I don’t know about you but when God works with me, He uses situations and relationships in my life as a mirror to reflect the condition of my relationship with Him. Let me tell you what I mean…
The day I got engaged I was so shocked. I wasn’t shocked that he was asking. The shock came from the timing of it all. For the past year, we had been going in opposite directions. I was swamped with auditions, classes, and work, while he was laser-focused on building his company and our lives weren’t intersecting at all. We had gone from spending several nights and weekends together, to only seeing each other in passing, maybe a couple of times a week. This bothered me but I kept telling myself, “okay, don’t nag him about how much time you’re not spending together. Let the man work”. I’m not saying I wasn’t busy as well but you know how we are as women. We’re more likely to pause and shift everything around in order to make a relationship work.
But back to the proposal… When it happened, on the inside I was thinking: “Wait…what? where is this coming from? We’ve barely seen each other the past year!” On the outside, however, the actress in me came through and once he got down on his knee in the diner where we first met 4 and a half years prior, I gasped, I cried, I said yes. Of course, I was confused but what was I going to say with everybody watching? “Wait! I have questions!” I mean, sure, I could have said that but… who does that?
Almost a year after the engagement, the relationship ended. I’ll say that too much ambition and a lack of taking the time to make our relationship the priority definitely aided in everything falling apart. Is too much ambition a bad thing? Of course not, but it is when there’s no balance and I’ve watched enough Lifetime movies to know that this is how women end up having “afternoons” with the pool boy because they married men who would rather give their wallets than their time.
Fast forward to July/August 2016. I was spending some quiet time with God and as usual, He started to reveal some things about myself and my character that I had been slow to realize. About a week prior, I had a big argument with my ex. Most of our conversations ended in arguments these days because, despite how long it had been since we ended the relationship, I still harbored lots of anger and resentment toward him because I felt he had yet to acknowledge the reality of why our relationship went left.
Then, all of a sudden, it was as if God sprinkled “girl, you’ve got yo nerve” dust over my head. I heard Him say to me, “well, Stephanie, I understand your pain and your frustration with your relationship, how you wanted to be loved and prioritized. After all, that’s how I’ve felt your entire life about OUR relationship”.
That hit me like a ton of bricks. I was instantly humbled. How could I be so angry at my ex for not making me a priority when I couldn’t even prioritize the One who created me? When I had this, what I like to call “soul epiphany”, I immediately asked God for forgiveness. I wanted to call my ex and apologize to him in that very moment. I didn’t have the right to hold this over his head anymore. All my life I had been treating God the way I accused my ex of treating me. I still expected God to show up for me, be there when I needed Him, all the while giving Him none of my time in return. I held off on calling my ex, however, because that last conversation/argument we had…whew Lawd, it was so extra.
About two weeks later, I got around to apologizing to my ex. I explained to him how I had this encounter with God and how, through my anger, He had revealed to me that I was basically being a hypocrite. I don’t know if my ex fully grasped what I was saying but he accepted it and he apologized as well, for everything.
Ever since then I’ve thought twice about being so quick to make myself the victim in any situation where I feel I’ve been wronged. I’ve realized that while my emotions are important, they’re often secondary to the true lesson I’m supposed to be learning. That there’s always a bigger plan at play and if I’m caught up in my feelings, I’ll miss the lesson and the blessing of the whole thing.
As for my ex and I, we’re great friends. I no longer want to pay the barista at Starbucks to drop laxatives in his coffee, nor do I still fantasize about stealing his dry-cleaning and donating it to Goodwill. And don’t look at me like that. Being born again does not automatically cure your pettiness. We are responsible for the daily renewing of our minds and let’s just say, some days I’m slower to renew than others.