This section from the book is from the start of a pretty important chapter. I want to use this chapter to transition from talking about how I tried to take control of my life to how I started giving it back to God. The main thing I want to focus on is that I leaned on my own understanding and it really led me astray. That was true in the case of both my addiction to porn and my co-dependency. In both cases, my understanding led me into making one mistake after another and kept me from breaking free from those problems. I had to let go of my understanding and start really trusting God; that part will come later in the chapter. I hope you like this part though and let me know what your thoughts are in the comments.
An Empty Victory
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths. – Proverbs 3:5-6
A hope deferred makes the heart sick. Proverbs 13:12a
I noticed an interesting trend sometime around the time I turned 25; things rarely went the way I thought they would. This trend came as a surprise because I thought that I had a really good understanding of my life. It didn’t make sense that situations or relationships often went south even after I applied my ‘superb’ wisdom to them. The best example of this came from my pursuit of dating and marriage.
If you remember, I was overweight growing up and that problem remained until a few years after college. When I was 24, I started to diet and work out on a consistent basis. These new habits eventually led to losing approximately 130 lbs and going down multiple sizes in my clothing. I looked like such a different person that I had a few issues at the customs booths of airports because they didn’t believe I was the guy in my passport photo. This change was really exciting and frustrating at the same time.
It was exciting because I was truly healthy for the first time in twenty years and I no longer avoided mirrors or looking at pictures of myself. Sadly, this change also brought a good deal of pride and frustration into my life; especially on the subject of dating. My romantic life had been basically nonexistent up to this point and I had attributed all of that to my weight problem. I assumed that girls didn’t want to date me because they weren’t physically attracted to me. By the way, that’s kind of a circular argument because if you don’t put yourself out there because you assume the opposite sex won’t like you then you never open the door for the opposite sex to like you.
Back to my point, I thought that the only thing that stood between me and dating a nice Christian girl was my weight problem. The ending of that problem made me think that finding a girl to date me would soon be very easy. I was wrong; oh man was I wrong. It turns out that physical attraction really isn’t enough to make Christian women of good character want to date me. I know, it surprised me too. That led me to feeling pretty frustrated and annoyed because I had put quite a few, if not all of my chips, on finding someone to date and eventually marry. My co-dependency made me feel this need to have someone I could constantly people please and get affirmation from. I also told myself that my porn addiction would go away whenever I started dating a girl and got married to her. That meant I assumed a wife was the answer to all of my problems. When one didn’t materialize after I got into shape, I became pretty frustrated.
I had placed all of my hope in getting into shape and wooing a girl into marrying me but that didn’t seem like it was going to work like I thought. That made me frustrated and led me to question if I even knew what I was doing. That was very important because it helped start me on the path of really questioning my understanding of things. I needed that questioning because my understanding was actually terrible and I assumed otherwise. It really did come as a shock that women didn’t react markedly different to me once I lost all the weight and got into shape. I had built up physical looks in my head and placed so much hope in finding a wife that my world shook a little when getting into shape didn’t immediately land me in a relationship. That was the shaking I needed though because my path was causing me to sink deeper into loneliness and depression.
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