First of all, let me start by saying this: I am sorry for the added pressure I have put on you.

We have both learned that honesty comes with a price. But I’ve been realizing that what we are purchasing with that honesty is also something much more profound: freedom. Freedom to be ourselves with one another, freedom to express our feelings, and the freedom to be more authentic with who we are.

So while I am apologetic that my honesty has added “pressure,” I know that with it comes growth. With it, comes change.

A relationship isn’t a walk in the park. There’s pressure in that too. We put so much pressure on ourselves enough as it is. But it should never condition us to fear it. After all, there was lots of fear right before you were about to share your issues with me, right? And there was lots of fear right before I asked you out. And what happened? We both grew from it.

And you know what? We can keep facing our fears and keep growing. We can keep fighting, together, just as we always have.

One thing I want to clarify… all I asked was if you would like to go out with me. That’s all. It doesn’t need to mean anything more than that. It doesn’t need to lead to anything more than that if you don’t want it to. As it stands right now, all I want to do is take you to the movies just once, have a simple cup of coffee, split a single solitary stem of broccoli for all I care. All I want to do right now is spend time with you, and that’s all it needs to be. So if you are allowing the burden of the weightier questions that are implicated when we start dating, now is not the time to be thinking that. Just take this moment we are spending together for what it is: a date, and a chance to laugh, get to know each other better, and spend time with each other. Apart from that one coffee get-together, we have not spent time outside of Mosaic, and all I miss is your company.

At the same time, I get what you are going through. But nobody finds God alone. We weren’t designed that way. God works through other people for our benefit. I honestly do not see a problem with you being dependent on me, because that is precisely what a relationship is! We are depending on each other, and it doesn’t mean that we aren’t pointing each other to God through that. Yes, spending time with God and reading the Bible is important. But we were designed for community, and God uses people to help grow each other spiritually and as a human being. When you talk with Jess and feel better? You are depending on her. When you talk with me and feel better? You are depending on me. Same with your dad. We have to depend on godly people in our lives because that’s how God designed us. So! Part of me asking you out is also my declaration that says, “Hi Erica, my name is Joseph, and I want to engage in community with you because I think you are great. Also, I love God and you love God and we can point each other to God whenever we engage with one another.”

Also, Christ died for us while we were still sinners. Of course you know that. He didn’t wait for us to be better people before He came for us, nor did He wait on the sidelines until we got our act together. He pursued us as we were, and did not withhold His love for us until He deemed we deserve it. And He continues to pursue us patiently and like a gentleman, even if you don’t want Him.

Maybe you’ve concluded that you don’t want me. I wouldn’t know since you haven’t told me. But whatever the case, I never want you to feel like you don’t deserve me. Believe me, I have insecurities about not being good enough, but I have been casting that aside because that is a lie I want to stop believing. If this is going to ever have a shot at working out, I need to convince myself every day that I am enough. I am enough. I am enough. You are enough. And I still want you exactly the way you are now.

May I remind you that I know a lot about you, yet here I am. In your gracious vulnerability you have unveiled to me some of the parts about you in which you feel tremendous guilt and shame. Yet here I am. I am not going anywhere, Erica. I want to share in your burdens because who you are is enough. I want you for no other reason than because of who you are, and how much I know I can grow if I am with you.

We make each other better, and we can continue to do that if you are willing to depend on me. It’s okay if you do. And it’s okay if you don’t feel good enough. Understand that that is a lie. And the truth? We will challenge each other to be better people. Maybe you are just afraid that I will push you and stretch you in many ways, and will keep you from being a hermit. But you already made yourself accountable to Jess. I know you are ready, even though you don’t feel ready. That fear? That is the surest sign of a thrilling adventure that is yet to come.

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