April 28, 2015

True Love and The Friend Zone


Life has been busy this year.  God is stretching me in many areas of my life.  And its only April!
One of the more emotional areas of growth has been the ever morphing relationships with my guy friends.  One in particular.

These guy friends and I have been doing a lot together for about four-ish years.  Of course I have more friend girls then friend guys but the point I want to make is that these men have been in my same social circles for a significant amount of time.

We all had many game nights, movie nights, lunches after church and all manner of excursions.  It has been a lot of fun.  And then, all-of-a-sudden... something changed.  

I suppose I should have gotten the hint that all was not well when my friend gals and my guy friends' friend gals stopped attending excursions, frequently hitting the "Maybe" button on Facebook invites if they responded at all.

These guy friends always showed up to anything I planned or attended and soon began inviting me to their excursions too, along with my friend gals of course.  But it soon became apparent to me that the gals were backing out on purpose and no matter how I asked them they would kindly give some version of, " I am too busy."

It was during one lunch after church that I made a final decision.  As usual an invite was sent out with a string of "Maybe" responders.  I decided to attend hoping that would encourage others to do the same.  But it did not.

That day I was the only gal that showed up to the lunch.  And after an hour or two I prepared to leave.  As I did so every man in the room stood up and I turned around to say goodnight.  That was the moment I felt like Snow White with the Seven Dwarfs.  Not that any of the guys were small in stature and that's not to say that there is anything wrong with being short.  Nor were there exactly seven guys.

Basically I felt like the Belle of the ball.  My guy friends were looking at me in a way that made me feel beautiful and appreciated and I remember wondering why no other gals decided to arrive.

But I worried that my guy friends were getting the wrong impression about why I was the only gal spending time with them.  So I began declining events when no friend gals joined in.  It was not long after this decision that one of my guy friends asked to speak with me after a church service.

And only moments after finding a quiet corner he expressed his deeper feelings for me.  I, for the most part, did an excellent job of not letting me jaw drop to the floor.  This guy friend took me by complete surprise.  I never thought he felt anything but friendship for me.  And the fact that he took the initiative to tell me in person, not even by smartphone, really impressed me.

He made it clear that he wanted to move our friendship to one of dating with the purpose of getting to know each other better.  And I was touched and impressed by his willingness to be rejected.  That took guts and it took trust in God.  A mentor later told me that it also showed the level of trust he felt with me. So I agreed to give us both a chance and see where God might lead us.

Several months and several dates later he is still interested in moving forward.  But my feelings for him remain that of friendship and nothing more.  And so a few trusted mentors have encouraged me to have " the talk" with him sooner rather than later.  It isn't fair to continue a dating relationship if I know my feelings for him will not change.  We are both desiring a spouse and so letting this relationship go can free us to find the right match.

It is no fun to be the one suffering love-sickness and it is no fun to be the one who has to dash the hopes of something more.  Why is it that men and women can fall in love with someone who doesn't reciprocate?

Can I ask you to please join me in praying over this situation?  I need God's guidance. 

As for the other guy friends, several are still around.  A few have definitely shunned me which causes me to wonder if more than one friend wanted to ask me out. Those individuals have not even showed up at church anymore.  *sigh*  I suppose its a blessing I was not hoping for more than friendship with those men.

I Corinthians 13:4-8a
" Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs....
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves. Love never fails..."

Painting: "A Difference of Opinion" by Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema 

March 02, 2015

Your Future Looking Back

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Tomorrow.  The future.  What do those words make you feel?  How far ahead are you willing to ponder?

Sometimes we are faced with a future that is uncertain.  We don't know what is to come.  We yearn to take just a peak into the future.  And at the same time we fear to do so.  Perhaps in truth we as human beings would never learn to appreciate all the beautiful moments we have today if we knew what every tomorrow would bring.  There is a mystery and wonder in not knowing.

Only a few days before he died, Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock) posted his final Twitter message.  It said the following:  

" A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory..."

God knows that our lives are short and that the days of our lives arrive and disappear like vapor.  Why do some of us cling so tightly to the past when life itself propels us forward?  

" You do not know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life?  
You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes."
~ James 4:14

All the most beautiful experiences, all the most breath-taking moments we may ever know are only a fraction, one iota, of the beauty waiting for us in heaven.  The Bible says that no human being has ever even imagined the wonders and hope and love that God has waiting to give everyone who accepts Jesus Christ as their personal savior.

Meanwhile, though, we must live our lives today.  And sometimes that is not an easy thing to do.  We suffer in living.  The whole world groans for its redemption.  And even so it is possible to rise above the pain and the hurt.  It is possible to ride the crests of sorrow and loneliness.  We don't have to give in.

I am learning that whenever I hand over my expectations to the Lord everything works out. Sometimes that means that my expectations have changed to better mirror what He desires of my life.  Sometimes it means that I have let go of what I want.  And many times God surprises me by revealing that He had been making them so much better and bigger and brighter than I ever hoped for.

I am learning to let go, take a deep breath, and step forward into my tomorrows.  I used to be so afraid of this when I was younger.  In my heart I used to cling to everything and everyone in my past.  I just couldn't imagine living without them.  

Who am I without my past?  What hope is there in a tomorrow where my loved ones are not with me?
What is the point in living today if my future looks bleak?

These are questions many people ask.  And these questions plague the rich and the poor, the famous and the obscure.  Deep down we are all the same, really.  We want to know that everything will be better tomorrow. We want to believe that someone trusting and loving will be in our  future to take care of us.  We need to know that who we are as a person is never forgotten.

These things are entirely human and good and true.  I might even go so far as to say that they are divine.  And I say this because there is a part of us that is eternal.  We were created to live forever.  But not as we are today.
"He remembered that they were but flesh, 
a passing breeze that does not return."
~ Psalm 78:39

A single thread cannot depict an entire pattern.  It must be woven under, over, and along side countless others.  It must be led by the weaver who alone knows the final design.

Never be afraid to step into your future no matter how dark your today may be.  Learn to let go of your yesterday's so that you are free to accept the beautiful moments you have right now.

God is always with you and He has promised to always be your future.

" ... and your life is hidden away with Christ in God. When Christ, who is
our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory..."
~ Colossians 3: 3-4

Photo:  "Alice" by Elena Kalis