Rick Halkyard: I can’t save you

Posted by in Faith | October 8, 2012

Thinking of one piece of advice that I would’ve given to myself my freshmen year of high school is something I don’t have to consider greatly. The answer for me, specifically, is obvious. I would’ve sat me down and very bluntly told myself that I do not have the ability to save someone. Nor do I have the ability to be someone else’s foundation or source of security.

I befriended a girl my sophomore year of high school and soon afterwards, we entered into a relationship. I didn’t realize this at the time, but my effort to maintain and build that relationship was completely selfish. I made that relationship my everything – it was my salvation. She gave me purpose and for the first time, I was happy.

However, whenever that relationship was harmed, whether it was by me or someone else, it shook my foundation and I felt that everything around me was crumbling. After a worrisome and exhausting year of doing that, I got a call from her one night to come over to her house and that was all she said. On the ten minute drive from my house to hers I kept thinking that she was going to break it off. When I got to her house, I found out that that wasn’t the case. She told me over the course of three hours and streams of tears that she had an eating disorder call CE (Compulsive Eater). This began a difficult three years of regret…

Up until my sophomore year of college had ended, this girl I was dating reached new levels of low. It was not uncommon for our plans to be ruined by her episodes (times of her overeating) and her deep, unpredictable bouts of depression. But, I still felt that she was my reason for living and that the ultimate plan was marrying her and having children – and believe me, I was convinced of that. So, I did everything in my power to try and be her crutch. I would coach her, give her pep talks, constantly reiterate that she was beautiful, held her as she cried, and other things that escape me now.

I felt needed, which every guy wants from a woman – to be needed. Yet, something was missing. My consolations never worked. She would always be the same and sometimes regress to feel even worse. I began to slowly feel like a failure myself. Early second semester of my sophomore year of college, I remember thinking one night if this is your reason for living and you’re failing at it, you’re really failing at life. I broke down in front of my best friend and wept openly. But I swore she would get better and I felt pious for sticking it out, as if I was the grand man in it all. Yet, I kept falling short and eventually developed deep bitterness towards her and her weakness. I hated her episodes; I hated her crying. I thought often why can’t you just be better. This was our routine until something radical happened during the summer after my sophomore year of college – I became a follower of Jesus.

After a few short weeks in my walk with Christ, I realized something very wrong about who I was claiming to be for my girlfriend. I realized that I was trying to be her Jesus and she was mine. Instead of trying to be her superman, I needed to be pointing her to the true hero in Christ. Instead of finding my identity as her boyfriend, I needed to be satisfied with my God first. Neither of these things was happening and it ruined our relationship.

I have just graduated college and am joining a campus ministry for a full time staff position. This girl and I broke it off two years ago and have barely spoken. I still can feel guilt at times for how that relationship went and how much of a boy I was, under the charming guise of claiming manhood. Unfortunately, my behavior (and frankly, idolatry) built up a complex to be perfect for women and others I know. In certain ways, it affects the relationship I have right now with a wonderful women who absolutely loves the Lord. This, I’m convinced, is a result of me foolishly thinking that I could ever be Christ for someone else and that anyone could do something for me that Jesus hasn’t already. I fight the temptation to think that each and everyday; but sometimes (and I’m not sure if this is right) I wish someone had told me I couldn’t save someone else before I had ever met her.

Rick Halkyard

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