If At First You Don’t Succeed…

What do you do when you strike out? Twice? You get back up and you try try again. However, with that simple statement, another round of questions arise.

What amount of “trying” is healthy? Should I really even be trying?

Does trying mean that I am not content in my current single situation?

Does having the desire to get married mean that I am not satisfied presently?

Should I feel guilty that I have this desire?

Does the sadness that I feel mean I am not trusting the Lord enough to provide for me?

Those questions have been swirling around in my head for months. And thankfully, by the grace of God, I feel because of conversations this week, coupled with prayer and choosing to believe in truth, I am starting to get answers. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately, I am not sure) that didn’t happen before I decided to step back up to bat.

you will never know, if you don't try

Stepping up to bat both in the literal sense and physical sense, is not very easy for me.

I am not very athletic and I am not good at sports. The only time I can hold my own is when it comes to water sports and even then I am not sure you can count staying on a tube and getting up on a wake-board a big accomplishment. I try to stay far away from being a member on any team, so when someone suggests playing volleyball at the beach, you’ll see me slip off to find the nearest bathroom.

However, I did play softball on an actual team in 6th grade. That year one of my best friend’s dad coached the girls softball team and I don’t think they had enough players to make a whole team, so I was asked to play. I remember warning them that I was not very good, but I got talked into playing under the disguise of “just give it a try, it will be fun!” They must have been desperate for numbers. As I began attending practices, I remember being embarrassed because I barely even knew the rules of the game and many of the girls had been playing for years. I tried to fly under the radar as best as I could. I was a quiet, shy, skinny little girl, so that was easy for me. But then one day when we were throwing the ball back and forth to one another, warming up for a game, things changed at bit. At this point, I still didn’t even know how to catch a stinkin’ ball, so I just did my fair share of running after it whenever someone threw it to me. That was when another girl’s father saw what was happening and he came over to me and showed me how to hold my glove the correct way to catch a ball. He threw a few balls to me and I followed his instructions. Shortly after the game began, for some reason they thought it would be a good idea to have me play short stop. After asking someone on my team where that was, I jogged to the in field. The next thing I remember, the ball was hit towards me. I didn’t do much, I don’t even think I had to move my feet. The only thing I did at that moment was look up at the ball racing towards me and hold my glove up like I had been taught. The ball came right in. I can’t remember all of the details, but for the sake of the story, let’s just say that was the third out for the other team. My team cheered and I couldn’t stop smiling. As my team went back to the bench to get ready to bat, the girl’s father came up to me and congratulated me for catching the ball. “See, you just had to learn how to hold your glove, I knew you could do it!” he said to me. I think that was the only time I caught a ball the entire season and I probably played in the out field from that point forward. But I will forever have etched in my mind the feeling of catching a ball on an important play.

A few weeks after Dr. G vanished and Mr. Sold Out put me on hold, I began going through my eharmony matches. While communicating with Dr. G, I didn’t sign on to eharmony much at all.

That night, I made a poor choice and initiated communication with someone with a good-looking picture and a brief profile stating he no longer had a subscription but to reach out to him through email. I am not going to go into that story, but red flags were thrown up several times during our conversation. I thanked the Lord for the gift of discernment and moved on from that one.

If I had just gone to bat, that would have been another strike out for yours truly. I told myself after that experience that I would no longer be the one to initiate. Lesson learned.

The next day, I received an email from a guy that I had been in communication with in the midst of my 30 dates adventure in 2014. We had reached the email stage at that time, but after he inquired about my adventure a little more, he stopped emailing me. Not all guys were up to being one of my 30 dates and I totally understood. No hard feelings on my end.

Now my profile had no trace of 30 dates or an adventure, so he probably thought it was safe to email me. Thankfully a girl going on 30 dates didn’t turn him off altogether. In fact he even emailed me joking about it later.

This is what his email said,

Hi, I am trying to go on 32 dates before I turn 32. Do you want to be one of my dates? 😉

Bubba

I literally laughed out loud and emailed Bubba back and asked him if he was a creeper.

