Why I'm Giving Up on Relationships

"Your identity is totally in your relationships," my friend said as we took turns sipping on our margaritas. 

"Is not!" I fired back like the super mature adult I am. No way, not me. I don't need anyone...right?

"What's your biggest fear?" she asked. I thought she was changing the subject, should've known better.

"Being alone." I said it so quickly I couldn't even stop myself. Point proven. As usual my ever-cooler, ever-wiser friend Jess had seen me just for who I was and thankfully wasn't judging me for it. She was right.

My identity is definitely in my relationships. 

When they're going well I feel like I'm on top of the world. Look at me and all my pretty friends! Look at my roommates and the cool adventures we take! I'm unstoppable and everyone loves me! When they're struggling I feel as though I am the biggest failure to ever accidentally land on the planet. Everyone hates me! I can't even get someone to go to dinner with me! Woe is me, I'm the worst. A pity party of one is pitiful indeed. 

As I did some digging I realized just how unhealthy this was. It made me a roller coaster and fair weather friend. My inconsistency was astounding and my ability to harbor hurt and injustice was embarrassing. I wanted my relationships to save me, to give me self-worth. 

Why aren't you meeting my needs newfound companion? Because I'm projecting all my hopes and dreams onto this relationship and I think you'll fulfill me? Wait no where are you going come back! 

After further digging I also came to another unsettling truth.

My identity is in my relationship with Jesus.

That's right. As if I didn't have enough sources of pride or guilt in my life already. My identity as a Christian often hinges on how well my relationship with Jesus is going. Are we talking often? Have I gotten "a good word" from him lately? I'm a rock star Christian capable of journaling for hours! Everyone look at how spiritually centered I am! Quote, quote, quote, podcast, podcast, podcast. And then, of course, if for some reason he seems distant I feel as though I've plummeted into the depths of Sheol and been abandoned by God himself. I am rather skilled at throwing myself a cosmic pity-party, which is not astronaut themed as you might think, but rather a pity-party concerning God and what I selfishly view as a "lack of attention." 

I'm realizing that if our identity rests in relationships we will forever be restless.

My identity was never meant to be cemented in my relationship with Jesus. Though it is beautiful, fluid, and dynamic it cannot be where I place my hopes and dreams. Even my identity in my relationship with Jesus will certainly disappoint, the same way my unrealistic projections on human relationships will always leave me wanting more. 

I was intended to place my identity in Jesus himself. Not in our relationship. Because our relationship, to some degree, involves me. When I put my identity in Christ and who he says I am then and only then can I rest secure. 

Truth doesn't change. Relationships do. 

When our identity is rooted in the person of Christ and the truth he speaks over us, then and only then can we find security. Then and only then will we know consistency. Then and only then can we feel steady and sure. Not when we settle for the cheap imitations of relationships, as good and as wonderful as they may be. 

Christ says we are made in his image. That when we are with him we are holy and blameless. We are a crowned jewel in his palm. He delights in us and thinks we're the best thing that ever happened. He sings over us, did you know that? Yes, the truth is that Christ sings over us songs of thankfulness.

That is truth. That is steady. So yes, I'm giving up on relationships, or I'm at least going to try, but I'm getting into Jesus. Seems like a good trade to me.