Tag Archives: Loneliness

Love in the face of truth…

If you know me, you know how important love and relationship is to me.  You know that I am someone who loves friends, friendship and quality time spent with someone to whom I am deeply committed and connected.

Many times, love has found me… or was it love?  I know the feeling of love was a part of the relationship, but was it truly love?  You see, I almost always allowed my heart to rule my head.  I let the feeling or perception of my deep feelings guide my willingness to engage and commit to someone.  That’s not a good thing, if you’re not doing a “check up from the neck up”.  So many times, I have hoped for the promise of a great relationship filled with love, but I ignored the signs which indicated that an actual relationship with that person was simply unwise or unavailable because they weren’t ready or we didn’t share the same values and goals.  I’ve been in relationships where the “friendship” and love was undeniable and powerful, but there were mixed values or life goals.  I could go on and on, but the right combination of things seemed to somehow elude… both of us and yet, we carried on in the hope the other would change.

I spent many years wondering… “Who is going to be able to settle on and accept this conundrum called Tim?”, “Who is going to accept me for me?”… and equally importantly, find me accepting the other person too; accepting them for the right reasons and not just because they were amazing and loving!

Choosing a relationship is confusing and scary because it’s such a dynamic process.  Being honest with the other person while “you” are unveiled and vice versa can be dizzying because it sometimes happens at a very rapid pace.   Even if you both choose to start out “slow”, the relationship will dictate the pace at which it will unfold and often, we succumb to it.  If it’s right though, you will find a balance in the pace which will be comfortable for both of you.  You find that comfort because you can be honest with yourself about what you feel and what you see!

The statement about choosing a relationship was once very true for me, but I am grateful to say, I think that is finally a thing of the past for me and for one very important reason.  I think I finally value myself enough to choose wisely and to be honest with myself when I consider being in a healthy relationship, because I’m willing to act in the light of what I see; in both me and the other person.

In the past, I was always ready to set myself aside.  What I mean by that is, I would ignore simple truths that I would see.  I would not rise to question the obvious differences or be willing to make a stand in the light of what I valued.  I was always so concerned about giving the other person the benefit of the doubt, because I saw that they were a good person and deserving of love.  I also, selfishly, wanted the intoxicating feeling of being with someone.  I can recall example after example, but in the end… they were excuses made by me.

At the end of the day, when you’re in a relationship and you’re serious about it, it’s OK and necessary to talk to your partner about your feelings and part in it!  If they don’t value what you value or they’re not in the same place (relatively) and don’t see themselves moving forward in a way similar to you… then it’s time to be honest with yourself and them and then make a decision.    Once you’ve made your decision (which may be to leave), it can be hard to let go and put the relationship behind because it satisfied many things for you.  Unless it satisfies all the important things though, it’s wise to cling to your decision because after all, you saw enough to choose to leave in the first place!  We are who we are which doesn’t make us bad, it just makes us unique.   Two people can be great friends and love each other desperately, but that doesn’t make them right for one another.

I’ve always said “It just shouldn’t be that hard” and that’s the truth when you’re in a healthy relationship unless you’re both really expert at lying to yourselves and each other.  When you meet the right person however, it simply isn’t hard because it’s easy to live with them and the truth at the same time!  Hard questions aren’t that hard to share or face.  This is the rest of your life… so you’d better do your best to be honest, get it right and make sure the person you’re with is the best for you.  It’s great to find someone who makes your heart go pitter pat, but that gets old fast when you can’t count on their commitment when the going gets rough.

What’s worse still is when you find that special someone who understands you utterly, who makes you feel very loved and accepted and they find you the same.  They struggle and simply can’t allow themselves to commit to you no matter how hard they try, because they’re fighting a conflict within themselves that’s obvious, but that they desperately want to deny… you aren’t right for them!  You don’t match THEIR values or goals!  You’re only cheating yourself if you don’t question it and they’re cheating you if they’re not honest about it.  It might be easy to be with them at a love and friendship level, but that lifelong choice thing, that’s another matter entirely.  Choosing to be with someone should be easy because “EVERYTYHING” is obvious.  It’s obvious you’re attracted, it’s obvious you share passion for each other, it’s obvious you share laughter, but it’s also obvious that you both share the same values, goals and honesty too.    Honesty about everything!

