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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photo credit: Home via photopin (license)

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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February Fakes: Why I’d date an atheist over a “Christian” pt. 4 Charlie

I expected this behavior from non-believers, I didn’t expect it from those that put the Christian label on their lives.

You flat out lied. Your life was a lie. How could I trust you? I gave you so many chances to come clean. I believed you. I chose to believe you. I wanted to believe you. The lies finally caught up with you and you couldn’t get out. That was when I had to walk away. I wish I could have sooner.

We had so many good discussions. Your personality drew me in. No one could make me laugh like you could. You grew up in a Christian home. Those are the ones that scare me most, I think. How do you know if someone is really saved or has just learned to act the part so well? Is it just part of his culture now and the only thing he knows? I don’t know. But I know it’s what kept me holding on for so long. I appreciated being able to talk to you in ways I couldn’t anyone else. You knew the church lingo, but did you know God? I wish I could describe it but some of the words that came out of your mouth, some of the stories you’d tell me didn’t sit well with me. Okay, actually they flat out hurt me. They took away my innocence. Did Christians really talk like this? Was it okay to joke like this? I was so naïve. But I really should have known better.

I think what bothered me most with you is that I felt you tried to hurt others too. Not physically but spiritually. Slowly defiling others to things of the world. Slowly desensitizing them to evil. You masked it so well though. You were sneaky. And you were good. I found a reason to justify every uncomfortable thing you did. But I finally couldn’t take it anymore.

I’ve experienced a lot that has bothered me and it’s easy to start questioning whether I’m just too picky. But it’s okay if there have been things that have bothered you too. I knew this series would be controversial and I knew some people wouldn’t like it. I want to be very clear here- I didn’t write these things to hurt anyone but I think it’s extremely scary (not to mention sad) when we stop addressing things that need to be said in fear of hurting someone’s feelings. I think deep down we all know the best friends we have are the ones that are honest with us the most. And that’s my goal with this blog- to be honest with you guys. To let you know it’s okay to question others. Because for so long I questioned myself instead. And I think we need to acknowledge that if we have the Holy Spirit, part of the benefits of having Him is recognizing Him in others. It’s not judging; it’s being aware. And when you don’t see Him in the one you’re dating, you already have your sign. So many times I held on with hope, when I should have just walked away.

Lastly, I want to clarify something. I would never date an atheist. I know in my Spirit I could never do it and it would never work. And that’s why the title of this past series was so powerful to me and struck some nerves in others. As much as I’d never see myself with an atheist, I could never be with any of the guys mentioned this past month. Because they’re not just living in sin- they are living in sin while claiming to be holy. How do you convince someone they are missing something they already think they have?

Read the entire series here: Intro Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

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February Fakes: Why I’d date an atheist over a “Christian” pt. 2 Tom

 

February Fakes

You were the first guy I met I thought was too good for me. I didn’t know you’d end up being the worst guy I ever dated. We had met through mutual friends and it was fun flirting with you. I wasn’t attracted to you but I had just gotten out of a bad situation with a good-looking jerk and I told myself looks didn’t matter. When I saw how high your morals and values seemed to be, I told myself that was all I really wanted. Besides, I thought attraction could come with time. It didn’t. I wish that was the worst of it.

I remember when you called me up asking to do something together that weekend. I said yes and it would be our first time to hang out alone. I don’t like the word “date” but I guess that’s what this was. Why can’t there be a word for when you hangout with someone with no expectation? Because apparently there was expectation. You started calling me your girlfriend after our first date!!! This should have been a red flag but I chalked it up to lack of experience on your part. I always thought there was an element of sweetness in innocence, but yours was an innocence built on what you felt entitled to one day. Do you know those people that do so much good and then when people start to praise them for it they try to act like it wasn’t a big deal while eating it all up? Yea, that was Tom.

