Fear and risks

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. — 2 Timothy 1:7

I realized tonight that I have a lot of fear when it comes to relationships. This was shocking to me because I know the spirit of fear is not of God. When my seven-year godly relationship with a godly man ended, I was devastated. I thought he was the one God had for me and me for him. He was the one with whom I would marry and build a family and ministry. Throughout the relationship, however, he never, not once, said or indicated that we would be married. In fact, looking back, I can recall where he would often compare his live to that of Apostle Paul, believing he would live a similar life. The message was subtle, but it was there and I chose to ignore it.

Many details later, the relationship ended. That was when the rose glasses I was wearing shattered and I was able to see clearly. During the time I spent grieving the end of the relationship, God revealed Himself to me in so many wonderful ways and shared with me some truly awesome truths about Himself, and me. As a result, I came out of the whole ordeal a lot stronger and more confident than when I went in and I’m truly grateful for that. This is why tonight’s revelation was such a shock. After going through that mourning period, I didn’t think I would suffer any repercussions, any residual effects, but I did. A few months ago, I ended a relationship with someone I had only been dating for a month. When he asked why, I told him it was because I didn’t trust him. I didn’t feel that he was being honest with me, but I couldn’t explain why, so I bailed. When I said to him, “I don’t trust you,” what I was really saying is, “You’re not trustworthy.” The problem with that is, he didn’t really do anything that wasn’t trustworthy. The reality is, I didn’t trust him. In other words, this was about me, not him.

I don’t want to take the risk of being hurt again so I end relationships before I get emotionally involved, or I don’t encourage them at all. I didn’t realize this about myself until now. I don’t want to take the risk of being lied to or being with someone I don’t trust. I don’t want to take the risk falling in love with the wrong man. I’m afraid the guy won’t be holy enough or Christian enough. I have all of these expectations for being with someone who loves God the “right” way and someone who loves me the “right” way. I have visions of courting and getting together with someone the “right” way. And I’m afraid that the way I do it won’t be right, but will, in fact, be wrong.

The irony is, the last time I fell in love was with someone who, by most Christian standards, was the “right” man and we had a “right” relationship. What does “right” mean, anyway? I know what the bible says about being right, but somehow, over time, the meaning of being right has shifted from being godly to being perfect or something else. Besides, who am I to expect perfection when I am not? Who am I to have such high expectations from someone else’s personal relationship with God when I have enough trouble managing my own? Who am I to place myself so high on a pedestal that no one can reach me, then complain because I’m alone?

In my mind, I know that right does not equal perfect. I know there’s no such thing as perfection when it comes to relationships because there are always going to be humans involved who will muck it up. Even still, I have this burden. It is this burden that has prevented me from being in relationships that didn’t appear “right” or didn’t match up to this unrealistic expectation of who I think should be with and how I should be with that person. I know that I should consult God and trust only Him and do only what He says and not worry or be concerned about the rest, but knowing and doing are not the same.

Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the hearts. — Proverbs 21:2