Confidence over comparing- my boyfriend’s ex

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Few things I hate more than comparing. Nothing steals joy quicker. Nothing deceives us more. We are tempted to compare in so many aspects of our lives- is she prettier, is she more successful, does she make more money, why does everyone seem to like her? The list is endless; the devil knows our insecurities and hits us where it hurts most.

One area he gets ahold of us is when we start comparing ourselves to our boyfriend’s exes. It’s hard to enjoy the love, the excitement, the closeness if you are constantly comparing or dwelling on an ex. We compare the gifts, the time, the places, the experiences, the laughter, and most importantly the place she may still have in his heart. All leading up to the question we desire to know most:

Does he love me more than he loved her?

And we begin to seek validation through his actions and his words. So instead of enjoying them, instead of appreciating them, we often compare them. Slowly chipping away any confidence we have. Is that what he called her? Did he take her here before? I wonder if this is as nice as what he got her? Comparing is a strong temptation and society doesn’t make it any easier for us.

But the one thing we seem to forget is that love is love and there is no cap. Love doesn’t expire. It doesn’t run out. And it certainly isn’t all dried up by the time he meets you. If anything, the capacity for love is greater. His past love for her has no bearing on the depth of his love for you now.

The other thing we seem to forget is he is with you and not her. He chose to be with you. The two of you are together for a reason. Whatever that reason may be, God knows. There will always be good memories with exes; at one point in time we liked them, maybe even loved them. But there are also bad memories. Memories bad enough to end things. Memories he may have even forgotten but ones that make him appreciate you even more, that make him value you more than you’ll ever know.

So while we are left comparing in our minds, he isn’t. He’s with you. He’s with you because he loves you so enjoy it. Choose confidence over comparing. He’s with you because you are whom his soul loves.

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photo credit: Giuseppe Milo (www.pixael.com) A romantic sunset via photopin (license)

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The greatest love I’ve ever known, the greatest love I’ve found

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It’s only fitting to finish the love month of blog posts by sharing with you about the best love I’ve found. I was listening to the radio the other day and they shared a little bit of the history of Valentine’s Day. One version, at least. But it struck me and reminded me of just one of the reasons I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day; it’s another excuse to show those around you how much you love them. Some argue you can do that any day and I agree but why not include this day, as well?

So apparently Saint Valentine was a priest in Rome who was imprisoned for helping Christians. A Roman Emperor tried to convert him to Roman paganism; if he converted, his life would be spared. Not only did Saint Valentine refuse to convert but he was actually executed for trying to convert the Emperor to Christianity. But before his execution, he would send messages about Christ’s love out, signing them Your Valentine. Love letters about God’s love.

I love my boyfriend. I love him more than I loved any other guy. But let me tell you why. The best thing about him is the love he has for Christ. It’s that love, that respect for God that manifests itself in ways that make me feel so unbelievably loved. And I’ve learned the only way someone can love this deeply is if they have Christ’s love. Because I know his love for me doesn’t depend on my behavior, whether good or bad in that moment, but in who he is in Christ.

1 John 4:19 says “We love because He first loved us.” It’s that love that pours out in an abundance showing signs of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, patience, not envious, not boastful, not proud, not dishonoring, not self-seeking, not easily angered, not keeping a record of wrong, not delighting in evil, rejoicing in truth, protecting, trusting, hopeful, and persevering (Galatians and 1 Corinthians ). Wow. You see, I’m not talking about attraction here. Infatuation. Similar personalities or success. I’m talking about something that reaches so much deeper. Something we don’t often talk about it.

Jesus was our prime example of this love. Humbling himself- not prideful, not focusing on what he felt he deserved. So full of grace, mercy, forgiveness. This is the greatest love I’ve found. When I was at my worst, He loved me evermore. This is the love that never fails because Jesus never fails. This is the love that endures because Jesus is always with us. This is the love that is eternal because Jesus is with us to the end of time. When you find that love, you desire nothing more than to share it with others. I pray you feel His love more than ever.

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*Special shout out to Wikipedia and my wonderful boyfriend with their help with this post:)

photo credit: patrickmai875 Valentines Day via photopin (license)

Love when I was young, wild, and free

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I sometimes wish I were my younger self. Wishing I could love with that same pure and innocent love, from a heart that has never felt pain, never been hurt. Wishing I had made different decisions. Wondering if I made the right choices. The truth is, sometimes I didn’t. I have regrets, made decisions I’m not proud of. And while I wish I could go back and make those decisions over again, I’m learning and seeing how God takes our mistakes, covers them in grace, and makes a way for a beautiful story.

