it's so very strange to use that word..."boyfriend"...you can see a picture HERE...
i haven't used that words in years. and it's honestly one that i never expected to use for a while.
i took on a year of not dating and i certainly expected to fulfill that year and more in singleness.
but i truly feel like God had a different intention than i did for this year.
i heard distinctly a "year" because of Andy Stanley's New Rules for Love Dating and Sex series.
he challenged single men, specifically, to take a year off from going on any dates and spending a year overcoming any sexual sin they had in order to pursue God. it was a very specific challenge, but i decided that i really need to do something similar. i had gotten my identity wrapped up in the identity of a "single woman" and was feeling insecure about being single and i wanted to break away from that in order to see myself as "God's daughter, beautiful and beloved".
so i began my year hard and fast.
i was tunnel-visioned and on a mission to avoid guys at all costs.
but quickly, i realized it wasn't about "avoiding guys", it was about guarding my heart.
"Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life" -Proverbs 4:23My favorite Bible verse, hands down.
God wants the absolute best for us all.
He knows what's best for us.
He wants to bless us with His best.
We just have to be patient and not allow the temptations and desires of the world to overcome the desire for His best.
but fast forwarding a few months, "Tall Man" came into the picture.
he and i met at theWell - he and his friend came for the first time in October and i was the first one to greet them and talk to them. after being gone for two weeks, i came back later that month to see both of them back again, so i immediately went to say "Hi" to them. that night, i found them on Facebook and we were connected via social networking (gotta love it!).
i woke up the next morning to a message from holden thanking me for talking to them and making them feel welcome (which is always a good thing to hear considering that's kind of my "job"). the next weekend, Seacoast had a worship night targeting the middle and high school ministries as well as theWell. my roommate ashley and i decided to go and we met up with holden and his roommate. after the worship night, we went to waffle house (aka "awful waffle") and that's when holden and i immediately connected. our mutual interest in nerd jokes, sarcasm, and pi (not to be confused with "pie") pretty much superseded all other conversation topics. in the words of ashley, "nobody else was in waffle house except you guys". but that night, we exchanged numbers and began texting each other.
a few days later, he asked me to go out with him, and that's when i laid down my cards on the table.
i told him upfront i wasn't dating for a year. i was working on my relationship with Christ and putting it first and foremost in my life. i wanted to honor this commitment and honor my future husband in it.
it was no surprise to me that he wasn't expecting it (his response was literally "oh wow") but it also surprised me that he respected my decision, but still wanted to get to know me.
so, basically, i shot him down. hard.
but that was the first sort of sign that he was "different".
he still (for whatever reason) chose to not let the fact that i didn't want to date him keep him from at least building a friendship.
fast forward a few months and we're at a place where we had bonded emotionally; we cared about each other as more than just friends and it made it very difficult to keep the "just friends" act up. those closest to us knew how we felt about each other and my "one year of not dating" was the barrier that was keeping us from being "official".
after about two months of being on an emotional rollercoaster, last weekend, ashley and i finally had a "Come-To-Jesus"-heart-to-heart conversation about everything. she basically was like, "what's keeping you from dating him? you need to make a decision. you guys need to either be completely in the friend zone - no holding hands, no kissing, no telling each other you miss and love each other - because you don't do that with your other guy friends or you need to just call it like it is and be official. you need to find what brings you peace." and her question really made me take a step back and think...
truth be told, the only reason i hadn't allowed myself to even think about dating holden was my pride. i didn't want people to think i failed. my relationship with God is always going to be first and foremost in my life, whether, it's may, june, july, etc. my determination to keep him first is always present. and when it came down to it, i was given peace about making things official.
in retrospect, i'm glad i was upfront with holden about everything.
when i asked him what he thought about dating before may, he shared the same concern i had - he didn't want me to give up. he didn't want me to stop pursuing God first and i boldly let him know that i would never stop pursuing God.
i think holden admires and loves the fact that i keep God first.
i know for me, sometimes i let rules take the joy out of everything.
for about two months, i really wasn't experiencing joy in my relationship with God.
the first six or seven months of my year were awesome. He was growing me and pushing me and molding me into a godly woman, but those next few months were chaos.
i was constantly battling with Him.
i was almost at the point of resenting Him for putting holden in my life right-smack-dab in the middle of this thing that i felt like He was calling me to do.
i didn't think it was fair.
what does that say about my relationship with Him?
in all honesty, if i'm battling God and acting like God is a bully for doing this, why would anyone want to follow my example?
the joy had been taken from me.
instead of rejoicing in this beautiful friendship that God blessed me with, i was mad because it wasn't anything more than friendship.
and truth be told, the only reason it wasn't more was because of a man-made rule that i set up for myself to try and make myself feel like i was doing something good.
good thing rules are overshadowed by grace!
needless to say, i'm blessed to have holden in my life.
and happier than ever.
i know things won't always be unicorns and rainbows, but i'm looking forward to what God has planned for us. praying that our obedience and dedication to putting and keeping God first and foremost will draw us closer to Him and to each other.