I thought being engaged would be the happiest time in my life.
“But whose image are you buying into?” my trusted friend and mentor asked me.
Engagement has been the most revealing time of my life. I see how selfish I am. I see how faulty some of my thinking is. I see how stubborn I am. I cry all the time, it seems there is always something that comes up and in these last few months leading up the wedding, I’m realizing how unprepared I am, and how my addictive personality and beliefs that I thought weren’t an issue are in fact an issue and it has taken a serious toll on my relationship. Now, my issues aren’t because I’m engaged. They are because I am a sinner and this will be something I will work on until I am in Heaven with Christ.
I am filled with excruciating sadness as I realize how different engagement is from how I thought it would be. But I’m met with even deeper sadness at the realization that there is so much growth within me that needs to happen. I feel stuck.
I am so selfish and self-deprecating and it hurts others-not just me. I always thought that my attitude about taking care of my physical health only affected me. But I was so wrong. I got sober over two years ago yet there are still ways that I neglect my body’s needs and treat myself carelessly. It’s a slap in Christ’s face when I don’t take care of myself and treat is as a temple and the representation of Christ I am called to be.
So maybe the substance I used has been out of my life for over two years, but perhaps the mindset and patterns haven’t changed nearly as much as I thought they had.
Because now my future husband sees the nitty gritty details of my life. He sees all my flaws, and because he is a good man, he lovingly calls it out in me. Change is hard though. Changing a mindset I’ve taken peculiar comfort in for so long feels nearly hopeless. Jerry sees my sin. I can’t pretend to be perfect with him.
My fiancé is so patient and loving with me, but I’m loved in a way I’m not used to. He calls me out even when he knows it will upset me or cause tension when he can tell I’m engaging in thoughts or actions that aren’t healthy. My mentor pointed out to me today that the self-worth issues I am addressing right now would have to be addressed at some point. Whether I was engaged or not. Whether I was still living in Mississippi or not. I’m blessed enough to be with a man who gently calls me out.
Ignorance and growth can not be held in the same hand.
Sometimes I just feel like a problem child. Like a burden or just a woman weighing him down. When I begin to question my worth, I start spiraling. And I’ve been doing that a lot more lately. It’s overwhelming and so disheartening. I want to change. I want to be challenged. I want to continue to grow. But it hurts and I don’t like how painfully aware I am of all my flaws right now. I was told today that being sanctified isn’t an overnight process. Well dang-it- it would be a lot easier if it were.
God’s grace is sufficient for me AND His sufficiency looks different from my expectation of His sufficiency.
I love my future husband with all of my heart, so when I examine how adverse I am to changing some of my ways, I get angry at myself. He doesn’t deserve this. The Amy Goodwin who got sober over two years ago doesn’t deserve that either. I became complacent and comfortable and stopped trying to grow. And that has come back to bite me in the butt. It’s time to take steps forward and choose facts over my ever-changing and oh-so-sensitive emotions.
Being engaged hurts. I’m challenged in ways I never thought I would be and I cry now more than ever. Yet despite all this. God continues to guide Jerry and I to walk this path and keep pushing on. Jerry continues to point me to Christ over and over again. I’ll be honest and say sometimes I even get tired of it. I get tired of endless conversations about these things. Sometimes I wish it could all be swept under the rug. But that isn’t love. Jerry wouldn’t be leading well if he didn’t challenge me on things I’m doing that are hurting myself and dishonoring the life God has given me.
I’ve gained a small glimpse of how difficult marriage will be. And I’m terrified. But when I stop to think about life without Jerry, I can’t. He’s there. So loving him (and myself and God) requires sacrifice-not just once, but repeatedly. It means dying to myself, picking up my cross, and following Christ and the practice of Biblical submission. It means acting “as if” even if I don’t want to.
I’ve been feeling like I’ve been having a sort of identity crisis lately. Desires and goals I once had have shriveled up. I changed paths I was on and nothing is going the way I planned about a year ago. Where have my passions gone? I’m ready to re-discover all that God has called me to do. The life I set up for myself and the images and expectations I had created fall short compared to God’s design.
Walking with Christ demands a willingness to sacrifice whatever identity I built for myself. And I just want to look like Christ. His ways are always higher than mine.
This discouragement I’m experiencing- this “misery” as I’ve described it- isn’t because of my relationship, it’s because I’m being forced to confront the sin in my life that I’ve used as a cushion for the longest time.
Good grief. Accepting reproof and dying to myself is overwhelming. But we aren’t called to tasks that Christ won’t help us with, and today I’m clinging desperately to that truth.