Are you …. captivating?

Sunday was the first full day of my forty-ninth year.
Saturday was the day that I celebrated my birthday, the equinox and the first day of autumn.
The slowing of my days with the waning of sunshine
puts me to sleep like the trees and the critters.

Since the day was stunningly beautiful and perfectly temperatured,
I had to get out … get away … get into the sun and make some Vitamin D.

My list of dreaded activities includes taxes and resumes.

It also includes reading the book Captivated. The thought haunts me.

When I became inspired to go on this adventure,
I packed my backpack with water and a snack, highlighters, a blanket
and the book Captivating … a recent gift from my pastor.
“Okay, Lord, I’ll read it. But, You are really going to have to help me!”

 

The afternoon was ethereal … the air breezy … the water slick.
Adults were in kayaks, on bikes and on foot
with children, pets, spouses and best friends.

I rode through the shadows
and made my way to
lie in the sun.

I tried to read Captivating years ago …. not too long before I became single.
But, I couldn’t read.
The book …. was too difficult.
Lies. I couldn’t believe them.
If the book was true … I am captivating ??? ……..
… if the book was t.r.u.e…..
then I wouldn’t be single … alone.

I am fairly certain that I got no further in this book
than the introduction.
I remember reading, “women feel they are ‘too much’ and ‘not enough.’ ”
I could … and can
com.plete.ly relate to this thought.

And when I read the words, “You are captivating,”
I put the book down.
I could.not.read any farther.

Some time later, I gave the book away.
I didn’t just lOaN it out … I gave it away.
I knew it would be a long time before I would be able to read the book from cover to cover.

This book was a New York Times best seller.
So, this book speaks volumes to many women across our nation.
I am not the only woman who struggles.
I must read.

Even as recently as this weekend,
I found myself grappling with this idea of being “too much.”

I had several dates with a wonderful man. I found myself more and more comfortable around him. He told me once I needed to “let him in.” He wanted to kiss me … but I refused. He told me, if he could kiss me, he “would know.”  I know that a woman’s thinking becomes blurred when she becomes physical. I wanted to wait. I wanted to get to know him better … slowly … to see if he really would like ME for me.

In our weeks of interaction, he was such a pleasure. He is a kind, giving man. He is patient and interesting. He didn’t mind when my conversation ran off on rabbit trails or skipped tracks altogether. He told me time and again that he would love to have the chance to spoil me because he didn’t think anyone had done so.  He was fully accepting. He was always so complimentary … not using flattery, but simply complimenting me here and there.

But, I knew I was being careful.
Because he was a phenomenal listener …
even encouraging my trail making as being okay and acceptable.
But, he listened more than he talked.
My gut said that he probably wouldn’t like the way that I look closely at details and motivations.
My gut said that he wouldn’t like the way that I look deeply and question and ponder.
My gut said he wouldn’t like me if he could really hear my thoughts.

If you’ve read here often, you know that I’m a very positive thinker.
I choose to believe the best in people. I find the good from the difficult.
He told me often that he liked my attitude …
but, you see, my attitude is rooted in
taking things apart and working through to accept them
for the good that they have to offer.
That requires the filter of God’s word
and really sifting through.
Some might call it OVER analysis.
For me, it’s the norm
and, I might add, I think it’s a good thing.

 

On Saturday night, he took me out to eat. I took along one of my favorite books, The Book of Questions.
It is a book of conversation starters. It asks;
– If you knew you could cheat and win an important competition for your business without getting caught,
would you do it?
– Do you usually say what you really think or what people want to hear?
– Is there anything so bad that you would turn your spouse in to the police upon finding it out?
– At a meal, your friends begin belittling a common acquaintance. If you felt their criticism was unjustified,
would you defend the person?

Between spending time with this friend, sitting on an outdoor deck at a restaurant I had not visited prior and planning to bring along this book,
I was thrilled about the night.

And it was an absolutely lovely evening. There was a sweet breeze sweeping across that wooden deck. Dinner was delectable and I enjoyed thoroughly listening to my friend answer questions. I felt like I was getting to know him better. This was good!