His response:

Hi there,

I am as creepy as they come. I like long walks on the beach and dark chocolate.

I turn 32 in December. What about you?

Bubba

P.S. You can call be “Bubs” for short.

Bubs had a different real name and he most certainly was not creepy, so these emails were just jokes and actually came after our first date. So let me back up and tell you about that.

After a few initial emails, he asked for my number to talk on the phone. At this point, I didn’t want to make the same mistake as I did with Mr. Sold Out and not give him another method of communication, but I also did not want another Dr. G story to happen. I emailed him back to let him know that I would just prefer meeting him if he was up for it. He actually liked the idea and we planned a lunch date for the next day! I was thankful for his flexible schedule and internet navigating skills as he sent me the address of a cute little restaurant halfway in between where we both lived.

Driving to our lunch date, I wasn’t that excited. I think that was because coming off the disappointment with Dr. G, I was guarding my heart as much as I could and just figured this would probably be a “one and done” date. At least we were actually getting to the date part. I got there a bit early and decided to walk through a couple of the nearby antique stores. When I got his text that he arrived, I walked over to the restaurant and he was standing outside. I think I might have went to shake his hand or something but instead he hugged me. I got a very good first impression from him. He was tall and good-looking and I all of a sudden got a little excited about the upcoming hour.

Bubba did everything correctly on this first date. He was friendly with our waitress and held conversation well with a perfect balance of answering and asking questions. At one point I told him that he was not what I expected him to be like and he inquired further about that. For some reason, I was just not expecting someone as laid back and social as he was. When I told him that he said, “thanks for the feedback,” and I all of a sudden felt badly for letting him know my preconceived thoughts. I then asked him if I was different than he expected and he told me that I was prettier in person than in my pictures. I never really know how to respond to that but I think I said thank you. Then I kinda felt badly because I didn’t mean to fish for compliments.

After about an hour and a half from when we first got there, we boxed up our meals, he paid and we walked out. He walked me to my car, gave me a hug and said he enjoyed lunch and that he hoped we could do it again some time. He said that sort of passingly, so I don’t think I gave a definite answer, but I thanked him for driving halfway to meet me.

As I was driving home, I began to process, realizing I hoped to hear from him again soon. I remember smiling when I received his text a few hours later. He asked if I got home safely. We sent a few texts back and forth that day.

The next day I initiated a texting conversation and he again told me he enjoyed our lunch together. I wanted to let him know that I had enjoyed it as well and not keep him guessing. I texted back, “I enjoyed it too. Sometimes it takes me time to process but I always know that I enjoy being in someone’s company after the fact when I look forward to hearing from them again – which happened with you.”

Bubs texted back and said that was sweet of me to say and nice to hear. He then asked me out again for the following week. My text must have given him the courage to ask me out again or maybe it was his plan all along. Either way, I liked it. I still wasn’t sure where I stood in my feelings with him, but I did know that I wanted to spend more time with him to see where it could go.

We had two phone conversations that week. In one of the conversations he asked about our next date. He explained to me that we could do another short lunch date or he would be willing to drive to my town for the evening, get a hotel room for himself, and then go to brunch or something the next day. This would allow more time for us to get to know one another but he also told me he wanted to respect my time. I told him I liked the idea of spending more time with him, so we could get a better sense of where this might be going and we began to make plans for that.

The following Friday, he got to my house around 3 and soon after we headed to the pool to cool off from a hot day. As we talked at the pool, I realized that we seemed compatible in many different areas regarding our beliefs and outlooks on life. However, I did share with him that I was excited to spend more time with him because while I knew we could be great friends, I needed to see if there was a romantic connection. He agreed and we left the pool soon after.

