Monday, March 31, 2014


The Comment:
Is there a point of being too optimistic?
I don't know.
I suppose it depends (isn't that how it is with most things?).

I'm never really "too" optimistic. In fact, I'm not really optimistic at all.  I'd like to think that's changing, though.

I guess I sometimes want to punch optimism in the face when it isn't real. I'm all for hoping and dreaming and longing for things to be better, but when people are rooting for the unrealistic and allowing the optimism to drive them to crazy extremes... those are the times I think we can be "too" optimistic.

Since I typically write on relationships, I'll use that as an example for what I'm talking about. When you like a guy and you're super interested in him and really optimistic that this time (finally) it's actually going to work out. He's actually going to like you back. You're sure of it. All the signs are there. He talks to you, smiles at you, sometimes he'll even initiate conversation with you. Sometimes he ignores you... but you're not choosing to think that means anything. He's probably just playing hard to get. Sometimes he says mean things....but he's usually being sarcastic (clearly...). This might be one of those times when I'd say: you're being too optimistic. Or, as the movie/book put it: he's just not that into you. Sometimes, when it comes to matters of the heart, we can definitely be "too" optimistic. And dumb.

I think the point of being "too" optimistic comes when we're changing our lives completely based on unrealistic hopes. Maybe you decide to move to New York to become an actor when you couldn't even get a part in the chorus in your high school musical when you tried over and over again and they were already short on guys. Maybe you spend all your free-time trying out for the football team constantly and get rejected time and time again (and, maybe, Rudy is your inspiration...).

With instances like these- when our talent doesn't match up with our passions...sometimes I think we can tend to be "too" optimistic. Because sometimes we love doing things that we just aren't that awesome at. And sometimes our passion drives us and we spend our lives trying to do something that we were never meant to do. And sometimes, I think, we need to halt and reevaluate.

We need to ask ourselves what we love doing, yes... but we also need to be willing to see if what we love doing is something that we're good at doing. And if it's not, is it something that we can get better at? Is it something worth spending all the time/money/effort on? Is it something that matters in the scope of eternity or is it just something that's completely self-fulfilling? Is it something we're doing just because we enjoy doing it, or are we trying to find purpose in it? There's a difference.

I tend to think that the Lord has gifted each of us with things that we are good at and when we start to truly tap into those things, we're going to figure out how much we love those things. It might not be something that we thought we'd like in the beginning, but as we excel, as we learn, as we grow... as we do things that matter outside of ourselves...they become things that we can't imagine living without. They're the things that make us think: I was made to do this. It's a great feeling. Because we're good at it and we love it.

I'm optimistic that everyone can have those things that are true for them. That they can be fully invested in things that they love and are good at...and that they will be things that matter in the scope of eternity. I think that's why the Lord gives us those gifts and those passions- so that He might be glorified. Not us.

And, I do think that everyone can be optimistic about matters of the heart. Maybe it doesn't have to be so specific (i.e. This guy is going to fall in love with me vs. I know someday that the Lord will fulfill this desire within me)....but, I think we can hope. That we can dream. That we can ask that the Lord would make us into more of His likeness and in the process we can trust that He's refining our hopes, dreams and desires. We might start to notice that the things we thought we couldn't live without (or even people) are now things that we barely think about.

Because we're growing.
We're changing.
And it's good.
And sometimes, our optimism works out-- things really do turn out the way we hoped they might. And sometimes we just cling to the hope we have in Jesus Christ when everything else seems to fall apart. And then we get to the point where we realize that He is enough.

And then our need for being optimistic shifts...
Because the Lord is faithful.
And instead of all the things that come and go that we find our identity and hope in.... we learn to place it in Him.

At that point, we can never be too optimistic.
Because He has come, He has conquered, and He will return.
We have much to hope in, much to hope for.
Only through Him.

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Family Wholeness

I grew up with three older brothers.
While entirely complicated, they were still men. Life was fairly simple and understood.

And then they got married.

Suddenly family vacations were filled with girls. Girls who took longer than me to get ready, girls who wore dresses, girls who laid out on the beach and didn't spend as much time as we did in the ocean body surfing or throwing the frisbee around. Girls who were needy of my brother's attention...always.

I remember being filled with despair the moment I realized how different my family had become. Estrogen now outnumbered the testosterone in the family and I didn't know how to handle the new imbalance. I think I probably even cried about it (which is ironic, I realize...).

