My hands are very full. And so is my schedule.
My heart is crying out for time to be alone. The introvert in me needs time to recharge. I need some space from the world and from the chaos of the past couple of weeks. I yearn for alone time. To rest and to reconvene with God. A vacation would be ideal, but it’s not in the cards. Not with my bank account or the lack of vacation days available at work.
I need to let go, to release some of the stress and the pain that has been eating away at me. But more than anything I need to let go of some things that I’ve been desperately clinging to for much too long.
Back in August, I made a confession on my blog. I idolize men. No shrines or alters built to them, but I definitely hold them to an esteem that is not healthy and not Biblically grounded.
For as long as I can remember, I have mapped out my wedding day. I was once engaged and so there were real life plans that were forged out on paper, and phone calls made, and dates set. And since those plans were broken off, I still have continued to make plans, even with no potential mate in sight.
Planning for one special day in my life, though it seems innocent on the outside, I have come to realize is deep down really very sinister. Ouch, right?
For years I have looked to men for validation. I thought that my worth was found in my relationship status. That satisfaction for this void within me could be filled through their presence in my life.
For years I dated men who did not hold the same beliefs as me. I squashed my morals and I strayed away from God more times than I care to count. I also found a lot of heartache along the way when I realized that no matter how many dates I went on, or how many guys I slept with, there was still this gaping hole begging to be filled.
From early on, I have known that God loves me and that Jesus died on a cross for my sins. But what I didn’t know (at the heart level), at least not until a few years ago, was that a relationship with Him was what He desired. And what’s more is I didn’t realize until very recently that my attention given to earthly men was keeping me from finding the satisfaction that I so desperately craved.
Nearly five years of singleness has lead me in circles with my faith. Like a prayer labyrinth, weaving back and forth, closer to and then farther away from the center, from God; my life has meandered.
My recent encounter with an earthly (and Christian) man has caused a tidal wave of ebbs and flows. At some points he has lead me closer to God; to the center of that path as I have begun looking at my faith in a much different light since I began reading, Radical by David Platt, upon this man’s suggestion. But at other points, I blatantly looked God in the face and turned my back on Him, and walked towards this man instead.
I know what my heart desires. It desires to be loved in the same capacity that I know that I can give; with total abandon and devotion. I also know that that is the kind of love that Christ desires for me to give, to Him. And if I get right down to it, I know that this is the type of love that I’m already receiving from Him.
I know that my desires are ones that I’ve held on to so tightly that my knuckles turn white, my fingers ache for the loss of blood. My nails bite into my palms as I clench my fist around them.
“It’s always nice, a wee bit easier, to let go when you know what you are grabbing hold of. The monkey bar option, I like to call it. You are willing to let go of the current monkey bar because you can see the next one you want to grab… The deeper call for courage comes when you let go with nothing ahead to grab.”
— Annie F. Downs, Let’s All Be Brave
So, as I sit here at my office desk, choking back tears. I’m going to type out the bravest statement that I’ve ever made. Are you ready for it? Because even though I’m scared to death and not sure what it means for me and my future, I know it’s what needs to be said. And I’m finally ready to say it.
I have asked God, that if it not be His will for me to marry, that he remove the desire of my heart for men. That romantic and sexual feelings be wiped clean, so that feelings of a much greater love, for Him can come in and take their place.
You know, it’s funny this book study. I started it as a way to share about a book that really spoke to me. I started it as a way to build a community of women who are looking to intentionally fill that void inside of them with the love and peace of Christ.
And you know what I’ve found? I’ve found my ability to share this book in a way that surprises me each week. I’ve found a group of women who are willing to be vulnerable and share their hopes and dreams, so that we can encourage and strengthen one another in our individual and collective journeys.
But what I’ve found that has surprised me the most is just how much I have gotten out of this book as I read it for a second time. How relevant it is to the things I am going through right now and how it has helped me to be brave in circumstances that could have caused me to crumble otherwise.
That statement above. I’m okay with it. Sure it hurts a lot. Sure it’s downright frightening. But those bold words are words that I know will benefit me and not harm me; will give me hope and a future that is better than I have been planning for all of these years. (Jeremiah 29:11)