30 plus 3 and finally free

beach jump

Married by 20. And then 20 kids. That was the plan. I was sure of it. My crushes on guys started at the ripe old age of 5. A new crush each year. Brandon in first grade, Brett in second, Shawn in third, a teacher in fourth, Jason, Shane, Doug… and the list goes on and on. In sixth grade I had made a list of all the guys and girls in our grade and coupled them off as I felt appropriate. Maybe that’s’ when my love for relationship topics, matchmaking, and unsolicited advice started.

Moving into my teen years, the Internet started to provide so many tools for my interactions with guys to flourish. I didn’t have to wait to see one in person, I didn’t have to wait for a call. Email, message boards, AIM, and the beginning of social media made a guy available to me at any time to satisfy my emotional needs. To make me feel worthy. To get my temporary fix.

20 came and went. I almost settled down in hopes of sticking to the plan. Thankfully, I realized ‘I had more time.’ I continued to enjoy the single life of my 20’s. I wasn’t too concerned…

Approaching my 30’s was different. I was older now. A real adult. Most of my friends now married with kids. Every song reminding me of my desire to be loved, every chick flick making me wonder when it would be ‘my time.’

“Maybe I need to settle. Maybe I need to learn to commit even if I’m not ready. Isn’t there such a thing as “good enough?” Am I being too picky? Maybe I can grow to love him. No one will be perfect. Just find a Christian, I can work through the rest.”

Thoughts flooding my mind. Talking myself into certain guys. Hope of finding true love dwindling. Rationalizing in my mind how many kids I could have and still be happy. Still have the big family I had craved for so long. Mapping out a new plan. Logically. Systematically. Planning. Seeking control as much as possible. Asking myself, “How can I still make this work? How can I still get what I want?”

But I think part of the problem was not really knowing what I wanted. Do any of us really know what’s best for us? Do we know what will cause us to grow? To make a difference? To feel at peace? To be fulfilled? When we are all alone. When we peel back all the layers of distractions that keep us from being real with ourselves, what is it we really crave? If we could eliminate societal expectations, what would we truly want? If we stopped limiting ourselves to what we could see, what would be our deepest desires?

God wasn’t done working in my heart yet. Still molding me into the person He knew I wanted to become. Knowing I crave something so much more than a husband and kids. Knowing I crave to have the purest of hearts, a love overflowing for people, a dependency only on Him. Chasing a spark that lights my fire when I’ve made a difference in someone’s life, the twinkle in my eye I get when I know I’ve spread a little hope to someone in need.

I’ve been a work in progress. Years of lessons. So many stories. Seeing purpose through the pain of multiple heartbreaks.

I’ve recently hit the point where I’ve changed. You may not notice it on the outside, maybe you do, but my heart is different. My passions long for something more, something deeper. While a husband and kids may end up being part of my story, they aren’t my story.

I can’t tell you what love feels like yet. True love. Soul mate type love. But I still believe it’s out there. And I can tell you what it looks like, based on knowing what love isn’t. I’ve experienced enough to know. Hitting this point at this age would have normally brought me into a state of desperation. No one would have seen that. But it would have been eating me up alive.

A husband…
Kids…
How will it even be possible? Options getting slimmer. Eggs getting older.

But I’ve changed.

I no longer need that text to feel validated.
I no longer need your time to show me I’m worthy.
I no longer need you to know that I am unconditionally loved.

You see 30 plus 3 and finally free has a deeper meaning for me. 33 was the age Jesus died on the cross so we could be free. Free from lies. Free from peer pressure. Free from society. Free from ourselves. Free from sin…

I wish I knew how to describe how I’m feeling but it’s beyond my comprehension. It’s not the peace I used to tell people I had, while looking over at the guy across the room wondering if he was ‘the one.’ The peace that was still anxious. The peace of knowing in my head God’s plan is perfect, but feeling in my heart a longing for human love.

No, this peace is different. This peace has thrown out all my plans. I’ve stopped thinking logically and I’ve given up control. I don’t want to be in charge anymore. I’ve just let go. It’s a peace full of trust and hope.

Hopeful of what is come. Hopeful to see the plans God has for me. Because this life hasn’t been a life of marrying young, with a house full of kids. This life has been so much more to me. Such an adventure. Full of things I didn’t even know I was capable of. Things I didn’t even know were possible.

I really don’t know what the future holds anymore but I am confident of one thing-

The best is yet to come…

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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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photo credit: Hans-Jörg Aleff Fun via photopin (license)