Category Archives: Everything Else

Date Me If You Can

The issue of reading women probably stems from this oxymoron: we’re sickeningly sweet to the ones we couldn’t care less about and stone-cold indifferent to the attractive ones.

In my life, this little fact has handicapped me from being approachable to the right guys. I’ll see an attractive person and immediately freeze. My eyes drop to the floor and I instinctively smile at my feet. Some would say I’m just shy, but even shy people look back up at the person of interest. Unfortunately, I’ve convinced myself that such a move would scream with blaring desperation “pick me, please pick me!” So I am unable to express openness or encourage an approach. No wonder guys have such a fear of being shot down. We look like disinterested monsters too full to consume the approaching victim. But hey! There’s always the chance we’ll kill you for fun and leave the rotting corpse in our wake. So how do guys read the signs?

It is not always the guy’s responsibility to interpret mysterious signs expressed by the female gender. Take me, for instance, I’ll run the opposite direction, zigzagging along the way to throw someone off my trail. . .if I like him, that is. That doesn’t build much confidence in a poor guy trying to pursue.

So, hopefully the following will help…

Here are some of the signs of interest:

First, she glances and smiles. Then, she gives a second glance… 3 seconds pass… she smiles again. Third time, …she smiles, …okay! It is time to approach. This girl is interested.

Here is when it is not up to the poor guy to read interest: if a girl glances, makes eye contact and looks away, never to look back. It’s her loss if the guy chooses not to risk rejection by approaching her.

Flip the scene: when we don’t like someone, we smile, we’re friendly, we joke, we laugh, and we act like they are the only person in the world. We’re comfortable, if not confident. We don’t worry about rejection or looking dumb in front of these guys. They get friend-zoned almost immediately, but we love hanging out with them. Insert every girl’s claim here: we want to marry our best friend. By this, it only means we want to get as comfortable with the one we’re attracted to as we are with the friend-zoned fellow.

There is nothing wrong with being nice to guys we’re not interested in, but it is immensely confusing to befriend all the ones we don’t like while giving icy glares to the ones we do.

Here’s something we girls can do: be friendly to the guys we want to approach us. Be open and welcoming. Guys don’t need us to take their hand and lead the relationship. They need some encouragement in the right direction. They are not mind readers or flawlessly confident men who haven’t a fear in the world. They are human, trying to navigate life.

For the guys: look for the signs of interest. If you are unsure but interested, go for it. Most of the time, we are gracious in our rejection. Don’t take it personal. It was a risk taken and a new direction to move in. This one didn’t work. Maybe the next one will.

We could all learn to be clearer with our communication, actions and intentions. We are friendly creatures, by default because we want to be accepted and liked. Unfortunately, it is easier for us to abuse our power with people who make us comfortable. That goes for both genders. We gladly accept the attention of a person regardless of our own disinterest in them. It makes us feel desirable and enables us a few back-up plans in case we can’t find someone better. The dilemma in that is, when a guy sees us with our “friend,” he regards us as taken and moves on. This inevitably works its dark magic on our esteem. Now, we wonder why the only guys we attract are the ones we don’t like. The simple truth is we’re afraid of the ones we like. We don’t want to show our vulnerable hearts to them. So we try to mask it, act tougher, show interest elsewhere in order to get his attention. If we could just learn to be ourselves— comfortable, friendly, and funny— with the right company, we might have the chance at a top-choice relationship. We wouldn’t feel the need to settle every time we’re single and alone. Fear is the partner of settling. Fear of being alone, being shunned by society, being an outcast or–God forbid–different! Another reason we settle is this, “Hey! If the guy I like sees me with someone else, he’ll know I’m desirable. He will try to win me over.” I’m pretty sure it’s every girl’s fantasy to be fought over by two great guys. “May the best man win!” This is our atrocious flesh rearing its ugly insecure head like a pimple on prom night. It’s a world of confusion with so simple a solution:

We need to be nice to the one we are actually interested in. Stop playing games. If the guy doesn’t have a chance, we should be decent and respectful and cut him loose. It only brings trouble to keep a hapless crusher attached. He deserves to be happy with someone who will like him in return.


