No Guys in 2018: The Beauty in the Break-up- Week Six

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This past week I was a part of a pretty cool award ceremony in my community that recognizes 4 leaders who are under the age of 40. After over 75 nominees, I was selected as one of the 12 finalists. Being a finalist was an incredible experience, especially going through it with my best friend as a finalist, as well. I didn’t end up winning one of the four spots. It’s tempting to feel inadequate, not enough, or disappointed. Because you saw something that was a possibility but others received it instead. It’s in those moments that I realize perspective is one of the biggest keys to happiness. Instead of looking at what we have, we oftentimes look at what we lack instead. It would be easy to forget the beauty and honor of being a finalist if I was only looking at the four winners. And unfortunately I think we do this in the dating world, as well.

Do we value our past relationships?
Do we value the love we gave or received?
Do we value the beauty in the break-up?

When we look at our lives, our lives as singles, do we see the hidden blessings God has given us? I fear sometimes we see the married, happy couples instead. The ones dating. The ones just getting engaged. And the married ones announcing another baby is on the way. And we look at these lives and wonder, “why not me?”

But I pray you look at life so differently. I pray you look back at the relationships you’ve had and appreciate the love you’ve experienced. And if you’ve never experienced being in love, maybe you’re meant to experience that beautiful feeling with only your future spouse. Maybe God is guarding your heart. Protecting it.

If you’re going through a break-up. A hard break-up. Someone you thought you’d marry. I pray you’ll see sooner than later how God has something so incredibly better planned for your life. Because while you might not see it now, I know you will. Instead of God keeping something from you maybe He is preparing you for something so much better. Do you trust Him? Like seriously, do you? Because if you do, you’ll know this hurt is but a fleeting moment. That this pain is not without purpose. God is molding you into the beautiful creature He created you to be.

We are so tempted to look at our lives and question the heartbreak, the loneliness, the timing instead of seeing the freedom, the possibilities, and the steps God has laid before us. Just waiting for us to take. For us to trust in His goodness, His love.

Take those steps. And most importantly, look at those steps and see the beauty of the life laid before you.

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No Guys in 2018: Finding Strength Through the Struggles- Week Five

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Lots of struggles lately. Not so much with guys- or lack thereof I should say. But just challenging situations. I fear it’s easy for us to despise these moments. Question what we are doing and where we are heading. I mean does anyone really enjoy times of testing? I didn’t think so but now I’m not so sure.

I’m finding in these moments of what I’d consider less-than-desirable situations, that I’m capable of a lot more than I realized. I’m a lot stronger than I realized. More bold. And even a little bit more feisty;) It’s times when we are squeezed, when we are faced with the decision to press forward or to give up, that our true character is revealed. And it’s making me proud of who I am.

Deciding to give up guys for a year was a struggle at first honestly. It’s something I didn’t think I’d consider, especially at my age. But so far, it’s been one of the best decisions of my life. Kind of freeing. Realizing marriage is a beautiful thing but it’s not the only way to exhibit love. That having a boyfriend is fun but it doesn’t bring happiness. And that God truly is the only thing that satisfies me. Something I always knew but now something I always feel.

I started reading a book called Idols of the Heart with a group of girls online and with my brother in person. Highly recommend it already. It shows the dangers of putting anything before God and how it sets us up for continued disappointment as we search for things and people to fill that void in our heart that God designed for only Him to go.

I’m realizing the amount of time I spent wondering if certain guys were “the one” and now I’m just longing to have that time back. I can’t get it back but I can learn from my past. We all can. Maybe it’s just me but it’s not worth the time. I’m at the point where it needs to be easy because I am strong on my own. Life has enough challenges as it is; I don’t want to add another by having a stressful relationship. Games. Lies. Fakeness. Expectations. Selfishness. Worry. I fear people have accepted this as the norm. We’ve settled under the guise of “we’re all sinners” and “no one’s perfect.” But I don’t use those labels. I sin at times, but I am not a sinner. I may not be perfect but I strive to be everyday.

Break-ups are hard.
Being rejected hurts.
Challenges make you doubt yourself.
Words cut deep.
Disapproval makes you want to give up.
Criticism questions your value.
Disrespect attacks your worth.

But I pray you rise up. I pray you find your voice. I pray you won’t settle. Life is so precious and if you only knew what you were capable of, you would find that strength in your current struggle.

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No Guys in 2018: What if he was the one- Week Four

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This past week was full of work, meetings, fun, and games. However, in the mix of that was some pretty tough times, as well. But I have to press on. I have to move forward. Sometimes we have to choose to look at the good and not dwell on the bad.

