Like a Screaming Kid at the Store

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5

I spend a lot of time with people from a culture where saving face and not offending or inconveniencing others are the most important things a person do. How many times has someone told me, “I have to buy that for her, or she will cry,” or something very similar.

Though I don’t have children of my own, I did grow up in a culture where parents don’t necessarily bow to the children’s wishes. So, I often mention to these other parents that if the child knows that she must only cry, in order to change the answer from no to yes, she will do that for everything.

(I don’t want to get into whether or not I should offer unsolicited parenting advice. It is what it is, and I’m just using it as an illustration.)

Just a moment ago, I was reading another Christian blog. The blogger was writing about the Gospel message and its sufficiency in a believer’s life.

It is no secret that I deeply desire to be married, and feel very disappointed that I will be 40 in less than three months, but still single. Though I will not sin in order to have a relationship or to get married, I am concerned over the idea that marriage may be more important to me than my relationship with the Lord.

The blogger also cited the verse above about God being the one who gives us all comfort. This made me pause a moment. I had to consider whether I turn to God in my disappointment over still being single.

Do I turn to Him and allow Him to comfort me, just because of who He is?

Or will I only be comforted by Him, when (or if) He answers my prayers for a husband with a yes?

Like the child in the store, will I just scream until I get what I want? Or will I calm down and trust what my Heavenly Father has in store for my life? Up until now, I think I’ve mostly just been screaming.

Don’t get me wrong: my desire to be married to a godly man, with whom I can serve the Lord, has not diminished in the past 20 minutes. I do hope, however, to be able receive the comfort and love that He so freely gives me. I want to accept Him for who He is, not for what He can give me.

I Haven’t Been Trusting the Lord

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

26 Look at the birds of the [p]air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? Matthew 6:26-27

I have been a Christian for 12 1/2 years.  I’ve known and understood the gospel message for most of my life, but it’s only been since about 2002 that I would consider myself to have been born again.  These past 12 1/2 years have seen me go through many ups and many downs.  

Growth, setback, doubting…trust…

Trust.

I thought I had been trusting the Lord.  I thought I had been leaning not on my own understanding and allowing him to make my paths straight.   I also thought I had been considering the birds in the air and the lilies in the field.  I thought I was seeking first God’s kingdom, and allowing other things to be added unto me.

I was wrong.

In some ways, I have trusted God. I’ve trusted God with my finances.  I’ve trusted Him with job situations.  I’ve trusted Him with difficult friendships.

But there has been one major area in which I’d been holding out.

Marriage.

I desire very much to be married.  I am nearing an age that some think it is too late for marriage.  Maybe not so much in these times, but certainly 30 or more years ago, I’d probably be considered an old maid by now.

I do not believe that I have put my life on hold while waiting for a man to rescue me.  Well-meaning people often warn against this.  It’s not the case for me.  I do have friends.  I go out when I have time.  I volunteer and am active in church.  My life is very full and quite blessed – in spite of any difficulties.

Still, the fact that I am still unmarried, while people half my age are getting married left and right, then having children (not always in that order), is a source of disappointment for me.  When will I meet the man I will marry?  Will it be before I am no longer able to have children of my own? The questions go on and on, as does the pain.

Obviously, this is something I think about quite a bit.  And therein lies my problem.  There is where the lack of trust comes in.

Do I trust the Lord to know and be concerned about the desires of my heart? Yes.

Do I know that he wants what is the very best for my sanctification and growth?  Of course.

Do I believe that He will give me a fulfilling life, whether single or married?  Definitely.

But…

Do I believe that the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, holy Lord of all creation will remember that I desire to be married, if I don’t worry about it constantly and remind Him about it every 30 minutes or so?

Well, no.

I haven’t been believing that.  So, I’ve been reminding him fairly regularly.  Lest the One who is the Alpha and Omega, who knows precisely how many hairs are on top of my head (and how many are white vs. how many are brown)…lest He forget that I’m still hoping for an earthly husband…I must remind him.  Often.  If I fail to do this, he might think I changed my mind and will completely alter his plans for my future.