Part of my despair came from feeling like I was really different than the new additions to my family and I was unsure of how to welcome them in and relate. I suddenly felt like the outsider and I hated feeling like that in the place where I thought I should most feel like an insider. Part of it just came from change and my inability to cope with new things.

This was my new family, and it would continue to change as children were added to the mix. This was my new reality and I either had to choose to accept them with a good attitude, or keep them at a distance.

As time marched on and as I began to know my new sisters-in-law more and more, I realized we shared more commonalities than I had first thought. It wasn't long before I realized how much I appreciated their presence in our family and their ability to draw my brothers into conversations and our reality (instead of them getting lost in their favorite sport's game, video game, or newest sci-fi book). These women knew how to capture my brothers' attention in ways my parents and I never could... and it was good. They brought in a new perspective and they challenged my brothers to be willing to see my perspective in a way that my brothers would actually listen to. It was weird.

As time marched on, I realized that while my family was, in fact, different... it felt more whole. That these new additions brought something out of my brothers that was beautiful. They were being sharpened, changed, sanctified through their marriages and, as a result, the way they interacted with the family changed. For the better.

I got to spend the last week at my parent's house with my fiance and as we all discussed wedding plans and the future, I saw the ways that my fiance's presence in my life (and in my family) would do just what my sisters-in-law had done for my brothers. That, with him by my side, I was more balanced...more engaged...more willing to acknowledge things from a different perspective (and even admit that I'm *gasp* sometimes wrong).

And I guess I would hope that would be true of all of us as we exist in relationships or contemplate getting in them. That, with these people by our side, we would be more whole. That we would be better versions of ourselves. That we would be more present, more engaged, more aware of those around us. That we would be more willing to look outside of ourselves and see things from another perspective. That, with these people by our side, they would be people who actually add to our lives and not people that subtract. That others would see and know the positive influence that our significant others have on us.

It's not always easy. And, sometimes, the positive effects on others in new relationships are harder for us to see when we're so caught up in the changes (like I was with my brothers). But, hopefully we can be willing to step back and allow the newness, the additions to be good. Hopefully we can allow ourselves to see how the changes might be better, even if that means things are different. And hopefully we can be people in relationships who are always pushing the other toward better, toward Jesus, toward wholeness.

That we might truly be better people when we add others to our life, even at the cost of ourselves, our own desires and our pride. Because something good happens when we're willing to really listen to others, place them above ourselves, and allow change to occur.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

High Expectations

The Comment:
Are my expectations too high? Here lately The Lord has really been showing me what kind of man I am going to be with. ie: his character and such. I at times think it is almost unrealistic to expect a man to have all of these things, however I don't want to put God inside of a box. I know a man of character is out there and I know that The Lord is preparing him.
I can't specifically say if your expectations are too high, because I'm not sure exactly what they are. If they are simply that you might end up with a man with great character, I don't think that's too high or too much (but, in my experience, expectations are never that simple...).

There is, however, a difference between high expectations and unrealistic expectations. Oftentimes, I think the two get interchanged too easily and we find ourselves being women who are unwilling to even consider a guy because he looks different than we might have imagined (even though he has the best character of anyone we've ever met). Sometimes we are unwilling to see what's right in front of our face because it isn't packaged in the way we might have initially expected or wanted.

If you had told me a few years ago that I was going to marry a man with long, blonde hair who was five years younger than me with a large tattoo, I would have laughed. Yeah right... The long hair was one of those "dealbreakers" not to mention the age difference. And now? Now I couldn't imagine any better for me... because he is a man of great character (and a million other wonderful things).

So maybe you're not someone who focuses too much on the external and you're still questioning if your expectations are too high. They might be. Because, here's the thing... while you might have a man who has great character, it doesn't mean that he's perfect. I think it's easy for us to confuse those things, too. It's easy to think that because we've found a "good" guy that he can do no wrong (and then, imagine our frustration and surprise when he screws up...).

No matter how truly wonderful he is, for us to expect that he will do everything "right" is unrealistic. Not only have many of us experienced this in our lives and relationships, but Scripture is smattered with stories of men who had great character (even a man after God's own heart) who can still fail, sin, hurt others, make bad decisions, live selfishly, be lazy...  you get the idea.

