I want you to know you’re not alone. I’ve felt that way too.
It’s not a bad desire, to be held, to be safe, to be weak and vulnerable and to find rest in the arms of a strong man. It’s a wonderful thing, and as a married woman, I can tell you it is amazing when that man is the man of your dreams, your best friend, and your faithful husband.
But it was not always that way.
In the Spring Semester of 2007, I found myself right where you are:
So, I can’t write poetry. Oh, well. I hope you don’t mind…whoever you are. Yeah, how lame is that. I’m writing this letter, and I don’t know to whom I’m addressing it. Oh, well. God knows my heart.
I could write this letter with a few faces to take up the empty place in my mind when I look at you, but I don’t want to. I think I’d rather leave it blank…or would I? No, I guess I don’t like the blankness – that’s one reason I write, I guess – but those faces I see don’t help me with this letter, don’t clear up any foggy thoughts, don’t answer any questions.
It happens a lot when I’m tired, when I sit with one of those faces, when I don’t want to be alone any more. I see a shoulder, a strong arm, and wish that I could lay my head upon it or have it wrap itself around me…and hold me.
Don’t worry; I’m not trying to be graphic. I’m not imagining something bad or even something romantic. I’m just longing to be held. Held. Not in a romantic way. Just held. I see strong shoulders and wish I could reach over and give them a hearty massage and leave my hands there and rest my head between the shoulder blades. I wish, but I do not.
My own shoulders are tight and my own back in need of a massage….but no one is here to rub them with strong hands and a powerful touch. A strong chest… on which to rest my head and allow strong arms to envelop me. I close my eyes at the thought and open them again to reality.
Am I in love with a man, in search of a brother, or infatuated with an idea? My own heart doesn’t always know.
As to the first, I can’t tell. What is love ..in that sense? I hardly know, hardly know if I, were I in love, if I would even know, if someone in my …not state of mind, but level of maturity (or lack thereof) could handle love at this point in my life. Do I understand real love enough to offer it another person lock, stock, and barrel? I feel like God is preparing me for something with all this soul-searching questioning, but I don’t allow my heart to get excited. All in God’s time.
Perhaps it is merely the second. Merely. As if that were not enough to make me long to be in the arms of men….not men, but a man. Perhaps, in fact I know this to be true, it is because of my brother and who he was, and who we were.
An idea? Is it possible? I think so. But…even greater than that is the probability that my feelings are the God-given desire to be with a man I love in a relationship that is, honestly, a lot like what I had with my brother (as much as that sounds weird) and is just as God intended it to be.
I’m tired, and my brain is shutting down my eyes and my fingers, so I have to end here. My mind is still awake, though, so I guess I might be up for a little while yet. A little while yet. Waiting. I think I have grown impatient, for I hate the thought of anticipation and the thought of waiting for much longer.
Contentment…dang it. It’s something I need to learn, thought I’d learned, and have definitely dealt with before.
I’m off. Thanks for listening….whoever you are.
That was me. That was my heart, and I know that is your heart today. How do you desire both the love of a man and the contentment in Christ at the same time?
Although I don’t have a ton of marriage experience, after 2+ years of marriage, I’ve learned a few things about of the arms of a man. It’s a wonderful thing to desire, and it’s an even more wonderful thing when those desires are met. However, just like the age-old saying that “If you’re not satisfied without a man, you’ll never be satisfied by a man”, the love of a man is just that: the love of a man.
I have to let you in on a secret. My husband, although I love him to death, is human and as such, has failed me numerous times.
A man is going to let you down.
A man is going to hurt you.
A man is going to fail you.
Don’t get wrong; he’s a wonderful husband. However, he’s only human, wrestling with his own sinful nature, with his own tendencies, with his own selfishness. How can I expect from him perfection and the satisfaction of desires that are not his to fulfill? He’s not supposed to be your all in all. He’s not supposed to be the one that you completely depend on for life and hope and peace.
You know what I’m about to say.
Christ has to be the center of all your desires. He has to be the Hope in which you rest, the Arms in which you find peace and security, the Love in which you find your identity.
I want you to think about all those relationships/marriages you know that are barely holding on. You know them… the marriages that are barely successful, the relationships where you have to stop and wonder, “How in the world did you ever get together?” Look at the center of those lives. Is Christ there?
I dare to make the statement that none of those broken relationships find both parties seeking the Lord wholeheartedly. One side might be, but the other has expectations for the partner that are unrealistic, hopes for desires fulfilled that are selfish in nature, and/or a mentality that relationships are about being served and not about serving.
You say, “I know all this! Why can’t I live this way?” Know this. I don’t believe the desires to be held and to be loved and to love and be a wife and mother are a bad thing. In fact, those are God-given desires!
However, just like a parent who withholds dessert until after the nutritious food is eaten, God withholds distractions in a man and an earthly relationship while we figure out Who He is in relation to our needs and Who We are in relation to His Glory. You’ll be weaker and less effective for His kingdom if you eat dessert first and don’t find real joy, hope, peace, and satisfaction in the soul-enriching Truth of Who He is.
So, remember that, my friend, the next time you find yourself longing for the arms of a man. Remember that you could get that, those physical arms and that strong chest, but unless Christ is first and foremost your All in All, you will never truly be satisfied.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33