When put like that, it seems pretty ridiculous, huh?  Yeah.  It does.

I am actually ashamed at what a low view I must have of my God, to think that he needs me to leave him Post-It Notes all over the place.  I repent in sackcloth and ashes.  Maybe not, but with a broken and contrite heart, I ask forgiveness for grossly underestimating God’s sovereignty, wisdom, and trustworthiness.

Attempting to act as God’s self-appointed, personal assistant is actually pretty tiring and burdensome.  What a relief to realize He doesn’t actually need me to act in that capacity!

So, hopefully, from here on out, I’ll trust and “allow” God to do His work.  I’ll stop trying to micromanage Him.  If, in fact, He does intend for me to be married in the future, I trust that he will continue orchestrating my life and the man’s life, in order for that to take place.

I will relinquish the personal assistant position and set about the work that He has called me to do:  To love Him with all of my heart, mind, soul and strength and to love my neighbor as myself.

31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But [s]seek first [t]His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:31-34

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and[a]foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  Matthew 22:36-40

“Wounded Puppy” post script

As I was composing my previous post, I came to a disappointing realization about myself.  Even with all of my “preaching” on the topic of avoiding troubled men, guess what I did this very evening?!

That’s right.  I went straight on down to the check out a new puppy.  This is one that I’ve actually known for a few years.  I’d rarely seen him sober until recently.  And even when he was, he barely spoke two words to me at a time.  And those words were coaxed out by me. I was never interested in him.  In fact, I kind of had a lot of disdain for him.

Anyway, he was at the same event that I was at this evening.  He spoke more words to me – and more kindly – than he has in the whole time I’ve known him.  It was basically small talk about his job, going back to school, things like that.

Because he was being personable, I ventured to ask him whether he still smokes.  He said he doesn’t.  Okay, then…let’s take this a step further.  I asked whether he still drinks.  Also, stopped.  Why?  Because God doesn’t approve.  He said he’d stopped both five months ago.  He pointed out that he’d lost weight, as a result.  True enough.  He had.  And I do hope that he was being honest with me about the reason.

So, assuming that he was telling me the truth, he has been making efforts to be obedient to the Lord and seek healing.  That’s good.  Still, that doesn’t mean that I need to be all open-hearted-y and stuff toward him, does it?!

Of course it doesn’t!!!

Does that stop my heart from being opened-y?

Of course it doesn’t!!!

My heart is on its own schedule.  Occasionally, it checks in with me to make sure that I’m still there, but then it goes off and does its own will.  (I should start calling my heart “Old Testament Israel.”)

It is incomprehensible to me that I could be writing warnings against something, and at the same time be feeling the very things I’m warning against.

 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:21-25

I am pleased to see the change in this man.  Truly, I hope and pray that he was being honest with me.  For his own sake.  However, I know my heart.  I have little control over my heart, but I know it.  It’s doing that thing.  You know, that thing.  It’s that thing that’s telling me that I need to keep a safe distance from this guy until I know I can handle it.

Believe it or not, there are plenty of guys with whom I can relate without “that thing.”  However, when I recognize it, I know it’s time to take shelter.

Easier said than done.  Easier said than done, my friends.

I think what got me going tonight was that this is the first time I saw him as a person with an actual heart.  As I said, he never really talked to me before – and certainly not politely.  So, that was the entry point for me.  That was the point of “now I know you have a heart, let me know all about it!”  Fortunately, I maintained a semblance of self-control as far as trying to steer the conversation and ask him a ton of questions about where he is now, spiritually speaking.  No matter what the situation, with males or females, I tend to steamroll people who express to me the very slightest bit of interest in the things of God.  I did ask him a couple of questions, but I don’t think I went too far, nor did I become too preachy.  (that’s a bad habit of mine.)

So, back to the point: as aware as I am, I see how I can still be taken down fairly easily.  Maybe that’s why the Lord chose this very evening for me to finally write that last post.  He wanted me to see my conversation with this guy under the glaring light of what I already know to be true.

