My happiest moments in life

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I’ve done some reflecting the past couple weeks. As I’m about to turn 32, I began to reminisce, if you will, on my life. Have I lived the life I’ve wanted so far? Are there things I’m proud of? Other things I’m not so proud of? All leading to what I really want to know most- am I walking down the path I believe God has laid out for me?

As I began to write my list of things in my life that have made me happiest, I had to face the reality that some of the decisions I’m making now are not leading to moments like these at all:

  1. I remember when I was younger and in 4-H. I was at a summer camp and I was wearing a Christian t-shirt. One of the other kids asked me about it and I remember being surprised by their lack of knowledge of Jesus. I think at that age I had assumed everyone knew about Him. I begin, somewhat nervously, sharing about my faith. It ended with me asking that other kid if they wanted to pray the sinner’s prayer with me. They did. That was the first time I’d ever done that. To this day, it is one of my greatest memories.
  2. I remember someone suicidal coming and talking to me. I just sat there and listened. Praying to myself for God to show me what to do. I just listened and then I prayed with him. It wasn’t until a couple years later that he returned. He thanked me for saving his life. I’ll never forget that moment.
  3. When I know I gave someone hope. To watch their face light up like they’ve been given a second chance. I have a positivity board in my office at work where people can take a post it note with some positive word they may need at the moment; they can also make one to put back on the board. I remember someone taking one that specifically spoke to her. She came back a week later solely to write another word to put back on the board because it encouraged her so much.
  4. I put a lot of time and effort into my Instagram posts. Praying and hoping I can inspire and help others. Anytime someone comments that it was exactly what they needed, it makes me feel like I am in some way making the world a better place. That God is using my life to make a difference. Nothing could make me happier.
  5. I love to watch and see people smile. Especially when they are doing something for someone else. A good deed. A nice gift. Watching them light up because they are blessing someone else gives me hope and inspires me.
  6. Answered prayers. Every single time. When I know God heard me. When I feel His presence. When I’m reminded of his grace, mercy, love, and goodness.
  7. Peaceful moments. Nothing in particular. Just moments when I know I’m fulfilling God’s purpose for my life.

Not one these moments had to do with money. Not one of them had to do with fame. Status. Not one about a guy I thought I liked or liked me. Nothing to do with what the world may define as success. It was never about me getting something I thought I wanted. My happiest moments in life have nothing to do with chasing happiness. Rather, my happiest moments in life have had everything to do with becoming the person God created me to be and showing that love to others. It has nothing to do with me and everything to do with Him.

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My Christian books and devotionals kept me from growing closer to Jesus

 

 

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Sometimes I wonder what I would do without my planner and to-do lists. They keep me on track and remind me of the many responsibilities I am tasked with. For those that know me, know how important my relationship with Christ is. I’m always looking for new ways I can grow closer to Him and strengthen my relationship with Him. But I think I hit the point where I let my good intentions weaken rather than strengthen our relationship. I looked at my to-do list and felt so overwhelmed. Overwhelmed to the point where in fear of not being able to complete something fully, perfectly, I just chose not to do anything. Here is what my list looked like:

  • Finish reading the book of Isaiah
  • Finish reading The Lipstick Gospel
  • Do my Soul Script sessions
  • Finish my Lent Study from She Reads Truth
  • Finish Risen Christ Study from She Reads Truth
  • Journal
  • Listen to sermons

On top of that this was my list to start:

  • IF Gathering- Knowing Jesus
  • Write the Word
  • Wholeheartedly
  • Girl Defined
  • Redeeming Love and Hosea study

Studies on the way:

  •  IF Gathering- Redeemed

And my list to buy:

  • The Devo Company devotional
  • Rose and Thorns
  • Cultivate What Matters
  • She Reads Truth Bible
  • Seamless
  • An Unexplainable Life

Whoa. Are you exhausted yet? Because I am! When did my relationship with Christ become just a thing to check off of my to do list? I know it’s important to be intentional and make sure Christ stays number one in my life but do I really need to be reminded?

Finish, finish, finish. Do, do, do. When did those words replace my vocabulary of love, enjoy, renew? How would you feel if your significant other, an important relationship in your life, had to pencil you in? I’d feel like a burden and the last thing I would want God to feel like is some burden in my life. God is my life. It’s important to not let our quiet times with the Lord slip through the cracks with the worries and stresses of the day. But let’s not be so hard on ourselves that we forget to enjoy our one true love.

This past weekend I just wanted to enjoy Jesus. Spend time with Him. Love Him. Not something to check off my list because I’m some good Christian. But something to renew my faith, ignite my hope, and remind me of who I really am- daughter of the King, loved beyond comprehension, and blessed beyond measure.

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The movie “Me Before You” certainly lives up to its name

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I had wanted to see this movie ever since it came out in theaters. Though confused by the name, I thought it to be another romantic love story. Perhaps another cheesy chick flick. But wouldn’t “You Before Me” be more appropriate? Unfortunately not with this film, as the underlying tones promote selfishness masked in a smoke screen of selflessness.

