Spring of 2014, I made a commitment to not date for a year so I can heal from all my past relationships (I was that serial monogamous dater who always ended up in a relationship and learned to cope and suppress her pain). The one-year ended up becoming a grueling and somewhat fruitful 4 years. Sometime this year, I finally decided to slowly ease back into the dating world, and let me tell you, it has not been easy. Those fears and insecurities I thought I carefully worked through with Jesus all came flooding back. Rejection, control, loneliness, anxiety, inadequacies and the list goes on and on.
My fears and pain were so deeply rooted that instead of properly healing from them, I ended up developing defense mechanisms and behaviors that would cause me to sabotage and pull away. These experiences made me see just how messed up and broken I am… a woman of faith, a woman who is sold out for Jesus, a woman who only wants to be obedient to God and God alone is so flawed and sinful. I thought for sure I would get it right this time around because my old self died and a new, better version resurrected. I thought I would know how to love well and care for another individual. I thought I would remain abided in Jesus through the whole process. I thought I would soon meet my husband.
Sarah’s thoughts, Sarah’s feelings, Sarah’s desires became all consuming. I forgot to keep my eyes fixated on our Heavenly Father and instead went spiraling into one too many rabbit holes. Instead of exhibiting love with purity and holiness, I ended up hurting others and myself. When “love” is laced with expectations, unforgiveness, control, manipulation, instant gratification, self-righteousness, and victim mentality, that is NOT love. I am guilty of lacing my “love” in friendships and relationships, and I am making a declaration that today will be the start of something new. The start of breaking unhealthy patterns, the start of deep rooted healing, and the start of loving with godly freedom. This change is definitely not going to happen over night. It will be a journey of many ups and downs, but I think bringing things to the light is the start of something good and hopeful.
Since going back in time and undoing things is not an option, what’s next? Well, it would be to spend uninterrupted time reflecting on my first and true love. Redirecting my focus on God will help me to recalibrate my heart and redefine love with honesty and truth. God is a god of second chances, so if I don’t get it right, I’ll be okay. He’ll pick me back up, dust me off and encourage me to do it again…because love is patient without limitations, because love is kind without bias, because love is humble and not prideful, because love is honoring and not judgmental, because love is sacrificial and not self seeking, because love always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres, because God is love and He never fails us.
As 2018 approaches, I am hopeful for what’s to come. I may or may not meet God’s best for me, I may or may not get it right, and I may or may not get married. Does that scare me? Absolutely! But I have learned the hard way that these things are not in our control. When we choose to date or be in a relationship, we are entering into unknown and unfamiliar places that require unwavering faith. We simply need to trust “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28.
What about fear...will that ever go away? No! Fear will always be there! But the great thing is, we have a choice. Fear can rule and ruin us or it can be used to sharpen and navigate us. Instead of running away from it, learn how to embrace it and power through it. Let's grab a hold of our fears and NOT let them overtake us! We were fearfully and wonderfully made by the Creator of the universe so this truth alone is enough to empower us to rise above our fears and shine His glory! But let’s be real...will there be times fear will leave us powerless, will there be times fear gets the best of us, will there be times fear is winning? Yes, there will be many times, but remember that we’re going to be ok. Each day is the start of something new, so let's give ourselves grace to grow and make mistakes. Life is not meant to be perfect, we’re not perfect, and dating will not be perfect.
From my heart to yours #17:
Note to self…enjoy the process of getting to know someone and don’t let your mind run wild. Take every negative thought captive and throw it out! Fear no longer needs to dictate your life. Although it will always be lingering in our lives, we have a choice to be vigilant and self-aware.
I'm using this space to simply share the meaningful things that burn my heart and the random things that run through my mind. Simply desiring more vulnerability and authenticity in my life.