Things were okay at first. It was nice to have someone I felt I could trust, someone I believed to have a relationship with God. It wasn’t until we started to spend more time together and more time discussing the Bible that things got weird. I started putting pieces together and I was in so deep that I started to question whether or not my beliefs were right. It pains me to write that. You had studied the Bible more than I had so I was extremely confused. It wasn’t until later I realized you may have known the Bible better than me but you certainly didn’t know God more than I did.

For the most part, we agreed on scripture but certain things had me questioning other things. All of your family, all of your friends belonged to the same type of church. When I stated I went to a Baptist church, I got looks as if I was the devil. I was willing to look past that- after all you knew my beliefs from the beginning. And we did differ a little on certain scriptures. To me they weren’t major things even though they still bothered me. You agreed they weren’t major things, as well. You said we would work through them and that brought a sense of comfort to me at the time. I felt you valued my beliefs and loved me nonetheless; we would work through them- together. However, I didn’t know when you said we could work through our differences that meant I would have to change my beliefs to fit yours. That realization made for a rather rude awakening and a very painful day.

I didn’t realize how upset I was over this whole relationship until I started talking to my close friends and family about it- asking them if I was doing anything wrong. That’s how deep I had gotten. All of your friends and family tried to tell me how great you are. So part of me wanted to believe it. However, I had never felt so belittled, so less of a human than when I was with you. Of course there were good times. You did so many good things, it was hard for me to come to terms with the fact you weren’t a good person. Good works don’t make good people. Motives, love, the heart- that’s what matters.

I started to realize everything was calculated. Once I started opening my eyes, I started to see things more clearly. You would sacrifice, but you didn’t love. The scripture from Hosea became more real at this point- “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” -Hosea 6:6 When trying to work through this with you, I felt like I was talking to a stonewall. I couldn’t do this anymore. Everything I thought we had was built on hollow ground. I always feel there is hope for an atheist- maybe one day they will experience God’s love. But there is no hope with you. For you claim to have had that experience already while living a life that is devoid of any ounce of His love.

–> Part One & Intro <–

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February Fakes: Why I’d date an atheist over a “Christian” Part 1: Jake

February FakesOne reason: because you’re not. You’re not a real Christian and I don’t appreciate you making me feel bad for questing your faith. Things you said, choices you made- something just didn’t feel right. But you were good. A smooth talker. And I fell hard and fast.

It seems fitting to start with you. My Facebook Timehop just reminded me of the time you texted me ONE THOUSAND times while I was on a flight just to have them all appear the second I turned my phone back on. It didn’t seem creepy, possessive like at the time, rather funny and comforting to know I was always on your mind. You’d text me all the time. I thought it was because you really valued me but you were just making me dependent on you. But you were the one with the dependency problem. You always had to have someone. So if I wasn’t “good enough” I knew you’d find someone else fast to give your undivided attention to. This made me so insecure.

You charmed me from the get go. You went to Bible college. Not only did you agree with a lot of my thoughts, you added to them. Your testimony. Your testimony intrigued me. You had a past, a really bad past. But I never judged you for it. It wasn’t until who you used to be started to feel like who you were now.

We studied the Bible together. Now this was scary. We’d memorize scriptures together. You encouraged and helped me to spend more time with God. I was the one that confused my love for God with my love for you.

There was so much hurt from the beginning of our relationship that I knew you weren’t right for me. But you knew just what to say, just what to do to keep me from being open to anyone else. I was your saving grace. I brought out the best in you. All the other girls you attempted to date were second to me and that fed my ego so much. You’d date them until they fell hard for you and then you’d disappear. I knew because you did that to me. Not physically but emotionally. You had wrecked me. You wanted to leave me before I left you. It was a shame that your self worth came from how many girls you could get to fall for you. Your occasional “she reminds me of you” and the songs you’d send me that made you think of me. They were your way of keeping me on a short leash.

I struggled so much. My heart knew you weren’t right for me. I questioned your motives, I questioned your faith. I really did. But my heart also loved the way you’d make me feel. Even if it was all a lie. You were the best manipulator, the best con artist I had ever met. I wanted to believe you really loved God but I knew. Everyone on the outside would say you loved God but I still knew. I was the only one that challenged you; I suppose that is what made you love and hate me at the same time.

