Wrestling

My spirit nudged me again as I got into my car after church. The Spirit asked, “Will you really ignore My suggestion?” A huff escaped my mouth. I placed my Bible into the slot on the door and my notebook into the opening beneath the radio. I turned the car on, still unable to answer God with a solid yes or no. I didn’t want to buy her flowers. I wanted to be done.

I turned the car on and pulled out of the lot. My heart became heavy as the fear of the Lord began to grow. I had previously asked for His guidance. I wanted His advice. I was losing the woman He promised me. My future wife was slipping from my grasp. I asked what I should, and I immediately felt the urge to buy her flowers. The answer was clear.

Normally, if any woman treated me as she did, she would be ignored. Her number and our text threads would be deleted, and all social media connections would be severed. The bitterness, anger, and pettiness was definitely alive in me. I had done this before, and I desperately wanted to this again. I’d rather never see you again than to trying to reach a ghost. The only reason I relented was just to be obedient.

Seven years ago, I asked God who my wife was. Seven years ago, I started having dreams about her. I wanted to prove I trusted Him with my love life in addition to my career, character, and daily decisions. He did not delay in His answer, but years had passed with no manifestation of that answer. No wife had come. The timing never aligned.

I wanted to believe; I wanted to trust Him. However, my experiences with her were loathsome. She was no different than the world. I wanted no parts even before I agreed to be silent, obedient, and wait on God. His choice never made sense to me, but His ways are above my ways, aren’t they? Are not His thoughts above my thoughts?

Quickly, I changed my Gospel music to secular rap music. I didn’t want to hear about God. I didn’t want to talk to Him. I wanted to listen to the songs that dissed women in favor of pride. She was a woman who didn’t need saving. She was a woman, who knew she was pretty, that took pity upon me after years of perseverance. She didn’t care about me at all.

My thoughts began to remember every interaction and every response. She had ignored me for years. I threw myself at her between every relationship she had. I kept believing, if God chose her, we’d both see why before long. It was humiliating and out of character for me, but I believed the dreams. God wouldn’t have allowed me to lie to myself for so long.

Years went by as opportunities had been fumbled. I was too shy and too pressured every time I saw her. I wanted the easy path and it never came. I wanted quiet conversations, but the rooms were loud. I wanted undivided attention, but always ended up surrounded by friends. I had dramatized our first meetings, dates, and conversations in my head, and my mind retaliated with acute nervousness.

Still, the Lord asked me, as I was approaching the area where she worked, “Will you defy Me over some flowers?”

The pressure in my chest tightened. I was angry. Why would God let me further embarrass myself over a woman who clearly wasn’t interested in me? She enjoyed our first date. We talked for hours on the phone. She called me a good man. She wanted me to spend the night with her. She left despite all of this, simply because I refused to spend the night.

I did not know her well enough, and I certainly knew myself. I was a good man. Good men don’t place themselves in places where temptation is strongest against their weaknesses. There was no way I’d lay next to one of the finest women I’ve ever seen for a whole night and try nothing. Surely, a woman of God would understand that. Yet, here I was, having not heard from her in weeks. Seven years of waiting returned with two weeks of interaction and, ultimately, rejection. Yet, God still wanted me to buy her flowers.

I passed a grocery store. I passed a flower shop. The pressure increased. The nudges from the Holy Spirit started to feel like shoves. It was becoming unbearable. My hands clinched the steering wheel as I gritted my teeth. Why should I have to do this for someone who’s ungrateful and will not change?

“If you will rebel against Me over this, what else will you rebel in?” the Spirit asked.

I closed my lips shut. I sighed through my nose. I expressed every ounce of anger without speaking. Was I really prepared to tell God no? Did I despise this woman so much that I couldn’t do such a simple gesture? Could I still be obedient when I didn’t want to be?

I couldn’t answer the questions, but the pressure was not leaving me. God was determined to hold the line on His suggestion. My bitterness and pettiness still wanted the final say. I was tormenting myself going back and forth in my mind. Should I obey, or should I remain heading towards home?

My mouth began to tremble. Like a spoiled child being forced to eat food they don’t like, I was upset to the point of tears. “Really?” I asked myself in distaste. “You’re really letting this upset you to this degree? Are you really having a temper tantrum?” I hit the dash of my car in anger. I turned the music from rap to rock. I wanted to scream, “Leave me alone!” but my spirit knew I needed to have a humble heart posture and listen to God.

If I couldn’t stand firm in either direction, I knew I needed more advice, accountability, and another vote. So, I turned down the music, and called my mom. She knew me and she knew God even more. Surely, she’d provide the right answer.

