Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Dating and breaking up and learning that we're all PEOPLE. Valuable people.

In my talk this month with Jenny Dean Schmidt on The Channel Mom Show, we talked about a lesson I learned in a recent dating relationship. I wrote about how we talk about and categorize blessings and bad luck a few weeks ago and that's what Jenny and I were talking about in this clip:

Now, this clip made me laugh, mostly because of the funny faces Jenny makes while we're chatting. And it feels good to be empathized with. You know? And to be honest, it would be easy for me to list what this ex-boyfriend did while we were dating that I didn't like and hold that against him, all in the name of breaking up and wanting to numb the pain. I've done that before because I feared pain, I feared feeling rejected, I feared that I wasn't enough.

But I've grown a lot in the past couple of years, especially in the past year, and I've learned about shame and vulnerability and powerlessness and grace and compassion and our wholeness in Christ. And one thing I know, without a shadow of a doubt, is that I need grace and compassion and forgiveness. I will mess up and disappoint and hurt others and I will want their forgiveness. In order to rest and have peace, I have to bravely let myself feel pain and sadness and remorse and regret. It's a process. It's scary. It is an unknown way of life for me. And I am only here because it's my time. It's my time to surrender and explore the deep, dark recesses of my heart that are in need of more healing. This timing and this process cannot be rushed.

As people, humans, creatures, we are all journeying toward this process. Christ beckons us to healing through surrender and a holistic view of Him, ourselves, and our relationship with Him. And others. Through this process, my view of others has changed dramatically. I care what others think of me, instead of boarding up my heart in fear of rejection and pain. And I see people. I see their wonderfulness, their humanness, their fear and pain, their growth and goodness.

So. Through this recent break-up, I challenged myself to look at him holistically. To see him as a valuable person who has both good and bad in him. Just like me. My first instinct was to write him off, saying "screw you." That's my self-protection kicking in and a tendency to see things in black and white, all good or all bad. When I let myself continue caring for him and remembering all of the wonderful things about him and the times that we shared, I could rest. He was kind to me, a good listener, very encouraging and supportive, he made me laugh and was always thoughtful. He planned fun dates for us and I always felt at ease with him and wanted. It's good to feel wanted.

He isn't perfect and we disagreed about some things. We're different in a lot of ways. And that's okay! I'm better for knowing him. There are things I would do differently, but that's life. Close relationships are difficult to navigate because we're learning as we go. We can't script them and I'm proud of myself for dating someone who is not my usual "type" because it showed me that I can't know if there's potential unless I give it a shot. He is not less valuable to me now just because we aren't dating. It is a mistake to write someone off just because they don't fill the role they once filled in your life. These are the lessons I've learned in this season.

Learning to date well as an adult with a kid and a big, messy life ain't easy. But, friends, a good starting point is recognizing the inherent value of each person we have the opportunity to spend time with. Let's make it a point to see them as whole people, good and bad, in need of grace, compassion, and love.



Tim Morgan said...

Good words Erin

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