Fast forward through many ups and downs. Times when I said I needed a break to think. Times when you needed a break because I had pushed the wrong buttons. You’d always come back. Because you knew I really cared. They always come back.

Christianity was just a phase for you. It took me a long time to come to terms with this. It’s where you felt you belonged and had a family for a little while. It was more about what you could get from God rather than understanding how much God loved you and what you wanted to do for Him. You never had a relationship with God. The second the opportunity arose, you got back with your old friends and became the same person you once told me you were. I think that’s the true test of just how strong our faith is. Are you a Christian based on culture or based on your personal relationship with Christ? When you have that personal relationship it doesn’t slip away so easily. It’s stronger than any family bond you’ve ever experienced. It was bittersweet to watch this transition. To know I wasn’t crazy when I was the only one challenging your faith. The Holy Spirit is a wonderful gift that we tend to suppress for the sake of “not being judgmental.” It’s nice to see the real you now. For once I get to see the real you. And as sad as it makes me to see you living a life so contrary to who you once said you were, I’m glad you aren’t claiming to be something you never were anyway.

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Read the intro to February Fakes here

Sam’s (from Tinder) side of the story

I did several posts on Sam (Sam & the FamSam is back!Sam & more fam) and I thought it would be interesting to hear his version of events. So I asked him to write his side of things back in March for our “anniversary.” He was late. As usual. So here it is:

Where to begin? Chatting on an app with someone can be freeing or terrifying depending on your personality. LUCKILY I can (and have) talked to a wall. Finding a nice young lady with morals was a surprise amidst the forward crowd of progressive youth. It didn’t take long for Sarah to click with my viewpoints and sense of humor. So we are chatting for what seems to be “a long time”, 2 days maybe. We talked about nothing, or everything, or really just nothing. Politics came up, religion and ideology, corny jokes, food, sports and while on these subjects to no surprise there were many arguments. Sarah likes arguments. Sarah likes to be difficult. End of story.

I may like to be childish with other like-minded people. What better way to do that than at DISNEY!!!! Ice cream, family, rides, children. Disney has what it takes for children of all ages to let loose. I know my family well enough that I would get more than half the afternoon and evening alone enjoying the parks as the rest of them tend to the young children or rest. I would like to say I am a good judge of character.   It could have been 1 hour and I still would have invited Sarah to come with us to the park. It was an easy decision. My family is very open and inviting to individuals who are respectful and modest. I might not have gone through with the idea if Sarah was not outgoing and spontaneous so she deserves as much credit for the friendship as I do. I don’t think it took 5 minutes for her to get crowded by all 4 of my nephews & nieces who were mobile at that point. My siblings were also brutally forward about “how did you meet” and those interesting questions that pop up with … prying family members. Did I mention I haven’t really dated since a certain bad relationship experience a little over a year prior to this event? So people were interested to say the least.

Sarah excelled in the important aspects of social awkwardness. She didn’t mind the harassment. She played along with the kids. She didn’t share ice cream. 2/3 is not bad. We had fun. That was the point. Evening rolls around and we have been in the park all day. The family inevitably goes back to the rooms for a good nights rest. We have at least 3 hours of after hours park time to roam free on the adult rides we want. I think we ended up on Space Mountain 4 times. Meeting people in line or anywhere and everywhere we go. I am still snapchat friends with one guy from Brazil we played games with in line*. Great evening. I found out Sarah is the best dancer EVER. Ask to see her skills or send me a message to get this WOBBLE video starring our special friend.

The trip with the first Columbia experience is not how she portrays it. She was a terrible brat. Again, she needs to learn to share. #sangria? But, when you have a full chocolate cake you should share. Sharing is caring. We played this awesome game for most of the evening where we don’t speak to each other. Not out of anger or anything, more of a competition. I’m not sure who was the winner ;D. So after she broke both mentally and physically, we went on to enjoy our evening. Did I mention she is both a competitive person and a cheater? She cheats at minigolf. So do I. I let her win although impressively I didn’t have to tank too hard. #sangria?