I had asked him during our phone conversation prior to our date if he would be willing to choose a restaurant for dinner. Since he came to my town, I figured it would have been understood that I would pick where we would eat, but I don’t always feel comfortable doing that. I know not all men pay on dates, but if he wanted to pay, I didn’t want to be the one picking a place with a certain price range. Plus there are so many restaurants around here that I have not ever been to and I knew he would find a good place. He didn’t seem to have a problem with that at all and actually seemed to enjoy the idea of surprising me.

As I got ready, put on make-up, curled my hair and slipped on a new, cute, little summer dress, I was excited for our dinner. I have bought so many outfits in my lifetime under the guise of “I could wear that on a date one day,” but it usually just sits in my closet for years. So that night, I was thankful to have a reason to get dressed up and wear something new. Later, Bubba complimented me on my outfit, I commented about the fact that we kinda matched with similar color schemes and we were on our way.

He drove to the restaurant using his phone’s GPS and while I had a few guesses of where we were going, we ended up at a place I had never been to. It had a wonderful atmosphere and great food and I enjoyed myself very much.

However, on the way home, I began to wonder if I was feeling a connection or not. I didn’t want to seem distracted and I told myself that I didn’t need to over-analyze things at that moment, so I shoved those thoughts away. We ended our date with going back to my house for ice cream.

The next morning, I had some extra time to begin processing before Bubba picked me up for lunch. I could already tell that Bubba loved Jesus, had a servant’s heart and treated others very well. But I just couldn’t get over the intuition of the fact that I didn’t feel anything beyond a friendship level. A pit started to form in my stomach because no one likes to be put in the “friend zone.” And to be honest, we both were not looking for just another friend.

When he picked me up at my house around noon, I think I had my mind made up, I just felt horrible about it. I was racking my brain about the best time to tell him, wondering if it should even be that day. Do I tell him at lunch? Do I wait and call him in a few days? Do we go out on one more date to be sure?

As we were eating lunch, we kept the conversation going but I was having a hard time staying focused. At the end of lunch he said, “I hate to have to bring this up now, but what are you feeling?” I was shocked that he asked me, but I was so proud of him for doing so. I am not sure I have ever had a guy come straight out and ask me so soon, if at all. This showed that he had great communication and he was not into playing any games.

Even though I knew what I was feeling, I needed a few more minutes to process, so I listened to him share that he had fun with me and that he would like to continue to get to know me if I felt the same way. He complimented me on a few things and I felt tears begin to swell up in my eyes. I would normally categorize myself as not much of a crier, but I would have a hard time convincing anyone of that since March.

I told him that I was just not feeling it and as I began to process my feelings out loud with him, I started crying. At no point did he look disappointed, sad or mad. Instead he listened to me and told me that it was okay. He thanked me for being honest and told me that he would have much rather have heard what I was feeling now rather than later. He said he would have hated to have tried calling me the next week and me talking with him out of obligation instead of excitement. I felt so badly because I could already tell what a great guy he was and it is never easy having to tell someone that you are probably not interested in a romantic way. This was not my first time having to deliver this news, but it was the first time I felt THIS badly about it. I think that stems from my break-up in March. Even though it was quite different, since my relationship ended after a year, and Bubba and I had only gone out on two dates, I knew what it felt like to hear the other person tell me our feelings didn’t align. No matter what, it is hurtful. I am not sure if Bubba was hurt or not. If he was, he was doing a good job of hiding it for the sake of my heart. He also understood how dating worked and the risk that comes with it. I appreciated that about him so very much and it was most definitely an advantage of going out on a date with a mature man. He was treating my heart with respect and every word he said to me built me up, instead of making me feel guilty. He didn’t try and hurt me back, he didn’t beg me to change my mind or for more time. He accepted what I told him and I never had any person treat me as well as he did in that kind of moment.

