I was in a messy, unhealthy, and emotionally abusive relationship for about two years. And I was totally oblivious to it. I was blind to my bad habits (even though I lied constantly), how hard my heart had become, and how mentally and physically unhealthy I was.

I remember looking back one day, asking myself how it got so bad. Why had I stayed in such an unhealthy place for so long? The answer, as bitter and as ashamed as it made me feel, was because I had idolized that relationship. I elevated my boyfriend to where God should have been. And as a result, I gave up my morals, my virginity, and a huge part of my heart.

You’ll become discouraged

I made a huge mistake when I tried to find a “better” replacement for God. It’s literally impossible to replace him, especially with a human being. When you idolize a human being, they will always come short. At some point, they’ll fail you; they are not God — they’re not perfect.

Putting your faith in a person will always leave you disappointed. Why trust someone who can’t keep their word? Why put hope in someone who is as selfish as you are? True comfort can’t be offered from a person who is just as (if not more) broken as you are.

One person can’t offer peace when you need it most. Because they aren’t almighty, they will definitely let you down and leave you discouraged. Plus, it’s unfair to them. Placing your significant other up on a pedestal is setting both of you up for failure. How can they compete with a perfect God? How can they ever live up to your expectations and needs?

You will feel weary

As if being constantly disappointed isn’t enough, you’ll eventually become weary. Weariness is more than just extreme exhaustion — it’s the point where your heart feels severe hopelessness.

I was constantly tired. The fighting, the drama, the weeping — it was too much. I couldn’t sleep. I felt like I would never be enough for our relationship, I disappointed my boyfriend so often I started to think that there was something wrong with me. I started questioning my worth. I grew hopeless. Our unhealthy relationship only caused self-destruction and hardened my heart.

Worship wasn’t made for multitasking

My boyfriend was my happiness, my hope, my everything. He was the first and last thing on my mind. I did everything in my power to keep him pleased. And I convinced myself I was loving him well by doing this.

But the honest truth is that I didn’t even come close to loving him well. What we had wasn’t love; it was selfishness combined with sexual desires. I was worshiping my boyfriend to fulfill my own desperate needs. I listened to nearly everything he said to make sure he was happy so that I could be happy. In some twisted way I thought I was doing a good thing. I made some major sacrifices for him. Especially in my relationship with God.

At the time, it didn’t feel like I was putting God second (or third or fifth for that matter). But worshiping earthly things is a surprisingly easy — and dangerous — habit to fall into.

My morals started shifting. I wasn’t living to glorify God anymore; I was living for someone else. I followed someone else’s definition of “good.” I lied to my parents and friends constantly, I snuck around, I sacrificed my purity, my future.

I remember being in church one day, wondering why I couldn’t feel God’s presence. If he is so great and almighty, why weren’t my problems going away? I attended church and I accepted him into my heart… why wasn’t that good enough? Why was my relationship with my boyfriend failing? Why was school so hard? Why did I feel so alone and tired all the time?

It felt like God was nowhere near me. He felt non-existent.

What I failed to realize was that I couldn’t worship two things at the same time. I couldn’t glorify God and give up my body to my boyfriend. I couldn’t lie about where I was and honor my parents.

We are all created to worship. It’s in our nature. We just weren’t created to worship multiple things while worshipping God. Only he is worth giving everything to, because only he is good. He alone is worthy of my worship because only he is the very definition of love. No one else is more deserving of my time. He not only loves me as I am today. He sees who I am becoming.

There’s hope

I continued to choose my boyfriend over my Creator for two years. Two years is a long time, but those 730 days couldn’t separate me from my jealous God. He pursued my heart more than I ever imagined anyone would.

And eventually, I found redemption. I realized my true identity — I’m part of the Bride of Christ — and found my worth in him.

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Photo Credit: Suzana Sousa