A little over a year ago, I had it all. I had a perfect boyfriend. I was getting good grades. I was getting along with my parents pretty well. My friendships were on point. I was doing ok with God, and I thought everything was perfect. Wow, was I so wrong. It’s amazing how much a few months can change a person. God’s sense of humor is infuriating, and his plans are so confusing. Prayers answered a year and a half ago are being reversed. That is so weird, almost like God saying, “Wait, I changed my mind…” really more like him saying, “Wow. I knew you would mess that up, time to put a stop to that.” It’s funny what you can see after the fact, and how you can see the ‘handwriting on the wall,’ as they say when you see it in hindsight. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.
So I had a boyfriend, and I was overjoyed. It seemed just too perfect. I had prayed for so long that God would let me be noticed by this guy. Then he answered my prayer! It was the greatest day of my life. I was so thankful. Anyway, months passed, wonderful months. Sure, we fought….a lot actually. But we always made up after, and were stronger for it. Finally, I realized that the relationship I was in was not the biblical relationship that I had been striving for, pushing so hard for. I brought this up with my boyfriend, and he agreed. But instead of changing the relationship to a more God honoring one, he felt it would be best to end the relationship because he understood that neither of us were ready for the kind of relationship that would honor God best.
So all of a sudden, I was single again. It hit me like a ton of bricks, although God had prepared my heart for the breakup, and I knew it was coming. But all of a sudden, it felt like everything was gone. I was almost paralyzed with pain and grief. I cried more tears than I had ever cried, until I couldn’t cry anymore. I went through every emotion you could think of. I felt insecure, unloved, rejected, pushed aside, angry, lonely, and spiteful. I could finally see things that had happened in my relationship that were not appropriate. Mostly small things, a few large things. One of the biggest things, was that my relationship had not been a courtship, as I had been striving for. If you are unfamiliar with the concept of courtship, it is dating with a purpose, the purpose of getting married. It is a relationship where marriage is the end goal, and where the couple is fairly certain that they are right for each other, and the relationship is just kind of trying it out, and will lead to marriage in the near future, barring some unforeseen circumstances. Anyway, I didn’t have that. We didn’t have that. That was a great source of distress after the end of the relationship, but what on earth could I do about it? Why should I get so upset about a relationship that was already over? I don’t know, I just had regrets I suppose. And I wanted to blame it all on him, as I felt that the lack of commitment was only his problem. I felt the loneliness and the pain of being left behind, or pushed-aside during and after the relationship was only his fault. I was convinced that I deserved better, convinced I was too good for the likes of him. Wait a second though….something doesn’t add up.
I know what doesn’t add up, and so do you. At the time, I did not.
I was convinced that it was all his fault, and that I was not to blame whatsoever for any problems that we had in our relationship. I waltzed around, declaring that I deserved better! I deserved to be treated better! I deserved to be loved, cherished and doted on. Then I was told a verse that caused me some worry…maybe I was wrong. Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Hmmmm, well sure. If HE had treated me that way, everything would have been fine, we would have done great. It’s still all his fault, because HE should have treated me that way. Again, I know it doesn’t add up….just hang on.
So this verse haunted me, and I began to realize that it might go both ways. If we had BOTH treated each other the way the verse says, we would have had a perfect relationship. Has that ever happened to anyone though? Of course, it is the ideal but it’s hard of course. In a perfect world, we would ALL treat each other that way. Hang on though, it goes both ways, right? It is two sided. If he had treated me selflessly, we would have done better. If I had treated him selflessly, we would have done better. You know what else I learned? You can’t change people. It wasn’t my job to teach him how to treat me, it wasn’t my job to teach him how to be selfless. The only attitude that I can control in any situation is my own. If I had treated him selflessly, we would have done better. It took long enough, but I understand that now. It is not loving to try and change someone. And it is not my job to try and change people. It is God’s job, only he has the claim and authority to change someone’s heart.
