The Devil is a LIAR!

April 3rd marked four years of being single. I have been officially single as long as I’ve been married. To commemorate this occasion I had to write another blog entry.

So many of my posts lately have the theme of “love yourself,” like this one here for instance.

There is something I realized about self-esteem: it’s a positive thing in theory to have confidence in your own worth but the devil loves to distort good things because he’s in the business of deception.

I apologize for being part of the problem when our culture lies to us and tells us we need to “love ourselves.”

Don’t get me wrong, we do have inherent value but it’s not because we’ve bestowed it upon ourselves. It’s not even because we’ve reminded ourselves of our intrinsic worth in God’s eyes.

If we go purely based on what God says in His Word, we are extremely precious (Matthew 6:25-34, Luke 12:6-7) because we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:13-16)  in His image (Genesis 1:27) for a beautiful purpose (Ephesians 2:10, Jeremiah 29:11) and dearly loved by Him (Romans 5:8, Romans 8:32, John 3:16).

We can stand in the mirror all day and recite self affirmations, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!” Doing this every day when you wake up in the morning and before you go to bed might even give you a strong sense of being loved, but this is not the way to truly experience the fullness of God’s love.

Yes, I do love myself, maybe even so much that one might say it borders on pride. (The negative kind.) My pride was brought down a peg or two when my good friend Jamie helped me to realize that I had been listening to the devil’s lies again. See, the devil likes to attack us where we are strong. I happen to have a lot of self confidence so the devil decided to twist this and use it against me.

After a series of dates with men who are not my spiritual equal I was beginning to feel a little puffed up. (I guess I felt like it was better than feeling chronically frustrated and disappointed.) I mean, it’s hard not have your ego stroked when a guy tells you, “You are an amazing person… I consider myself Christian and live Christian values but obviously I’m not at the same level you are with your devotion.” This has happened to me countless times that it’s starting to become a theme. I’m truly grateful that they notice this and tell me right away because I’m not really good with that whole thing… it sounds pretty judgemental to say “we’re not on the same level” doesn’t it?

One day I woke up and just started feeling sorry for myself. I heard the devil say, “You’re so unique, you’re not ever going to find anyone who is compatible with you. You’re a freak anomaly… even if you did find someone as weird and quirky as you, what are the chances you’d be like-minded? I sat on the pity pot all day and thought about why I’m alone and why I’ll probably always be alone.

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Then my best friend posted this on her Facebook wall and it gave me a swift kick in the pants. I realized my “woe is me” attitude problem was a serious pride problem, too.

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The Bible says no one really hates their own body but nourishes and cherishes it (Ephesians 5:29). We are deeply sensitive to our own needs and feelings and constantly aware of how other people affect us. The reason we are so easily hurt is because we want to be accepted and treated with respect and admiration. If we didn’t care about ourselves then we wouldn’t care if people rejected, neglected, and abused us. No, we do not need to love ourselves… that is an innate, natural thing to do. What we really need to do is DENY OURSELVES. 

Jesus said that “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24). He also said if you are unwilling to do this then you are not worthy of Him (Matthew 10:28).

Our problem is not that we have poor self-image… it’s that we have a poor image of who God is. Our need is not to love ourselves more but to accept His incredible love for us. We need to give up any idea of what we think we’re here on Earth to do and submit to His plan for our lives. When we abide in His love then we stop focusing on ourselves and instead we begin to shower His love on others instinctively.

I believe it is our pride and selfishness that keeps us from having an intimate relationship with God. Jesus said these chilling words in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father who is in Heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and cast out demons in Your name, and do many mighty works in Your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness.'” 

I say these things because I feel compelled to. I know I won’t be Miss Popular for saying this but the Christian life is not easy. Many people choose the highway to Hell but the gateway to life is very narrow and only a few ever find it (Matthew 7:14).

