Describe yourself in three words.
Okay, let’s be real here. There are three words I WANT to say I am. There are three words my friends would say I am. And there are three words I actually probably am.
I hate that directive.
But it’s on dating sites and personality profile tests and college applications and a myriad of other forms. Describe yourself. We find ourselves answering this to the best of our abilities, sometimes being honest, sometimes simply not self-aware, sometimes wishing to highlight the things that are a stretch.
I can tell you one word that wouldn’t be the first called to mind with me.
Now, I know that comes across as negative. There are characteristics of steadiness I take on. I am fiercely loyal, consistent, (mostly) stable, and reliable. I will always choose my family and friends, I show up on time, I can be reasoned with, and I do what I say I will do. So those deep attributes of steadiness root me.
But being steady is a struggle for me.
There’s a chaos in my mind. It’s a mess of expectations, hopes, past wounds, off-handed comments, other people’s opinions, the knowledge that I am fully loved by a Savior, that my life is not my own. It is a chaotic mess in there. And my tendency is to let the mess dictate my reality.
It tells me if I am wanted or unwanted, if I am loved or unloved, it tells me if I am worthy or unworthy. It shouts through a megaphone every minute of the day. Part of my growth as a woman, daughter, sister, friend, and follower of Christ is to take captive the mess and bring it under the authority of heaven.
But y’all, the mess is my instinct. It’s my knee-jerk reaction. It’s my fallback, my comfortable place, the thing that makes sense even when it doesn’t. Eventually I realized it controlled me. Every part of who I am, so I’ve had alot of opportunities to learn how to throw it off and try to be steady. In my belief that healing is coming, in my trust that Jesus delights in me, in my circumstances. I’ve prayed for the chances to know how to be steady and gracious have they come.
And they’ve shown up again.
This time in a relationship.
There’s a Mystery Man in my life. He’s been around in various capacities for a few months now. Because it’s complicated. And if I’ve learned one thing in the past few years it’s that loving people with complicated is… well… complicated. But Mystery Man is deemed as such because I do not care to define him by his profession or his past. I care to define him by the mysterious things he has awakened in my heart. The mysteries I don’t understand. The things he’s called out and the parts he has affirmed. He remains the Mystery because there is something different, even now, about the things between us, that stay secret in the hidden places of my heart.
Right now there are things with him I do not understand and places I cannot go. There are battles not mine to fight and words I do not speak. But there has been depth and connection and joy and laughter and understanding and awakening. There has been so much that makes it beyond worth it. I could write a million ways this man has changed me and challenged me and cared for me. I could tell the story until I’m blue in the face about the fingerprints of Jesus. I could shout from the rooftops how I just didn’t know before this. I thought I knew but I didn’t.
But complicated comes up. It creeps in like an unwelcome dinner guest. It causes the pause and the re-evaluation and the check-in. It asks us if it’s really worth fighting for. The answer being, for me, yes. Without a doubt.
As it does, complicated adds to the mess in my head and it puts a filter on every other thing. Complicated tries to tell me to go left when I’m supposed to stay straight. And at times I go left. I lose my ability to think clearly. I say the wrong thing or grow frustrated. But eventually, I remember I must go to Jesus, the only uncomplicated thing. I beg of Him, make me more like you and He says I must remain steady. He tells me to die to the mess in my head, to die to myself, my instinct, my flesh, and choose steady. Because He will provide what I need to be steady.
I don’t know what the future has for Mystery Man and me. I’ve never wished for a crystal ball more than this moment. I do know that my heart has grown and expanded and stretched in ways I didn’t know it needed to. I didn’t know it was capable of. I know that Mystery Man has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me, complicated and all. I would choose him and this, over and over again.
The tender threads woven between us hint of something great. Something more. They speak of sacrificial love and choice. Of dying to ourselves and each other. Of standing separate but together to chase Jesus first and most.
And that is always worth choosing.