the ache of being an option, not an only one.

there is an ache
a desire to be chosen
not a choice

there is an ache
a desire to be an only
not an option

there is an ache
a desire to be chased
not confused

there is an ache
a desire to be pursued
not used and abused

it is just over a year
since i published
the ache of being an only one
i could never
have imagined
that a year later
on the other side
of so much pain
i would be writing again
a second reflection:
the ache of being an option, not an only one

nobody wants to be an option
nobody wants to be a maybe

there is a difference a between a belief in “the one”
[ if there such a thing ]
versus a definition of choosing to love only a “one”

my conclusion
is that i would rather be single
than settle for something
or rather, for someone
who doesn’t choose me
as their only one

i would have never thought
that i would say that
after learning
the deep ache of being an only one
but i would rather that ache again
than this ache of being an option

what is this ache
this desire in our hearts
to be loved
to be chosen

a desire not only to find
the one
but to be seen as
the one

what even is love

ravi zacharias speaks of love
as sacrifice and worship
bob goff speaks of love
as sacrifice and presence
the bible speaks of love
as sincere [rom.12:9-10], patient [eph. 4:2],
a command [john 15:12, 1 john 4:12],
servant [gal. 5:13], and sacrificial [john 3:16].

there is this thread:
love is a sacrifice

love is also a choice

we must choose to love
and to love
and to love

and to love again

we must not choose once
but daily, hourly

we must choose
a n d
keep choosing

that looks like serving
and sacrificing
it also looks like confessing
and forgiving

it looks like setting aside your own needs and wants
and putting the needs and wants and heart of another first
it looks like knowing the heart of another

we are commanded to love God
with our whole hearts [matt 22:37]
but we struggle with this
w h o l e h e a r t e d n e s s

when we look to our own hearts
not many of us can say we are living wholehearted
oftentimes, we are half-hearted
our hearts and desires are divided

despite our inability to love wholly and fully
the love we see that God has for us is one that pursues
and He loves His own by speaking the truth in love

“Truth isn’t mean and love isn’t dishonest. They are two sides of the same righteous agenda that longs for the spiritual welfare of another. Truth not spoken in love ceases to be truth because it gets bent and twisted by human agendas and love that abandons the truth ceases to be love because it forsakes what is best for the person when it has been corrupted by other motives” [unknown source]

how do we speak the truth in love?
we need to have hard conversations
and not fear losing the love of another
is it even love if there is no truth?

there needs to be honesty
there needs to be openness
there needs to be transparency
there needs to be accountability
there needs to be clarity

all of these
i am not so good at
because i am afraid
i am afraid of losing
i don’t want the consequences
of those hard conversations
but i realise that avoiding them
only leads to greater loss
a n d
more pain, more hurt
the grief goes deeper
the ache

i reflected
on the greatest picture of love
that we have
the cross

i wondered
what does this tell us about love?
was this a choice? was this a sacrifice?

it was both
but which one came first?

is a choice 
b e f o r e
it is a sacrifice

jesus had to choose
whether to be obedient
to the point of death

jesus had to choose
whether to listen to his father

jesus had to choose
to put his fathers will
before his own
[“yet not my will,
but yours be done”
he says in luke 22:42]

jesus had to choose
to trust that his father
knew what was needed

jesus had to choose
to trust that his father
knew the price of love

jesus had to choose
to sacrifice himself
for the sake of others

jesus had to choose
to sacrifice himself
for the sake of love

jesus had to choose
before he sacrificed

in our relationship with God
we are not loved
because we are chosen
we are chosen
because we are loved

this changes things
we do not earn or prove our love
[1 john 4:19]

how does this speak to our modern day dating:
where we are told
that we are not “official”
we are not “in a relationship”
we are not “loved”
until we are chosen

while at the same time
we are told
that we are not “wanted”
we are not “desirable”
unless we are available
an option, not an only
a choice, not chosen

there is an ache
that comes into play
where we begin to tie our worth
to our worthiness of love

the risk of doing this
is that when we are rejected
[not in a relationship]
when we are an option
[not an only one]
we trigger another ache
one of existential pain

there is the temptation to believe
that we are not worthy of love

there is the temptation to believe
the lie that we are not good enough

when this is the truth:
we are loved and chosen by Love Himself

this is the most beautiful gift we have
we are offered an invitation
not to be with “the one” or “a one”
but even more-so
we are invited into oneness with God
one body, one sprit, one hope, one God, one faith, one baptism
[ephesians 4]
we are invited into the love and unity of the trinity

there are triggers for that ache
the ache of being an option, not an only one

so i want to highlight some things i have been learning
so you can avoid having to experience the ache of this existential pain:

we cannot ever assume intention
we cannot read into silence
we cannot even let actions speak louder than words
we cannot let ambiguity be an answer
we cannot assume to be on the same page as another
all of these are misleading
none of these are truth
we must go to the source
we must talk to God and talk to other

where there is unspoken
there is a greater risk of
walking away more broken

we must learn to listen to God
we must be honest with Him
about our heart murmurs
we must be honest with ourselves
and then we must be honest with others

there cannot be true intimacy
spiritually, emotionally or physically
without vulnerability
a n d
the risk is that we go there spiritually and even physically
without checking in emotionally
to address the assumptions and unspoken
and have the conversation about the hard things

articulating feelings isn’t easy for most of us
they’re felt
they’re not seen
they’re not even heard
we don’t have a vocabulary for vulnerability
we try to put words onto our emotions
like we try to put clothes on our bodies
sometimes they bring out parts of our shape and character and true form
othertimes they only seek to disguise and disfigure us

none of us wants to have uncomfortable conversations
when things are going well
but if we don’t, how can we truly know if things are going well?
if it seems to be going well
but there is no clarity in communication and openness about feelings
there will be assumptions and conclusions we make to fill in the gaps
which will only lead to expectations and disappointment
when all the unspoken things and feelings start to come to light

the scary thing about our feelings
is that when we feel this ache
we experience emotional pain
the same as physical pain
it activates the same part of our brain
[ read the science behind this here]

the only thing is emotional pain
doesn’t have the temporary shock relief
that we can experience with physical pain

this is why rejection hurts so much
this is why grief and loss of love leaves us aching
there are endless pangs to our wounded longings

last night
after one of the hardest conversations i’ve had in this space
i nearly walked onto a main road
i could not see or think properly
with my tear-streaked eyes, nor my soul-torn thoughts

i made a remark, that the pain of being hit by a car
was probably preferable to the pain i was feeling

he thought i was joking, but i was fully serious

it wasn’t the first time i had thought this way
a couple of days ago
God was preparing me for the existential pain to come
i looked out over the city
on a wharf over the water
and contemplated walking straight off
instead of confronting the pain

but i didn’t because i know that Love has made a way
and there is a way through this pain

last night
before our hard conversation had even begun
i was tearing the napkin in front of me, ever so slightly
it is almost as though i was preparing myself
for the fragility, the brokenness to come
i left that bar with napkin shards everywhere
and i can say the same for my heart, my hope, my faith

i have been learning a lot about this recently
the hard conversations
the being honest to God, yourself, and others

i came to the hard conclusion
that i needed to stand up for my self
i didn’t want to be an option, i wanted to be an only
i wanted all or nothing
i would rather walk away
then walk with fear, hurt, and distrust

it took a lot of wrestling
to reach that conclusion
i wrote some pretty vile poems
i vented to my nearest and dearest
i asked for prayer and prayed ceaselessly
i went to a pretty dark place
of questioning my worth
i let the lies take root
as this pattern of rejection
taunted me

not being chosen
not being wanted
not being loved
not being worthy
not being the only one

this new ache materialised
that i hadn’t ever acknowledged or put my finger on
this ache was my fear of not being worthy of love

it is easy to read into things
and draw the conclusion
that i am not
worth committing to or worth choosing
and that made me question my worth

but i had to step back;
i had to look in the mirror
and tell the girl in front of me
that she knows her worth
and that she will wait and invest
in those who see it too
i know that i’m going to have
to keep telling that girl that;
she knows her worth
and she will not settle for less than

she will not allow someone
to half heartedly invest in her
while she only seeks
to give her wholehearted self

this is the domain of brene brown
the wholehearted living
it means cultivating courage, compassion and connection
it means acknowledging our imperfection and vulnerability
it means living from a place of knowing
“i am worthy of love and belonging”
it requires searching our souls
listening to our stories and wounds
a n d
translating them into a powerful testimony
of hope and truth and light and love
reframing them into a reason to keep living and loving
instead of giving up and giving in
to the lies and the hurt and the wounds and the feelings of betrayal