Clarke is a young girl looking to help her family make ends meet. By society’s standards, I’d say she already had a somewhat normal boyfriend, Patrick. But then Will came into the picture. Will was the total package having money, fame, success, and good looks. His life drastically changed when he became paralyzed from a car accident two years prior though. His girlfriend, his best friends fizzled out. Clarke meets Will when she gets a job being his caretaker and through time, a deep love begins to form.

They bring a new level of excitement to each other’s lives. A deeper love they didn’t think was possible. So many are alive but never really live. Clarke quickly became the reason Will woke up every morning. Though he couldn’t do the things he once did, he was feeling the things he’s never felt before. However, he couldn’t get over the fact that he couldn’t be who he wanted to be anymore, who he once was. His value came not in his capacity to love but in his ability to perform. And it was this thinking that led him to believe he couldn’t give all he felt Clarke deserved. But if he only would have known what she needed all along… What she really desired… What made her really feel alive… Will chose suicide. Some may only dream of experiencing the type of love Will and Clarke had and yet, Will threw it away. Will didn’t see how Clarke felt; he saw a life he didn’t want to live. He didn’t just rob himself of love. He also took it away from Clarke.

What is love? Will says he wants Clarke to go live her life, now with money and the freedom to chase after her dreams. But what he fails to see, what he fails to mention is that a life without love is no life at all. What makes us alive, what makes this life worth living is one full of love, which is the only thing that can lead to true happiness, to true joy. You see, Clarke may go through life without a care in the world in terms of money and freedom. She may chase her dreams. But her life will never feel more alive than when she loved and felt love from Will. Love understands how rare that loves comes around. Love understands that’s all this life is really about. Love says “you before me.”

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I can make the bad guys good for a weekend

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And so can you. But is that really what you want?

He will go to church with you.
He will do some cute devotionals with you.
Pray with you.
He will wait to have sex after marriage.
Whatever you desire spiritually.

But the key word here is “you,” not him. Not what he truly wants or desires. Been there, done that. You do not want to know what I’ve tried to make work. But he wants us so isn’t that good enough? I wish it was but that never works long term. There are too many internal struggles and a whole lot of resentment. God’s grace and a changed heart are the only times I have seen it work out and there were many problems in between. Respect for him is what is lacking and respect is what we want most.

I was listening to the radio and people were calling in to say what changed about their spouse once they got married and the only two mentioned had to do with a wife (now ex-wife) not realizing how religious her husband was prior to them getting married (she says he changed) and another saying after getting married to her husband in a catholic church and him attending church with her while they were dating, she found out he was atheist. Who do we blame? Is someone really at fault?

We either dumb down our faith for the sake of who we think we want to be with or our partner will amuse us by doing, attending, thinking, saying what it is they think we want. I wish I was immune to this fatal trap. An amazing personality, good looks, intellect… They intrigue me and I convince myself they probably have a good heart deep down. And maybe they do. But that doesn’t mean they are the one for me. And it doesn’t mean they are the one for you. I think there is something empowering about feeling like we impacted a guy. They changed their ways because of us. This is how we can quickly become the cause of our own destruction. Because at the end of the day, while you may make the bad guys good for a weekend, they are still bad guys.

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If it aint love why does it feel so good

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Jason Derulo’s popular, catchy song I caught myself dancing to until I decided to look up the lyrics. Describing how her body is a blessing and questioning how something could feel so good if isn’t love. Another by Selena Gomez exonerating that she can’t keep her hands to herself over and over again, only to hit the point of truth “I mean, I could but why would I want to?”

This is our culture. This is society today.

I’ll tell you why it feels so good, because sin feels good. I’ll tell you why you’d want to, because sin feels good only temporarily because sin isn’t good. Sexual sins feel good until you spend time alone with your thoughts and emotions, realizing the love you long for isn’t there. Gluttony feels good until you don’t recognize yourself anymore. Addiction feels good until you realize instead of controlling your next fix it’s controlling you. Lying feels good until you forget what truth is. Stealing feels good until you realize you don’t even want what you stole. Even murder feels good until you’ve realized you’ve already lost your soul.

Several things feel good in our instant gratification society. In a culture of promotion of self-love, we are taught to seek our own happiness. The problem with this is we don’t know what real happiness is. And even more disturbing is the fact that the cost to others doesn’t even seem to be considered.

Colossians 3:5-6So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.  Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming.”

One thing I’ve learned as I’ve grown in my relationship with God is that God desires what is best for His children. He doesn’t give us these scriptures to harm us but to help us. He warns us against:

Sexual immorality, not sex within the confines of marriage
Impurity, not purity
Lust, not love
Evil desires, not good ones

God hasn’t made harmful things. The world has twisted and distorted the good things He has created only to put them where they don’t belong. And then we wonder why we live in a world of heartbreak and loneliness.

