From the time I started high school, I have been somehow romantically involved with 18 different girls. I only officially dated 8 of them. I only had real feelings for 3 of those 8. I dated the other 5 because I had a low view of my worth and would date anyone who gave me attention. All 3 of the ones that I actually had strong feelings for left me for other guys.
That hurt me a LOT.
It changed me. I’d already been quite reserved since elementary school, but the Michael who had come out of his cave and began to trust people took so sharp a blow that, he learned how to hate. He hated himself for the pain that others inflicted, and he hated the emotions he had that opened him to that pain. Lastly, he hated the women that swore up and down that their emotions were the truth, only to turn their backs on him, still chasing those same emotions.
The results of those three that kept me from dating all the other girls (even though I had legitimate feelings for many of them). Even still, I let many of them get so close to me that they went through a tsunami of emotions trying to navigate the problem of being attached to a person who refused to attach himself to them. I said and did cruel things to them without realizing I had done so. I had no clue what kind of scars I gave them. I hurt all of them. I hurt a couple of them within the last year. I was self-centered, irresponsible, and thoughtless. I am not proud of this.
Why do I say all of this? Because I’m not the only one. I’ve broken hearts and my heart has been broken. I’ve kissed girls that I didn’t date and I gave my virginity to one who was only using me. You have stories like this too. You may be looking at your life and all of your experiences with love (or your lack thereof) thinking that it’s a pretty hopeless situation. I understand where you are. I often do the same.
Even still, no matter how broken our love stories have been, God wants to make them whole.
It doesn’t take much living to find yourself hurt by the realities of love in a world like ours. All of us have been betrayed, abused, ignored, overlooked, devalued, under-appreciated, used, taken advantage of, disrespected, blamed, and treated unfairly. And yet, at the same time, all of us have been the ones to commit this abuse, whether it was intentional or not. You don’t even have to be aware of it (I wasn’t for the longest), none of us are innocent. There is not a single person who has escaped this tragic loop. Perhaps the most painful part of change is admitting our own faults in it.
I’ve come to understand that the most fundamental way I hurt people (esp. women) is by keeping an emotional distance between them and me. I do that because since I was first hurt during high school, I became distrusting of their emotions. I am still working through this. Today, my girlfriend has to ask me questions twice, once to hear what I think, and a second time to hear how I feel. If she didn’t specifically ask for my feelings, I wouldn’t share them. I’m still so accustomed to ignoring them. But that’s not the important part: I want to share them now! I didn’t want to before. That’s change! There’s still hope for me. And there’s hope for you, too.
Not long ago, I was kissing girls before I even really knew them, now I don’t even want to kiss my girlfriend before we’re engaged (read about that here). I’m different. I’ve been through several sizable messes with love and have been tempted to quit, but
God makes broken things whole.
Just because your story isn’t perfect doesn’t mean that it can’t or won’t be beautiful in the end. Mine is still broken, it won’t ever be healed completely, but
We all need to be transformed. That pain, that regret, all the damage that was done needs to be transformed into something greater. Making a decision to be better isn’t enough, something outside of you has to make you new. It has to start with knowing that you are loved, now, just as you are. That you are worth more than how you’ve behaved or been treated, and that you CAN change. Grace can change you, just like it’s changing me.
I am not stronger, better, holier, more intelligent, more disciplined, or more anything than you are. That is not why I’ve chosen to live like I have. God has changed me, now I simply want to live like this. I hope that God has begun to transform you as you’ve read these last two blog posts.
I appreciate you for getting all the way to end of this, whether you agreed or not. If you have any comments or stories to share, please do! Either in the comment box below or on my email or one of my social media accounts. Thank you!