Saturday, December 12, 2009

emotional band-aids

inspiration: Band-Aids & "Break Me Down" by Tenth Avenue North
Read my testimony here

You know the feeling: You want to take off a band-aid.
The questions run through your mind: "Should I try and peel it back and endure a longer, less-intense pain? Or should I just suck it up and RIPPPPP it off, scream once, and then move on?"
I know for me, I'm a sissy, and tend to choose a longer, less intense pain because I know that the rip-it-off pain is worse… Haha.

So, needless, to say, when it comes to emotional band-aids, I take the same approach: I choose to endure the less-intense emotional hurt (I may even be able to suppress those feelings of hurt by busying myself with school, work, friends, Facebook, Farmville…whatever it may be).

But when God's tugging at your heart to "rip off the emotional band-aid" in order to put Him first in your life, you know that a sharp-side-splitting, gut-wrenching, heart-breaking pain is inevitable and the longer you fight it, the worse the pain is going to be.

Welcome to my current state of mind.

I'm in the midst of the after effects of ripping of an emotional band-aid.
Here's the backstory:

Josh and I dated for over 1 year and 4 months. We started out as "awkward" friends (which is a hilarious story, in itself), but once we opened up and overcame some "awkward" situations, we lost our "awkward" feelings for each other and were able to connect on a deeper, more emotional level. After a few months of dating, I started getting the "He's-the-one" feelings. But life moved forward and our distance and the stresses of balancing school, work, and distance overtook us and our "once-upon-a-time-storybook-relationship" started fading. And fast! We overcame lots of hard times, arguments, fights, break-ups and make-ups…We fought through everything because of our love for each other...

But when we broke up "officially" (October 4, 2009), I started trying to reading Gary Chapman and Francis Chan (the former because is VERY famous for his Christian perspective on love and relationships and the latter because it was the literature for community group). And especially through reading Gary Chapman, I quickly realized that my "love" for Josh wasn't at all supported by my actions. I was a selfish, manipulative, blame-shifting, finger-pointing girlfriend, something I NEVER wanted to be and certainly something I NEVER thought I would become.

But I tried to still "be friends" with Josh because he was and still is an important person in my life. During our time dating, especially in the beginning, he was a strong-willed, strong-in-his-faith (to the point of intimidating me!), God-fearing man…and I absolutely admired him for being so strong. I was a very passive person and I never stood up for myself, but in dating him, I gained a backbone and gained some "spunk" and started trying to find myself and find what I was passionate about.

...but I digress...

But in "being friends" with Josh and trying to maintain some sort of relationship with him, I always held out hope for something more again. I still trusted and loved him and I knew that if even if he asked me to do something extreme, like to move across the country with him, I can honestly say that my response would probably have been "Let's go!"
But I was putting Josh first (even above God!) and in doing so, I felt my restless heart and lack of peace with God. I felt Him pulling me to come back to Him; He was pressing His weight on my heart; He was begging me to come back to Him (a very humbling feeling in retrospect...that God could really want someone as screwed up as me...)

So on December 6, 2009, I drove to Murfreesboro at 7AM to speak the most heart-shattering words I, to this day, have had to say: "Josh, we can't be friends." When I was standing there in that room trying to make Josh understand, I have to give all the credit to God for strengthening me. I knew that it was one of those situations where Josh wouldn't understand why I did what I did or why I was saying what I was saying. And I wanted so much to be told "Nikki, you're doing the right thing. God needs to be the most important thing in your life.", but I was denied that affirmation and the rejection and emotional hurt is still weighing heavy on my heart.

But God was keeping me on my feet, not letting me fall to my knees and giving in to the selfish heart that wanted to ignore God's calling...God was keeping my eyes turned to Him when I was driving back to Clarksville, keeping me on the road and keeping me from turning the car around and driving back to the Boro and giving into my selfish heart once more.

God NEEDS me!
He needs me to be all for Him. He needed me to rip off that emotional band-aid. He needed to break me down so that I could be rebuilt and molded for Him. He needs me to be strong for what He has planned for me.

But now, if I'm being completely honest, it truly, truly, truly, truly and absolutely sucks!

Truth be told, I still love Josh. I still fight my selfish heart to not talk to him, to not try and reach out to him, to not call him, to not drive across the state to see him. And it's such an odd and frustrating feeling to fight with yourself. These are the repercussions of ripping off the band-aid: a heart full of hurt, yearning for affirmation from the person it loves, yet trying to keep focus for God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 says this: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows."

Jeremiah 29:11 (one of my favorite verses): "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.'"

And of course, the ultimate "keep-on-truckin'" verse, James 1:2-4: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

These all have helped calmed down my frustrated and wounded heart. But again, if I'm being honest, it would be so much easier if God said "In order to overcome heartbreak, follow these 3 easy steps and be instantly healed!" Of course, God works on his own timetable and molds and shapes us for His plans and purposes, not ours, and in doing so builds our faith and trust in Him.

...but it still hurts. And it certainly doesn't make ripping band-aids off any easier, especially emotional ones.

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