when loves makes you terrified

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I never thought I would fall in love.

I dreamed about it a lot. In junior high this looked like me and Orlando Bloom driving romantically into the sunset, but that’s what I thought love was at the time.

I would put myself into the role of my favorite heroine and pretend to be Buttercup ending up with a (slightly battered) Wesley or Anne of Green Gables finally getting her Gilbert.

I could picture a beautiful wedding, a perfect honeymoon, and a dreamy life together with prince charming.

But in the back of my mind, I knew it wouldn’t happen. My closest friends knew that my ultimate goal was to be a sixty-year-old lady surrounded by a big garden and lots and lots of cats. I thought maybe, maybe, I’d find my true love when I was old and wrinkled and we could have a few good years together before being tragically separated by death, but didn’t have high hopes.

You can imagine my surprise when I fell in love at the age of nineteen and almost immediately knew that this guy was The One! Almost four years later and I still can’t believe that I was given this man at such a young age. I have friends of various ages who are single- some happy with it, other’s not so much. I imagined myself growing old alone and am constantly overwhelmed by having this amazing man and best friend by my side.

But, in all those years of dreaming and imagining the most lovely of romances, I didn’t anticipate a few things.

The movies I watched growing up never showed the the almost-heart-bursting beams that enter your life when you fall in love. I don’t have children yet and can only imagine what it feels like to look at your own baby and feel your heart thumping with love and pride. However, I now know what it’s like to look at the face of my love and feel adrenaline burst through my body as I count the almost-invisible freckles on his nose and the various sports-related scars on his knees. I look down at our clasped hands and can’t believe that HE is holding MY hand, knuckles overlapping, palms squeezed together.

On  the most regular of days, in between oatmeal and brushing teeth, I get little butterflies in my stomach when I think of his handsome face and laughing eyes that light up when I’m being silly. No novel or TV show prepared me for the way I would feel warm inside, flooded by love, by this one person.

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Hand in hand with the giggles and goosebumps, along came a this teeny little fear that quickly grew into a small giant that likes to whisper its grumblings into my ear. With so much love in my heart for this man, what happens if I lose him?

A simple car accident, being in the wrong place at the right time, a painful disease, one of life’s cruel jokes… In less than a second, we could lose all that we have. When that thought comes into my mind (thank you, small giant) I become frozen. Why should I love if it could all go away? Why be vulnerable and open, sharing the deepest, darkest parts of my soul, if this might end sooner rather than later? 

While my trust in Tyler is complete and whole, we don’t know what the world will throw at us. My love and admiration for this man can bring me to tears as I imagine the worst. Wanting to live brave and bold, traveling, following our passions, truly living, can also bring terror and fear. 

I’m so in awe of this beautiful man that God has entrusted into my care that I’m sometimes at a loss of words, wishing there were words bigger and better than “love” or “boyfriend” or “future husband.” I can’t find any words that truly explain how I feel about him or how we feel about each other and how amazed we are that we are together.

Life can be so beautiful and yet so delicate. You can live big and also lose those you love. It is easy (so easy!) to let fear dictate how I react and how I love. But when I look at this man in my life and know that God has him with me for wonderful reasons, then I know that I am meant to love him without holding back, without letting terror weave its tentacles around my heart.

At the end of the day, doesn’t the fact that we can’t guarantee those we love will always be around us make that love greater? Love is not meant to be safe or calm. Love is a force to be reckoned with that can tear down walls and rebuild passion.

Have you experienced these feelings? Do you love someone so much that when you think of the possibility of losing them that you find you suddenly can’t breathe? I’d love to know how you move forward in those moments!

xoxo, Reeve

photos via unsplash
3 Comments
  • Stephanie

    Reply

    I love your words Reeve 🙂 I identify with everything you said. I often think about how we’re not guaranteed tomorrow, and that used to be just a phrase people said until I began life with Phillip. Now that phrase brings instant fear. It shouldn’t, because God is in control and we’re called to trust Him and worry not, and yet at the end of the day, that fear still lingers.
    As I try to think about where that fear is coming from I’m realizing there are many different aspects of fearing the loss of someone in your life. There’s the fear of the pain, grief, and hardship that would follow. There’s the fear of being alone, of that person being gone, not having them as a companion, support, and person to love. And there’s the fear that all you gave them in love would die with them, which I think is the fear of the loss of self. Who would I be if I didn’t have them?
    And I’m sure there are more aspects, these are just what came to mind, and they seem to me important distinctions to make, because they reveal not only one’s heart posture in love but also how to move forward with each type of fear.
    For myself, when fear strikes, which I do believe is often an attack from the enemy, I try to consciously choose how I will respond before giving into the spiral of depression that fear can quickly lead to. And identifying and addressing the different origins of fear greatly helps.
    With the fear of pain, it’s good to remember that grief is natural and necessary to process emotions and heal. I’ve recently learned better how to just be in God’s presence without trying to change where I’m at. There is rest and peace to be found when we realize He knows what we’re going through and He wants to be with us in it. He is not a quick fix God, He is the God of grace and patience and wholeness.
    With the fear of being alone, that too is valid because we’re made for community and to be in relationship with others. God hears that fear and wants to remind us that He will never leave us and will always provide what we need. It’s only in times when He is all we have that we realize He is all we need. This doesn’t make loss easier, but it is a solid foundation to rest upon until we have the strength to love again.
    And with the fear of loss of self, I cannot affirm that this is ok. This is an indicator that there is work to be done on one’s identity in Christ. Fortunately God is the one who does the work, we just have to let Him wash us with our new identity as His child, His heir, His beloved. Grief may make us feel less like ourselves, but who we are is secure in Christ, we need only to return to Him and believe it.

    All that to say, is that when I have found the strength to take my fears to God, He has gently and lovingly taken them from me, assuring me that it’s ok to feel them, He just doesn’t want me to live in them.

    There is a difference between knowing that love is not safe; that true love involves risk and not wanting that risk of loss to become a reality, and being controlled or burdened with the fear of loss. And I think it’s in that moment, between knowledge and giving into fear, that our faith is tested.
    We can also take comfort in knowing that He who first loved us has known the pain of loss greater than we could ever imagine. He has suffered before us, so that when we’re in those moments when we suddenly cannot breathe, we can receive life and hope again from He who knows, and loves without holding back anyway. He does it every day for me, so I can do it every day for the one He has given me 🙂

    • Reeve

      THANK YOU for your thoughts, Stephanie! Your words carry so much truth to them – I especially love the line “He has gently and lovingly taken them from me, assuring me that it’s ok to feel them, He just doesn’t want me to live in them.” I love and appreciate your openness sharing your struggles and fears, as well as the peace and comfort you have received in being able to lay those fears down at the foot of the cross and knowing that Jesus sees all our fears and worries and meets us in the midst of them. Incredibly grateful for you today, friend! xoxo

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