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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No Guys in 2018 Challenge

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This time last year was completely different. I went into 2017 thinking I was dating someone I would eventually marry. So many hopes, so many expectations. But things happen, truths are revealed, and things don’t always go how you planned. I realized in the first half of the year I wasn’t with the best person for me. And that’s okay- that is what dating is for. The second half of the year was spent going on random dates, entertaining different guys. No real commitments, no real depth formed. Trying to make things work with guys I knew I shouldn’t be with in the first place. There was a lot of emotional time and a lot of thoughts spent on guys who never should have received that much energy. While there were certainly fun times, I wish I spent some of that emotional energy on other things…

More schoolwork

More family time

More hobbies

More time with God

So this year I plan to try something a little different.

A no guys in 2018 mindset.

What this is

I plan to blog more of what happens in my day-to-day life involving guy interactions, my struggles, my priorities, and what I do with my time. Instead of spending emotional time thinking about guys, figuring what they are thinking, or whether or not they like me, I plan to be more intentional about NOT doing those things. Not talking about guys. Not trying to figure them out (because who really can anyway:p) My blog focuses a lot on advice and stories but mostly past experiences. And I’ll still continue to post those, as well.

But this year, I wanted to do something to show my readers (aka YOU!) more of the real me, currently. Some days may be rough. And some days may be amazing. But I think that’s the beauty of blogging and being real with you. I mean, what does a 32-year-old virgin who’s chasing after God do anyway?

I feel girls, whether we want to admit it or not, spend so much time thinking about guys. What they think of us. Whether they like us. What we should do. What we should say. When we’ll get married.

I’ll be using the #noguysin2018 hashtag to document things I’ll be doing instead of this. I’ll be posting weekly updates of what’s happening in my life. I’ll also be writing little notes and putting then in a jar to celebrate small victories of focusing on what’s important and not entertaining guys I shouldn’t be entertaining. I think accountability is huge so I think this will help a lot.

What this isn’t

Contrary to what it may sound like, this isn’t technically a “no dating” year for me. That is too confined and restrictive, in my opinion. I will still go out. I will still talk to guys. But I will be more honest. With myself and with others. I’ll be direct. I’ll be intentional. My mindset will be focused on the dreams God has placed in my heart. If a guy happens to come into my life, so be it. But honestly, I just don’t want to spend the emotional energy on trying to figure this out anymore. I don’t want to talk to guys just for the sake of talking to guys. For attention. For validation. There is so much I want to do. So I’m ready for 2018, with so many hopes and so many expectations!

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While you’re trying to decide, she’s already made up her mind

 

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This culture of passivity has really bothered me lately. It makes me sad and angry all at the same time. One of my friends told me his professor told the guys in the class to focus on school and that the girls will find them. Women have become stronger in a lot of ways, but that shouldn’t be an excuse for men to become weaker.

No matter how strong a woman is there is an innate desire in us to be led… taken care of… loved. And if a girl tells you otherwise she’s lying. Women have learned to put up these fronts to protect themselves from getting hurt. They are afraid to give up control to the wrong guy. And chances are, they’ve been burned. A lot. And because they are strong, they crave someone even stronger. Men, now is not the time to be passive.

Now is the time to step up. To be pursuers. Be bold. Be brave. Be intentional. Communicate. It’s okay to be unsure but it’s not okay to be silent. Never leave a girl wondering where she stands with you. Be honest. Tell her you’d like to get to know her. Tell her you’re interested. Tell her when you are busy. Tell her if something happened. Because I guarantee you her assumptions are worse than your reality. If you don’t take the lead now, how do you plan to lead the home? To be the spiritual leader for your wife and kids? These are the things she thinks about. These are the things that trump good looks and a fun personality. Passivity is not a trait we look for. And it will cause us to move on. Smart women know their worth and they won’t settle for someone who doesn’t.

Women love a man who knows what he wants and goes after it. This mentality requires so many admirable traits. So if you aren’t there yet or you don’t know what type of girl you are looking for, spend time in the Word- spend time with God and ask him to show you. Because I’m telling you right now, if you don’t, you’re going to find yourself with the wrong girl rather quickly in this passive culture of nonchalant men and forward women.

And if you pursue and she’s not interested- you move on. Because there is a girl out there who will be. You don’t cower. You don’t change your behavior. You don’t become weak. The wrong girls can’t appreciate what the right guys have to offer. So you stay focused, stay committed to becoming the man God created you to be. I’m telling you, you are rare. And you will stand out. It’s what women are attracted to. There just aren’t many of you left.

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You shouldn’t have to sacrifice in a relationship

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I’ve had the topic for this blog post for a while now but wasn’t sure of the timing. But in church today, I heard a powerful statement: It’s not about what we do; it’s about who we are. And as a follow-up, I propose a question: Do you think God wants to receive a gift from you that you don’t want to give?

2 Corinthians 9:6-7 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

I don’t think He does. God loves a cheerful giver. And I don’t want to receive a gift from someone if they don’t want to give it either. Because what matters most to me is your heart, not your actions. You can control your actions, but only God can change your heart. While love exhibits itself through certain actions, actions don’t necessarily mean the love is there.