But, to me, that's the beauty of it. Getting the chance to love someone when when they mess up, to walk with them through it allow them to be fully themselves (sinful and all) and to choose them anyway. It's where the picture of the Gospel comes in for me. Pushing them toward better, wanting more...but not establishing that in such a way where he might always feel like he's a constant disappointment. It's a fine line that's absolutely rooted in love and grace.

There are good guys, yes.
But there are no perfect guys.
Make sure, as you set your standards on guys of good character...that you establish realistic expectations of what that looks like. Make sure that you're aware that they'll disappoint you sometimes, that they'll make decisions without thinking about you, that they may even sin and blatantly turn from the Lord at various points in their life. Make sure you still allow them to be human. Because, part of what makes them such great guys is that they're extending that same grace to you as you strive for more, fail, and then repeat.

It's a funny dance... filled with humility and grace and a constant recognizing that the Lord's grace is the only thing that covers each of us (no matter how great our character might be).

We still all need Jesus.
I'm still surprised every day by how the Lord is molding and growing and changing my fiance into more of His image and I, without a doubt, think he is a man of great character. But he's not perfect and he never will be... and he most certainly didn't come in the package that I expected. But I'm so glad it's him.

Have high standards.
Have high hopes.
But, maybe lay the expectations to the side for how it's all going to look (including WHEN it's all going to happen).

Trust that the Lord's got this.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sex Matters

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog admitting that I do have some hesitations about having sex for the first time.

It's been interesting, since then, the types of comments, emails, messages I've gotten. A lot of women with similar stories, a lot of women comforted that they weren't alone in their mindset, a lot of advice for how to move forward. Helpful tips, books to read, personal struggles. It's cool. And weird.

If there's one thing I can take away from all of it, it's that sex matters. I can't pretend that it doesn't, and I can't pretend that it's not a vital component to a healthy marriage (or, often, a vital component to a struggling marriage). I can't pretend that this isn't going to have an impact on my life and our relationship...and how I view it, respond to it, and even initiate it matters.

One married friend of mine recently encouraged me to begin praying about it. To be praying that my fiance would be my standard of sexy...that everything about him would be the epitome of what I deem attractive. And so, as I began thinking about what this might look like, I realized that I not only needed to be praying about my heart in all of this...but that I wanted to be praying about this aspect of our relationship with my fiance.

So, I brought it up last night. It went like this:
"Hey, I think that we should be praying together about having sex." Because this is the type of thing you just tag onto the end of a conversation when both of you are already exhausted (clearly...).
"I'm already there" he said, "I don't know why you're there, but I'm on the same page."

He asked me why I felt like that, and so I elaborated.
In my talking about sex with the rest of the world, in my recognizing that sex is such a crucial part of marriage... I was suddenly aware of how much I needed the Lord to be involved. I needed the Lord to prepare my heart, to prepare our hearts to become one. I needed to be at a place where I was recognizing sex as not just something we get to do once we are married, but something that is deeply intimate, deeply spiritual, and deeply mysterious. I wanted to be a place where I was able to go to the Lord with my fiance and admit my fears, my confess the ways my past has caused me to distort it at times...and to allow the Lord to be the one who radically changes me and heals me.

Because sex isn't just sex.
It's personal, intimate, vulnerable.
Other things are always attached to sex, whether we're willing to admit it or not.

I guess I recognized that my own sins and imperfections can weigh a great deal and can easily have a negative affect on sex within marriage. My selfishness, my insecurity, my unforgiving heart, my spirit of entitlement...all of it has the ability to rob us of the joy that I believe the Lord intended a husband and wife to have. Not just in sex, but in all things.

I guess I recognized that if we're willing to go to the Lord about everything else that seems challenging within marriage, why would we not also want to go to Him about this?

And so we will.
Because the Lord is faithful in aligning our hearts in desiring the same things, of letting the same things matter to us. And while my fiance already views sex as nothing less than what I described, his desire is to be vulnerable as we turn this physical intimacy over to the Lord together.

Sex is weird.
I never thought I'd be praying about it...and I most certainly never thought I'd be praying with someone else about it... but I know it's good. I know it's the only way that my mind, soul and body will be ready for such an intimate, vulnerable expression of love. It's the only hope we have of ever having a healthy sex life and, ultimately, a healthy marriage.

