Having Your Heart In It

22 Feb

I have a confession to make. I’ve been seeing someone.

It feels weird. I reconnected with an old friend recently, and he happened to be unattached. We used to have a Thing, way back when, which we never acted on. He suggested we give it a go, and I said sure.

Thing is…I’m not the same person I was back then. He isn’t, either, but I’ve changed in one significant way that he hasn’t–I no longer feel the need or, generally, the desire for romantic companionship.

This doesn’t bode well for the relationship.

I’ve said before that singleness isn’t a gift, at least not in the way so many Christians assume. But through this most recent experience, I’ve come to realize that God does call certain people to be single, insofar as He grants certain people the particular grace and strength to face life without a helpmeet. And I’m pretty sure I’m one of those people.

I’m not saying it’s a good or a bad thing. It’s just a thing. I don’t want to imply that people who need romantic partners are weak, needy, or less spiritual. People who need romantic partners are just different from people who don’t need them. And I certainly don’t mean I don’t need anyone in my life. I do. I have my family of parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I have my single-style family (we need an official term for that) of my close friends, sisters of my heart. And there’s definitely a place in my life for this old friend/would-be-boyfriend, if he wants it. But that place, I regret to say, isn’t as my partner or spouse.

I love the time we spend together. I enjoy talking to him and bouncing ideas off him. I enjoy listening to his perspective on things (which is often, but not always, a lot different from mine). I like just hanging out and being around him. But I don’t want to take it any further than this. I don’t want hugs or kisses, hand-holding or flowers, and I definitely don’t want to go home with him every night.

Not that I’m not attracted to him. I am. But…

Well, I just don’t have my heart in it.

I’m not looking forward to having this conversation with him. The line, “It’s not you, it’s me,” is so trite and over-used no one believes it anymore. But it’s true in this case. Telling him, “I believe God has called me to singleness,” sounds too holier-than-thou and, frankly, like a cop-out. The one good thing about this is how open I was with him from the beginning. I told him I hadn’t dated in a long time and hadn’t had any desire to date. I told him I wasn’t sure if I was cut out to be in a relationship of this type. I told him I need a lot of me time and my own space. And he was good enough to listen, and he took me at my word. But I suspect he got his hopes up a little more than he should have.

For now, I’ll keep praying about it and see what guidance God grants me the next time we’re together.

Any thoughts, friends? What would you do in my situation? What would you want to hear in his place?

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7 Responses to “Having Your Heart In It”

  1. Moon February 23, 2013 at 6:34 am #

    thanks for sharing your current situation, and for linking my post 🙂 How am I gonna put this? I am far younger and inexperienced than you are, but here’s my take anyway (I am single since birth :-)). Life is sometimes full of irony, in many ways…it’s just how it is. Like in your case, you once took singleness as an unpleasant gift but now that a man is attempting to pursue you, you feel a strange pull of desire not to push through it. Maybe God is indeed calling you to singleness, or this is how God unfolds before you the true desire of your heart. He knows our hearts better than we do, that’s why He uses circumstances or situations for us to know what we really want and reveal to us if it’s aligned to His purpose or not. It’ll be, however, funny to think for a single lady (like me too) that after years of praying for a lifetime partner, when God presents a prospect right in front of her, she then realizes that she doesn’t want one. I guess it’s right to continually pray for it, seek God’s wisdom and discernment through His Words. He’ll reveal what He wants for you through His Words, the circumstances and the advice of your brothers and sisters in Christ. And He’ll give you peace of mind and of heart.
    Seriously, after reading this post, i couldn’t help but to ask, “Would there be any chance to feel the same feeling as yours when the time comes that a man would tell me that he wants me and would like to court me/spend the rest of his life with me?”…I leave everything to God’s perfect hands. Then I remember the story which I recently posted, Love Mirage (http://moondanipog.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/love-mirage-a-special-read-for-valentines-day/), it’s focused on our love story with Him…and said to myself, it’s really possible to spend the rest of my life with just having Him as my sole partner in life.

    • SWC February 23, 2013 at 10:55 pm #

      Hi Moon! I love your letter to single ladies! I know a lot of single people need to hear that message on Valentine’s Day especially (but really, every day is a good day to hear it).

      I think you hit the nail on the head when you say “He knows our hearts better than we do, that’s why He uses circumstances or situations for us to know what we really want and reveal to us if it’s aligned to His purpose or not.”