Beyond The Pencil-Prick Life

The question should never be, “When will I meet that special someone?” Instead, this is the question we focus on: “Does my life exemplify Christ to the world?” Whether single or married, one fact remains true of all lifestyles: the safest place to be is in the will of God. If He allows us to enjoy the benefits of marriage for the next 50 years then we will do so within the boundaries of His will. If He gives us the freedom to spend our days as a single person then we shall lavish in the moments and spend our time for the Kingdom. Without Him, I am lost. With Him, I have all I need. So it isn’t a matter of finding someone, or being someone such as a girlfriend, a wife, or an old maid. It is a matter of fostering a right relationship with the King of all creation. After our 80+ years on this earth we will move on into eternity. Everything on this earth will fade in time. We will be taking nothing more than our spirits to heaven. We won’t have Mr. and Mrs. titles in heaven either. Whoever the godly man is that we marry is not the means to an end. He plays a part in God’s story as well. Our job in his life is to build him up and encourage him forward. Too often I hear single people swoon over marriage, “Oh! If only I was married… When I get married… Things will be different when I’m married…” It all sounds so final. All the “someday-when-I’m-married” stipulations will hold no bearing to the truth about marriage being a temporary, earthly example of Christ and His Bride. The ultimate relationship is with Jesus Christ. Not even death can separate that relationship. He is our first love. Meaning nothing should EVER take His place within our hearts. Even if we marry the greatest guy in the whole world, that relationship STILL falls short compared to our love relationship with Christ. We are not necessarily held responsible for whether or not we marry, but whether or not we fulfill our calling. It is that big. It is that crazy, wild, and adventurous. It will bring us to life like nothing else in the entire world. Our callings stimulate us and shape us into the representatives Christ has called us to be.

I’ve had some of the sweetest, most exhilarating moments with God. I’ve shifted away from the busyness of life to meet with Him in some of the most remote places where His beauty shines and His Spirit speaks softly. I am filled to the brim with unspeakable joy, peace, and the assurance of His security. He is ready to pour out His blessings and share His love at all moments throughout the day. The reason the moments happen less frequently than they should is because I get too busy. I misplace my focus and start building my little earthly kingdom or I get distracted by the shiny objects in this life. He fills my heart afresh every time I meet with Him. But it goes against my human nature to seek Him and please Him. My spirit and my flesh are at war all day every day. The more time I do spend in His presence, the stronger my spirit becomes and the more Christ becomes my sole focus. I know Satan can’t stand a powerfully selfless child of God. He subtly brings on the distractions. And before I know it, it’s been weeks and I haven’t had one of those awe-inspiring, soul-refreshing, spirit-awakening moments with God. We mustn’t let go of our first love. We cannot let ourselves get so busy we neglect that meaningful and life-transforming relationship. The way we treat Him is going to hold bearing on the way we treat our future men. Will we give our time to Him even in our busiest pursuits?

And when we come fully alive, we will encourage our significant others to become fully alive. The verses concerning two being better than one truly make this point: we can do marvelous things for the Lord as a single person, but when two people come together and pray into something and encourage each other along, build one another up, and step out into darkness together, they can light up the world. That’s why it is so important to make sure we are both chasing after the same goal. And the goal above all goals is to glorify God in everything we do. We find a guy with that same focus and we’ve found a treasure.

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

What amazes me is that God is always moving. Even when I sleep, He continually originates desires and plans in my life to tug me along on His glorious and adventure-filled path. Everything in the universe is the story of God. God created all things to glorify Him. I want any role in the never-ending story of God. I want my life to shine a light on Him. I desire to bring GLORY to God in ALL I DO! And when we partake in this story-no matter our role-we get to participate in the glorious, heavenly after-party of God. We are allowed to come into His presence because Jesus Christ came to this miniscule planet to save us. He saved me. He rescued me. My life BELONGS to Him. I was made for Him-for His glory. That is such a jewel to possess. This life is NOT about me. It is about Him. What can I do with my pencil-tip-length of life to bring glory to His name?

Life. He is the way, the truth, and the LIFE. In Him, our spirits come alive.

 


Prayer Makes Pure-fect

We were born in darkness. There is little gain from condemnation over bad choices made in the past. It is wrong to assume we were pure and those choices made us impure. Instead, we must realize that we live in a fallen world where all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23). There are none righteous, no not one (Rom. 3:10). When we enter into the world, we are not pure but innocent of bad choices. We start off as selfish beings. When I gave away my first kiss I thought I lost some of my purity. I knew I could never get that back. The loss is so final. And yes, it is true that I’ve lost some of my innocence, but my purity is not wrapped up in a label. Purity begins in the heart. God brings the dead to life (Rom. 4:17). He washes us clean and calls us His redeemed. You and I were called out of darkness while we were still sinners. We didn’t earn good-standing; we weren’t holy enough to just step into His presence. He made us righteous with His blood. Each day we make choices and take steps, hopefully closer to purity. Each day we are being fashioned into His likeness. We have hearts that can ascend to purity through Christ’s redemption. It all starts with prayer.