We're praying that the Lord would go before us, walk beside us, restore us and heal us, and that He would show us the fullness of what it means to become one way He intended us to.

Because sex matters.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sweet Aroma

Have you ever sat next to someone in church who was really bad at singing. Really bad and overwhelmingly loud?

Try as you may to focus, to worship, to tell yourself that all voices are a sweet aroma to Lord... all you can think about is how bad it is. You recognize within yourself the judgment, condemnation, and disgust....your inability to move past another's lack of earthly talent to see the bigger picture. It's disappointing.

It happens all the time though.
We have the tendency to allow the external to affect our hearts. Maybe it's a bad worship team leading the congregation in music and all you can focus on is the tone-deaf harmonizer or the drummer with a lack of rhythm. Sometimes we allow the preacher's monotone voice or incessant use of the word 'um' to dictate whether he had anything worth saying. Sometimes we let appearances sway our opinions of people--sometimes even out of our own insecurities (have you ever thought the super good-looking youth intern had no depth simply because you felt threatened by him or her)?

The even crazier part is that sometimes I think that Scripture is only applicable to me...and I forget that it's also for the person next to me. Sometimes I think I'm the only one being refined and sanctified.

I got slapped in the face last night as I was reminded that He who began a good work in me will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6)...and then I immediately realized that promise isn't intended just for me.

He who began a work in you will also bring it to completion.
He who began a work in the bad singer next to me, the stuttering preacher, the un-rhythmic drummer, the good-looking intern, the un-talented (or "too" talented) sinners of the world... and He will also bring it to completion for all of them. What grace has been extended to me has also be extended to them, no matter how unbearable it seems.

In these moments, I'm reminded of my humanity. In these moments, I'm staring at myself wondering just how I ever thought I deserved any grace at all (because, sometimes, I still can convince myself that I do). In these moments, all I can do is fall flat on my face in my own depravity, fully aware of my need for a Savior.

Lord, save me from me.
Because, as much as a I try... I can't seem to escape the thoughts about others that distract, that kill, that steal, that destroy. The thoughts that bring destruction to the heart because I'm so consumed by what I hear, see, feel, taste and smell. I'm so consumed with the temporary, with the external, with the things that don't matter because I've stopped looking for the heart behind it. And, on the rare occasion that I try to do that, I usually only allow room for judgment and condemnation to cloud my vision.

Lord, forgive me...for I know not what I do.
His grace is sufficient.
Every time.
He picks me back up again and reminds me of His truth. I am being refined, sanctified....the good work in me will be brought to completion in Jesus Christ... as it will for many others. His promises extend past me, and I'm glad that they do.

I am humbled.
Each day, I am humbled.
Brought through the valley of darkness and reminded, yet again, that Jesus saves...that He is light. In His strength, I am made perfect...and so are others.

It is a sweet aroma to His ears.
He sees the heart.
He changes the heart.
It's only He who can.

Might we invite Him to do so?

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Do I Have To...?

I got the chance last week to speak to a group of college women about rest. It reminded me that I (a) love speaking and (b) hate speaking. Who doesn't love an indecisive woman...?

It was one of those nerve-wracking, sweaty armpit times where, as I go up to start talking, I can only beg that the Lord might use my imperfections to glorify Him. That, in all my lack of knowledge about things, He might still use it to point others toward Him.

The talk reminded me of things I was lacking in my life. In the midst of the busyness of camp-life, especially as summer approaches, have I been taking time to connect with Jesus? Or have I been finding my purpose in all the things I'm doing or have to do?  Do I take time to re-center, to remember who Jesus says that I am, to remember what He has done for me and to let that be enough?

Too easily we get swept up in all the 'have-tos' of this world and we forget the things that matter. We forget that if we're not rooted in Jesus, the 'have-tos' have simply become distractions, they've become busy-work, they've become obligatory excuses that we allow ourselves to find purpose in. And then we wonder why we're empty, why we're exhausted, why we're still so unfulfilled...

What is your list of 'have-tos' consist of right now?
Schoolwork? Reading? Ministry? Relationships? Jobs? Taking care of family? Religion?

What are the things that make you tired?
It's one of the questions I asked the women the other day: what are you tired of?
And I gave them an opportunity to write it all out. Try it.

