Empty Promises

I had been wearing a promise ring for a few days that meant eventually we’d be together forever. We had dated on and off for five and a half years. I wanted God’s permission. I wanted His blessing on our relationship. I left the ring at home, went to a Christian Conference to put the relationship in God’s hands. If he didn’t want us together, then we’d break up. I didn’t mean it.  

 

At the conference I worshipped with old friends and made new ones. I felt thrilled that as a sophomore in college I had my life all figured out. I loved God. I loved my cute boyfriend. Things could not get any better. I was not expecting God to speak so clearly to me that weekend, but he did. When it happened, I was not even in that second asking him a question, but worshipping on the second day of the conference. God basically said to me, “What are you doing?” I was taken back! There are few times in my life that I KNOW that I’ve heard from the Lord. The voice in my heart was quiet, firm, yet seemed to be shouting. He continued, “This is not my will.” I knew He was talking about my boyfriend, and I knew He was right.

 

Oh, I had been praying throughout the conference for our relationship but my prayers were for blessing. They were not the prayers that I swore I was going to make. I really was not going to put it all on the line. I was not going to let God have control. I did not trust Him. How could I? If I gave Him that, he could take my boyfriend away. This boyfriend was my security blanket. If I didn’t have my boyfriend, what could I rely on?

 

I can remember going to the mall with some friend a few days after the breakup. I was sitting at Starbucks over the Christmas break watching ice skaters swirl around and laugh with their heads back in sheer joy. I will never be happy again, I thought. I really knew that I would never be the same. I had given everything over to God and was set to be miserable forever.

 

I cried. I cried for the loss. I cried for the choice I had to make but didn’t want to. I cried out in anguish at a God that would take it all away. I just kept crying. I cried for months and months. I would wake up fine. I’d get all ready to go to school, I’d put my hand on the doorknob and start sobbing. I would literally crumble to the floor, face in the carpet, telling myself that I would not call my ex today. I could not comprehend not ever calling him again, so I would ask God to give my strength to not call him that day. That is how empty I was. I thought I had finally, miserably given everything over to God, finally, but I was wrong again.

 

One night, my roommates came in to try to cheer me up. “Don’t you know that God has an amazing Christian man for you?” Andrea cooed as she put her arm around my shoulder.

 

“I know He does, but that man is going to be so ugly! Oh, he’ll love God, but I’m not going to ever want to kiss him on the lips!” I screamed. All my roommates got really quiet and then burst out laughing... and so did I. I’d never voiced my true fear, but that was it. I was not afraid that I would never get married, but I feared that if I followed God’s plan, it would be severely lacking! I thought I had finally started trusting the Lord, but I didn’t trust Him completely.

 

“Why do you think that God would show you gold and give you silver?” Andrea softly asked. I was speechless. I can not tell you how many times that question had gone through my head over the years. She was right. It is biblical. God’s plans always trump the weak promises of the world. His plans are golden.

 

God proclaims through the prophet Isaiah:

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters;
and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good and you will delight in the richest of fare”

(Isaiah 55).

 

I was spending my energy trying to get God-sized satisfaction from a man. I was so thirsty, yet I was not getting life-giving water. Notice God does not just offer water, he gives wine and milk. It is beyond expectations. It is beyond need. It is what we truly want. It is the best. It is gold, not silver.

 

I had to learn to lean on Christ alone, not Christ and a man. I had set up this little safety net for myself that God had to take away. My ex-boyfriend was a great guy but we were not good for each other. I abused that relationship over and over because I used him to feel good about myself. We were completely, pathetically codependent.  Later, I went back and apologized to him.

 

It was almost exactly five and a half years later that I got engaged to my husband Jared. God likes timing, doesn’t he? I think I needed lots of time and that God sought to redeem the five and a half years when I did it my way. I had to meekly, slowly learn to do it His way. I had to find meaning and purpose in my life apart from a relationship with a man. I had to learn to trust. There are times when I feel the pull once again, sometimes I feel it daily-to rely on the weak promises of the world. However, I’m not going for silver, I’m going for gold.

 

 

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