      And you also point out advice of my sisters in Christ–and one of my very treasured sisters in Christ is the person whose remarks helped me realize that my reluctance about this relationship has to do with God more than it has to do with me. It’s not out of a fear of being hurt, or a selfish desire to have my own way. It’s…well, it’s because I don’t think God wants this relationship for me.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and for your thoughtful comment! In the end, as you show in Love Mirage, it’s about our relationship with Him first. Other people, even spouses or potential spouses, are always second.

      • Moon February 24, 2013 at 4:56 am #

        thank you very much too for the kind words and for sharing your experience 🙂 Yes, I agree that our relationship with Him should always come first! May God grant you wisdom always 🙂 looking forward to your next post!
        God bless!

  2. julie February 23, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

    Do you really believe God calls people to singleness? I just can’t wrap my head around that concept.

    • SWC February 23, 2013 at 10:49 pm #

      Hi Julie! You ask a difficult question, and I’ve flip-flopped my opinion probably half a dozen times in my life. I think it’s the idea of a “calling” that gives me the most trouble. I use that term because it’s one a lot of people use, but it’s a pretty loaded word.

      I guess what I mean, at least in my experience, by saying God has “called” me to singleness–is that He gave me life experiences and situations that have made singleness feel like the best choice for my life. I don’t know if this is something that should really be termed a calling, but I’m not sure what else to call it.

      I raised in a family culture where singleness was not seen as a bad state to be in. I have two unmarried aunts, an unmarried uncle, and had two unmarried great-uncles when I was younger. I’m also an only child and an introvert. I’ve never wanted to have children, which I think is something that factors into a lot of people’s desire for marriage–that has traditionally been something that went hand-in-hand with having children. So I think that all my life I’ve had a lot of factors sort of conditioning me to be content and even enjoy being single.

      I don’t know if this is something God does for other people.I don’t know if this is something that translates to being a calling. But my feeling of contentment as a single has transformed my world view, in a way. I have a different set of priorities in my life than what married people and parents have, and that’s made me experience life and particularly church in a different way. That has developed into an interest in reaching out to other single people and helping them realize they’re not broken if they don’t have a spouse. There isn’t something intrinsically wrong with a person who is single. And to me, what I do, trying to make church and Christianity comfortable for singles, trying to help the church realize that single people DO have different priorities and opportunities and challenges–that feels like a ministry. And it’s a ministry I wouldn’t have passion for or be equipped for if I were married.

      I’m not saying that I grew up all my life saying, “Wahoo, marriage sucks, I am a lifelong single!” At times I wanted to be married. At times I enjoyed romantic relationships. But those times were all in my mid-to-late twenties, and I haven’t seriously dated anyone for about 9 years–and that’s by choice. I won’t bore you with my whole transformation into being happy as a single, but I did write some blog posts about it (they start here: https://singlewhitechristian.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/single-and-not-dating-with-caveats-part-1/ ) if you’re interested. 🙂

      I don’t know if this has answered your question or not, and I’m certainly interested in further discussion about the matter! I also hope I haven’t bored you with my long comment. 🙂 But you can probably tell, this is something I’m interested in and passionate about, and I love talking about it. 🙂

      • julie February 24, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

        Thank you for your detailed and long comment – I really do appreciate you taking the time to respond so thoughtfully. I’m going to check out that blog post you suggested.

        People just keep telling me to be patient or that God has someone out there for me and I just keep getting more and more angry about it because these people are all married with families and I know they are trying to help but I don’t feel like they have a clue about what it’s like to be single in the midwest and in church. It’s just so hard. I keep praying for God to change my heart to be happily single but no luck so far.

        • SWC February 24, 2013 at 10:55 pm #

          Like I said, I feel strongly that my experiences with being single are a nudge from God to reach out to others. I don’t know how much help I really am, but I want to be an encouragement to other singles, especially Christian singles, knowing how the church treats (or ignores) us. I’ll be praying for you, Julie! And maybe instead of praying either for a spouse or for God to change your heart, you could take a week or two to try praying that God will help you be content in your current circumstance. 🙂 Just a slight change, maybe, but sometimes taking a different angle allows Him to talk to us differently.

          Either way, take heart, sister! You may be single, but you’re not alone. 🙂

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