Live leigh updates*
*Less live, as in right now, and more lively, as in full of life.
To the strong, independent women in my life, including Ruby-Sue, this bit of slightly embarrassing honesty is for you!
As many are aware, I am unimaginably awkward when it comes to expressing interest in fellow humans; more specifically, boys. I don’t have a vast array of experience when it comes to showing interest in boys that I may find more appealing than average, so this particular instance to follow is nothing surprising!
It all started when I downloaded this “Clover” app. It’s a step up from tinder, but still kind of sketch because anyone could be pretending to be whoever they want; or at least that’s my subjective opinion of what it is. Anyway, it’s not really in my scope of practice to be downloading this kind of software, but I had figured since I recently moved to Bismarck it could have the potential to be useful. I don’t want to spoil anything, but boy (pun obviously intended) was I wrong.
I had once watched a TedTalk given by a woman who “hacked online dating”. She used an algorithm and a little smooth talking to seal the deal with the love of her life. She made it seem easy! Although she chose a website that required payment for use, I settled for one that anyone with internet can have access to because I wasn’t as committed as she was; yet.
I made a few simple rules for when it came to “liking” or “not liking” a profile. One being that if they seem to be completely obsessed - I mean interested - in things I don’t want to live with for the rest of my life in the first or second photo, I would “not like”. If their initial photos stirred potential interest, I would investigate their self-written literature. Upon finding nothing at all, or worse, quotes from movies that I don’t like, I would again decline to “like” them. If I was further interested by the words they wrote, I would see if they had any superficial interests in common with mine and see if there was anything else worth noting like: if they had children, do drugs, or have a religious preference.
At this point if I was still interested in learning more, I would browse any social media profiles they had attached to help confirm if they were who they were presenting themselves to be or not. Most times I found instagram photos or tweets that would lead me to press the red “x”. Occasionally I would “like” someone because of something that set them apart in some way such as a photo of them volunteering with the special olympics or chose “daily Mass” as an interest.
For some reason, maybe my staggering good looks or dashing selection of interests, nobody “liked” me back; except one. During a study break I decided to check my new dating app and there it was: a match.
Naturally I planned to wait at least two days before reaching out to him first, but in the meantime I figured I would do a little research. There I was: sifting through social media profiles, college Dean’s lists, and local news paper articles while working my overnight shift. I was quite impressed with the way that this young man was represented online and, in the spirit of complete honesty, I was a little bit eager to send him a message once the two days were up. However, the very next day I woke up to an email informing me that the impressive young man had messaged me! -- Side note: if you get your dating app updates by banner or push notifications instead of by email, you’re probably doing the dating app game wrong.
I made a pot of coffee and sat on the couch to unveil what was probably going to be the start of something spectacular. I opened Clover and swiped on a couple of profiles while the new message notification hung appetizingly in the corner. Finally, after much anticipation I opened his message that asked, “You seriously creeped my LinkedIn profile?”
Who knew that LinkedIn notifies its users when their profiles are reviewed? I had in fact creeped his LinkdIn, so what could I say? I shamelessly accepted his accusation, and after few more days I deleted the app. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to know my chances of meeting someone on a dating app are zero to none, so I didn’t feel like I had lost too much. If anything the experience reminded me of something that I’m very grateful for.
You see, one thing that I really like about myself is that I’m fairly comfortable being independent. Sure I’ve learned a lot about myself through growing in spite of outside circumstances and refusing to give up when I really wanted to; but I owe the majority of my independence to the man who’s been there since the beginning: my dad.
He’s the reason that I’ll fight tooth and nail for something I know to be good. He’s the reason that I can laugh at myself after falling down before getting back up. If I wanted some pickles growing up and couldn’t open the pickle jar, dad wouldn’t just wrap his strong hands around the lid as soon as I brought it to him. Almost without fail he would send me back to the kitchen to keep trying. If I exhausted my resources and still couldn’t open the jar, he would hold the bottom while I twisted the top with both hands. Dad raised me, whether he likes it or not, to be a strong, independent woman and thankfully so!
Another thing that dad did was set a standard for men in my life. He never sat me down and told me how a man should treat me or anything like that, but he didn’t need to because he lived it. He would tell Paul and I that he loved us so many times before going to bed and he always gave us hugs when we wanted them. He’s always opened doors for me and most importantly proved to me that men are kind and gentle.
Now, what this dating app reminded me about was that although I am a strong, independent woman, I have that desire to be loved with gentleness and kindness. We all do. We are all made for love and that is so beautiful, but what ends up happening is we settle. Just like our bodies are made to need good food yet we fill it with ice cream and nacho cheese, we are made for love and we settle for things that taste okay but aren’t what we need.
I’m honestly not one to settle very easily, but on that occasion I had thought that maybe the desire I have to be loved in a way that I imagine my dad loving my mom could somehow be fulfilled.
Once I asked him how he knew that he loved mom more than any other human, and looking at the ceiling he said, “Well, we talked together and laughed together. I guess that’s how I knew.” It all seems simple enough! I just have to eat the right proteins and find someone to laugh with!
The truth is that the love I am made for and the love that I desire most deeply is the very love of God which is both unconditional and unending. He loves in the most perfect way but somehow I sometimes choose to settle for something less. My dad’s love for mom seemed simple, but simple is sometimes very difficult, and when I get tired of something being difficult I might start to settle for something easy. It’s in those times that I need to remember that I am not only fearfully and wonderfully made, but someone who is worth dying for.
When I think of a man I want to spend my life with I think of someone who opens doors for me, treats me with kindness, and laughs with me, but more importantly I want someone who is willing to do all those things as a testimony of the love that God has given to each of us. Chances are that man isn’t looking for me on a free dating app, and chances are that if you’re a young woman in love with Jesus you’ve been discouraged with the difficulties of simply falling in love too. Maybe you’ve even caught yourself settling like I did.
I’m here to tell you that we’re not alone.