When I was in high school it seemed like most of my friends had boyfriends. Relationships were something I thought about a lot and I was always on the lookout for “potentials” in my classes. When I entered university, my goal was to get a boyfriend. I wanted someone I could connect with, relate to, and be with. I wanted attention from guys – and when I got it my self-esteem rose. I wanted to feel beautiful, desired, and needed. I wanted love.
Being single in university sometimes feels both liberating and suffocating. It’s easy to jump from thoughts of “I don’t need anyone” to “why doesn’t anyone want me?” It’s easy to look at couples around me and place them on a pedestal of happiness. If I only had what they had, then I would feel complete, satisfied, and special. Society and the media often make me feel that if I only had a boyfriend, then I would be worthy of love. I noticed that I had a void in me for something deeper, intimate, and passionate.
But as much as I desired to be part of this culture of couples that surrounded me, I noticed something seemed wrong. These girls in relationships would talk as if they were unsatisfied and disappointed. That having a boyfriend didn’t complete them. Despite their relationship status, these girls still had the same void in their hearts for true love and intimacy, and having a boyfriend didn’t seem to fill it. Was it possible that there was something, or someone, else meant to fill this craving for unconditional love?
I’ve come to understand that being single amidst societal pressures to be in a relationship is okay. The truth is that I was created for relationship – just not the one I was daydreaming about. It’s not that dating is wrong, or even bad. But I realize that another person will never be able to fill the deepest voids in me. I need to find this love in someone outside of the limitations of human nature. An unconditional love from someone who is able to love me despite my mistakes, brokenness, and flaws. I found this unconditional love in Jesus who replaces the voids with true satisfaction and completeness. He brings me into a deep intimate connection with God because he experienced brokenness, death, and ultimate separation from God in my place on the cross (Rom 5:6-11, 1 John 4:9-12).
Are these qualities of deep intimate connection and complete fulfillment what you seek in love?
(See Part 2: “Finding Unconditional Love“)