I’m going to bare my heart and be vulnerable here, so don’t judge me, because you’re not allowed to do that. Haha… Okay… Deep breaths… Here goes…
If you’ve never come across the term before, N.B.S.B. means No Boyfriend Since Birth. While I’ve been told many times that I’m admired and looked up to for not having “fell” or “compromised” in this area, I have to admit that at 26, for the first time in my life, I felt ashamed of this reality. I felt unwanted and unattractive. I felt unworthy. I felt acutely aware of my perpetual singleness. (Note emphasis on the past tense.)
At the root of it all, I was convinced that something was very, very wrong with me.
In their book, Captivating, the Eldredge couple wrote such insight into the longing of a woman to be romanced, the same longing I’d been resonating with these past couple of months:
A woman becomes beautiful when she knows she’s loved… Cut off from love, rejected, no one pursuing her, something in a woman wilts like a flower no one waters anymore. She withers into resignation, duty and shame. The radiance of her countenance goes out, as if a light has been turned off. But this same woman, whom everyone thought was rather plain and engaging, becomes lovely and inviting when she is pursued.
I smile even as I read those lines, knowing how true of me personally those words are. Perhaps they strike a cord with you too.
When the Cliches No Longer Work…
So I got to the point where I felt utterly vulnerable. Completely unsafe. Consumed by longing. I mean, I’ve read all the books and I knew all the principles. I’d doled out the same lines of advice to heart-broken and longing sisters (sometimes, even brothers) who came to me for counsel in this area.
I knew all the verses. I’d already recited them to myself a million gazillion times. I’d already told myself all the cliches we single women spout out to somehow appease the longing brought about by the curse given Eve and all her daughters when she was told that her desire will be for her husband.
“Good things happen to those who wait.”;
“A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man would have to seek Him to find her.”;
“He makes all things beautiful in His time.”;
“Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
…and so on and so forth. Familiar, heh?
I knew the underlying truth in them, but I must admit that there were days when these lines simply didn’t work. They just didn’t. Friends reminded me of these. People I counselled before repeated the same exact words I told them in their time of yearning and none of it worked. None of them appeased the yearning and I felt desperate and pathetic and ashamed. I was convinced that I needed to do something to fix myself. Thus, my quest began…
The Quest to Fix Myself
Of course, in order to become a woman who I felt needed to make herself worthy of a man’s love, there was only one place I knew to go to. The Word of God. I went to Proverbs 31, because hey… that’s what the Bible says a virtuous woman ought to be. At my first serious reading of it, I found myself thinking, “I’m so screwed. I’ll never become this woman. She’s a freak of nature. I might as well just die a martyr, because being the Proverbs 31 woman is pretty much the exact same thing as being a martyr – only she’s alive the whole time.”
*smiles* Yup. I tossed my Bible aside and decided that it was impossible. I couldn’t do it. I was simply not made to become a woman. (lol) I was actually mulling over the idea that maybe the Lord made a mistake, because He should’ve just made me a man (what an emotional man I would be).
To cut the long story short, I crumbled. All my attempts led to me disappointing myself. I just didn’t have what it takes.
Disappointing Myself & Others
I was wounded. I felt like I wasn’t what I was created to be. To make matters worse, in perfect timing, a bunch of people who mattered felt the need to let me know everything they thought was wrong with me. They were well-meaning and they loved me, but it really wasn’t what I needed to hear (or in hindsight, maybe it was). They were crushing my spirit.
I was told that I was not enough of this and I was too much of that. I was not enough of the positive and too much of the negative (well, in some ways, aren’t we all?)
Some of their counsel were true, but some also made me feel like I had to stop being myself – like who I am, just as I am, was unacceptable and undesirable. On the other hand, I looked into the areas where I truly needed to improve and I felt unable to do anything about it. I was so acutely aware of my weakness.
Depressing, heh? Well, That’s What Had to Happen…
Yes. It had to happen. I had to come face-to-face with every delusion I had of myself. It was the price that had to be paid in order for me to die to this arrogant part of myself, this part of me that unknowingly held myself above others because I thought I was strong, unflinching and uncompromising in this area.
Truth be told? There is something wrong with me. There’s something wrong with every one of us. We’re sinners, are we not? We’re fallen.
I found myself on a road to realizing that I needed to crucify my desires, my longings, and realize that the Cross is a defenseless position. Where I thought I was strong, God pointed out my weaknesses, my vulnerability, my nothingness without Him. He needed to allure me into the wilderness, so that He could speak softly to me.
God took me on a journey – on an adventure – on a path to this Divine Romance that I am still living out and unraveling even as I write this blog.
Yes. I came face-to-face with who I really was before Him – in all my brokenness and my fallen nature – and I felt hopeless, but as Elisabeth Elliot once said:
Of this I am perfectly sure: God’s story never ends in ashes.
And that is my reason to rejoice. So take this post as an introduction to how I came upon this quest to fall ravenously in love with God, and hopefully, my journey can help you on your quest too.
Until the next post, my darlings!
(to be continued)