Almost every marital book touches on this concept of sacrificing in a relationship. I’ve never understood it. I tried to but something just didn’t feel right. So I thought I’d attempt to put my feelings into words.

When we look at the word sacrifice, common definitions involve words such as giving up, surrendering- for the sake of someone or something else. But… I don’t sacrifice when I’m in a relationship and I don’t want my guy to sacrifice for me.

  1. If you view doing something for me as a sacrifice, don’t do it. This is not love. I want you to want to do it because you love me. That is what brings you happiness. And if that were the case you wouldn’t view it as a sacrifice, honestly. The words we choose to use reveal more of our heart than we realize.

I want to cook dinner, I want see that movie, I want to bless you, I want to make you happy because I love you. But if the love isn’t there, you’re not going to want to. In Ephesians 5, what is the charge to husbands- love your wives. Not serve, not sacrifice- love. The problem is we oftentimes don’t know what love means. We are told it’s sacrifice so we think we are loving, when we really aren’t. We are trying to but something is missing, we are falling short. The words love and sacrifice are not interchangeable. When you love someone, you may do something you don’t particularly like, but you don’t view it as a sacrifice.

  1. Why would I want you to do something if you don’t want to do it? I don’t. Because down deep, it’s not the silly things you choose to buy me or the fact that you chose to go to the restaurant I wanted instead of the one you wanted, it’s the fact that I crave to be loved. That the love is so strong, you can’t help but put me before yourself. Because you view me as a prize, valuable, a treasure. It’s not something you consciously choose to do; it’s who you are. You can’t not love me. That is what I want.
  2. This speaks to how we view God, as well. God doesn’t want our sacrifices, He wants our love. And I think the ones that have a view of sacrificing for God, don’t really love Him.

Hosea 6:6 For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

Psalm 51:16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.

Isaiah 1:11 “What makes you think I want all your sacrifices?” says the LORD. “I am sick of your burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fattened cattle. I get no pleasure from the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.

1 Samuel 15: 22 And Samuel said, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.

Can we really call it sacrifice if we are getting so much back in return? We can only call it sacrifice if don’t have love in our relationship with another human. We can only call it sacrifice if we don’t comprehend the love God has for us.

I don’t think there is any such thing as sacrifice when you’re a follower of Christ. If you get back more than you gave up, have you really sacrificed anything at all? This is a quote from famous missionary, David Livingstone, given at Cambridge University back in 1857:

“People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa…. Away with the word in such a view and with such a thought! It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering, or danger now and then with a foregoing of the common conveniences and charities of this life may make us pause and cause the spirit to waver and the soul to sink; but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall be revealed in and for us. I never made a sacrifice.”

I want to give to God because I know how blessed I am. I love Him because I know how much He loves me. So it’s easy. I want to give to my family for the same reasons. And I’ll want to give to my future husband because I’ll know how blessed I am to have someone like him. When you feel like the luckiest person in the world to have your partner, that will trump any feelings of sacrifice or service. And that’s how I hope my future husband will feel about me. You don’t really have to sacrifice at all when true love, real love is involved.

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Is it okay for the girl to pursue a guy or should she wait?

I see this get discussed more often than not so I thought I’d provide my own unique spin on this. I say unique because I’m a pretty bold girl who is very old fashioned. So where does that leave someone like me? A girl who thrives on being a leader in every area of her life, yet desires to be led by a man in the home?

There are several scriptures that allude to the fact of the man being the head of the home. We are told to submit. A man is told if he finds a wife, he finds a good thing. The many scriptures on waiting. And then there is the story of Boaz. This seems to be the most controversial one where people play both sides.

“Ruth pursued Boaz so I can pursue a guy, right?”

 “No, Ruth pursued God and in turn got Boaz!”

Whichever side you lean, these are three things that have always helped me:

  1. Making sure my heart is pursuing Christ above the guy and not vice versa

We get in trouble when we begin to want something too much. If we want clarity on what our next steps are with a guy, our best course of action is to continue pursuing Christ. He provides direction and lights the path for what we should do next. I always seem to get confused when I get hung up on a guy and push God to the back burner. And then I wonder why I’m so tangled and all over the place with my emotions. God is the author of a sound mind.

This may require us being honest with ourselves. Are we really waiting for the one God has for us or are we just wanting someone right now? God’s timing is perfect. Our job is to trust Him and be open to His plan. It’s not so difficult when our hearts are His. Be sure to keep Him number one and I guarantee the rest will fall into place.

  1. Understanding that pursuing someone and showing interest in someone are not the same thing

It’s so frustrating meeting a guy you seem to click with and then nothing seems to happen immediately. Where are all my impatient friends at? *raises hand* But if I desire a man who will one day lead our family, is it wise for me to take the lead by pursuing him?

