I remember sitting in my counselor’s office last year. I had a lot of things I wanted to talk about that day, and I had gone in with a mental list I was preparing to cover.
Before I could bring up any of the topics that I wanted to discuss, these words rushed out of my lips: “I am afraid to date. I don’t know if I will ever be able to date again.”
I stared at my counselor, surprised by the words I heard come from me. This was not one of the things I had been planning on discussing. And yet, as soon as I heard the words, I knew they were true.
My counselor, Marie, is kind. She has a soft voice and talks often about the Holy Spirit. She wears a lot of makeup, and her hair is always perfectly coiffed or curled. The first time I had a session with her, I almost wrote her off, thinking she was a bit woo-woo for my liking. I was wrong. I’ve since learned she’s a tough woman, but also deeply kind. It’s a good mix.
Marie smiled softly at me. “Let’s talk about that. Why are you afraid to date?”
Marie knows some of my history with relationships. My ex-boyfriend was not kind to me — there were many hard things that took place, and many years of pain that followed. God is slowly healing me. Counseling helps. But I didn’t want to talk about him or my past, I wanted to think and dream and talk about my future.
“I’m afraid I won’t be safe,” I said. “And I’m afraid I’ll make bad decisions. I’m afraid that what happened to me in my past will happen again. I don’t know how to look for someone good.” I sort of laughed. “I don’t know what a healthy relationship even looks like.”
She took out a piece of paper, scrawling a word in capital letters near the top.
I peered over her desk to see what she was writing. In large letters I saw the word EVIDENCE.
She drew a line down the middle of the paper, and held it up to me. “See this?”
“You are now a detective. I want you to start looking for the evidence. Before you ever decide to date someone, I want you to be alert and write down all of the evidence from his life that you see. How does he talk about his friends or his family? What music does he listen to? How does he treat the barista at the coffee shop? What is his tone of voice when he’s speaking to you? Write down his actions. Write down everything. Be alert, and look for the evidence. The evidence doesn’t lie.”
I took Marie’s wisdom to heart. Now anyone I think about dating has to endure all of my detective work. This process has saved me a lot of heartache, and has given me the confidence to know that my painful history won’t likely repeat. I literally have a notebook where I write down the evidence I see in that person’s life. It might sound a bit creepy, but it’s definitely effective.
Recently, I’ve begun to wonder if looking for evidence isn’t only wisdom for dating relationships — but if it’s also a way to see God.
I think of Marie’s words: be alert and look for the evidence.
Am I alert when it comes to seeking God? Am I looking for the evidence of His love? When I truly think about it, and when I get my trusty notebook out and jot down the evidence of God, I am astounded by all of the ways He shows me He loves me.
I see the love of God in the eyes of my nephew and niece. I see the love of God in the friendships He has given me. I see the love of God in the way He is redeeming some hard parts from my past.
Here are three things I find helpful when I start to look for the evidence of the love of God:
- Ask God to show you His love. God delights in showing us how much He loves us! I ask Him almost daily to remind me of the love He has for me.
- Pay attention to your daily life and to the world around you. Most of the time, I’d like God to show me a large, sweeping gesture of His love for me. Sometimes He does, but most of the time I see His fingerprints of love pressed into the folds of my everyday life. I am awakened to His love in the smallest and most tender details.
- Once you find the evidence of God’s love, write it down. I keep a small leather notebook on my bookshelf. I call it my “Book of Remembrance,” and I write down every instance I see or hear from God. We humans tend to forget God’s faithfulness. Write down the evidence that God gives you, and the next time you question whether or not God reveals Himself, you can go back to your notebook and re-read all of the times God was faithful.
Look for the evidence of the love of God. If you stay alert, pay attention, and write down what you see, I think you’ll be surprised by what you find.
God’s love is as close to you as the air you breathe. He delights in you and He sings over you. Sometimes we just need a reminder to wake up and look.
God's love is as close to you as the air you breathe. He delights in you and He sings over you. Sometimes we just need a reminder to wake up and look. -@alizalatta: Click To Tweet