A short time back I posted a letter titled “Mr. Promises” where I painted a picture of some of the pain I have endured through my dating life. As you can take from the name, I have dated many who have promised me a future, marriage, kids, etc. And though accurate, there are always two sides to a story aren’t there? I would like to share a bit on where I have failed in my dating life and one particular story of my past as a Miss Promises…
I, growing up, was not the one that men chased after. I mean there was definitely chasing, but it was me chasing them on the playground trying to beat them up. I was never the one wishing to be a princess or pretending to be rescued but instead I was Batman in downtown Gotham saving everyone else. My parents raised us gender neutral. Unintentionally so, by telling us that dreams are not limited by gender but, in fact, limited by us and what fears we allow in. I took that and ran with it…hence the pretend Batman thing…
As I approached middle school and even my first two years or so of high school, I was not known for exceptional beauty. I was always the funny girl the guys loved because they “friend-zoned” me (yeah guys, it happens to girls too) and didn’t have to worry or concern themselves with dating me. Meanwhile my friends were the talk of the town, blonde, blue-eyed, you know, the whole thing. I was a wall flower and became comfortable in that space. This kept me from dating and it wasn’t until college that I even began that part of my life.
I attended the University of Idaho (GO VANDALS!!) and went up for my freshman year with a boyfriend from home. After that ended poorly, my entire demeanor and attitude changed in regard to men. I was in college now, working for an apartment complex and went from the ugly duckling to quite the opposite. I was in a new space of affection and infatuation. All coming from different male suitors trying to gain my attention. When I talk about this part of my life I call it my “serial dating” phase. I went from dating never to dating constantly. As you can imagine, this shifted the way I saw myself but, more importantly, how I treated and viewed men. I was angry with how I had been ignored and often treated poorly by men my whole life. As I entered into this place, I decided I would be in control of how THESE MEN felt instead of the other way around. I went on several dates over the course of several months. I would go, get bored and move on. It became almost a game for me. See how many men I could captivate only to let go of them. I based my decisions on being the one NOT heart-broken. This worked out for a while without conviction until I met….lets call him, Fred.
I met Fred while advertising for my apartment complex job and he stood out because of his witty humor. He began pursuing me and I slowly began changing (or so I thought) my current ideals on dating. We began as friendship first. We would go dancing, to see movies, even grocery shopping together and I loved it. He made me laugh and I allowed myself to be genuine with him. We were both Christian as well, which, as you know, in college is rare. We quickly became very excited about the potential we both felt and saw with the other. I vividly remember us chatting on the phone after we had just spent hours together and him saying, “Alli, I can really see myself with you…like marrying you someday” and I replied, “Me too,” with complete vulnerability. But shortly after, fear took over.
After that conversation, I began to panic. “This was not the plan Alli! You are young, just having fun…”WHAT ARE YOU DOING??? MARRIAGE??? WHAT!!!”…those types of self-observations began to take over…slowly killing my affections for Fred leaving me to choose. Do I function in this and try to get over the fear, or do I end it and get back to where I was in protection? Needless to say, I left him heartbroken.
I share this story because it is one of many where I MADE PROMISES that I also was not ready to keep. Fred was the first of many in my dating life that I talked about a future with, that I was not prepared to give. And like I told the “Mr. Promises” to do, I’m “knocking it off!” I have recognized in myself too that I talk a lot more often about people who have hurt me over and over with great magnitude…almost in a megaphone and then my failures come up and I share in a whisper. This is me switching that up a bit. I myself have made many promises to men, to friends, to family, etc. that I have not kept and I am not proud nor promoting that life. I fight it continuously.
Fred was not the man I wanted to be with and God has taken care of us both since this occurred, which I am more than thankful for. My “serial dating” phase, though awful, taught me a great deal. That I can be that young girl dressed as Batman, seeking to rescue herself but not at the expense of anyone else’s heart. I made a lot of mistakes in this time as well that propelled me into my current profound love for Jesus. I knew who he was before this time, but I didn’t invite Him into this process. Now I have fully accepted His grace for this part of my journey.
What area of your life have you not yet invited Jesus to partner with you?
Alli Sue Lance is an artist, writer, creative, and lover of Jesus. She lives in Murrieta, CA and works at Centerpoint Church doing administration and youth ministry.
Her ultimate goal is to further the name of Jesus through authentically loving people. Her hope in contributing to Her Roar is to do that through sharing her greatest failures and successes for the benefit of our readers.
See her posts here: https://herroar.com/author/lanc5184/