Do you remember your first crush/relationship? I had so many obsessions and crushes growing up – I was an expert in unrequited love and imaginary boyfriends. I do, however, remember my first intense crush.
Let’s call him Tim.
All Tim and I had really had was the five-day pass but that was enough. We were falling asleep on the phone every night because we had unlimited calls to all T-mobile users for five days only, texting throughout the day (because those were unlimited too) and going on dates (okay, I lied, I think we went on one date). It was beautiful; we just couldn’t get enough of each other, it was that obsessive, all-consuming, intoxicating, I-cant-even-see-the-sun-because-all-I-can-see-is-you type of
Although our genesis was bliss, even at my tender age, I could feel when things were becoming rocky and when my fingertips were merely holding onto the cracks in our (infantile) foundation. Now, my 22-year-old self, an infrequent (yet loyal) user of the heartbreak hotel, can look back say that although the first few months were bliss, they were in no way an accurate indication of the relationship we were going to have.
So let me cut to the nitty-gritty; let’s talk about why my relationship failed.
Disclaimer: the below may or may not be entirely true of Tim and I’s relationship.
The best parts of any relationship are the opening months, otherwise known as the honeymoon phase, because each individual is being the best version of himself or herself. As soon as you tell me that ‘you love me for me’ well, I don’t have to pretend I don’t mood swing/chew really loudly/wear a headscarf to bed. I can be ‘me’. Unfortunately the ‘me’ you are left with is always different to the ‘me’ you met. Did someone say disappointment?
2) Lack of communication
When we start out, you will think that my texting etiquette is phenomenal because I’m basically waiting around for your response. This is, once again, symptomatic of the honeymoon phase. In reality, I am a recluse who somehow manages to have friends. Once the honeymoon phase is over, we will go from instantaneous responses to pauses in conversation that may last quite a few days. It’s not that I’m not thinking about you – I am, in fact, I probably love you… I just can’t be bothered.
Sidenote: will you, potential husband, still want me after reading this?
3) Lack of time management
Yeah, we used to meet up three times a week but now life keeps getting in the way. Yep, you guessed it, the honeymoon phase is over and you are no longer the centre of my universe; I suddenly remember my passions, my hopes, my dreams and…my other friends whom I deserted all for you! Now they must also be attended to. I will see you……around.
4) Wrong expectations
Your love cannot heal me and it does not have the power to make me whole. That (subconscious) expectation has killed many of my relationships. I’ve walked into relationships insecure and left feeling even worse simply because my worth and validation were dependent on the words and actions of another human. You know what happened when that person walked away from me? They took my confidence with them and I entered the heartbreak hotel.
Now that I’ve shamelessly divulged why my relationship failed, I’d like to tell you that my relationship with Jesus used to fail all the time for the same reasons.
All love stories begin the same and this one was no different. Jesus Christ called out to me and said:
YO, you need me! You will find all that you are and all that you’ve been looking for, in me. That pain you have in your heart? I can take it away. Those voids you’ve been trying to fill with food and people? I fit perfectly in them.
The call was strong, my heart started thumping, so loudly that I was certain the people in the seats next to me could hear it. I was unable to move but I was unable to stay in the same place any longer – something had to change before the dark hole I had come to accept as my life consumed me. I walked to the front of my church, embarrassed, scared but hopeful that He would do all that He said He could.
The weeks/months after that encounter were blissful. All I wanted to do was become closer to Him. Reading the bible became second nature because I longed to know more about the being that formed me, that loved me unconditionally and laid His life down for me.
A relationship was born; I had fallen in love with Jesus.
Unfortunately, as time went on my prayers became shorter, my bible became untouched and the things I did before I had that encounter with Christ slowly began to creep back into my life. What happened to the passion? What happened to the zeal? What happened to our love?
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun
2 Corinthians 5:17
At first I looked pretty new but in reality, I didn’t shed my old skin properly. I kept holding onto things (and people) that weren’t supposed to be part of my new life with Him. I got lazy and stopped fighting my desires and eventually those things pulled me away from Him, making each connection harder. I didn’t feel good enough for Him, in fact, I knew I wasn’t good enough, so I began to shy away until there was no contact being made at all.
2) Lack of communication
There is a difference between talking and communicating. Thanking God for a new day is necessary but that is just the beginning of the conversation, it cannot be the crux of your communication for that day. Sometimes we’ve got to lie on the floor and show God where it hurts, the wounds that refuse to stop bleeding and the burdens we can’t carry anymore. When we stop being real with Jesus, we stop having a real relationship with Him.
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you
1 Peter 5:7
3) Lack of time management
Jesus was explicit in his requirements of us: love me then love everyone else too (Luke 10:27). That’s it. Everything after that (our desires, our jobs, our dreams) is secondary. If we let those things overshadow our relationship with God and stop intentionally setting time apart for him, our relationship will become stale.
4) Wrong expectations
For a long time, I thought that God was my personal fairy godmother and I believed that our relationship meant that I would get everything I prayed for. I also felt it meant that I wouldn’t have problems or experience crippling fear ever again. How wrong I was. Sometimes we pray for things and get upset when God doesn’t give them to us but we never know what God is protecting us from. Regardless of our faith in Jesus, we will always have to walk through challenging seasons but we have to remember that because of him, we will never, ever have to walk alone again (Deuteronomy 31:6).
A relationship works because we put the work in; wanting it to work is not enough. If we fail to put the work in, its failure is inevitable. For a long time my relationship was stunted because I waited for a feeling, an emotion or a situation to motivate me to work on my relationship with Jesus. We shouldn’t let our problems alone drive us back to Christ, rather we should be moving towards Him every single day; this is how our relationship with Him will be successful.
Yours on this beautiful Friday,