Saturday, November 23, 2013

68: full disclosure of my online dating experiences this year

November 28, 2012 -- the day I signed up for a year subscription to eHarmony, my first paid online dating site subscription.

What a ride!

In commemoration of the expiration of my subscription, I would like to share a summary of my experiences. Ok?

First there was J--. He's the reason I joined eHarmony. I had heard from him in the summer and was intrigued by his profile even though I couldn't see his picture. After thinking about him for months, and praying about if it was okay with God for me to even pursue relationships at this time, I subscribed and immediately replied to his 5 questions. He had been homeschooled, came from a large family, loved backpacking (uh oh) and traveling (yay), and went to a church that was emergent (red flag). He wrote wonderfully lengthy e-mails but didn't want to talk in depth about doctrine (or even spiritual things, it seemed) via e-mail, but then he never really pursued meeting in person either (frustrating!). After three months he said we seemed too different, and all I felt I had lost was a great e-mailing companion.

(Thanks to him, though, I tried out Doctor Who and am now a definite Whovian. Just in time for the 50th too!)

Then there was T--. He lived in Wyoming. He was 9 years older than me, mostly bald, and 5'9". But I thought he was the cute kind of bald, and hey, he's from Wyoming, how cool is that? Like J--, he had contacted me months earlier, before I subscribed. One of the voluntary profile questions he had answered was "Was Michael Jackson a genius or crazy?" (actually I can't remember what the question was exactly). He answered a genius, and that he used that genius to lead millions astray. I laughed, considered, wondered if he was too over the top (based off of other things he had said), and decided to give him a chance. Unlike J--, our conversations went deep, fast. I ended up telling him it couldn't go anywhere romantically because he would not submit himself to the accountability of fellow believers (and with some of the things he believed, he kinda needed it). But it wasn't all for naught. His last e-mail to me started with,  "I fervently enjoyed your rebuttal to me. You are a wise and wonderful woman," and ended with, "It is not often that a woman will write like you so I pray the Lord will bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon you. Go in peace." :D

Then I got a hit from a guy I had seen on Christian Café maybe a year earlier. He lived in southern California, and I had been really, really interested in him. I had even printed out his profile and KEPT it. He sent me 5 questions, I replied, he replied, I replied...and he's still sitting in my inbox. Maybe I scared him off?

By this time it was summer, and I had been keeping an eye on my unpaid ChristianMingle account. A fellow from only an hour away had sent me a message. He wanted to homeschool his kids, was 30, short, established in a job, and, to put it simply, hot. And he had sent ME a message. After thinking that over for a couple weeks, I dug deep and paid a three month subscription so I could read his e-mail. I wrote back...and didn't hear from him for the next six weeks.

So, meanwhile, I contacted CPS. His profile was funny, and I wanted him to know so. I wasn't interested in him--he was rather unattractive and I wasn't sure if I was okay with that. He wrote back. I asked him another question about his profile, reportedly out of curiosity for how a fellow believer thinks. We continued to write back and forth, back and forth, and, funnily enough, he went to the same church the original J-- went to! Small world! We ended up becoming good friends (as much as you can virtually). At long last (a month and a half?) he asked if I wanted to meet. And I had to tell him--after a month and a half of rollercoasting it--that I wasn't interested. He took it very well--he was so kind and patient and good-humored--and told me he hadn't thought my original message to him had been an expression of interest anyway, only friendship, so, in other words, I thankfully hadn't led him on. Since both of our subscriptions were about to expire, he said we could keep on messaging since we just enjoyed each other's company. Right before our subscriptions ended, I found out he had a couple of girls he was pursuing, so I didn't feel bad at all, and our friendship and subscriptions just quietly came to an end.

During my whole friendship with CPS, and while I was waiting to hear from short hot guy (SHG), I had two instant messenger conversations with two young homeschool guys. BC from Arizona was 25 years old, good-looking, went to a family-integrated church (which I thought was cool), and was definitely not ready to support a family. He also never really asked questions about me. ER from San Diego was 26 years old, Reformed (which I'm not), and creepily reminded me of the actor who played the paranoid husband in He Knew He Was Right. That was hard to break off because at that moment I really enjoyed the attention but I was really not interested and he kept IMing me.

