Sacred Singleness | Part Four | The Modern Church and Singleness

January 25, 2015

If you are just now starting this series, I would highly encourage you to stop by and read Part One, Part Two, and Part Three before going any further. This series is a conglomeration of pieces from the heart, pieces from my past dating excursions, and pieces of wisdom from Leslie Ludy's book "Sacred Singleness", which is is the reasoning behind the name of this series I have been writing for you lovely ladies and gents. 

In this, I hope to convey my strong convictions about the purpose and blessings of singleness, which-in all hopes!-will encourage you to take pride and joy in this season of your life, as well as combat the lies that have invaded modern Christian views and standards in the 21st century church. Us as singles do not have to fear this season. Instead, we need to take on this season with pride, determination, and joy as we use this time to NOT pursue, but lean on God and grow closer to Him. Waiting is hard, but being persistently engrossed with our Lord is the best love story you could ever imagine. Take the plunge. Dive into the crystal clear waters of a love that is like chaos and as sweet as honey. You are gonna love what you discover! 

Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. {Psalm 34:5}
I am sitting in my classroom full of babies at nap time, thinking about how lonely rainy days feel to me. They are some of the hardest days to overcome when I am wishing I had someone special to dance in the rain with. Most of the time I daydream during rainy days like this. And wish. And hope. And grieve. 

I mean, after all, that is considered to be okay...right? It is okay to grieve this state of singleness and want to end it with a man by my side--in perfect wedded bliss? That is okay, they say. That is what the modern voices say, anyway. It is okay to be unsettled with being single. It is okay to put constant pressure on the opposite sex, to pursue heavily they type of man you think you want, to be discontent with this season of singleness--all because God made marriage; and that somehow means we MUST be married at ALL costs. 

But-is it really okay? Is it okay to live in greed and envy and lust? 

What is the "problem" with being single? It is almost as if being single were a crime against God or something. Gosh! Heck-it is not easy being single. Do people think we purposefully choose to be single knowing deep down our desire is to be married?! No. During this time, one has to surrender daily the dreams of being married back to God and learn to be content with being single. This is how we find the joy in this season. We work at it, DAILY. 

And yet, how can we learn to be "content" when being a single person-surrounded by fellow Christians-seems to breed discontentment? Impatience? Insecurity? Rather than joy, inspiration, and strength? (Ludy 58). Like I mentioned in Part Two, this modern Christian view appears to appeal to the self-centered human desires to do only for ourselves what is in our best interest. And of course, it has nothing to do with God's interests. Period. Apparently God takes too long to write this so-called love story. So, I guess because of this "slowness" the sinful human nature in us decided that it is our "right" to dictate when and how our love story should happen. But-isn't God the one who created marriage in the first place? If we are so dead set on getting married because it was created by God, should not we wait on Him to decide when it is best for us? 

The lie that these modern Christian voices would have you believe is that being single is BAD. Or, that it is unhealthy. However, in my opinion, it is what these Christian voices have to say about being single that poses a health risk. It is okay to take the "matters of God" into our own hands, is the message many voices preach. Really?! Since when did God need our help with ANYTHING? After all, He ALONE created all of Creation in...seven days. Hello!

Modern Christian voices have become insensitive towards young men and women who are single. And American Christianity does not offer any form of encouragement, nor do they support the "concept of letting god orchestrate our love story" (Ludy 58). Discouragement from the church is intrusive. It breeds sin and wreaks of dissipated faith, lost hope, and total denial. 

That is one reason why I had to stop going to my former church about a month ago. The small group I was in-The Hub-was geared towards singles. No problem there, really. But this "hub" of singles was a place for desperate singles to come and prey on other singles who were looking for love. I was one of those desperate singles. Believe me, it was not pretty. Or becoming. The Hub was a group of unhappy and seemingly hungry "zoo animals" ready to pounce on that one person they felt took an interest in them. And I was one of them, for a LONG time. 

Church should in no way, shape or form be treated as a free dating service! It was never intended to be a come-to-Jesus-and-you-will-get-a-husband-for-free kind of moment. Yet, these messages of "pursue, pursue, pursue" resonate "with our fleshly, selfish nature-the part of us that craves to be n control of our own lives and satisfy the desires of our hearts outside of God" (Ludy 58), because they allow wiggle room for us to be able to "justify" this "take it into my own hands" mentality.; and because God designed it (being marriage) for us. And of course, that makes it all the more appealing when we can add a spiritual umbrella on a selfish ambition.  

It does not surprise me anymore that most singles who choose to "embrace" their season(s) of singleness are referred to as ignorant and naive. What is so naive about "waiting on God" and bidding your time as a single person, enjoying life and freedom and wisely choosing to "be still" and lean on God? It has to do with the face that God is no longer front and center in the lives of many 21st century Christians; because the faith and beliefs of our ancestors have dissipated into a faith and belief that has "no real life or power", and "instead of zeal there is apathy. Instead of courage there is timidity. And instead of confidence in God there is paralyzing doubt" (Ludy 59).

