Recently, I made a dumb mistake. What made it even dumber was the fact I blatantly ignored the still, small voice (rather, it was booming, loud and clear) that said,
“Not a good idea, Leslie. Don’t do it.”
Yet, I did it anyway.
The result? I spent an entire day feeling guilty, sad, angry with myself, afraid, remorseful, disappointed and ashamed. I beat myself up for hours upon end. I even felt sick, and muttered,
“You’ve really fucked it up this time, Leslie. Way to go. Way to ruin everything.”
What is this, 2011, and I’m back in jail, with Pretty Gum Chewer and Pock Face at my side? It certainly felt like it. Haven’t I learned anything in this new life of mine?
I’m definitely being dramatic here, but the truth is, I am terrified of making mistakes. I always have been. Yet, I keep making them.
As I called upon my trusted friends – all whom were unfazed by my confession — they talked and prayed me off the ledge.
“Leslie, you need to stop beating yourself up. God doesn’t see you as you see yourself. Look at this as an opportunity to allow Him to reveal just how much He loves you,” one friend gently stated.
Is it really that easy?
The answer is yes. Yes, it is. It’s called grace. It’s the very definition of the gospel.
I guess I still don’t get it.
I really want to.
Despite my own failings, I’m extremely tired of accepting shitty circumstances and making the best out of them.
I’m lonely. I’m needy. Sometimes I’m sick and afraid. I’m desperate for attention, recognition, validation and LOVE.
What I really want – and am too embarrassed to admit — ?
I want to be spooned every night, by someone who isn’t going to leave.
Is that too much to ask?
I feel silly writing this. But, hey, let me vomit my feelings today, because I’m feeling sorry for myself. I’m running a fever and can barely move from the couch. I can say whatever I want. No regrets. Right? (Snicker.)
I’m tired of being vulnerable. I’m sick of being the divorced person who spills her guts, has moved forward beautifully, but is still lonely and disappointed by the mediocre, slim pickings of available men. I’m done being single, but I’m not interested in dating because it is AWFUL, HEINOUS, HORRIBLE, DRAINING and feels like a TOTAL WASTE OF TIME. I’m TIRED of hoping there’s a man out there who will get it; who will love, value, respect and appreciate me for WHO I AM. I’m EXHAUSTED with lazy, little boys who are looking for a mommy. (I was married to that. Not doing it again!) I’m impatient, and soothing cliches from well-meaning folk turn my tongue bitingly caustic.
Sometimes I even feel like life is passing me by. Even though I am enjoying every moment in beloved New York, I still long for things beyond my control.
But wait, Jesus is supposed to be my boyfriend, right?
In so many ways, I KNOW He is. No human will ever complete me. I KNOW THIS. I KNOW IT, KNOW IT, KNOOOOWWWWWWW IT.
Jesus has pulled me out of the shit storm of life, set me free and re-booted my heart. He has graciously and lovingly helped me grow into a beautiful woman. I see it! I have fleeting moments of feeling complete, and I experience lovely, personal incidences when He woos me and shows me how much He loves me, whether through creation, a song, the sudden appearance of a white butterfly, a bicycle ride through Central Park, the love of a friend, and providing for me, every step of the way.
Still, my restlessness triggers a thought. Perhaps I haven’t trusted Him enough to be everything. I want my boyfriend Jesus to spoon me at night. I want to feel it.
Good grief, I sound crazy.
In Chapter seven of his book, The Meaning of Marriage, my pastor and theological crush, Dr. Timothy Keller, writes,
“If singles will learn to rest and rejoice in their marriage to Christ, that means they will be able to handle single life without a devastating sense of being unfulfilled and unformed. Why? Because the idolatry of marriage that is distorting their single lives will eventually distort their married lives if they find a partner. So there’s no reason to wait. Demote marriage and family in your heart, put God first, and begin to enjoy the goodness of single life.”
YES, brother man. PREACH. I HEAR you and UNDERSTAND.
Right now, however — at this exact moment in time — singlehood does not feel anything like goodness.
Perhaps I’m standing on the precipice of enlightenment. Perhaps I’m just being a total brat. I think either option is okay, for I will continue to move forward, and hope for things that may not come to fruition. There’s a huge part of me that wants to conquer my neediness for human love and affection, but unless I acknowledge the truth – I desire it – I really won’t be able to move off this couch with any sort of integrity. (Got to schlep my pathetic self to the drugstore for some medicine. This illness is taking over my body, fast!)
My ultimate challenge is to trust God to be everything in my life. I want the knowledge in my head – He loves me fiercely and will never leave me – to travel to my heart. I want to surrender everything to Him.
Sigh. This might be the hardest thing I have ever done.