Finally I heard back from SHG--he had been in a car accident, thus the long response time. I wrote back. He took another several weeks to reply. I wrote back. And as my subscription was expiring, I did the ultra bold thing and sent him my personal e-mail address (and not even my junk e-mail address)! And then I waited, nervous that I had just shot myself in the foot. But what could I do? I wasn't going to subscribe AGAIN for him!

Meanwhile I went back to eHarmony and responded to J-2, a heavier set (not a problem at all), highschool teacher that also lives somewhat nearby. We e-mailed back and forth, but his e-mails were short and rather unsubstantial. Finally he said he didn't spend much time on his computer and that, if I wanted, I could call him, and he left me his number. I decided I wasn't that interested.

Around this time I also realized that maybe I don't want to meet a guy online. Not ideally. Ideally I want to experience that flutter of butterflies from seeing someone in person that you like, but the interest or possible interest has yet to be expressed.

To my surprise and excitement, SHG wrote back on my personal e-mail address! To make a drawn-out story short, we are still e-mailing, but he takes so long to reply that I'm wondering if it's even worth replying anymore, if I'm really that interested (and if I'm willing to pursue something with someone as short as I am).

And that sums up my year-long journey through online dating!

As a final note:
After all the profiles I have viewed, I like to think that my current listening of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy will make me a more eligible match to any future prospects. :-P

Friday, November 22, 2013

67: my turning point

Maybe the turning point is when you can (after a decade of not being able to) pick up and move on. When the strong wave of infatuation sweeps over you and, after a couple days of recovering from the tsunami, you can continue on with the crush as part of last week's history instead of today's trauma.

Maybe it's when God hands you this thing called life and you finally, FINALLY, accept, with reluctance--but it grows on you--that whole cliché that life is now not sometime down the road. When you harness your hope as a tool to become the person you want to be now instead of sincerely believing you'll be that person once you have another person by your side.

It's not about giving up hope or losing the I-like-this-guy-and-can't-believe-I-finally-have-someone-to-like moments or leaving behind the depressing and-now-there-is-no-one-to-like-and-no-one-likes-me times or never again sitting in front of the computer and living vicariously through a Christmas Hallmark movie (because, personally, sometimes that's the best kind of therapy).

Maybe it's when you more often realize that the reason you are obsessing over this deeply held desire is because you haven't had any quality God time in the last three days, and that if you just spent some quality time with your Sustainer you wouldn't feel so desperate and thirsty and hungry and crazy in need of attention from a boy right now.

Thankful for the turning point. Thankful that I can still want to be a wife and mother.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

66: reacting to the love birds

Reactions. My reactions.

Teenage couple standing in the street after dark clinging to each other while I give them a look that says, "Do you WANT to be run over? Good grief!"

Early 20s girl laughing and screaming as she runs away flirtatiously from her late 20s boyfriend as I think, "Oh my word, you are flirting so LOUDLY."

If I am so pro-marriage why do I think this way? Aren't boys and girls supposed to be attracted to each other, flirt, fall in love, and marry? Why am I still rolling my eyes?

No. 1: I'm well aware that not all that glitters is gold. How many flirtations actually end in marriage? How many romances actually make it to the altar?

No. 2: I'm still unconsciously affected by the well-imbedded "why not me" syndrome that plagues every girl from 13 years old (or younger) onward!

No. 3: Flirting is bad because flirting is defrauding and putting yourself forward and generally making a fool of yourself, right? I haven't yet learned the appropriate place--and there is an appropriate place--for flirting in the progress of a relationship.

Skepticism, envy, and shrinking away from bold public displays of inner emotions (or, in my cynicism, "hormones").

Will I ever become one of those women who look on young, "in love" couples and say, "Aren't they so cute?"

