I’m going to join a convent.
My thumbs tapped out the declaration in a late night text message to a friend, a coded SOS that my heart was not in a great place. As I waited for her response, hoping she was still awake, I briefly thought about looking up the nearest convent on Google Maps and sending her a screenshot to let her know just how serious I was.
This idea of a convent has become somewhat of a joke between the two of us. Neither of us is Catholic, so reality is, I couldn’t actually join the convent, though my friend and I have tossed around the idea of starting up our own Protestant nunnery. Those jokes come in weak moments — when my heart longs for love that no one else wants to return, when my heart breaks wide open with disappointment and unmet expectations, when I hoped again and ended up with the same result.
Still single. Still feeling unworthy of love. Still desperate to escape the pain of it all.
Because that’s all this convent idea is — the desperate cry of my heart to escape this endless cycle of hoping, only to end up heartsick once again.
I’ve spent many years waiting and hoping some guy would turn their attention my way, only to end up feeling like the lonely girl on the side of the middle school dance once again, sitting in one of those ugly plastic chairs, elbows on knees, trying to tell myself that it really doesn’t matter.
It does matter, though. It always does because marriage is one of those desires I’ve had since I was little, one of those dreams I am sure God planted in my heart to fulfill with His own hand in some crazy God way. And every time I think there might be a little bit of hope, the man I’m interested in turns his affections elsewhere, and my heart goes into protection mode. I tell myself that I don’t need marriage, I don’t need a man, and I will be fine being single forever.
And that’s the place where bitterness takes root and begins to grow because though I’m avoiding the pain, I’m also denying my heart hope.
Truth is, I may never get married, but even as I write these words, my gut tells me otherwise. I still believe a man is out there somewhere; it’s just sometimes easier to deny my heart, to tell it to stop crying, suck it up, and act like a real adult woman who is capable of taking care of herself.
The convent has always been the humorous solution so that I don’t have to feel all of these things. Because maybe if I wear a habit and walk around behind brick walls and tend to a garden, I won’t want someone special to pay attention to me. There will be no need because I will have taken a vow of chastity. There will only be women around because all the monks are at some monastery somewhere else, and I won’t need to deal with my heart in this way anymore.
It hurts — this wanting and not getting, this repeated hoping only to be disappointed. It hurts, and it is exhausting.
I want to believe the next time will be different, that maybe the signs of interest I think I see are really there and it’s just a matter of time before he asks me out for a donut or something. I want to believe that I’ll catch someone’s attention. But my heart is running scared. Because we’ve been down this path before, how do I know next time will be different?
The truth is I don’t. All I know is that I have a desire, and my Father is very aware of it. He’s not taking it away, and I’m trying to be open with Him about it. He may do something; He may not. He may ask me to wait a little longer, or He may be ready to reveal how He’s been putting pieces together behind the scenes all this time. I don’t know what will happen. What I do know is that a joining convent or starting my own is not the answer.
We can’t shut down our hearts. We can’t run and hide behind walls we think will protect us because we fear the pain of rejection.
If there is one thing I have learned in this journey of taking care of my heart, it’s that trying to tend to it on my own without the Father’s loving guidance is only a recipe for disaster. I avoid feelings and pain. I side more with logic and action — at least, that’s what I tell myself because it feels safer than sitting in my heart, feeling all the things and then handing it all back to God to hold on to.
I don’t need a convent. I just need Jesus. I need to trust that God in all His goodness will take care of my body, mind, spirit, and heart, that He will graciously handle my hopes, dreams, and desires.
And while it’s tempting to run away from it all, God keeps assuring me if I stick this out, if I stay right here with my Father and let Him do His thing, I will see a miracle.
I need to trust that God in all His goodness will take care of my body, mind, spirit, and heart, that He will graciously handle my hopes, dreams, and desires. #singleness -@JazminNFrank: Click To Tweet