Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Afraid to Hope

Despite enjoying almost every second of the first four months of dating Carter, I've found myself feeling quite the opposite on several occasions in the last month or so. It's certainly not been as negative as my funk at the end of February, but I have found myself being more critical of Carter and finding it more difficult to enjoy him.

Since my brain seems to sometimes have no "off" switch (and I forget to pray instead of analyzing all the time), I've thought about why all of a sudden I find myself being bothered by a good bit (of not important things) about Carter. One thing I realized is that I've taken all of the great stuff about him and made it my new "baseline." For example, I like it when a guy has good manners, but that's part of my baseline. I'm not going to date someone who does not extend common courtesies (which I realize may rule out some Yankees:), so guys who do have good manners don't get major points for doing so.

Carter has a deep and abiding faith in Christ, is smart and educated, has been intentional and thoughtful about our dating, and all around has a lot going for him (except perhaps his choice in footwear and lack of musical exposure). And while I'm not going to date guys who aren't the things I just listed, I should not take all of this for granted either, making it a part of my silly baseline.

While taking so much about Carter for granted has been part of the problem, I realize that the bigger issue is my fear. I'm afraid to let myself hope. I'm afraid to let myself care. I'm afraid to not know if Carter is "the one" before I start really investing and entangling myself in someone else's life. So in an effort to know, I've tried to figure out why he isn't the one instead of allowing for the possibility that he is. After all it may take months and months to know if he's "the one," but if I can find enough wrong with him, I can know he is not the one right now. And I can avoid taking the risk of disappointment, hurt, and rejection. Lame.

Fortunately once I realized this and prayed for God's help in letting go of my fear, voila I'm back to enjoying Carter and looking forward to our time together. He came here this weekend, and we had a fabulous time, marked with four delicious cupcakes from Gigi's, knocking about in Hillsboro Village, lounging at Centennial Park, and worshiping at Cross Point Community Church. It's amazing how letting go can make all the difference. My new mantra: think less, pray more.

p.s. I'm grateful for my friends who give such wise counsel, asking the right questions and reminding me to seek beyond myself and my purposes and plan.


anne said...

This is the burden of the analytical mind. What is amazing is learning when to turn it off and in this case listen to your heart more. Hope things continue to go well for you.

Scotty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clearlykels said...

I'm glad you've found a way to refocus and even though it isn't a direct off switch-- it's close!! Good on you. I'm impressed. I aspire to be able to put that perspective back in!!

Happy Wednesday to you to, my dear!!

ella said...

So glad that you were able to hear God on this one. I truly believe he brings people in our lives for a reason, even if it is just for a season. I agree with Scotty - don't think too much...and don't look back.

A-Ron said...

I wish I were one of those friends. ;)

Ally said...

Anne: Thanks. It definitely is one of the burdens.

Scotty: You've summed up half of life's lessons in just one comment. Nice work.

Clearlykels: You're right--it's close enough.

Ella: It was the weirdest thing--it's like God just revealed all of this to me last week during Bible study. I should listen more:)

Aaron: Sometimes you are!

Susanna Rose said...

I definitely know what you are going through! Before I go any further I would warn against the kind advice of simply "following your heart" though. As Solomon showed, we can follow our hearts but will give an account one day for all that we let our hearts follow and they are so easily deceived so more than just following them is needed.

Being a romantic yet a cut to the chase person as well, I always had the conviction before I married that in a dating relationship as a Christian, your main purpose should be to get to know as much about a person as quickly as possible whether that makes them uncomfortable or not.

So anyways, for the sake of purity, regretful amounts of emotional intimacy being shared and simply for the anxiety of being in that relationship "limbo land" it sounds like you may be experiencing (trust me, I remember how that felt!:) I would say just don't be afraid to really dig all you can out of this guy! Beliefs/convictions, the past, future goals and desires, views on women (and even might I say children), etc. It sounds like he is a quality, Christian man and I really think you probably can know if he is "the one" sooner than you might think! Whether he desires to really be authentic with you could actually be a very good "test" of his potential!

Anyways, God will lead you! Just look to Him! (And now I'll end my book!;)

Susanna Rose said...

One more sounds like you are exercising a lot of great wisdom/prayer so good for you and I said what I said but definitely do not want to come across as a know-it-all!:)

cdp said...

I relate to this a lot. I found myself struggling with these same questions with McD for quite some time. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, I didn't seek the counsel of prayer for my "boy" issues. Now that I read what you've written, I realize it's a good idea and wish I spent more time in prayer, reflecting on more things. At any rate I completely identify with everything you've said - especially about all the good stuff becoming "baseline." I think a lot of us fall into that trap and it's an easy way to take the people you care about for granted.

I'm glad you're feeling renewed and positive about things with Carter. And any weekend with cupcakes is (as you know) a good one in my book! Hope your week has been just as nice.

Ys said...

i definitely remember being at that stage of a relationship. after being let down by every male I ever dated to find a guy who claimed he was a "good one" was hard to accept. after three months i started to try and sabotage it; he held on though and now we're living together and i'm extremely loved up and happy :)

unfortunately/fortunately these things take time. the good ones stick around through your mental breakdowns and love you for them ;)

and those prayers you were saying - i remember saying ones nearly exactly the same. still do from time to time actually.

Ally said...

Ys: Sometimes it's hard to believe someone would love me despite this type of silliness, but you're right--the right one will stick around regardless.

cdp: It's incredible how I can overlook prayer when it's such an obvious (and necessary) approach.

SR: Thank you for the comment; I certainly appreciate your thoughts. I definitely agree that "follow your heart" isn't the best approach. In fact, one of the friends I am so grateful for has reminded me that our "feelings" are not the same as what God is asking or telling us to do. Another reason I need to be in prayer and the word instead of just swimming in my feelings and thoughts. And no worries--I ask a ton of questions and am definitely digging.

B said...

when you stop having fun together and showing respect that's when it's time to move on

trust me- I know! :)

Anonymous said...

Lounging in CenTen Park can make a HUGE difference in any doubt/fear/relationship drama!!! Where is GiGi's? I think you've posted about them before haven't you?

Jennifer said...

I too have a hard time "hoping" for things when I'm so used to disappointment. I heard an interesting definition of disappointment the other day - it is the defeat of our hopes and the miscarriage of desire. Hope definitely involves so much risk, especially when our hearts are on the line. I take hold of a Greater hope - One that does not disappoint. I think when we allow ourselves to hope and acknowledge that which we long for most, we allow ourselves to truly believe that our God is good regardless of the outcome. And he is SO good. Though I don't know you or Carter, I would simply encourage you to continue to hope. Glad I found your blog this morning - I too need the same reminder!