A guy asked me to go get ice cream with him this week. You’d think that would be the kind of thing I would jump at. Free ice cream with a guy I enjoy talking to. But I immediately started to feel anxious and didn’t want to go. And that little event – getting asked out and immediately feeling anxious about it – triggered lots of feelings and emotions.
I have this idea in my head of the man I want to marry – at least I have an idea of the kind of guy he is and of course I have a list of non-negotiables: loves God, is okay with dogs in the bed, wants to adopt, and cares about social justice (beard and tattoos a beautiful bonus). But I’m worried, and this is what is making me anxious as my 28th birthday approaches – I’m worried that I’m going to either be too close minded because I have the idea of the kind of guy I am going to marry in my head and I’m going to miss out on something really great OR I’m going to settle because I’m so worried about missing out.
Typically in life I trust my gut. I do what feels right, even if it’s scary or hard. But this doesn’t feel right – going out with a guy that I enjoy talking to but don’t think about during the day or get excited about. That doesn’t feel right. But I’ve never done it – I’ve never dated, and I’ve never wanted to date. I’ve just wanted to meet a guy and get to know him and then fall in love with him. But what if that’s just a fantasy that sometimes happens but doesn’t always happen and what if I just need to buck up and go on a few dates? How can I know? How does a person know?
Because I usually just know. I knew I wanted to move to the DR and I knew I wanted to move to Jarabacoa and I knew it was time to go back to teaching and I knew I needed to adopt a second dog. I just knew. I am a person who is sure of herself. Except for when it comes to this. And I thought I would be, because I always am, but I just want my husband here and now without all of the beginning unsure stuff. I want someone or something or a situation or circumstance to present him to me: *tada!* here he is!
I’ve always thought I’d get this feeling. This a-ha, finally, this is what I’ve been waiting for, “there he is,” feeling. Should I wait for that? What if I’m stuck waiting forever?
Would that really be so bad? That’s better than settling, right? Definitely. Yes. That’s better than settling. But what if I’m being unrealistic?
Before I left for the summer my friend prayed for my future husband. She said, “I don’t know if you’re going to meet him this summer or what but I just felt I had to pray for him.” And since then I’ve just felt him close. I don’t know if that’s wishful thinking or a delusion or if it’s real, but I think that’s what’s freaking me out. I feel like he’s close and I’m scared I’m going to miss him.
How do people do this? Fall in love? Meet someone they like who actually likes them back? It’s always astounded me.
I had a boyfriend once. A change-your-MySpace-status boyfriend (which tells you how long ago it was). God spoke to me in the shower one day (I don’t know why it was in the shower, but I remember the moment so clearly). He said, “He’s not the one I have for you,” and I knew, I knew, like I so often know things, that I needed to break up with this guy. And as we broke up (for the second time in as many weeks because I was AFRAID of missing out and settling and all the crazy crap I’m still afraid of) we cried on the phone and said, “What if nobody ever likes me again?”
What if that never happens again? That match up of you like me and I like you and not only do I like you but I’m physically attracted to you but not only am I physically attracted to you but I also like you. Two people both feeling that about each other at the same time? Seems like a miracle to me.
And maybe it is. I think it is. I hope it is!
Last year my best friend met someone who is PERFECT FOR HER. Perfect for her. Like they’re the only two people I know who play Ultimate Frisbee as a sport. That’s not a knock on Ultimate Frisbee – it’s a real sport – I just never knew anyone who played it like I’ve known people to play soccer and football. And the stars lined up and she found an Ultimate team and they met and they both work with youth and play Frisbee and love the Lord and are GORGEOUS and maybe I’m freaking out because like, how often can something like that happen?
Today a friend posted on Facebook some gorgeous pictures of her and her husband because this is the day they met each other six years ago. She says, “Before August 27th, 2011, I didn’t really believe in soul mates. I didn’t know that my dream man actually existed in this universe… This date is more significant to me than our wedding date because this is the day that our paths crossed and I was never the same again.”
Yesterday morning after I wrote all of those words (and many more) through lots of tears and sobs I sent them to my friend Amanda and then went to have breakfast with her and another friend. (God bless the friends of writers who receive three pages worth of a Word document via Facebook messenger on a Saturday morning. Amen?) When I got to Amanda’s house she stopped me in the hallway and said brave and true and freeing and affirming things. She said things like, “Trust yourself. You’ll know.” And, “Maybe you’re ready, but he’s not! Pray for him.” And, “Wait. Don’t settle. Wait.”
Maybe finding someone you like and are physically attracted to who likes you back and is physically attracted to you is a miracle. I think it is. I hope it is! Because I believe in miracles. In heart stopping, life changing, breath taking miracles. Life is full of them if you’re paying attention. And while I wait for that guy to get ready or to get here (or maybe we’re all waiting on me to get it together) I will keep my eyes wide open for miracles and I will not let fear or anxiety control me or guide me.
Trust yourself. You’ll know. Don’t settle. Wait. Pray. Mm.