I think if we really thought about it, we’d realize the ones that truly love us are the ones that see beyond their feelings. The ones that see us before themselves. Ones that desire to keep us pure. People that are not looking to use our body to fulfill their immediate desires, but are looking to protect our bodies until the day they are able to commit and love us fully for the rest of our lives. If it truly is love, I pray we show that in our actions that reach beyond simple feelings of self-satisfaction.

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You can’t stay in a good relationship while waiting for a better relationship

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You just can’t. This has happened to me a few times now and it blows my mind. Guys that are in relationships and will break up with their girlfriend if I will date them. The catch? They won’t break up with them if I say I just want to be friends. They want commitment. Commitment I can’t give. Commitment I shouldn’t have to give. And they stay with their girlfriends because of it. Some are now single, some are in new relationships, and others are still with the same girlfriend- perhaps married now.

I don’t get it.

Okay, maybe I do. I’ve been tempted to settle. The thought that no one better will come along has crossed my mind more than once. So I make excuses and try to make it work. But the peace just isn’t there and something doesn’t feel right. But it’s better than being single. Or is it?

I don’t think it is and that’s why I’m still single. Are we really that afraid to be alone? So many people jumping from one relationship to the next. Securing their next partner before letting go of their current one. You want to think it’s romantic- that they are willing to give up their current girlfriend for you but it’s not. Not when they won’t give them up for themselves. I could never be with any of these guys because I can’t respect someone who doesn’t respect themselves. They deserve more. And their girlfriend deserves better.

What is so hard about deciding what you’re looking for and waiting for it? Why can’t we set our standards high and ensure we are meeting those same standards? Maybe it’s because we lack faith and hope. Faith that God has someone out there that’s perfect for us. Not perfect, but perfect for us. Someone that brings out the best in us and loves us all the same when the worst comes out. Hope that He’ll bring them in our lives at the perfect time. Not when we are needy. Not when we are desperate. But when we are full. Complete in Christ. Because it’s then, and only then, can we see our potential partner as a beautiful complement to our lives instead of fighting for them to complete us when they can’t.

I can’t tell you who to wait for but I have a feeling you already know.

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Today’s society doesn’t date… and 3 reasons why I kinda like it

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So many articles about how the dating culture has gone from a guy knocking on your door with flowers to Netflix and chill. Mostly girls complaining how they hate what dating has turned into. While I definitely don’t agree with the Netflix and chill hook-up culture, I don’t think I was too fond of the serious dates either. Because that is what they were whether we want to call them that or not. So much pressure. Trying to balance our desire to get dressed up and feel special versus actually falling in love with someone we admire, respect, and love. And we sit here complaining about guys running away but I completely understand why they do.

1. You don’t know yet if you even like the person. Why in the world would you date someone if you don’t know if you even like them?! So many people say that is what dating is for but I beg to differ. Dating is to get to know someone you already like on a deeper level to see if you want to marry them. I’d like to spend some time with someone before deciding whether or not I want to date them. I think the reason guys act like girls are crazy and clingy when they send too many texts or make it very clear they like them is because the guy doesn’t know yet if he likes the girl and that’s okay. So instead of risking hurting the girl or leading her on, he bails. Well that or he tells the girl he just wants to be friends and she freaks and feels rejected. Dating implies certain expectations of feelings. And if those feelings aren’t returned, we immediately refer to the guy as a jerk. So we choose to hang out. People act like this is a bad thing but I actually think it’s pretty genius.

2. You don’t have to be afraid to go out with other people. Loyalty is huge for me and dating implies a certain level of commitment. But I don’t want to be loyal to you if I don’t even know if I like you yet. We know it is frowned upon to date more than one person at a time. So in that case, it isn’t really fair to say you will date someone when you want to keep your options open in case someone better comes along. It sounds bad but is that so wrong? Because we don’t want to commit if we don’t know enough yet to commit.

3. It’s not as serious. People say this is where insecurities are born. But if a guy or girl is hanging out with you, they like you. Maybe as friends, maybe as more. Regardless, why can’t we just enjoy this time? I don’t want you to think I like you even though I kind of do because it might not be enough. And I might not show all my feelings because I need to work through them and I don’t want to give you false hope. And honestly, if you are too quick to say you have feelings, I can’t help but wonder if it’s me you like or the idea of me. This is why I would run. This is why guys run.

All this being said, if you like someone or think you might like someone, never be afraid to tell them. Open communication is the best but you have to know yourself before expecting someone else to fall for you. Don’t rush something just because you are in love with being in love. There is nothing wrong with feelings. But I’m afraid oftentimes these feelings we think we have are more about attraction and wanting to be in love than actual care for another person. So instead of stressing out, wanting to go on a real date, hangout with people and see who you like. But whatever you do, don’t blur the lines by bringing physical stuff into it. That’s when most of the problems occur.

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