I began to realize that I also had a part to play in my failed relationship, which was painful and annoying. But what did I say about God? His sense of humor is infuriating… My first mistake? I pursued the guy. Worst idea ever! Girls, don’t pursue the guy. Guys are wired to save the girl, complete the chase and make the first move. If we take that from them, it sets a tone for the whole relationship that is not appropriate. In my case, it created the tone of me almost always leading, and the guy never chasing. Guys, girls need to be chased! They are wired to be rescued, to be cherished and to play the damsel in distress. Even though I blamed him for not pursuing me, the ball started in my court because I made the first move. After that, he seemed to expect that I would lead and very seldom did. And of course, I tried to train him to lead. Guess what? THAT DOES NOT WORK! Again, don’t try to change people, it is not your job. And, let the man lead. If he has to chase you, work hard for you, he will be more likely to stay. (Guys, please try to prove me right here.)
Ok, next mistake? Since he wasn’t ready for a serious, committed relationship, he told me to slow down. And I did not. I pushed, harder and harder. What do I keep saying? Don’t try to change people, it never works. And pushing people too hard who aren’t ready is not kind, not selfless, not putting his needs above my own. I wasn’t meeting his needs, I was being selfish. He wasn’t meeting my needs either, but it’s not up to me to change him, judge him or anything of the kind.
So, back to the break up. I was fully prepared to try and retain some type of friendship. Unfortunately, some gossip went around that made it nearly impossible for me to respond properly to a request of friendship. I just shut down, I couldn’t handle it. I pushed away from almost everyone, trying to rely on God more. But that verse kept haunting me….Consider others better than yourself. Does that mean we should be friends? I wrestled with that for a long time.
Then came Christmas. Do you have any concept of how hard it is to have a first Christmas without a loved one? It feels like a part of you has died. I felt depressed, lost in a fog, lonely, hurt and plagued by memories. When I closed my eyes, memories played, pulling me deeper into despair. I lashed out at people, including my parents. I then found myself in the deepest trouble and the most pain I had ever been in before. God was trying to get a hold of me. I finally knew it was time for a change. In the process of this change, I went through deep struggles and pain, trying to decipher the lesson I needed to learn instead of regretting my entire relationship.
I think I finally understand the lesson that God was trying to teach me. When I was in a relationship, my boyfriend almost took the place of God in my heart. And God is a jealous God. The lesson I think he was trying to teach me, is that God comes first in my life. He is trying to strip me bare, remove my idols and refocus my affections. Also, I believe that God is trying to teach me patience. Good things come to those who wait, all good things are worth doing well and all that jazz. It’s true. One other thing that I kept saying was that I deserved better. That goes both ways too. If my ex-boyfriend is not God’s best for me, then I am not God’s best for him. So now I am trying to wait for God to bring me the right person, because I know that the right guy will be equipped to deal with my specific needs and that he will be worth the wait.
So what is the point of all this long rambling session? Well, everywhere I turn, people are in healthy relationships, getting engaged, getting married or having babies. And again, that makes my heart ache. I am so jealous of all of them. What’s wrong with this picture? I should not feel inferior compared to someone who has something different than I do. I should be happy for them! Don’t get me wrong, I am happy for all of them. And you know what? It’s ok to be single! That is what I have learned. I know that I am meant to be married, and that God will bring me the right guy in his perfect timing. But right now, it is ok to be single.
Right now, I don’t have a perfect life. But I have it all. I have a stronger relationship with God, a deeper connection and a greater understanding of how I need to rely on God, and God alone. I have a better relationship with my parents, I’ve been trying to honor them better. I didn’t get the best grades, but I learned a lot of things that I needed. My prayers have had more meaning, and God has showed me that he does indeed answer prayer. I have a better idea of what I want to do with my life, how I think God will use me and I am pursuing the talents God has given me. I will never be able to be completely selfless, but that has almost become my motto. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.