It frustrates me to hear and read Christian authors and pastors preach God's Word with no real impactful insight or deep and meaningful commentary. At the church I used to go to there was a lot of glitz and glam. The worship service was a weekly concert and the services were all feel-good sermons. What agitated me was not the glitz and glam, but the presentation of God's Word vs man's. In each sermon (which was always a 4 wk series) there was barely a paragraphed passage to base the sermon off of; then a lengthy explanation about that certain passage that has been chosen: money, sex, etc., with very little cross referencing to make an impactful and insightful sermon dense and deep.  

it was different from what I had grown up with: verse by verse, book by book. No series (unless based off of a whole book of the bible), just a deep Bible study through each book of the Bible for sometimes months on end. Granted, it was sometimes a little dry, and sometimes it did not always captivate the imagination like the "topical" studies would. But-unlike those topical studies, those in-depth sermons were not humanly scripted narratives "that can be edited and changed to mean whatever we want it to mean", but they focused on the absolute, undiluted truth (Ludy 59). 

Anyway, what I am trying to get at is this: that compared to twenty years ago, the Gospel no longer has the same impact as it once had, which allows for humans to take advantage of the church's weaknesses and manipulate the Word of God into justifiably plausible to suit their desired purpose. And all of this has had a tremendous impact on the modern church's approach towards singles (Ludy 59). There are a lot of lies floating around hidden under the "banner" of solid Christian wisdom,: challenging Christian singles to rethink the gift of singleness.

Author Debbie Maken mentions in her book "Getting Serious About Getting Married" that "the belief that remaining single is legitimate and godly is a work of the devil. Read that again: Satan dishonors marriage by fooling us into believing that singleness is okay" (43). And apparently singleness is not only the work of the devil, according to Maken, but those who are single are considered to be "mutilated members of a mangled body" (28). 

That right there is a lot of pressure-pressure to "shed the stigma of singleness", mentions Ludy (61). The sad part is that Debbie Maker is not the only Christian voice out there sending these negative vibes and confusing signals to the singles community. In her book "Get Married: What Women Can Do to Help it Happen", Candice Watlers explains what singles can do to "help" marriage happen (22, 28). It is irrational to think that these messages are Biblically sound-let alone true-because the messages presented are ones that are basically stating that "Christ isn't enough to provide the fulfillment we long for" (Ludy 62). 

The struggle as a single is real. But-to have these negative connotations thrown at us from all sides only adds to the drama we face internally each day as we live the single life: trying to surrender daily, sacrificing human desires in order to have that deeper connection with Christ. Being single does not mean you have to feel guilty about not having that "special someone" to love. Or, that you have to put your life on hold, "assuming that marriage is when [your] 'real life' will begin" (Ludy 63; emphasis added).

The best kept secret to being happy while being single is to LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE. There are so many ways to give and receive love. Love is not specified for one person alone, but for a multitude of people. If it was meant only for one person then all of us would be destined for eternal enslavement in Hell. But because God loved the world, He died for all. And because of His never ending love, we are commanded to love the world as well (John 13:34).

 Embrace the single life with every fiber of your being. Go on missions. Lead a small group. Take a week off and go somewhere new. Spend hours on end growing closer to the ultimate Bridegroom. Learn something new. Become comfortable with who you are. Discover new places to eat with friends. And never stop pursuing that perfect love story with Christ. Because in the end, when it comes down to it, God remains constant...man does not. 

Sacred Singleness | Part Three | Finding Romantic Fulfillment

January 23, 2015

If you're just now reading this series, I would love it if you'd take the time to read Part One and Part Two as an introduction to the continuation of the series, so that you might understand better what is going on and what I am talking about. My purpose for writing these segments are to inform singles about their purpose for being single and to encourage them that this season of their life is a higher calling than they could ever imagine!
A spirit of restlessness and resistance can never wait, but one who believes he is loved with an everlasting love, and knows that underneath are the everlasting arms, will find strength and peace. {Elisabeth Elliot}

Oh, my! Romance--I am almost over the whole romantic fulfillment deal. When you've dated as many guys as I have *palm to face* you'll understand why my views on romance with "earthly" men have somewhat dissipated.  It isn't that I have a BAD attitude towards romance or men. But-it does take time for a hamburger heart to heal from so many failed attempts to take relationships into one's own hands by giving a little to much and getting nothing in return.
 For He satisfies the longing soul. {Psalm 107:9}
Ladies and Gents, I will tell you the honest truth: the best romance of all times is with our beloved Jesus Christ. It's that simple, yet just as complex! Being so in love with my sweet Jesus hasn't always been this easy. In fact, just months ago I was still pining my time on the first dude I dated back in 2013. What a sap! I remember crying over this guy only months ago praying that God would somehow find it befitting to place this man back into my life. 

