One of my greatest gifts is seeing the person inside of someone – especially when they don’t see it themselves. I love the person most people haven’t met or seen in themselves. I love that person, I bring out the best in them – I like to see people for their core. And for better or worse, that has come to be both my most favorite quality, and also the one that gets me into the most trouble.

I fell quite hard for a man who was both nothing like me, but also similar to me in ways that I can’t describe. I have never felt this much chemistry with anyone before. He is quiet, charming, passionate, and kind. I absolutely loved his heart and passion for God. As someone who had only dated men who didn’t share in my faith, this was particularly special – I had never felt this way before. And as I settled into the biggest 7th grade level unrequited crush I have ever had, I found myself caught up in the God in him, more than the person that was sitting in front of me. That’s the thing about seeing people at their core – you see the God inside of them, the man God intended them to be. That’s special, raw, but also a little concerning, mostly because you are willing to ignore the red flags or things that are unsettling because you only see the God, and not the man.

I think the truth is, Christian women get caught up in the expectation of men in relationships. The reality is both men and women are broken and difficult. I think it is incredibly challenging to be a man and step up to a woman, while being absolutely sure that she is the one. Relationships are messy, in and out of our faith. The truth is – we are all human. I am learning that friendship, and the ability to have grace for the opposite sex, is the only way to navigate relationships. I am learning that you might have more than one person for you. I am also learning that you can pick someone strictly because it is easy and makes sense for right now – that sometimes you can be the person who stands in your own way. I am learning that God gave us free will, so despite “soul ties,” and “DTRs,” and “finding the one,” sometimes you just decide to go with the one that is in front of you. God didn’t ordain for us to all be married, He just said it was good.

I am a big believer that God has marriage in store for me. In fact, marriage is incredibly important to me. I actually believe God is going to showcase his love through my marriage. I want to believe that God is going to heal real things through my marriage. I want to believe that God has ordained that my marriage is meant to benefit and bless more than just me and my family. I like to believe that whoever God has in store for me believes that too – that he believes that waiting on God for the right and perfect circumstance will make our world a little bit better.

My whole life I have been “prepared” to be married to someone. This is my parent’s very favorite topic of conversation. There are so many things I will be “able to do” once I am married. In fact, according to my mom, she will no longer care about where I am once I am married – because this man will be responsible for my life. I grew up in a world where I, and other woman I know, are not taken seriously because of our relationship status.

I absolutely hate this school of thought, mostly because I have a heavenly father who is not only responsible, but deeply concerned with every detail of my life. I am 100% convinced that despite creating room for an important figure in my life – nothing about who I am, my security, or identity is going to change with the addition of a partner. In fact, I think life will get slightly more scary and challenging because I am no longer just responsible for my calling and things God has called me to do – but I will now be investing into a joint calling, while pouring into the calling of my partner. That we will one day start a family and then I will be pouring into the calling of tiny little people who will be influenced by the choices I make, the provisions I do and do not have… that’s a little SCARY to me.

I do not say these things as a deterrent to marriage or partnership. I think God showcases his love in a very physical way through marriage. When done God’s way, God is displayed best in the nuclear family – in the intimacy of marriage, the affection of parenting, and the ability for that family to exist in a community. In fact, aren’t most communities just made up of families? And the reality is, when the nuclear family experiences trauma – it impacts a community. However, I think that people do not walk into marriage or family believing in their significance or the value that we have to place in them. And the truth is, families always start with two individuals. Two individuals that need to believe more about their identities, but mostly what God can do in and through them in their person first, and in their family second.

I am learning that a lot of people choose the easier path in relationships just because it’s easier to be with someone and feel validated in their identity in you than actually having to face yourself on your own. If someone is able to validate you, what’s the point of having to change? What’s the point of coming to God and acknowledging that you are actually not where you thought you would be?

It sucks to show up in the presence of God and fess up to your own shortcomings. It’s very embarrassing – it’s not what prideful people, myself included, most people included, like to do.
I think it’s okay to admit that we are imperfect people who need a perfect God to fix the mess. I think it’s okay to admit that we aren’t always ready for the thing that everyone thinks we should have.
I think it starts with admitting it to ourselves. I think that’s when the real work begins.
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Living love boldly, courageously, and without fear.

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