I look back at my life and see how my love has evolved through the years. I look at how I used to be. I remember how innocent, how pure my heart was. I didn’t know pain, I didn’t know hurt. I was so free to love. So giving. Assuming guys would love with the same love I felt. Holding expectations that they had the same morals and values that I did. It never crossed my mind that they could lie, that they could cheat. No thoughts that I was never good enough for them. But the way my love was received told a different story. My love was often not reciprocated. I was met with cruelness, selfishness, and hate. Each experience tweaking my own behavior, my own concept of love.

I watched how these experiences changed me. I wasn’t so quick to love anymore. I began building an unbreakable wall around my heart, afraid to let someone hurt it even more. I became guarded. This allowed me to avoid hurt, but it also allowed me to not give away my love so easily. I’ve protected that love, kept it buried deep inside my heart. And now, now that I’ve met someone worthy, someone deserving of that free and beautiful love, all I have to offer is a scarred, broken, and guarded heart. And I just wish I could love with that same love I had when I was younger. But his patience slowly chisels at the protective wall I’ve built. His love ignites the love I once possessed.

I watch as our love story continues to unravel. Realizing I’ve never loved like this before. Not even close. A deeper love now. A love I didn’t think was possible, a love I didn’t know existed. And I think one of the most beautiful things I’m seeing is how our love relates to God’s love. How God loved us in spite of our brokenness. How God loved us even when we couldn’t love Him back. And how God’s love ignites passions inside of us to love Him and love others with that same love. I’m learning that perfect love isn’t love that’s never been hurt or never been broken. Perfect love is one that sees all of our brokenness and loves us even more.

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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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The unrealistic realism of Christmas movies

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I think there is a reason we are attracted to these sappy Christmas movies. They are full of goodness, happiness, and love. It wasn’t until I was talking with my friend who shares the same unhealthy movie obsession as I do that I realized how unrealistic they appear to be. I mean who meets, falls in love, and gets married all in the same month?! But you get caught up in it and don’t realize it’s crazy because so much of the story makes sense. So here’s six lessons I’ve learned from these time stealers.

1. Be with someone who brings out the best in you

Oftentimes in these movies, the girl or guy is already in a relationship. They are good relationships. Comfortable relationships. Good partnerships. Relationships that make sense on paper. But then they meet someone who makes them feel alive. Something more. Being around this new guy or girl has a way of bringing out the best in them. Loving life. Being a better person. Doing what they love. Wait for this.

2. Be with someone who falls in love with who you are, not what you are

I always love when you start to see the guy fall for the girl but then it is solidified when the girl shows up to some event dressed up. The guy is just in awe as she lights up the room. Nothing else matters. She’s stunning not necessarily because of her looks but because it finally hits him that all of these feelings he’s been having for her are something more than a friendship. It wasn’t the looks that attracted him to her, but her looks are now a bonus. Wait for this.

3. There has to be something more important than the relationship

What I love about these movies is that love has a way of finding them rather than the person out on the hunt looking for it. Or they are looking for it, but it ends up being someone completely different. The point being, they are able to be their true selves around this person because they aren’t all caught up with thinking this might be “the one.” They are focusing on making a difference, helping their family, or pursuing their dreams. They are willing to sacrifice their own happiness for something greater. God can only fill that hole and these people are already whole. The new relationship complements their life rather than completing it. Wait for this.

4. Notice the little things

Everything starts to remind him of this girl. The way she is making him feel alive again- bringing out the best in him. The guy could be in a bad mood and all upset but she always makes him feel better. She makes him laugh. He makes her feel like she can do anything. They remember little things about each other. They care. And it shows in their actions. Wait for this.

5. You might have to fight for love

 There always seems to be something (or someone) that almost ruins this new love. An old flame. Miscommunication. Jealousy. It’s so easy for us to just want to give up sometimes. To think it may have just been too good to be true. We tend to want easy. As if easy equates to perfect. But it doesn’t have to be easy for it to be right. Talk. Clarify. Engage. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve let my head wander because someone didn’t text back. Because someone was going away for the weekend. It’s almost like we are scared to send a double text. We are scared to be the one who cares more. But the right one is worth fighting for. Wait for this.