“As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died.” (Galatians 6:14)

My prayer for you all who have stuck it out and are still reading this blog entry (thank you, btw) is that you would know how truly, madly, deeply loved you are. Only with the correct view of God’s love will you ever begin to even scratch the surface in understanding how precious you are. I pray you will know that you are worthy of great love and that you wouldn’t be afraid to open your heart to receive it. No one is really afraid of love… people are afraid of rejection, betrayal, and abandonment. But in Christ there is only complete acceptance and faithfulness. I pray you would have confidence in God’s love. He will never let you down and He will never leave you. There is no want to those who trust Him and those who seek Him will lack no good thing. Taste and see that the LORD is good! (Psalm 34:8-10) Not only is He good, but He is ready to forgive and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon Him. (Psalm 86:5)

“But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know Me and understand that I am the LORD who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I, the LORD, have spoken!” (Jeremiah 9:24)

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The Prince

After four dates over the course of a month with a gentleman I will refer only to as The Prince, we ended our relationship last night. As heartbreaking as it was, I kind of expected it. Not because there was anything wrong with him (he was the best guy I’ve dated thus far) and not because I didn’t think I deserved him (I know I am worthy of such a man.) It was because we weren’t compatible.

“If you and I got married, it would be a good marriage… but it wouldn’t be a GREAT marriage.” -The Prince

I asked him why not and he said because I was very “sensuous” and that there wasn’t anything wrong with that but that he simply wasn’t and he didn’t feel that we fit together because of it.

True. In fact, I was concerned before we even went on a single date that this would happen just by looking at the answers to his questions on his online dating profile. However, I decided to be open to the possibility of him despite his shortcomings because he was a drop in the ocean… a one-of-a-kind gentleman that is extremely hard to find, maybe even less than 1% of the population. Someone I was beginning to lose hope still existed in the world… a unicorn if you will.

Sometimes the heart needs more time to accept what the mind already knows.

He self-proclaimed through his answers on the dating site that he didn’t care for art, music, poetry, cologne, fashion, or physical touch… which is pretty much everything I live for, especially the latter. I was worried it was doomed from the start seeing as how I am the type of person who always has music playing throughout the day and I’m often found singing or dancing to it. I have a collection of over 300 fragrances and I’m always burning candles or scented oils to keep my home smelling comforting and inviting. My book shelf has a solid section dedicated to poetry and I have several books filled with my own poetry.

“You need to be more picky…” -The Prince

That’s the third time I’ve heard a man say that to me in just six months.

Why are men in my town so darn picky? They want so much… they want their “ideal.” I don’t even think it exists. I’m being reasonable and logical. I know that the man in my head is a figment of my imagination. I know he probably isn’t out there but I know I can get pretty darn close and The Prince was as close as you could possibly get, minus the fact that he’s not touchy-feely. I just don’t think I’d be competely happy in a marriage with someone who didn’t scoop me up all the time and tackle me with kisses.  So he was probably right in letting me go, as sad as I am to say it outloud. I wish I weren’t so needy. I wish I didn’t have such high expectations. I wish the man for me wasn’t such a polar bear in a snow storm.

There were men in the past who were literally perfect but who struggled with porn addiction and that’s something on my non-negotiable checklist. The good news is that I’m getting warmer. The men in my life keep getting better and better, The Prince being the cream of the crop.

What I learned in this relationship is PATIENCE. He was definitely slow to warm up and it taught me complete reliance on God. Rest in Him and wait on Him while trusting in Him. I wanted things to move on my own timetable but I had to keep relaxing and being patient. I also learned the way I am supposed to be treated. I don’t think I’ve ever received such treatment from a man before. I was treated like a queen… never once did he make me feel uncomfortable. He intentionally pursued me, taking his time with me and was polite and kind and gentle and spoke God’s truth in love to me.

After this experience, I’m disappointed but not disenchanted. My heart is weary and wants to take a break but I know that I have to get myself back out there otherwise I’m never going to find my needle in a haystack.

What do you want to be true about your life a year from now, and what seeds do you need to be planting today in order to make that a reality?

I know that I want a man like The Prince… someone who is wise, hardworking, and intelligent. Someone who has hidden the Word of God in his heart, has a deep respect for His commandments and honors the Lord with his choices. I simply did not know there were still single men out there like this! The seeds I can be planting right now to harvest a better future are reading my Bible and praying for my future husband every day, and using the gifts and talents God gave me for His purpose. I need not squander my time but I still need to allow myself quiet rest with the Lord so He can reveal to me His calling.

