*I do not own the rights to this photo.
Personal revelations can come from many sources. Most of the time, however, they come from our relationships with others. I identified a particular pattern in my life this past week that needed to change. This pattern was tied to a relationships with men, both past and present. I learned that the reason I was even in their spheres was related to a painful pattern I had not allowed Jesus to heal in my life. It was time to let go and deal with my pattern. We have to take responsibility for our own life patterns. Others are not responsible for my patterns. You can most likely guess what this pattern was by looking at the title of this blog. I have to admit just thinking about penning this blog has been hard. I have faced something in me that was harming me, the men in these relationships (whether they would accept that or not), and others indirectly. This won't be an easy read, but if you will stick with it, it may just set you free from the same pattern. It has certainly been freeing for me. Let us begin.
You begin by chasing attention long before you chase affection. I have chased attention and affection from men who cannot give it to me in healthy ways all my life. I perceived a deficit or lack of attention or affection, intentional or otherwise, from the time I was probably 5 or 6 years old. My dad wasn't around much between the ages of 5 to 11 because of his job. Most of the boys my age growing up thought I was too smart so they too didn't have a lot to do with me. My late husband could not give affection or attention like he wanted to because not only had he been abused, he had never been shown how to do such things. Put all of this together with thought processes and lies like “unlovable” and “unwanted” and you have a recipe for disaster. You also have the perfect justification for chasing attention and affection in all the wrong places in your own mind. This is why I have entered into two affairs with married men in my adult life and other relationships I had no business in at all. Granted, they had their role too, and my pattern tied to pain and lies destroyed my boundaries in this area. In other words, I could not say “no” to men who for their own reasons and pain were seeking out such relationships. I also could not say “no” to harmful, abusive relationships. I wanted attention and affection so badly, I was willing to ask for it from men who were hurting just as bad if not more than me. Trust me when I say this will implode. It will implode for all involved – just leaving everyone hurt again. I was hurt, they were hurt, peripheries were hurt. We accomplished nothing but more pain. This is not love and it is not living.
It was such an implosion in a relationship this week and honestly in two similar relationships in my life that forced me to look at the condition of my own heart. I was forced to look at my pattern and figure out the why. I have spent the last week figuring out said why and what it was tied to in my past, hence my explanation above. After much prayer and journaling, I have arrived at a few conclusions. First, I am forgiven! Second, I choose to forgive these men. I have no idea what they are or were dealing with in their hearts that they didn't want me to see because of shame and pain. If they are reading this or ever read it, I forgive you! I would implore you to let go, forgive yourselves, and heal for your own sakes. My hope is that you will come to know how much Jesus loves you and forgives you too. Please forgive me for my role in hurting you and your other relationships. Third, I do not lack anything, not love or attention or anything else. I am loveable and I am wanted because of Jesus. I am exactly who he wants me to be and I have great purpose and no one can take that from me. Jesus not only loves me more than I could fathom, he has placed people in my life who can love me well! My hope is that these men will one day have people in their lives who can love them well and help to heal their wounds and trauma. This is my sincerest prayer for them.
I no longer believe I have to chase affection and attention from hurting men. People choose to give you attention and affection from a heathy place - out of the love that they themselves have in full. You don't have to chase them for it! As a result of chasing hurting men for attention and affection, they have used me to fill their emotional currency (e.g., love, peace, calm, respect, attention, emotional regulation). Sadly, that's all I've been to them because that is all they have capacity for as long as they are hurting. They use the emotional currency they get from other people to cope because they sadly lack healthy coping skills and have no idea how to pursue them. This breaks my heart. It's easier to use someone than deal with your pain. Afterall, because of my pattern, I was using them too and I acknowledge and take responsibility for that in my own life. Usury accomplishes nothing and heals no one. We just keep going around in the same circles and on the same hamster wheel hoping for something different. Isn't that the definition of insanity? I am choosing differently from this point forward! I am choosing love, not pain! Love is and will be my currency. I will choose people who love me out of themselves from a healthy place. I will love people from a health place. Jesus has filled me with His love. Love does not use. Love says no. Love does not violate other people's boundaries or relationships. Love does not allow boundary violation. Love forgives. Love tells the truth, even when it is hard. Love does not tolerate evil. Love protects your heart and life.
I will close with the greatest love chapter of all times. I have been pondering it this week and want everyone to know what love really is:
1 Corinthians 13:4-8,13 NIV; Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.