It wasn’t like I didn’t know about her.
He had mentioned her one night, three months after the second time we split. We were trying to be friends. Trying to be in each other’s lives, something that didn’t really work for us, when all was said and done.
He hesitated when he first brought her up. Reluctant to tell me he was returning home from a date. I was just starting to get to know the Missionary so I felt mildly apathetic. But as it happens when the past creeps into our present, I found myself curious about this woman who was now in his life.
I built a narrative in my head. Crafting moments and personality traits that I have no idea if they actually exist. I imagined all the ways she was better than me. Better at loving him, better at laughing at his jokes, better at giving him space, or maybe he didn’t need space at all with her. She probably understood him better, challenged him better, asked less of him. In all of the ways I lacked, she excelled.
I knew there would be others. As much as he tried to convince me and himself he was better off alone, I knew he craved intimacy and wanted to be known and loved. When we tried again I asked him about the ones he used to fill the void between our first break-up and that December phone call. He didn’t sugar coat it and I wasn’t upset. I understood and I think I always knew.
But this one was different. This was was him very clearly moved on. With someone I’d always worried would be the type of woman he should date instead of me.
Being sick gave me alot of time to think and alot of down time. I started watching a TV show and a moment happened that gave me an image of what I do every time I dwell on the past.
On the show, these people were trying to lure a bad guy into a trap. So they concocted this plan — disguise something made of clay as the real thing this villain wanted. In order to maintain the mirage, another character had to keep doing something to trick this villain. And it worked! The villain entered and totally bought into the mirage assuming it was what she wanted.
All of a sudden the character responsible for keeping the mirage up faltered. And the decoy came crumbling down into a thousand shards of crumbled clay. The plan was foiled. The villain enraged. But the prize still safe somewhere else.
I watched the decoy crumble and felt my heart respond in an uncomfortable way. Rach, that’s you. You’re gathering up all the shards of clay telling Papa that this crumbled decoy, this counterfeit, this mirage, is what you want. When in reality what you really want is tucked away somewhere safe. But love, you HAVE to stop gathering up the pieces trying to put the decoy back together.
I’m tired of trying to put all the crumbled pieces back together. Tired of tormenting myself over all of the ways all of the shes might be better for all of the hims than I am. The cold hard truth is that with all of the men I’ve cared for, there is someone designed to care for them better than I am. In a unique beautiful way. Just like I believe there is someone far better for me than my hopes or expectations or dreams.
I think I’ve finally realized that I want more than a decoy. I want the real thing. And I don’t want to waste any more time gathering up the decoys. There are no unrealistic expectations of a prince charming or a hero to rescue me. Only the hope of a kind, steady heart that will see the glory of Christ in me.
I don’t know if it’s because it was so long before I had my first date, kiss, or boyfriend that I find myself constantly settling. Constantly making excuses. Constantly defending. Constantly trusting without reservation. While there is something to be said for allowing vulnerability, there is also something to be said about allowing someone to earn my trust. To fight for me. And I’ve never had that before. I’ve never asked them to fight. I’ve never kept myself at a distance to allow them to show Christ in them sees Christ in me.
But all of that is about to change. Because this year… this year of looking ahead… this year I am going to do it differently and better and smarter. No more more excuses, no more defending, no more settling.