We got in the car to leave and I turned to him to let him know it was nothing that he did or didn’t do. He didn’t do anything wrong. I think he already knew that, but I also know the questions that arise after news like that, so I wanted him to be sure. I told him that he was good-looking and that his love for the Lord made him so attractive. He asked if he could give me a kiss on the cheek and I agreed. He did and I hugged him and then he drove me back to my house. When I got out of the car, we said our goodbyes and he told me that I was welcome to keep in touch with him and even stop by to see him with my new man one day if I was ever in his area. He told me if that ever happened he would let that man know just how blessed he was to have me. I started crying again and told him that finding a man was not that easy. He smiled at me and got into his car while encouraging me to be patient and that it would happen.

Bubba is a strong man that knows God has great plans for him. He knows there is someone out there more suitable for him and there is someone out there more suitable for me. The way he responded was grace-filled and a lesson that every single person could learn from.

I walked into my house and of course cried some more. I knew he was right and that God has a great plan for me regarding my spouse one day. But I was sad.

I felt like I struck out again.

try and then quit

Maybe getting on eharmony, going through my matches and accepting dates wasn’t the best idea. These questions re-surfaced for me.

What amount of “trying” is healthy? Should I really even be trying?

Does trying mean that I am not content in my current single situation?

Does having the desire to get married mean that I am not satisfied presently?

Should I feel guilty that I have this desire?

Does the sadness that I feel mean I am not trusting the Lord enough to provide for me?

As I once again asked myself these questions, I fell asleep crying that night. Are you surprised?!

Then the next couple of days, God’s love poured into me through other people.

And what I learned this week is the whole reason I felt like I needed to begin blogging again – in hopes that maybe this post could be the words that someone else needed to read.

Being on eharmony is putting myself out there, it is letting people know that I am interested in getting married one day. It is making my desire known in a more public way. Meeting new people and dating has to happen before marriage is an option, so eharmony allows for that. It allows for me to meet guys that love the Lord that I may not have come into contact with otherwise. I don’t want to live my life strategically trying to position myself in places where single Christian guys might be. I am not sure how I would even do that and I would drive myself crazy trying to figure that out. I would be afraid that my focus would become on that and not on glorifying the Lord.

So if being on eharmony means that I am “trying,” then I really do not see anything wrong in that. Who knows if eharmony will actually work for me, I am starting to think probably not, but that is okay. It may or it may not. One of my friends who is recently learning the same lessons as myself shared this with me just yesterday:

“Being obsessed with the Lord is much more rewarding and gives me peace. While being obsessed with finding the right person for my spouse gives me dark circles under my eyes.”

I thought that was very well said and I couldn’t have said it better myself. I can spend 5 or 10 minutes on eharmony each day, responding to questions of guys who I think I might be interested in. But when I become obsessed over it and when my emotions for that particular day depend on who does or who doesn’t contact me, then I am at risk of those dark circles showing up.

At the pool the other day, I had another God appointed meeting. I met a lady who has five grown daughters herself and we began talking. I saw her love for the Lord almost immediately and could tell she was a very wise and discerning lady. My mom shared with her about my story and desire to get married one day. Towards the end of our conversation she began reminding me of truth. She prefaced it with the fact that she wouldn’t be telling me anything new but she felt the Lord wanted her to remind me of a few things today.

She reminded me that waiting was hard and it was not always an easy feat to accomplish. But in the meantime, while I was waiting, to try and stay focused on becoming the woman that God wants me to be and to pray for my future spouse that he would be doing the same. I think she might of sensed my apprehensiveness about wondering if there really is a future spouse out there for me. Then the next thing she said is exactly what I needed to hear. She said that I had the desire to get married and that was good. It was the way God created me and it was a normal desire. I wasn’t doing anything wrong by having this desire. In fact, God is the one that gives us the desires of our heart and as long as it lines up with His word, it is good. So many times I feel guilty for having this desire. I feel like I should be okay being single for the rest of my life and I should push the desire down so much that no one can see it. But I realized those thoughts were more lies. Here we go again. How many lies are we believing when we shouldn’t be?

