About two years ago, I decided to make a list. It included everything I hoped to find in a future husband. It included things like “an adventurous heart,” “makers hands and creative mind,” and “seeks God in all things.” All of these characteristics are good and genuinely desirable things. I was confident that God would give me this trumped up perfect man, and as time went on, the list grew. There were so many characteristics I wanted, though many times, I settled for much less.
Fast-forward to about a month ago, God prompted me to rip up the list. I tried to come up with a good reason why, but honestly, I couldn’t think of a single one. I tore it up anyway, and within moments, the tatters of my carefully worded dreams and fabricated Mister Right were sitting in the wastebasket. It wasn’t until about two weeks ago that I truly understood why.
I planned a road trip/camping trip. To many, this is a very minute feat. People do it all the time and on a much grander scale than driving out to a buffalo preserve for the night and heading to Tulsa for the weekend. For me though, this was a major accomplishment. I’m very much a yes-woman. I go with the flow, and as cool experiences seem to fall in my lap, I usually just tag along for the ride.
I’ve always put the desires of my heart for adventure and life in general on hold, waiting out for the right guy to do them with. I didn’t think I could travel or camp or do things on my own. In fact, I rarely even had my own taste in music because I often accommodated to the taste of whomever I was dating. This time though, it was my game plan.
At first, I couldn’t figure out why I felt so accomplished in this simple task. However, God brought to mind the memory of my shredded dream guy. If I could somehow magically reconstruct it, I would. Not because I want to find a man exactly like him but because the traits on that list were not desires I had for my future husband. They were traits I wish were a part of who I am.
For so long, I have made relationships an idol in my life. I looked to men to complete me, and I didn’t have the confidence to believe that maybe God could complete me much better. It is the reason why I am consumed by relationships and lose myself. I never allowed myself to be a whole person.
I find so much comfort in the story of the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well in John 4. Now I haven’t been married five times, and I’m not living with a man, but I’ve certainly sought after self-fulfillment through relationships for much longer than I am proud of.
Can you imagine the rejection she must have experienced? During the time in which this woman lived, she couldn’t just get divorced. That wasn’t an option for her, but for her husband, it was. He cast her off, and in that, she entered another marriage. Not once but five times. I’ve experienced excruciating rejection, but I don’t think much can compare to that kind of pain. She wanted so badly to be loved that she was willing to settle for living with a man who couldn’t even commit to her.
I have news for you: no person will ever complete you. We aren’t two separate parts of a whole, and until we realize this, we will never truly find contentment. See, loving someone with the expectation of completion isn’t unconditional love. It’s manipulation. We will forever thirst without the living water only Christ can provide. I kept going to this worldly well of broken relationships, expecting to be quenched and fulfilled.
I think it is also important to remember that Christ didn’t tell the Samaritan woman of what he could offer her while she stood beside her man or while she collected water with the other women. With loneliness comes silence, and with silence comes the voice of God. Sometimes He has to take everything else away in order to eliminate the white noise preventing His voice from reaching our ears.
A great lesson I learned from Lysa Turkheurst’s book Uninvited is the concept of being set aside versus set apart. When we feel rejected and unwanted, we often find ourselves in a pity party of one. We feel set aside by the world, but maybe God isn’t setting you aside but rather setting you apart. Perhaps in this moment of rejection, of another broken relationship, another broken heart, He is writing a testimony of self-actualization and God-fulfillment.
As much as rejection hurts, it will never compare to the broken relationship between the world and God. He loves His creation unconditionally and offers absolute salvation and is met with cold shoulders and anger. If we think we know rejection, it will never compare to what He feels and yet He pursues and forgives.
Man cannot complete man, and no matter how many times we try, no matter how perfect the person may seem, they cannot make us whole. Only God can do that. His love is endlessly abundant. He builds us up to be whole in Him – to be the people He has purposed us to be. As Amanda Cook put it in her song that makes me weep like a croup-ridden infant, “Pieces,” God does not give Himself in pieces. He doesn’t hide Himself to tease us. His love isn’t shy or ashamed. It is proud to be seen with us.
It isn’t fractured. It is whole. It is here to fulfill you.
That brings me back to my road trip. For the first time, I didn’t wait for someone else to tell me where the next adventure was. I chose to have an adventure with my friends. I chose to be confident enough in myself, in my whole self, to pursue the things I want to be. I have a heart for adventure. I have maker’s hands and a creative mind. I seek God in all things.
I haven’t met the love of my life yet. Then again, maybe I have. Who knows? Either way, I’m not too concerned. I have a purpose to pursue and a life to live out. If he is the right guy, he’ll be along for the ride. I believe God will set my heart as it needs to be and when it needs to be there. Presently, I’m perfectly satisfied falling more deeply in love with God every single day.