Let me explain my awkward, weird, endearing, embarrassing, wonderful journey on coming to terms with Love and the opposite sex…
I should begin with some background. Allow me to go pretty far back, as far back as I can remember…
I remember when I was a kid, about seven or eight years old. I liked boys even then in 1995. I don’t think that people would have known. I put on a facade; acted tough. I adored American Girl dolls and Barbie houses like my friends, but quickly became interested in the opposite. I’m not quite sure when the transition occurred, but I had a few solid ‘tomboy’ years. I remember digging up worms, playing with army men, G.I. Joe’s, and cap guns. I frequented the same green, plaid shirt just about everyday and drug my mutt around with me just about everywhere I went. After school, I would often set up a teepee made of long, wooden rods and white sheets in between our row of pine trees. I would make it a point to shoot hoops every night after dark with dreams of going professional. Though not critical, I should reflect on my state of mind at that young age. While I did deeply enjoy all of those adventurous, outdoorsy, and militaristic childhood endeavors, it was somewhat of a show. I wanted the neighborhood boys and my male classmates to think that I was “the bomb.” I think some of them did, and I was pleased with myself.
Then, there were those awfully awkward pre-teen years. I still had crushes on boys, but my demeanor posed much more maturity. As a teenager, I had a “good girl” disposition. I avoided conflict at all costs and thought tremendously of what people thought anout me. While I appeared as a sought after role model on the outside, I was far from perfect. Don’t get me wrong, everyone will tell you that I was a great kid. However, I was so concerned with being highly esteemed that I would beat myself up for messing up the tiniest detail, leaving my poor little soul to be guilt-ridden for days. I didn’t fully understand the grace that was available to me through salvation. I’m not quite sure why I share these nitty gritty details, but I think that maybe they play into where I am today.
Let me continue…
When I was in high school, or maybe even earlier, I received an audio book (on cassette!) from my mom. You’ve probably heard of it. It was called I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris. Go ahead and laugh. I sure am laughing inside. Let me tell you that I completely bought into it…all of it. To this day, I still remember and esteem many of the quotes. In my opinion, “kissing dating goodbye” is an admirable concept. I’ve done it more than a few times and don’t regret it whatsoever. Even still, I think that I bought into it a little too much. I admit to being one of those Rebecca St. James, wait for your husband, don’t ever date, purity ring types…only I didn’t have a purity ring. Oh, the hype of finding the ideal man who matched every Godly characteristic on “the list” that I re-wrote at every girls Bible study.
At some point, I tossed it all in the squatty. Basically, I knew that I didn’t want to date around like a mad woman, but was open to dating if I felt that it was right, or knew that God was leading me somewhere. I suppose this is my mindset today. Some days I get along wonderfully with this whole love concept, hopefully anticipating the day it might happen all the while focusing on the here and now. Other days, I wonder where the heck that guy might be. He can’t be too far away, right God? Can we please meet?
But when I find myself coming to those questions, I become fearful. Either way, the thought of being married, dating someone, and sometimes even talking to guys frightens me to the stake. Then, I convince myself that I am okay where I am…single. After all, I’m only 24.
So, I hold fears about this good and God-given relationship that I desire. I’ll share my concerns that I’m trying to kick in the butt…
This good girl, pleasing others facade steps into high gear. One of my biggest fears is being too low maintenance. I can honestly say that I’m very much independent and pretty low key. Even so, I fear those words…low maintenance, not to be confused with high maintenance. I fear that I’ll ruin a relationship and a well-deserving person by not being loving enough. What if my lack of experience and past aversion to dating hinders a great possibility? It’s stupid, really. God is the epitome of love and He promises that His love is in me. The devil’s been talking.
Oh, and then there’s this thing about finding the “perfect” guy. It’s such nonsense, I tell myself…those lists that I wrote in my younger years. Not a single person (male or female) could match all 37 qualities with perfection. With that said, I’m not perfect, so how can I expect someone else to match this prototype of being a prayer warrior, fasting like Daniel, being a professional rock climber, and sharing my “exclusive” taste in music? I can’t. So, I’m tossing that in the squatty as well…I’m visualizing it. I’m tossing all of those lists into the despicable pit of an outhouse in Moldova along with all my other worries. There are two most significant items on my list. Of course, the first is a strong desire and passion for Jesus. Second, is that he would be my best friend. I don’t want to backtrack, but other winsome qualities would be sharing in my passion to minister to those in slavery and in my itch to travel keep traveling the world. This is an interesting concept… While I don’t believe that there is that perfect man that I consistently dreamt up, I do whole-heartedly believe that God does want to give me the desires of my heart. A wise woman in Malaysia once told me, “If it matters to you, it matters to Him.” He wants the best for His children.
“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” -Psalm 37:4
There is one final concern that often weighs me down. It affects so many today…broken marriages. I’m not only speaking of divorce or unhappy marriages, but even of slightly unhappy marriages. I’ve heard time and again that “it will never be perfect,” that “fights will happen,” and “don’t set your expectations too high.” While it is somewhat true, I’m sure, it all still makes me furious. Maybe I’m being irrational? I don’t want to believe it. I don’t want to succumb. I’ve seen many, many unhappy marriages. But I’ve seen a few exceptional ones…and those give me tremendous hope. Why not hope for and then live out the best that He has to offer?
I’m not afraid of boys. Well, maybe in a sense, but I’m working on it. I’ve been afraid of the things that I’ve let cloud my vision. There is goodness. There is always Goodness. Breaking chains.
He never ceases to amaze me with the goodness He has for you and I.