The Fish in the Sea
Repost by Anika Green, original post sourced here.
“It’s either him, or someone better.”
I have no idea how many times I’ve said those words. To friends, coworkers, family. People I knew well and some I didn’t.
I shared them boldly – feeling confident in my attempts to encourage the people I knew to be struggling in relationships with words of wisdom. My thinking was this: to my friends who were either going through a breakup or terrified to let go, be bold, say or do the hard things – remember that it’s either him, or someone better.
Well-intentioned, yes, but severely misguided. I didn’t even see the flaw in my thinking until I found myself in the same situation, and began receiving the sympathetic messages.
“There’s other fish in the sea…”
“When you meet the one God has for you…”
“If it’s not him, it’s someone better…”
I couldn’t figure out why it bothered me as much as it did. I know it was sent from love, and deeply appreciate the sentiment & time that people took to encourage me, but the reality is that I am quite content on my own. Being single was hard for me for a long time, but honestly I’m really okay with it at this point. There’s a lot of things I love about being single that I miss in a relationship, and vice versa – each season has beautiful things & I’ve really learned to see that.
So the whole “there’s other fish in the sea” statement felt almost condescending and discrediting of the grieving stage I was in.
I wasn’t hurting because I was alone. I was hurting because I had to say goodbye to someone who I loved deeply.
Never in my life had I felt so instantly safe and trusting with someone. A complete lack of insecurity in a relationship for the first time created a ground for fast developing feelings and vulnerability in new ways. I was known in a way that I hadn’t been known.
I shared things that I’d never shared without fear. Laughed harder than I can remember laughing in years. Parts of myself that I’d forgotten about showed themselves, and I felt freedom.
It was a connection affirmed by not only both of us, but many around us who watched us interact. Bold predictions were made about where things were going and how they would end up, and I let myself dream.
and then it was over.
and the safety,
And the laughter,
the car rides,
the movie nights,
and the comfort
so the text messages.
and phone calls.
telling me that if “it it’s not him, it’s someone better” only stung.
because here’s the thing. God is faithful. and good. His word is true and His promises will be fulfilled.
but God never promised you a boyfriend.
He never promised a husband. Babies. A white picket fence and a 401k.
Don’t misunderstand me – those are beautiful dreams. Ones that I have deep in my heart (literally ask anyone, the baby fever is so bad).
But a breakup doesn’t mean it’s him or it’s someone better.
It means that when you’re saying goodbye to a relationship, no matter how crazy your connection is, if it’s not him, it’s you and Jesus. And that needs to be enough.
A breakup doesn’t doom you to singleness, and that season probably won’t last forever. I’m not naive enough to think that at 20, this was my only chance at a relationship. Most people will get married. This doesn’t mean abandon your dreams of relationships or marriage.
But – that relationship was so precious to me. It was never just a “he’s cute and funny, he’ll do”.
It was the best friends, can’t stay away from each other, communicate without saying a word kinda thing.
Until it wasn’t.
And I don’t know if I’ll have that again. It’s not a guarantee. And that sucks.
& if I’m being fully candid, it was the fear of that itself that led me to hold on tighter and longer than I should have.
Because as much as I have those dreams for my future, I know that my purpose is not to be a girlfriend, or to get married and have kids – though that may very well be a part of it. I serve a God much bigger than that.
& it’s important to note that Jesus is not the consolation prize – not second best. Ever.
Walking away from that relationship was one of – if not the – hardest things I’ve ever done. Letting go of the plans and the dreams, the one-days and what-ifs was a process.
But I’m beginning to realize that perhaps the very fact that it was so difficult for me to let go may be the very reason why it needed to end.
To sum up: love is beautiful. And powerful. And life changing. People are wonderful. And human. And relationships are complicated.
But no relationship is better than Jesus. He came to give you life, and life abundant. Freedom and forgiveness, joy beyond compare. Do not give in to the cultural deception that the mark of success in life – especially as a young Christian – is another person choosing you.
The Father already did. And life with Him is not worth giving up for anything.
To read more from Anika, visit her website.