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As some of you know, I’m having surgery this coming Tuesday.  And whenever I face surgery, I get a little (or very) introspective.

I think with the new year, cleaning out a great deal of my house, facing surgery and turning 40 this year, I’m looking at every part of my life in great detail.  So this may be my most personal blog post to-date.

And right now, I’m reflecting on why I’ve never found “the right man.”

Sure, there’s more than one right person for each of us.  And I’ve come close once or twice.  But I’ve been asking myself what has held me back all of these years?

First of all, I’ve often believed I was not “good enough”: not smart enough, definitely not pretty enough, too awkward.  From the time I was in middle school until now, I have rarely experienced feeling loved “just as I am.”

I’ve dated, crushed and had the prospect of dating a number of wonderful guys.  Sure, some are remembered more fondly than others.  But when it comes to dating, I always perceived that I was the one being overlooked (except for about 2 days in 1992).

Then, I was always the girl who dated the guy right before the guy found “the one.”  Seriously.  Almost always.  There’s something to be said about guys constantly finding the right one immediately after dating, contemplating a relationship, etc.  In fact, after a five year relationship, the guy got engaged to a girl eight months later.  The message of non-marriage material became cemented in my mind.

So for most of 25 years I’ve carried around this overbearing inferiority complex.  And it’s time for it to change…to leave my heart, mind and soul…

The second major reason I am single is that I’m scared of what it would mean for me to be in a relationship.  Whenever I’ve been in relationships, I find myself changing who I am.  I lose part of myself.  I have to move or give up plans for a guy.  I don’t like having to be the one who has to give up a career/change a name/lose friends/leave a town/give up dreams just to make a guy happy.  From most of my experience and most of the relationships I’ve seen, it’s always the woman giving up something for a man.  For me, I’ve learned to love being single rather than losing part of myself.  But then, in recent years, I’ve seen how friends find relationships where both of their dreams and identities are honored.  So relationships like this have to exists.

Now all of you know why I’m nearly 40 and single.

So as I’ve cleaned my house and having surgery to be “cleaned out” (so to speak), I’m cleaning out my heart as well.  I am no longer going to think that I am not “good enough.”  I’m at least average pretty.  I’m not “too fat.”  I’m fairly smart and have strong talents in certain areas.  While I’m not trying to air my dirty laundry for the world to see, I’m needing to be transparent with this, to be held accountable, to not to slide back and think I’m “less than.”

To repeat myself: the guys I’ve dated have been great guys.  I can no longer internalize why these things didn’t work.  Maybe it’s just that I wasn’t the right one for that particular guy – not that I wasn’t altogether pretty/smart.  Looking back, none of these guys were the right one for me either, but it doesn’t mean that they weren’t the right one for someone.  Likewise, I’m reframing the way I look at this: it’s not because I wasn’t pretty/talented/smart.  It was because either the two of us didn’t click at the level where two people should (who want to date/marry), or it was because God is calling us both in a different direction.

I am not a conventional woman.  Breaking the mold is who I am.  I’m quirky.  And I’m in a unique career: a female clergy. I’ve spent the past 25 years preparing myself for this call.  I’ve taken the past 25 years to get to know who I am.  For some people, dating and finding the right one is easy.  It’s not for me, but that doesn’t mean I’m broken beyond repair.  God is the God of second chances and grace.  So now is my time to grasp that grace and shine.  It’s time for me to know that I am no more or less flawed than anyone else.  It’s time for me to believe that I can find someone someday… I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and someone will cherish me as I will cherish him.

There is a season for everything… a time to keep and a time to throw away… Well, this is my time to throw away thoughts that have held me back…

And there is a time to love… and that will come soon…

Thanks for reading.  This was a deeply personal post.  I hope that someone reading this will see that all of us are made in God’s beautiful image and that each of us deserve love and second chances.