here we go…

I’m a pretty private person.  Make that really private.

But I like to write and think and read and process life.  I’m much faster at typing than writing, especially since I like my handwriting to look nice.  So that’s why I’m pouring out my heart hear on the Internet for all to see…

I have a boyfriend who is great and wonderful and handsome and sweet and caring and ambitious…but not perfect.  Nor am I, though.

Being in a relationship is hard.  Learning how to love and how (not) to fail as a girlfriend is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  Some days I don’t know if it’s worth it.  Some days I’m super sure it will one day be so worth it.  Mostly because I believe that God works all things for good.  Being committed to someone means opening yourself up to hurt, which I don’t like all that much.  To hearing someone’s hurts and helping carry them, to realizing hurt you’ve created, and to being hurt yourself.  Ouch.  Pain.  No bueno.  Recently, I’ve been feeling a lot of ouch.

Remember what I said about being private?  And about not liking being hurt or feeling pain or “ouch”?  It’s hard for me to talk openly and vulnerably with my boyfriend.  For a good portion of our relationship, I felt like he didn’t care about my life or who I am deep down.  My past, my present, my dreams for the future.  All of that stuff, I poured out to my friends, to my mom, and to a certain extent, to my God.  My boyfriend got surface level stuff, the pretty, the fun, the presentable.  Not all the messiness of my complicated life.

Recently, though, he’s decided that he’s not okay with that anymore.  He wants more.  An intimate relationship.  Not intimate in a physical sense (we still haven’t kissed.  21 months and counting…) but on a level that we KNOW each other.  That we share our lives and our joys, our happy days and sad days.  He talks about how we each have a backpack that is full of stones.  Stones represent our burdens, things in our life that we carry around with us, as we journey and climb up the mountains and skip into valleys.  He says that  he wants to carry my stones in his backpack.  When he first told me about the stones and the backpacks and all that, I cried.

It sounds so good.

So sweet and so perfect and so very ideal.  Isn’t that how a relationship should look?  Each partner sharing and caring.  No fear of crying when sadness comes, of looking like you’re less than okay.  Quick to admit wrong and quick to forgive.  To offer encouragement and a listening ear and a loving embrace that isn’t based on performance or merit but on love, seeing the other how our Father does – washed in the blood of His Son, pure and holy and dearly loved.

It’s been a few weeks since I first heard about the backpacks and the stones.  We’ve been doing okay, but nowhere close to perfect.  Barely good.  Last night, once again, we were struggling with this same issue.  My boyfriend was exasperated that I still didn’t get it.  That I still thought that my life and my thoughts and my feelings and my ideas were less than his.  He realizes that me thinking this way means that he’s failed as a man in our relationship.  As a man who wants a godly relationship with his girlfriend, this is not a fun thing to realize.  He doesn’t know how to solve the issue.  Neither do I.

Something he told me last night stuck with me:

“When you talk to me, you’re giving to me.”

This confused me a lot.  What?!  To me it seems selfish to bring up things about myself, to talk about myself without being asked a direct question.  Yet he says this is a way I can serve him?  Crazy.  When I talk, I give him an opportunity to listen and to care about my life.  I’m giving.  At the same time, he’s giving to me.  When he listens and cares about my life, I feel special.  Honored.  Cherished.  Loved.

Maybe this is how things should be.  I’m going to need a few days to take this in, and a few more weeks to listen to the Spirit whispering to me, You matter.  Speak.  Open up.  Be vulnerable.  Let him in.  I love you more than anyone ever will and you are Mine.  Thankfully, He’ll always be here beside me, pulling me into Him as I surrender my insecurities to Him.  I am His.  May He lead us into a deeper and more intimate friendship that is more than we ever dreamed possible.

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