A very wise woman said something to me in church yesterday, something that keeps darting around the fridges of my mind, like a tiny caged bird with a secret. An important secret.
She was talking about her own experiences, yet revealed a principle that applies across the board to anyone who has ever been hurt in a relationship. (and who would that leave out?)
She said (not verbatim, but the gist) "I want to be healed from my divorce, so when I am ready to date, I am whole, and healthy, and can bring wholeness and health to my next relationship."
Basic advice. Good advice. You've heard that before.
But then she said:
"You know that feeling you get, when you're with someone, and you're so comfortable? So familiar? You might have just met or not known each other long, yet there's that part of you that meets this need in them and completes them and that part of them that helps you and fills the gaps in you..."
I didn't get it.
"That's not healthy. That's finding your worth and completion in each other instead of in Christ, and keeps you broken. That's your broken meeting their broken and there is no wholeness there for either of you."
Because that's exactly what I've been doing.
I've been searching for that element of familiar with someone, that level of comfort with someone because I thought that implied it was a good choice. A wise decision. A smart match.
Not realizing that my broken, like a magnet, was still simply attracting more broken.
Sometimes comfort can be a bad thing, familiar a dangerous thing. I've confessed my temptations and failures so many times to friends and counselors because of one truth - the fact that to a broken heart, familiar--even bad familiar--is more appealing than the unknown or the fear of nothing.
Sometimes, comfort can be a monster under our bed, waiting to snatch and grab and claw.
There's good comfort, too, of course. The comfort that Jesus talks about in 2 Corinthians 1. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."
Did you catch that? It comes from God first. Not another broken soul.
That sense of security and safety that our shattered hearts seek? That's not to be found in a person. Because they have their own cracks and their own issues seeping through, and the broken can't heal the broken.
At the end of the day, the end of the week, the end of the month, the end of the money, the end of the marriage, the end of the job, the end of the relationship, the end of the loved one's life, we all need comfort from God first.
I believe one method God uses to comfort His children is through His other children - but this typically happens from someone who is healthy and able to minister from the other side of the storm.
I'm re-evaluating my comfort system, my definition of familiar, and my idea of safety.
It might just mean our comfort zones turn out to be one of the most dangerous places for healing hearts to be.