Longing for Love Day 7; Worth the Wait

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

One of the hardest things for me to learn growing up was the importance of not settling. I settled much too often for my own good- especially in my relationships.

I was fourteen years old and a freshman in high school when I went on my first date...with an eighteen-year-old senior. And let me tell you, I thought I was the coolest freshman around because of it- especially when we became "official".

But little did I know what the next three years ahead of me entailed.  If I would have known, I would have run fast and far. My fourteen-year-old self thought she knew what relationships were about, when, in reality, I knew nothing. This set me up for years worth of pain and regret. 

In those three years of dating, I faced three things: major insecurities, the fight for acceptance, and doubts regarding my self-worth. I struggled with my body image because my boyfriend at the time was smaller than I was. I struggled with acceptance because my relationship told me the root to acceptance was lust while my heart told me it was love without lust. And I struggled with my self worth as a result of the abuse I foolishly allowed myself to go through.

I lived in ignorance of my Creator for a long time, but the beauty in this is that He refused to live in ignorance of me. This is exactly how God managed to save me from the deep and dark hole that I had dug for myself over the course of those three years.

I should have walked away when he first laid his hands on me.
I should have walked away when my self-worth was damaged with verbally abusive lies.
I should have walked away when the Lord knocked on my door the first time.

But I didn’t. It took several knocks on my door, but the Lord remained persistent and patient.

He knocked, He watched, and He waited.

On the third knock, I let the Lord dig me out of the dark hole I had once dug for myself.
On the third knock, I said goodbye to almost three years of allowing myself believe that I was in love with someone I should have never given a piece of my heart to.
On the third knock, I walked away in recognition of my one true worth in the eyes of my Lord, God, and King.
On the third knock, I found freedom.

I fell in love with God the very moment I said goodbye to someone who mocked my faith and preferred my attention on him above the Lord. I fell in love with God the very second He freed me from my bondage. 

The three or so years to follow were some of the sweetest years of my life. I sought the Lord and fell in love with Him. We dated. And through our thriving relationship with one another, I learned so much about myself. I vividly remember having a conversation with the Lord that sounded a lot like this: “If life can be this good, sweet, and rich with you, Lord, I’m content being single.” And I meant it. I was so comfortable living from a place of God’s love for me. It felt good to be fully known, fully loved, and fully accepted. 

During the winter break of my sophomore year of college, I met someone. I was not too fond of the idea of giving my heart away again, but I also didn’t want to ignore an opened door. After many months of talking and getting to know each other, I felt affirmed and encouraged in the decision that I was ready to give relationships another try. The hardest part about this, however, was the distance. We were thirteen hours away from one another and only got to see each other during Holiday breaks. 

Despite the distance, I still managed to fall in love, and fast. I jumped into the “perfect girlfriend” mindset and tried to keep the relationship exciting by sending care packages, letters, and sweet texts. Living in this mindset blinded me from the fact that I was into the relationship more than he was. He said the things I wanted to hear because he knew I wanted to hear them. (And let me tell you, when a guy tells you that he loves you and wants to marry you, do ministry with you, and and raise a family with you it’s hard not to fall in love fast.) Here’s the thing, though: The only word you should ever allow yourself to stand sure on is the Word of God. Just because someone can sweet talk you and sweep you off your feet by doing so does not by any means make them the right person for the role of a husband.

Fast forward nearly nine months into the relationship and you’ll find me facing heartbreak. This was much harder for me than my first relationship because I was older, wiser, and more intentional. But because I had been living in the “perfect girlfriend” mindset, I had failed to recognize that he had been living in the “perfect mask” mindset. Most importantly, however, I had failed to carefully guard my heart. You see, I was more intentional with the relationship than I was with myself.

The breakup came at the worst of times…right before finals. The fact that I had a broken heart was painful enough, but when I learned that there was another girl in the picture I really went downhill. I felt like such a failure. Here I was, head over heels for this guy, buying into the lie that my all wasn’t good enough and he needed more than what I had to offer. I also bought in to the lie that he meant every word of every longing he had ever expressed to me. But most importantly, I felt like a failure because I idolized the relationship and forced myself to believe it was something that, in reality, did not exist.

After walking out of one of the darkest seasons of my life, I learned the importance of not settling or putting up with constant, emotional drainage. There were things I looked past that I never should have allowed a dose of sweet talk to make up for.

After heartbreak round two, I made a promise to myself that I would no longer settle. Relationships are not about having someone to simply give you attention, and for so long that’s what I made them out to be. 

Here is the very truth that I desire to proclaim over you today: The solid rock of a lasting relationship is Jesus. Nothing and Noone else. It is so vital that you know this if you don't already: Not every relationship is worth the fight. 

If you are in a relationship that is full of constant, emotional drainage, it's time to reevaluate. A relationship that is worth the fight isn't about constant second chances for someone who continues to hurt and wrong you. A relationship worth putting up a fight for is one that involves evaluating conflict and communicating through it in such a way that is effective and beneficial towards the health of your relationship. A relationship worth the fight is not one full of grudges, but one full of letting go and moving forward when conflict is resolved. Relationships that aren't producing good fruit and allowing both of you to thrive for the greater good of the Kingdom are red flags. Do not ignore them.

A relationship worth the fight includes being with someone who adds value to you; who acknowledges and cherishes the treasure you are; who invests his emotional energy in your relationship; who actively and attentively listens to you; who accepts you and your baggage as equally as you accept his. This type of relationship—one full of life, love, grace, communication. conflict and reconciliation, and acceptance—will lead to a marriage that lasts. 

You are not an ordinary being, so don’t settle for someone who treats you like one. You are special, prized, and cherished in the eyes of the Lord. Wait for the one who will cherish you with the same love that God does. Wait for the one who will show his love for you though acts of selflessness, speak his words from a place of purpose and good intention, and show grace- even when it hurts. Wait for the one who is just as serious about commitment as you are and can mutually reciprocate everything you desire to pour into your future marriage. Wait for the one whose foundation is Jesus Christ- not just because he claims that it is, but because it's expressed through the way in which he lives. The words of his mouth must coincide with the actions of his heart.

Do not settle for a love you were not created for. Waiting for the one is not a waste of time, so don’t treat it like it is. Waiting for the one is a gift and will greatly reward you once you find him. Pray BIG and bold prayers for your future husband and the Lord will deliver him to you in His timing. As cliché as this may sound, it's just as true: The Lord does hear and acknowledge your thoughts and your prayers. Continue to give them to Him as you draw near to His throne. Although you may face impatience, rest assured that He will never waste your time. 

May God bless you with an answered prayer that will allow you to flourish and serve the Kingdom together in ways beyond your own comprehension.

{photo: Mary Ogilvie

About the Author

Emily Lauren Townsend is a 21 year old lover of Jesus, words, coffee, and creation. She resides in Birmingham, Alabama and works in full-time ministry. Emily is the founder of Daughter of Delight and holds a deep passion for empowering women toward Kingdom advancement through helping them learn how to live fully alive with an awareness of the instilled potential our Maker has placed within us all.


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