Monday, October 9, 2017

A quiet resignation

Brad (name has been changed) and I became friends when I moved back home almost two years ago. It took a year for us to consider dating. We did date, and then I decided to move to Utah. I did not slow down or prepare for the transition at all, which made it very hard to be in another state while the person I cared about the most was at home. He came to visit after three months of me being away, and I was extremely anxious in preparation. After a few hours of being on edge in his presence, I loosened up when I could feel that his sentiments of support and encouragement hadn't changed.

After a couple of months of emotional limbo, I decided to write one letter every day for 5 consecutive days. The letters were addressed to him, but I wasn't intending to send them to him. The letters were to get out all of my thoughts and concerns as a way of trying to let him go. It helped me process what I was feeling and look to the future instead of only looking back. I said goodbye to him.

When I was done writing, I wrapped up the papers and stuck them in my closet. After a couple of weeks, though, the thought flashed in my head that maybe I should send Brad the letters. As soon as I had that thought, the Spirit told me I should. I cried.

I realize now that those letters were me saying goodbye to Brad as my lover; a couple months later, the Lord told me that I should preserve this friendship. I was nervous about that, but I proceeded.

I didn't see Brad again until July when I went back home. My thoughts were tumultuous. As I was around him and I saw what had been familiar to me, I considered moving back home to 'make it work,' but when I thought about going farther than just friends, I didn't feel balanced. We spent an evening together in which I made unwise choices. I didn't feel good. But then the last night, we had really agreed that we would be friends, and our physicality expressed that. It was good. It was right. And I was so thankful to have it. And so I went back to Utah and moved forward.

Last week, I was talking with my good friend here, and based off my reactions and the way I talked about him, she told me that I still had strong feelings for Brad. At first, I didn't want to admit it, but now I see that I do. I don't want to let him go.

But an interesting shift has happened: instead of focusing on what Brad has given me and the blessing I feel from interacting with him, I'm starting to think about what he really wants. I know he loves and cares about me and finds fulfillment in serving and helping me, but what would he choose if I wasn't so attached? Would he choose me if my reaction had no influence on his decision?

I am now able to see him more objectively. And I want him to make this decision for himself. I will not try to manipulate his choice, and if he does not choose me, I will not resist.

I told him on the phone yesterday that I see him as more than a friend. I guess what I wanted to know was if he felt the same way. I told him if I had only seen him as a friend, then I wouldn't have gotten jealous when he shared with me certain details about his social life that involve other women. I asked if he felt that same way about me dating up here. He said no. In fact, he wholeheartedly supports my dating life. I understood more clearly that he does, in fact, only see me as a friend, and that he is not interested in pursuing anything else with me.

He said he didn't want to hurt me and that he still loves me. I know. This might even be the best way of telling someone that you're not interested in them. And yet, how do I honor that truth? What will be my reaction? How do I let something go that's not completely wrong for me? What will be the best decision to make that honors both of our feelings?

I must act according to my truth. Yet I haven't figured out what that action will be yet. I'm still accepting the truth: a subtle surrender. A quiet resignation.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Most Recent Trial

How do you give up something good now for something better or best in the future? How do you exercise that faith to let one thing go when the next thing hasn't come along yet?

That's where I'm at. I have mostly given up someone, trying to move on, and yet I am reminded of the good parts. I believe there is someone better or best for me, but I must be willing to let go of the good before that person comes into my life.

It's been difficult. However, I have been inspired to do some things that help me to overcome these longing feelings of the past. One was to write one letter every day for five days (about 30 minutes each time) about everything I was feeling. I wasn't planning on giving the letters to the person I'm trying to move on from, but after a few days, the impression came very clearly. I sent them in the mail.

Another thing that has helped me to move on was to make a list of the things I really appreciated about our relationship and then things I really didn't like or didn't want to repeat in my next relationship. These items were less about him and more about me, at least the negative ones were.

It has been confirmed to me recently by other women that we might feel a certain way. and then the guy feels a different way. What's important is to stay true to what you feel, even if you don't have anyone else who agrees with you. A standard for one might not be the same standard for another. One of the things I want to do better in my next relationship is to hold myself more accountable and be more faithful to my inner compass, to stop doing things I know are wrong (even if the impression is subtle) and to be more valiant in the things I know are right and good and safe.

I guess they say the best way to mourn/get over the loss of a faithful old dog is to get a puppy. While I'm sure the distraction is great, I don't have too many puppies available, and I'm not sure throwing all my previous baggage into a new relationship is a good idea, but I can at least focus my energy in other pursuits, like starting up my business.

And can I just say that working through this relationship has been really helpful for me learning to love myself? I have learned recently that there is a natural me: the selfish, childish, slothful, frustrated, depressed, forgetful and underdeveloped me. There is also a spiritual me: refined, merciful, benevolent, loving, patient, caring, and longsuffering. I have been prompted lately to allow the spiritual me to minster to the natural me. I permit her to come, and she comes down to my level, shows compassion, and encourages me to try again, or to keep crying as long as I need to, but that it is better to not get so hung up on these bumps in the road.

In reality, my spiritual self is only made possible by Jesus Christ. I can't ever hope to be benevolent and longsuffering if it wasn't for His example. I am thankful that He loves me, even in this very imperfect state. He loves me until I'm perfect, like Him.

Though at times I would like to be rid of this trial I can't seem to shake, I really have come a long way, and I would be ungrateful not to notice the progress or divine assistance that has been given to me.

Now that I see the blessings of being ministered to in my affliction, I might actually get to the point where I ask for hard things. I'm still trepidatious about asking for trials, but I do see the necessity--and the great benefit--that come from experiencing hardships in order to come to know Christ and to be refined in the process.