However, the more I prayed the more I realized that I didn't need a guy itching to go to second and third base with me when I had a heavenly father itching to develop a close and reckless relationship with me; a relationship that would be much more rewarding and fulfilling in the end. 

Girls and guys desire romance in a different way. Girls long from their prince charming to sweep them off their feet. And guys long to be the prince doing the sweeping--"the women are to be conquered"! Huzzah! (okay, I took some liberty in explaining that. But if you gents would go read Wild At Heart by John Eldredge you'd get a clear picture and find that I am almost spot on). 

Anyhow, to keep this post relatively short, I just want to give you guys a brief glimpse at the romance of a life time that you are missing out on. Not to say that I have a perfect romance with my King (I am only human), but the relationship is priceless and the work required on my half to keep it where it needs to be is well worth it!


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I love it when I get some time alone-without another soul around asking for attention. Why? Because, during this time I want to be able to transfix myself upon the glory of the Lord and really, truly discover (in the moment) the beauty of the Ultimate Bridegroom. In her book, "Sacred Singleness" (for those of you who might not remember), Leslie Ludy talks about the beauty and the precious moments being in the season(s) of singleness can provide. She mentions, in regards to discovering the beauty of our Ultimate Bridegroom, that "Jesus Christ is the One who ultimately satisfies the deepest needs and desires of [our] hearts" (Ludy 47; emphasis added). 

Hebrews 13:8 has this to say: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever". Thinking about this verse sends shivers up and down my spine because of the perfect imagery it provides in correlation to who God is and who we are not. He knows our hearts even better than we do-because He created us. Not just to exist and pine our days waiting for our one true love to come waltzing over to us in heals or sensual cologne. He created us with impeccable taste and filled us with the desire for romance only He can fill. And He will always be the most prince/friend a heart could ever want. 
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I don't have an earthly fool-proof secret to share from my own struggles, but a supernatural secret that is far more real and lovely. The secret is this: "if you want a remarkable human love story, fall in love with Jesus Christ" (Ludy 50). That pretty much sums it up, ladies and gents. Fall in love with Jesus Christ. I can guarantee it will be the most remarkable love story ever told! Colossians 1:18 speaks to us a reminder of the position Christ MUST have in EVERY SINGLE area of our lives. He needs to be our top priority. He longs to be our number one. 

So, my question is this: is He first place in your live, or does the hope of an earthy love take center stage? Are you willing to let go of those romantic notions in your head for a piece of divine romance according to God's specifications? A truly beautiful reckless type of love that is far from fathomable, but purely enjoyable and fulfilling

Madame Jeanne Guyon wrote:
Abandonment is practiced by continually losing your own will in the will of God; by plunging your will into the depths of His will, there to be lost forever! Abandonment must reach a point where you stand in complete indifference to yourself. The attitude will bring you to the most wonderful point imaginable--where your will breaks free of you completely and becomes free to be joined to the will of God! You will desire only what He desires" (Jeanne Guyon "Experiencing the Depths of Christ" 35). 
I must be honest and say this: I am one to cling to what feels comfortable. To stay in a realm of familiarity--a place I have created to fill a void, controlled chaos, to be invisible. My life is as I have created it to be; and a lot of the times that means my life is (1) stressful, (2) chaotic, (3) and lonely. I choose to be that way because a lot of the times I would rather stay in one season for an extended period of time, knowing the comforts of it's familiar surroundings, rather than choose a life of reckless abandonment. Why? Because reckless abandonment means I'd be letting go of my agenda and surrendering wholly to the will of God. And I am a stubborn girl. It's hard!

Many people, like myself, cling to their own agenda. However, the key to fully resting in Christ is to surrender, but not because there's an ulterior motive. But, because we want and desire to have a thriving love story with Jesus. Sometimes loneliness can be painful. We don't want to wait. We want to fill the void at all costs. And yet, it is during this tender time that we need to lean all the more upon Christ because in Him we will find a readiness and a willingness to satisfy the cry of our hearts (Ludy 51). And even if you never get married on this earth, know that Jesus is the ultimate Bridegroom, the Lover of your soul. Its the best love story with the best cast member-Jesus Christ. He's the key to romantic fulfillment, folks!

Sacred Singleness | Part Two | The Pattern of True Christianity

January 19, 2015

If you read my last post First Love: Forsaking All, you've probably already gotten the jiff that there is a lengthy series about singleness on the way. Forsaking All was only the first, small, sweet taste of what is to come by exploring the meaning of singleness and pursuing the truth and purpose behind God's reasoning for this season in our lives. So-if you want to know what it means to forsake all and be happy at being single, then hop on board and come on the journey with me! I will be reading through the book "Sacred Singleness" by Leslie Ludy through the series and taking notes and quotes from her, as well as different authors to support the true Biblical perspective on singleness. What we'll discover will be breathtaking! With this series we'll discover that it's better to take a breath and wait on God (while being productive), instead of taking matters into our own hands only to have our hearts battered into hamburger bits in the end. 


