So I am dating AGAIN!
It's strange and weird and creates such a complicated mixture of feelings . True, I dated a couple of men before this "season," but that was mostly about trying to figure out myself, what I wanted....and to be honest numb the pain of healing (even a healed scar can be tender and achy at times). This time, this season is about me owning and acknowledging that I want to be married again...I would like to start a family. There is such fear with voicing this desire..but then there is freedom ....and then .....there is dating!!!...Once again allowing my heart to remain open in a sea of awkward conversations, dinners and blind dates.
This time around, though, dating has been very different. I am less afraid to express what I want in a relationship. I am more confident about who i am and less insecure about my appearance (take it or leave it folks)? I am a bit harsher in my judgements of red flags and boundary issues? I am more self-reflective and aware of why I may or may not be attracted to someone. And weirdly enough I am at place where I finally understand saying no to "good enough" means I am really saying YES to wanting God's best.
I remember a concept I learned back in my high school psych class...it was called the Chemical Map. Basically the idea was that every relationship (casual, dating, committed or just a meaningful encounter) causes a chemical reaction telling you want you do or do not like in someone, and this can, if you allow it to, direct you to the connection you desire for your life. It can be as simple as meeting someone with incredible blues eyes and you are immediately attracted to them or to someone you dated that was completely sold out to God and you find yourself respecting them. And all of this information/experiences can lead you to recognize the person for your life when he comes. And while I recognize much of this concept is humanistic in nature.....I find so much truth in it now entering the dating world again.
My past experiences/relationships have taught me a lot, and I see how they have even shaped some of my expectations. My past Chemical Map has been challenged, altered and amended by the experiences I can filter out from the past. For one, I realize that my first Chemical Map lead me down a strictly more romantic, highly emotional path. I wanted a certain type...someone who made me FEEL a certain way...now I look back at that map and say, "I want that, but life behind close doors needs so much more." For me, strong character, an attentive ear, a willingness to be unconditional, an adventurous spirit, a love for doing God's work and a passion for worship and seeking His presence.....may seem so....DUH....but honestly, major points of interest on my new map.
The side of all this that I feel is most difficult.....is that once you have experienced a horrible ripping/devastation such as divorce it is hard( almost impossible)to believe, imagine or know you can have more or want something better. I don't walk around with a scarlet letter, an elevated sense of self righteousness or even a broken heart (anymore) ...I have been blessed to be surrounded with people who have believed in and supported me....but that never stopped the questioning and the concern of choosing the right person in the future....or my worse fear........there might not be someone! Yet this new season feels like a huge learning curve! A place that is both scary and exciting.
Yeah..so with all that great knowledge and wisdom(sarcastic)...where am I now? I am dating...and grateful the map is VERY different...and I am grateful because it seems I am attracting such great men. BUT to be completely truthful....dating is exhausting and once you have established a life for yourself it is even more exhausting trying to find the time....lol! I am not interested in kissing a lot of frogs to find a prince (and wont). Yet I have learn if you truly want something God always requires prayer and action (easier to turn the titanic if the titanic is MOVING). So I remain open, hopeful, focused and for the first time, in a long time...fighting for my future, my heart....and the plans HE has for me!