolutely nothing to do with YOU personally, with your character, or even with our relationship. It has everything to do with my large collection of mismatched baggage.
Level Three: That aforementioned optimism has never left me more scarred than it has with men. You could probably psycho-analyze me and figure out I have good bit of Daddy and abandonment issues, thanks to my absentee father. And you’d probably be right. A brief look at my track record with men will show you a rather ugly pattern. Those assumptions I make about everyone are near certainties in my mind when it comes to men. I assume that every single, eligible Christian man wants nothing to do with me. Every now and then, one will show a marked interest, attention, or affection– which is both exciting and scary. Exciting, because I want so much to be married and I’d rather be hopeful, welcoming, gracious, and excited than bitter, cold, and/or hateful. Scary, because I’ve been hurt so many times, because of too many broken promises and disappointed hopes, too many lies and too much deceit, and because the idea that anyone would ever want to spend the rest of their life with me seems absolutely impossible. Utterly absurd. Perhaps the biggest fear I have is that one day it’s going to happen again (Same old story: boy shows interest, boy loses interest, boy leaves) and I’m going to hate men, curse God, and die; an old, fat, shell of a woman with empty eyes and no friends. Utterly alone.
Level Four: As much as I fear being alone, that’s not the primary reason I want to be married. Not even close. It’s because Biblical marriage is so beautiful. A man lays down his life for his bride, just like Christ laid down His life for the church. A woman joyfully submits to her husband, serving him, helping him. He loves her, she respects him. He leads her, she trusts him. They sharpen one another as iron sharpens iron, they’re committed to each other in Christ, they serve Him as one. They’re fruitful and they multiply and they raise their children in the fear and knowledge of the Lord, they teach them, they train them, they love them– every day, they pour out their lives for each other. It’s the Gospel. There’s sin, sorrow, suffering, sickness, pain– but there’s grace, love, truth, and forgiveness. They don’t abandon each other when it gets hard, they run to Jesus and they find all their needs met in Him. At the foot of the cross, they find forgiveness and full reconciliation. He’s their redeemer. He’s the glue that holds it all together. Because there is no life apart from Him and without Him, marriage is meaningless and ill fated. You see, I have so much love in my heart. And the Lord’s given me these gifts of hospitality and helps and creativity and I want to use them to bless someone so much. I want to use them to bless someone that isn’t going to leave me until one of us is dead. I want just that little bit of permanence in my transient, tumbleweed world. I believe the Lord has that for me in His perfect timing, but I’m so tired of waiting and getting hurt by Mr. Maybe while I’m waiting for Mr. Right to come riding in on his white horse in his shining armor. “Tired of waiting,” you may say with a scoff, “You’re only 24!” That’s very true, but I started “dating” at 12, and that’s half of my life I’ve spent just waiting.
Writing this has been extremely helpful to me. I’m an external processor and putting these words down on electronic paper has been convicting, showing me my own heart, revealing the sin and the lies I’ve been believing. Because I know that I know that I know that I know my God is for me and not against me, that He is actively working all these things together for my good, that I can’t lose my salvation, that I belong to Him and His blood covers me, that all the fears and pain from my past is washed away in the cleansing flow of His blood. I know He paid the price that sets me free from these fears, I know He withholds no good thing from those who walk uprightly, I know He sustains me and that His grace is sufficient. I know that the Enemy has infiltrated my thoughts, that it’s easier for me to believe I’m worthless and hated by everyone than precious in God’s sight, honored and beloved. I know the world does not revolve around me– PRAISE GOD! –and that people have other things in their lives besides me to irritate them and make them unable to have time for me. Best of all, I know Jesus bought me to make me like him– that He loves me too much and paid too much for me to leave me the way I am right now. I know He’s the God who is there and the God who heals and that there is hope for me in Jesus. I know that my Maker is my husband and that my desire for an earthly one and my contentment with the One I already have are often at war against each other. I know that there is no man on earth who will ever truly be able to love me as fully and deeply as Jesus does, that only He can satisfy me, that the God-shaped void can in fact only be filled by God.
And yet, here I stand– smack dab in the middle of the already and the not yet. Redeemed, renewed, and counted righteous in Christ, and yet subject to futility, inwardly groaning and eagerly waiting, longing to see face-to-face what now I can only see through a glass darkly.
Lord, help me wait for You with patience.