There is nothing worse than dancing around an elephant in the room, and lying about it only makes it worse because someday you’re going to have to deal with what the elephant leaves behind.  You see, life brings both good stuff and crap too.  A couple’s willingness to engage in good and bad together, while sharing an abiding respect is what defines the basis of a good and lasting relationship.

If you value a good career and financial stability, choosing someone who is entrepreneurial and frequently lives on the bleeding edge of financial ruin because they’re a risk taker is probably not a good fit; no matter how incredible they are to you.  Sometimes, our partners are completely honest with us… they want or don’t want to have kids.  If raising a family is something important to you and non-negotiable and your partner doesn’t want to have kids, you have little choice no matter how great the rest of the relationship!  Staying is keeping you from being with someone who values the same things you do and it keeps them from achieving their life goal too.  Choosing not to stay doesn’t make the other person bad for you, but does make them a bad CHOICE for you!  If however, your family choices are negotiable, and foregoing a family life is something you can live with… well I guess your choice may not be so difficult.  As long as you’re willing to be honest with yourself about what your partner shares with you, you can make healthy choices.  If you choose to leave, they will respect you because you’re valuing and respecting them too!

If someone pursues you after the relationship has ended, it’s easy to be tempted back because, after all, it wasn’t all bad.  It’s sometimes hard to honour our choices because let’s face it… being alone sucks!  But hanging about and playing with the fire of a past flame keeps you from moving forward and finding the right relationship for you.  I’ve struggled with that too, but I’ve learned my lesson after having been burned by playing with that very fire.  Fortunately though, I was not scarred because I feel I’ve learned from my experience and now have the ability to be honest with myself and make hard choices when necessary.

I’m not saying that you can’t feel completely connected to someone who is different to you, but you have to be certain that difference is something you can live with; because giving and committing your heart to someone should be about a forever choice!    “Every rose has its thorn” might be true, but if you can’t live with the pain you feel from what is otherwise something quite beautiful, it’s better to leave it alone.

Too many times, I held onto hope while waiting on the other person.  I waited and hoped that that the depth of our love would conquer our differences, but each time, that hope found me disappointed and ultimately… alone!  Sometimes, I chose to end the relationship and sometimes it was the other person or a mutual decision.  Thankfully though, it ended because continuing to live in the expectation or hope that I or the other person would change our mind would have resulted in frustration, anger and likely bitterness or resentment.

A very good friend of mine offers “Granny’s” advice.”  “It’s better to be alone than wish you were!”   Damn straight!  It’s scary to choose someone, but it’s worse when you hold onto someone when in the back of your mind, you know you shouldn’t be there.  Because you think the world of them however, or because you don’t want to be alone, you choose to remain in something that’s not right for you.  That’s just the wrong reason to be in a relationship and more… it’s really selfish!

It can be hard to be honest, but when you’re with the right person, they will accept what you have to say, knowing that it’s probably hard for you to share, but because they value integrity and because of their self-respect and integrity too, they listen knowing that you have their best interests in mind.

I have waited a very long time to find someone who sees me as I am, who finds me devilishly handsome, makes their heart go boom, accepts all of the idiosyncrasies that comprise me, who accepts and shares the goals and values we both have and who, in the light of all of those things is willing to talk honestly and openly about our life.  That is someone I can make a commitment to because that is someone within which I can place my trust.

The hardest part of being in a relationship when it first begins and then throughout is being honest.  It can be hard to be honest with yourself and then with your partner because sometimes, the message isn’t easy.  Of course, there are many other parts too, but it all starts with honesty!  Without it, you can never have integrity, honour or respect.  Often, when we find love, it feels easy, but without honesty and respect, it’s shallow and baseless!  Finding a great love, a love in which you share, values, goals, respect and above all, honesty… that’s not so easy, but it’s so worth waiting for!

I’ve spent the last 3 years of my life more or less on my own.  I’ve shut down my small business and joined a large software company, moved my home after 42 years and started another part of my life.   I’ve had to undergo a lot of scary stuff and become very honest with myself about who I am and where I’m at!  I’m not willing to toss all that aside for the first bit of “feel good” that comes along.

