Single, Don’t Want to Mingle

I think it’s hard as a single, Christian person sometimes to navigate the dating landscape. Or at least it is for me.

  1. I don’t like dating
  2. Therefore I don’t date a lot
  3. I’m sort of picky in that I’m not usually attracted to a lot of guys
  4. I find the whole thing depressing as of late

Just speaking plainly, I don’t want to date. I want to meet someone of course but I don’t want to invest tons of time getting to know someone and unpacking my life and past to someone who I don’t think will be someone in the future.

Weird I know.

I realize that in some ways that’s a lot of pressure, but I think as a Christian, it’s hard to date. It’s hard to date because there’s not always tons of people who are also Christians, and it’s also hard because you don’t want to be overly tempted to exceed physical boundaries if you are a virgin or return to past mistakes if you have had sex before.

Also I feel like in my experience the dating pool is small in church. Loads of people always seem to be married since their early 20s, and therefore for me, I’m about 5 years past expiration. Because the dating pool is small you have about 10 girls who are all attracted or interested in one guy and vice versa. So it gets real, really quick.

Today I found myself temporarily mourning my spinster-status as a slowly by surely nearing 30 year old lady. It can be super hard to be attracted to guys who aren’t Christians for one. It might make for some fun flirtatious conversion to affirm that you are in fact, still attractive to the opposite sex. But it can also be depressing because playing in the back of your mind ad nauseum is the old phrase “don’t be unequally yoked”. It can also be depressing when the only guys who seem interested in you, or talk to you like a worthwhile lady are not the guys who go to your church.

The struggle, ladies, and gentlemen is real.

One of my biggest “sins” in life so to speak is worrying about my romantic future. Granted I’m young to many. I don’t need to worry about anything. And yet, there’s that human part of every person who wants to be affirmed that they are in fact funny, attractive, smart, etc. I can literally count on one hand the number of people I know for a fact who have been interested in me, and two of them I’ve dated. The rest, meh, were nothing to write home about.

So it’s not like I’m backstroking in waves and waves of eligible Christian men here you know? It can be hard to see things working out for other people, or seeing guys compliment how talented or beautiful the ladies around you are and you’re just like, excuse my while I dissolve into a puddle of sorrow and regret with my cat and a glass of wine.

But in all seriousness. It’s not easy. And honestly, I don’t always believe people when they say that they never think about their single status or the  depressing horizon of no one.

I’m mainly writing this to vent, but I’m also letting you know if you feel like this that you’re most definitely not alone. I often wonder what’s taking so long. I can’t wait to give my future husband a swift punch to the gut when he casually arrives on the scene. I’ve been waiting for you! You know?

But mostly I want to write this so whenever that day comes I can look back at myself and laugh for all the worries because somehow I know God will provide and He always gives me more than I ask or think I deserve.

 

More than a number

Today was pretty discouraging. A few of my co-workers are banding together to help one another…get this…acquire more Instagram followers.

 

Wow.

 

Haha. I almost couldn’t believe it. So often people compare their own and other people’s popularity and if you have a low following, it’s almost laughable to today’s generation.

 

I have to admit a small part of me felt small during this conversation. Whether it’s a personal page or a professional page, you can often feel like no one notices you, values what you are doing, or listens to what you have to say. But ultimately our society values a lot of things that are fleeting or unhealthy and do not reflect true value and importance.

 

Let us remember that we have access to a God who knows the number of hairs on our head and does not care about the number of likes on our latest picture.

Jesscbnyc Recommends: All Things New 31-Day Devotional: DAY 6

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Over time you you learn that you cannot rely on circumstances in life or people or yourself to keep it all together for you. God is the only one that can satisfy and sustain. The rest of life is all too imperfect. Humans have their limits on patience and understanding and oftentimes we can be discouraged or feel alone.

God is the only one who can truly comfort us and understand us since he made us with His own breath.

In everything we need to first run to Christ.

