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You Would Wait Too

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By Daphne Eilein Landers

She nagged to get out of the car. After 20 minutes on the road, my four-year-old basset hound recognized the sitter’s house, and she itched to greet him. As I parked the car, I eyed the neighbor’s scrappy dog ready to bolt toward us. I knew better than to take my Dudleigh out. She was still recovering from a pit bull attack. So I waited.

Dudleigh’s whining swelled from behind the driver’s seat. I turned my head toward the left window behind me. “Dudleigh,” I said lovingly, “If you saw what I see, then ….” My voice trailed off, but my mind finished the thought. You would want to wait too. Those words weren’t just for her; they were for me. But I didn’t know why – until recently.

Ready … or not

Two years had passed since my divorce, and I just knew I should be married by now. I had an undefined relationship with the dog sitter, and things seemed to be going well with us. Still, something wasn’t right. Our relationship stalled. I had taken the back seat and let God drive, but occasionally, I’d inch up to the driver’s headrest and whisper, “Are we there yet, Lord? Can I get out now?” At first, I thought of every reason why he wasn’t ready. But neither was I.

Looking back on my relationship with the dog-sitter, I thank God for making me wait. Waiting has freed me to confront deep issues, change unhealthy behaviors, rejoice in the single moments, and serve others – all while trusting in His timing.

Confronting

My friendship with the dog sitter eventually frustrated me. But it was eerily familiar. Why was I here – again? I listed the common themes in my major relationships. Interaction styles. Conversation topics. How I felt with each person. I realized I had sought out – and oftentimes, even held on to – unhealthy relationships. My choices implied that somebody – Christian or not – is better than nobody. And that merely having someone with me – someone to do things with – was enough for a relationship. It was now obvious: I struggle with low self-worth, and I’m prone to settling. My relationships weren’t necessarily with bad people. In fact, most were good Christians – but they had glaring unresolved issues I ignored.

My waiting season has given me plenty of time to face my self-worth issues. It’s hard not to when you’re alone. I’ve had to uproot these false beliefs and replace them with seeds of truth: I am a young lady who gives and deserves 100 percent in any relationship.

Changing

Although I believe I’m worth far more than crumbs or leftovers, it’s easy to wake up and find myself acting on those old false beliefs. So I’ve chosen to change unhealthy behaviors. Through prayer, studying the Bible, and a group of women who have held me accountable, I’ve learned to evaluate all my friendships and end unhealthy relationships. The list of common “unhealthy” threads in my past relationships? It’s my checklist. If I encounter an item on my list in any relationship, I set healthy boundaries. If the healthy boundaries don’t improve the relationship, I graciously step away.

Goodbyes have stretched me. Some unhealthy relationships I’d grown so accustomed to; I didn’t want to let them go. But the benefits have been worthwhile. I’m learning how to do real intimacy in all my relationships. How to express my thoughts and feelings to others and to interact with people who are comfortable doing the same. My relationships aren’t solely about “hanging out,” though that too has its place. I’m investing in friendships that encourage, motivate, support, and challenge me. Those are the people I want on the frontlines of my life.

Rejoicing

My waiting season also has freed me to rejoice in the fullness of each day as a single adult. I thank God I’m single. Yes, I really said that! I don’t have all the responsibilities of a family – minus my furry friend, that is. I come and go as I please. I eat cereal for dinner with no explanations. I focus on my hobbies, like “playing” the harmonica while my Dudleigh escapes to another room. Most days, I cherish the thought, “Y’know, being single isn’t all that bad.” And indeed, it really isn’t.

Other days, I would prefer to have a family of my own again. On those days, I give myself the liberty to feel those feelings as much as I do when I’m loving my single life. No guilt. No “you shouldn’t feel this way.” Just the longing for connection God himself planted in me. Nothing wrong with that.

Serving

At the risk of sounding selfish, I must say I’m not focusing solely on myself during this waiting season. I’ve also prioritized serving others. God has transformed my life. I can’t help but share it with others who are struggling. I participate in recovery ministries where I continue my own healing while encouraging others on their journey to freedom and wholeness.

Trusting

One day, I will be ready for the next phase of my life. Until then, I keep doing what I’m doing: confronting my issues, changing unhealthy behaviors, rejoicing in the single moments, and serving others. I trust that God will set me in a family. I pray I won’t repeat my mistakes. I have an even greater desire to be free from my chains – regardless of whether I marry again. And as much as I want to pick up the phone and call that guy I’ve had my eye on, I’m choosing to sit on my itchy hands and trust God’s timing.

Dudleigh? I let her out of the car at the right time – the safe time.

I myself have been relaxing in the back seat while God drives me on this journey. This time, no whining. No hankering to get out of the car. I’m basking in true freedom. I have hope, and I’m at peace. I know my times are in His hands. And as long as He says, “Wait,” I want to wait too.

©2010 Daphne Eilein Landers. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Bio:
Daphne is a freelance writer and speaker who comforts others with the comfort she herself has received from God. She is a sigh of relief for hurting souls, a rainbow of hope peaking through a storm, a familiar face in a crowd of strangers. She attends First Baptist Church at the Mall, where she is a leader in a Christ-centered recovery program. Daphne also is President of a Christian writers’ group. Contact Daphne at daphne@daphnewrites.com.