When you find the “right” person for you, you’ll know, but only if you’re willing to be honest… with you!  Here’s hoping you find the right person for you!

Soul Pic

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Expand on your faith???

Recently, someone called me out on a statement I’ve been known to make from time to time.  I’ve been quoted as saying that I’m “Christian, but not religious”.  That person really called me to task and asked me to expand on what that means to me exactly.  I think I’ve always had a comfortable understanding what that means to me, but I’ve never had to paint that picture or define what I truly mean when I make that statement.  Going through a period in my life where Faith is truly all I have to lean on, I was challenged to discern my feelings, situation, experience, challenges, triumphs and relationships to arrive at a response that is not just “off the cuff”.

Having recently moved to a new community and beginning the process of making new connections can make for a lot fun and excitement, but there are significant periods of time where, it’s just me (of course, God is there too).  It’s during those times where my faith and my relationship with God really gets put to the test.

When writing my response, I didn’t have to hesitate, I just had to try to define what my walk looks like.

Here’s the result….

“Expand on my faith… hmmm… that I can do. It’s odd you should ask me this… today especially. I was recently in the office of the pastor of my Church. We’re in the process of getting to know each other and becoming friends. I was telling him about my faith and what it’s based on.  Beyond what we were talking about (though some of this was a part of the discussion), It’s not based on my showing up in Church on Sunday, singing on a worship team or serving people in some way in the hope that I’m doing something good or of value.

Faith is about trust, respect, and integrity. It’s knowing that while Christ was here, he was not here to tell people how to live their lives, but rather, to show us.  He did not want to force us, but to give us an alternative, an example. Mostly though, I believe Christ was here to love us. This is not some fantasy I believe. Far from it. I truly believe Christ was here, I believe he lives on and I truly believe that one day (which no one will know until it happens) He will come again.

Faith is not something you talk about, or some expressions you make, it’s something you live. Just because I talk about Jesus with confidence doesn’t make me faithful. Trusting in Him, in what He’s teaching me and acting on that understanding reveals my faith.  Trusting that He’s here with me and walking with me, even when it would be easier to depend on what I know or what I can see is an example of my faith.  For me, faith is trusting what Christ is trying to show me in order to choose to truly live the life He’s created for me.

If you’ve chosen to read this far, I’ll share with you that I don’t use God or Jesus 10 times in each sentence. I don’t say “praise God” or “Hallelujah” every other sentence.  Words don’t make me faithful or reveal my faith.  I’m just a regular person like everyone else. My life is not perfect and I suffer the same trials as everyone else. Choosing to follow my life in faith does not guarantee that it will be perfect or that I am perfect. I’m just as flawed as anyone living on Earth. To be honest, there are many “people of faith” who do more to steer folks away from a possible relationship with God because of their “religious” views, expressions and actions than there are who lead others to him because of how they choose to demonstrate their “belief”.  It’s much harder to love someone you don’t agree with, whose viewpoint you don’t share and whose lifestyle choices clash with your own than it is to point a finger at them and tell them you don’t agree with them or that they’re wrong.  Don’t misunderstand, sometimes we need to share the kind truth with each other, but we must be careful to ensure it’s more about truth than our comfortable perspective.

I don’t live my life following Christ because there’s a set of rules I must adhere to. I do not live in fear, but rather, I live my life with a healthy love and respect for God. I want to understand why God shares a path for us in the way that He does. He doesn’t ask us to follow Him because he’s a control freak. He’s God. He doesn’t need to. Instead, I truly believe that he has our best interests at heart and wants us to learn why he provided the wisdom and path that he has. This is not blind obedience we’re called to. It’s really no different than the love a parent would show and guide a child with. God’s word to us is for our benefit and it is shared out of love and a desire to see us thrive.

I could go on but I’m pretty sure you get the picture. So… if you would like to have an honest and open discussion about it sometime, I’d be more than happy to share time with you. If not, I completely understand, but this is who I am. God put within me a heart of love, though it’s taken me years to finally come to the point where I may be humble enough to share it with someone. Time will tell that tale.