My spiritual time is still not what I would like. I hate to say this but I have not gone to church at all this year. So this entire month I missed church. I’m 0/4 for Sundays this year. I think sometimes we can almost be too hard on ourselves. While I haven’t gone to church, I have been there for my family and other things that have been going on in our lives. It’s important to not get so caught up in going to church that we neglect the ones who need us most, the ones we love. So while I wish I could have gone to church, I’m still happy with the decisions I’ve made. I think God is too. He cares more about the love in our hearts than he does perfect church attendance.

I’ve had several community events and a VIP reception for an award I’m a finalist for. Sometimes events can be hard. Just emotionally draining. But they are also very rewarding. Most of the guys at the reception were married so no potential guys there for me to get distracted with but there were other opportunities this week…

It’s rare that I do things “just for fun.” Most of the times, I’m combining events and social activities, school and work. But this week I went line dancing with a friend and attended a game day. Like board games. And it was so much fun.

Game day was great. Two married couples. A single guy and me. Perfect. I’m pretty sure this wasn’t a setup. But when you’re in that setting, it’s hard for the thought not to cross your mind. Especially when he’s cute. Blah. No guys. Pretty sure we will all end up playing games again and we are Facebook friends now so I probably shouldn’t write much more… What’s important to note here is the fact that I won a good amount of the games. Competitive would be an understatement:p

Line dancing was my other favorite thing this week. My friend Jaime and I had so much fun learning dances, catching up, and just relaxing. We are both so driven that it was a nice break from our rather hectic schedules. Although, we met the owner and a couple other people so our networking doesn’t seem to stop even when we try. While we were eating, two girls came over to tell me that their friend thought I was pretty. I asked who and they pointed to a guy on the other side of the room. I couldn’t help but laugh. It was the guy that wanted to be in my selfie I was trying to take of the dance floor. The girls mentioned that and said he couldn’t stop talking about me since that incident. I told them that was nice but that I was kind of taking a break from dating. I’m not gonna lie- that was hard. For two reasons. One, I hate rejecting people because I never want people to feel less than. It is so hard for me. I just know so many people struggle with self-esteem issues and I never want to unintentionally cause more pain to anyone. To make them feel like they aren’t worthy. Which leads me to my second reason, what if they are “the one” and I was too quick to judge? Who should I give chances to? Am I supposed to engage with everyone? I guess I’ve reached a point where I’m not sure I trust myself. I’ve been wrong so many times before. So maybe I’m going on the other end of the spectrum to protect myself. But what if he was “the one” and now I just said no? Chances are he wasn’t but now I’m left giving everyone a shot or second guessing myself. Both options don’t seem right. Maybe I’ll figure it out but for now I just have to move forward. And trust God more than I trust myself. My answer will be clear. Of that I am confident.

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No Guys in 2018: Progress not Perfection- Weeks Two & Three

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A lot has happened so far in January. So much so that I’m behind in writing this;) I’ll start by saying I’m surprised by how much our minds, our hearts can change when we choose  different actions. I know I’ve spent a lot of emotional energy on chasing guys whether I’m ready to face that fact or not. It can be hard being 32 and just not knowing. Especially when I’m such a planner. But to be quite honest, these two weeks have been so busy that I haven’t exactly had time to think about guys.

Work has been extremely busy and I love my job so much because it allows me to make a difference in the lives of so many. It’s truly rewarding. And for me, that feeling trumps the infatuation feelings I have when talking with potential suitors. Suitors, what a fancy word.

In addition to work, I’ve done some pretty cool things these past two weeks. I’ve had long, hard council meetings where I truly feel I’m making an impact on my community. It’s a nice feeling knowing you are a part of something that is greater than yourself. I caught up with some of my close friends, which seems like it’s harder to do when we are involved in so much. It was very much needed and long overdue. Went to a party. And an after party. In addition to maintaining relationships, I always enjoying meeting new people and fostering new friendships. Ones without a hidden, underlying question of “will this be my future husband?!”

Some other cool stuff I’ve managed to get myself into include making homemade cookies by myself for the very first time in my life. I’m still not sure how such a small amount of baking powder can make or break a batch of cookies. But whatever. I’m learning. Baby steps:) I was able to be in our city’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade which was so much fun. I love events like that where I can see how our community comes together and how truly blessed I am to be in the town I grew up in. My friend also sold me a NES Classic and I feel like such a nerd but that $85 purchase made me so incredibly happy. I’ve already gotten super far in Dr. Mario. Please don’t judge me.