Also, I need to stop being so hard on myself. I didn’t do anything wrong in my relationship with The Prince… he just wasn’t the one God has for me.

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Why Dating Sucks (But I Still Do It)

Dating SUCKS. I just want to skip this horribly awkward phase and go straight to being a wifey. Shucks deluxe, I was MADE to be a wife and I miss being a wife and I want to be a wife… no, I NEED to be a wife more than anything in the world. I hate almost everything about dating but it’s kind of a necessary evil if I ever want to get married again someday… unless my parents arrange a marriage for me. (Come on, Mom and Dad, I’m serious!)

Here are eight reasons why dating freaking sucks:

  1. Getting rejected SUCKS. It’s probably the worst thing in life EVER. Unfortunately, rejection is kind of a package deal when it comes to dating.

    Some people don’t really know what they’re looking for… but I’ve always known exactly what I want and when the intangible dream becomes embodied before me (which is once in a rare blue moon) it’s really hard to keep calm and carry on like a sane person. Before I am even consciously aware of what is happening, I am idealizing the object of my affection and it becomes this massive infatuation that permeates my being. If not dealt with immediately, it could quickly escalate out of hand. So I perform the only cure for this love sickness: I “pull a Ruth” and inform the crush of my deep admiration.

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    Except this crush is not my Boaz and I am not redeemed from the curse of unrequited love.

    It sucks that he never gave you the chance to rock his world. It sucks that you wanted to make him happy so bad.  It sucks that he told you “I’m not really picky when it comes to women” but he still rejected you anyway and now you feel like a complete failure of a human being. It sucks when he says “I love you… as a friend.”

    It just sucks. There’s absolutely nothing I hate more than rejection.141d5668c1abda56

    2. Finding someone compatible SUCKS. The older you get, the smaller your pool of eligibles becomes as everyone pairs off with each other. For followers of Christ, your pool is even smaller because even though 75% of the U.S. calls themselves “Christians,” most Americans  don’t take their faith seriously and, according to The Federalist, 75% of those who claim they DO take it seriously lack basic theological knowledge like the fact that Jesus Christ is Lord and the ONLY way to receive salvation. Religious homogamy is something I absolutely cannot renege. According to this OK Cupid survey of online dating users, only five percent of people are willing to wait for marriage before they have sex so you can imagine how many times I’ve been dismissed by otherwise perfectly eligible bachelors. Husband hunting is literally a full-time job and Heavens to Betsy, it’s exhausting.sex_marriage

3. Dating sites SUCK. (Okay, let’s be fair, I met some wonderful gentlemen on dating sites but I still haven’t met MY gentleman.) Why are people on dating sites in the first place? Like me, they probably have trouble meeting the right person in real life. This could be for any number of reasons. I, for one, have absolutely no trouble meeting people in real life. Heck, my mailman gave me his number the other day. A guy from salsa dancing asked me out the other day, too. It’s not hard to find men whom I’m intellectually compatible with and with whom I have mutual physical chemistry… but it’s ridiculously hard to find someone with both of those aspects present AND who shares my beliefs, values, and unique vision. looking-for-love-alderaan-places-1
Enter technology. Technology is a beautiful thing because it opens up many more possibilities by bringing people together who otherwise might never have met.
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But online dating is just WEIRD in general. For example, on OK Cupid, you can see all of someone’s beliefs and personal sexual preferences before you even say one single word to them. I will literally get hundreds of “likes” a day and I have to sort through so many messages of guys who have very low compatibility percentages with me (even though my profile clearly states not to message me unless you have a desire to follow Christ.) Chalk it up to sheer exasperation with the scarcity of like-minded individuals on the site, but the other day I responded to a conversation with a handsome Christian man by asking him straight up why he claims to be serious about his faith but only wants to wait 3-5 dates before he has sex. (Probably the absolute worst way to start a conversation with someone in the history of online dating) but I got a date out of it anyway and we’re already talking about a second date so I must have done something right. Online dating is just awkward and thank God this young man had the kindness to forgive me for my social blunder but *CRINGE.* It’s just so unnatural to know so much about a person’s lifestyle before you exchange polite conversation and it makes it so easy to judge people before you even know them.
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If you’ve been on dating sites for any length of time, dating evolves into something more like tsa agents profiling passengers for suspicious behavior. Even scrolling Facebook sometimes can make you feel like a K-9 sniffing for drugs and explosives. Dating was never meant to be stalkerish but this is what the Information Age has yielded.