I've realized that when I'm doing things (even good things) and have lost sight of the Gospel, then something is wrong. The good things wear on me. The good things are exhausting. When I take my eyes off the bigger picture, even the ministry I'm involved with becomes a task that I sometimes I don't want to do. Because I grow weary...

Suddenly my list of things I'm tired of grows and grows and grows and there's nothing I'm not tired of. Because I've forgotten Jesus. I haven't let Him be enough. I can't take time to pause, to be starkly honest before the Lord and allow Him to remind me that He is enough.

Instead, my life is consumed by 'have-tos' instead of 'get-tos'.
Instead of getting to hang out with people I truly care about, I suddenly feel like I have to. Instead of getting to plan and dream about starting up a program, I have to. The joy is stripped from it and the weariness sets in.

But what if I stop.
What if I cease.
What if I take just a moment to remember what the Lord has done. What if I take a minute to pause and come to Jesus. And what if I let that look like whatever it needs to look like in that moment (a hike, a prayer, reading Scripture, writing, going for a drive, falling flat on my face and letting Him pick me back up again, etc., etc.)...?

When is the last time that you stopped?
When is the last time that you remembered? Truly remembered all the Lord has done for you?

I sometimes think that if we'd regularly exist in this mindset, the 'have-tos' would quickly transform into 'get-tos'. If we were constantly reminded of the grace that's been given us, of how we've been saved from something we deserved (hell)....that it might not only change the way we approach our daily responsibilities, but it might radically transform our relationships with others and the way we long to share the goodness of the Lord in everything we do

I don't think our lives here are intended to be lived in exhaustion. In fact, I'm quite sure that Jesus came so that we might have life and have it to the full. To me, that doesn't mean walking around half-dead all the time. I want to live my life as a celebration-- to approach my job, my friendships, my relationships, my responsibilities with joy.

I want to stop asking if I have to and simply relish the fact that I get to.

I get to live...for something abundantly greater than me.

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me.
Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.
I’ll show you how to take a real rest.
Walk with me and work with me-- watch how I do it.
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace…
Keep company with me and you’ll learn how to live freely and lightly.
--Matthew 11:28-30, The Message

Real rest is a real thing.
Learn it... let Him teach you.
Go to Jesus.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

He's Not Perfect...

I'm not marrying a perfect man, but he sure does a lot of things right.

After most interactions and conversations with him, my head is swirling...often wondering why he's chosen me and recognizing that his impact among men will be great. In fact, I think he should be the one writing a blog about how to handle irrational, 'crazy' girls in the most loving, gentle way. In a way that warrants the upmost respect from me in return.

I told him last night that I want everyone to have what we have. I don't want anyone to settle for less than how good this is. And, honestly, I think 99.9% of why it's so incredible stems from him (and ultimately the Lord).

As much as I believe that he's one-of-a-kind and there's no one else in the world like him, I know that there are men who have the same sort of integrity and character. Men that are good. Men that are worth waiting for.

Here are some of the things he does:

  • Listens. No matter how tired he is, no matter what he's got going on, no matter how ridiculous I am... he listens. He wants to know about my day, he wants to know the thoughts that have crossed my mind, he wants to know even the most irrational of things so that he can better gauge where I'm at in the moment and how to meet me there. 
  • Supports. In a short amount of time, he has become my number one advocate...encouraging me to pursue my dreams and making sure that our future plans always incorporate the things that I am also most passionate about. He believes in me. 
  • Affirms. He reminds me daily that he loves me...multiple times a day. He tells me I'm beautiful, he never withholds his excitement about sharing the rest of his life with me. His compliments extend to my character as he values the way that I inspire him and encourage him on a daily basis. 
  • Asks for honesty and is honest in return. No matter the subject at hand, I know he wants this from me. He wants to know what I truly think, how I truly feel...and he offers up the same. 
  • He is slow to become angry. He longs to understand in the midst of conflict, before immediately jumping to his defense or becoming an attacking offense. He will never leave a conversation until we have worked through it, longing to love me better through the miscommunication or the differing points of view...never allowing me to run from him so that I can wallow and throw my own pity party. 
  • Sacrifices. As much as he loves me, he loves the Lord abundantly more. He works hard, serves well, goes out of his way to interact with those in need. It's not about him, and his life reflects that. 
  • Receives critique. He welcomes in ways to grow, ways to get better, ways to be more like Jesus. He'll acknowledge that he is imperfect and how wonderfully blessed he is by the Lord's grace in his life, but he is constantly striving to follow Christ no matter the cost. He is willing to change. 