Most dating books are ridiculous, especially the Christian ones. I remember about a year ago I was on a "dating book" kick. I was reading about every book on dating I could find to somehow help me understand the aspect of dating, how to "keep" the guy, to somehow give me pointers for "catching" the next guy, or even how to be content with just being single

I will tell you one thing. The more I read these books, the more discontent I found myself. Out of all the dating books I read, I found that the Christian ones made me feel the worst. Those secular books seemed more liberating with their talk about how "women don't need a man to be happy", while the Christian books downplayed singleness by actually placing pressure on the singles to "make" their happiness based primarily in earthly relationships. 

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There are some who would have Christ cheap. They would have Him without the cross. But the price will not go down. {Samuel Rutherford} 
God. Believe it or not, He's writing your love story. Unheard of! Ridiculous! That's the popular message these days in Modern American Christianity. Trust God with your love story. You've got to be joking. How can He "script" a love story that's going to be right for me? How can allowing Him to orchestrate a love story be beneficial for me? Anything far from manipulation is a ridiculous and naive concept. It's the modern message: if you wait on God, you'll be greatly disappointed. 

Leslie Ludy mentions in her book that a "slew" of Christian books have hit the market with a message for young singles stating that it's "healthy for them to be unhappy and discontent with singleness" (Ludy 24). This is so similar to the books I read. So similar to the lies I was led to believe. Many of these books would like you to believe that you need to forsake the idea that waiting on God is "essential for a true love story" is a bunch of bologna. They would like you to believe that those words are often regarded as being "misguided", and would rather encourage you to "take matters into [your] own hands to find a [spouse]" (Ludy 24; emphasis added). 


Truth be told, I'll admit that these books seem "spiritually sound". But at what cost? The cost of taking God's word completely out of context in order to allow "wiggle room" for selfish ambition to be fully acceptable? The cost of promoting lies rather than the truth? The cost of stripping God of His "rights" to bless us when the time is right? The modern voices of the church speak as though we shouldn't accept being single for more than a certain extended period of time. Why? Because after-all, God created marriage, and we should do whatever it takes to achieve this goal. Thus singleness is views as a curse and "not a purpose-filled opportunity from our loving Father" (Ludy 24).  



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In Leslie's book, she points out various singles who have not allowed the world's view of singleness get in the way of living out their purpose-driven life. Each of these persons have surrendered their lives to the Lord. Some were blessed with marriage, while others were blessed by life-long singleness. And unlike some of these dating books that mention it's perfectly fine to be discontent with being single, these people found a peace they never knew during their season of singleness. Some of these people include Elizabeth Elliot, Oswald Chambers, Reese/Elizabeth Howells, Amy Carmichael, Gladys Aylward, John Hyde Corrie Ten Boon, and many others. Respectively, all laid down the possibility of marriage before God, willingly embracing a life of "undistracted service to Christ" (Ludy 29). 


In keeping with this "theme" I want to add something here that I think correlates well with the paths chosen by these single people. They chose their path based on the knowing in their hearts that all they needed to fulfill their needs was Jesus Christ. They were holding onto one of the most precious promises spoken of in Psalm 37:4.

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
These people-each one-laid everything down at the altar before God. They allowed Him to do with their lives whatever He saw fit. And this is our cue to follow. When we surrender, we're not only giving a place in our hearts for God to reside on a "need-be" basis; but we're allowing Him to permanently establish residence in every area of our lives. According to Leslie, this is "where true Christianity begins" (Ludy 29).   

One of the hardest things ever in my state of singleness was to stop bargaining with God-my terms verses His. What I would do for Him if He gave me what I wanted-to be married. I found out the hard way that there is NO negotiating with God. Instead, God gives you His terms (not up for discussion; take it or leave it) by asking us to "lay everything down upon the altar, not expecting anything in return" (Ludy 30). God died, expecting NOTHING in return. The least we can do is follow willingly, surrender wholly, and ask for naught. 

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The matters of a woman's heart are not to be taken lightly. However, there is a certain point of view reaching a high level of popularity that places a huge importance on a person's heart: placing an emphasis on feelings, needs, uniqueness, and desire. But my question here is whether this is appropriate Christlike behavior to allow one's self to "build everything around our emotions and our wants"? (Ludy 31).

