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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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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