She answered, instantly hearing the distress in my voice. I told her of the war going on inside me. How I had come to loath this woman so much that I wanted nothing to do with her anymore, but God had this assignment for me. She knew where my affections for this woman started. She knew how I felt when I finally received my first date.

Her answer was simple, “If God is the one asking you to buy flowers, you buy flowers. It’s just flowers. It’s not going to kill you. You do what you’re supposed to do and let God deal with the rest. You don’t let her get under your skin like that. You remain in peace, be obedient, and let God move on your behalf.”

Her advice was solid, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I hated it. I was now outvoted, and my anger seeped further into my soul. I was really going to have to buy flowers against my will. I was going to have to turn back around, go back to the area she worked, and buy her some stupid flowers.

Less tormented, I did as I agreed. Though I was three exits past her job, and on the back half of my drive home, I got off the highway, turned around, and went to the grocery store I had passed to find some flowers. I felt embarrassed. No one knew, but it felt like everyone knew.

This man was buying flowers for a woman even though she didn’t want him. He refused to stay one night with her, every man’s dream. He refused the chance to cuddle with his long-time crush. The fool! He lost the blessing God gave him! “How sad,” my own mind uttered. I regretted nothing, but I was angrily obedient.

Every action was done with disdain. A jerked the car in acceleration. I jerked the car in braking. I ripped the keys from the ignition. I shut the door with added force. I felt like a fool. Like a child having to apologize to the sibling because the sibling convinced the parent that the innocent one was the troublemaker.

I entered the store and approached the floral department. I searched through thirty bouquets with more than half of them being roses only. There is nothing wrong with the rose, but after hearing it being commonplace and unoriginal, I decided I wouldn’t buy them. Besides, I had already started a list of things she liked, and lilies were her flower. If I was going to buy her flowers, I was going to my best. I wouldn’t just buy a bouquet with dead flowers hanging off the sides. I’d buy pristine flowers.

That’s when my eyes caught a glimpse, and my heart lingered, I stopped at a rainbow bouquet of chrysanthemums. There were groupings of blue, red, yellow, pink, and orange chrysanthemums all spread out. It screamed beautiful. The soft petals, the sweet aroma, and the array of colors drew me in. If a woman didn’t like these flowers, she was disturbed. There was no way she’d reject these. The excitement of finding such a perfect bouquet faded when I remembered who they were for and how little they’d be appreciated. Regardless, I hoped God would be happy.

Still bitter and angered, I purchased the flowers, hoping no one would comment on them or ask me who they’re for. It would be awkward pretending like she was special to me, especially when it was understood that she was ghosting me. Having to call her anything pleasant would’ve irked me. Luckily, no one asked about the flowers. I checked out, walked back to my car, and headed towards her job without any intrusive questioning. Glory to God.

The closer I came to her job, the more nervous I became. I hadn’t seen her in weeks. I hadn’t had texts returned or calls answered. It didn’t matter if I had left a message or not. She was done with me. One refusal and she was out. Why was I nervous?

I began to think of her reaction. Would she be creeped out? Would she be mad? None of the responses I envisioned from her seemed well. I imagined I’d get told to take the hint and leave, or we’d have an awkward exchange because I should’ve stayed gone. My mind was doing what it has always done: overanalyze, overdramatize, and cripple my reality.

I pulled up to the packed parking garage, drove all the way to the top, and parked. I turned the engine off, reached for the door, and stopped. I was really about to do this. I felt so creepy and foolish. I was doing too much for someone who wouldn’t appreciate it. Something was wrong with me. Was this really God? He isn’t the author of confusion, and yet I was confused? Every moment that led to this situation logically said I shouldn’t do this. I shouldn’t give this woman anything but my permanent absence.

Not fully convinced I was doing the right thing, I called my dad. I hid what I was doing from him. I called him simply to give my mind and body some ease. I felt dehydrated and my throat felt swollen. I was acutely nervous again, and the thoughts were racing uncontrollably. I was losing my peace.

Hearing his voice, listening to his highlights from the past month, and paying attention to his current day restored me. I didn’t say much. I just had to listen. Every time he ran out of subject, I asked another question to keep him talking. I knew he’d eventually ask about the latest things going on in my life, but I needed to have less trembling in my voice before he did so. I was completely flustered. I didn’t understand how I arrived to this state. I could reason my way to an understanding, but whether or not it’d make sense was unknown.

Frequently, my eyes gazed at the clock atop the vents in the center of the car. The longer he talked, the more I delayed, the more silly I felt. “You really need this conversation to have some guts? You need your parents to talk to a girl? You’re really that scared of a woman’s response? Can you man up?” As much as I hated it, I did and I didn’t know if I could.

