We Found Love in a Hopeless Place

Disney ruined me early on with its picturesque happily-ever-afters where there’s a handsome prince and a beautiful princess and all they have to do to get together is defeat a dragon or an angry town mob. This is love, I thought: beautiful, perfect people finding each other in a hopeless place.

But in all the friendships and romantic relationships I’ve been in, I’ve found the biggest obstacle to happily ever after isn’t outside of the relationship, it’s within. The hopeless place is inside of me–it’s my mess, it’s the other person’s mess. And when two messy people come together, it doesn’t make for a perfect fit. If anything, two messy people magnify each other’s messiness.

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Freeze Tag

These fears have been my loyal companions throughout the years. They have dictated what I say yes to, who I date, what I wear, what I say, who I hang out with. They are intimate voices in my head, telling me when I have screwed up or missed out, telling me the worst will always happen and people always leave, telling me control and comfort are the safest places to land.

But the more I look my fears in the face, the more my loyal companions begin to look like prison guards and my “safety” and “comfort” start to resemble bars of a cage. A self-imposed prison.

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After

The morning after is always a letdown.

You look forward to something big--an event, a milestone, a day. Anticipation and expectations soar. And after it’s all over--things remain disappointingly unchanged.

No matter who I kiss on New Year’s Eve or what massive lifestyle changes I resolve to make, the person who wakes up on January 1st is still the same person who failed to keep those resolutions the year before, whose resolve crumbles as soon as chips and dip are placed in front of her.

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Messy Christmas

Singing “all is calm, all is bright” can feel so very hypocritical when it’s not all calm and bright in us and certainly not in our world.

Yet we feel the pressure to make Christmas merry. “Joy” becomes “I just want to feel good.” “Peace” shifts into “I don’t want to deal with this right now.” “Hope” is distorted into “I won’t be complete without this.” But focusing on the “merry” will make us completely miss Christmas.

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Seven Excruciating Seconds

“Want to hear something funny?” I asked him. He nodded eagerly. “Wouldn’t it be funny if you and I got married?” I said in a five year old’s version of coyness.

What followed was seven seconds of excruciating silence. Seven seconds of wanting the ground to open up and swallow me alive. Seven seconds that made an alarm go off in my tiny heart that screamed, ABORT! ABORT! THIS ISN’T GOING WELL! And even though I laughed it off and quickly changed the topic to my favorite artist at the time, Britney Spears... those were seven seconds of free-falling vulnerability that--two decades later--I have never forgotten.

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Breathing Is Optional

Go, go, go, go. This has been the pace of life lately. And in the moments where I pause or try to slow down, it feels like my mind starts outrunning my body, my heart threatens to beat right out of my chest, and my soul feels jerked back, like when someone suddenly slams on the brakes on the freeway.

Ironically, I think my faith makes me more tired.

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All I Do is Lose

My relationship with Jesus has radically rewritten the way I see love. But dating has always been the truest test of my theology--because how do you show sacrificial, Christ-like love in a system that seems designed to end in disappointment, with a win or a lose, with the person who cares less being the one who gets to pass “Go” and collect $200?

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