Tag Archives: Christ

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.

 

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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.


Control Freak

“Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” (Genesis 3:16)

Here we have the initial and lasting curse of woman. I wondered the meaning behind this punishment that affects all womankind. Desire in this context is not referring to the sexual kind. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a desire for sex. Why on earth would that be a punishment? God had already blessed Adam and Eve’s union and gave them the ability to delight in one another, “to be fruitful and multiply.” The interpretation comes from a Hebrew word to seek control. In essence it means, “You shall seek control over your husband.”

We want control. When we like someone, we let our emotions run rampant if the guy moves too slowly. We want things done a certain way. We see it playing out in our minds a lot quicker than it is in reality. Only God knows perfect timing. We can learn how to move in His timing when we listen to Him. Only He knows whether something should be set in motion with a relationship. It must be so hard for Him to see us walk blindly into a relationship that isn’t meant for us. I know my Father allows me to make choices-some with painful consequences. Sadly, some of those choices will affect others in the process. Ever since I read Song of Songs, one phrase was branded into my memory. No, it was not the thing about pillar legs and apple breasts. And we all thought pear-shaped women were imperfect. Solomon, the wisest man in the world, was all for it. Seriously, the phrase was: “Do not awaken love before its proper time.” This is important to note. It is relevant not only in the timing of godly relationships and the moments to pursue someone, but also for a potential relationship that won’t work out. It gives us time to get to know the other person and realize, ‘love’ is the last thing we want to awaken toward that person.

It may be painful. Some even go through withdrawals as an addict does. I can only paint you a limited view from my own experience. I choose purity over flesh time and time again. As a matter of fact, I still have to make those decisions daily. I am tempted faintly at times to turn my back on this stance and run reckless like any other girl. But I will always have the aftertaste of darkness in the back of my throat from bad choices: the angry outbursts, disloyalty to friends, and the kisses I handed out like sugarfree lollipops at a doctor’s office. I know better than to turn back and lick that bile off the ground. I’m not extra special. I’m not extra protected. My mistakes went against my heart’s standards. But what I consider major regrets the next girl might consider petty child’s play. I didn’t go off the proverbial deep end, but I saw many people who did. The conclusion is the same for every girl no matter the past.

It’s time to throw off the old ways of doing things! Redemption is here.

“Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from Him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.” –Ephesians 4:21-23.

“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do because you are His dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered Himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.” –Ephesians 5:1-2.

Let us create and foster godly relationships so that all mankind will know to Whom we belong. Let the world see authenticity at its finest. There is power in our testimonies. I’m not saying that dating is wrong. I’m not saying celibacy is best, courtship is the healthiest method, or dowries and arranged marriages are the way to go. I believe wholeheartedly in relationships. I love having guy friends, crushes, and brother-types. I think it is crucial for us to spend time with guys and get to know them. There’s a right way and a wrong way. I know we all believe our circumstances are unique and we are the only ones going through that certain thing, but it’s not true. We’ve all experienced pain in many forms, love, lust, and even a bit of envy. Each of us goes on our own journey to find God and find out who we are, but I also know we could use a little guidance along the way. The challenges bring us closer to Christ and the blessings bring more people into our circles with which we share life, hope, and most importantly God’s love. Anything is possible with Christ on our side. It only takes one to start a revolution.


The Trap of Selfishness

“If I could speak all the languages of the earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” -1 Cor. 13:1

Go with the flow. The ambition of most is to keep up with popular trends and be socially acceptable. Unfortunately, our social evolution is a severe regression of the generation prior. It stems from evidence found in Genesis. This morning I read where Babylonians built a tower for themselves to magnify their greatness which was a blatant disregard for God. I’ve seen a mutation of this attitude run rampant in our culture today. All the girlfriends get together to complain about the men and this is the longstanding petition: “Think about yourself; what makes you happy?” As if all of life should be centered on our own happiness. This fickle emotion is fleeting. To base a relationship on happiness leaves many marriages in a tumultuous spin. It is becoming more common for relationships to end based on, “He doesn’t make me happy anymore.” Hear the selfishness dripping from that comment? No longer does, “Till death do us part” apply. Sadly, it would be more appropriate for those vows to be rewritten as, “Till I don’t feel like it anymore,” “Till it gets too hard,” or “Till I’m bored with you.” It devastates our morals and family values when divorce is such a quick and easy commodity. Why work at it if we can just turn him in for a newer, more exciting model? We put so much emphasis on what we can get out of the relationship. We can’t expect our relationships to look any different from those in the rest of society with this attitude.

First, it is selfish to base our relationships on what we get from the other person. There is another person—of equal value and importance—whose emotions and needs should be considered. He is loved by the Creator of the world; he is made in God’s glorious image. He deserves respect. How can we be so careless in these relationships? Are we leaving these guys better or worse at the end? We are accountable for how we interact in relationships. Each relationship is a gift. Learn from the opposite sex; see a different side of God’s character through that masculine being.

Second, it is unhealthy to be dependent in relationships. We can’t expect our partners to fulfill us. Some jump from relationship to relationship as frantically as possible to prevent an ounce of loneliness from seeping into their lives. We shouldn’t be afraid of being alone. Truth of the matter is that we are never alone (“I am with you always even to the end of the age.” Matt. 28:20b). It would be so beneficial for us to spend a good chunk of time evaluating break-ups and our attitudes. It is important to take time to heal from painful situations. It is not the next guy’s job to make us feel worthy.

What does God’s best look like? Of course it will be unique for each individual, but it will follow a set a guidelines God has created in order to protect us. We cannot simply fall into a right relationship; we bring the right relationship from our experiences. This relationship reflects the greatest relationship of all: Christ and His church. Christ gave Himself for the sake of others. The church responds for the glory of Christ. Both are selfless. What we learn from our personal relationships with God prepares us for personal relationships with people. In Him we find contentment, no matter the situation. In Him we find our confidence, our purpose, and our freedom. Everything we do centers around what we understand about God, ourselves, and the value of other people. If we don’t have a proper understanding of those things our relationships will continually crumble and fall short. It starts with understanding who God is. Only then can we understand ourselves and other people. God created each and every individual on this planet. He created all in His image and of equal value. If we could get past our selfishness we would treat others more like Christ has called us.

 “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up His life for us. So we ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.” (1 John 3:16)

“This is real love—not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” (1 John 4:10)

And this is just a taste. Christ is love. Inevitably, that means it starts with a concern for others… not our own happiness.


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