Last night Steve shared something with me that popped up on his news feed on facebook. Someone shared “Every woman deserves a man who isn’t afraid to tell others you’re his girlfriend and that he loves you.” It made me quite sad to think her standard of being treated well is the bare minimum of what I would consider acceptable.
My standards are more like my cover page on facebook
“Make her your everything in front of everyone every time.”
But they were not always..
I once had beliefs like the woman who posted on facebook because I incrementally, almost inperceptably lowered my standards. I think we tend to lower our standards for various reasons. We might excuse the person because he says he is doing the best he can and that alone makes things like inconsideration, disrespect, and callousness somehow acceptable. Perhaps we just want to keep the peace and not be so lonely. Deep down, I think most of us would admit a different reason – that we believe we somehow don’t deserve any better.
But what if his best is not his best but rather a lazy excuse to not put in any effort beyond what is convenient to him? What if that doesn’t match my worth? Or what if what I perceive my worth to be doesn’t match God’s? What if those lies spoken into and over me that I accepted as truths were more a reflection of the person spewing them and absolutely no part of it was ever meant to enter my belief system about myself as truths?
What if we really are lovable? What if we are worthy? What if we deserve so much better?
We compromise in places we never should. We make excuses for their behavior. We blame ourselves. We think our expectations are unreasonable. We settle. And then we settle some more.
Here is what happens though when we wait for God’s best…
Last year this time I was praying. I didn’t want to enter a relationship without His approval. I had done it my whole life and each time the results were disastrous. I asked God “Where should my heart go?” Clear as day I heard God respond, “To me. Just wait.”
I knew it was God because it was not the answer I wanted to hear. Out of loving obedience, I waited. I didn’t know for whom I was waiting or how long it would be but knew if God had someone else in mind, that was who I wanted. I have been through enough to know, with all certainty, His plan for my life was the life I want.
So I began to pray for this no named man. I prayed for his health. I prayed he was drawing closer to God. I prayed he would find the most beautiful part of me to be my love for Him. I prayed I would recognize him when he came. I prayed for patience knowing God’s time-line almost always feels a little slow to me.
Then in July Steven Easton showed up as a friend suggestion on Facebook. I had met Steve 13 years before. He was one of our favorite waiters in a restaurant my oldest child and I went to every week for five years. We had birthday parties there and almost every celebratory occasion. He knew my husband and that he died. He knew I had a child with special needs. We would run into each other around town over the years and every single time we would stop, exchange a hug, and catch up. He witnessed my life.
I knew when he broke his ankle. I knew when he got custody of his son. I attended his wedding. I knew when she left and I prayed for his heart the moment I found out. I had witnessed his life.
I sent him a friend request with no romantic intention whatsoever. He was a friend but I also knew I was a decade older than him. He immediately sent me a little video clip of himself saying hi and telling me he would love to catch up.
We began chatting and for a while I was still unaware this man had any intention other than catching up with an old friend. Then the question came in one of chats. “Soooooo, are you single?”
A couple of weeks later we were sitting on my back porch swing looking up at the stars. I prayed again. I got bold. I asked God for a very specific sign. I asked Him for a shooting star if Steve was the one He sent for me. The second I finished my request, a shooting star filled the sky and brilliantly traversed the night sky. Then a second shooting star appeared. My eyes welled with tears of gratitude to a God who would hear me and leave no room for doubt in His answer.
We have been inseparable since. Instead of lowering my standards though he raised every single one to the point I now wonder how I went my entire life settling so drastically.
Just as we lower our standards for the wrong person, I believe with the right person our standards are elevated. We are loved enough for the effort to occur. Our worth is acknowledged.
We are seen.
If you ask Steve about it chances are he would say “I just love her. You don’t congratulate a fish for swimming.” But when you’ve lived your whole life in an ocean with those poisonous fish who just lie in the sand and gobble up whatever happens to cross its path, you celebrate the heck out of a fish who is vibrant and swimming beautifully with the sole purpose of feeding others.