singleness, jealousy, and humbleness.
An ongoing battle.
"I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interest are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord."
1 Corinthians 7:32-35 ESV
I can only speak from personal experience when it comes to love and relationships. I can say that I have never learned more about myself than I have when I take a step back and look at my actions throughout them. While I would love to just sweep things under the rug and pretend they never happened, that won't help anyone. Including myself.
So I am going to lay it out in hopes that it will help others, and myself, in staying solid in the only relationship that really matters. The one we have with God.
My first and last relationships showed me the absolute most about myself. They showed me that I wasn't as solid and steady as I claimed to be.
My first relationship.
I was convinced I was utterly in love. And maybe I was. That was what I used to justify everything that I was asked and allowed myself to do. And I shut completely down. I was bitter for a long time after it ended. But I can't ignore what it taught me.
I learned that I am a people pleaser. That no matter what I want, I will do what I can to please others, regardless of how it makes me feel, as long as they are happy and satisfied. So I spent the next two years doing the complete opposite.
I only did what I wanted. Everything was for me, with no regard to anyone else. I was bitter, I was dead set on doing everything alone. And then, I met the two people who would absolutely change my life.
My best friends, Grace and Kylie.
They were avid churchgoers, heavily involved in their youth groups and their worship teams. Two people my age, doing the absolute most for God. I craved what they had.
Kylie pushed me in more ways that I can imagine. She intellectually challenged me, made me realize their was no glory in doing things alone, their was no backbone to my independence, and no use for my blatant, choppy comments. In the kindest way possible, cause that's just how she is.
She brought me to my first Christian conference, Strength to Stand in Gatlinburg, TN. I was absolutely in awe of the people I met. The things I saw, the testimonies I heard. And from there my love for God rolled over in its grave.
The following year, she took me back, and I gave my heart to God, in the very place that reignited my love for Him.
It was her that showed me that God brings you through seasons, that some people are meant to help you and move on with their lives, while others are meant to stay. And I learned the following summer, with an absolute aching heart, that Kylie had served her purpose in my life, and we were both off to bigger and better things in life with hearts full of love for each other.
Now, Grace. A true friend soulmate if I had ever had one. While Kylie helped me find my love for God, Grace taught me how to express it, how to show it, and how to feel it. Music therapy, truly a thing. And we had many a sessions together.
Now onto year five of our friendship, she pushes me everyday to be better, and keep me on the path she knows I so easily stray from. My built in accountability partner, the other half of my concert duo, who still to this day sends me songs that she knows would resonate deeply with me. Another beautiful soul God let me see to show me He was very much here.
And those two young women helped me get on my feet. Do away with the prideful mentality that life was meant to be done my way, and only my way. That I had absolute control over everything, I made my own story.
God made my story, I'm just playing it out.
I say this because while I was surrounded by people who loved me, and who I loved, I still felt alone.
In my last relationship, I was coming off of the high of the conference that changed my life. My personality had done complete turn around. And I was probably a worse pushover than I was originally.
And throughout the course of my last relationship, I slowly watched myself grow farther and farther away from God. And I let it happen. And I am still in the aftermath of trying to claw back up the slope I descended so quickly. But that's the thing about sliding down the mountain, when you get to the bottom you have to start climbing back up. And not only is it once again making it past the troubles you've already dealt with, you made some more lose gravel on your way down that you have to watch out for.
I am still in the aftermath of jealousy. Of still wanting to be the person they go to, even though we are no longer together. To be the one who knows them best. Whose advice they actually give a listen. It's a very selfish mindset, one that I created in my downward spiral that I am trying to correct. An area in which I need to humble myself.
I am just a vessel, put here with free will. With the purpose of spreading God's love over the course of my life. Living in a way that would bring others to know His love, and spread it with me. How can I do such a thing with a mindset like that?
Like it said in 1 Corinthians, I was truly anxious only about how my partner was feeling, never how I was, especially in my relationship with God. And now I have to fix that relationship on my end, to be much steadier, my boundaries to be more solid, and not so easily believe what is portrayed on the outside. To see, truly, what is underneath and whether or not that is what God has for me, and for them.
It isn't always easy living in singleness, even though we tend to do much better in our singleness than in a relationship, but who doesn't want someone to grow with and lean on and have that connection with? I know I do.
But, you have to be solid in Him first. Know that no matter what, He determines your worth and not others. He is where your identity is found. He is your endgame. And until you have that mindset, you'll never have someone who will love you the way you're intended to be loved. The way God allows you to be loved.