5 questions to ask yourself before committing to a relationship

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I have a hard time committing, I’ll admit it. But part of the reason is it’s hard for me to commit to someone if I don’t see a potential future with them. The break-up process is a painful one no matter how it happens, so if there are ways to avoid that, you better believe I’m all about it! In an effort to minimize heartbreak and stay focused on what matters most, there are five questions you should ask yourself before committing.

  1. Would I want my kids to be like them? This question allows you look beyond the outer layers of attraction and excitement and really see a person’s character. Are they kind? Loving? Giving? Value humility and purity? Do they show respect and honor? Or are they rebellious? Rude? Selfish? Or easily angered? It is so easy to be blinded and want to nurture infatuation feelings, but the truth is, the person you marry will have a significant amount of influence over your kids- and you! You want to trust that they will be a good role model and train up your children in the right direction.
  2. Would I want to be with them if we couldn’t have kids? This is a hard question to ask but a much needed one. As I started to get older, I started to question whether or not I should attempt to compromise on my standards for the sake of not letting my best child-bearing years pass me by. And then I realized how horrible this thought process is. And I also realized how many people I know who did get married because they wanted kids so badly and are now divorced. While kids are a blessing, having kids with the wrong spouse can be detrimental. Furthermore, there is no guarantee on even getting pregnant so it is vitally important to be with someone you would want by your side to help you through that process should it happen. The person you commit to should be a commitment for life, someone you want with you through all the good and bad.
  3. Am I growing closer to God or further away? There are people that will come into our lives that you will help and mentor, others that are acquaintances, and others that’ll challenge you to be the best version of yourself. The person you commit to should fall into the third category. This is why it is imperative for believers to be equally yoked with other believers, those who will help them with the temptations in this world. You want someone who will pray with you, call you out, and support you. If the person you are with is pushing you in a direction of compromising your faith, morals, and/or values, it is not a good sign.
  4. Do I feel more myself around them? This is oftentimes why people say the best relationships start out as friendships. You want to be able to be your true, authentic self without fear of rejection or judgement. Some people have a way of calming our insecurities, while others heighten them. If your relationship with someone starts out with a date, do your best to alleviate the pressure of a looming relationship no matter how old you are for the sake of building a stronger foundation should things progress. A relationship built on attempts to impress will not be able to withstand the challenges of everyday life. Furthermore, when you are with the right person, the pressure to perform should diminish as their passions and words ignite your passions and words, resulting in a fire lit deep within your soul. This is not something you can force, and no checklist can accomplish this.
  5. Do they love Jesus more than me? This is crucial. So many people seek someone who will love them most, not realizing the need for loving Jesus most in order to adequately love you. A love for Jesus will naturally result in love for you because it will become part of who they are. Jesus is love so a love for others is a natural result. When someone seeks to love outside of these parameters, love then hinges on who you are, your actions, and their feelings toward you, thus resulting in an unspoken pressure to perform. This environment is the breeding ground for insecurity, with no true stability. Someone who is able to love, honor, and respect God will be able to love you the only way you truly desire to be loved.

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Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

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)

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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photo credit: VanessaC (EY) 7th April 2009 via photopin (license)

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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