Show interest, but don’t chase. And this may look different for you than it does for me depending on your circumstances. If you tend to be shyer, you may have to step out of your comfort zone. You will need to communicate. You cannot sit around and do nothing for the sake of “not pursuing.” Does he know you are interested? Do you respond? Do you text first sometimes? Do you make an effort to engage with him? These are signs that show you are interested. Now, if you are doing these things consistently and he is not responsive, it would appear you are doing the pursuing and it may be leading nowhere. Or maybe he is responding but has taken more of a passive role. This will become frustrating over time and is probably not what you want.

What you really need to ask yourself is if you are okay with missing out on something with this particular guy for the sake of not pursuing? As long as you are okay with the potential outcome, no one can really fault you. You know the type of guy you are looking for. And don’t be afraid to take risks, even if it means facing rejection.

  1. Remembering the type of guy I want

If a man likes you, if he’s interested in you, he will contact you… unless he’s afraid or you did something that made him think you’re not interested. I struggle with this one. I’m attracted to the guys that can push through any intimidation vibes I give, through any insecurities they may have. But oftentimes, those same guys have other qualities I’m not too fond of, or lack the depth I desire. The guy I really need may not always act the way I desire. Guys with the confidence to pursue may look like a player. Guys who are more thoughtful in their approach may appear disinterested.

I don’t want to make the first move because I desire to be pursued by a guy but also, I’m scared to. I’m scared for him. Because I honestly don’t know yet. I don’t know how much I like him. And I don’t want to put that type of pressure on the relationship only to decide he’s not what I’m looking for and then I led him on, or worse, hurt him. And sometimes I wonder if guys have similar fears. This is where patience is key.

If I’m looking for a spiritual leader, I would like to have a leader. Someone I can follow. Someone I can trust. I’m afraid it would be hard for me to respect him if I had to convince him I was worth it. And I think we also need to remember that guys desire to be leaders. They will pursue who they believe to be valuable, precious, and priceless. They know what they are looking for. Mark Driscoll says, “Ladies, don’t chase a man.  If you start chasing a man, you’re going to be chasing him the rest of your life!” Taking control and trying to force things to happen a certain way doesn’t typically end well. This is where a guy being intentional and a girl being patient create the ideal situation.

Time and patience. Guys sometimes need time to get to know a girl and bond with her over time, and sometimes they need time to think before they are ready to fully commit to an exclusive relationship. Sometimes our impatience can come across as desperate, clingy or needy and can scare a guy away. These are not good attributes and are typically actions resulting from placing the guy above God. I think if we are really honest with ourselves, we would prefer someone who is more thoughtful in his approach rather than impulsive. Unfortunately, our ego feels otherwise:)

I wonder if what it really comes down to is whether or not we truly trust God. Whether we are okay losing a guy we may have liked for the sake of not ‘pursuing’ or whether we are okay pursuing in order to not risk losing something great. Or whether we’d rather be with a guy that fights through any insecurity because we want to feel like we were worth it. Only you know the answers to these questions. But I will say this: I think true love is something too great to risk losing.

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Don’t go on fun dates

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When I first mentioned this blog title to people, I got some crazy looks. Why wouldn’t you want to go on a fun date? Who goes on boring dates anyway? But hear me out. I am afraid of how our minds work sometimes. If we go on a fun date, we naturally equate the fun to liking the person we were with. But, I do think it’s possible to have fun without really liking the person. I mean, how can you not have fun at Dave n’ Busters?! While these experiences are fun, they don’t exactly help when it comes to deciding whether or not we like a person.

We crave fun. But we also crave love. We crave love more actually. And we desire someone that can be there for us when life just isn’t fun. When we lose our job, when our kid is sick, when we have no money. We want someone that will be there regardless. Someone we want to be there with us when the hard times come. Someone we can lean on. Someone we can trust. Someone we love.

You might find out which dates you love, but you won’t necessarily find out if you love that person. The fun masks the red flags sometimes. And unfortunately, I think I’ve stayed in relationships longer than I should have because I equated my love for fun with my love for him.

I loved the new experiences. I loved the traveling. I loved the food. I loved the activities. But I didn’t love him. I didn’t love the way he treated others. I didn’t love how he spent his free time. I didn’t love his passions. I didn’t love how he had no goals. I didn’t love his outlook on life. And the fog of fancy restaurants and new adventures clouded my vision. I got so caught up.

So what do we do instead? Is the answer really to not go on fun dates? Yes. Sure you can go on them, but not all the time- at least not until you know whether or not you love the person. Spend time talking but even then, that’s not enough. You have to spend time watching. Watching their behavior. One of my best dates was when everything went wrong and we just had to wing it. Olive Garden got replaced with Wendy’s and our movie got replaced with looking at Christmas lights.

Do boring things. Crazy things. Weird things. Dates that don’t cost money. Hang out with family. Work on homework. Participate in each other’s hobbies. Volunteer together. Go to the thrift store. Dance in the rain. Help each other with work.

Do life. Real life.

And then watch and see how things go. Is it fun doing life with them? Or do you get easily annoyed? Agitated? Maybe you need to grow. Or maybe the one you’re with just isn’t the right one for you. And that’s okay. Be intentional with your dating. When we focus solely on our happiness, when we just want to have fun, we can lose sight of what really matters most.

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