The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
~John 10:10 NIV~
This past week was difficult. I had to let go of someone whom I had previously set up in my mind as being the love of my life. I had convinced myself that because of our long history as “friends” that there was much more to our involvement than what was really there. I’m an intelligent woman, but for some reason when it came to this particular man, I was teetering on the brink of being the stupidest woman in the world. Thankfully, after about a thousand heart-to-heart talks with God, He helped me to see that the devil had placed that particular person in my path repeatedly to serve as a stumbling block as I attempted to journey toward my One true love. And each time I had encountered him on that path, I had been duped into believing that he actually had the capacity to love me. In reality, this man had no capacity to love anyone and his entire function in my life seemed to be just what it says in John 10:10, “…to steal, kill and destroy.”
I think this is a problem that many women encounter. By nature, we want to love someone and to be loved back. So that one person who figures out how to play us can really do some damage if we allow them to use that influence to draw us away from what we know to be Godly. And this is exactly what I did for the entire time that I was associated with this man. I don’t consider myself to be weak-minded, so this isn’t a question of just being dumb. It is a question of putting more faith in something that I can see and touch than I did in the One who gave His very life for me. And the sad thing is, God even tried to illustrate this with me through other friendships that I have. After a time, I realized that there were people out there that I hadn’t ever met in person who cared more about my well-being than some of those with whom I had tangible relationships.
Just as an example, I’m on Facebook and I have about 800 or so people who are called “friends.” Many of these people are actually people with whom I have worked or had an actual in-person relationship with over the course of time. I love Facebook because it allows me to continue having a relationship with people I know who have moved away or who are in different phases of their lives and are no longer in close proximity to me. After all, the reason we stopped talking frequently in most cases had nothing to do with a problem between us. Life just moves you around and sometimes, we can’t be physically present for all of the people we know at all times. But then, sometimes things change and we are back in each other’s lives and it’s like we never left.
There are those cases, however, where someone has been an ever-present thought in your mind and has claimed a portion of your heart for the better part of your existence. And with or without Facebook, you’ve maintained contact of one kind or another with them. This was the kind of relationship I had with him. I mistook this for some sort of destiny-related magic that meant we ultimately had to be together. He too this to mean that he could emotionally and psychologically abuse me as he drifted in and out of other relationships, even marriages and then found his way back to me to complain about his life or cry on my shoulder and proclaim his undying love for the fact that I was such a good doormat. As it happened, he was complaining to me just last week about the state of his current relationship and I decided that I’d finally heard enough. In spite of his efforts to keep me from evolving into the woman that God created me to be, I have managed to grow a little and to allow God’s word to sink into my heart enough to know that I have more value than what he has placed on me. So, this time when he started to complain and set out on yet another attempt to talk me into comforting him in his distress, I simply said to him, “I made a promise to God that I wasn’t living my life like that anymore, so stop asking.” And there it is. While the promises this man made to me may mean absolutely nothing, I take my promises to God very seriously. God, whom I’ve never “tangibly” seen, has always been there for me. God actually does love me and actually does want to be in my life…and not just to serve some deep-seated “mommy” issues. God doesn’t need a “mommy,” He’s God. And for some reason, I’ve often allowed the men in my life to set themselves up as being something more important than God. And they have often disappointed me…some to the point of completely breaking my heart.
I had a lot of time to think about what wasn’t working in my life over the past month or so. I’ve been dealing with some demons, real and imagined…but the one big demon that I needed to get rid of was my flawed idea that a man could ever love me like God loves me. And so, after a tearful prayer session with my One true love, I made a promise to Him that I was going to place Him at the top of ALL things once and for all. The devil knows our weaknesses and he has often bombarded me with the exact thing that trips me up at the times when I’m most vulnerable to tripping. He has sent his minions time after time to divert my attention from the goal that God has set for me. That goal is to help women overcome obstacles to their success in this life. To help them break out of destructive patterns using the truth of God’s word to set them free from whatever bondage they may find themselves in. I almost forgot that as I was so busy struggling with my own chains. But that’s all they were…chains. And God had long ago removed the padlock that was connecting the links of those chains. I’ve been free to drop that burden for a long time now…I just chose to carry it around because I could see it.
But there are many things that I can see that I wouldn’t necessarily want to pack around with me. When I finally began to understand that I had fallen for the oldest trick in the book, I was angry. Not at the man who had been treating me so badly for so long; but at myself. For knowing better and continuing to let something that I had already been delivered from have so much power over me. This is also a trick of the evil one. He counts on the fact that we will not only fall for his lies, but that once we figure out that we’ve been taken, we will feel so stupid that we won’t reach out to God for help. The most important thing we can learn is that God has already seen every stupid thing we’ve done and in fact, He knew we were going to do them before we actually did. There is nothing that surprises Him. In all things, He is there for us. He wants us to return to Him even after we realize how stupid we’ve been.
So, with a broken heart and a bucket full of tears, I trotted back to Him and poured out the whole story. And even though He had already seen the movie, my God wrapped His arms around me and said, “Welcome home.” It didn’t matter to Him that I had done things that I should not have done. What mattered to God is that I came to Him and asked His forgiveness and that I finally realized that His love was the only true love that exists. And that His is the love I chose.
As for the guy I cut loose, it isn’t easy to remove someone from your life after nearly thirty years of involvement with them. Granted, we weren’t together continually throughout that period of time, but he was a significant part of me. I loved him. I had a more intimate relationship with him over all those years than I probably had been able to achieve with my husband when I was married. Or at least, I had convinced myself of this. And, no, he wasn’t the reason I divorced. Just to give a clearer picture, I met this man when were both in middle school. We had mutual flirtation for years before we finally had a fling in our early twenties. And then he was gone for a while. I was married, he evidently was married and our lives went in different directions. Later, after both of us had divorced, we ran into each other again. We dated for about a year and I thought we would finally end up together. But for as much as he claimed he loved me, he also told me that he could not get married again. And so, I told him that we couldn’t be together if we weren’t going to get married. We broke up…again. He continued for the next several years to stay in touch and tell me he loved me…even though he was with someone else. This should have been my first big clue that I just needed to shut him down. But instead because of my feelings for him, I just told him that I loved him, but he wasn’t mine. I told him that he needed to be honest with that person and make a choice…and he never did. So I had to. I had to choose God once and for all and tell that man that he would do well to do the same. Sadly, his response to this was to propose to his girlfriend to spite me. God handed me a hammer and I nailed that door shut. That is the whole, ugly story in a nutshell. Once I accepted that I couldn’t save him and that he wasn’t willing or able to save me, there was only one choice left to make. So, this is goodbye. And this time, I mean it.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
~Psalm 84:11 NIV~