Some days I feel like I’ve spent most of my life waiting. And wondering how long I’d be waiting. I know God’s timing is perfect and that His Plan is always better than my plan; He makes that clear to me time and time again.
This season of waiting feels a little different though. Maybe it’s because when I met the man of my dreams at 40 years old I thought my waiting was over. Or maybe it’s because, for the first time in my life, I’m waist deep into something that I don’t understand and have absolutely no ability to control. I’ll admit, bipolar disorder is a mystery to me. I can’t even begin to imagine how my guy feels and I haven’t been around yet long enough to be able to predict much about what I read is a very predictable, pattern-driven disease.
So what am I waiting on? Well, among other things, I wonder how long I’ll be a trigger for my guy. A little over a month after we started dating, he discovered that new relationships can be a trigger for bipolar symptoms. It seemed odd to me at first that I could be a source of anxiety, but after listening to my guy and doing some reading, I started to get a better picture. While God has blessed me with a variety of experiences over the years that taught me to keep my expectations of others low and to not be demanding, I’m still a trigger for my guy. Originally when he discovered what was going on, I scoured the internet for information about how long this would last. How long am I trigger? At what point do I become an asset in his treatment plan instead of a hurdle to his well being? When? Nothing. I found nothing. That when my the idea for this blog was born- I wanted to make available to others the answers that I was searching for, once I discovered them of course.
So how long? I have no idea. Monday was 4 months from our first date and I can tell you that we’re not there yet. Based on my recent interactions with my guy, it appears that my presence in his life is still more of a hurdle than a help. I don’t think it’s me- actually I’m pretty sure it’s not. Having been a single adult for 22 years, I have become pretty self-sufficient and don’t think I’m very demanding; my expectations are pretty simple and basic. But I think my guy has another set of ideas and thoughts about what he thinks I want (maybe realistically based on his previous experiences) and puts pressure on himself to try to meet those expectations. I’ve done my best to remind him that my love for him does not depend on what he does or doesn’t do, but is rooted in who he is. And that I will let him know what my expectations are and if he’s not meeting my expectations, and until then, when the anxiety begins, he can remind himself that the ideal boyfriend that his brain is developing is not my desire. And he is enough just the way he is.
These conversations with him and my time mauling it over in my mind have given me a lot of insight into how God must see us. Pleading with us to know and understand how deep His Love for us is. And that it doesn’t rely on performance or competency as a measure. His Love for us is full and complete, regardless of anything we do. Longing for us to let go of what we see as an “ideal Christian” and instead rest and relax in His Love for us, just like I’m longing for my guy to be able let go of his view of an “ideal boyfriend” and just enjoy being together. I have a long way to go with God on this parallel journey to rest and relax in Him- meanwhile He’s probably looking down at me asking “How long, my daughter? How long?”