Some days I like to believe that I am not a stubborn man. That in and of itself is me being stubborn. Over many years and trials, I have learned to bend. Recently though I’ve come to discover that while I yield on the surface, behind the scenes there were some machinations I held on to so tightly and so guarded that on the surface all it took to hide was a smile.
God knows how to get through to me, to chip away at the walls I have spent half my life building. When I get a head of steam in me He is the only one who can get me to change course before I run myself off the proverbial cliff. The thing is, for as logical as I can be at times, I am astonishingly good at missing the obvious. I plan things out, self-assured.
“Der Mensch Tracht, Un Gott Lacht.”
Back when I pulled the trigger on moving to Georgia, I had a plan. I was still living in the home I bought before I got divorced 10 years prior and had it on the market. The idea of renting again after owning for so long seemed illogical. My selling agent hooked me up with some buyer agents down in Georgia and over the course of two months I ran these men ragged.
I looked at 30 homes over the course of two months. Two of them I put offers on and travelled down to Georgia to be there for the inspection. The first was a renovated bungalow in Marietta, on the surface it looked fantastic. Underneath it was a mess. I also did not like how congested the town was, so I backed out. Then a house in Flowery Branch. It was a dump.
As I toured it with the realtor and spotted all the problems the inspector had found and saw them firsthand, in my mind I was telling myself “I could fix this.” In reality, I would have spent a small fortune to buy that place and more to fix it up. It became clear after I slid down the hill behind the house and fell flat on my hind end. Nope, not happening.
Now throughout the process, a small voice in my head said “maybe you should rent.” The buyer agent said “maybe you should airbnb until you find something.” My Mom said “Why do you want to buy? Maybe rent.” More friends than I could count all said the exact same thing to me. “Nope, I’ve got a plan” I said. A plan that God gloriously laughed at.
So I’m down to the wire. I find one last house that is perfect. It checks every single box. I put in an offer, well over asking and wait. I got beat by a few grand. So after 30 homes, two months, and countless hours of stress and planning, I called a different realtor about a rental. Within 1 day of making that decision, I found the house I am in today.
Curiously enough, that last house I tried to buy is one street over. It’s also the exact same floorplan as my rental. The very moment I did what God wanted me to do all along, every single detail fell in to place, praise God. Now it is my firm belief (as this was only ever an idea, not a plan) that God sent me here for a reason. Until the other day, I had no clue what it was.
Back home, I never really got lonely as I had family and friends in my day-to-day life, but most of the time I kept to myself. After one or two brief ventures into dating, I’d convinced myself that I lost all interest. I was tired of getting hurt and hurting others as no matter the situation I found my heart simply was not in it anymore. I was going to die alone, and it was fine by me.
Well, here’s the thing. My plan was to remain alone. I found comfort in my solitude and the apathy towards relationships that it depended on. I planned, and God laughed. When I was saved back in 2019, He knew what I had to do (and would not do on my own). The decade long draw south had come to a climax when I saw a job posting for my company down in Georgia.
God knew that where I was I would not break out of my shell. Eventually the loneliness crept in and I knew I was on the wrong path, so I prayed. I prayed for God to end my solitude. I prayed for God to bring the woman I was meant to be with into my life. After years of picking the wrong ones, and running from the right ones, I was very set in my ways.
Truth be told, I was praying for the wrong thing.
I’ve met some good people here, but also held on fiercely to my long-term plan of not dating, not seeking, just taking care of myself. Well, that loneliness kicked in again. Only where back home I considered myself isolated (I really wasn’t) down here in Georgia I am undeniably isolated. When given the opportunity to meet and bond with people, I run.
So, I started praying again for God to end my solitude. That’s when James 4 crept in. That entire chapter convicts me more and more every time I read it… So I called my mom. After I admitted how I really felt, James 4:2-3 absolutely glowed like a neon sign to me. I had been asking God for something, but I wasn’t asking for the right thing.
Where do [a]wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and [b]war. [c]Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 [d]Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?James 4:1-5
As we spoke, whether she realized it or not, my mom was speaking scripture to me. She was speaking the book of James that had crept into my brain a week prior as I dwelled on my situation. The first time I re-read it after that call, it was like a bomb went off. The illusion I had so articulately designed and lived in for over 10 years was shed in moments.
I am the reason why I am alone.
I held on to the fear of being hurt again so tightly that it became woven into my very DNA. It was so deep within me that when the pain faded and the scars healed, I didn’t realize that it was all still very much there. Every decision, every interaction was colored by my pain and shielded in a heavy and unshakable cloak of apathy that I almost took as a point of pride.
I do not deny for a moment that the Lord has given me His peace beyond all understanding – but I allowed that peace I felt to justify not actually living my life to the full. In the same breath I both thanked and denied God. Life is meant to be shared. Well, that’s going to change. I’m going to pray the right way. I’m not going to plan, but I have faith.
Lord, I pray to you now that you will remove my apathy from me, that you will soften my heart and lift away the pain I have clung so dearly to for far too long. Open my eyes, Lord, I pray you will make my path straight and help me to stay out of my own way as I follow you. In Jesus name I pray, amen.