Cheers,
Tim”

We never did share that conversation, though I did receive a reply which let me know what I shared was understood and appreciated.

We don’t need to agree to live and love together, but we do need to be respectful and that…. sometimes, takes faith.

Have a great weekend and remember while you’re following your nose, there is much you can lean on because you’re loved and valued.  In that, you can have faith.

What is marriage? Who is the right partner… “the One”

I recently read this short article written by Lysa TerKeurst and felt compelled to write a response, so please bear with my ramblings.

“One day, I shared with my unmarried friend that when I was single I thought marriage was all about finding the right partner. I thought if you find “the one,” you’ll be happy, secure, and fulfilled. I do think it’s good to have a list of standards that you look for in a spouse. However, it can never be with the expectation that if you find that special someone, he’ll (she’ll) right all your wrongs and fill up all your insecurities. The problem with this thinking is the pressure it will eventually put on your spouse.

To expect another person to make you feel happy, secure, and fulfilled will leave you disappointed at best and disillusioned at worst. Even a great husband makes a very poor God.

Only God can settle those deep heart-needs. A man (or woman) can never do this. If a husband could meet every need his wife had (and vice versa), we’d have no need for God. Therefore, instead of just focusing on finding the right partner, let God work on your heart to help you become the right partner.”

https://www.facebook.com/OfficialLysa/posts/10151798822537694

I have to say that while I agree with the essence of what this article is saying, it does gloss over some pretty important stuff.  First though… I want to agree with one very important point.  It’s wiser to learn how to become “the one” than it is to seek that out in someone else.  Knowing who you are, what you like, dislike, value, hope to achieve and being comfortable in your life with those things will help to create a foundation for a healthy and lasting relationship, or at least, your part of it.   What that means though is that we have some work to do before we even think about getting into a new relationship.  Spending time with yourself and with God to learn how to accept both your strengths and weaknesses is a wise thing to do.  This is where you can let God can help you become a better friend and a better life mate.  Acceptance of ourselves is just as important as acceptance of the person you may eventually spend your life with and it all begins with one very important thing.  Honesty.  Learning how to be honest with God and ourselves about who we are will put us on a path to becoming a lot more comfortable in our own skin.  I’m not talking about being narcissistic but instead, being really willing to honestly look at ourselves in a mirror and to learn to accept ourselves for who we are. This is how we can begin to learn to love ourselves in a healthy way.  It’s also a great way to become aware of the not so nice stuff about us.  When we become aware of our “stuff”, it’s a lot easier to know what to bring to God for help.  It’s also easier to know what NOT to put on our partner to be and to know when we are doing just that!

It is very dangerous to live in the belief that if you find “the one”, all of your hopes, dreams and desires will be met.  What’s even worse, if you carry an unfulfilled need or want into a relationship and place that expectation on your new partner, you’re piling a huge amount of pressure on them that will likely result in anger and regret if and when they don’t meet your expectation.  You also stand a pretty good chance that they’ll become defensive, disillusioned or even betrayed in your relationship with them.

I also agree with what I believe the author was trying to say with regard to having a list of standards, but I would choose to describe it differently.  Finding someone will not remove insecurities from you.  It will not make life go easier and it certainly will not undo the past!  It will do two things however.   It will make life a much less lonely place and it will expose the very things you seek to fulfill (or avoid) through seeking “the one”.  Knowing yourself intimately, your values and goals is so very important.  Understanding your hopes and dreams in a healthy way is also essential and it’s very important that you are able to share them openly and honestly… with God and your new love interest!  The one thing I consistently see in many relationships is a lack of acceptance.  I know that may seem strange to read, but it is my factual observation.  Accepting someone for who they are and have represented themselves to be is a major key to a long lasting and loving relationship.  It’s also a great way to know who NOT to be with.  You can’t make an apple be a potato, nor can you make yourself become something you’re not.

