I’ve had this mental picture for the last few days and I want to share it with you because I feel my heart experienced some freedom this morning. And it was glorious.
The last few months I’ve been in what I’d equate to a “winter funk” – a sort of seasonal depression that hasn’t lifted much. I’ve been defensive, confrontational, frustrated, and fear-filled. Scared that I wouldn’t be a great husband. Scared that I’d never live up to my own expectations.
It got to where I didn’t want to open the doors in my own mind and so I kept them closed for fear of opening the wrong door and discovering something ugly behind it. Instead of addressing the dark corners of my heart or letting the light in, I shut myself up in the living room and peered out the window – watching the world move on by and have a good time – while I stayed inside for fear of catching a cold (and then I caught a sinus infection). I’m being metaphorical here, though.
Strangely enough, it was as if I was living in my own prison. I’d put myself in timeout and declared myself “bad” – because I was my shortcomings. (I hate the lies the enemy tells us. I hate more so that I allow myself to be so easily swayed and convinced of such filth.)
Something happened this morning though that was different. Instead of militantly forcing myself to go to the gym because I was “bad” for not being fit in time for my wedding, I found myself flying down the highway to my soon-to-be bride’s place of residence. I missed her deeply, despite having just seen her the night before. (Engagement is rough like that. Good byes and good nights are her least favorite thing; having to drive all the way back to my parents house and THEN go to bed is mine.)
So there I was driving down K-10/I-435 and praying. “Lord Jesus, would you help us? We’re just human, and sometimes we’re unfairly harsh with one another. Would you help us be gentle? Would you teach me to love her well? God, would you give me the strength to forgive and love myself? Would you heal the hurting places in both of our hearts?”
I felt something changing in my heart. Instead of stiff-arming help, I was asking for it. Pride’s walls were slowly melting for the benefit of the collective good.
Last night, I wrote out a massively long text (basically a letter to Allie, because I couldn’t sleep). I explained that I’d gradually learn to die to myself for our collective benefit. That I’d learn to pursue her like Christ pursues his Bride – the Church. I promised to never quit. To always get back up. I told her that she was beautiful and the most Christ-like woman I’d ever met. That I couldn’t wait to see the look on her face when we started conquering collective goals (like becoming debt-free).
Turning into the neighborhood HyVee, I found the prettiest yellow roses and purchased a dozen of them. Then let myself in (because engagement has its perks – like your own key) and surprised her with them. I let my heart love without reserve. I let myself cry and ask for forgiveness for being so uptight lately. I let myself walk out of that prison cell.
I have problems, but I’m not the problem (that’s a lie I’ve wrestled with since adolescence). I can be hard to love sometimes, but I’m worth the work and I shouldn’t apologize for my heart being my heart.
Like Adam in the Garden of Eden, I’m grateful the Lord has handcrafted such a beautiful Helper for me. We just fit. 24 days to entering a covenant relationship with the woman that’s taught me more about love than anyone else. Words just won’t do it justice. But I’m thrilled.
In Deep Love & Gratitude,