Night of lights. Thanks for the worst idea of food ever. Hot chocolate is great. I think it was very romantic and intimate. She was wanting me to kiss her somewhere in there.** I didn’t. You’re welcome. 10/10 I would do it again. Just with better food choices. Did I mention Sarah is headstrong? I mean really woman, do you need to argue all the time?

Sarah blew me off a few times for boys and “not boyfriends.” I wonder if she will ever listen to me. I can hear it in her voice when she knows the boys aren’t for her. I try not to rub it in.

STAN!!!! Birthday day. She is late. We ended up having a blast celebrating Mr. Stan and his life. This man is amazing. He is family to me. What a giving person with stories and experiences that will put you in AWE. Sarah liked the chocolate cake the most. So we went to the boardwalk. SHE IS DIFFICULT. I tried telling her to be cutthroat when parking here. I was pretty much done with it after 5 minutes and a few parking opportunities missed. Did we get towed? NO. Thanks. I am cheap when it comes to wasting my time in lines. I hate poor service and lines/crowds. I would rather get a 10$ beer at a sit down than a 5$ water in an unnecessary line. First place we went didn’t take AMEX. I don’t carry cash. The bar took my card though. Might have watched some football there as well. No ulterior motives, BACK OFF. The evening finally went the way I wanted it to when we enjoyed the beach sunset. Pictures were had. People were jealous of us. Nothing new. I should have been a little more decisive to protect her from herself. I am driving from now on.

Overall, we have had a great connection. It is very rare and I know that it was not just chance. I enjoy our friendship thoroughly. I love this girl. I know she will do great things. I hope I can give her sound advice and support for as long as I can.

Dictated not read.

SAM THE MAN

*Me toooo! This dude’s snaps are the best!

**Not true at alllll

I want a guy who is willing to fight for me but will never have to

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I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Trying to work through my feelings and I think I finally have. I’ve always wanted a guy who was willing to fight for me and up until recently I wanted a guy who WOULD actually fight for me… until I started to think about what the implications of that would mean and questioning my own views on fighting for someone.

I’ve been real conflicted about this because I want a guy to fight for me but at the same time, I wouldn’t want to be with a guy who didn’t want to be with me. So why would I fight for him? Is that fair for me to expect a guy to fight for me if I’m not willing to do the same? Does that make sense? I’ve never said it out loud but I’ve thought numerous times as I’ve seen my relationships with guys fall a part. Why won’t you fight for me? If you really wanted me, thought I was valuable, you’d fight. But you never did. And as I look back now, I’m glad those guys never fought for me because that would not have solved our issues of why we were ending things in the first place. Of course we want to feel loved and it would have felt great for the time being but it wouldn’t have lasted. Maybe I’m wrong but if one person is already pulling away doesn’t that mean there is something about the relationship they don’t like? I know there has to be exceptions to this as I have seen men pursue and fight for women and are now in loving relationships. I don’t think I’ve seen any relationships where the woman fought for the man. Well actually I have- but if I’m honest they tend to be jealous of other women and don’t have the highest respect for their husband. Can you really feel loved knowing that at some point your husband didn’t want you? I don’t know.

I do think there is a difference between men and women’s roles. All throughout the Bible we see references of men pursuing women. Shoot, Jacob worked 14 years for Rachel! Talk about perseverance. And the women made themselves available. Proverbs 18:22 “He who finds a wife finds a good thing.” Men are the leaders throughout the Bible and I don’t think it would change for the sake of pursuing a woman. I believe that is still the man’s role. I think it’s a lot more important for women to feel loved (pursued, fought for) because it’s the one commandment Christ calls the husbands to do- love your wives. And wives submit to your husbands. When a woman feels loved, it’s so easy to submit. But when she doesn’t, it’s one of the hardest things in the world. Men desire respect. Women desire love.