I’ve shared times where I’ve run to people or things and even if they are good they will never be God.

Let us remember that God is for us more than anyone ever could be and that only He can offer us perfect teaching and comfort.

Monday Inspiration 1.12.15

I backslid yesterday. It’s been a while since I allowed the actions of others to make me question myself and after confiding in my mom about how I was feeling I actually felt sick afterwards. I think this is why Philippians 4:8 instructs us to think good thoughts and positive things:

8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

Without going into a whole bunch of detail I was reminded of something that is actually still a bit painful–which is that while I am very involved in church that I still find myself not having any “real” friends. What I mean is..it’s easy to be included on a Sunday but from Mon-Sat it’s very rare that I’ll be texted or asked to hang out. I’ve often felt a little…unwanted in church and when I was of school age–in school. To feel like you’re liked but you’re not an integral part of a group. That’s all I want to say about that so I don’t stir up bad feelings again. But most of us feel that way at one point or another–or even worse you feel that way the majority of the time.

I’ve been content over the years to just hang out with my mom, or cat, or Jesus. And while these are all good things–there’s still that “community” aspect that a lot of us are looking for. It can be difficult to feel that you are in a church, volunteering, in a Bible study, part of an extracurricular sport, whatever it is and still feel disconnected.

I think it’s important to remember that most of the time these feelings of rejection or loneliness are straight from the Devil. He wants us to feel bad and alone. If anything in those times I try to realign myself by listening to a worship album or reading the Bible or blogging about it. Ultimately if I never made another friend in the world, God can and will supply all my needs. But God is good, all the time, and sometimes you need to just accept for whatever reason you are in this season alone just you and God. Maybe He is sparing you from toxic relationships, maybe He wants you all to Himself to speak private personal things that only you need to hear on your journey with Him. It’s not a blanket statement–and we are all on unique journeys.

But I liked this quote, which I’ve heard is actually from George MacDonald not CS Lewis, because it reminds us all that we are more glorious than we think. We were “born in God’s thought and then made by God”. That is who we are. We are not defined by human praise or relationships or our past or our human weaknesses, we are defined by God and God alone. If God thought we were a good idea–then we are a good idea. If God thought we were important to bring into this time on Earth then we were.

You are a precious thing. I am a precious thing. And I’m inspired to meditate on these facts always.

Found on prettyprovidence.com

Wednesday Inspiration 1.7.15

I caught myself today on the commute to work. I was putting on my makeup and it was just one of those days where I needed a little pick me up. I grabbed my lipstick and put it on because it’s a good color and all that and figured it would do the trick. I took one final look in my compact mirror and thought to myself— I look like a clown today. 

I’m not one of those girls who looks #flawless. I don’t always have the best hair days. I wake up the majority of the time with a brand new pimple on my face. I’m no makeup artist. But these are all external things. You just have to look at Instagram or Pinterest to be reminded of what us ladies are interested in. Most pictures on Instgram are selfies, or makeup tips, or manicures, or OOTD (outfits of the day) and all sorts of surface things. Over the years I’ve learned to be on Facebook and Instagram less and less because of this. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 12:19-24:

When it’s a part of your own body you are concerned with, it makes no difference whether the part is visible or clothed, higher or lower. You give it dignity and honor just as it is, without comparisons. If anything, you have more concern for the lower parts than the higher. If you had to choose, wouldn’t you prefer good digestion to full-bodied hair?