So many Christian dating books talk about how our hearts are good. It's a popular message that I have ran across countless times in these dating books. The basic message emphasizes living out the heart's desires and dreams, because it somehow brings glory to our Creator. Leslie Ludy disagrees with this statement, asking the question: "should our own feelings, dreams, desires, and emotions nurtured and coddled the way American Christianity prescribes?" (Ludy 31). I have often asked similar questions whilst reading these dating books and have found myself coming to a particular conclusion: our emotions and desires are God given and can be used by Him to help direct our lives; however, this can only happen when our emotions and desires are fully yielded to Him

Our emotions must be subservient to the Spirit of God-to ALL of Him (His will, agenda, purpose,and direction). And one thing I must point out that I have learned over my 22 years of living is that: the decisions we make should never be based off of what we feel like doing in the moment, "but on what our Lord is asking of us" (Ludy 32). 

Psalm 40:8 says this:
I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.”
And Elisabeth Elliot has this to say:
The difficulty is to keep a tight reign on our emotions. They may remain, but it is not they who rule the action. They have no authority. A life lived in God is not lived on the place of the feelings, but of the will. In Scripture he heart is the will--the man himself, the spring of all action, the ruling power bestowed to him by his Creator, capable of choosing and acting.  
Here's the gist-what we essentially need to do to be a catalyst to what Ms. Elliot is writing about. We must (1) turn down the volume of our selfish, screaming emotions, (2) attune our ears to our King's gentle whisper, (3) yield to His strength rather than the power of our own desires, (4) choose to love, give, and pour out our lives for Him, asking nothing in return (Ludy 33).

This is the beauty of true surrender: to reciprocate the sacrificial love that God put on display for us upon the cross. That's what He asks us to do for Him. And this is why I am so passionate about embracing singleness. It's frustrating to think I allowed myself to be miserable for so long-selfish and emotional-unable to think positively about the direction I am headed in this season of singleness God's got me going through. But I want to let others know that if you're willing to drop everything-dreams, hopes, desires-God will fill you with the richness of His presence. There, in Him, you will be filled with living water! And never hunger. 

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. {James 1:17}
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. {Jeremiah 29:11}

Sacred Singleness | Part One | Forsaking All

January 18, 2015

This post goes out to all my lovelies. Those single women-and men-that struggle with wanting things to go your way vs. God's way. The struggle with this is real. It's more than real, it's a war that Satin wages on our hearts with a second-by-second replay of the reasons why we're single, and the misguided and misrepresented truths about God's essential role for the seasons of singleness. 


Being single has its ups and downs. Incredibly so! Much more than I have ever encountered before, to be frank. Life itself has its ups and downs, but when you are single and trying to ultimately focus on the Lord, one experiences a few more technical difficulties than expected. These technical difficulties do not always come in large doses, nor are they potent. In some cases, as I have had the pleasure of experiencing, they can be small and unassuming. Carefree, but intense. One does not always have parents, friends, or complete strangers asking the dreaded question "why are you still single?" 

Satin do not always use the obvious to send us into a downward spiraling pity-party. As in most things that are from the Father of Lies, he goes undetected and is very inconspicuous in his efforts to derail our focus and faith in the Heavenly Father. Thus, instead of making a big-to-do, Satin uses other techniques merely to distract us from our primary focus-Christ. 

How does Satin do this, you might ask? I have experienced this time and time again. In little unassuming ways, Satin penetrates my shield-maiden-like armor with the most effective ways of leading me astray. No, he doesn't shove my singleness down my throat with blatant questions that sting. In fact, he does something a bit more sneaky. Most of the time it's not the question that gets to me, but the visual imagery of watching a couple walking hand-in-hand in the park, or even sitting together in Church. That's what gets me. That's what hurts the most. And in one foul swoop, Satin has often drawn my heart astray and led me off course. Again. 

The most dangerous assailants that Satin uses is not where you would typically think to find fault. In fact, it is beyond the opposite of what one would expect. Even I didn't see it coming until I was face-to-face with these dangers. And believe it or not, which you probably won't, a lot of the lies that Satin feeds us come from the Church's perspective of singleness vs. marriage, Biblically speaking. Also beware modern Christian dating books. Both, I have found are dangerous breeding grounds for discontentment.

FORSAKING ALL

God has made us for Himself, and our heart can never know rest and perfect satisfaction until they find it in Him. {Hannah Hurnard}
I love this quote, because it speaks volumes to what we as a body of Christ need to understand. (Especially as a group of singles). Because, how can we expect to be satisfied with our spouse if we are not content in our current position in life at the present, in Christ? 
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I remember, it was about six months after my very first breakup, that I found myself lonely and invisible. Until, of course, a prospective young gentleman joined my small group at church. It was apparent he took notice of me instantly. 

