I must confess that I am one of the latest to be captured in the clutches of the Online Dating rage that has been sweeping the nation since the early 1990’s. I debated for many months between the pros and cons of this form of dating. I finally took the plunge a little over a year ago. I have had some good experiences and some not so good experiences during this time.
For me, online dating seemed a good choice because I’m actually quite shy in social settings. The internet provided a sort of buffer for me that allowed me to engage in communication at my own pace not someone else’s. To me it was a safe place to slowly wade back into the dating pool.
The down side to online dating was that I ran the risk of falling back into my old pattern of holding people at an arm’s length…never fully engaging with them. When I refused to engage fully in a relationship I did it out of a need to control every aspect of the relationship so that I would never have to be vulnerable. I would never have to trust them completely. And I would never have to truly be in relationship with them. So, while dating online I had to make a concerted effort to engage with them offline as well as online.
90% of all my relationships during my life time have been the kind where I never allowed myself the opportunity to be fully engaged with another other person. I held everyone at arm’s length never letting them into my inner sanctum so to speak. I was scared of being let down or letting them down. I was scared of trusting someone and then them hurting me or me hurting them. I was scared of being vulnerable with someone because then I thought they would have “power” over me.
I carried this baggage into my relationship with the Lord. I determined that I would keep Him at arm’s length to see if He was actually trustworthy. I figured that sooner or later He was going to let me down. So I refused to fully engage in a relationship with Him. I decided not to be vulnerable with Him so that I wouldn’t have to worry about Him having “power” over me. I held parts of who I was back from Him. I decided that I would only allow my “good” parts to be part of my relationship with Him. The parts that I deemed “not so good” I kept hidden behind my back.
The irony is that the parts the Lord wanted from me the most were the “not so good” parts. He wanted to have me take them from their hiding place (behind my back) and give them to Him so that He could heal me. In order to participate in this healing I had to be willing to fully engage in a relationship with the Lord.
This meant that I had to be willing let go of my control and believe that He was completely trustworthy. I had to realize that “yes” I would probably let Him down, but that was okay He would still love me. I had to allow myself to be vulnerable with Him knowing that He would never use my vulnerability to have “power” over me. In all of this He gave me a choice – to choose to be in relationship with Him or to choose not to be in relationship with Him.
God will never force us into a relationship with Him. He offers us His hand in relationship – it is up to us to decide how fully we want to engage in that relationship with Him. I encourage you to embrace a relationship with Him. It wasn’t until I was willing to fully be in relationship with the Lord that I was able to receive the healing He had wanted to give me all along. His love softened my heart enough to be open to being healed. Being in a relationship with the Lord saved and healed me. He wants to do the same for each of us all you have to do is embrace His offer of a personal relationship with Him.