OK… that’s some of the healthy relationship stuff addressed, but what about the heart part?  The part where we feel lonely?  We already know that putting our stuff on someone is not only unfair, it’s also unwise.  So… isn’t our expectation of being delivered from loneliness a part of that too?  Why are we lonely?  What does that look like?  This is the part where singles and people in relationships (especially those in long term relationships) are very disconnected in their understanding of the state of being single.  What we singles need to do however is very important.  We need to learn HOW to accept our singleness and our loneliness and to bring both of those to God.  God made us to be in relationship.  Adam and Eve are absolute proof of that.  God created the first romance between two people with Adam and Eve and so designed what would have been a perfect relationship (until they became fixated on fruit).  Learning to accept that there are times where we are just going to be lonely and there ain’t nothing you can do about it will help to make things a little less frustrating.  Being in relationship is how we were wired by God.  Learning to accept loneliness is just as important as learning how to accept the rest of our stuff.  I’m not talking about learning how to fill those voids (loneliness) with activities because that’s not acceptance… that’s avoidance and there’s a big difference.  Learning how to accept being lonely is very different from trying to figure out what to do when you are.  If the latter is your coping mechanism… well… maybe give what you’re doing another think.  Filling our time with things that bring us pleasure is a good thing, but our motivation is what’s important here.  I love photography, but I never do it when I’m feeling lonely!  My work suffers for it!  When I’m lonely, that’s when I choose to become contemplative and share with God (and sometimes friends if they’re willing) why I’m feeling lonely.  First, I learn what the root of my loneliness is and I try to learn how to accept my loneliness.  That’s not saying I’m becoming defeated, but rather that I’m learning to accept where I am at.

One very important point that this short article overlooks though is this…  Our married friends!  Our married friends have a hope that we’ll meet someone just as we hope to, but they see it a little bit differently.  They have the wise hope that we’ll find someone who will share our values and goals, but they also expect us to be ready to wait for the right person to come along… and then they cozy up to their partner that evening on the couch while they watch their favourite show on TV (or whatever stuff they do as a couple) because that is their reality.  It’s reasonable to think that they’ve become disconnected with singleness.  Well folks… there are two things to consider here and both are about perspective.  It’s always easier to see life from your own perspective and you’ll never fully know what the other person’s perspective truly is.    It’s easy to say “be patient and wait on God… he’ll fill that void”.  Well… how they make or mean that statement can be the difference between being and feeling completely misunderstood or… understanding that you need to spend some more time with God because of what I was talking about earlier.  I’m going to focus on the last sentence of Lysa’s article for a moment “Therefore, instead of just focusing on finding the right partner, let God work on your heart to help you become the right partner.”  If this is what your friends are saying to you, then they’re good and wise friends.  If not, then they need to reconsider their perspective and think about this sentence themselves!  Loneliness to me seems an unnatural thing considering how God created us.  We’re going to be lonely, but here’s the kicker… that can also happen inside a relationship.  That’s why it is important to learn how to be lonely in a healthy way before we get into a relationship.  It will help us to learn how to sort through “stuff” and to better understand our place in any relationship.  That just part of how WE can become “the one” for someone else.

If we do much of this work and self-evaluation, we may just get to meet that one very important person that God wants us to meet (other than Jesus). We may get to meet and truly know ourselves. If we’re going to be in a healthy relationship and get to know someone else… how will they get to know us if we don’t even know who we truly are.

Oh… one last thing… “The One”… what is the definition for the one?  Well, for me it’s a two part answer.  Finding “the one” means finding someone who’ll love and accept me for me, just as I am.  They’ll accept me for me and I too will be willing to do likewise for them.  The second part though I will leave to the words of a man far wiser than I…

“Love is a commitment to the development of the full potential of the other person; to help them become the very best person they are capable of becoming.” – Brian Tracy

You see… relationship is about service and sacrifice.  It’s not about you at all, you’re only one part of it.  It’s mostly about the other person, valuing them and respecting the incredible gift they have chosen to give you.  It’s about respecting the gift of ‘them’!  Your partner will be making a choice to share their life with you and as I see it, there is no greater earthly thing we as people can do!  This choice can at the same time be the most and least selfish thing we’ll ever do.  Knowing the difference between the two will help us to know the right choice to make when we at last find someone that makes our heart skip a beat.