In other words oftentimes the invisible parts of yourself (like organs for example) are much more important than your fresh manicure, or rock-hard abs. Right? But I do think society is so concerned with their outward appearance that it filters it down to each one of us. We think, ugh, I wish I had better hair, or I would be happier if I had a new outfit, or I would get more likes on Instagram if I took a photo of myself in a bathing suit, or whatever it might be. It’s somewhat normal to want validation and approval from others, but ultimately I’m on Ann’s team. I want to be more than what I look like. The Kingdom of God needs some fierce Christian women. Women who doesn’t strive for the perfect closet, or the most beautiful photos of themselves, or the coolest lifestyle blog with the most VIP events and connections and endorsements. Women who strive to be more like Christ, and who are trying to make the tough decisions if it means going where God wants you to go. I’m not saying the glory of God can’t exist and be made glorified in “worldly” arenas, but I don’t ever want to strive for these banal things. I want more extraordinary things for my life and for the lives of women everywhere. Our acceptance and standing in life is so much higher than what the world tells us is important. If I have a bad hair day, but post a beautiful blog about my Savior what is more important? Maybe my awesome hair will get more approval online, but I want to do the “hard and holy” things because even if they are invisible they are more significant.

God I pray that as a community of women we learn to value more significant things than what we often settle for and buy into. Yes it’s awesome to be a women and enjoy a nice outfit or a great blow-out at the salon, but our value and significance should not be bound to these things. This world needs more women of God than women of the world. Your people need more Christine Caines and less Christine Teigens…(just saying). Help us to become mighty women of God. Help us to elevate the spiritual and demote the physical. In Your name..amen.

Found on ellafrancessanders.com

Friday Inspiration 12.19.14

Psalm 136 MSG

1-3 Thank God! He deserves your thanks.
    His love never quits.
Thank the God of all gods,
    His love never quits.
Thank the Lord of all lords.
    His love never quits.

4-22 Thank the miracle-working God,
    His love never quits.
The God whose skill formed the cosmos,
    His love never quits.
The God who laid out earth on ocean foundations,
    His love never quits.
The God who filled the skies with light,
    His love never quits.
The sun to watch over the day,
    His love never quits.
Moon and stars as guardians of the night,
    His love never quits.
The God who struck down the Egyptian firstborn,
    His love never quits.
And rescued Israel from Egypt’s oppression,
    His love never quits.
Took Israel in hand with his powerful hand,
    His love never quits.
Split the Red Sea right in half,
    His love never quits.
Led Israel right through the middle,
    His love never quits.
Dumped Pharaoh and his army in the sea,
    His love never quits.
The God who marched his people through the desert,
    His love never quits.
Smashed huge kingdoms right and left,
    His love never quits.
Struck down the famous kings,
    His love never quits.
Struck Sihon the Amorite king,
    His love never quits.
Struck Og the Bashanite king,
    His love never quits.
Then distributed their land as booty,
    His love never quits.
Handed the land over to Israel.
    His love never quits.

23-26 God remembered us when we were down,
    His love never quits.
Rescued us from the trampling boot,
    His love never quits.
Takes care of everyone in time of need.
    His love never quits.
Thank God, who did it all!
    His love never quits!

God doesn’t do temporary love–His love never quits. If it did–the psalmist would not repeat this every other line, right? We need to let this sink in. Just as He formed the cosmos and laid the foundations of Earth, He formed my brain and heart and laid the foundation of my body; my bones, my muscles, my organs, and so on. If this God didn’t care about humanity and was distant, why would He have taken the time to form each and every one of us? In times of despair and doubt and also in times of happiness and plenty we need to thank God for who He is and remember that He first loved us. He could create anything He wanted and chose to create mankind. No human love could ever match His love. While we are fickle God is faithful. While we are unsatisfied He is well pleased. God is faithful, His love never quits. If this is one simple thing you can remember, repeat it over your situations today. Speak it to your reflection in the mirror. Encourage your soul.

Photo Credit: Found on s-p-r-i-n-g.tumblr.com

Wednesday Inspiration 12.17.14

I found myself a little discouraged the other day after a conversation with a friend. Long story short my friend confirmed in somewhat of an indirect way that someone I already suspected wasn’t a fan of me in fact doesn’t like me. Now I know we’re not always going to be someone’s cup of tea, and I don’t expect to please everyone. Sometimes without meaning to, you just rub people the wrong way. I remember Robert Ferguson saying something a few weeks ago about how Kane, one of our pastors, rubs him the wrong way because Kane is so much more jovial than him. So as you can see, that’s kind of silly, right? It’s not like Kane said something mean to Robert, or did anything serious to offend him. Sometimes people just don’t gravitate to you, and that’s okay. We all have different personalities and interests and sometimes they clash.

