So, this whole man thing. (By the way, I was tempted to say guy thing, but there are boys, there are guys, and there are men…and this one is a man. Anyway…) So, this whole man thing.
There was a phrase that kept getting tossed out…by him, by my friends, and by me to Jesus. How my heart should be protected.
Just make sure you’re protecting your heart, hon, my sweet girls would say.
Jesus, please protect my heart, I would pray though I didn’t really mean it.
Confession #1: I so totally didn’t protect my heart.
Confession #2: I so totally didn’t want to. I was excited and happy and just wanted to enjoy what was happening.
I look at new relationships as if each person is holding a deck of cards in their hands, all fanned out. And you scan your hand and lay a card on the table, one at a time, each taking turns. Like, oh, here’s the time I did this, or you should maybe know this about me, that kind of thing. It should start out small and slow, like with the 2s and 3s, and get deeper as it goes, slapping down the face cards and Aces months, not moments, in.
Should is the key word here. Because that’s not what happened in this instance.
This good man started off sharing something, which I greatly admired, and it drew me in immediately. His honesty attracted me and then set off mine. And very quickly I realized that practically all my cards were on the table. It didn’t scare me. I don’t regret it. And I would probably do the same thing again with this specific man if given a do-over.
And yet, on this side of things, my friends wished I’d gone slower and, you know, protected my heart. Because now I’m hurting a bit, because I miss him, I miss us (100% my fault; 0% his).
But here’s the thing…confession #3: I don’t think I know how to protect my heart. I’m not sure I know how to move slowly in a relationship. In any kind of relationship. I know this will surprise you but I tend to be a bit of an over-sharer. Shocking, but true. But not just on my blog. Or now apparently with men. But with everyone. It’s a blessing and a curse. I think people resonate with me because I share my stuff – which usually includes my flaws more than my strengths – and they feel less alone, and like they can then share with me as well. And that’s a great thing. But it can also come back to bite me. As in, what I’m going through right now.
I’d like to say I do this because I’m pro-authenticity. Because I can’t stand fake people. Because I have lived too much of my life in hiddenness and I’m just not going to do it anymore. And all of this is true and valid.
But I think I know why I really do this. I have this fear that once I’m fully known, the person will run. So let’s just get all the ugly cards out on the table at the outset so you can just run away now and it will hurt me less.
(Side note: I just had this mini-revelation. I have been so hurt by a handful of people over the past few years. And my heart is very protected against them. And one would think that because of how hurt I’ve been, I’d have the drawbridge pulled up indefinitely around this wounded heart of mine, wouldn’t you? But I think, for some odd and beautiful reason, I am wide open these days to the people who love me and to new people, only erecting walls around my heart once you’ve hurt me, not prior. I won’t make someone climb the walls of my heart if they’re not the ones who’ve put the walls up. I come out the gate trusting. And in this specific situation with this specific man, he gave me no reason whatsoever to pull up the drawbridge. So I didn’t.)
God is creative and sovereign and full of surprises so he just might work out this thing between me and this man someday, who knows. But if he doesn’t and if I actually do want a partner again at some point, I’m going to have to figure this out. How to not go all in in the first fifteen minutes. Or even the first fifteen days. How to balance my deep desire to be who I really am, to be accepted for who I really am, for authenticity and transparency in this most important relationship, all the while not giving away the farm before I even find out the guy’s last name or something. Today, all I know, is that this one will be tough for me, because I kinda like going all in.