To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.
i live between two types of people.
i have friends who are living according to the ways of the world --
abiding by relationships where morals are lenient and consequences not quite considered.
and then i have friends who are on the pursuit of a seemingly unattainable purity.
and i can't knock them for their pursuit, but i also can't quite live up to it at times.
the truth of the matter is that i fail to identify with both sides.
and it's not because i give in to one side more than the other.
and it's certainly not because i am better or lesser in any way.
it's merely because i have set out on this path -- my own path -- that
doesn't need to be like anyone else's.
i say this so casually, and yet these words do not come easy because on a daily basis i
compare my life to others. it is so wrong of me. yet it is also so human.
i knew that i wanted a crazy kind of love from the moment i understood what true love could look like.
i withheld dating until i was seventeen mostly because i didn't want just anyone,
and i didn't want to just give my feelings away to multiple people.
i was guarded from the minute i ever had feelings for a boy.
and i trusted my own heart more than i was willing to give it away.
now that i am at an age where it is finally reasonable to fall in love, i often feel like i'm still
a teenage girl on the verge of having big feelings for boys.
i feel like i have this secret within me and i find myself shy or fickle.
i dated briefly during my first year of college.
it was sweet, but i was still heart broken from before.
but since having the time to grow and find peace within myself -- within my own independence --
i was able to properly approach a new relationship. remember this day?
so it's been nine months of dating and nearly one year of knowing a man that has completely redefined love and relationship.
it's been one of the best years of my life, really.
and he is my best friend. my very best friend.
and the thought of life without him is daunting and even a bit hollow.
but the idea of he and i, between the two types of people that pull us in completely different directions,
well that is just as daunting. and yet. yet. we press on.
there is something about this man that i hardly address blatantly.
one, because it's mainly his business.
and two, because it's personal.
and three, because it might sound rude or it might be misconstrued.
but, here it goes anyway:
i am dating a man with completely different views than me.
not on everything. we actually have so much in common.
but our views differ on one key thing -- one thing that sits deep in my heart and resides heavily in my soul. one thing that is at the core of my being.
so much of what i have been told has warned me against such relationships.
actually, i do not advise pursuing this kind of relationship if you are not in one.
it is a challenge. a push and pull challenge that will make you cry and make you crazy,
and all the while you might just continue to fall in love.
i had read the warning on the label before i took the pill.
i knew the side effects and the politics and the dangers.
but i leaped into it for god knows why.
and so, nine months later, i have fallen in love with a man who isn't a christian.
but before you get caught up in the technicalities of the title and before you assume that i am
labeling him as a man who doesn't love, or believe in god, please know that your assumptions are entirely wrong.
because nothing about this man indicates doubt or contempt.
in fact, he exhibits the exact opposite.
for the first season of this relationship i felt under control.
as if to say, i've got this, god. like i knew a thing or two that he didn't.
and that season turned out to be the toughest for me.
i had never felt so misunderstood and lost.
i was losing myself,
and just when i wanted to blame the man that i loved,
i stepped back. only to have god ask me to reevaluate my own self.
to see where i lacked with him.
you see, dating a non-christian is truly being "unequally yoked" as it says in second corinthians.
i used to roll my eyes at the term.
but what i have come to learn is that it is indeed literal and tough.
a struggle beyond words.
to be unequally yoked means to have god on only one side of things.
my relationship was entirely one-sided.
and nearly all of it was my fault. entirely.
because i was hiding the one thing that was at the core of my heart.
because the day i met this man and my friends said he'd fall in love with me i sarcastically replied,
"he can't do me if he can't do jesus."
and while they laughed at the crass joke,
my mind was already wheeling.
already i was asking permission to pursue and be pursued.
because i knew that this man couldn't possibly love me entirely unless
we really saw what existed in my heart.
so a few months after that joke -- when i knew i already loved him but felt lost within myself -- i began to ask questions.
and i began to shed layers of myself.
and never had vulnerability felt so harsh against my skin as it did when those first questions were asked.
because the road that leads to the answers might never end.
it will always alter and become more.
perhaps it will become less.
but for now -- for these nine months -- i have learned one of the most valuable, beautiful lessons.
to the man i have loved for nine months,
thank you for teaching me that...
walking with somebody in life dismisses all types of physicality that pertains to a relationship.
walking often means sprinting towards the truth. sometimes it means guiding or following. and all of the time it means serving and holding.
speaking truth doesn't just mean complementing the other person and filling their ears with kind words -- though that has its own importance. but speaking truth is to speak life. to speak worth and value. it is the ability to see god working in the life of the other and delighting in that with them. it's recognizing the faults in the relationship and shedding light on the darkness.
purity isn't something that leads to self-righteousness. purity is the most humbling experience that involves focus, selflessness, and unconditional trust. it is intimacy in the form of conversation and respect. it is dying to one's desires so that they can be stored for the proper time.
openness doesn't just mean having an open mind. but it means having the ability to remain steadfast in what you know to be true, while having the courage to share that steadfastness with the other person. it is knowing when to guide and when to be led.
friendship isn't something casual. but it is a foundation for the fundamentals of a relationship. it's having the ability to cry and to laugh and to be angry when these and all other emotions are necessary. it is inhaling and exhaling each day, through anything and everything. it's about unconditional love and joy. it's about protecting the other and building them up.
in nine months i have learned just how loved i can be. not only by you but through you.
and you have taught me what it means to love entirely unconditionally.
i have not the slightest idea where the next three months to nine months will lead.
but for now you have given me an idea of what a relationship should look like,
in spite of obstacles.
thank you for proving ideas wrong. and for affirming the ideas i know to be true.
and thank you for the openness you have shown me.
i could only aspire to have that sort of selflessness someday.
to our crazy, weird, intentional love...
i love you.