6. When you know, you’ll know

“How did you know Claire was the right one?” “I just knew. And you already know.” I remember this quote from one of the ones that had me crying the whole time. It was a young man torn between his childhood sweetheart who was the only girl he’d known and this new girl he met that made him feel alive. One was safe. The other was unknown. But she was worth the risk. He knew he loved her and loved who he was around her. He loved the type of person she was. Just like something in us already knows someone isn’t right for us but we try to make it work anyway, I think something in us will know when we’ve met the right one. Wait for this.

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photo credit: Christmas Confections via photopin (license)

Mom’s Advice & Dating

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Happy Mother’s Day to all the beautiful mommies out there and a big special HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to mine. I decided to a post on mother’s advice because my mom has been so instrumental in helping me to become the woman I am today. And I can’t thank her enough. Although I am very fortunate enough to have her as a mother, I hope there is someone you can identify in your life that has been a strong role model for you that will help you to relate and realize how blessed you are. There are many reasons I love my mom and when it comes to dating, these are some of the reasons I trust her as much as I do.

She’s never been wrong. Yes, I hate to admit this one but it’s true. One thing I don’t think we realize or want to realize is that we are emotionally attached when we like someone and we will excuse that person’s behavior to no end. However, moms aren’t and they can see right through the smoke screen we fall under the spell of.

She understands. My mom has never acted like I was dumb for liking someone I shouldn’t. She always acknowledges that my feelings are real and they matter. She encourages me to get closure as long as she believes I am healthy enough to handle it. She knows me better than I know myself. And though I may make dumb decisions, she understands and helps me to work though it.

Her mistakes were mistakes I didn’t have to go through. I’ve never understood the mentality my peers had while growing up. I would hear the excuse “Well you drank, well you had sex, well you did ” when they would argue with their parents. This was done in hopes to justify their choices. I would hope that each generation improves as we are able to learn from our elders. My mom has always told me she wants a better life for me than she had for herself. It was never about keeping good things away from me but protecting me from the bad so I could have the best life possible. She has always been so open and honest about her life and because of that there are many mistakes I was fortunate enough to avoid. It is such a blessing not having to learn the hard way.

She loves me unconditionally. I think the one thing that trumps everything else and why I am able to trust my mom as I much as I do, is the fact I know she loves me unconditionally. When you feel that unconditional love, you feel so safe and secure that you can do anything. Without it, you are always on guard and are left to question motives. Because of my mom, I now know what unconditional love looks like and can only hope to love people the way she does.

I wouldn’t say my mom is a tough mom when it comes to potential boyfriends. She isn’t too concerned with money. She wants me to be attracted to him but looks aren’t that important. And while a fun personality is a plus, that won’t win her over either. No, my mom has and always will look for one thing- will this guy love my daughter the way Christ loved the church? And she knows. She’s unbelievably smart. And this is why I don’t bring many guys home to meet her. She’ll point out what I already know deep down. Thank you mom for teaching me self-respect- letting me know my value and worth. I love you so much! Oh, and good luck future suitors:p

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Online dating: is it for you?

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The amount of relationships and marriages that begin from online dating seems to be rising. With technology constantly increasing and smart phones that never leave our side, dating has encountered various meanings as social networks and online dating sites continue to engage and connect people everyone. Okay seriously, if I continue to blog I need to be able to turn off my doctoral side of my brain and keep it real with you all. Dating in today’s society is whack and I can’t keep up. I feel like life would have been so much more simple if I had to rely solely on my (in person) relationships and didn’t have the option to hide behind my cyber identity.

Honestly, I don’t think it is my place to tell you whether or not online dating is for you; this isn’t one of those things that is explicitly stated in the Bible. All I can share with you are my thoughts and feelings. Really it is between you and God to decipher what is best for you, your relationship with God, and your relationship with your future spouse.