Prayer has proven to be one of the biggest comforts in my life. I pray to God about everything. It is especially rewarding to talk to Him about guys. After all, He did create those guys and knows their hearts better than anyone. He is not going to give some biased advice or flattering feedback. He is going to shape and transform my heart to resemble His own for a guy: to love with selflessness and share my heart only if the Holy Spirit prompts me. I want to love people with His love. I don’t just love the world with His love because that sounds good. I love with His love because I have experienced it. I know His love is best. I know His love is the most satisfying, beneficial, and sacrificial love of all. There is no hidden agenda, selfish motive, or stipulation to His love. He loves us because He is love.

Many people ask the question “How do I hear His voice?” It is a real question, and of course, there is a real answer. Practice PRAYER.

Prayer: 

The best way to hear this glorious King’s voice is to spend time in His presence. Prayer begins with conversations about our day, our feelings, anything. We acknowledge the opportunity to speak with the Creator of the Universe. Here’s an example of a rudimentary conversation: HI. You’re Jesus. I know a lot about you, but I don’t know YOU too well. I know you are the HOLY Son of God. I know you humbled yourself and became one of us for our sakes. I know you DIED on a cross and then rose again. Your word says you know the number of hairs on my head and your thoughts about me outnumber the grains of sand (Psalm 139). That is pretty crazy to think, but already I like you more.

A great way to start talking to God is by confirming the truth we’ve read about Him. “I know you love me, forgive me, call me your child, etc.” Prostrate-that is a cool word for “lay face down,”-and just soak up the silence. In those silent moments Christ can speak to us. We often forget praying is a two-way conversation. We don’t just ask for things and wait for those things to fall out of the sky. We don’t rub a genie bottle and ask for our second wish. We don’t just talk to Him, forgetting WHO He is. God wants communion with us. He wants to talk to us. It’s hard to understand that in our initial conversations with Him. But prayers are supposed to progressively move deeper and closer to God’s heart. We can pray and hear answers, or we can pour out and just be comforted in His arms. He knows exactly what we need and what is best for us. It’s hard to face that when we really want an answer right now. But the more we talk to Him the more we trust Him and understand His heart for us. He is worth every minute of my day. I adore conversing with my Father in heaven and hearing His responses.

It is not like hearing a person in the next room, it is hearing with our spirits. We must be careful here because our hearts easily get distracted by our fleshly wants and we think we heard Him say “just do it.” The best way to combat and discern answers is the truth of His word. What does the Bible say? If our request stirs up an answer contradictory to the Word of Truth, chances are that answer is not from Him. John 10 talks about Christ as a Shepherd. It says His lambs hear and know His voice. He leaves the gate open for them to roam the fields freely, but when He calls, they know to return. How do we hear His voice and know it’s Him? Abracadabra, the answer is!… We spend time with Him. If we wanted to get to know someone, we wouldn’t just sit across the table from them and stare. That might be awkward and dissatisfying. A lot of people react to God in this manner. When one sits down to “talk with God,” it gets silent and weird. This is too quiet. I don’t like this silence. What do I say to You? What do I ask You? How weird is it that I hope to hear back from You? What if I DON’T hear from You?

