I have this awful habit of ignoring my initial instinct or vibe I get with new people. I ignored it and ended up with an abusive partner for 11 months. I ignored it and ended up with an unpredictable back. I ignore it….and always get hurt.
It’s amazing how it people that you come to trust, come to call friends, that hurt you the most. It’s also amazing that the words that hurt are words that you have told yourself repeatedly. Maybe it’s just hearing those words from the mouth of someone close to you makes them more of a reality.
I was once cleaning the bathroom, which was right by my sister’s room, when I heard her talking about me with her buddies online. Since I was cleaning, it’s not like I was just going to stop what I was doing and go away to avoid listening. (Oh, and she’s not one of the ones that I get a bad vibe around or who causes a “run away” instinct!) She told them that she decided I didn’t approve of her online relationship with someone because I was just jealous that she was in a relationship while no one wanted me.
Yeah. Those were my thoughts – that no one wants me – put into her words. I was in my early 20s at that point.
I did end up abandoning my cleaning because I just could not hold back the tears anymore. I went back to my room, curled up with a pillow against my face, and cried. For awhile.
So. Fast forward. I have this friend to whom I’ve been getting closer to the point that I am actually willing to leave the comfort of my sweats and house on a work night and meet her to hang out. I actually trusted her with hair dye and my hair. (If you actually know me in person, you’re possibly gasping in shock that I would let someone not properly trained and proven to touch my hair.) Every instinct was screaming in me to back off, this was getting too close too fast. Every instinct was saying that you cannot just claim people as friends because you get along with them ok. Every vibe was that something was off; there’s more to the story. And, per usual, every instinct and vibe was ignored.
These last two weeks, things have been simmering under the surface. Realizations that, as a Christian, I do need to stay somewhat of an influence in her life but that I also need back away slowly started to dawn. Maintain my testimony, but start distancing myself socially. Tonight, it all came to a head. I got hurt.
On the plus side, this time it was not physical.
On the down side, I got too close to the point where this hurt compares with hearing my sister, who will always be my first call even though I know it’s likely to go to voicemail, say that no one wants me.
It was pointed out that even though I have spent the last 13 years observing relationships in all phases – dating, engagements, marriage – to try to figure out what I’m doing wrong, I have not ever been married or even in a relationship, so I have no room to try to help my friends with their marriage difficulties.
Yes, this is usually my disclaimer: Keep in mind, I have not been married, but this is what I have observed and this is what married men and women have told me….
However. It still hurts hearing that with the emphasis said aloud by someone other than me.
There were other things said that helped me come to a conclusion that is officially time to back off, but that one sentence…
That sort of phrase brings back the reminders that yes, I should stop looking. Yes, I should be trusting in God’s timing. Yes, I have my (amazing!) family.
It also brings back the reminder that women were created because God realized men can’t be left alone. The Bible doesn’t say that women need to be married. Paul actually mentions a list of things single women, old maids, can do well. How we can be helpful in areas of the church and ministry that others cannot.
Whenever I went to my great-gram’s house, we played Old Maid. I used to love that game when I was a wee thing. I loved it in elementary. I liked it in junior high. I was wary of it in high school. I was in college when she died, but we played one last game before she went home. I hate that game.