Dating Mistakes: Chase Me If You Can
Editor’s Note: Today’s post is written by Katey Kerman. She blogs at Stretching Faith. She describes herself as a self-diagnosed serial flirt – a phrase that I am far too familiar with. For years I was caught up in the game, only to realize that the game kept me from being myself. Read, and listen. – Lauren
“Stop following me, Katey” he spoke assertively, and yet still in his soft tone. He had turned around to face me now, and all I could do was stop, frozen in my tracks. It was a stare down now, and he was determined to win. So, in the game that I often played with men, I let him. I began shifting my weight, walking tentatively backwards toward my room to show I had listened, eyes still fixed on his gorgeous, tan and freckled face. I felt like I was swimming in his brown eyes as my heart sank, realizing that this would probably be the last time I’d ever see this new friend of mine.
And before I knew it, he was walking toward me.
“There. Doesn’t that feel better?”
My heart began racing, my cheeks burned a deep red as each cell in my body felt as though it would explode from excitement. I could barely breathe. It was as if time had stopped. In an instant I could feel the heat of his body near mine, posing such a vague question.
Doesn’t that feel better…?
If you don’t already know me, let it be known here and now: I am terrified to let men chase me.
Doesn’t that feel better…
Let’s get this straight: Women deserve to be chased. Not because it’s fun or because we love playing games, but because we, as human beings, were all born with the innate desire to be loved and adored – and with this desire, comes the proving of worth and intention. It’s so complicated in this day and age to know whose role is whose in the chase, but I have recently found how truly clear a man’s intention is when he is allowed to take the lead in chasing a girl he truly respects and admires.
Before you go all feminist on me, let me explain myself – I am a self diagnosed serial flirt. I’ve journaled about it, written blog posts about it, talked to my priest and prayed and worried over it. In many ways this terrible habit blossomed due to my lack of trust in God’s plan for me, but even more so because I never truly learned to love myself with the grace of God as a young adult. As I grew into the awkward teenager, I felt so unsure of the ideal that a man could actually love and see me the way the Lord saw me. When I looked in the mirror, I saw a chunky, ugly theatre-geek. I did not know how to embrace and love this girl that so easily despised herself. So, I made the assumption that most self-deprecating teenage girls make: If I saw myself this way, surely no man would ever respect and adore me the way my creator had intended.
But…there was one hitch.
…Self diagnosed serial flirt, remember?!
This is where things got messy. I, being the brilliantly broken child of God that I am, took matters into my own hands. I decided that the most sensible way of finding my self-worth would be chasing every boy that I ever found remotely attractive. I know, brilliant, right?!
I followed, pined, pushed, cuddled, dated and eventually smothered man after man. If I realized one wasn’t for me, I simply picked up and moved on – but more often, I found the men disappeared on their own accord. Instead of seeing this as a red flag, I found it motivated me to work harder to keep their attention.
It wasn’t long before it stopped being about finding the one God had created for me, and was replaced with a game. It was as if I thought ‘You know, I won’t miss out on love if I try out everyone!’
I was finally living the life that society said would make me feel full!
…so why did I feel so empty?
Eventually, in trying to find my self-worth by chasing, I became someone I did not recognize – a person who hurt other people with flirting, put strain on friendships with constant pushing and even pressured men into dating when they weren’t ready or truly interested. In the end, I hurt myself, because while I was continuously being rejected, I never had the common sense to understand that these were not relationships that should ever have been pursued. I did not understand that God had kept those men from asking me out because they did NOT have pure intentions or genuine care for my being.
When it came down to it, I was the only one who perpetuated the idea that I wasn’t good enough by pushing situations that were never truly meant to be. I was my own worst enemy.
Fast forward a couple of years to that great question: “Doesn’t that feel better?”
“NO!” I screamed.
In that moment it didn’t feel better! I was terrified, scared, self-conscious and worried that I would simply fail to be worthy of such intentional care and romance. The very idea of a man seeing me, finding me enthralling or beautiful and choosing to pursue me seemed only a fabricated myth that Hollywood had led me to believe as a child. I felt like screaming how I had proven that this concept was not true! How, at the ripe age of twenty-one, I had watched boy after boy, man after man, soak up my chasing them and then, as if I were nothing but a nuisance, disappear without a second glance while I stood blue in the face, salty tracks upon my cheek and more desperate for love and affection than ever.
No, being told I was worthy of love, after years of convincing myself that I lacked beauty, grace, talent and femininity by chasing the wrong boys did not ‘feel better.” It just made me nauseous.
“No?” He smiled, almost not surprised.
I had met this boy with the beautiful brown eyes, handsome face and heart of gold only mere days before this encounter. When I first met him I could see immediately that he radiated sincerity. I felt no fear in placing my authentic self before him. I laid my cards on the table on day one, telling him my fears, mistakes, dreams, problems…and half expected him to run for dear life. Instead he took my brokenness, held my wounded heart in his hands and had me understanding something I hadn’t even begun to fathom all through the simple actions of walking towards me and asking: “Doesn’t that feel better?”
And when I blatantly lied, cheeks flushed and heart pounding…he didn’t call my bluff. He smiled.
By showing me what it meant to be chased, what it meant to be taken care of, he demanded that I see myself as God saw me. He reminded me that God literally takes delight in my existence…and that God created me because I am worth loving, fighting for and chasing.
We all are.
And, no, it doesn’t feel “better.” It feels…amazing.
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