I wasn’t accustomed to buying flowers. I had never shown up to a job. I had never said, “I love you,” to someone who said it back. I had never been close to being in love. I was out of my element, out of my will, and it felt like I was out of my mind. I felt creepy, foolish, a glutton for punishment, weak, and like the little kid with a crush in elementary. I felt naïve and extremely young.

I told my dad about where I was “driving” to. I did not mention God. I did not mention my mother. I did not mention my tantrum. I only mentioned that I decided to buy flowers, and I was going to deliver them to her.

He asked the typical questions: why and who. I let on that it was for someone I liked, but she probably didn’t like me back. I also explained that I felt silly and nervous about it.

He told me, “It’s okay. Sometimes, you like a girl, and it takes her a while to realize all of the great things you have to offer. Takes people a while to see the heart. You’re a good man. She’ll see that. I wouldn’t be nervous about it. I’d just do it. Let her know what’s up. Be confident. Whatever happens after that happens. Don’t sweat it.”

“Right…” I sighed. “Well, dad… I’m here,” I said as if I hadn’t been sitting in my car for thirty minutes.

“Yeah?”

“I’ve pulled up to her job, so… I’m going to bring her these flowers now.”

“Good luck, mayne. Call me back later.”

That was it. That was the last conversation I needed to have before settling back into my peace and gaining my boldness to go forward. No more trembling. No more sitting in the car for 30 minutes afraid to face the risk. My faith had to be resuscitated here. I had to show God I’d obey even in my disagreement. His will had to be prioritized before my own.

I left my car. My feet like I had just worked out with the maximum weight I could lift. Each step felt like I was going to fall over. People were leaving the area and coming in. I couldn’t afford to look weak. I was a man.

Step after step, my stride become more stable. My feet became grounded. I was going to do it. I had to. I walked down the stairs and around the corner with my head down, making no eye contact with anyone. I’d only look up just in case I’d see her on the street instead of at her job. She was only a block from me. She, this answered prayer, this gift from God, this worldly woman, was about to get some flowers.

I looked at the building up and down. I looked inside at the facility and noticed all the people working out. The gym was full of people, and her section was visible from where I stood. I couldn’t see her, and it made me more anxious. Still, my feet moved forward.

I came to the final corner. My heart was beating out of my chest. Would she be embarrassed by me? Would she be mad at me? Would she be nonchalant? Would she disrespect me in front of her people? No one knew but the Lord, and He wouldn’t lead me into a something I couldn’t handle.

My hand gripped the metal rail on the door. I flung the door open and quickly stepped inside. The warm temperature quickly left for a cool breeze of air conditioning. I looked towards the front desk of the gym. I walked up to the lady at the counter.

She saw the flowers. The questions were running through her mind. Who were the flowers for? Who was I? Why did I decide to bring them here? Who’s the special lady?

I asked, “Is (she) here?” The connections were being formed. The judgments were being made. She knows you? You are interested in her? You’re bringing her flowers? Here was the crucial moment!

The lady’s face became perturbed. How did I not know? If I’m buying her flowers, I should know. She looked at me like I knew something she didn’t. She said, “Um…She’s not here today…”

“Oh…” I responded partially relieve and partially upset. “Okay.”

“I’m sorry. They look beautiful though.”

“Thank you. It’s no problem.”

I turned away, heading back towards the door I had entered. What kind of man doesn’t know the schedule of the girl he wants to bring flowers to? Who cares? I was relieved I didn’t have to see her. A heavy pressure released from my body as I walked away. I was obedient. I tried to bring her flowers, but she wasn’t there. I hope You’re happy, God.

As I walked down the block back to the parking garage, I laughed. “You really made this into a big ordeal for nothing. Like I would cause you to be embarrassed,” I felt God say. “I just wanted to know if you’d listen.” I shook my head and breathed another sigh of relief. “Something is wrong with me,” I thought, a little embarrassed. “I have got to stop overthinking it.”

I made it back to my car like I was the student athlete walking back from the big game. I was relieved I no longer had to be in that tension. I could relax and accept it was over. I could go home now.

I placed the flowers in a vase. They lasted a week. I never gave them to her. I never went back to the job. I didn’t follow up with more texts or calls. She never knew what I tried to do for her and God that day. It was just a test of priorities. I was through pursuing her, and I felt God understood. I wanted nothing else to do with her.

I chuckled to myself several times on the ride home, and in my room. I laughed at the tantrum. I laughed at the need to call my parents. I laughed at how weak my body felt going through with it. My mind caused me so much unnecessary turmoil, but it was still mine to control. I really did not want to do it, but God needed me to see how important He had become to me. I’d do something I didn’t want to do in order to please Him. It is one of the basic fundamentals of Christianity. Those who love God obey His commandments, whether they want to or not. I obeyed. I’m just glad my test was only to give flowers and love my neighbor as I loved myself…






END

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