As for me, I have always had a bad feeling about online dating for whatever reason. So many people have tried to get me to try it but for some reason I couldn’t do it. It was something about taking control over my dating life and not fully trusting God that always led me away. I tend to also be naive and feel I could fall for anyone if I was convinced they were the one so I don’t really trust myself on sites like those. I am sad to admit that it also made me feel a little desperate if I ended up making a profile. Like what is wrong with me that I can’t find a guy normally? What is even the normal way? I don’t know. I don’t frequent bars or clubs so that can’t be normal either. I always thought the best type of relationship came from when you weren’t looking for one, which is why I personally struggle with the idea of online dating. I just want to be doing what I love and have someone else do the same thing and poof, the rest is history. My friend convinced me to try tinder as more of a joke awhile back and I must admit that it was rather entertaining. I wouldn’t call it a dating app. It could be used to meet friends, it could be used to hook up with others. I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. It was definitely a good ego boost. It felt so good to get a match; I had so many matches- either I was all that or I just didn’t have any standards lol. It was interesting to see the type of people on there. It was funny to see my friends on there too and make jokes about it. My friend recently went back on and is getting his self worth from his “162 matches” and “three dates a week.” I know he is secretly hurting over this. Why? Because it’s not real. I will be doing a ‘Tender Tinder’ 3 part series to talk about the three guys I ended up talking to over the instant gratification app. I learned a lot. And learned that it wasn’t for me. It’s hard waiting sometimes but it’s even harder ending up with the wrong person. Here are some things I’ve learned that will hopefully help you make the best decision for yourself!:)

Pros of online dating:

  1. Perfect for people with a busy schedule. This would be one of the reasons I would join. I don’t have much free time and if I did, the last thing I want to do is go looking for a potential spouse. When there are no possibilities in your current environments, online dating may be prove to be a useful tool.
  2. More options. You open yourself up to a lot more options when you enter the world of online dating. Could even prove to be a great networking tool;-) But keep in mind this also somewhat trains us to be noncommittal. I don’t think the dating sites should be to blame necessarily but rather society’s lack of commit and desire for instant gratification. We are trained through these site that if things start to get tough, you have plenty of other options. Perseverance, fighting for, and working through things seem to be a lost art.
  3. More control. You are able to have more control over your dating life and what you want. It’s up to you to pick the person of your dreams from an array of good looking, successful people. Just be careful you save room for God to show you his best:)
  4. Weeding powers. Unlike traditional dates where it make take awhile to get to know whether or not you like someone, you can knock out potential suitors left and right through a series of straight-to-the-point, deep questions. Who really wants to waste time anyway? If done appropriately, online dating could foster conversation that allows you to get to know the other person more because there’s just something about sitting behind a computer screen that gives us a little more confidence.
  5. Great ego booster. This is probably my favorite because vanity seems to be one of my weaknesses. If you are feeling rejected and alone, having a bunch of people that want to talk to you can make anyone feel good. Just remember it isn’t real; it’s the people that stick around through all the messy and ugly stuff that really love and care about you.

Cons of online dating:

  1. Dangerous. In a recent Tinder experiment, it was noted that one of the main fear women have with online dating is that the men they meet might end up being psycho killers. I know this may seem silly but spend a day reading news articles or watching “I dated a psycho” on Lifetime. Don’t be naive. Don’t be dumb. Some people are legit crazy.
  2. Creeps. While women fear psycho killers, the same study revealed that men fear that the women they meet might end up being fat. Okay really? I understand wanting to be attracted to your girlfriend but come on- can we be a little less shallow? Some people, probably most, aren’t looking for Christ-following, let’s get married partners. Be wise enough to spot those who aren’t and move on.
  3. Liars. You can be anyone you want via the internet. So many of my friends have gotten burned this way. There is something to say about body language and eye contact. It is so easy to stretch the truth, especially when our insecurities get the best of us. If you tend to be too trusting, much like myself, online dating may not be for you.
  4. More control. Yes, this was listed in the pros, as well. Just want to reiterate that when we tend to take control of this in our life, it leaves less room for God to move. Don’t be like Sarah and Abraham from the Bible and put too much into your own hands. Be patient. God is faithful and He is always on time.
  5. Focus on the wrong things. There is a lot of temptation toward an emotion led relationship when on the dating sites. As mentioned previously, it feels good to be chased and to feel valued. Sometimes it is hard to know the difference between what is real and what isn’t and this can be very scary. Subtle deception can occur before you know it and may lead you in too deep to get out on your own.

Tips:

  1. Know what you are looking for and what you are willing to compromise on
  2. Don’t compromise or make excuses for the things that are important to you
  3. Always meet in a public setting
  4. Listen to your gut and don’t continue something just because they are cute or you don’t want to hurt their feelings
  5. Be intentional, upfront, and honest
  6. Look for signs and don’t be dumb; it’s okay to take your time. If they are real, they will wait

Remember online dating is just another tool. Watch out for those looking for quick, emotional affairs rather than intentional, committed relationships.

-the virgin heartbreaker

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