And then suddenly, he was gone...
Just as quickly as he had come into my life, he left and it seemed like it was going to be forever. He was off chasing his big dreams while I was left standing there disappearing in his rearview mirror, quickly becoming a faded memory. It hurt me. It hurt bad. But then something happened.
HE CAME BACK!
Not at first obviously... I cried, sulked and eventually started to move on with my life. I grew closer to God and learned more about the gifts he had given to me and the plans he had for me. I made new friends, finished school; I even went on my very own adventure with God and moved to Saint Petersburg, Russia for six months (highly recommend)! However, after about two years, something happened that I would have never guessed. Yep, he was back and I would have a decision to make.
Now I'm not going to lie, I had dreamt of this moment for a LONG time. But when it finally happened, I didn't quite know what to do. Looking back on it now, I wish I had handled myself with a little more grace and tact, but hey, what's a girl to do? I was a bit shocked to put it lightly...
But thinking back to that moment, I realized that there's probably a lot of girls out there who have had to deal with a situation like this, or perhaps you will soon! But really, how do you navigate this anyways? What do you do when everything you thought you wanted walks away from you and then walks back? How do you know if you're making the same stupid decisions as before or if this is just another chapter of your story you'll tell your grandkids someday? Where's the guide book on this thing?
I'm not sure there can ever be a guidebook and I'm certainly not an expert, but I do believe that there are some important things to consider before making a decision like this that we don't always think about in the heat of the moment.
So, here are some vital questions to ask yourself before saying yes to him... again:
1. Why do you want to be with him?
It may sound like a simple and unimportant question, but what would your answer be? Is it rooted in fear of abandonment, worry about what other people may think or unsure that anyone else will ever accept you? Your answer may surprise you and it could help uncover your true intentions for being with the guy.
2. What was your relationship with God like while you were together?
This one I can say was a good red flag for me. A lot of times when I would start dating a guy, I realized (not till much later) that I wasn't really pursuing God much anymore. Looking back, I think I knew if I sought God about the relationship, He would say no. So it was just easier to not ask. But how silly is that? We keep praying for God to send us a man we can spend our lives with and then we resist him if He may not like what we grabbed? God will always lead you into what is best for you, including the right guy.
3. Do you both want to chase each other's dreams?
This is huge! I know it may seem a bit "far off in the future" to be thinking about, but I can think of nothing more miserable than to end up with someone who didn't support my dreams or whose dreams I didn't love. So much of marriage is teaming up with your best friend to go take on the world together, one adventure at a time. Can you truly do that with someone who thinks your dreams are beneath him, or unimportant or prideful?
You may think it's a bit extreme, but how does he see your dreams? Does he support you? Does he encourage you? Is he seeking God about the dreams that are on his heart? There's a lot of amazing people out there in the world, but they won't all understand you and your heart in the way that special person will. Trust me, he's worth the wait.
4. What do close and respectable friends and family think?
The key words here being close and respectable. I'm not talking about your roommates who just love to gossip or your crazy family who never have anything encouraging to say. I remember when I was dating this guy, my friends were supportive, but I could tell they didn't like it. I thought I had to stand up for my relationship and defend it to the world (something a lot of us girls tend to do) but these were the girls who knew me best and whether I realized or not, they loved me.
When I finally started to date Jeff, it was almost weird how everyone was so supportive saying things like, "yeah, it's about time," or "you guys are just the greatest couple." That was all new territory for me and it almost threw me off. Just make sure you're not letting a false sense of "staying strong with your man" keep you from a love story others can see too.
5. What is God saying to you?
Yes, you can hear the voice of God. If you've been believing the lie that you can't or your not holy enough yet, then you need to throw that out right now. The bible says that his sheep hear his voice. So if you're born-again, you can hear and follow after the wisdom of your Heavenly Father. And guess what? He cares! Yes, he cares about your messy love life, every twist, turn, and sometimes scary part of it. It's all part of your story and he cares very much about it being written well.
So spend some time with God and ask Him what He thinks. Ask Him if this relationship is healthy and if it's His absolute best. This isn't selfish at all because if this guy isn't the best God has for you, then guess what sweet cheeks, you aren't the absolute best for him! Protect both of your hearts and seek after the advice of the best advisor around.
6. Are you operating in fear or peace?
I would say that for most of my relationships I was operating in legit FEAR. It was almost as if as soon as a guy liked me, the goal was set before me. And once he asked me out, I knew I was worth his attention. When this particular guy came cruising back into my life, I had to think about each senerio and consider how I felt about it.
To be honest, I had spent so much time acting out of fear I'm not sure I was able to recognize it. But what I did know was the peace of God. It was the same peace I felt when I decided to move from Georgia to Colorado Springs after graduating High School to go to Bible College. It was the same peace I had when I decided to move to Russia in the middle of winter. And it was the same peace I felt when I decided I didn't want to get back together with him.
Now I am NOT saying to just simply follow your emotions.
Peace is not an emotion so much as it is a knowing that this is the right thing.
And if all else fails and my world crashes down around me, I know this was the right decision. Peace is also a fruit of the Spirit. So if you want to be able to follow your peace, you need to get with God and start growing that fruit. It's in you but you won't experience it unless you draw it out.
So... should you get back together with him?
Well, I wish I could tell you… but I can't. Only you can make this decision but you don't have to make it alone. God cares very much about who you end up with and He is VERY protective over your heart. The last thing on this earth He wants is to see it get broken and He will be with you every step of the way.
These are not a set of rules to live by but simply some questions to consider when making this very big decision. I said no, but when I did finally meet the right guy, it seemed like all the rules had changed again! I'm not sure there are any rules; there's no map that will work with every guy all the time. That's why you need a relationship with Jesus and you need to stay close to Him. He will be the one to guide you through the tangled mess of love and men.
He's the one who led me to say no this particular time but He's also the one who told me that my heart would be safe with Jeff. By the time the right guy came along, I was so full of fear that I couldn't trust every emotion I was feeling. But I could trust His voice. And His voice is the one who will lead you into the greatest love story you have ever known.
You are worth a great love story. Never doubt that.
But you'll also be writing this story with a very imperfect guy (Prince or not). No man can reach the standard of Jesus. Allow yourself to be loved by Him, and only then will you be ready for the right guy to come along.
It may be this one, or it may not be. But what you must always remember is that you are a treasure to someone and that's who you're waiting for.
Cling to Jesus and I promise you that He will write this story well.