Blog Contributor: D. C. Randall
“For you, I have to risk it all, ‘cause the writing’s on the wall.”– Sam Smith, from “Writing’s on the Wall”
Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over [with no space left for more]. For with the standard of measurement you use [when you do good to others], it will be measured to you in return.” Luke 6:38 (AMP)
“I don’t feel like it. It takes too much work.”
That was my semi-whined response to why I didn’t want to create an online dating profile or dating in general. The idea of possibly developing a romantic to someone after so many years of rejecting and being rejected, misunderstandings, disappointments, and lack of connection has left me humbled, sober, and a bit more selective about attaching my expectations to a person or situation. With all that said, although I’ve gotten a bit wiser, I still grapple with issues of intimacy (emotional, physical, etc.) and not wanting to experience the emotional windfall of being the one doing the rejection and being the one rejected. AGAIN. The response was a fact, but it wasn’t until a few days later when God tapped me on the shoulder and got me to thinking about how much that fact doesn’t have to be the truth.
The interesting thing about life is that no one really tells you how hard it may be to develop connections, and without those connections, knowing how to love can be hard. Even being willing to love can be downright exhausting. The effort to make new friends, create a fun work environment/culture, keep the peace at a family function, and even enjoy your own company can feel like somebody’s put a choke hold on your heart when what you’ve invested so much in doesn’t prosper. This isn’t just about dating; it’s also about community.
So when God started this weeks-long conversation with me, showing me how I sometimes make the experience of being open to love some type of slave labor, I thought about how many opportunities I could miss Him because it “took too much.” If you’re looking for a new job, is filling out applications really too much effort? If you want to get in shape, is a $10 monthly membership to the gym really too much when you can afford it? If you want to get on that dating/courting bandwagon, is bailing on your friend who invited you to a mixer or Superbowl party really worth it? If you want to get closer to God, is writing in your prayer journal or creating a space for short Bible studies throughout the month really too much to give? These are just the basics. The real question is how much is what you want worth it to you? Does love (God’s love even) mean enough to you to put in the extra 10 minutes of prayer time, take that jog after work, call that old friend you left on bad terms, start a random conversation with that guy or doll you’ve been staring at for the last 15 minutes, etc?
Think about Jesus. He suffered ridicule and ultimately the cross. For YOU. He thought you were worth it even though he might have felt lonely when his family didn’t believe him (Jn. 7:1-5), when he desperately wanted to help the folks in his hometown but they had no faith (Matt. 13:58), when he knew he would have to leave his mother here on earth (Jn. 19:25-29), and when for an iota of a moment he would be separated from his Father (Matt. 27:46). None of this was too much work if it meant being with you. Loving you was worth it to Him and still is.
My desire to extend my singleness started to shift as I thought about past mistakes and disappointments in a new way. Yes, sometimes being single is easier than taking that first step. Yes, some days it still hurts. Yes, I still have intimacy issues. Yes, I don’t want to repeat the same experiences again. But yes, I believe in God’s promises, plans, and pursuits. Yes, I believe he works everything for my good. Yes, I’ve picked up some valuable wisdom to share with others along the way. Yes, God is for me. Yes, I believe him. Yes, I believe in myself. Yes, what he wants for me is worth getting my feelings hurt, politely saying no again, meeting new people, adding a new homegirl to the mix, having another friendly conversation with someone I’m not romantically attracted to, and smiling at that hot guy at the gym. Now, I’m not saying I’ll join Tinder or eHarmony tonight or invite that guy at the gym to coffee anytime soon, but it does mean God has my back and I need to give Him and myself a little more credit. The writing’s on the wall. Am I really going to ignore it now?
I’m not sure what has beat you down so much that you feel like you can’t be open anymore or at least not right now, but I do believe some of the best experiences in life come with the willingness to risk our hearts, whether that be reconciling with a relative, forgiving someone who’s hurt us, or just being the new person in a new city with a new job and a new crop of peers. Sometimes life is awkward and that’s okay. Sometimes it seems like too much. That’s okay, too. I’m a big believer in what you put into something is what you get out of it like in Luke 6:38. And while that scripture is often used in reference to giving of gifts or in discussing tithes and offerings, I think Christ’s principle also applies to how open we are to letting God lead us even when it seems scary. And if you pray and weigh your options and see that there are more positive outcomes than negative and that God is leading you step by step, then what’s better than that?
P.S. Who knew God would use a James Bond theme song to get me quiet enough to listen to Him?