Cool, I thought, obviously flattered that anyone would notice me after having gone through a tragic breakup only months before. He was cute. Sure. Calm, collect, soft-spoken, and tenderhearted. Awe, just what I've always wanted! I began to tell myself as we began "dating". He was definitely not swift in his actions, nor in his intent to pursue me. Meh, he's just shy, I assured myself as I made the first move. I was lonely. I wanted to feel "in love" again. And he fit the bill. I was attracted to him, yes. But not nearly enough to cause me-if I were in a more focused state of mind-to pursue. I was out of my mind! I never pursue! At least, that's what I told myself as I posted another inconspicuous offer to anyone-mainly him-who waned to see a movie or go for a walk in the park. 

During that time, I was basically doing whatever I could to endure my season of singleness. Even if it meant dating the wrong guy. I mean, he seemed like the total package, really. Well, mostly. He was a Christlike man. He seemed passionate for God. But aside from his seemingly Christian attitude and well-being, he was not setting well with my woman's intuition.On the outside he was Godly. But inside, he was passive and submissive. And I cannot tolerate passive or submissive men. 

But-when it came to the second month of our official "boyfriend/girlfriend" status, something in my gut told me that I was settling for less than God's best. Yes, I was. But I didn't want to be lonely! And, in my mind, being single meant you were just leftovers after the cream of the crop had been chosen. Here is where my conscious and I struggled. While I was wanting what I wanted, God was tugging at my heart strings, saying "let go. It will be alright. Trust me. Are you willing to forsake it all for an abundant life? Or are you satisfied with being empty and alone?". 

Whoa.
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According to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary to forsake means to "to renounce or turn away from entirely". In other words, to forsake means to abandon

Christian women and, yes, even men, have a longing-if not a strong desire- to have a Christlike person in their life who is passionate for God. Women long for this in a guy, and I am positive that guys long for this in a woman. Not one wants a lazy, passive, and submissive flop. Which one sounds more appealing-a real man who is gallant and ambitious and ready for battle (as is in his nature?); a woman who is captivating, modest, compassionate and dedicate- or someone who has little self-esteem, no goals, a lazy attitude, and no reverence for the Lord? 

However, it is my experience that many young singles are willing to risk it all and settle for less-than-desired because they're tired of the wait. Tired of having to be patient. Tired of "relying" on God's perfect timing. Sometimes, God gives us this "gut-wrenching" feeling when we're about to do something against His will. And in many cases-like mine-God urges us to make the BEST choices for our lives! He doesn't want us to settle for less. And sometimes the BEST choice means ditching lover-boy and listening intently to God's guiding voice when He prods us to allow Him to become our obsession, instead of trying to cure loneliness with some less-than-perfect guy/gal God never intended for us to date.

It's scary. To follow Christ is one thing, but to recklessly abandon all to Him-and being willing to do it with a prudent heart-is another. God doesn't want us to look at being single as a "curse". Leslie Ludy, author of "Sacred Singleness" mentions that often times we tend to look to earthly guys/gals to meet the needs of our hearts, when in reality-by allowing Christ to be our first love-we're essentially giving Him grounds to not only bring glory to Himself, but also script a beautiful lifelong romance that reflects the sacredness between the Heavenly Bridegroom and His pure bride (Ludy 14). 

Leslie also notes that so many singles miss out on this one crucial truth:
Even a beautiful God-scripted love story can never satisfy the way Jesus does. Even the most heroic and Christlike man on earth can never fulfill the longings of our hearts like the true Prince and Lover of our soul (Ludy 14).
God's plans for this season(s) of singleness don't necessarily mean that you're going to be single for the rest of your lives. Don't fret! In my case, this season of singleness is due to God wanting me to lay down my "rights" to be married (and all that come with that life) because He wants me to allow Him to be my everything. He doesn't want to be that soft pillow to land on in times of need, but to be that someone I walk with daily and look to for the satisfaction of my needs, longings, and desires. 

To lay down that so-called "right" has been the greatest challenge I've faced yet. It's frightful, because after giving all those hopes, dreams, and desires to God, I found myself worried about whether He would ever give them back. What if I was stuck as a single woman permanently? Was God really, truly enough to fulfill my wildest desires, even if I never got married? 

If you haven't noticed by now, I love Leslie Ludy. She is a personal role model for me in regards to the topic of being single. In her book, Leslie quotes preacher, Paris Reidhead, who asks a very serious question: 
Is not the Lamb who was slain worthy of the reward of His sufferings? (Leslie 15). 
In other words: is not the One who laid down His life for us entitled to everything we can offer? 

