A new acquaintance said it was abnormal for me not to be dating. It’s been three years since my divorce. She said it was time for me to move on. Maybe I should see a psychiatrist to figure out what is wrong with me?
Previously I have always made the mistake of needing a man in my life to confirm my value. Uncomfortable with loneliness, I would secure a relationship with early, indiscriminant intimacy. I am different now; my worth comes from knowing that I am a Beloved Child of God.
I sought the counsel of a good friend for another perspective. “Am I abnormal? Do I need to see a Psychiatrist because I’m not in a romantic relationship?”
He was silent for a few reflective moments. Then he spoke.
“Guard your heart. The decision who to marry is the most important decision you will make in life. You have two failed marriages that underscore the importance of waiting patiently on the Lord and choosing wisely.”
He continued, “It is wise of you to strengthen your relationship with the Lord. If He wants you to be in a relationship He will send you the right person. Don’t rush in, fall in love, and have sex just because the world has declared it as “normal” behavior. Be strong. Be bold and follow the Lord’s wisdom to glorify Him patiently and to wait on Him even when you are criticized by others.”
So, how do we guard our hearts yet be open and loving in new relationships? Can we really take the risk? Having previously gambled and lost, I have good reason to be afraid. Love means openness, vulnerability, availability and confession. It is risky to be honest because someone might not respond with love. They may turn our vulnerability against us. In the wrong hands our openness can be very dangerous. Revealing our past failures and present ambivalences can make us losers. We are thrown away in a gesture of contempt. This is a cruel fact in today’s world. We cannot expect that everyone will respond to us with love and forgiveness.
We are wise to approach our daily encounters like an oyster keeping our hard shell tightly closed in order to protect our tender and vulnerable self. It is important for us to establish boundaries between shrewdness and vulnerability. We need to learn when to respond with toughness or kindness. Our question is not “Can I ever love again?” but rather “Will I seek God’s wisdom in determining whom I should be open and vulnerable with, and with whom I should “guard my heart?”
No psychiatrist needed. At this time in my life I have God for my relationship doctor. I have my Circle of Twelve for consultation. I don’t know the future, but I’ve put my trust in God.
Ladies- Have you failed at love before? How did you determine when to be open and love again? Share your experiences with me here. Or, do you have a sister or friend that needs to “guard her heart” Forward this post to her, and then call to talk with her more.
Philippians 4:7- And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”