The thing I’m most proud of these two weeks is spending a lot more time with my family and really seeing how truly blessed I am. I sometimes feel we take our families for granted, the ones who love us most. I’m excited about this. I also submitted my prospectus and it was such a freeing feeling. It motivated me so much and gave me that extra push that I could actually do this. That was huge for me.

It terms of my goals, not shopping has been going great! I started up my thankful calendar again. I only made it to Jan. 20th last year. Let’s hope I can do better this year:p I’ve been failing with the TV watching and have kept it on in the background. I need to work on this area still. And I’ve not accomplished what I had hoped to for my quiet times and Bible studies. I’ve listened to the Sermon on the Mount sermon, I’ve started the SRT’s Sermon on the Mount study but am only on like day two. Yea, not good. I’ve started reading through Matthew and am only on Matthew 5. While I’m disappointed in myself, I’m happy with how I’m actually studying God’s Word this time. It’s not about me checking off Matthew on my list. It’s about truly knowing the heart of God. I’m cross referencing for the first time! And I’m loving it. So I guess I will take my time. I just need to make more time. So that’s why I say progress, not perfection. I will get there.

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No guys in 2018: Finding Myself- Week One

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I didn’t realize how so much of my conversation centered around guys. It was almost as if my identity was wrapped up in who I was talking to next. I talk so much about guys and my drama that happens that I wasn’t really sure if I’d have anything “good” and “entertaining” to share with my friends. Everyone always liked hearing my stories so it just became part of who I was, I suppose. But how can I entertain others with my guy stories if they are no longer in the picture?!

It was a bit of an adjustment at first. But then I found myself engaging in different types of conversations. Goals, dreams, prayers, life…

I found myself doing different activities rather than random dates. Spending time with my family, cooking, reading, exercising…

And I found myself thinking about others more. This was probably the most fulfilling thing that happened. It’s hard to think of others when I’m so focused on trying to figure out whom I’m supposed to marry. But that’s what people seem to get stuck on. When you are 32 and single, it’s what most people want to know. When you are young and married, most people then want to know when you are having kids. Has contentment become a pastime?

I’m not even sure how I feel about the word contentment. I don’t think I’d use that word to describe my singleness. It sounds boring. And my life seems to be anything but that lately.

Why do I feel like I’m myself again now that there are no guy interests?

I’m still talking to guys. A few have reached out and I always seem to enjoy those conversations of the right combination of depth and quick banter. But I’ve just noticed already a difference in my mindset. And I like it.

There were a couple times I had to catch myself. I got a little excited about a guy until I realized he had a fiancé. Some guy found me on social media but I’m pretty sure he isn’t real. Overall, so far, so good. But hey, it’s only week one- we shall see! Below are some additional highlights since starting the challenge:

I’ve started back at work again. I made a budget. I spoke to a group of teens about the importance of giving back. Watched too many movies. Did family Bible studies. Cooked. Friend dates. Coffee shops. Family time. Family day trips. Wrote 40 new pages with 45 new resources. Editing 100 pages for my prospectus. A few council events and related meetings where I feel I’m making a difference. Better quiet times with God. Finished a book I had originally started over six months ago!

I feel as if I’m falling more in love with Jesus. With more clarity and direction for my life. My sense of urgency is quickly fading. It’s weird and I wish I could explain it.

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Pray & Finish: My 2018 Goals  

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I’ve spent several days, actually weeks pondering my thoughts for 2018. It’s going to be a big year for me for numerous reasons. Sometimes I look back at my life and am just in awe of what God has done in and through me. It’s just so exciting to see what He has planned next. I pray you find that same excitement, that same purpose and drive- the direction. God is such a light- as long as I’m looking toward that light. That’s the key.

So let’s talk goals. My two words for the year represent this season of life for me.

Pray.

I desire so badly to grow in this area of my life. Just to spend time with God more. Just in His presence. Enjoying Him. I also want to be intentional with writing out my prayers. I pray a lot but it seems very sporadic, which is fine, but I guess I don’t take full advantage of what God really offers. I suppose if I’m being really honest, I went through a period of time of thinking some of the things I wanted to ask God for or talk about seemed so trivial compared to other things. But I’ve learned that God cares about it all- He cares about me and every little thing that matters to me. And mostly, He is a big God so I know He can handle it all. Truthfully, I think God loves it when we talk about everything with Him and He loves to make us smile.

“When I’m not in prayer mode, I have good ideas. But when I’m in prayer mode, I have God ideas.” –Mark Batterson

Finish.