*insert raised eyebrow, twisted mouth, and questioning eyes*

Don't know!

Go get a marriage license!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

65: moving forward

In a Facebook status, a friend wrote:

"Instead of thinking about being lonely, think about praying for your spouse, bettering yourself for that person, and work with every last ounce of energy to get to where you want to be. God wants us to strive to be better, our best. I choose to accept these about you?"

I don't tend to like thinking about goals. For some reason my sinful nature reacts in opposition and I end up failing faster because I am focused on a goal. I seem to do better if I keep a direction in mind.

With that clarification, those words "bettering yourself" made me reconsider my present state.

I prayed for an occupation. I thought I would be a better person if I were kept busy. God gave me a job. Like, a big one.

I thought I should move out. I thought it would be good for my personal maturation. God dropped a rooming situation into my lap a year before I thought it would be available. So now I'm trying living independently.

I've been settling down into my house, trudging on in my classroom, and basically treading water.

Time to move forward in that whole "bettering" myself thing. I don't know if I'll get married. But I can't stay immature forever. I must push on to be the kind of person I want to be, who God wants me to become.

Whether or not I actively pursue goals, I don't want to not move forward and find myself sinking in mire and end up in this state-of-hopelessness with Israel:

"But you said, 'There is no hope. No! For I have loved aliens, and after them I will go.'" (Jeremiah 2:25) "And they said, 'That is hopeless! So we will walk according to our own plans, and we will every one obey the dictates of his evil heart.'" (Jeremiah 18:12)

trust distraction (ix)

"God loves an uttermost confidence in Himself-- to be wholly trusted. This is the sublimest of all the characteristics of a true Christian--the basis of all character."
-Henry Van Dyke
"O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us form your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up." (Daniel 2:16-18)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

64: one-hundred percent

When you are passionate about something, it is easy to drift out of the realm of moderation. It is easy to so over emphasize that good that you seem to take away weight from equal or greater goods.

I am passionate about marriage. I'm not sure why I am passionate about marriage. But I do know that God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). And I know that homosexuality is a vile passion that is against nature (Romans 1:26). I know that marriage is honorable and the marriage bed undefiled. But I know that fornicators and adulterers God will judge (Hebrews 13:1). I know that marriage is a picture of Christ's relationship with the church (Ephesians 5:22-33). And I know that God said it wasn't good that man should be alone (Genesis 2:18). Finally, I know that "He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the LORD" (Proverbs 18:22).

So although I may sometimes sound of balance, and sometimes I need people to say, stop, wait, don't forget the overarching truth that God is our all in all and that you are complete in Him (and it is most definitely true that He is enough), I also know that, when taken in conjunction with every other truth in God's Word, God's design of one man, one woman for life is still worthy of being valued and upheld.

And that is why I think it is okay to quote Crawford Loritts' somewhat radical statement on a recent Family Life Today broadcast:
"God created Adam with an unmet need. Adam was alone. And, by the way, this is prior to the fall--obvious observation. So, neediness is not a sinful disposition. Neediness is not something that came along later on, because we were sinfully inclined, and it's part of the fall. No, God created--and this is a profound statement--prior to the fall of man, God created, in all of us, an unmet need. To be needy in this regard is extraordinarily healthy."
Put this quote in the balance with the revelation of God's sufficiency in your life. Uphold both truths 100 percent.

Monday, November 11, 2013

63: ashes

There is hope.

I imagine a city in ashes, spires blackened with fire, a gray hue coloring the whole, the sky devoid of color because of the ruin.

And yet that is only one city.

One empire.

One section of one person's history. The Truth is marching on.

The Way is still the Way. The Truth is still the Truth. And Life, the Life and Light of all mankind, is still there like three suns (or one, if you're not into sci-fi) shining bright, unable to be extinguished because of some earthly blaze.

Ashes...simply remainders, chaff-like flecks of reminders that what was there before did not need to last for ultimate Reality to continue.