I am the girl that has dedicated much of her life to avoiding any and every possible situation that could result in any form of failure.
Sports: Never played them. I’ve known from birth that athleticism isn’t my gift.
Public Speaking: In the words of “The 6th Sense” “Stuttering Stanley, stuttering Stanley!”
First in the Class: I knew someone would be smarter than me.
I never put myself in the spotlight, never really wanted anyone to know who I was. I never wanted to “reach for the stars” or “chase my dreams” because of the risk of failure. I mean what if it didn’t work? Like most comfort zones tend to do, this fear of failure greatly restricted several parts of what I wanted, pursued, and achieved in life, and it bled into every aspect of it.
Most largely: relationships.
When I was in the 10th grade I experienced the beginning of my first real relationship. It lasted for around 4 years on & off, and impacted my life way more than it should have. It ended and the only thing I could focus on was the fact that it failed. I failed.
So, naturally I avoided relationships for a very long time.
A couple years later I ended up in a very serious relationship yet again. I had opened myself back up to love, even in the face of the fear of potential failure.
So as I sit here, having recently broken off not just a serious relationship – but an engagement – it would be very easy for me to beat myself over the head with the fact that “it failed”. The relationship failed. I failed.
But as I’ve gone through this season of my life and as I’ve had time to reflect on myself, the relationship, and the Lord, I’ve realized several things that I think every young girl that has recently gone through a break up, or even the girl who is in the middle of a bad relationship that she shouldn’t be in because she deserves so much better, as well as the girl who is single and getting antsy because “everyone is getting married or engaged” needs to hear.
So, here they are.
- Just because it didn’t work does not mean it failed.
Okay. It didn’t work. You tried. You gave it your absolute best and it still didn’t work out. That’s okay. It does not mean you failed. Or that it failed. One thing that I’ve realized is that the Lord can use each and every situation that we go through to teach us, if we are willing to learn. That doesn’t mean that we always get to understand why this or that happened, or heck, even that we made the right decision and that the situation was ever in the perfect will of God. But in spite of that, in spite of us, He can work all things to the good of those who love Him. And He will. So just because the relationship didn’t work, it doesn’t mean you failed or that it was a failure. It simply didn’t work. But He can still teach you, and mold you, and better you if you choose to let Him. And that is a victory.
2. You are not wrong to have high standards.
I literally cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard the phrase “Your standards are too high!”. Probably enough times to pay people a large amount of money to stop telling me that. It is one thing if your list of things in your “dream man” consists of things like “perfect teeth, one dimple on the right side of his face, long eyelashes, 6’3 in height, toned arms, a perfectly even beard, exactly 6 tattoos, and a man who has only ever sinned before Jesus” then yes, maybe you’re standards are too high. But if your list is similar to mine and consists of qualities like “slow to anger, completely honest, leads me spiritually, serves other well, etc.” then no, your standards are not high. In fact, those are standards that we should hold ourselves to, as scripture says that we should be those things. So ladies, please, please have standards like these when looking for a partner to spend the rest of your life with. Because you should have standards, and it is okay for them to be high.
3. The past is the past. Leave it there.
Your past. His past. The past. It’s just that. And if he is no longer the person that he was in the past – if he has repented, changed, and moved forward – then leave it as the past. Trust the power and the grace of the Father. He has changed you, and He can just as easily change him. He molds us and shapes us. So we shouldn’t hold old mistakes over each other’s heads. Love keeps no record of wrongs. Coming from a girl who used to obsess over pasts and hold all the wrongs over his head, it is not worth it. Let the past be the past. There will be so much more peace in your relationship, because honestly it doesn’t matter what happened in the past. He is new. You are new. Christ has redeemed you. So move forward.
4. Controlling one another isn’t okay.
For either of you. As the girl who also used to control and be controlled, it is so incredibly unhealthy. Relationships aren’t about dictating what the other person is doing all the time, and if you are in a relationship where that is taking place or you feel like it needs to take place, maybe you should take a step back and reevaluate. There has to be a reason as to why one person (or both) controls the other, and it often is a result of a lack of trust. Relationships will never function properly without trust. It is absolutely necessary and vital. And having (or wanting) to control the other person is likely a good sign that there is a lack of trust in the relationship.
5. Being in a relationship isn’t the end-all be-all.
Every romance movie ever makes it seem like relationships are the single best thing that life has to offer and that if you aren’t in one – well you just must suck. But that is so untrue. You are great. So loved by a Father who loves so well. You are valued, and worthy, and amazing, and just because you don’t have a significant other does not mean you are any less of any of those things. You are still you. And you are still called and still loved by the Father. The literal definition of love. And you will still be those things once you do have a significant other. Being in a relationship does not determine your worth. The Lord does that. And He says that you are worth sending His son to die for. You are worth everything to Him. And a relationship with Him is 10X better than any relationship with any person can be anyhow. I promise.
6. Settling isn’t worth it.
If you settle you will only end up miserable. You won’t be as happy as you could be and you’ll always wonder “what if, what else”. There is more to life than that. You deserve more than the man you can’t trust, than the boy who disappears for days at a time, and the one who isn’t truly committed. Don’t settle. Wait for the man that The Lord has for you. Don’t awaken love before it so desires.
7. He can heal you.
If you have been in a cruddy relationship, are in one, just got out of one, or even if you’ve never been in a relationship – there is always some part of us that needs healed. Because we’re human. That’s just how it works. We’re broken. And people make each other more broken. Because we’re imperfect. But the One who is perfect wants to heal you. And only He can. He is there waiting, with arms outstretched, longing to hide you in the shadow of His wings, longing to give you peace that surpasses all human understanding. He wants so badly to take your heart – in all its pieces – and ever so gently put it back together again. He wants to make you whole. And He can. Only He can. We can look for it in different places – a rebound, alcohol, a busy schedule, a workout routine, food – but we will never find it unless we look to the One who knows the number of hairs on our head because He created it. The only One who can both truly satisfy and heal our hearts. To the Author of the greatest love story ever written. To the Father.
At the end of the day, we have to chose to let Him heal us. Because truth-be-told not every day will be easy. A lot of them will actually be hard.
Today was hard for me.
Today I cried.
Today I was hurt.
But today I have to let Him in.
Today I have to trust that He has a plan for my life and will work even this incredibly devastating, crappy situation out for my good.
I have to trust that He knows what is best for me, and He will heal me.
Because He will. He always has, and always will because He is so faithful.
And I will let Him.