Returning to a Dry Well

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Yesterday one of my best friends sent me a text that said that once more, her on-again/off-again boyfriend had decided not to pursue a relationship.

For the past three years, this man has appeared in her life.  The relationship fell victim to a common failing of long-distance relationships: at the beginning, the long weekend dates were romantic and exciting, yet once they started spending more time together, the differences and problems were more apparent.  Although she was the one who ended it, my friend was still crushed.   It was over.

Yet every few months, he contacts her.  This time, he was “just driving through Columbus and wondered if she wanted to get lunch.”  The year before, it was a Valentine’s day visit that became a full weekend.  It’s the random text that returns to weeks of communication.  The feelings of love and attraction stir up and it’s off to the races.

To give her tremendous credit, she has been strong and clear-headed.  Even as her hopes are raised, she has also kept in the front of her mind why they broke up – even more so with each successive time that he shows back up only to end in disappointment.

As her friend, though, I am angry on her behalf.  To me, it is like my friend is being lured back time and again with the promise of living water, only to find herself again at the same dry well.  The man in question knows that nothing has changed.  He has nothing new or different to give her.  It is only illusion that he offers.

I have also been trapped by a dry well.  Like the Israelites walking circles in the desert for 40 years, I seemed to always return.  Even when I knew it would go nowhere, even when I knew that I would be hurt, I STILL went back. It sometimes felt like I had lost control of my own actions.

The problem for me was that there was no one else.  I would go on dates, get discouraged, and in that moment of weakness, I would return to the person who would give me some emotion, even if it was a negative one.  It might not have been a good relationship, but it was A relationship.  That was better than the loneliness that I felt.

Like the proverbial woman at the well in the Bible, rather than seeking living waters, I returned to what I knew.  It never got better.  Instead, it just poisoned me.

What is more, with each time that I went back, it dug a deeper hook into me.  Although it seemed harmless at the time – like scratching an itch – it instead was causing deep damage that even today I feel its effects.  What should have been a momentary blip – a flirtation that passed and was soon forgotten – instead became a de facto major relationship in my life due to the sheer length of time, which I will always remember.

Similar to the woman at the well, we may not realize at first that we are at a dry well.  It seems good, it seems real.  But once we have had our own come to Jesus moment, we need to recognize the truth and turn away.  Not just that time, but permanently.

Do not return to that dry well.

Join the conversation!  What dry wells are you returning to?

Proverbs 28

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He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered. – Proverbs 28:26

The fall of 2005 was one of the best seasons of my life.  I had just begun my freshman year of college studying astronomy and astrophysics, and I was loving it.  On top of that, my walk with the Lord had never been better.  I loved the challenges of the classroom, the joys of embracing Christ daily and being filled with His Spirit.  It wasn’t always easy, but it was totally awesome.

A month or two into the fall semester, I met an attractive young woman (I’ll call her “Sarah”), and we hit things off quite well.  In fact, we hit them off a little too well; Sarah immediately started pursuing me, going out of her way to spend time with me, and sometimes even chasing me down on my way to the cafeteria.  And as someone who had never had a real girlfriend before, I loved the attention that she paid me.  So it didn’t take long at all until we were, for all intents and purposes, dating.

Now, in and of itself, there would have been nothing wrong this.  However, I knew that I wasn’t really in a position to pursue any kind of romantic attachment at that point in my life: my coursework alone kept me far too busy for any kind of relationship, and I knew in the back of my mind that Sarah and I were in very different places in our walks with the Lord.  In fact, if I were entirely honest, I wasn’t even sure that Sarah had a walk with the Lord.  Even worse, I managed to keep the relationship a secret from my parents – whom I knew would not approve – until well into the spring semester.  But, despite all of this, I was enjoying myself too much to call things off, and continued to spend every spare minute I had with Sarah.

When my parents finally did find out – well, I’m sure you can imagine what that was like.  My parents were devastated that I had lied to them, Sarah was crushed at my breaking things off with her for hardly any reason at all, and my daily closeness with the Lord now felt like an unbreachable chasm.  It was one of the best, followed by one of the worst, seasons in my entire life.

But I learned a deeply painful lesson in that season.  Proverbs 28:26 says this: “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But he who walks wisely will be delivered.”  To this day, I regret the choice I made to trust in my own heart, and I regret the pain that it caused to those I cared deeply for.  But that season is also sweet to me, because in it, as I repented, I encountered amazing grace.  Today, my relationship with my parents is restored, my friendship with Sarah has been healed, and most importantly, my walk with the Lord is again moving in the direction it needs to.

Whether or not you are currently tempted to trust in your heart—perhaps, as I was, by compromising on your principles in the hopes of acquiring a spouse—the message to each of us today is the same: embrace wisdom.  Walk with Christ.  And you will be delivered.

Join the conversation!  Does this speak to you or what struck you from Proverbs 28?

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meandallysonheadshot Chris

I am a postdoctoral scholar studying theoretical nuclear physics at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, where I live with my wife Allyson and nine-month-old daughter Georgia Clementine.  I am a regular blogger for various Christian ministries and blogs, including GotQuestions.org,blogos.org, and CompellingTruth.org.  I also have a (rarely updated) personal blog which can be viewed atcaelienarrant.blogspot.com.  I love learning about theology, philosophy, science, and apologetics, and then sharing what I learn with others.

Proverbs 5

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“For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword.” Proverbs 5:3-4

I stared at the screen in shock and horror. The man with whom I had been flirting for months at work – who had been flirting with me – already had a girlfriend.  He had never mentioned her to me, had given no indications.  I had only found out through some good old-fashioned Internet stalking.  And here I was, an adulteress.

The flirtation had started out innocently enough.  Just some traded jokes, the kind of sarcastic witticisms that were just the type to hook my interest.  It hadn’t felt like anything wrong.

But the comments had turned into phone calls and inside jokes and at some point, a light switched on inside me.  My breathing became shaky when I talked to him, and my heart pounded to the point I could barely pick up the phone.  Our communication was all under the veil of work, but to me it had taken on a greater significance.

What’s more, he knew and encouraged it.  I tried several times to break it off, even telling him that I didn’t think it was right to flirt at work.  And yet every time that I seemed to successfully halt the communication, he would email me with one of our inside jokes and back I would fall.

Finally, I simply told him that if he was interested in me, he should ask me out.  And he didn’t.  Crushed, I turned to the only tool at my disposal, trying to figure out answers – Facebook.  And there the real truth was.  Another woman.  More, I was the “other woman” in this triangle!

I never confronted him.  I doubt he saw what he did was wrong.  To him, they were just words. But I learned an important lesson: to not fall into the trap of flirtation without substance and truth behind it.

Men and women of Christ will not lead you astray but will pursue a real relationship.  Do not be distracted by others’ honeyed words and smooth speech.

Join the conversation!  Have you had a similar experience or what struck you from Proverbs 5?

Finding Freedom From a Past Relationship

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Check out my new Boundless article!

“Infatuation is a normal part of romantic attraction, and when the stars align, it can be the start of a great relationship. But when the stars do not align and the relationship does not develop, what do you do when you can’t seem to kick the fixation? Or what do you do when the relationship is over and you just can’t let go?”

Read more here!