December 31, 2014
It’s New Years again and I find myself back where 2014 started for me..Metter, GA on the Simmons farm for a giant fire and $170 worth of fireworks with many of my closest friends.
But as I drove south this year, a few days early, everything was different.
Last year I came hesitantly, unsure whether I wanted to face some of the situations that awaited me here. I was afraid I would regret it. But Evan, a close friend at the time, convinced me to come and sent me the song “Kill Your Heroes” to inspire me. The line that gave me the courage I needed was, “Never let your fear decide your fate.”
That’s been the mantra of 2014 and Evan Simmons is the man who has helped me to live it out.
At the time, Evan and I were both harboring secret feelings for each other, but my fear of relationships kept me from admitting that to even my best girl friends. I was a little sad because I sensed I had a chance with him but decided to let it pass by because I knew it would only end in hurt for one or both of us.
So when he confessed his feelings a few days later, I wasn’t initially ready to say yes, despite my desire to. Instead I told him why it was a bad idea, how he would regret it down the road after it ended. He helped me call it what it is – fear.
So I listened to the words of Awolnation and considered my fate, which would be alone forever according to my strategy, and he convinced me it was worth the risk, so a little while later I agreed to a date, and then surprised myself by agreeing to a relationship, but only after ample warnings and a mutual understanding that it could end at any time.
I guess you could say commitment has never been my strong suit.
As we dated, I loosened up and month by month, fears would present themselves and Evan would help me say “yes” to them. In this time I said “yes” to working at a camp in Texas without knowing a single soul, said “yes” to playing the keys on stage every night for 3 months for the teenagers at that camp (I hate playing for people), said “yes” to living at home in order to pursue the founding of a non-profit media ministry. Daily facing the fear of having no income, knowing nothing about business, and just barely knowing media. But whenever one of us would falter in faith, the other would remind ourselves that God is faithful and He’s brought us far.
And throughout all this, God was dredging up the greatest fear of all: marriage. You can ask anyone who knows me, and they will tell you that marriage is my biggest fear. All summer at camp I defended my “3 Year Rule” and claimed I would never marry without dating for at least 3 years, because in my mind that’s how long it took to know whether that person would fail you or leave you.
A conversation from the movie, The Giver, describes exactly why marriage is the scariest thing in the world:
“Do you love someone? I do. I’ve cried and felt true sorrow. I’ve sung, danced. Felt real joy.”
“Then you should know better than anyone.”
“If you could only see the possibility of love. With love comes faith, comes hope.”
“Love is just passion that can turn. It turns into contempt and murder.”
“We could choose better.”
“People are weak. People are selfish. When people have the freedom to choose, they choose wrong. Every single time.”
I have always seen love as a passion that is bound to turn. And marrying someone is just giving them the opportunity to turn against you with no way to walk away. I don’t know where I got this idea, seeing as I have several examples of wonderful long-lasting happy marriages around me, but I’ve taught myself to assume the worst as a means of protecting myself from it. Then I won’t be the fool that is caught off-guard when life comes.
I explained my theory to Evan early in the relationship, who shares The Givers view of love being an avenue of faith and hope. He could’ve run or banished me to an ice castle, but he just listened and asked questions and started doing everything he could to prove me wrong. Never in my life have I been so happy to be proved wrong. Over and over and over again.
So one night as we walked along the beach in Savannah, Evan brought up the word that I had avoided and side-stepped around thus-far: marriage. He didn’t ask me to marry him, but he asked me if he ever could. Aside from the fact that we had basically planned a long-term career traveling the world together, I knew I loved him. But I still launched into a million reasons why we shouldn’t. We would hurt one another, we would stop loving- or even liking- on another, one of us would change completely, we would be stuck with no way out. People are weak.
He agreed. People are weak and those things very well could happen. But he explained that while he loved me, his hope is in Jesus, not me. I don’t have the power to destroy him and if my hope is in God, he doesn’t have the power to destroy me either.
It’s true. I had spent almost a year evaluating my relationship with Evan, searching him to find if he would be faithful. He has been and will be. But it was never enough because the relationship I needed to search and cling to the most is the one I have with God. And God’s faithfulness is absolute truth. He is strong enough to put my hope in and He’s been kind enough to bless me with a man that reminds me of that every day.
So my fears of marriage haven’t been dispelled, but Evan has patiently taught me all year to say “yes” to my fears instead of reasoning with them or waiting for them to simply go away.
And so when he asked me to marry him on December 19th, well before our 3 year-anniversary, I said “yes” and I didn’t even hesitate. And now, in 2015, Evan Simmons will my fate, for better or for worse. For richer or for poorer (which will probably be the case).
Here’s to a new year with new fears.
“New Years and old fears
Exploded in the night sky
Kindled your cold heart.”
-Evan Simmons 6-10-14