Would I love for my guy to fight for me? Absolutely. But what I want more is for him to never question my love for him. To never feel that I’m not all in. To never feel that I’ve given up. So yes, I want a guy who is willing to fight for me, but I hope he never has to.

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My biggest influences on my no-sex-before-marriage stance: teen years

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I’ve been asked numerous times about my beliefs. Everyone that knows me knows the three things I get most passionate about are God, relationships, and politics. I can seriously talk for hours on any of those. Whether you are curious or simply looking for possible resources to use, I decided to do a mini series on what has influenced me the most in regards to remaining abstinent until marriage. I would like to preface this with the fact that everything I will talk about will all be supplemental as my one and only reason needed stems from love and respect for God and His rules. I know that everything He says is only for my benefit and I trust Him. As I’ve grown through the years, everything I’ve come across in regards to saving sex for marriage just confirmed my decision and showed me why God desires for us to share that level of intimacy with the one we choose to spend the rest of our lives with.

A book. A speaker. A movie.

I Kissed Dating Goodbye

This was an extremely popular book at the time. I also had the biggest crush on the author, Joshua Harris. I honestly don’t remember too much about the book but it primarily focused on giving up on the traditional way of dating and trying a new method. He talked a lot about what happens in the current dating culture of what I like to refer to as mutually using relationships. It’s very me-centered rather than other-centered and that’s why Josh proposes a different idea.

I must confess, I did not read the entire book. He talked a lot about the idea of courtship which I’m not really sure where I stand on it yet. I think it depends on one’s age honestly and I don’t really think there is a one size fits all method. What I appreciated most about this book was the encouragement I received that there are others out there who do live their lives against the grain- right up my alley;-)

Pam Stenzel

Oh my gosh. I absolutely loved listening to this lady. She was a firecracker. Pam is an abstinence spokeswoman and I just had to look her up because it’s probably been 10 years since I’ve listened to her! She talked a lot about the consequences of sex that I don’t think younger girls hear sometimes. She talked about both the physical and emotional effects which I wish were talked about more. Why isn’t it talked about more?! I either hear people talk about it like it’s no big deal or people just won’t talk about it. Relationships are one of the most important things in life and I think we can all agree sex is a part of that. Why is it so taboo? Blah. End rant. Anyway, one of my favorite things Pam said and something that has always stuck with me whenever I’ve been weak or tempted was something to encourage women. It was in response to a sexually active girl making fun of a virgin (because we all know it happens) and the response was simply “Any day I can choose to be just like you but you can never again be like me.” Wow. And I don’t say this to be arrogant or pretend like my purity is some type of badge that makes me better than anyone else. But what I do wish is that people did value it more. Treasured it. Held on to it. Because honestly I just feel people don’t and it breaks my heart. It is so valuable. And so special. And people are doing everything they can to make you think otherwise.

Pamela’s Prayer

This movie had such an impact on my life. I think it’s what keeps me going sometimes with my own vision and ideas. To know that someone’s idea or vision changed the whole course of my life. Maybe, just maybe, I can make that kind of impact on someone else’s life. This movie followed the life of a young girl. But once again, only one thing stood out to me from this move: she wanted to have her first kiss on her wedding day. I thought this was the coolest idea and decided to make the same commitment right then and there.

I do have a funny story about this. I did acting in high school and when I was 16 I got the lead at our local theater and was Snow White. Side note, I still wish I could be a famous actress. Anyway, I’m sure all of us know what happens toward the end of the story- Snow White gets a kiss from the prince while she is “dead” and then she magically comes alive and they live happily ever after. All throughout rehearsals the prince would kiss me on the cheek. Well, at our final dress rehearsal I was lying down dead, covered head to toe under the sheet, when the director tells the prince to go ahead and give me a real kiss this time. Sometimes I do things without thinking all the way through and this was one of those times. I immediately shot up and said “No no noooo!” Everyone started laughing and then giving him a hard time thinking I just rejected him but I tried to say that wasn’t the case. It turned out to be a funny moment and we agreed on a stage kiss- essentially he kissed me close to my mouth and it was no big deal. Always a fun memory though.