He is asking a scary question here! Would we rather always try to cure our loneliness with a male/female companion, or are we "willing to let [God] become [our] all in all...?" (Ludy 13; emphasis added). And if I may, I would like to add something that I think is pretty spot on, as well as a spectacular visual of the reckless abandonment we are called to have. According to John 12:1-3 a woman named Mary of Bethany breaks open her Alabaster Box (which is a priceless part of her dowry) and pours her most precious ointment upon the feet of Jesus. 
"Then Jesus six days before the Passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. There they made Him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with Him. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair: and the house was filled with odor of the ointment." 
Like Mary-it's time to let go of what we hold "dear" and give it ALL to God. Place all your worries, fears, and unsatisfactory relationships at the feet of Jesus as an offering "eager and delighted sacrifice [our] all for the One who have everything for [us]" (Ludy 17). He's not only asking for eagerness and delight, but for us to be "completely willing to be single [...]" in the process (Ludy 17). 

I am a lover of all things based in the book of Philippians. I can thank my mom for that! I love what Philippians 3:8 says about forsaking it all:
 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ [...].
And while we're on this topic, I would also like you to consider Matthew 16:24: 
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
By taking up our cross, we're "deliberately choosing to give up [our] "rights" [...] in order to make Jesus Christ [our] first love-not just in theory, but in real life" (Ludy 19; emphasis added). 

So, here it is ladies and gents, one of the hardest, most potent questions you'll ever have to answer: Is not the One who gave His all for us worthy of everything we could offer Him? Now is your time to decide what you are going to do with the time, the life, that is given to you. Waste it on earthly pursuits? Or on pursuits of a higher calling? Living recklessly abandoned for One who have it all? 

In my experience love--an earthly love-will NEVER satisfy, not the way Jesus does! He may be the most heroic and Christlike man on the planet, but he will never be able to fulfill the deepest longings of the heart the way the Prince and Lover of our soul does (Leslie 14). We must be willing to wholly surrender ourselves to God in order to make Him our first love. However, until we realize that, we will never know the wonders of the One who is our all in all.

revolutions + resolutions

January 11, 2015



I love using words.  

I also love it when those words so fittingly express the feelings and convey the emotion I am trying to send forth to those I love and care for, as well as give tongue to the things I am passionately fighting for. Words convey so much meaning in them. And sometimes one word is all it takes to build someone up or tear them down. 

But today I am writing about a particular word that is a part of my New Year's REVOLUTION. Yes, I still have my resolutions, but consolidated into a different frame of mind. My revolution requires spiritual fitness and the exercising of my hope, faith, and growing patience; while my resolutions require physical fitness, determination, and a lot of brain power. 

THE "ONE WORD" REVOLUTION

At the beginning of this month of the New Year-as in 2015-I was challenged by my Uncle to participate in a "one word" resolution. And while I have done this several times before, choosing words like healthier, closer, loving, patience, etc. I was, for the first time, indecisive as to whether I wanted to do something like that again. Indeed, it would be simple. But I have found that it's more difficult to stick to one word, because throughout the year that I am focusing on the "chosen" word, I end up discovering new words to focus on, new paths to follow that have spawned from that one word. It's hard to keep on track. 

And yet, this year, I have decided to let all that "control" I felt I had to have during my "one word" resolution and allow God to truly and fully transform my life through the word and the words He wanted me to discover, and even rediscover.

Before I even decided to "join" in the resolution, I prayed. And through that prayer God pressed upon my heart no only my one word, but the fact that this resolution I was partaking of would not be merely a resolution that I stuck to for a while and then trailed off mid-year. No. This word was to be my revolution. I was to fight for this word. To fight against all the forces that threatened to make me forget my blessings, and keep me knocked down because of certain details of my young adult life have not yet come to pass.

My "one word" is contentmentAccording to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Contentment is "the state of being happy and satisfied" or "the state of being content". 

My goal for 2015 is to be content with (1) what I have (2) with being single (3) with who I am as a person. And while I have been encountering life lessons that have been teaching the lessons of contentment during the season of 2014, I ultimately want to explore the realm of contentedness in a more spiritual manner, and in a more sincere way as I grow closer to God throughout this journey. 

On this journey I will look to God for guidance, as well as Apostle Paul for Biblical sustenance and encouragement throughout the coming days and months of the new year. In this time of learning about contentment, I will lean upon the Word of God to supply my daily refreshment. And ultimately, guide me on a journey to complete fulfillment and utter happiness, dependent ONLY upon the King of Kings. 

My verse for 2015-->

For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. {2 Corinthians 12:10}


RESOLUTIONS

My New Year's resolutions are fairly simple and achievable. 

School--> this is, above all else (aside from any and all spiritual aspects of life) my primary focus in life as of right now. This semester and the summer semester are the only two I have left before I get my double associates degree in English/History. I am taking a speech class during the spring semester and then a second Biology class during the summer months. Once those classes are finished (Lord willing!) I will graduate in the fall. When that's accomplished, I will move on to get my CDA-an early childhood associates degree through tecta that will help me further my career in early childhood education. On top of that, I am praying that I will get approved for some of their scholarships, which will help me with my goal in getting my Elementary Education B.A and M.A. at WGU of Tennessee. Whew!