There are many questions to ask, but no idea where to go with the conversation. Just relax; breathe. Yes, He is Holy and yes, He is perfect, so there is a bit of nervousness in our first few conversations with Him. But the more time we spend with Him the easier it gets to talk to Him and absolutely cherish every moment. He is endearing and He listens to every word we speak. Not even one of those words will be lost. He receives them all. When we are at a loss for words, it is fine to just sit in silence. If we don’t know what to ask Him, it’s okay. It is always beneficial to proclaim His Word. The Bible is full of God’s characteristics and His great love. When conversing with Him we should keep those in mind. Wow! It can be gloriously overwhelming to think of how incredible He is and all the things He has done, created, and said. Let alone, all the awesome things He has performed in our individual lives. He isn’t God that created the world, created man, threw that man into the world and said, “The rest is up to you, buddy! You’re on your own to figure this thing out!” Not in the least, He is a loving Father and He continues to work with us on an individual basis. He knows our specific needs and He’s ready to help us get through all our junk to find Him and become more like Him. His Word is our nourishment, our sustenance. With that we move into conversation and dialogue with Him. He wants to share His secrets with us, but that means we have to get close enough to hear His whisper. In order to get closer, we have to spend quality time with Him, undistracted from the busyness of day-to-day responsibilities. Each day in His presence gets better and more invigorating. Each day I fall more in love with this incredible God and Savior. He is everything I need. The more I read His word and converse with Him, the more I understand His heart. Life is dull and meaningless without Him. He’s everything. Putting prayer into practice can only magnify our enjoyment, adventure, and satisfaction in life.


A Cup of Confidence & A Spoonful of Strategy

Strategy: “First, pillage the nest. Clip wings. Now, blunt his beak. Crack eggs. Scramble, pinch of salt. Touch of pepper. Flip the omelet. Additional seasoning required. Breakfast is served.” –Sherlock Holmes, Game of Shadows.

Smart people strategize in life. They don’t “Just Do It” unless they understand the reasons and repercussions. They weigh the options and go with the best choice.

Strategy also works in dating scenarios. And first dates are the perfect opportunity. It’s exciting, tense, nerve-racking, and exhilarating. It is fun to ask questions, discover common ground, laugh, and even find chemistry when the date goes well. So how does one have a good date? Yes, we must keep in mind that there are two people making choices that determine if the date will go well. But there are many tactics we can use in order to make the environment comfortable, have plenty of questions to ask, and determine what the next step should be, if any.

Usually, women can tell if they like someone within the first five minutes of talking to the guy. A first date can make or break a relationship. This is probably why so many people feel pressure, nerves, and anxiety in the moments leading up to, and even throughout the date. If we could find a way to alleviate some of that pressure, wouldn’t we want to at least give it a try?

7 Strategic Tips For Successful Dates:

1. Make a mental note of questions to ask throughout the night when things get dull or awkwardly quiet. What do we want to know about these guys? We must keep in mind it’s a first date so questions concerning his thoughts on kids, what he’s looking for in a wife, and are we prettier than his ex are completely out of the question-no pun intended. We scratch the surface of these incredible human beings as we spend time with and get to know them. “Where did you grow up?” “What are some of your favorite memories of that place?” “If you had a chance to go back in time to one place in your life, where would it be, what would you change?” “What do you enjoy recreationally?” “What job do you have/want?” “What is your favorite aspect of God and why is that important to you?”

The main purpose to these questions is to find some of the depth in these guys and whether their interests meld with our own. Truly, I have a hard time connecting with guys that don’t have a sense of humor, an appreciation for life, a taste of optimism in their character, and security in Christ. When these are lacking, it is as though we are walking on two paths. First and foremost, there should be a foundational connection through Christ. If that relationship isn’t established in both parties, something innately necessary is amiss. It does help to find common ground within our two distinct personalities. I’ve heard opposites attract, but even in that, there is always some common ground. The bits of opposite are meager differences that can actually complement the two people. One is strong where the other is weak.

2. It is important to pay attention to his stories. We should ask specific questions to show we are listening.  Jared was a sweet, smart gentleman. On our first date he mentioned he was pursuing a Kinesiology major. ”Why did you choose Kinesiology, Jared?” “Originally,” he smiled, “I was going to be a doctor.” “Oh! What changed your mind?” He paused thoughtfully, and then continued, “My sister was paralyzed in a car accident when she was little. I’ve been taking care of her all her life. I guess I finally realized I wanted to help more people like her. I want to be a Physical Therapist. I want to see people reach for the stars and accomplish things they never dreamed they could do again after an accident.” It was amazing for me to hear him share such a deep part of his world. It was building a connection between us. He was uncovering something beautiful about his heart and passion. This was all possible with a few of the right questions and a tuned ear to listen.

3. When answering a guy’s questions, the first date is not intended to be a tell-all right away. Guys crave challenge and mystery. Talking/telling too much can put a major damper on a potential relationship. There is mystery in a woman who discloses information at the proper time in a relationship. It goes along the same lines as being intentional about everything. We must be intentional about the details we share. If we share our entire life stories within the first few weeks of a friendship, where can it go from there? There isn’t anything more to find out because we’ve disclosed it. Especially when it comes to deeper parts of our personalities, meaningful stories, and childhood insecurities, we hold them dear for the right time. We are worth the pursuit. Let him pursue. There is a perfect time to share stories and experiences. It just may not be within the opening five minutes of a first date.  

