Maybe not in the way you’re thinking. But once I explain, I have a feeling you’ll agree.
As you probably guessed, I met someone. (Living proof that God still occasionally works miracles!) And to make things even better, he is awesome. As in, really, really stellar. And apparently he likes me, and I also like him, which I’m told is a winning combination. So if we both like each other—and if he’s not a total creeper (which he’s not, haha)—then what could possibly be complicated about it?
Oh, that’s right! I’m living in Germany for the next 7.5 months. And he lives in the U.S. “Sure, Steffi, 7.5 months is a long time,” you say, “But won’t you be moving back to the States when you’re done?” You’re correct; two points for you! But I’ll be moving back to Atlanta and, you guessed it, that’s not where this stellar fella lives. So as you can see, this makes things a bit “complicated.”
Adding to this complication is my usual dating strategy. You see, my (very limited) dating track record could be summed up with one word: efficiency. I am usually quick to determine whether a relationship is a dead end and, once I recognize that it is, I immediately call it quits. In the past, this has worked out in my favor. At the very least, it’s saved me time, energy, and prolonged heartbreak. It’s prevented me from pursuing relationships that won’t stand a chance and gotten me out of problematic ones before much time has passed.
But this time—dare I say it?—is different. On so many important levels. For instance, unlike my past suitors, this guy genuinely wants to get to know me. And he has gone to great lengths to do so, even driving 4 hours (each way!) to take me to breakfast while I was home over Christmas break. He asks great questions, sends thoughtful emails, and even read my entire blog from start to finish. (I don’t think my mom has even done that! And I’ve only done that because I wrote them!) So he is clearly interested in me as a person, and as many ladies out there will likely testify, that kind of interest is rare and precious.
And part of the reason that this time is different is that this guy is different. He’s super smart, he’s mature and confident, and he really, really loves Jesus. He has consistently surrounded himself with people who encourage him to grow, and his rock solid character and his established sense of community show how well this strategy is working. And to make things even better (and even more different), we actually click and even have the same nerdy sense of humor. Trust me; that never happens.
So this time is different, this guy is different. But this still begs the question: am I different? Sure, this fella is incredible and, to use some Christian-ese, he’s “pursuing me” really well. But I’m still a factor in this equation, and the jury is still out on how I will respond. My usual dating M.O.—to “efficiently” gather information and come to (historically negative) conclusions—now doesn’t work. For one thing, I’m halfway around the world for the next several months, which means I can’t exactly be efficient. And because this guy is so high quality—truly, he’s such a catch!—I don’t want to run. But I have no experience with long-term, let alone long-distance. How the heck am I supposed to navigate this?!
I don’t have any good answers. Because as much as I’d like a clear indication or a neon sign in the sky explaining how to approach this complicated situation, none has appeared. But I did recently find some encouragement in a rather unexpected place. Last week, I was scrolling back through my blog, and I decided to reread some of my own Valentine’s Day posts. After all, I needed to know what I had written about relationships–especially now that I knew who else had been reading them! And as I was sifting back through, I came to my post from 2014. I had written this one during a particularly difficult time for me in the relationship category. Things had crashed and burned with a guy that fall, and then the next potential suitor, whom I enjoyed very much, had just told me that he wasn’t interested in anything beyond friendship. And while I knew deep down in my heart of hearts that “this too would pass” and that everything would be okay, I couldn’t help feeling frustrated and discouraged all the same. Here I was, taking risks, putting myself out there, and having nothing to show for it yet again. Feeling down and looking for answers, I called my friend Sarah, and she asked me a question that’s stuck with me ever since:
Would I surrender the pen and let God write my story?
Although I delved into this question in my post two years ago, I think it’s worth revisiting because, as this entry shows, my relationship situation has clearly changed. And perhaps more importantly, I have changed. In the last two years, I have ridden many an up and many a down. I’ve had to walk straight into my insecurities, and I’ve come face to face with many of my fears. To quote The Hobbit, I’ve been “there and back again”, and much has happened along the way. And through all of these twists and turns and (mis)adventures, I have returned repeatedly to the same two truths: God is faithful. And I can trust Him. So even though this distance thing is hard—let’s be real, from an outside perspective, the timing of this looks terrible—and even though a part of me is terrified of the uncertainty, I can return back to the foundation, to the most important thing: God is working in this too, and I can trust Him to write my story. I just need to keep surrendering the pen, so to speak, and live it out faithfully as I can, one 6-time-zones-away day at a time. My God is good, and He won’t let me down.
Alright, that is enough romance-induced introspection for one day. I think I’d like to watch a non-complicated chick flick now. How about Love Actually? 😉