The year before Trav and I started dating, I was teaching 4th grade. In case no one has ever told you this before, 4th graders are the cutest humans on the planet. Case in point…
One day a little friend gathered up the courage to ask me if I had a boyfriend. Suddenly the room perked up and thirty pairs of eyes were on me. I smiled and said I didn’t. Then she simply asked, “Why not?”
I told her I hadn’t met the right guy yet.
She got a huge smile on her face and called out, “Maybe we can make a sign that says, ‘Miss Hasbrouck needs a boyfriend!'” and she waved an imaginary sign over her head for all to see.
Everyone giggled, including me, and I told her I’d think about it and get back to her. Then we moved on to math or grammar or something else much less exciting than the dating status of the teacher.
Later I thought back on how that sweet interaction made me feel so differently than it would have just a few years prior. My old self that hadn’t worked through my desires for marriage or questions about dating had a lot of baggage attached to the “Why don’t you have a boyfriend?” question. Mainly because my subconscious was in the habit of following up the “why” question with “What is wrong with you?!?” Many years of not getting asked out had produced in me a rather ungracious assumption that everyone around me wanted to know why I couldn’t seem to attract a date.
But actually, my little 4th grade friend wasn’t asking the question to determine what kind of weirdo her teacher was. Turns out she just really loved me. She figured it would make sense for someone else to love me, too.
If you have deeply ingrained thought patterns or unhealthy beliefs that are holding you back from something good and wise, have courage. Our hearts are capable of change. God designs to make us more like Christ and the Gospel gives us the ability “to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that [we] may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:18b-19) This learning his love is part of our life’s work. By God’s grace, my dating journey (including lots of conversations with my therapist) had brought me into a better understanding of the love of Jesus. The change was subtle from the outside, but monumental in my thoughts and gut reactions to things like my kind student’s inquiry.
I’d also really stepped up my game in being open to all sorts of ways to meet new men because after her cute suggestion I thought, “Hmm. A sign. That’s not a bad idea.” =)
You are loved, my friend. Wanted. Known. If you don’t believe me, go sit in John 15 for a while. Then date from that filled up place. Not from the empty place that is a lie. You are already loved.