I have had a constant compulsion to be alone. Last night I spent a good half hour writing in my red, hand-written journal about how much I don’t want to feel this way about the girl I’ve liked for a while. I wrote about how every time that I have thrown myself out there for a girl, I’ve been shot down and I don’t think this situation will be any different. I want to stop liking her, stop thinking about her, stop dreaming about her, but with as much as I want to completely forget about these sentimental feelings, they continue to haunt me.
Every time I think of what I want in a wife, I think of this girl. Her gentle heart, her joyful nature, her smile – they all just plague me. I sat awake for some time last night wishing these feelings would go away, that I’d fall in love with another girl, one that has a greater likelihood of sharing my feelings. But then I realized that I didn’t want any of it, that I’d rather be alone because it’s so much easier.
I think this is why golf was so appealing to me; because it provided an avenue to get away from everything and be about as individual as one could possibly be. In golf, you’re your toughest competitor. You’re not playing against the other golfers; you’re playing against yourself. No one depends on you and you don’t depend on anyone. Every mistake made belongs to you just as every triumph achieved is credited to you. Your value is determined by how well or not well you can play against yourself. If you can conquer and control your mind, you’re likely to play better, which means you’re likely to place well in a tournament.
Unlike golf, though, is the realm of friendships and relationships. To get to know someone, both of you have to open yourselves up. Private things like sins and fears become unveiled. And it is this level of closeness that I, for some reason, dislike. This is probably why I’ve been single my whole life, because I don’t want people to really know me. I don’t want the sins of my past and present to be out there on the table. I don’t want anyone to know what I’m afraid of. And I sometimes don’t want my opinions out there either. Why? Because I feel that if all these things were made known to someone else – even just one person – that they wouldn’t want to have anything to do with me.
The greatest doubt I think I have is being liked by someone else. I have never had a problem liking someone else and I definitely haven’t had a problem in making it known to them either. But I have had a hard time believing that someone could actually like me the way I’ve liked them. This leads me to believe that I’ll never be married, that I’ll never have a wife because no matter how long I might date a girl or how much time we actually spend together, she’ll eventually find something out about me and leave. Or, she’ll meet another guy that has more to offer her than I do and run away with him. No, not that he’ll have more money or drive a nicer car; I mean that he’ll have a better sense of his character and be more loving than I ever could.
And even if the girl does come to know everything about me that she could possibly know, I’d still want to be alone at some point. I know this about myself because it’s happened time after time. There have been girls in my life who have liked me, but because I was either afraid of being broken-hearted or abandoned again, or, which is usually the case, because I just didn’t want to not be single, I bailed. I either avoided the girl or I told her that I wasn’t feeling the same feelings. At the end of the day, I find I like being alone because I don’t risk being unloved.
But then something else happens.
There’s something else that’s warring inside of me: the desire to be loved. It’s a very deep desire, one that I’ve always had, and yet one that I’m terribly afraid of. Why? Because with the desire to be loved and to be married comes the obligation to take the biggest risk possible: the risk of being rejected. The risk of throwing everything out there in an act of love and being shot down.
I have often kept my birthday a secret from others because I don’t want to make it known, expect some kind of celebration, and then be let down when it doesn’t happen. And I’ve had crushes on girls that I’ve never told anyone about because that meant a secret part of my life – maybe even an example of what kind character I have – would be exposed. Part of me would be known and therefore subject to the judgment of others.
I don’t like being known and yet, I am absolutely in love with the Jesus that knows more about me than I do. I’m in love with the Jesus who says that my pride, my individuality must be broken down in order to truly accept Him and live how He would want me to. Jesus says to treat others how I would want to be treated, which I used to take to mean that I should just leave everyone alone. But then this other desire creeps up, this desire to be loved, to be wanted, to be turned to for help or just for friendship or companionship. And when that desire creeps up I begin to realize that maybe there are others who want this, too, and so I try to show them that no matter what it is about them, they’re loved by someone.
It’s then that I realize my error.
My desire to be alone merely comes from the desire to do my own thing, to be self-sufficient without the need of anyone else. The reason why I sometimes don’t want to feel a certain way about a girl, like I’ve felt in these last couple of days, is because it demands me to be humble and admit that I need someone else’s help, that I need someone else. In being relationally relevant, we have to be individually humble; that even in our most alone, individual moments, we must admit that we need someone else.
Above anybody else, we need God’s presence. We need His life-giving Spirit and the Bread of Life that only He can feed us with. And beneath that, we need the other sons and daughters that God has been working through. Essentially, we need the church. We need community; we need multiple people in our lives to help teach us, guide us, love us, and correct us to live the life Jesus wants us to live. Why do we have to conform to the ways of Jesus? Why can’t we just live our lives how we want to? Why can’t we find fulfillment on our own? Because Jesus is of God, which means He knows what is best for us. It’s like the child still inside his mother’s womb making a declaration that he doesn’t need that life-sustaining umbilical cord; we’ll die without our connection to God. And in order to keep that connection strong, there is a Way of life that we need to conform to, even though our pride tells us we don’t need Him. It’s the poison that has been imbedded within our genetic makeup from the beginning; this pride telling us we can do anything and everything on our own and be perfectly self-sufficient.
I’m still afraid of intimacy. With my father never being around and mother unable to raise me and my siblings on her own, I’ve had confusing and conflicting feelings towards intimacy. But one thing I do know: God is love. And if God is love, which means that everything He does is by His nature considered love, then I know I’m in trustworthy hands. The Scriptures echo the promise that God will never leave us nor forsake us. And though I’m still afraid of being unloved, His love, His grace, His forgiveness, His Spirit, His Son is enough for me to live off of. He took the risk by giving us free will, by giving us the ability to choose to either love Him or not love Him. I should be able to take the same risk especially since He will never abandon me like my biological dad. He is not of this world.