4. It is so important to be comfortable in our own skin. Being shy is one thing, but deathly insecure is another. We must come to a place of acceptance. We are all different and all beautiful in unique ways. Beauty isn’t a physical appearance, but how we feel inside. The true test of confidence is when we know and embrace our uniqueness and immeasurable worth in our Father’s eyes. When we know the God in Heaven approves of us and MADE us the way we are, confidence will exude from our beaming smile and balanced posture. Oh yes, posture is a part of this. Posture is the sweet little sister of Body Language. When observing someone’s posture it says numerous things about a person.

  • Girl with slumped shoulders: I don’t feel good about myself.
  • Girl with an overextended chest and swayed back: either I have back problems or I’m trying to get you to notice my assets.
  • Girl with her head down, sneaking into the room with darting eyes: I’m terrified the mob will get me. If someone even notices me I will bolt.

Bad posture is more than just bad posture. It makes a woman less flattering and seemingly less confident than she may actually be. Sometimes we get lazy and allow our shoulders to slump. But it is valuable to make a habit of holding our shoulders back, our smiles wide, and our heads up. This is a pure and simple sign of confidence. It is also very attractive to see, whether it is in a guy or a girl, and we will always notice a person who walks tall and smiles bright. There is something appealing about those people.

Now that the first-date jitters are over, it’s time to strategically work through other obstacles.

5. Be comfortable with silence. Give these guys the chance to think of their own questions. It’s time to throw the ball back into their court. It is fun to be on first dates because we can guide the conversations by asking specific questions and getting to know if these guys are good for us or better suited for another girl. But there is also a point when silence is golden. It gives these guys a chance to weigh their moves and ask their own set of inquiries. It also shows how collected we can be–as women–to allow silent moments. Just relax, smile, and enjoy the trickles of sweat that start forming on his forehead.

6. “Intentional” and “Communication” are two words that should go hand in hand in relationships. We need relationships. We need to learn from each other. Not every friendship with someone of the opposite sex will enter intimate territory. I have a friend who set clear guidelines from the beginning of her relationship- no talk of marriage, just get to know each other for a few months. They decided when the three-month mark hit they would reevaluate and make sure the friendship was satisfactory for both. If they had stronger feelings by that time, they would pray about taking the next step in the relationship. There were no false expectations or confusion as to where the relationship was headed. If they reached that three-month mark and one did not desire the next step, it was easy enough to say so. No pressure. No obligation to move toward a commitment neither wanted to make.

7. We should tell the guy if we don’t want to be in a relationship straight off (which we shouldn’t). Take the time to get to know these guys as friends. Sometimes, we have certain guy friends in our lives for a specific season, but then in the next season the friendship may not be as close. God continually brings people into our lives to teach us something. We learn from every relationship. It could be good, positive lessons, or sad, hurtful ones. Let’s hope for and practice the former. Let’s aim for all of our relationships to be beneficial and positive from start to finish. It may not always work, because there is another human being involved, making independent decisions as well. We can’t control the outcome of a relationship. However, we can control OUR part.

Every encounter we have is a gift. Every guy we meet is valuable. We gain small treasures and simple designs in our memory bank from every relationship we have. These tips are not meant to manipulate guys into relationships or put the best foot forward in order to snag a boyfriend. There is a great way to experience relationships and a rocky way. Dates are not just fun little activities to ward off boredom. There is a purpose to each of them. Strategies such as the above help us make smart decisions and prevent us from wasting anyone’s time. I respect men far too much to play games and date them for a free meal. Everyone deserves a first date, but they also deserve the decency of truth if the relationship is not going anywhere. And women are worth more than blind affection and quick relationship statuses.

In the land of the ‘savvy’ society, body language is a woman’s greatest weapon. She uses it to toy with men. She reels them in like fish on a hook, but isn’t able to detect whether the fish is a tender, exquisite Salmon or a bottom-feeding carp.