I'm marrying a patient, good man. 
And I know that I'm in the world of engaged bliss and I don't know the hardships of what marriage and kids might bring... but I do know that I have someone to partner with that I don't question or doubt. A man who will always point me back toward the source of life, a man who will always remind me of what I was created to be...of who the Lord says that I am. A man who will seek to love me, respect me and support me for all of our days. A man who I can laugh with, talk about stupid things with, be myself around, share my heart with. In fact, I truly believe that it will only get better despite the hardship we might face. 

I know you might very well be rolling your eyes at my gushing and droning on about this and remarking about naivety when it comes to relationships, but I want you to believe that it might be possible for you, too. I want you to believe that even if you're in the midst of a hard marriage. I want you to believe that this might be a reality within marriage. That marriage could also be this good. There's still time to recover, to heal, for people to change and become better lovers of the Lord and of each other. There's still time to hope

I know all relationships look different. I know that how people receive and give love are different. But, I think there are some core things that we should never be willing to give up, to forego, to have to spend our whole lives working through. There's still a God who loves us and who has painted a really beautiful picture of marriage and what it intended to look like... and He is a God who is on our side as we seek reconciliation, connection, and unconditional love from each other. 

My fiance is not perfect, our relationship isn't perfect, we still have to talk through and work through things... but it's good. Our relationship is good....because it's rooted in Jesus. 

There are men who love Jesus. Men who let that define their existence. 
It transforms everything when they do. 

If you're anxious about getting married....wait until you find that man for you. A man who is willing to let Jesus radically change his entire life (even in the little things)...and as a result, change your life in the process. Maybe that means making some hard adjustments in your life... but, I promise it's better than co-existing in a relationship that constantly drains you, a relationship brings guilt and confusion, a relationship that causes you to question who the Lord is and who the Lord says that you are. 

Don't settle. 

Let's be people who truly let the Lord change us. People who are transformed by Scripture. People who are transformed by the Gospel. 

We may not be perfect people...but we don't have to let that be our excuse for living a life of mediocrity. We can still do a lot of things right, especially when we are seeking the Lord and desiring to be obedient. Striving for better and living in grace.. 

This matters. 

Your entries will remain anonymous

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Reality Check

Once upon a time, I considered myself "boy crazy".
It was diagnosed when someone grabbed my leg, slightly above my knee, and I couldn't handle the tickling sensation. It was how you knew that someone was boy crazy or girl crazy, right? Did anyone else ever do that...?

But, in reality... I was just boy crazy and all the people in my inner circle knew it. I was that girl. I started reading through my journal from my freshman year of college the other night and I cringed as I skimmed through the pages. What a pathetic mess I was.... and then I wondered if, in another ten years, I might say the same thing about myself now. I hope not....

Let me expand upon this particular season in my life, though:
My freshman year of college, I was friends with a boy that I was We talked allllll the time over Instant Messenger (isn't that the sign of true friendship?) and occasionally would meet up for intense walk and talks around campus. Our friendship was honest, raw, deep, centered on Jesus. He challenged me in ways that few guys had. Naturally, I was entranced.

I remember just waiting for the sound of my instant messenger's door to creak open, eager for him to have signed on. I remember waiting for that ding to sound, certain that if he ever initiated conversation with me it meant he was probably interested in me beyond friendship. I played a lot of games in my head.... I'd wait for him to talk to me (clearly playing hard-to-get) and when I couldn't handle it, I'd find some rational reason to make contact with him. Sometimes I wouldn't even wait and I'd just jump right into conversation. We communicated on almost a daily basis and my heart was growing more attached at the prospect of this young man's affections.

I went home for Christmas break and confided in my oldest brother and his best friend in our hot tub one night. I explained the situation and they immediately told me to stop initiating. They told me if he were interested, he'd do something about it.

Their words were true...and I think, at the time, I knew it...but I also knew, somewhere in me, that if I stopped initiating I would know the truth. That I wouldn't be able to lie to myself any longer. I'd have to face the reality that my friendship with this guy was just that: a friendship. That the moment I stopped initiating, I'd have to recognize that our friendship thrived mostly on my desperate attempts to keep him in my life, to have deep conversation, to feel like I mattered to him in a capacity more than I did.

