Life is a journey, full of twists and turns. Sometimes, we find ourselves stuck. Sometimes, we find ourselves lost. And sometimes, we find ourselves wondering if we are going the right way. It reminds me of a maze. A maze that consists of many doors that lead us to various places.
We encounter other people in this maze. Some who are walking with us in our journey, if even for a short while, and then go off in a different direction. We encounter others who are standing in front of doorways, beckoning us to enter. Beckoning us to enter with promises. It could be a doorway that promises love and security for the rejected and brokenhearted. A doorway that promises wealth for the poor. A doorway that promises fame for the unpopular. A doorway that promises vengeance for the angry. A doorway that promises beauty for those who feel ugly. Doorways that beckon upon the desires of our hearts. Doorways that once we enter, lead us down a path that at first, seems glamorous. But as you continue to walk through, you end up discovering that it was really a facade and you find yourself either trapped, or taking another path that leads you further away from where you were meant to go.
Some time ago, I met someone online. We really clicked after I told this person about myself and my beliefs and he seemed to share similar beliefs, too. As I continued to speak with this person, they really spoke to the areas within my heart that I yearned for. Things such as love and family. He offered promises to love and care for me and my son. He insisted that I was his wife sent by God.
The naïve me from even a few years ago would have taken those words and ran with it. But having experienced the disillusionment of false hopes kept me guarded. The Word of God and His wisdom also guarded me as I prayed and asked the Lord about it. There is a Bible verse that I really love, as it has been teaching me to be cautious.
Proverbs 14:15 (Amplified Bible), "The naive or inexperienced person [is easily misled and] believes every word he hears, But the prudent man [is discreet and astute and] considers well where he is going."
I had begun to develop the habit of seeking the Lord pertaining to my circumstances; to lead me and guide me and I was granted discernment. That discernment protected me, allowing me to maintain the boundaries I was beginning to learn to establish for myself.
I decided to meet this person face to face. What happened was a very uncomfortable situation for myself. He was moving too quickly for my comfort. He wanted to hold my hand constantly and was overly affectionate. I had spoken to him previously about taking things slowly and taking the time for us to get to know each other, that I was not ready for anything serious quite yet, but that I was willing to give it a try.
However, meeting him in person made me realize that he was overstepping those boundaries I placed for myself. I honestly should not have met him, having picked up on the red flags prior through our phone conversations. After I met with him, he was firm in the belief that we were meant to be together. It was a false illusion that he created in his mind, which I understand having been through that myself. I had to be completely honest with him because I did not want to lead him further into those false hopes. He was a person who desperately wanted to be loved, offering the promises of love so that he would be loved in return. But I could not give him that because I did not have it within me to give. I informed him of this and told him that I did not want a relationship, just friendship. He seemed to take it well, at first. But then, as the reality of those false hopes came crashing drown, he became upset and blamed me for hurting him. Then the messages would revert back to him begging me not to leave him. This continued for a while, yet I had to remain firm and let him know that I was willing to be his friend. He apologized and agreed.
We continued to speak, keeping it strictly on a friendship level. He had asked for us to do Bible studies together. Then, he began to slide in words of endearment such as calling me, "babe." He would also subliminally make remarks with these attempts to degrade me as a woman such as Eve being the woman who caused Adam to sin. I found myself becoming offended by many of his remarks that I called him out on. He would apologize and then become respectful again. And I noticed it was becoming a cycle where he would slide in a subliminal insult towards me because he was holding on to a grudge towards me for not wanting to be with him.
He would lavish praise on me and become upset with me if I did not do the same. Yet, that was not who I was and I realized I had to remain true to who I was becoming, and not conform to what someone else wanted me to be. Finally, I had had enough and said that I could not continue doing these studies with him or speak with him. He said that I was mean to him and all he did was offer me encouragement and comfort. Continuing this friendship would be toxic, because I found myself becoming angry towards him, so I had to close that door. If I continued on, I would have found myself stuck in another abusive cycle full of manipulation. I wished him the best and prayed for him, that he would know God and grow in a relationship with the Lord.
I accepted this experience as a lesson to be learned. A lesson that allowed me to apply what I have been taught from my past experiences. A lesson that taught me the importance of maintaining boundaries. Maintaining boundaries allows us to establish limits on what we are willing to allow. I have always had a difficult time saying "no" to people, which has led me towards feelings of resentment and bitterness. Maintaining boundaries will protect our hearts and sanity from those who seek to overstep those lines we establish. It also keeps us safe from following those who seek to mislead us, knowingly or unknowingly.
With this person, I had to protect myself from allowing him to project his desires onto me so that he would not cause me to believe that we were meant to be together when we were not suited for each other at all. I also had to protect myself from the blame shifting and gaslighting because he had a habit of constantly saying he was the bad guy, he always messed up, as an attempt to make me feel guilty.
In this journey called life, where we do not know where tomorrow may lead us, I believe it is so important that we stay connected to the Lord. He knows our past and He sees our present and our future. He sees our journey and where a door may lead us to. When we trust Him to guide us, He will lead us in the right direction.
Psalms 139:5 TpT "You've gone into my future to prepare the way, and in kindness you follow behind me to spare me from the harm of my past."
He has a higher perspective than we do. In other words, He has an aerial view of the maze and sees where everything leads to.
Looking at it this way helps me to understand the importance of allowing Him to lead me. Our perspective is limited, but His is unlimited and He can be trusted to keep us safe even when it doesn't make sense. Even when the desires of our heart want to lead us another way. Those desires can be deceitful, leading us through a path that can cause us more pain and heartache. I have a story for that, too, which I will share in another post.
He will open the right doors and close the wrong ones as we stay in communion with Him. As we pray about everything, trusting Him to direct us, He will make our path straight and smooth.
Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."