Have you ever seen the movie “The Way We Were”? A classic from 1973 starring Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford. I watched it (again) the other night. And once again, I came away with feelings of frustration and sadness.
I’ll admit it. I really didn’t want Katie and Hubbell to get together in the first place. They were wrong for each other. But Katie wanted him so much, she was willing to trade away who she was to be who he wanted her to be.
She traded her passion for politics for his passion for the good life. She moved from her home in New York to Hollywood where she knew no one. She dressed like a movie star and tolerated his unfaithfulness. And in the end, she lost him because she tried too hard. And because he wasn’t really the man she had fantasized him to be.
Got me to thinking (again) about how much of myself I’ve traded away to try to please a man or get a man to love me. How often I tried to trade who a man really was for who I wanted him to be. There’s something so wrong with that deal!
Men. I’ll admit it. I grew up with the idea that there’s something terribly wrong with me if I don’t have a man in my life. Maybe that’s why I was willing to trade away so much. And why I got so little in return.
I pretended to like sports for one guy. I hid my writing talents from another guy. I let another guy spend money I knew he didn’t have on me. I gave up my Christianity for another guy. And I even sold my favorite car to please another guy. I even gave up time with my family for a guy.
I’m not proud of any of that.
I remember looking in the mirror one day, looking into brown eyes that I should have known, and knowing that I didn’t know the woman who was looking back at me. I had lost me. Believe me, that is the loneliest feeling in the world.
Sometimes all of this still haunts me.
I think Katie would be able to relate. I think that’s what happened to her, too.
Our U.S. culture is more than happy to keep reinforcing all of this. So not only am I not okay if I don’t have a man in my life, but I’m also not okay if I’m not married. Double disappointment.
The more I mull over those messages, the more miserable I can make myself. Soon, my hair is wrong. My clothes are wrong. My body type is wrong. My address is wrong. My bank account balance is wrong. My car is wrong. Even my personality is wrong.
And soon, I’m sitting in the pit of self-pity. Alone.
So what keeps me from making that trip? Glad you asked!
As soon as those self-destructive messages begin, I turn to God’s Word. God is more than happy to tell me, as often as I want to hear it, how much he loves and values me. How beautiful and important I am to him. How he gave me the most precious gift he had to give: his Son Jesus as the sacrifice for every one of my sins. Now, that’s love. Unconditional love.
So the next time you find yourself thinking there’s something wrong with you because you’re not in a dating relationship or not married, think again. The most important relationship in your life is with God, your Father. Allow every other relationship to flow out of and be guided by him and his Word. That’s where everlasting contentment, peace, and love are waiting for you.
"Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us" (1 John 4:7-12).
Laura Warfel is a widow, writer, and follower of Jesus Christ. Her greatest joy is to bring others along with her on her faith journey. In 2015, because of the encouragement of the Launch Out Conference and Jon Acuff, she launched More Than A Widow on Facebook and Twitter. Today she blogs, tweets, and posts to help widows (and those who know them) find encouragement, hope, and resources for the journey. Her goal is to help all widows live beyond the label and live as more than a widow.
Copyright © 2017 by Laura Warfel