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The Ultimate Lesson

Joi Whiting

"Understanding that I wanted to be his wife instead of just wanting to be married was very comforting."

One night at dinner, my boyfriend Donald and I enjoyed a wonderful meal and even better conversation with one of his close friends. We talked about life, love, and relationships. We told him that we were considering the idea of moving from Ohio to California. We were just going to pick up and leave on a hope and a prayer. His friend jokingly said he felt like a “concerned parent” with us moving across the country with no plan and no concrete answers to his questions. He made the suggestion of fasting for answers. His concern struck a chord in Donald and me so we took him up on his suggestion.

Over the years, I’ve come to know myself as a GOD fearing individual but I took fasting very lightly because I felt it was more of a religious conditioning ritual. The next morning I went to the kitchen and to my surprise I saw a bowl of uneaten oatmeal on the table. My first thought was that Donald changed his mind about having breakfast but then I figured that maybe he had started his fast on an impulse. Although I felt this was a fast (no pun intended) decision, I decided to join him. It felt good to make a decision that would better our lives and humbled spirits.

During the fast, not only did my focus increase but I also got in touch with my thoughts and emotions. I was able to boldly and effectively share them with Donald. My first thoughts were my current position in my relationship. How could I move anywhere? I was a girlfriend not a wife. I expressed to Donald that I was confused and needed clarification. Moving without being married or engaged gave me an uneasy feeling. Donald hadn’t given me any clear indication of how he felt about our future or what he was going to do.

During the fast, it was revealed that I needed to get clear about what I wanted. I needed to decide, as a woman, what position I was willing to play so that Donald would know without confusion. The fact that we were completing this fast together and he chose to also seek answers through sacrifice spoke volumes of the type of man he was. I knew I wanted to be his wife. Understanding that I wanted to be his wife instead of needing to be married was very comforting. I had often thought that marriage was a necessity because time wasn’t slowing and my 30th birthday was quickly approaching. Society’s conventional view of marriage seemed to foster anxiety and put pressure on my relationship. I started to lose myself in the notion of needing vs. wanting due to this unnecessary pressure.

God was removing those negative needy thoughts of cultural dogma around marriage and having children at a certain age. I began to focus more on my individual happiness. This new focus granted me the opportunity to be more expressive of my feelings and to identify when I was being self-centered. Soon after this personal epiphany and change of perspective, Donald asked me to be his wife.

This was the ultimate lesson in moving out the way and allowing God speak to my spirit. My relationship with GOD grew stronger which strengthened other relationships in my life. I also grew a deeper understanding about limits; there are no limits in spirituality only learning and growing opportunities. Fasting, a practice that I once took lightly, is now a spiritual practice that I wholly embrace. I now have a new level of acceptance, patience and self-love. It was so liberating to relinquish control and allow God to answer for me. Once I began to align my actions with those answers, I felt that God was pleased. Through our commitment to seeking Him we were both blessed which clarity. Continuing in the pursuit of wisdom, belief, trust and sacrifice will aid me in a fulfilling the journey of a lifetime with the man that I love and the man I know loves me.

Joi Whiting is a Therapeutic Program Coordinator and a Habilitation Provider in Xenia, Ohio.  With her passion for service and a genuine love of people, Joi never meets a stranger.  She and her fiancée will soon be relocating to Atlanta, GA.
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