I met a young man named Adam who was carrying a large wooden cross.
Let me back up. My family had taken a trip to the beach and we were walking along the boardwalk one evening when we came across this scene: a young man, standing on the side of the boardwalk, holding a large wooden cross over his left shoulder.
Struck by curiosity, I walked over to this young man and asked him why he was holding this cross. “Honestly, I’m not sure” He explained to me that he himself was walking along the boardwalk when he saw an older gentleman walking around with this cross. The man was tired, and looked like he needed a break. So this young man volunteered to step in for him- to carry his cross for him.
This opened the door for some more conversation, and Adam went on to tell me about his own journey and how this life had left him with a broken heart. Straight out of high school he had big goals and dreams. But those dreams got side tracked when he decided to pursue love instead. He gave his heart to a young woman and put the vision he had for his life on hold. Unfortunately, she ended up breaking his heart two years later. Now he was feeling lost, confused, and unsure of the next steps. He had put so much of his focus into her and now he was unsure of where to focus.
Sometimes, in the pursuit of finding true love…we end up losing ourselves.
I went on to explain to Adam the significance of this large wooden cross he was carrying, that symbolized a man the journey of a man named Jesus who carried a cross 2,000 years ago. Adam said he believed in God, but he didn’t really know God. I talked to Adam about God and the deep love he had for him. I encouraged Adam to fix his focus on his getting to know Jesus- the only relationship in this world that can measure up and provide stability. I challenged Adam that in order to find true love, he first had to take the time to find himself.
My heart goes out to Adam because there are so many people just like him; trying so hard to find love but all the while losing themselves. Young men and women who have never really taken the time to get to know who they are.
People who are more focused on who they are with, rather than who they are. It’s easy to get lost in the search, isn’t it? It’s easy to put your life on hold and then never get back to living. It’s easy to focus on this one thing, and in the end, to lose sight of everything else.
To all the Adams out there: My prayer is that you would begin taking ownership of who you are standing alone. That your identity would never be dependent on who you are with, but rather, on who God has made you to be. That your relationship with God would be so firmly rooted so that your hearts would be overflowing with love at it’s best. That the visions God has placed in your hearts would be the very thing that propels you forward, not allowing room for distractions. And with each passing day, may you come to know the great plans and purposes he has for your life- plans that are dependent on no one else but Him.
Because at the end of the day, the search for true love must always begin with finding yourself.
Debra is a Licensed Professional Counselor specializing in dating, marriage, and relationship issues, along with a spectrum of mental health disorders and issues. She’s the author of True Love Dates, Choosing Marriage, Love in Every Season, Are You Really Ok?, and Married Sex. She’s also the host of the Love + Relationships Podcast, a hotline-style show where people call in to get their relationship questions answered!