My year away from Jesus: Part 3
As I have grown I have always had so many questions, by none of them plagued me as much or for a long as relationships. From the time that I became interested in relationships, I have been trying to figure them out. And to no prevail.
Whether we are talking about simple friendships to romanic relationships, either way I am utterly lost. To be honest, friendships/relationships don't come easy for me. This is probably because I over think the concept of relationships.
The odd thing about all of this, regardless of the fact that I have zero percent knowledge of friendships/relationships I have had some very meaningful relationships over 28 years. Throughout my years of school, I have had a multitude of meaningful friendships over the years. Even with the multitude of friends that I've had, I have always dealt with loneliness and depression. I grew into the mind of not being good enough for true friendship. As if I were destined to be my own best friend.
As you may have figured out, this attitude carried into my teenage years, basically crippling my dating life. To be completely honest I didn't become interested in woman until well past the normal age of an adolescent boy. When I finally became romantically or sexually interested in relationships, I was still too nervous and scared to build these relationships. Often I admired ladies from a far, wishing that my luck would change.
Soon before I knew it my friends would start dating and pouring their energy into these newly developed relationships, leaving me alone questioning how to create one of these relationships for myself.
When I transitioned from High School to College, I thought my luck would finally change. Due to the fact that I'm in a new place surrounded by new people, I was determined to turn my luck around. In many aspects I was successful. I gather my scattered nerves and began to talk to more girls and even flirt with them (Or at least try to) but it never led to an actual relationship. It often lead to a dear friendship.
When I finally found myself in a relationship I felt a multi-layered chest plate of worry and stress lift from my shoulders. We were in a relationship for two years. I felt like I finally fit in to the society that I had been apart of my entire life. I thought I had finally figured out all of my questions about relationships, but as I got further into my first relationship, I realized the questions would continue and get even more complicated.
I soon found myself desiring commitment, but fearing it as her and I approached the idea. It started with talks of marriage, which soon became an engagement, which many of my family members were not supportive of. Throughout this time of confusion, I wrote a series of songs that expressed my true emotions and I asked my fiancé to read them and consider them. In doing that a I was hoping that we would work through my nerves and my weakness, but instead it broke us up.
When we broke it up after two years I became some what of my old-time shut in. While I continued working in various campus ministries and classrooms, I rarely put time and effort into any aspect of my personal life. It would be nearly seven years before I actually enter into another romantic relationship again.
Before I knew it I was moving from Flagstaff to Phoenix Arizona to teach. During this time of transition I faced multiple trials that wore down my outlook on my own value. Due to that worn down muscle of faith I began to search for people to show me my value. I soon found myself in a relationship with a beautiful woman. This woman made me feel loved in a way that I've never felt before. The way her eyes gleamed with joy when she looked at me. Her smile reassured me with total honesty that she trusted me. I finally knew what it was like to be in love.
With this new found relationship building up my confidence once again, I slowly stopped turning to God to define my value. Instead I turned to her. Anything that was expected of me from her, I would do it to the best of my ability. The mornings were filled with loving good morning texts and the evenings were spent talking over the phone, where we would share stories of our days and ending with a small Bible study and a time of prayer.
We would meet up on Fridays after work and we would spend the weekend together. We would go out to dinners. We would go to concerts. We would even go to church on Sunday mornings.
Everything seemed perfect!
It was in that perfection I would soon get lost. As I got more immersed into the relationship with my new love, my relationship with God suffered and was left for dead. As the relationship with God diminished my mood began to change, leaving me more frustrated as time went by.
What was it that left me so frustrated and irritated? What were the steps that lead me down into the depression pit, where I would feel lost and confused about who I am? What were the events that would strip away my confidence and value?
As her and I got closer both physically and spiritually we started to talk more honest about our expectations and desires in the relationship. To say the least, our expectations were entirely different in so many ways. For instance, my value of money is very limited. I understand that we need money to live, but I have never be solely driven by the desire to be rich or to be wealthy. On the other hand, my love had grown accustom to having a certain amount of money to live on, which was far more than I made at the time that we were together. Secondly, I grew up in an environment were my best friend and perfect companion was always myself. I didn't also have the attention of the world around me so I learned how to entertain myself. This is something that she never truly learned and many times she struggled when she was alone with her own thoughts and feelings.
Due to these differences, amongst others, I often found myself on the phone with this beautiful lady trying to ease her mind about our relationship and the potential that I saw in the two of us being together. A number of times she suggested that we each date other people to see if there may be better chemistry with another person. I continuously protested, explaining that it was only her that I wanted to be with. Regardless how often I tried to ease her mind, she continued to come to the conclusion that she wanted to meet and date a few other men as a way to solidify her feelings for me. While I disagreed with the idea I decided to support her in this journey.
To be honest, I had no intention to date other women. My plan was to allow her to meet a few other people but I would keep my presence in her life, showing her my interest and my true intentions for us. I would do all of this in hopes that I would win to the woman's heart.
With every date that she went on, fear filled my heart and clouded my mind. I tried to hold myself together by distracting myself with movies, television and writing; but more often than not I was up all night hoping to hear from her. While sometimes that worked to my benefit because she would make late night visits to my place after her dates, most of the time I was left with a sleepless night.
Looking back at these events as I write these words, I realize that I should have spent my sleepless night seeking after God and strengthening that relationship. Unfortunately this was the beginning stages of my descent into the depression pit that nearly devoured me whole.
As she took to a new love interest and they soon grew closer, I felt like I was once again left to myself; left to my darkened thoughts and my lonliness. The person that I felt the closest to in my entire life was leaving me behind.
I quickly found myself fighting for her attention. I would try to text her first thing in the morning or right as she got off of work, hoping that we could get together and re-create the bond that initially linked us together; but I was often ignored or she was already busy with her new love.
Deeper down the pit I go.
Throughout these last two years I have been through multiple ups and downs, but I must be honest in saying that this series of events was the precipice of my descent to my year away from Jesus. It's unfortunate that the same person that made me feel valuable and loved; the same person that made feel like I was the most important person in their life was the same person that made me feel undesired and useless.
It wasn't until my encounter with God that I realized my value and purpose once again. I began to press into God's presence regularly. God began to break the stone from my heart, making it flesh again. God brought blood to my dried vines, allowing my heart to feel again for the lost souls of this world.
It is in that God that I am defined. It is in that God that I made whole. That is the God that I will trust!
I still have many questions about relationships; but I do know that my relationship with God is the most important relationship that I can put my energy into. I have learned first hand that if I trust in God and follow His plan with unwavering faith, then God will guide me and comfort me when I am hurt. God will bring people into my life and God will ask me to leave certain people behind.
Now I have a newly strengthened trust for my God and I have a better understanding of my own personal weakness. I have learned that God is truly strong when I am at my weakest; so I lean in to God when I am weak
Anthony K. Giesick
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