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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How you attract him is how you’ll have to keep him

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It’s really hard sometimes. Scrolling through pictures on my Instagram, watching beautiful girls, dressed provocatively and the multiple likes by guys. And the thoughts run wild through my mind…

“Maybe if I would dress differently he’d like my posts too”
“Maybe if I posed more sexy-like, rather than cute-like I’ll get more attention”

Mind full of ‘what-ifs’ and insecurities.

This is what guys like. It appeals to fleshly desires, I get it. But that’s not the type of guy I’m looking for. And I have to stop and remind myself that. I’m not looking for the guy that gives into those temptations. I’m looking for a guy that’s strong enough to say no, when his flesh is saying yes. Because he knows deep down something isn’t right.

A guy that knows that’s not what he’s really looking for…
Me knowing that’s not the attention I truly desire…

The way I attract him, is the way I’ll need to keep him. I don’t want to attract a guy to me simply based on my looks- that’s not who I am. It’s not even close to who I am. And truthfully, girls, that’s not how you wish to attract a guy either. But I think we are left thinking that’s our only option sometimes. We believe the lie that he’ll choose that other girl over us. The one that poses for pictures a little differently, the one that shows a little more skin, the one that will be a little more physical…

But if that’s what he chooses, he’s not the one we’re looking for. He’s not the one we truly desire. And he’s not the one that’ll be able to love us with Christ-like love.

The right guy, you know what he’s looking at? You know what he’s waiting for? He looks beyond the things that won’t last. He looks beyond the things you didn’t have much control over. He’s watching your character. He’s observing how you make decisions. He’s viewing how you treat other people. He’s seeing what breaks your heart and what dreams you’re chasing. He looks at that heart of yours. He sees whether you’re pursuing worldly pleasures or eternal treasures.

That is how I want to attract my future husband because those are the things that define me. Those are the things that’ll never change.

There are guys out there like this. And they are the guys worth waiting for.

 How are you attracting the men in your life?

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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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Which finger should I wear my purity ring on?

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So I didn’t know this was a thing actually. I thought everyone wore their purity ring on their wedding finger. I think most do. But two things I’ve noticed as I’ve gotten older: some people do actually wear it on a different finger… and more and more people tell me I should wear it on ANY finger but my wedding finger. What?!

I do understand where they are coming from though. I think they genuinely care about me finding someone and believe it is deterring guys from me. Btw, I just looked at synonyms for the word deterring and got discouraging, daunting, dissuading, preventing, and frightening. Oops! I guess those could be fair assessments at times. Yet, I can’t fathom placing my ring on a different finger. It’s almost as if I’d rather be single the rest of my life than to let go of what my ring, on that finger, symbolizes to me. It’s not just a purity ring to say to my future husband “I waited for you.” It’s my commitment to God and a symbol of my love for Him and trust in Him. I feel if I were to take it off or move it to a different finger, a part of that love and trust would be going away with it.

But what if the right guy won’t approach me because he thinks I’m married? Maybe I’m stubborn. Maybe my expectations are too high. But my ring is a band of Christian fish. Maybe it’s a pipe dream but I want a guy that is able to recognize a purity ring when he sees one. Someone who would understand me and my values. Respect me and love that about me even more.

At the end of the day, I’m not sure God cares which finger you wear your ring on or if you wear one at all. But what He does care about is your heart. And my heart is after Him, first and foremost. So I’ll keep mine on my wedding finger. It’ll continue to be a conversation starter. And maybe, just maybe, that conversation will be the one I’ve waited for all along.

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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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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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You made her crazy

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I was listening to the second date update on the radio this past week. Stories about people that have gone on one date with someone, never hear from the other person again, and want to know what happened. So on this one, a girl went on a first date with this guy, she said it went great and he even kissed her at the end of the night. Then bam! Ghosted. The radio calls him to find out what happened. He says he wasn’t really feeling it, the date was not that great, and that she went psycho and liked all his old pics on Facebook.

So here’s my question for the guy- why in the world did you kiss her if you weren’t feeling it?!

People tend to associate physical aspects to a genuine like or love of another person. So what is really happening here is a sending of mixed signals. You are feeling one way but acting in a different manner. Heads up- this will cause anyone to act crazy because they are trying to make sense of something that doesn’t make sense. This is a lose-lose situation with no answer that can make logical sense. Her attempts of “not leaving you alone” are actually just her attempts to get some type of closure.

This leads down the whole “you lead her on” debate. Did you really lead her on or were you just trying to get to know her? Oftentimes both parties can feel guilty for breaking up with someone because they are now hurting the other person. This is unfortunately the risk we take sometimes when we choose to date. But are there ways to make this less painful, less crazy? Yes! You choose to really get to know her, not use her. If you really care about not hurting her and really care about putting her first, choose to put your physical desires to the side and get to know her. Her dreams, hopes, goals, likes, dislikes, and just simply enjoy each other. You’ll know much sooner whether or not you see a future with her if you leave the physical aspects to the side.

If you want to avoid any “crazy” behavior from girls, be sure to know yourself before inviting someone in. Not only knowing yourself, but being comfortable with yourself, your strengths and weaknesses. It’s hard for a girl to know if she likes you if you don’t even know yourself. I’ve had guys act like prince charming in the beginning, rolling out the red carpet, only for that behavior to change drastically. Once he hooks you, the true colors come out. Gaslighting is a popular tactic. Its goal is to manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity. You start to treat them poorly. You become secretive or evasive and then make them feel dumb when they start to question you for clarity. This creates chaos in their mind as they try to piece together the fragments. Wondering if the guy they fell in love with ever really existed.

It finally comes to a head when she tries to come to terms with reality. The fact that you didn’t really love her. She wants to believe you did, that you do, but she knows the truth deep down. There were both good and bad times. And she’s just trying to make sense of it all. So the confusion turns to chaos and the chaos turns to crazy. We all crave love so badly. So she either remains crazy, believing all the lies and hurt was really love. Or she accepts the fact that you never really loved her. Both are sad options in her mind. But one eventually allows her to move on. One gives her hope. One gives her the ability to leave all the craziness behind.

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