On New Years Eve, as any Swiftie would do, I sat with my eyes glued to the television in wait for the Out of the Woods music video. It’s one of my absolute favorite songs on 1989, and I pictured kaleidoscopic colors, frantic car rides, and vignettes of special moments between new lovers in that delicate phase where everything means the world and it can be snatched away so quickly. But what Ms. Swift gave us was one woman’s journey: her battles, insecurities, until finally she emerges victorious and finds herself fierce at the end and beginning of it all. Out of the Woods confirmed all that had already been germinating inside of me regarding what my growth this year would be about: “...in the end, she found herself, and that was everything” .
To get a little candid for a moment: All of my life I’ve dreamt of a grand, epic in scale romance fit to be filmed or chronicled in sturdy, elaborate hard cover binding. I was that girl planning her wedding from the time she discovered such an event existed. By God’s Grace, I’ve never experienced anything that has really deterred me from hoping and having faith that such a romance exists. Never experienced any heartbreaks. But I’ve also never been in a relationship, and at thirty what this does is make you wonder if something really is wrong with you, despite all of the encouragement I receive from my loved ones.
Deep down, Jesus has given me such a deep assurance that when the time is right, He has a beautiful romance in store. That I can trust and rest in His plans. But all of those romantic dreams aside, at thirty I can look back over my life and say that I have jumped the gun a little. I spent loads of time reading books and devotionals about singleness, and entrusting this part of my life to God, on having a Godly marriage, and the attributes of being a wife. However, in all of my planning, I forgot to cultivate a love for myself and my relationship with God.
Even when I think about the concept of finding yourself, it feels like a step that you complete at some point in your twenties before moving on to the next. But I’m learning in my unconventional life that finding yourself is a lifetime course. It never ends. Even having a successful relationship requires that you, at very least, know and love yourself; Because insecurities have a way of fouling up even the best of intentions, and in this case someone else's' heart will be in your care. It’s important for you to stand on your own two feet, embrace your victories, understand and have the courage to improve on your weaknesses, and know that at the end of the day, whether you have someone in your life or not, it’s you and God.
It’s important that at the end of the day, you aren’t daunted at the possibility of just you and God. Because it isn’t just you and God, as if you and God are mundanities that you settle for. You and God will get you through your ecstatic and beautiful growing pains. In the film Joy, a young, imaginative Joy holds up her paper power and tells her sister that the heroine of her story doesn’t need a prince because she has a special power deep inside to give to the world. As much as self discovery seems self indulgent, this power that God has placed inside you to change the world hinges on your confidence in Him, and your deep knowledge that He has created a masterpiece in you capable of moving the world.
And so this year, I’ll crown myself in flowers, get dressed up, and take myself out on Valentine’s Day, because I’m a romantic at heart. I may even watch a few of my romantic favorites because what’s Valentine’s Day without Rochester, huh? But unlike any other year, I’ll love on my Lord with gratitude for loving me, and preparing me for whatever may come. I’ll embrace myself for growing so beautifully. And I’ll love on my sisters and brothers out there who need just a little more encouragement to pat themselves on the back at the end of the day.