unselfish love delivers me and teaches me who i have been

Posted: April 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

Sometimes I don’t know I’m being selfish until I unexpectedly stop doing so.  Sometimes the behavior leads the understanding, rather than the usual vice versa.  Not always.  But sometimes. 

So it wasn’t until Gary came along that I began to understand how selfish, self-centered, and self-seeking I had always been in previous relationships. 

Always before, the beginning of noticing someone “in that way” had been about ME.  I would see someone for what they had to offer ME.  For what I would get from them  I’m not talking about “stuff” here – not material objects.  I wasn’t looking for that.  I was looking for someone to give ME companionship.  To make ME feel loved.  To help ME navigate life.  To chase away MY feeling of loneliness.  To affirm ME.  To make MY life better.  I mean, not consciously.  But in truth, that’s how I was.

I thought that was what relationships were about – ME getting MY needs met.  And when I was scared, I was scared for ME.  For MY pain, MY loss, MY confusion, should it not work out.  But I didn’t see this was my approach, until it stopped.

When I first noticed Gary, I didn’t think first about what he might give to me.  I thought about who he was, how he lived, how his faith clearly informed his everyday life, how he served unselfishly and with continual good cheer. 

When I developed such a crush on him, it wasn’t about what he could offer to me.  Instead, it was more, “I want to serve this person.  I want to help him do what he does so well.  I want to help shoulder his burdens.  I want to make his life better.”  I don’t remember ever feeling like that before.

When I got all freaked out about how to handle his pursuit, it wasn’t about any worry that I might get hurt or that someone might not approve.  The freakout was about concern – fear, even – that he might get hurt.  That I might start something I couldn’t finish, and this sweet, faithful man might experience pain because of it.  Might have his ability to trust damaged.  Might take on my failure as an estimate of his lack of worth.  I couldn’t stand the idea of Gary getting hurt.  Couldn’t stomach it.  Wanted no part of inflicting that – and was willing to inflict the small hurt of avoiding him, if it would save him from larger pain later. 

That’s why I tried so hard to avoid, deny, and shoot it down for so long.  He was too important to me for game playing.  This was a heart that should be treasured well and handled with meticulous care.  And that’s something I don’t recall ever considering, at the beginning of any other previous relationship.  Sure, I didn’t want anyone to get hurt, but at the top of that “anyone” list was me, me, ME. 

So for the first several months that we talked, I repeated the same type of prayer to God, over and over again.  It went something like:

Please, please, PLEASE shut this down NOW if it is not what is best for him!  PLEASE!  Show him!  Show me!  If he won’t listen to You, I will.  If You show me that I need to walk away, I trust that You will give me all the strength I need to obey.  I will obey.  Even if it makes him sad, even if it makes me cry, even if there is no one else ever anywhere for me.  I promise, I will obey!  Just PLEASE stop this now if it isn’t your best plan for Gary.

I was all the time praying that – morning, all day, nights.  All the time vigilant, watching and listening for any hint of a “leave now” directive.  All the time conscious and intentional:  I would protect his heart at any cost.

And then, finally I felt a release.  Permission to stop praying that prayer.  Encouragement to just enjoy Gary – to pursue the relationship.  To trust in this safe place to which He had brought me. 


I expect this is probably the last entry in my “how Gary and I got together” series, as we were absolutely “together” by this point in the story (which fell around late August 2012). 

Where are we now?  I’m still in Davenport.  He’s still in Chicago.  Neither of us has a plan to move yet.  We are waiting on God for that plan, and thus far neither of us has received the “it’s time for you to move” directive.  I’d write more details, but when I wrote the rough draft of this blog on paper, my pen dried up as I came to those details.  Which I’ll take as a hint to shut up and leave well enough alone. 

Thanks for reading along, and I hope you enjoyed.  🙂

  1. Me says:

    I soooo enjoy a good, happy love story…..especially when it is God-driven.

    Sent from my Motorola Smartphone on the Now Network from Sprint!

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