Feature Friday will feature blog posts / stories from DCDistrictDiva.com readers who are either currently participating in the 6-Months-No-Dating Pledge or have done so in the past and want to share their stories. Here is the first submission from a reader, “Tinker,” titled “Jesus Freak.”
I’m not sure what qualifies someone as a best friend, but he allowed me to see the vulnerability of a man and his faith in action. Contrary to the feelings that ensued, we weren’t in a relationship and never dated. If he were to be discussed at a weekly brunch of the ladies of Sex and the City, I’m sure Miranda would label him the “Jesus Freak”. Reading the Word and bridging the gap between him and God were “Jesus Freak’s” priorities. I knew it when he held my hand and prayed when he couldn’t find the answers to my questions. God created this dynamic man with such self-discipline and courage to publically lean into him, as all others looked for the fillers of life; Careers, accolades, short-term relationships and new ways to floss on Facebook seemed to be the only language folks our age spoke. I saw great value in this young Christian’s friendship. We’d had a few uncomfortable conversations, but then again God encourages the pruning of vines to spur new growth (even if it is to grow apart). He challenged me as my discouraging disposition about myself led him to question whether I truly believed in something greater or whether I knew I was worthy. Buddhist Monk, Bodhidharma, said “All know the Way, but few actually walk it”. Little did I know this “friendship” would teach me a thing or two about walking.
A year and a half after our friendship began, the phone calls and plans to meet up began to wane. I wasn’t sure if it was the fact that I questioned my faith or my lack of “walking” in it that prompted the changes. Nonetheless, while I awkwardly sat on the couch in the lobby of my sorority sister’s apartment, I finally had to face “the conversation.” I slanted my body to give the appearance that I could actually make eye contact with him. My father was ill, nothing with work seemed quite right and dreaded the thought of losing someone else. He uttered, “I bet you’re wondering why things are different.” I hastily replied with a forced grin, “No, whatever it is, I respect your space, you don’t owe me an explanation.” After all, we were just “friends.” But deep down inside, I wanted to know, I was dying to know.
When I went home that day, I sat in my bedroom, head bowed because I could barely look up to address the One I had never truly trusted. In a panic, I threw myself into finding the right job, meeting with the right people and finding all the right distractions. I lived the life mentioned in Ecclesiastes 2:10,11: “I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.” God blocked every one of those efforts. He reminded me daily that my pain should not go ignored. I genuinely did not know the One I so blindly made requests to as I closed my eyes to sleep. I had gone on yoga retreats, sailed across the Pacific, co-piloted a plane, and rock climbed to get in tune with myself. Yet I still didn’t know the root of my being. With that realization, I decided to commit my full self to being HIS child, learning HIS ways, and reading HIS word. As I read the Bible, the things I had chased before seemed more and more temporary — conversations vapid, and the people one-dimensional. I was no longer interested in the quick fix, only to find myself on the floor of a bathroom praying to a porcelain alter when the world made me anxious. I had found something more.
As time went on, I was baptized, and really began to study the Bible – I began to crawl. I didn’t know what to expect as I asked questions and His silence became deafening during prayer. If I wasn’t praying, reading or listening it was easy to get distracted by relationships, so I gave up dating, vowed to use my singleness to get closer to God, and I no longer used the King James hotel Bible I had stolen years ago. I upgraded to the NIV ( I could finally read with comprehension!).
In retrospect, the day I surrendered my life to Christ and the months that followed were painful; yet that transitional period in my life serves as a constant reminder that the only certainties in life are the promises of our Creator. He is the only friendship, or family member who will not falter or grow faint. It’s true: the chisel that God uses to carve us in his image and bring us closer to him often demands our full attention and sacrifice of the familiar. I still haven’t dared to brave the world of dating, or pursue “friendships” that blur the lines of emotional intimacy. One thing I do know for sure now as a single woman is that with God, who He is, is enough. The more love, wisdom and grace I receive from God, the more I am convinced my cup shall runneth over one day with enough to share with someone.
“Jesus Freak’s” heart for God and relationship with Christ helped me see the value in having one of my own. I pray his parents know how grateful I am for the way they reared this young man. I dedicate this to all of those “Jesus Freaks”, who challenge where the focus of their friends fall, who refuse to settle for temporary satisfaction and stand tall as the world labels them for their love.