4. Getting your hopes up SUCKS.
Oh the emotions! The highs and lows of dating can feel like you’re on a roller coaster of drama.

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Does he like me as much as I like him? Why is he taking so long to text me back? Is this going to last forever or am I going to get crushed again? Is this guy everything I think he is or is he another fake? It’s not like these guys come with a warning label. One must invest time to learn someone’s heart and by the time you’ve discovered red flags you’ve already caught the feelings and it’s too late.
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5. Commitmentphobes SUCK! So this one kind of piggybacks on getting rejected, but it deserves it’s own spot in the lineup:

Everything can be going hunky dory in the relationship and then suddenly, one day for seemingly no reason, he gets cold feet and runs away saying, “It’s not you, it’s me,” or my personal favorite, “You’re too good for me, you deserve someone better.” *Rolls Eyes* If I have to hear that stupid line one more time…

My dear reader: you deserve to be loved wholeheartedly and enthusiastically, unrestrained by hesitations, doubts, and fears which impede the growth of the relationship. Intimacy is a deep, biological need and withholding commitment is a deprivation of love. You can’t give your heart as freely as you would like if you don’t feel it’s in safe hands. The lack of commitment creates stress and insecurity and affects not only the duration of a relationship but the quality as well. The stress reduces the likelihood of there ever being commitment and then it becomes a vicious cycle of widespread aversion to commitment which has become an epidemic in our culture. Watch out for commitmentphobes!  They fear cutting off other options, changing their mind later, or being tied down. Don’t believe the lie that you can be the one to change them because you can’t. Just don’t get involved with them at all and you will keep your heart intact.

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Signs to look out for:

  • They ardently pursue because they love the chase but don’t want the kill
  • They are extra charming, romantic and affectionate in the beginning but can’t seem to keep up the pace as the relationship progresses
  • They cancel plans or make excuses about why they can’t spend time with you

6. Mind games SUCK! You can’t tell if he’s playing hard to get or if he’s just not that interested. You can’t tell if he’s trying not to look too eager or if he’s legit afraid of intimacy. It has even crossed your mind that maybe he enjoys all the attention you’re pouring into him and it strokes his ego so he keeps you around but he has no intentions of ever elevating the relationship to the next level.

7. Breaking up SUCKS! When you realize a person just isn’t for you, it’s hard to break things off without hurting their feelings. Honesty is always the best policy rather than beating it around the bush and leading people on. It’s still not fun and no one likes doing it. 

8. Having to get back out there SUCKS! Well, it didn’t work out, so now you have to try again. It’s all very tiring. Since getting married seems to be the main goal I’m focusing on right now it has taken over my prayer life. My prayers lately seem to be saturated with pleading. I’m like Jacob wrestling with God, demanding Him to bless me and not letting go until He does. This desire to be desirable has almost become my driving force instead of a desire to conform to Christ, which should be my top priority. The failure to attain this goal has taken a toll on my self-worth and I catch myself wondering what the heck is wrong with me. Instead of focusing all my energy on developing qualities that I believe are the most attractive to the opposite sex, I need to die to myself and let Christ live through me. If I’m not careful, marriage (which is a beautiful thing and a gift from God) can become an idol, if it isn’t already in my life. Reminder to self: My identity is in Christ alone and not anyone else. Being lonely is part of being human in this sinful world because of the separation from God’s intended Eden. Even Jesus Christ was “despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” (Isaiah 53:3). I will pull up my proverbial bootstraps and get my butt back out there because it’s not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18) and I know that eventually God is going to bless me beyond measure, I just have to be patient. Whenever I get frustrated that THIS FREAKING SUCKS, I will remind myself that this is temporary.

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in the world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” ~C.S. Lewis