Before reeling in the next stranger with seductive body language and risqué clothing, let’s imagine how it would feel if some girl was behaving in that manner in front of our men or even our brothers. We should protect all of these guys as if they were someone else’s future husband. Not saying that to deter anyone from ever dating again, but we should take into account the guy has a heart as well, and it can be just as easily broken as ours. We should always behave respectfully, and expect the same treatment. These dates are opportunities to showcase God’s beauty and His guidelines for first dates. Dating can be fun, exciting, and healthy with the proper mindset and a holy purpose. We bring Jesus into every first date, every relationship, and every friendly encounter. We glorify Him with our attitudes, body language, posture, and conversations. Dating truly is one of the greatest opportunities in life.


The Pretense of Perfection

There is a deep, innate desire in each of us for relationship. We want someone to share in our adventure. But so often, we dive into relationships with only pretense and fantasy as our basis. Not quite the foundation for a solid commitment, now is it? As the façade peels away, a dark, lurking creature stems forth. We see the real colors of our beloved. “Wait! He never used to blow up with such anger!” or, “She used to let me go out with the guys but now she’s suctioned to my shoulder and won’t let me out of her sight!” Was trust ever a part of the relationship? Before we step foot into a serious relationship, we should be able to trust, not only the other person, but God to lead the relationship. If He is not leading a relationship, it is not the right one.

I went shopping for shampoo one day. I liked the looks of a pretty gold bottle. The shampoo smelled really good, too. Score! The next day before work, I used my new shampoo. While blow-drying my hair, I noticed it felt a little greasy. I rationalized that it just needed to air dry a little more. I thought nothing of it and went on with my day. A few hours later, I looked like I had been without a shower for weeks. My hair was shining. It felt like someone poured olive oil all over my head. By the time I arrived at home, I was angry at my new shampoo. It was the nightmare of all shampoos and seemed to cause anything but a clean feeling. I reached for it, ready to throw it into the closest trash bin, when I scanned the label… finally. There it was, “X-treme Silk for African-American hair.” No wonder it turned my fine blonde hair into a mane of dripping oil. It was meant for gorgeous thick, coarse hair.

This whole concept works the same way in relationships. We see a good-looking guy and automatically picture a perfect personality and compatible fit in our world. Sometimes we jump head-first in a relationship. Later, we realize his personality just doesn’t mesh with ours and his interests complement ours like mayonnaise and jelly. I think I just threw up in my mouth.

However, that knowledge sure doesn’t make it easy when it comes to attraction. Every time I see a good-looking, possibly interesting guy, the wheels inevitably start to turn in my head, “Wonder what he’s like? Does he have a good personality, depth, humility?”

Case in point, a gorgeous guy works at a coffee shop I frequently visit. We’ve hardly spoken, but he sure is handsome. So here I am, with fluttering butterflies and shaky hands as I sip my grande, half-pump, triple-shot Caramel Macchiato. There’s a mystery that draws me in and a desire to dream up his potential personality. This is the moment so many are tempted to jump in with both feet, but I am patient and cautious. What if he’s psychotic? What if he likes to suck on his own toes while watching TV, sing out his order in the food court, or gallop through the grocery store? It would not be fair to him if I just gave the relationship a test-run all in the name of attraction. Dating shouldn’t be for the sake of physical attraction alone. A foundational friendship should be built first. I have walked into attraction with an eager attitude and friendly smile only to find an overboard suitor smothering me with serious promises and crazy plans involving white picket fences and tire swings for “our” children… we haven’t even held hands yet! We must hold a bit of that emotion back in the beginning. However we start a relationship, it will only build from there. When I start relationships at the ‘best friend’ level, I’m suffocated by their affection and need to be together all the time. Things need to start off slowly and at an acquaintance level first. It’s easier to grow into a friendship than to back out of a relationship.

It’s not like buying a skateboard or a new dress, or even a new car. Relationships are more equivalent to buying a house. We have to consider everything: the electric bills, water bills, trash bills, monthly grocery bills and this goes on for years, if not decades. It’s actually hard to even put it into those terms. The difference is relationships involve another person. It’s not just a choice we make for ourselves. God created all of us equal. He loves that other person just as much as He loves us and He wants the best for both people involved.

