Originally published Tuesday, 11 December 2012.
There was this one time when dating made me throw up in my mouth a little.
A lot actually. Let me explain:
I was struggling with my anxiety.
I was struggling with being single.
I was struggling with my job.
I was struggling with trust issues.
In the middle of my mess–a guy friend showed up at my apartment with hugs and to surprise me with cheesecake–my favorite.
He knew I needed a friend.
We sat next to each other on the couch, but we didn’t kiss. We watched a movie, but he left after I ate my cheesecake.
I couldn’t understand how a guy could be so caring and thoughtful. Sure I had plenty of people to talk to, but it almost felt better in the arms of a stranger. He hugged me. He listened. He was kind.
Suddenly, I was woken up violently in the middle of the night to puke my guts out through the morning.
It was awful and it felt like the flu.
Because my life was such a mess it took me a while to realize dating made me throw up in my mouth a little.
Not the flu actually.
It was embarrassing to admit to my roommate, my parents, and those closest to me that I struggled with panic attacks so severe that I couldn’t help but throw up.
It was also embarrassing to admit to my guy friend that I couldn’t date him back.
I wanted so desperately to be loved, romanced, and in a relationship with someone who was caring–but I wasn’t ready to date.
It wasn’t enough to know I wasn’t ready–my body forced me to stop dating. My heart felt locked up in prison. I hated the thought that I–at the age of twenty-six needed to set boundaries in dating to figure out my messy life. But I did.
I dug deep in the Scriptures.
I sought counseling for the first time in–well–a while.
I got back on anxiety medication.
I quit my job.
I started my writing career.
I wish I could tell you that I gave myself grace for feeling like a failure.
Heck, the same grace my guy friend was trying to give me that I was violently afraid to receive.
The same grace God already gave me while dying a violent death on the cross for my sins.
I’d also like to say that everything got better instantly. Or that I had some radical transformation. I didn’t.
It was a step-by-step, day-by-day process to learn how to love myself, accept myself, and forgive myself for my many flaws.
God knew I needed the journey.
He knew how much I needed to be broken so I could learn how to sing His praises again.
AND He knew when to bring the right guy into my life. The kind of guy that made me feel safe till death do us part.