Do You Miss Him or Are You Just Lonely?

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

Proverbs 4:23 NIV

***This post is for every woman who finds herself pining away for the man who broke her heart or simply wasn’t her Mr. Right.***

When you first met him he seemed like everything you had been praying for.  Maybe he was charming, maybe affectionate, maybe he studied the bible, or maybe he just said all the right things.  Whatever he was displaying, you fell quickly and you fell hard.  In a few short moments, you found yourself head over heels in love.  He appeared to be feeling the same way and life as you knew it just. seemed. perfect.

At some point you started dreaming of a future with him.  Maybe it was after your first kiss or maybe it was after he said “I love you” the first time.  Maybe your future consisted of a beach wedding at sunset or seeing yourselves growing old together sitting on a porch swing cuddled under a wool blanket during an autumn afternoon.  At some point talk of the future arose and he seemed to share the same dream. You found yourself in the relationship you were looking for and life. seemed. perfect.

Then came the moment you wanted to make the dream a reality and suddenly he sits on a fence of indecision.  Or maybe he changes the subject when you bring it up or makes excuses when you push for a deeper commitment.  Maybe he completely ghosts you and you’re left wondering what went wrong.  More devastating, maybe he found someone new and replaced you like a pair of old shoes.  No matter the circumstance or how it happens, this man of your dreams walks out of your life and you’re left alone and heart broken.

Alone.  For a large family or a person who is continuously surrounded by large crowds, this word means peace, tranquility and rest.  For someone who longs for relationship, thrives on interpersonal connection or desires human touch, alone is a word that brings up feelings of abandonment, rejection or can lead to questioning one’s self worth.

Alone is just a word in the dictionary and loneliness is simply a state of mind.   There are times I feel alone.  Sometimes I feel most alone when I’m in a crowd that I don’t feel like I belong in.  Other times when I’m home alone and I’m counting my blessings, I feel overwhelmed with the amount of friendships and the loving family I have been gifted.

There are times I also feel lonely.  Those are the times that can get dangerous for people.  You see, loneliness is a feeling that can really tug at one’s heart and travel one’s mind down memory lane.  During that journey we find ourselves remembering little things about a former lover.  Lonely memories don’t usually trigger the red flags in the relationship.  Lonely memories trigger all the things that made you fall in love with the person-and those memories tug at your heart strings a little too hard.

Sometimes those memories make you think you miss the one who walked away.  The more you meditate on the memories, the more you miss him and you may find yourself longing to be in a relationship with him again.  You may even find yourself praying, asking God to bring you back together.  If you entertain this too long, you could become convinced you two were meant to be together and take action to reunite.

A trip down this kind of memory lane is a slippery slope that needs to be stopped before your mind even thinks about turning down that road.  One way to do that is to take the thoughts captive and recognize what triggered them.  Maybe a love song started playing, maybe their name was spoken or you ran into someone that looked just like them.  Whatever it was, recognize it.  Then remind yourself of what you don’t miss.  Maybe you don’t miss the lies they told. Maybe you don’t miss feeling like you never measured up to their expectations.  Maybe you don’t miss being cheated on.  I am confident most of us could say we don’t miss the excuses they made for not committing or the emotional roller coaster ride they put us on with their “Come close then get away” behavior.  Whatever their character flaws were that broke your heart-list them out to remind yourself of what you don’t want in a relationship.

Then, recognize what you do miss, not in the person, rather list the behaviors that you miss.  For example-maybe you miss the daily texts messages and how it felt to be pursued.  Maybe you miss having someone to study God’s word with and to share in depths conversations about scripture.  Maybe you miss having someone pray for you and with you.  Maybe you miss the laughter and jokes that only the two of you shared or the silly nicknames you called each other when the relationship seemed solid and loving. Those are all good things to miss.