I wish I could say I stuck to my ‘no kiss until my wedding’ idea but I can’t. I have kissed one guy and I only did because I thought I was going to marry him at that time. I haven’t since and I’m very of glad. It’s not that I think there is anything wrong with kissing necessarily, but it helps me to focus on what matters most to me and keeps me from getting emotionally attached to guys I’m attracted to but don’t really like. It is my hope that the next guy I kiss will be my husband.

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I gave up dating, I did not give up talking to guys

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As I mentioned in my previous post one of the things I decided to give up for lent was dating. I knew this was going to be a challenge for me but I also knew it was something I needed to do. Up until this time, I wasn’t technically dating anyone but my mind was constantly consumed with one guy who would feed my ego to the next. I imagine my heart with several holes in it and the words of some guy as a thin liquid being poured in. Clearly, these words run right through me and don’t make my heart full. But I suppose if I have enough guys lined up and their words are consistent, and perhaps even overlap with the compliments of another, then maybe just maybe I will feel complete. It’s really sad but I don’t think I’m the only one that buys into this silliness. We all are looking for love really. Watch anyone for a given amount of time and you’ll notice. Love is what makes us alive. We all are inclined to do what I do but your liquid may just be something other than the fleeting words of a guy- money, fame, success, you name it. I may not understand much about it but one thing I do know is that it all eventually leaks out and you are left with an empty heart. Unless, of course, your heart is already full of something of a greater consistency- a thicker substance. Of something that actually stays. Of something that actually lasts. And that’s Jesus and that’s what I’ve been focusing on these past 26 days. Focusing on what will truly complete me instead of focusing on the cheap imitations.

These past few weeks have been interesting as I’ve tracked my thoughts and feelings. I am a firm believer in us doing our absolute best as that’s an indication of how much we desire God to change us. One of my favorite quotes from Joyce Meyer says “God wants you to do what you can so He can do what you cannot.” To me, it has always be a sign of how bad we really want something, how bad we want to change. This lent study has truly been me doing what I can and God has definitely done what I cannot. He has changed my heart and those are the times I treasure the most.

Here are just a few of the ways I have benefited from this time so far:

  • I have fallen more in love with Him and have a greater understanding and appreciation for how much He truly loves me
  • I have felt more complete in Christ as my faith and trust has grown tremendously
  • So many times we wonder what we should do but as I’ve gotten closer to Christ, He has illuminated my path and my peace has increased
  • I tracked how I defaulted back to old guy friends for love; though this wasn’t necessarily the healthiest thing to do in my opinion, it did give me the strength to not turn to new potential dates
  • Furthermore, I realized how important a father’s role really is; when a girl has a dad (or I do believe it could be another male figure) who continually tells her how loved and valuable she is, she has the strength to never settle for less than God’s best; she knows her worth
  • I was able to get over and lose feelings for someone I still liked at the time because he was feeding my ego
  • I have met some really awesome women and have been able to invest more in those friendships
  • I have spent more time with my family which has been a huge blessing
  • Ironically enough, I have a better understanding of what I am looking for in a potential spouse
  • My guy friendships have strengthened

I want to talk about the last one now. I think people assumed when I said I was giving up dating it meant I was giving up talking to guys. It was funny to watch as my friends would yell at me if I even dared to mention a guy. But I didn’t give up talking to guys. And I’m so glad I didn’t. For me, it has been my mind and thought process that has changed. Whenever I talk and engage with a guy, instead of viewing him as a potential spouse I’ve looked at him differently. I have looked at these guys as brothers, as friends, as someone I could potentially be a blessing to. I didn’t realize it at the time but I’ve moved from a “me” centered attitude to an “others” centered mindset. And it has been incredible. I already feel less needy, less dependent, and most importantly- more like myself. I love it. There is something so wonderful about living for something greater than yourself. I feel happier. I feel freer. I feel more loved than I have ever been. Nothing is as radiant as the smile of a girl who knows how loved she is. ♥

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