But it still didn’t sit well with me for some reason. I don’t need this person to be my friend, or come to my birthday, or invite me places but I guess because I’m so touchy-feely and all, I always want to make things better and to try to include everyone.

If I’m totally honest I’ve often found myself being very…judgmental about how I believe Christians should be. These aren’t bad things but mainly things like: “I don’t understand why they are excluding him/her”, “I don’t understand why this person is so stand-offish”, “I don’t understand why that person looks down on that other person”, “I don’t understand why that person is always giving me the evil eye” etc. In other words, sometimes my idealism or whatever it is, is a bit…unrealistic. I know Christian or not we are all still human and we’re not always going to get it right. But I also want people to strive to be better. If we are set apart from the world and what the world does and thinks, then we should be acting and speaking and thinking differently. We’re not perfecting this any time soon but we should be actively learning how to do this. Not following our “feelings” all the time and instead using the Bible and God’s word and voice to show us what the best course of action is.

I randomly Googled today at work and found an article that talked about this. One of my favorite quotes was:

Part of the problem is that we misunderstand the word love. The kind of love that we need in order to love people we don’t like is agape love, God’s kind of love. Now, agape love is not a feeling. Though we may experience nice feelings as a result of agape love, it does not depend on how we feel or how others feel about us. We can express agape love whether the feelings are present or absent, whether they are good or bad. This kind of love is not a feeling.

[Source: http://bit.ly/1wZIuPB]

I like that.

When I was younger I felt like a lot of people didn’t like me and for many years this made me unhappy with myself because I didn’t understand what was wrong with me. I think we all go through this at one time or another. Part of this had to do with events that occurred while I was growing up and being bullied and whatever else, but as I matured I learned that whether people liked me or not, I’m going to make a conscious effort to be good to them anyway. Trust me, I’m no saint. This isn’t a post about how fantastic I am. I’m truly not. Being good to people is sometimes accomplished through gritted teeth. It gets easier in some ways over the years and harder in some ways but ultimately I wanted to follow that old saying “Treat people the way you want to be treated” or as the Bible declares “Love your neighbor as yourself”. I want my actions to be in pursuit of what was right, no matter what the situation was/is or how someone was/is treating me.

All of this to say that, I think it’s okay for people not to like me. But I think if you’re a Christian you don’t have to like someone to love them. The article put it clearly by saying:

“agape love says, “I love you in spite of…”, in spite of the things about you that I may not like. We don’t have to feel guilty about not liking everyone. It’s okay! But we are commanded to love others”.

I think this is really important and something that is near to my heart. I never want my feelings about someone to ever have a negative effect on them or their relationship with God and Christianity as a whole. I’m not the end all be all, but I want to do my part to speak life and kindness into the people I work with, volunteer with, or come into contact with in any way. And sometimes it’s just as simple as deciding to still smile, hug, or talk to people whether they are a fan of you or not.

Father thank you that no matter what people might like or dislike about me that Your love and affection for me is constant. I pray for anyone reading this, who might have felt as I so often did in the past that I wasn’t liked. Help them to realize that the opinions of man are lower than the opinion of God. Heal their broken hearts and help tear down any walls around their hearts that prevent them from connecting to people. I also pray for those who struggle with certain people. We’re only human and it’s not always easy to get along. But I also know that you enable us to love because you first loved us..and you didn’t wait to see if Jesus “liked” us first before calling Him to love us first. I pray that as a community of believers that we make the tough decisions even when our flesh or comfort tells us to avoid what or who we do not like. Remind us daily what Jesus said in Matthew 22 which is to: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them. Amen.

Photo Credit: GeniusQuotes.net