Because I said so
Friday, August 31, 2012
“And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light (Gen 1:3). Has that phrase ever struck you as odd? It has me. Is God some kind of magician? Abracadabra, poof, light? Did he call the light, as one calls an errant dog out in the yard? “Light, you had better come here or else”? I sometimes imagine God as a high roller at some casino, or a major player in some big business; he has to but say the word, snap his fingers and his every command is granted.
Of course, I really have no idea how God works, but I’ve studied humans for a while, and I’ve realized that sometimes we are very different from Him. I’m sure you’ve never experienced it: someone says they’ll do something, and then they don’t. I hear husbands are notorious for this. Or is it wives who just have unreasonable time frames?
There’s nothing that earns trust and confidence quite like keeping your word to someone. Or rather, there’s almost nothing like it. The only better way I know for improving one’s self-confidence is to keep one’s commitments to one’s self.
As I’m finding out this week, however, that can be a really tall order. Sometimes our values aren’t popular with others. Even worse, sometimes our values aren’t popular with ourselves!
Such is the case with me. I’ve started dating. (It’s OK. I’m 31 now, and my dad finally gave me permission… I am, of course, kidding.) But in today’s world, I have what many would consider a shocking revelation that I need to bring up to potential suitors, preferably sooner rather than later: I want to wait for marriage before I engage in physical intimacy.
Some of you may understand this. Others of you probably think I’m from a different planet. (I know if I had met my current self just 7 or 8 short years ago, I would have looked at me as if I had 6 heads.) But time and experience tend to change people, if they’re smart. And I don’t like to keep making the same mistakes over and over again.
I won’t get into why I believe what I believe, but I’ve got my many, many reasons. And it’s a decision I’m sticking to. But it’s a hard one. I’m already the type of girl that has a hard time flirting with guys. It’s not like I’m beating them off with a stick. But to top it off, then I have to drop a bombshell in the form of the purity talk on them. There are a lot of 30-something guys in Edmonton who would run in the other direction immediately.
And that’s exactly the reaction I expect. After all, I am an expert in conjuring up the ‘Worst Case Scenario’. Oh, yeah, I can imagine disastrous outcomes with the best of them. I have a talent that way. But it isn’t always a bad thing.
In fact, imagining and accepting the worst-case scenario has been a very helpful tool to me. It’s helped me to be clear about what I am willing to risk, and what I’m not willing to risk. So I look at suitor A, and I think to myself, “How do I feel if this guy goes fleeing in the other direction?” It’s not great. But then I think to myself “How do I feel if I compromise, and give in to the pressure of doing something I don’t believe in?” And then, my choice is much more obvious. No guy is worth that kind of compromise. And no relationship should start out that way.
But too often, we’re duped into thinking that it’s ok to give in. It’s ok to compromise our promises to ourselves. Who are we to expect a higher standard for ourselves? Who are we to think that we deserve better? But if we don’t hold ourselves higher, then who will? What scares me most is that if I don’t continue to strive for higher ideals, I know I will surely achieve the lowly ones.
Let’s go back now to that friend who never does what they say they’ll do. How do you feel about that person? Do you trust them? Do you ask them to do important things? Do you even like them? Whether you realize it or not, you likely feel some of the same things about yourself when you compromise your ideals.
There is power in keeping your word. After I had ‘the chat,’ I felt awesome – and not just because this guy didn’t run the other way. I felt powerful and honourable. I felt like it didn’t matter at all what his reaction would be; I had kept my word to myself and that was all that mattered.
I realized that believing in something is the easy part. Sticking by that belief is the real trick. That’s where the real work starts, but also the real rewards.
PS. Did you know I'm doing a crazy thing? I'm currently training for a full marathon in Montreal, and am raising $10,000.00 for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society.
Wanna do a crazy thing with me? Please sponsor me. I'll run my heart out for you!
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