The friend is getting ready to move. He indicated that he might move back as soon as possible, if he had a reason. He pressured me to give him indication about how I felt about him. As much as I liked him, my biggest struggle is that we do not share a similar passion for God. Through the year’s, I’ve begun to realize that THIS has to be the base of my closest relationships. While my closest female friendships share this commonality, it is even more of a must in a male companion.

After playing with The Book of Questions, he pointed out that I have a tendency to
“over-analyze.”

My heart dropped.

I felt like I finally let down my guard just a bit … I was letting him in …
and he didn’t like what he saw.
Did you hear it? What I heard was  …. I am “too much.”
If he thought I over-analyzed after just a few weeks of friendship,
his distaste would surely deepen as he got to know me more.

And since he is moving,
he pulled me close to kiss him.
I did not fully resist .. I wanted so much just to hug him.
But, he knew.
He sent me a text the next day that said, “I hope things go well for you. Take care.”

And so, I read. I will turn these difficult pages. I will read John and Stasi’s words. I will pray over the chapters.
I will ask God to search my heart and help me embrace who I am.
I need to settle this in my heart.
If God built me this way, how is it helpful
if men do not like it?

Because I do not want to believe that I am “too much,”
but that is what I hear.

I analyze and I cannot stifle that movement in my heart and mind
any more than I can turn off creativity or desire for the outdoors or my passion for encouragement.
I COULD but do not WANT
to blur the “filter” I use to view life.  I strive to see the world through God’s eyes
and I believe this to be a good thing.

It is exhausting to try to live life trying to be someone you are not.
I did that for years. I do not want to do it again.

 


And so, I begin to turn the pages of these chapters.
Can God use the Eldredges to help me accept myself… embrace myself?? ….
when some men do not like what they see?

I am trusting
hoping
and praying that He can.

Have you struggled with being “too much” or “not enough?”
Have you read the book Captivating?
How are you doing now?
Have God helped you work this through?

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6 thoughts on “Are you …. captivating?

  1. Wow. I was given the book “Captivating” as a gift. I read the introduction. I put it down. It got dusty. I gave it away. Sound familiar? Maybe someday….

    Like

    1. Really, Amy? You’re not just quoting me, but you did the same? Oh my. So … it’s NOT just me. It’s tough, isn’t it? I’m going to read through it. I’m going to take in the words. I am going to make them mine. I am going to love myself through and through because I am made in the image of God. I was made this way for a reason. Just because some men do not understand me doesn’t mean I need to change. I just need to find a man who will strive to understand me and still love the parts he does not. And if he never comes, so be it. I will be content to be who I am.
      And I will keep telling myself these things
      until they are part of me.

      Do you think you could try the book again?
      I’d be willing to work through the study questions with you.
      We could hold each other accountable to read ..
      because I
      know
      it’s
      going
      to
      get
      tough.
      {{hug}}

      Like

      1. I was all ready to reply to you, saying something like,”oh well, I don’t have a copy of the book because I gave mine away….but good luck!” Then I stopped for a second and thought….HELLO. I work in a church. That has a library. No excuses there. Maybe they don’t even have it anyway. Yeah, right…..
        So, I got the key and went down the hall. Two copies. The one I got hasn’t been checked out since 2006, so I think I’m pretty safe if I want to keep it longer than two weeks. 🙂
        Not sure if there are discussion questions in my copy…but I’m willing to “discuss” via email or facebook chat if you’re so inclined.
        Gonna start reading tonight!

        Like

        1. Okay, Amy. I dug through the Introduction while at the river. Want to try to conquer the first chapter in the next day or two? I have a study guide type journal that is chock full of questions. I will send you the questions soon (tonight or tomorrow) and we can go from there.

          I’m really going to pray about it. I don’t want this to be “another book.” I want it to be life changing … like Shaunti Feldhahn’s book For Women Only was for me in my marriage …. or Michael Pearl’s books on raising children. Go God!!

          Blessings.

          – k@ren

          Like

          1. Let’s do it! I have missed my Monday morning Bible study group since I’ve been working full time, and have been looking for something…but waiting for the “right” thing. This must be it! 🙂
            Looking forward to growing together!

            Like

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