I may have an aspiration for companionship, but I refuse to fall prey to the weakness of lust and desperation! I can and will wait for that perfect fit! Something wild, dangerous, daring, and free! Someone made up of all the right ingredients. A little of this guy’s character, a little of that one’s humor, his leadership skills, and the right dash of that other guy’s rugged good looks! I’ve had some amazing friendships and some zealous crushes, but all the while, something in my heart always protests, “Wait!” Something deep within me senses, “There is something inexplicably more satisfying further down the road. I must wait for it!” The beauty of this journey is that I am learning right now, as a single woman, what Christ is supposed to mean to me. I must fall in love with Him first and foremost! I’m not ready for the chunk of muscular tissue and characteristically delicious ingredients that construct my Knight. I have not hit the spot in my path where another path forks into it. I’m still free-sailing with Jesus. And I’m excited! No one has crossed this ground before; it’s my trail. Christ knows what kind of journey will spark the passion inside of me. I want to discover treasures and fight battles as a single woman who does not pine away or wistfully peer beyond the horizon for a Prince and White Stallion. I want adventure, to see the unknown, conquer the intellectual world of education, breathe air only found at the highest peaks, sail through uncharted waters, cross jungle floors too dangerous for guides and tours! I want to LIVE! The potential He has created in me from the beginning of time is exponentially more marvelous than I could ever imagine! My desire is to strive with determination and tenacity. I want to persevere through thick and thin. I want to learn true commitment. I must learn this before I ever dare reach for that *human relationship* that is to mirror a commitment between Christ and his bride.


Flirtatious Fire

In the moment, when the heat of his breath is so close and hearts are beating a hundred miles an hour as if they could visibly pump right out of each chest, it is hard-if not impossible-to say no. If we wait until we are in a situation that begs to steal our purity, our stance is harder to take. In that moment, whether we want to be pure or not, our flesh is the loudest voice. The argument may go through our heads a dozen times, but the outcome is usually the same: “I don’t care what the consequences are, I can’t say no.” We hit the crossroads and don’t have the time to think through the situation with clarity. Our minds are clouded from good judgment. We can get into two different scenarios under this lack of discipline. Either it’s too hard to say no, or we come in contact with guys who won’t listen to our “no’s.”

I was in one such situation in my party days. My best girl friend and I went to her ex-boyfriend’s house. He and his roommate were looking for fun and she answered the call. I felt uncomfortable when I arrived, but doused the discomfort with alcohol and flirtation. My friend disappeared and I was stuck on the couch with the roommate. I was bored out of my mind and ready to leave. He was building his courage and attempting small talk. A few drinks later, he was showing me his room. Was it my naivety that kept warning bells from shooting off in my head? I walked in, looked around. It was ugly and cluttered. Suddenly, I’m pinned on his bed and he is trying to kiss me. Okay, now the warning bells are working. Pop, pop, crack—they’re going off like firecrackers and my mind is racing for a quick get-away. I pushed with all my strength, but he must have been a wrestler in his earlier years because I was immobilized. My legs weren’t working, but my voice was growing louder and sterner by the second, “Get OFF right now! This is not funny and I am NOT going to sleep with you. If you do not get up, I will hurt you.” This may have been more convincing if my voice wasn’t shaking and my breath coming out in labored clumps from his weighty pressure. When he just laughed at my command, hope waned momentarily. But I’m fighter. Finally, I got a hand free and shot my fist into his throat. Cough, choke, sway… this was my chance. I squirmed free just in time to get his elbow in my eye. I took two steps back and bluffed with a fighting stance. I had one chance to connect with his face and show him that I meant business. Adrenaline thundered through my bloodstream and anger rallied toward this obnoxious creature in front of me. I saw a look of uncertainty in his eyes and took my shot. By now we’re both a bit bloody but finally at a truce. I grabbed my friend and we went home. That was my first–and hopefully last–black eye from a guy. If we play with fire we WILL get burned.

When we “harmlessly” flirt with someone just for the sake of flirting we open the door to trouble. I had no attraction for this guy. I was bored and he was the only available target for my entertainment. Playing the game of flirtation is not pure in the least. It is not fostering godly relationships, nor is it protecting the hearts of others. There is such a power trip to flirtation and the attention it ignites. It gives us a false sense of control. We call the shots, we draw the lines. So we assume “purity” is just about holding a V-card, but it is more than that. We must be aware of our surroundings and refrain from our dance around the fire.

