No Guys in 2018: Valentine’s Day was the Best Yet- Week Seven

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My mind has shifted, my thoughts have changed. It’s interesting to look back and reflect on where I was in life and how I viewed it in the past. If you recall, last year I posted a history of my Valentines, with a focus on last year’s being “the best yet.” It was one of my most highly read posts, which you can read here. Was that true? I think so. It goes along with my belief in that each year should be better than the last, each day better than yesterday.

This year I spent Valentine’s Day at work. Making over 500 candy grams for fellow employees. Purchasing candy for my mom and brothers. Receiving a chocolate rose from ‘a brother from another mother’ who thought I might need it. And a few texts.

Simple. Fun. Plain. Nothing spectacular. And yet, there was something that made the day utterly enjoyable for me. And I couldn’t figure it out until I spent some time reflecting.

Every year I seemed to have this desire to be with someone on this day.
Every year I seemed to have hoped for or longed for something- flowers, chocolate, anything that would make me feel loved.
Every year I seemed to look at the “happy” couples of social media and wonder “why not me?”

Every year I seemed to have focused so solely and selfishly on myself without even realizing it.

And it was this desire to get rather than give that fueled my demise. Without realizing it, I didn’t really look at myself this year. My thoughts have changed. I have changed. I was looking to see whose life I could impact, who I could love.

I wanted to give instead of receive.

And I don’t think I could confidently say I’ve felt that in the past years. Sure, I gave and I gave a lot. But it was mostly because I was seeking something in return. Some validation. Some love. Some sense of romance.

Maybe this is what happens when we remove things in our lives that mean too much to us. Things that seem to control our thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Where do our thoughts linger as these things disappear, as these little idols become distant memories?

I think I’m becoming more aware of God and His love for me, and with it comes this fresh sense of freedom. I’m realizing how easily God could bring the right guy in my life at time, at any moment. These chance encounters with guys I’ve had just this past week make me realize how easy and how often we cross paths with so many different people. And how I don’t feel the need to worry. I don’t feel the need to control my destiny. I just have this newfound peace that God could bring whoever He wanted into my life at any time He sees fit. Any time He thinks I’m ready. Any time He thinks it would be best for me.

Because He knows the deepest longings of my heart.
He knows what my soul craves.
He knows what I long to accomplish and achieve.
He knows because He’s placed those desires within me.

These are things I always knew but didn’t always feel. Things I believed, but didn’t necessarily always cling to.

I think I like who I’m becoming.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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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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Rejection or God’s protection?

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I feel like I could marry anyone. I really do. If I make up my mind that I am supposed to marry someone or I feel like someone is the one God has planned for me, I will commit to make it work. Through all the good, through all the bad. There have been several exes that I would have settled with. I realize the word settle may be a bit harsh but I don’t mean a settling of someone less than me, I mean settling for someone other than the one God has picked out for me. Some will argue God doesn’t have anyone picked out for us or that He isn’t even really all that interested in our love lives- it’s up to us to make our decisions and then ask Him to bless the relationship. But I think that is silly. Of all the things God can do and does, what makes us think He wouldn’t care about our love life? He cares about everything because He loves us so much.

There were several guys I had thought may have been “the one.” Honestly, every time I start dating a guy, there is that hope. Some of these relationships it became quite apparent they were not the one for me. Other times, my stubborn side came out and I was determined to try and make it work. It was during some of these times, I have been rejected in ways that would make anyone feel less than human.

I was talking earlier this week and someone was shocked to hear that I have been rejected. Of course I’ve been rejected. Jason, Shane, Mike, Dan, Patrick, Josh, Alex, I could go on… And their opinions of me didn’t make it any easier. Not fun enough. Not sexy enough. Not wild enough. A prude. A goody-goody. Too spiritual… Words that sting. Words that make you doubt your worth. Why do we begin to feel worthless if we aren’t wanted? Worth and want are not synonymous.

And it took me awhile to finally come to the realization: Not everyone will like me… and that’s okay!

It’s a hard pill to swallow. Because my pride takes a hit. Feeling like I’ve been rejected by rejects. People that I now wouldn’t give a second thought to. In the moment though, longing for someone else to come along to make me feel worthy. Someone to make me feel valuable. To tell me that I am desirable. That I matter.

Looking back, I don’t view it as rejection anymore. I see it as God’s protection. God stepping in. God intervening. God willing to watch me suffer a little pain of being rejected rather than watching a lifetime of pain married/joined to the wrong one. I broke up with the ones I didn’t see a future with, and God allowed the others to break up with me so I wouldn’t look back in regret. Because rejection is so much better than regret. God, being the best father possible, protecting me when I was too distracted to protect myself.

My life amazes me sometimes. It’s funny how the guys that have once rejected me always seem to find me again. A random text. A Facebook message. Wanting to meet up. Wanting to date. Wanting to try again. But things are different now. My rose colored glasses have been lifted. My worth not coming from their want. And I realize God knew what He was doing all along.

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