This word is important to me because there are a lot of things I plan to finish this year. The big one being able to finally GRADUATE with my PhD! This has been a long time coming. Additionally, I have several studies and books I’ve started but never finished so this will be a year of finishing for me. My goal is to really dive into certain books of the Bible and understand them more deeply, rather than saying I simply read the entire Bible again this year. The following is my plan for the year so let me know if you want to join me with any of it or have questions!

Sermon on the Mount- She Reads Truth
Book of Matthew
Sermon on the Mount sermon message
66 Love Letters book- Matthew

Lent Study- She Reads Truth
The Risen Christ- She Reads Truth

Book of Hosea
Redeeming Love book
Hosea- She Reads Truth
66 Love Letters book- Hosea

Women in the Word- She Reads Truth
Woman of the Word book- Jen Wilken

Book of Ruth
Book of Esther
Ruth & Esther study book
66 Love Letters book- Ruth
66 Love Letters book- Esther
Esther- She Reads Truth

Circle Maker book study with my brother

Book of Philippians
Book of Colossians
Book of Galatians
Book of Ephesians
Philippians- She Reads Truth
Colossians- She Reads Truth
Galatians- She Reads Truth
Ephesians- She Reads Truth
66 Love Letters book- Philippians
66 Love Letters book- Colossians
66 Love Letters book- Galatians
66 Love Letters book- Ephesians

Book of James
66 Love Letters book- James
Faith Workout book

Reformation study- Desiring God

In Everything Give Thanks- She Reads Truth

Advent study- A.W. Tozer or make my own:)

Additional Books:

Wholeheartedly Singles devotional
Love & Respect book
Authentic Love book
Essentialism book
Wild & Free book

Additional resources:

Soul sessions
Porch podcasts

Miscellaneous goals:

Thankful calendar
Fitness
Guitar
No clothing related purchases *insert shocked face*
Rememberlutions- write down cool things that happen throughout the year
Write down every TV show or movie I watch to make me feel bad about how much time I waste:p I’m hoping this list won’t be too long at the end of the year!

Lastly, I’m saying “see ya” to all the unhealthy relationships. As mentioned in my previous post, this is the No Guys in 2018 year. I won’t be pursuing guys anymore. No more entertaining guys “just in case” they really have a good heart, no more making excuses for them. I know what I’m looking for and I’m not willing to settle or compromise in even the dating realm anymore. I don’t care how old I am or the fact that everyone and their mother likes to tell me my eggs aren’t getting any younger. Life is short and I’m on a mission. I’ll be providing updates on my challenges, fears, and where my time and energy goes instead (see above haha). Should make for an interesting year;)

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I wish for you a different type of heartbreak this Christmas

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Most of my heartbreak, most of my blog seems to center on romantic heartbreaks. Feelings of rejection, loneliness, a loss in expectations… I hate these heartbreaks the most- not because they are so sad, not because of the pain, but because they are so focused on myself. Isn’t life so much more than myself? So much bigger?

It’s when we pull the mirror down, it’s when we look around the world and see others that we become alive. See things as they were meant to be. See people for who they are instead of through the lens of what they may offer us. Maybe we need to take off the glasses that make us see others as our source of pleasure and put on the glasses that cause us to see into the soul of others… all the pain, hurt, insecurities, and doubt.

I was out doing some last minute Christmas shopping the other night. Some call me a procrastinator; I prefer the term prioritizer;) And I ran into an old friend…

“Hey, how’s it going? Merry Christmas, etc. etc. etc…”

I forget most of our conversation. I was too distracted. He had a tattered piece of paper, with scribbles written on it. It was a grocery list in his hand. A list of items, prices all marked out. Things are certainly tight in our family for various reasons and we are very intentional with our spending but I couldn’t get this guy and his list off my mind for the rest of the evening.

Milk… $3.59
Bread… $1.29
Eggs… $2.19

A hard working guy, just trying to provide for his family. Living paycheck to paycheck. Doing the best he can with what he has. I think sometimes we forget others, I think we don’t care to see their struggles. It’s just easier to look away. Because then we can convince ourselves we don’t have to feel guilty. It’s like we push any goodness we have aside.

But my heart broke that night. And I can’t explain it. I wish I could. But sometimes I just feel I see right through people. Sometimes I feel I see their most vulnerable parts. It is the most painful, yet realest feeling I’ve ever felt.

Maybe that should be how we pray. Maybe we should pray to see things, to see people, the way God does. But if we do, we can’t be afraid of having our hearts broken.

Because I can promise you this, it will indeed break. But it will be in the most incredible way ever. Though there will be pain, you will feel alive.

So I hope your heart breaks. Not for yourself, but for someone else. Because that will be when you truly find yourself.

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