After writing about my obsession with running this past week, I sat back and thought about all the different types of addictions I had in my short lifetime. Let me tell you. Man, the list was LOOONG. A few highlights here:
- Long-distance running (as noted in my previous post), but really any endurance sport became obsessive. Maybe it’s the nature of the beast, since one has to train hours on end to prepare for a race.
- Hot yoga, specifically Bikram yoga (2 classes a days, everyday, anyone?!) because there was something very therapeutic about sweating out all of one’s toxins for 90 minutes. And in my crazed brain, if one class made me feel tremendous, wouldn’t two classes make me feel beyond awesome?!
- Cleaning the house (my fingerprints are literally unrecognizable because I used so many darn Clorox cleaning wipes), which entailed Swiftering daily, vacuuming daily, disinfecting toilets daily…you get the picture. EVERYTHING daily.
- Preparing lesson plans and grading papers in advance. like weeks in advance if applicable. This may actually not be so negative, since a persevering work ethic at school allowed me more time to do things at home that were NOT English teaching related, yet I ended up causing myself unnecessary mental anguish if the unit plan was not PERFECTLY SO by a certain arbitrary deadline.
- And finally…finding true love.
Huh? Wanting to find true love could be considered an addiction?! Number five is one that I didn’t really think about as an obsession until just this past week. What brought it up? Well, the fact that one of my best friends since high school got engaged. Yes, she found the man of her dreams and just this past week he “SURPRISE!” proposed to her. She messaged me the great news the other day while the kids and I were eating sushi, and as soon as I read her text I wanted to jump out of my chair, leap in the air and shriek, “YAYYYYY!!!!” But instead I calmly went back to eating my salmon nigiri, and as soon as we were out of the restaurant, I called my friend to get the inside scoop on the proposal.
Everyone wants romance, love, and passion–maybe it’s because having that ONE person to share a future with validates something in a girl’s (or guy’s) brain that she (or he) is worthwhile because, hey, someone else is choosing to spend the rest of his/her life with that individual. For me, I always dreamed of what my significant other would be like and when I’d find him, because I needed to be reassured that someone else (besides my parents) loved me.
Truth was, back in my high school and young adult years, I didn’t really know if I loved myself. That is not a lie. I truly was not sure WHO I was, and so how could I be certain that I could love the person God created me to be? Sure, I was a whiz at writing and could whip up an English essay in an hour flat, but I wasn’t sold on the fact that this character trait was “good.” People said I was patient, sweet, and fun to be around, but what did that really mean? Deep inside I secretly thought I wasn’t that “cool”–I didn’t have a hilarious sense of humor, nor was I able to wow friends or acquiantences with my off-the-charts intellect. I just kind of “was.” What made me special? What person would choose to love a gal like me with no outstanding qualities?
I tried remaking myself to being the girl that all the guys liked. In high school, that meant I should look “surfer-like”, aka have highlighted hair, wear short denim shorts to show off long tanned legs, and have no blemishes whatsoever on my face. Uh, that was impossible since I’m only a five feet-something, Japanese female with oily skin. In college, being the girl that guys liked was very similar to what was presented in high school–but now, there was the added component of being able to go out until all hours and drink the night away. No bueno. I didn’t mind nursing a beer or two, but seriously, staying up to 2am (or 3am or 4am) sucking down Bud Light would only make me bloated and zombie-like the next day. Once I started working, then the ideal girl that guys liked shifted: Could she cook? Did she have a stable job? Did she make her hair nice and wear make-up out? No. Kind of. Heck no.
I was out of luck in the guy department. Don’t get me wrong–not all guys liked these characteristics in a mate. But the majority of boys I hung around did, and so I internalized those traits and attempted (to no avail) to implement them in my life. I highlighted my hair. I dieted and ran to keep my legs as slender as possible. I sipped my Bud Lights with the guys. I did everyhting I assumed a girl “should” do in order to find a man. But what did I find? Nada.
Once I hit my mid-twenties, I became very cynical. Sure, maybe there was a knight in shining armor to sweep me off my feet, but where was he? How would I find him? And then the thought came to me.
He was my knight.
He loved me before I was even born. He loved me when I was going through my awkward braces and glasses stage. He loved me when I sat in Chemistry with a blank stare on my face. He loved me when I missed notes during my oboe concerto. He loved me when I failed miserably and felt like I could do no right.
But Jesus also loved me when I received As on my English essays. He loved me when I walked across the stage at my high school graduation and was handed my diploma. He loved me when I was able to travel with the University of Hawaii Wind Ensemble and perform a solo during one of our national performances. He loved me when my face beamed with pride at what I was able to accomplish in my young adult life.
Jesus was the one that made me special, and He was the one who sacrificed His life so that I could live mine here on earth. Once I came to that realization, that no other guy regardless of how much he said he would care and love me, could ever compare to the One true God who chose to love me for all eternity. Similarly, since God created me in His image, how preposterous would it be for me to say that I wasn’t sure if I loved myself. Did I love Jesus? Yes! I sure did. So, if I loved (and still love) Jesus, and His Holy Spirit was in me, wouldn’t that mean that I was actually loving God since He was a part of me?
Oddly enough, as soon as I came to that revelation, I met my soon-to-be husband. It wasn’t love at first sight as I imagined it would be, and in fact, I thought he was cute but that his ears stuck out too much. But there was no anxiety around our meeting, no hemming and hawing if he was “the one”–because I knew my true love was already deep in my spirit.
Romance, love, passion. Those are things many people look for because they are signs of intimacy, and who doesn’t want to feel like she is included and belongs? But there is great joy, a great sense of peace, that the Holy Spirit brings when that individual accepts and loves who God created her to be, because then she can fully love herself and those around her.