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy – the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light” [Brene Brown in Daring Greatly]

i’m not sure if the man
i had this hard conversation with will read this blog or not
but i want to acknowledge that he did not wrong me or intend to hurt me
i wholeheartedly believe that
and i forgive him
in God’s strength

i think forgiving him is easier
then it is to forgive myself

to stop believing the lie
that i am not worthy
and to stop criticising myself
for being naive and foolish
for forever loving those
who never love me back

since my post last year
my hope has been crushed and destroyed
under the dirt of all the rejections and sob stories
i need time for my trust to be rebuilt
but i have come to terms with the fact that:
this is the reality and fragility of broken hearts in a broken world
i’ve been rejected too many times
to pretend that i’m okay with modern dating
i hate it – i hate the games – i hate it
i hate the uncertainty as to whether you are an option
whether the person you’re seeing is seeing other people
we weren’t made for these kinds of trust issues
it’s got to be all or nothing or it’s not worth it
it’s got to be sacrifice and choice

i trust God
and i trust that He will restore my trust in men again
and give me a hope that surpasses the sorrows of my stories
and the patterns of pain that would tempt me to believe
that i am not worthy of love

i have decided
that i need a season of resting and dwelling in His Love
i need a fresh revelation of His Spirit
i need to re-centre my focus on my worth in Christ

i have also decided
that i am not in a position to date
while i long to settle down
to buy a home, to have kids
i would rather be with God
be at peace in his presence

if God ever wants me to date again
He’s going to need to send me a Hosea
a godly man after His heart
who will pray for me and with me
who will fight for me and with me
and spiritually lead me and protect me

i need someone:
who is going to be more passionate about Jesus then he is for me
who pushes me to live and serve the kingdom first and foremost
who centers me in Christ and points to the promises of God
who champions my growth in Christ while also not condemning my flesh
who partners with me to fight the good fight and put on the whole armour of god to wage this war against the principalities of darkness in this world

if i am to no longer be an only one
but to someone’s only one
i’m going to need a kingdom warrior
a man with a hosea heart:
a jesus lens, a spirit focus

to finish this long sob story of a reflection
[ sorry ]
my friend encouraged me
to walk into my hard conversation
with the armour of God on

what stood out to me
as i prayed the prayer my father taught me as a child
[ when i committed ephesians 6 to heart as a young girl ]
was the gospel shoes of peace
when i asked my nearest and dearest for prayer
the theme of their responses
was to pray for peace and clarity for me
sharing God’s truth with me to His promise of peace

what also stood out to me
was the key of forgiveness and the belt of truth
notably, the key was an addition my father raised me to pray
and it resonated
as there is a need for us to forgive and to speak the truth in love
from a place of forgiveness and not bitterness

so my dear brothers and sisters, friends and family,
my prayer is that no matter the ache you feel
that you may be filled with a Spirit of love, power and sound mind
not a spirit of fear (or bitterness!) [2 tim. 1:7]

forgive and be free
to live in and for Love


There are three things that amaze me—no, four things that I don’t understand: how an eagle glides through the sky, how a snake slithers on a rock, how a ship navigates the ocean, how a man loves a woman.

Proverbs 30:18-19

6 thoughts on “the ache of being an option, not an only one.

  1. What I find most remarkable about your writing is the paradoxes.
    It’s structured, but flowing.
    It’s lyrical and melodic, but without typical verse.
    It’s ancient but it’s today.

    But most of all it’s brutal and honest and raw, and because of that it’s also scarce and rare.
    In life we place the greatest value and perception of beauty on things that are scarce and rare.

    I wonder if you recognise this in what you do?
    Or if you don’t care?

    There are various ways from dark to light.

    I like to ask myself, or is that remind myself:
    Do you have air in your lungs?
    Do you have a heart beat?
    Are you thirsty?
    Are you hungry?

    You can have a thirst, without being thirsty, and you can have a hunger, without being hungry,
    if they are based on desire, not need.

    The challenge, and sometimes it really hurts, is to recognise the difference between one and the other.

    I’ve learned a lot about life through the process of growing roses.

    I’ve learned that beauty is temporary, and can come with much pain.
    In fact the source of pain, the thorn, is there to protect the beauty.

    I’ve learned the value of the complete sensory model – the visual, the scent, the cycle of life, the death and re-birth.

    I’ve learned the annual flourish of growth is going to be cut short all too soon.

    And I’ve learned that if you stop pruning, trimming, removing the unnecessary, then eventually all you have is a mess that no longer reflects the beauty I was looking for in the first place.

    Cutting away the things that we no longer need can be painful.
    But it can be liberating, freeing and scary at the same time.
    There are only beginnings and endings.
    And in the middle is us. There we are.

    Fragile and strong.
    Weak and powerful.
    Peaceful and violent.
    Then and now.

    An only, not an option.

    You’ll be fine.
    You know who you are.

  2. This is moving, Jessie. You have such a big heart and God knows it more than anyone.

    I want to send you encouragement. There’s a wonderful book called Redeeming Love, which is a retelling of the Hosea story – I know you would love it!

Respond from the Heart