I’ve been struggling with something lately. It has to do with my relationship with my boyfriend whom I’ve now been dating for about two months. I’ve been having a hard time trusting in his love.
For the first year after I left my husband, I was spewing like a volcano, erupting with anger, bitterness and resentment. I didn’t want to feel that way, and I kept taking it to the Lord. Slowly, the eruptions became less and less, and I began to feel His peace. The next year, I began to feel as though I could even treat my ex-husband with some degree friendliness, and I finally felt as though I was through the tough stuff. I was healed.
But there were underlying issues that I hadn’t had to deal with until I met this wonderful man–issues I didn’t even realize existed. When he came into my life, my hidden insecurities came to the forefront. What made this new relationship even tougher was the fact that I am 5 1/2 years older than him. I’m 55. He’s 49. At first, I thought, hey-hey, I’ve still got it! I can still attract a younger man! (My ex-husband was 3 years younger.) But that was short-lived. Suddenly, I was fearful that my boyfriend would soon take a good, close look at me and say, “Oh, look at those lines on your face and neck! Now I can see you’re getting older. I think I’ll pass…” I kept wondering, “Why does he want me when most men can get a younger woman…and have the little trophy on their arm?” So, I began to distrust his love. I kept waiting for the shoe to drop. To be honest, I still do.
My boyfriend has given me absolutely no reason to feel this way. He has loved me with the purest love I’ve ever known, except for the love I received from my dad. I keep looking at him and thinking, “Are you for real?”
But as I’ve analyzed it, I’ve realized that it isn’t so much my boyfriend whom I distrust, but God. Deep in my heart, I haven’t accepted this man as His gift. His plan. I keep wondering, “Where’s the catch? When is it all going to fall apart?” God’s gifts are sometimes so stunning that we can’t believe that they are what they are. So we doubt. We look askance at His gifts and think, “Nothing is that good.”
So what I’ve found myself doing is testing my boyfriend’s love…kicking the tires, so to speak. I’ve occasionally made rather testy statements to him–not always consciously I might add–and then felt bad that I should be unkind to him. And then when he continues to love me with that pure love–without the slightest repercussions–I feel the pile of hot coals falling from heaven upon my head.
Interestingly, I seem to be living out a very similar scenario to what my mom experienced when she met my dad. My mom was divorced in her mid-twenties and had two young children–my brother and me. A few years later, she was introduced to a man who later became my dad after he married mom and legally adopted us. She was introduced to him by her cousin, and all of us went to the beach that day. My dad was 3 years younger than mom, and had recently gotten out of the service. He had a very similar personality to my boyfriend–and so it wasn’t long before my mom was saying to her cousin, “OK, so what’s wrong with him?” He loved my mom in the same way. Mom had had a tough childhood of sexual abuse by her father, and she could be rather sharp-edged at times. But through the years, I watched my dad love my mom, and the best way I can describe it is that he draped his love around her, enveloped her, and softened her rough edges. She often “kicked his tires” but he just kept loving her.
As we go on in life, trust is sometimes hard to come by. We find it hard to believe that God loves us that much, and wants to give us good gifts.
Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow. (James 1:17)
But if we have committed our lives to God, and if we go to Him daily and continue to give ourselves to Him and those He has placed in our lives, then we need to allow ourselves to relax. We are in capable hands. It’s not such a bad thing to kick the tires once or twice. More importantly, we need to go to God and ask Him if this person is truly from Him–truly His gift, and to earnestly look for His answer. But if it seems like God is giving the green light, continually kicking the tires on His gift could result in a blow-out, and a relationship that’s going nowhere. As my boyfriend said to me in the sweetest way possible the other night, “If you continue to test people, eventually they’re going to fail.”
So, I’m going to try hard to stop kicking the tires. I’m to get into this car and sit next to my man, and let God take us where He wants us to go. I’m going to let myself go and enjoy the exhilaration and the joy that God wants me to experience, without worrying about slamming into the back of something. I’ve already put God at the wheel, so now I need to relax, sit back and enjoy the scenery, and the love of a most wonderful man.