Starbucks--> Enough said. NO MORE COFFEE. I am going to take this one day by day as I visit the coffee shop regularly. So...if I can manage to take the visits down to 3x a week, I will be well pleased! Of course, the goal is to have zero visits for coffee by the end of 2015.

Money--> My goal is to be a better steward with my money. I know being single, you don't have to worry about supporting any one. But-I want to be able to take care of myself and live on my own. I do have a few bills to pay, but really, let's face it, I need to take care of my money and see to it that my expenses are going where they are intended to go. Number one goal is to SAVE, SAVE, SAVE.

Health--> I work out at home from time to time, but it's just not the same as having the comradery of others there to struggle with you. Or, in my case, at least not make you feel bad for not being in tip-top shape. So....I am joining a week night kickboxing class at a local Karate Studio. I am excited to get back into sweating and punching and feeling my best again! But-in the end, this picture says it ALL!

do not merely exist

January 3, 2015

What is life? Good question. Most people think about life as if it were dependent on getting from point B to point D. Birth to Death. That's all life is to them. Getting from one point to the next. Merely existing day to day without a sense of direction, and sadly without passion. 
What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset. {Crowfoot}
Isn't there more to life than merely existing? I am no genius (half the time I can't even spell genius), but weren't we created by a God who sent His son on our behalf to save us from uncertain and unequivocal death? Not physical death, but spiritual death. A death far more agonizing and unimaginable than anything we could ever face with our earthly bodies. I love this verse: "Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and LIVE?" {Ezekiel 18:23; emphasis added}.

This is beautiful and vivid imagery to be able to see the perfect love of the Father. He loves His people so much-even those who have fallen astray-that He pleads with them about turning from their ways so that they might live! And in Christ we have precious life; "For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring." {Acts 17:28}.

We have been crucified with Christ! We are His. He gave everything for us. Don't you think we owe it to Him to live life abundantly with a spring in our step, love in our hearts, and tenderness in every touch? The least we could give is full and total surrender to our King by living with reckless abandon instead of merely existing. 

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. {Maya Angelou; emphasis added}
While driving I did some thinking; and shed some happy tears. I thought about the past couple of years since I was released from eating disorder treatment. I thought about how the three years leading up to my recovery had been wasted on a lie that spread and consumed me like a wildfire on a hot Californian summer. The lie was that to reach a grand level of perfection I needed to destroy all of who I was. The meals that I refused to eat, the binge sessions I partook of, and the numerous times I purged a day were all somehow related to the lie of perfection and the need to be in control of my life-to obtain a higher form of perfection within myself and those around me.

Those lies are what fed my soul and what consumed every aspect of my time, thought, and body. I was more interested in perfection from myself...and others...to notice the bright and festive transition of winter into spring; or the hot, heavy Tennessee summers; or the crispy coolness of summer changing it's colors, turning into fall; or the vintage colors of fall commencing into the still, yet beautiful silence of winter. I knew not which way the world turned. It was all a blur. 

While I sometimes regret the damage I wreaked on myself and those around me, I do not regret the lessons I learned though those tough years leading up to 2014 and 2015. The journey to get to where I am today was one in which I had to learn the beauty of daily self-sacrificing or in other words: waking up every morning to the presence of the High King and dying daily to my wants and wishes in order to do the wants and wishes of the One who breathed life into my weary soul (Luke 9:23). I knew it was the least I could do for the One who not only gave me life during birth;  the life I was given when I became a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17); and the life He gifted me when He saved me from my slow suicide. 

Granted, this has not been an easy process; nor is it a joyous lesson to learn. Self-sacrifice is not something that comes natural. It's not a normal habit for a self-seeking sinner such as myself. But perfect practice makes perfect and thus, I practiced the art of self-sacrifice by means of letting my guard down, becoming vulnerable to a Holy King, and allowing Him to infiltrate my entire being as a whole. This very revelation: that I needed to die to self daily was a huge stepping stone to my recover and to living life rather than merely existing without a purpose. 

Life is meant to be lived abundantly! To be lived recklessly in accordance to the Gospel and the unique calling of our Lord and Savior in our lives. Like the potter with his clay, our King created us to serve a purpose (Isaiah 64:8). Not one of the potter's creations are ever the same. Some might have the same talents, but they do not appear the same or even work in the same way. But they get the job done and with them the potter is very pleased! Just like the Lord is with us! We're all different, yet so very similar because we're the body of Christ. And in Him we were meant to thrive. To live the life we were given with joy and reckless abandon, not with indifference and mediocrity. We were meant for so much more than we can ever imagine.Why stifle the calling God has placed on your life and the blessing He longs to offer you? It's time to live, to thrive, to recklessly abandon yourself to the Lord and experience the most our of your life that He has to offer. Connect. Grow. Serve. Go.