I knew it. And I didn't want to have that reality check.
It wasn't the first time in my life that it had happened... and it certainly wasn't the last.
Holding on, refusing to let go, refusing to give up, refusing to believe that he probably wasn't interested in me. In this case, I held onto the idea for almost two years. Two years of initiating, waiting, hoping, wishing, dreaming... two years of holding onto something that would never be, because I was too scared to face the reality check. Too scared to admit that it wasn't going to happen. Too scared to think about having no prospects.

I hated reading that in my journal. I hated having to remember that I was that girl. The girl who was too unwilling to admit that a guy just might not be interested in her that she threw herself at him emotionally and spiritually. The girl who cried for help to get him to notice her. The girl who just tried too hard to make something happen that was never meant to happen. The girl who lived her life out of fear, the girl who lived her life as though being in a relationship was all that mattered.

I told my roommate the other night how I wish I could clearly communicate that life doesn't have to be (and shouldn't be) centered around finding romantic love. I wish that I could convey how small of a piece that it is. I wish I could tell you, through my experiences, how trying to make it happen doesn't make it happen.

I wish I could convince you to let go.
To admit that he's not interested in you like that (and it's okay and better that he's not... you'll see).
To stop initiating.
To stop wasting your time.
To stop centering your life on men.
To stop being boy crazy.
And to seize all that the rest of life has to offer. To go on adventures. To take risks. To live outside of the 'what-ifs' and the desperate attempts we tend to make in our loneliness.

There is more.

Here's your reality check.
I hope you make a wiser decision than I...

Your entries will remain anonymous

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


"What are the redeeming qualities of the person you most dislike?"

It's a question that the game Table Topics poses to its participants. One of those questions that you don't really want to answer because it makes you have to acknowledge a few things about yourself. These things may or may not include the following:

  1. You actually dislike people (no matter how hard to try to convince yourself that you love all people well). 
  2. You might have to weed through all the things you truly dislike about a person before ever figuring out what might be "redeeming"....and, you may still come up short (only perpetuating the awful feeling of admitting that you're not as saintly as you might hope). 
  3. Your reasons for disliking someone may not be that valid after all and as you quickly recognize all the redeemable qualities, you realize how shallow you just might be. 
But, I think it's a great question. 
A question that makes you pause...think...and remember that people are people. That, with the bad, there is also good. It has the capability of being a perspective-shifting question. A question that causes you to stop dwelling on all the negative, all the annoying, all the frustrating, all the bad memories...and forces you to think about the positive, even if only for a moment.  

I'm not saying you're going to walk away from that question loving everyone that you, ten seconds prior, despised... but I am saying that, if you allow it to, it could be a question that begins to chip away at the hardness within you. 

What are the redeeming qualities of the person you most dislike? 
Are you willing to go there?
Are you willing to think about?
Are you willing to give them a chance to not be the back-stabbing, selfish, cruel, heartless, inconsiderate, annoying moron that you think they are? 

Even if for a moment, are you willing to say that there might be something good there? 

I recognize that there are some pretty terrible things out there that people have done. I recognize that there's a lot of hatred, a lot of discord, a lot of pain and heartache. I realize that lives have been shattered by other's actions. I'm aware that I can't even begin to understand the evil that's in this world. 

But I'm also unwilling to say that it has to be the final diagnosis on their character for all time. I'm unwilling to say that anyone is irredeemable. I'm unwilling to say that its hopeless. I'm unwilling to say that people can't change. 

Because they do.
People change. 
Even the worst of the worst... they can change. 
They can tell a different story.
I can tell a different story. 
Somewhere, even if deep-down, we all have redeemable qualities. 

Christ has come. 
While we were all still sinners, He died.
I can't begin to say that anyone is outside of that sacrifice. 
And, when I'm reminded of what He did when I'm still too often running, denying, and hardness and my dislike of others continues to be sanded away. 

I need to be willing to see the good in others.
I need to be reminded that blood has been shed for the worst of the worst. I need to be reminded that He, too, loves them as much as He loves me. Even the person I most dislike. 

The price has been paid.
No matter how much I hate, no matter how hurt I am, no matter the darkness... 

I have been redeemed. This is true on my best of days and my worst of days... and who am I to be unwilling to extend that to anyone else.

It's a great question.
If we're willing to answer it... 

Your entries will remain anonymous