So through that conversation, I realized that it is okay to have that desire. There is nothing wrong with it. And it is okay to have emotions too. When someone falls in love, they are going to be happy, they are going to feel joy and probably laugh and smile a lot. They will probably feel the relief of not having to wait anymore. Wouldn’t we expect that from them? So why would the opposite not be okay as well? Why would it be wrong to feel sadness when it doesn’t work out like you hoped? Why would it be wrong to cry over a disappointment and feel sad that you have to wait a bit longer? Emotions are okay. Emotions were created by God and it is what makes us human.

Emotions will come and go. If we are happy at the moment, unfortunately we will probably one day experience something in our life that will make us sad again. If we are sad at the moment, we will one day experience something that will make us happy again. What we do with our emotions at the present time is where we need to focus. If my sadness made me stop trusting in the Lord, that would be the problem. If my sadness made me stop loving the people around me that God has already put in my life, then that would be the tragedy. Obsessing and worrying about things out of my control is exactly what God has asked us not to do.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
Matthew 6:25-26

He does not tell us not to be sad. So if you are sad. Be sad. If you feel like crying. Then cry. But my advice is to find someone to remind you of truth. I have parents and best friends that do this often for me. And now I have the sweet lady from the pool.

It also really helps to talk to people who are in your similar situation, so you know you are not alone. A sweet single friend reminded me that she prays for contentment when I reached out to her recently. She said that she prays that even though she has the desire to be married, she hopes to make the best out of her single years and prays for opportunities to come her way that she might not have available to her if she was married.

So one of the opportunities that I felt the Lord has given me while I am single and struggling through the game of dating is this blog. If I have the opportunity to just encourage a few people through what the Lord is teaching me, then I am making the best out of my single years. I am learning so much and I am growing as a person.

And to my friends who are not in a similar situation, thank you for listening to my batting stories and my many strike outs. You don’t need to have the right words to say. I am just thankful to have people in my life that want to listen and people in my life that will share in my excitement when I am excited and understand my heart when I am sad.

To tell you the truth though, I am getting a bit tired of striking out when I go up to bat. So maybe I will take a break from that for awhile and instead switch it up and play in the field for a bit (no I did not say “play the field” – read it again).

So if you are looking for me, you will find me on short stop with my feet firmly planted in place. I will be holding my glove up, looking to the sky and waiting for my turn to catch what is meant for me.

baseball

 

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5 thoughts on “If At First You Don’t Succeed…

  1. Rachel&Jesus says:

    Your blog has been very inspiring and insightful to me! I tried eHarmony and know exactly your struggle. I found myself getting discouraged often logging on every day hoping to find Mr. Right. My problem was I was trying to create Mr. Right into how I wanted him to be. I kept making the same mistakes over and over looking for a handsome man with a heart for God when God was telling me that I was putting too much focus into the outer shell. The Jesus inside Mr. Right was who I needed. Some months after I joined, I got a local match who didn’t “look” like Mr. Right, but I could see the Jesus inside of him. All I had to do was wait for Mr. Right and let him come to me. He obeyed God by reaching out to me, and i obeyed God in accepting the communication with an open heart in anticipation of the vessel God put in my path. We’ve been together almost 2 years now! Not only did God give me a blessing, but He allowed me to stay near home with my friends and family. God is so good! Be blessed and encouraged!!

    Like

  2. Kirk says:

    Thanks for sharing your heart and being authentic as usual Elisa. I must say I LOL on the W.C. Fields quote. Can’t wait to read ab out your next time up to plate!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. If you’re going to play the game, you should let it play out! Why are you’/were you in such a hurry to figure out how you feel about a guy? You shouldn’t (speaking from long experience!) make a decision to ditch a great guy without a LOT more face time, a lot more relationship building time. I know you’re trying to protect yourself from heartache but don’t be in such a hurry to reach a conclusion.

    Like

    • I certainly understand what you are saying, but when I know, I know. Sometimes it takes me two or three dates, but to me going on any more dates after that isn’t really necessary. I want to let them find a girl that’s excited to be with them. They deserve that. And I do too.

      Like

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