But guess what.  Those things you’re missing aren’t qualities that only your ex possesses.  They are universal character traits that you can find in someone else-someone who will love you exactly as you are, someone who won’t lie, cheat or play games with you and someone who will choose to commit to you.  That someone is your “Mr. Right” and God will lead him to you when you’re most ready to receive that kind of love.

Why?  Because you are marriage material and you are worth making a lifetime commitment to-hands down.  How do I know this?  Because Jesus proved it when He died on the cross long before you or I even existed.  There maybe things that God wants to change in you and some areas of refinement needed before you meet the one He designed for you.  Just know this-when the time is right, the Lord will make it happen. (Isaiah 60:22) In the meantime, don’t pine away for someone who isn’t pining away for you.  Turn your focus on Jesus-He promises to go before you and to never leave you nor forsake you. (Deut. 31:6.)  One more thing-the next time a love song comes on and you feel loneliness knocking at your door-change the station or make the song about your love for Jesus and remind yourself just how much you are loved by Him. Meditate on His word-especially on scriptures that reinforce that you are never alone and will bring you comfort when you do feel lonely.  Never turn back to one that rejected you.  That can only open the door to an endless cycle of broken heartedness. Don’t chase after another Mr. Wrong in effort to fill the void that rejection left. Chase after the One who is always with you, Who is near to the broken hearted and Who is the Creator of Agapé.

Please know this post was not written out of bitterness or with a man-hating heart. This is not an anti-man post nor is this an assumption that all break-ups are bad. This post was triggered after I found myself missing a friend and the steps I took to help me recognize what I was truly missing. There are examples listed of some things that have happened to me in past relationships but this isn’t triggered toward one specific person. This post also lists common examples that happen to anyone involved in a toxic relationship or simply found themselves having feelings for the wrong person. I pray those who read it, male or female, especially those who may be struggling to move on, find encouragement and maybe, just maybe, the strength to take that first step of allowing God to heal your broken heart.

Advertisements

Single-Party of One

In 9 days I will celebrate my 41st birthday.  As much as I love birthdays, each number gets a little more challenging to accept.  Considering I just entered a new decade and am still adjusting to the big 4-0, I’m really not in a hurry to turn 41-yet it’s literally right around the corner.  To those who are 10+ years younger than me, I am typically viewed as “old” and to those 10+ years older I am still seen as a “young pup”.  To me, there are days I feel “old” but there are other days I feel 16 again (and sadly, act like it too.)

Each birthday I take time to reflect on my life-I look at who I am, who I want to be, where I am and where I want to be.  I examine my life goals and see what I’ve accomplished and what I still want to accomplish.  I also realize no matter how hard I try, I will never get younger.   And sometimes that is a scary thought.  Mostly-because I’m afraid I will run out of enough time to achieve all my goals before God calls me Home.  For the longest time, my biggest goal was being married-having that one person who would commit to spend the rest of their life with me.

Ever since I can remember I have always been the “hopeless romantic.”  My favorite fairytale was Cinderella and I would dream of a prince on a white horse with a glass slipper rescuing me and the two of us living happily ever after.  I loved the romantic storylines in soap operas and my all-time favorite movie is Pretty Pink where the movie ends with Andrew McCarthy telling Molly Ringwald he loves her, always, during their high school prom and when she chases after him they end up in the parking lot, kissing in the rain.  Yep-still my favorite chick flick because there’s still a hopeless romantic in me.

I have two children-but never been married.  I’ve come close-three times actually but circumstances happened and the relationships didn’t work out.   I’ve also had tons of other dead end dating relationships.  I’ve prayed for marriage, I’ve fasted for marriage but at the age of almost 41, I don’t even have a prospect for the possibility of marriage.

For years I convinced myself that there was clearly something wrong with me-I must not be marriage material.  I also believed God clearly didn’t want me to be married.  I cried, threw many pity parties and then closed myself off.  I took a hiatus from dating-a four year hiatus actually.  I took the hiatus for the wrong reasons but ended up learning the blessing of being single.

