My Texas friend Catie wrote a post today called "Something is missing in my life, and it's not a husband." It was one of those things that I've heard a million times before in a million different ways, but it coming now made it feel fresh and new and I haven't been able to get it out of my head.
"Sometimes loneliness steals my attention away from God's great grace, and my lack of a boyfriend can sometimes make me feel inadequate. But the truth tells me I'm not incomplete, that because of Jesus, I'm whole. The truth tells me that I'm loved and there is joy all around me. The truth is, I deserve hell, but God saved me by sending Jesus to die on the cross for my sins. That feeling of inadequacy and that nudge that says something is missing is false and you shouldn't believe it. We're basing our self worth off of our relationship status, or in other words, lack of, and then expecting a man to come along and fill that space that only Jesus can fill. Think of how much pressure you're putting on your husband to complete you, when you're only setting yourself up for a rude awakening.
So I'm going to make this very clear. My joy isn't dependent on my future husband's arrival. Yours shouldn't be either."
Um. BOOM. I want to be Catie when I grow up. Ha. But really, she has the confidence oozing from her that I've been wanting since...forever. And yeah, yeah, I know, confidence like that comes from Jesus. Really, I think I've grown quite a bit in confidence since giving myself to the Lord a couple years ago, but there's one area that I persist in feeling like the outcast, the freak: my relationship status.
Just one thought to the fact that I'm 22 years old and I've never had a boyfriend makes me feel like I'm the one that nobody will ever want. I see my friends. Some of them go from one relationship to another without even trying. Others are finding their spouses and getting engaged and married. And here I am. Still waiting.
What am I waiting for exactly? Another broken human being to come and love me to tell me that I'm worthy? I'm being ridiculous if I think that having a boyfriend or a husband is going to keep me from feeling unworthy ever again. I still have trouble sometimes believing I'm worthy of having the friends that I do, so why would I expect a romantic relationship to be different? This is the kind of stuff I used to do, and I know better now. I know who Jesus is. I know what perfection looks like. I know where my being's worth is actually found. It seems that I just have trouble remembering it.
I am me. A relationship status doesn't change the person that God created in me. God doesn't create anything by mistake, or screw things up and leave us with defects that aren't part of His plan for the person He set out to make. And if there's one thing that I've learned in the past year, it's that I am enough. I don't have to be skinnier, or prettier, or less intense, or less goofy, to be good enough. I am already good enough because I believe in the life-saving reality of Jesus, who he is, and what he did, even though I could never even come remotely close to being worthy of him or his love.
Loneliness is an awful feeling. When I was at Campbell, I could at least sometimes distract myself from it because I had people to hang out with and things to do. But now, I am stuck in this house with nothing but Facebook and Twitter, and that leaves a lot of time to get caught up in my own head. I'm not just bored to tears, I'm lonely and I hate it. So lonely in fact, I can't decide if the feelings I think I'm feeling for someone are real or just a manifestation of the persistent desire to have someone around and have someone want me.
I'll be honest, though. Reciting the Gospel to myself isn't always a cure for the loneliness. I know that I am whole and complete and loved beyond all understanding by God, but sometimes, that doesn't do much for the fear that no man will ever romantically want me that feels like a gnawing at my heart, slowly tearing it to shreds. I don't think that God is meant to fill that desire, a desire known to just about every woman on the planet. But I do think that I have to be content with just the Lord before "that person" will come into my life. And I'm going to have to get really used to being on my own really soon here, because I'm about to move to one of the largest cities in the world where I will know absolutely no one.
My problem is that I've been waiting for something, someone, before I think I'm able or allowed to be content with where I am in life. I look at so many guys that come into my world and wonder if "maybe this is it", putting expectations on things before I even really know who he is. It's crazy and absurd and a recipe for utter disappointment. When Catie said that bit about her joy not being dependent on her future husband's arrival, I couldn't help but be reminded of what a friend taught me: happiness comes from circumstances, joy comes from beyond this world - from God alone.
I am not here to serve my own desires, desires to be a wife and a mother. The good news is, that's not a secret to God! I am here to serve God, whatever He wants me to do wherever He wants me to do it. And while I may think my life will be best if I get to have a husband and kids one day, wait for it........I DON'T ACTUALLY KNOW WHAT IS BEST. God does. And because I know how good God really is and just what He is capable of, I know full well that He will lead me to a husband if that is what is best for me.
If I want to find a Godly man, I need to work on being the kind of woman that a Godly man would want. And by that, I only mean that I need to focus on my relationship with the Lord, allowing Him to open my eyes to areas where I still need to grow, to show me the truth even when it's not the comfortable thing for me to hear. God has to be enough for me. I am already enough for God.
So Catie? HALLELUJAH!