Lacking Transitional Staying Power

It was Halloween, and I was in eighth grade. Over the previous summer, I’d decided to give up on most everything I’d previously held in my life. I began dressing differently, listening to different music, stopped caring what everybody thought about me, and embarked on becoming my own person. I had always been looked down upon as uncool, but you know what? I didn’t care anymore.

And subsequently, became accepted and somewhat less of a dork than I had been. So, I was hosting my first boy-girl party. The entire event was orchestrated so, at some point in the night, the music would spontaneously slow down and I would propose dancing. The girl I liked would be the first I asked to dance, and we’d have a romantic, wonderful evening that ended with us taking a stroll around my parent’s property and perhaps even kissing.

I cooked and put together an assortment of snacks, decorated our shop (we had a large workshop on our property, the first room of which was for work and the second for storage; I cleaned this out and used it as something of a retreat at times), and sent out the invitations. Considering my lack of popularity, the turnout was decent: mostly girls, at least ten people, and the girl I liked had shown up. Things were going well, I thought.

But instead of dancing, we ended up playing some basketball, and when we came to the moment I’d waited in such anxiety for, I ended up dancing with my friend Kendle. She looked around the shop, smiling benevolently, and declared that I would make a very good husband someday.

That statement haunted me throughout high school, as it proved accurate on a variety of levels. I was a great friend, and most of my friends were female. They turned to me for advice, talked with me about anything (even things most guys shouldn’t or don’t want to hear about), and looked to me like a big brother. I was reliable, gentle, and intelligent. I didn’t push anything on them and didn’t even pursue a relationship when it was obvious to me that it would never happen. Everything they might want in a friend.

But I was a terrible boyfriend. Not that I had much of an opportunity to find out, but I knew it would be the case, because I simply didn’t want to be a boyfriend. Since a young age, I had wanted to be a husband. To have a family, to settle down and commit to one another. Once you reach a certain age, that attitude is desired and admirable, but teenage girls weren’t looking for that.

I wanted a deep, committed relationship, but I wanted it before my time, so to speak. If I’d developed that attitude in my early to mid-twenties, no problem. At twelve… well, there was a whole transition there between “friend” and “husband” I just wasn’t capable of exploring.

It’s obvious that this desire came more out of my need for a stable family than out of any real maturity, emotional or otherwise. I would make a good husband because I was committed to it as an idea, and willing to work for it. Because once I committed, that was it; there’s no backing out, no renegging. But a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship is supposed to be more casual, testing the waters, spending time learning about one another and about oneself in a relationship.

Suffice it to say, the girl got away, which was probably for the best in the long-run. As for me, I did manage to become a boyfriend the next year, in one of the rockiest and somehow longest relationships of my life.

Finding my focus

My relationship with God has changed significantly over the last six years, swinging from the infant-like faith of a new convert all the way to the jaded cynic who feels used and abused by God and wonders if it’s still worth it, then back again. I wasn’t raised in the church, so when I became Christian, I had no idea how to pray. I would ask God for advice, help, instruction, or guidance, then let the Bible fall open to what page He willed and read. God often taught me this way, but as I grew in faith and in knowledge of Him, I stopped using this method and, later down the line, discovered it had stopped working. As my relationship with God changed, so too did our means of communication.

My prayer life back then was so rich, though. For those of you who are unaware, prior to becoming Christian I was heavily involved in witchcraft. Leaving the religious aspects aside, as they are largely irrelevant to the craft, I was one of the most powerful in the world, and magic was my life. Being tied to and able to sense all living things around me, to control the weather, to summon and banish demons as I willed, to send my mind traveling across the globe… the power and feeling of connectedness was remarkable. I had few other vices at the time due to this; neither alcohol nor sex have ever had a hold over me because they paled in comparison to the ecstasy that was my magic.

All of this, I gave up when I became Christian… only to find, with time, that a relationship with God was greater still. The depths of peace I found in full relationship with Him was more fulfilling and amazing than any power I held prior to conversion. That seems to have faded as I have matured, however. I have, at times, claimed that this lessening of contact is due to necessary changes in our relationship, where God has stopped holding my hand through everything and required I begin to think for myself, rather than being directly told every step along the way what I must do, and I still believe that to be the case. But I think there is something more going on.

I miss those close bonds we once shared, and last week I began to wonder about that time and whether it, or something like it, could be reclaimed in my life today. Much of what I do is me-focused, or April-focused, and I think some of that is necessary and part of God’s intent and plan. But I don’t talk with Him like I used to, or read His Word as much as I should, or experience Him as deeply as I once did. Surely such is not reserved only for the new converts.

As I prayed last night, I felt the depths of His presence as God reaffirmed for me what I have known and observed repeatedly over the years. God has not withdrawn from me, and that relationship is still available. He is still near. I simply turn my head, looking elsewhere or inward, rather than to Him. I want to commit to learning more about our relationship and how that works now that I am older, different, and in particular, married. I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing, but I need to return to the basics of which I can be sure. I must pray and talk with Him more regularly, and I must look for His messages in the Bible.

Whether this will translate to more religious writing or not, I do not know, but I can’t worry about or focus on that now. I need to worry about living with God first; the rest will follow naturally.