In lieu of Valentines Day being just around the corner, I thought I'd follow up from my post about the recent purges in my life. There's something else that has been, despite my objections, recently removed from my life: boys/romance/relationships.
The simplified version of my overall relationship with relationships is that it's ugly. I was raised without a dad after the first five years of my life. As my sister likes to refer to it, I have "daddy issues."
That concept can manifest itself in so many different ways and can be a product of so many different types of depraved father situations. I use the word "depraved" loosely to mean absent father, irresponsible, immature, selfish, lost father... Some people are unaffected by getting dealt one of these hands. Some women, God bless them, are strong and independent and smart enough to have an honest and healthy view of love, romance, and relationships, despite not directly receiving an example of one growing up. Women that I've met have landed no where really in that healthy middle section of this spectrum: The one who guards her heart, mind, soul, and body, and puts on a tough exterior that no man can possibly "crack," so as to avoid disappointment, rejection, and hurt. That guardedness can take a lot of forms I think, but I think it's a kind of protection they put around themselves that can turn out to be detrimental in relationships because of a lack of trust and vulnerability where they're worthy; then the other end, the one who is longingly looking to fill a void that she has experienced without the love, discipline, protection, and guardianship only a dad can offer. That's the profile I fit into pretty well. Don't get me wrong -- my mom is a saint. She has been the best mom-and-dad combo that I possibly could have ever asked for. I constantly look at her reflecting on my own life and wonder how I am ever going to love outside of myself in the way that she consistently has loved Lesley and I. But there is something inherently different about the way a mom loves her children, and the way a dad does. In the same way, there is something inherently different about the approval and love and affection of females and that of males. The way a man loves is different. I missed out on that.
I do not want to put this on a pedestal as the be-all-end-all defining aspect of who I am. My father passing away 19 years ago makes me no less or no more me than I would have been otherwise. God has purposed all of this to his plan and for that, I am grateful. That is why I blog. Because if there is a slight chance someone feels understood through my experience, he delights in that. That is just a thing that has happened to me... a thread in my blanket... a part of my story.
As a result of my manlessness, I have relentlessly tried to satisfy a deep longing with relationships. And relationship after relationship after relationship left me feeling more empty, tired, and lonely than I did before. I was missing something and I knew what it was... but I didn't want to give it enough of a chance because I was so sure that without the instant and tangible affirmations and love in a physical form, that it wouldn't fill my deepest needs.
I had no idea that God could because he's God. He's just so invisible... he's big and all universal and abstract. I can't hold his hand or be held in his arms when I'm sad or watch movies with him or have him give me advice. I can't watch him laugh at my jokes or be spoiled by his acts of service or have him surprise me randomly when I need it the most.... can I?
I had God in a box. I didn't understand that he can do all those things and fill all those needs plus much more... SO MUCH MORE.
God is everlasting, eternal, great, and incomprehensible. But he is also the most intimate, kind, and caring entity there is to ever possibly be experienced. I never "gave up men" because God cares enough for me, and knows me well enough, that he just whisked them away from me for this season. He did what he needed in order to help me recognize his outstretched arms just waiting for me to fall into. He knew I needed to be undistracted to romance me the way I've been longing to be romanced.
For the past decade of my life, the very best of what I had to offer was being poured into these relationships that were unworthy. My firsts and my bests belong to God because they were never mine to begin with. In recognizing and following through with that truth, the desires of my heart are being satisfied.
It's still fresh for me to be single. Single is not something I am use to. One thing I love about, though, it is all the extra time I have now to spend with God. I love that I don't have a man to run to so when I get tired or lonely or insecure or stressed, I just turn to him and it's way better than going to a man. He doesn't feel burdened by me either - he actually delights in that because he desires to cast out that fear and sadness with his love. He keeps pouring into me in places where there simply was no room for before - and I'm being serious when I say it's way better. Some day, when I'm ready, I will be able to date again. But it will be a very special person that my heart is being prepared for right now. Through this time of healing and devotion, not only am I learning the significance of a greater love, but my heart is being prepared to love someone else better than I've ever been able to.
I'll be sharing this Valentines Day with my dad, my lover, my best friend, and the King of my heart.