 

 

 

 

Let the (HSP) Buyer Beware: HSPs and “Wounded Puppy” Men (Part 3 of 3)

I’m thinking I can only eke out this one more post on this topic.  So, let’s get to it.

Most of what I’ve read about HSPs includes that we are very sensitive to other people’s emotions, as well. Very empathetic.  It’s mentioned that HSPs seem like we are psychic, because we can perceive others’ emotions so well.

I won’t go much into being “psychic.”  However, I can see why this would make us susceptible to these types of troubled guys, the “wounded puppies.”

First, we see the surface.  Ohhhh, this guy is trouble.  Then, we talk for a couple of minutes.  Or maybe more.  In between all of the rough, tough and rude, some little phrase or personal information slips out.

That tiny crack in the veneer is not a “tiny crack” to an HSP.  It’s a wide-open door, with a sign that says “look into my heart. Rescue me.”  It probably doesn’t actually have a sign, but we create that sign in our imaginations.  We want to know who hurt him.  When?  How can I make it better?

“Project!!!”

These guys very well may need help.  But guess who should not be the one to give it?  You got it:  the HSP female, who will fall in love with his wounded-ness.  In romantic love.  An actual canine puppy? No problem.  We can cuddle it, we can nurse it back to health, but we will never envision a relationship with this puppy. Because, well, it’s a puppy.  That’s why.

On the other hand, Puppy-Man should not be seen as a potential mate.  Puppy-Man may not even know that he needs/wants our help.  He will probably be resentful and push us away.  And what will that do to our tender hearts?

So, HSP sisters, back away from Puppy-Man.  You can’t fix him.  You can – and should – pray for him.  You can – and should – seek out some strong Christian brothers who might befriend him.  However, this must NOT be with the goal in mind that they will fix him, and you can date him.

This is not to say that Puppy-Man is 100% undateable.  It’s just that it can never be your goal.  If it ever comes back around to the two of you, that’s wonderful.  But please, PLEASE do not date him during his healing time.  And if you don’t date him, don’t sit in the waiting room, while he’s in the Puppy ICU.  I can’t decide which of those two actions would be worse.

I’ve realized that all of what I’ve said has come from a place of protecting your HSP heart.  Let me also talk about Puppy-Man’s heart.  IF he falls in love with you in this state, it will not be a healthy love.  It will be a selfish, needy love.  He’s too mired in his issues to truly love you in a godly way.  He may not even truly have a relationship with God, that is based in love, fear and obedience.  That’s why he’s in the state he’s in to begin with!

Anyway, there will come a point where you’ll discover the unhealthy nature of his love codependence for you.  You will decide that this is not what you desire.  And you will want to leave the relationship.  (Worse yet, you’ll be like me and stay, anyway.  Two years ago.  Not with this one.) If you leave, his heart will be broken.  Puppy-Man can neither give healthy love, nor respond to it.  So, when this love is withdrawn, it will cause him further damage.

What is the most loving (and healthy) way for an HSP to handle a Puppy-Man?  Kindly back away from even a friendship.  As soon as it becomes clear that he is in such a condition, and is not doing anything to seek help, you need to end the friendship.  Please trust me on this.  If you don’t, you’ll both fall in love for all of the wrong reasons.  You will not be able to be “just friends.”  Please trust me on this.  I’ve been through it too many times.  And no, it won’t be “different” for you.

Every, single person you will ever meet has issues, hurts, insecurities and sins.  No one will be fully healed and sinless until they are with the Lord in heaven.  But look at how the wounds are being treated.  They are being treated in one of two ways:

1.  He is licking his own wounds, using alcohol, drugs, fighting, and/or rudeness.  Or he may be licking his wounds with good old denial that they even exist. There are countless other “home remedies” that may be employed, but these are the ones I usually find in my Puppy-Men’s cabinets…

OR

2.  He is rushing to the only One who can bind his wounds.  He is giving up all of his “over-the-counter” meds and tossing all of his home remedies.  He is repentant and ready to follow the “Doctor’s orders.”

Only the men from the second category will be able to truly love you and receive your love in a healthy and honest manner.