Even though I don’t know the painful memories of a sexual encounter, I do realize that whatever tactics Satan has used on me when I’ve fallen short of my standards are increased and intensified for a girl who feels as though she’s lost her greatest gift: her virginity. Often, the stories I hear from girls who gave their virginity away and had their hearts broken, felt they had nothing left to protect so they continued the pattern of sleeping with boyfriend after boyfriend. It is hard to protect what you fear is lost. I did that with my first kiss. After that, I kissed a lot of people because I had already missed the goal of saving that kiss for the altar. I cannot imagine the pain some have gone through after losing their virginity. But here is where redemption shines through the hopelessness. No matter what we’ve done we cannot give up! With God on our side, our sins are washed away, our slate is wiped clean, and our garments are made as white as snow. Redemption gives us a story to tell with a brave and joyful ending. Redemption gives us the strength to say no and to respect ourselves enough to break the cycle and live righteously. “Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it” (James 4:17). We can start over at any point in our lives. We cannot continue to sin with the expectation that God will forgive us later when we decide to repent. “Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies” Hebrews 10:26-27. It is a serious issue when we sin while knowing it is sin. We have a freedom in Christianity that no other religion allows: freedom of choice. We don’t serve our Master out of fear or condemnation. We serve Him out of love. “We love because He first loved us.” He taught us how to love when He gave up His life for us. We live righteously because we want to be more like Christ. He said, “I no longer call you servants, but friends.” He isn’t just Master anymore; He is Savior and Friend.

“Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.”  -Isaiah 1:18

 

It is there for the asking. And the Spirit will always make a way of escape. Always!

 


Eye On The Prize

We can’t live our lives based on a preemptive thought that marriage or boyfriends are in the near future. These and similar tracks only lead to discontentment in the present. There is nothing more depressing than living each day hoping for something else: a different life, different job, different self. By that, I don’t mean we can’t repent of sin and walk away from certain situations. We can always dream and ponder the next step. I live my life in complete wonder each day. I am amazed by God’s handiwork and His guidance. I’m amazed that He allows me to live at all, let alone in some of the most exotic places in the world.  It is so easy for us to get caught up in media and spendy, trendy fads. We’re always looking for something bigger and better. We lose sight of the small and priceless moments God has slipped into each moment of our lives. “My eyesight must be getting bad,” some may think, “because I’ve lost focus on the little things.” To those, life may be about the BIG things: the extraordinary moments, the accolades, the success, the money, the toys, the popularity, and the recognition. All of those big moments are meaningless without the small ones, without the contentment found in Christ and living for Him. We can never be satisfied by the amount of material wealth or human affection. True happiness, contentment, fulfillment, and security come from one place and one alone. He is the Author and Creator. He wrote this story we’re living in and He created the props. How can we spend so much time basking in the presence of the props when our Author has a story to tell through us? No matter how petty the simple tasks of day-to-day life seem and no matter how lonely we may be for a love story to transpire right now, nothing is worth the pain unless the Writer has penned it into the chapter. An example of this worthwhile pain is purity and taking a stand for our wholeness. It’s painful at times. I know from experience. Sometimes I get so impatient that I put hypothetical goggles on and start looking for “Mr. Right.” My standards get foggy, my self-control falters, my words and actions gain a note of flirtation, and every guy looks like Mr. Right. It’s painful to wait sometimes, but there is no comparison with the heart-wrenching consequences of sin. A guy can spill flattery from his lips that sounds or tastes sweet as honey, but the effects should do nothing more than make us nauseous. Relationships may start off hot and spicy, but often end with indigestion and reflux regret. Wisdom tells us to hold off no matter how attractive he is or how much our hearts flutter around him. We must work toward a genuine friendship with self-control intact. It is important to make sure his character is worthy of our admiration. Equally so, his goals are God-focused and his heart is strongly connected to the Lord’s. The idea of settling should repel us.

We don’t realize how each situation can mold our future. Each relationship affects us. Our hearts are continually shaped until the day we die. It is important to allow our hearts to be molded and changed through experiences. We are constantly becoming stronger and wiser people.

There’s nothing like hope. Hope is something that keeps us holding on in the midst of our hardest trials, in our deepest pits, in some of the most hurtful surroundings. Christ in me, the hope of the world. In all of life, no success story or super power can match that crucial piece of truth. Why would I worry about anything with the hope of the world wrapped snuggly in my heart? Contentment comes when we consider the truest meaning of life. It isn’t about who we marry, where we live, what career we choose. It’s about serving and glorifying God with every fiber of our beings.

“The Holy Spirit comes to bring glory to Christ and to bring results.” -Beth Moore


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