During my dating boycott I received various feedback.  Some people supported my decision-after all, I told them it was God directing me.  Others told me I was closed off.  Still others tried to set me up with their version of my “soul mate.” The best “feedback” I received was being told I was too picky.  If you’re single I am sure you can relate to the many advices your family and friends give about why you’re still single and it usually ends up being your fault.  I’m a strong enough person and content enough in my circumstance as they are now to admit that I am single by choice.  Why?  I refuse to settle.

The past 4 years have been a road of growing my faith and discovering who God made me to be.  With that, it’s open my eyes up to the pros and cons of both singlehood and marriage.  The best thing I’ve discovered is that being single is not a curse, there is nothing wrong with me and I’d rather be single my whole life than be married to the wrong person.  I’ve also learned that my relationship status doesn’t define me as a person-being married or single is a part of who we are but it’s not all of who we are.  Yes, God created Eve because He said, “it’s not good for man to be alone. (Genesis 2:18)  But He also said, “and some choose not to marry for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.” (Matthew 19:12b)  Paul even tells us in 1 Corinthians 7 that is better to not get married (vs 8.)  His reasoning was because while a married person is focused on their spouse, a single person is more apt to be focused God.  That is certainly to not say that married people do not focus on God. I know many happily married, godlly people who have amazing Christ centered marriages.  Marriage is a gift from God, designed by God.  But, so is singleness.

That’s right-I said, being single is a gift, not a curse.  It’s a gift I have embraced and actually enjoy.  Once I accepted it I experienced that peace beyond all understanding Christ promises us in Philippians 4:7.  I no longer have an urgency to “hurry up and get married.”  I feel free and in control of whether I choose to date or not date, who I want to date and who I politely say, “no thank you” to when asked out.  I’m completely at peace saying “no” to the offers of being set-up and I can listen to other people’s love stories (which are typically their attempt to encourage me to not give up on marriage) without wondering if I’m missing out on something.  I’m not-just like God made them different from me, His love story for me is also different from theirs.  If God has a love story for me, it will be different and it will be epic. It will also happen in His time and in His way.  I won’t be too closed off to miss it or too picky that I turn it down.  I will know it’s from Him and I will embrace it.  How do I know, because I’ve surrendered my heart to Him and trust Him to do with it what He plans-lead it to love another, or lead it to live singly, serving Him.

I almost didn’t write this post. It’s pretty transparent and I had to question my motives.  This post wasn’t meant to bash marriage (I love weddings, I love being in love, I love happily married people and I pray for troubled marriages all the time.)  It also wasn’t meant to stick it to all those who seem to be an expert on my love life or lack thereof.  Which by the way-as helpful as people think they’re being, unless advice is solicited, telling someone why you think they’re single really isn’t helpful. If you want to see someone you love in a relationship-pray for them and pray for their future spouse.  And keep mum unless they want to talk to you about their relationship status.

I wrote this post because there are people out there who’s deepest longing is to get married and they think they’re life won’t be complete until they find their one true love.  To them, I want to say-your life is already complete.  Your life doesn’t begin with marriage-it began when you were growing in your mother’s womb.  As long as you are breathing, your life is happening, with or without a spouse.  So live it.  Find out who God made you to be and turn your focus on serving Him daily.  Don’t focus on what’s missing in your life-find a thousand reasons to smile every day.  Make a bucket list and set goals.  Then take the steps needed to accomplish your list and goals.   Most importantly-show love and kindness daily to the people God has placed in your life and seek out opportunities to bless others.  This life is really not about you or me.  This life is all about God and serving others for His glory.  Lastly-don’t worry about getting married or being in a relationship.  If God has designed marriage for you, It. Will. Happen.  Lay your heart’s desire at the foot of the cross and trust God to fulfill it in His time.  But remember this-if the worst thing is your life is that God calls you home before you ever get married-you’ve lived one heck of a pretty good life.