When We Feel Empty

It wasn’t even a full three days since I posted “Singleness is NOT a Punishment!” when my dear, sweet friend sent me this through Facebook message:

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If you have ever seen this or something like this, I want to just help erase any of the damage that it may have done to your heart.

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First of all, who else saw Xena the Warrior Princess when you first starting reading that? Ha! But I digress. Let’s respond to the letter from the anonymous internet person to the Princess Warrior. (Which is supposed to be a letter from God the Father to me, His beloved daughter.)

First of all, I look nothing like sexy Xena the Warrior Princess nor do I feel like her, even though I do know I am a daughter of the King and in His army.  Second of all, I would have to honestly say that, for the most part, I desire the approval of God alone. When I was young I sought the approval of my parents and my teachers and now that I’m an adult I seek the approval of my boss. There is a certain crush of mine who I highly admire and respect and from time to time I will find myself desiring his approval but it’s only because I hold him in such high regard. I don’t think validation should come from anywhere but from above as we are complete in Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:9-10) but I don’t think the desire to feel accepted and supported is wrong. In fact, that’s not only normal but God designed it that way. Allow me to explain:

The letter goes on to say, “I designed you to desire Me and Me alone.”

I challenge you to find a passage in the Bible that says that. You will be hard-pressed to find such a verse because I guarentee it is not there.

Have you ever been in a crowded room, yet felt completely isolated? It’s not a good feeling at all, is it? Loneliness has never been part of God’s plan for his children. After all, in the beginning when God created the Heavens, the earth, the water, trees, flowers, birds, fish, and animals, He looked over each day of creation and declared it to be good. However, upon creating man, God stopped and for the very first time declared something as “not good.” He said, “It is NOT GOOD that man should be alone.”

Adam had God by his side and yet God still said, “It is not good that man should be alone.” Not until after God created Eve did God say, “…and it was VERY good.” All this is to say that we need each other and to deny that is to deny God’s design. Yes, we were designed to desire God, but He also designed us to yearn for a helpmate in life. We are sexual beings and our bodies are naturally created with a longing to be intimate and to be fruitful and multiply. Is it a sin that we desire these things? NO!

Some Christians might tell you that desiring sex is a sin but that is not biblical. The distinction comes from the OBJECT of our desire. If our desires are fixating on something evil (i.e. adultery, fornication, etc) then the desire itself is evil (Matthew 5:28, Matthew 15:19, 1 Corinthians 6:18-20). If our desire fixates on something good (i.e. marriage, companionship) then the desire itself is good (Proverbs 5:18-19, Song of Solomon 2:5-7, Proverbs 18:22, Ephesians 5:28). Sexual desire is wholesome, honorable, and right when it is enjoyed within the boundaries of holy matrimony.

“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.” -Philippians 4:8

We have become a generation with a distorted view of marriage.  When we try to convince singles that we shouldn’t desire sexual intimacy or that longing for marriage is somehow unholy then we are giving Satan the credit for God’s beautiful design.

I have said it before and I’ll say it again: Psalm 37:4 is NOT an equation.

Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. -Psalm 37:4

If Psalm 37:4 were an equation, then I’m pretty sure I would have a husband and children by now. Don’t believe for one second that if you’re still waiting on the Lord for this blessing that you must not be doing something you’re supposed to be doing.  Though it certainly feels like a curse, singleness is very much a blessing.  I know that it hurts, especially when you’re lying awake at night in your empty bed with nothing but pillows to squeeze for comfort.

Now let’s take a look at another passage in the letter:

“When you choose to live for Me, you will never again be thirsty for attention…”

Is that really true? What kind of a message does that send to people who struggle with depression? With aching emptiness and longing? With grief and loss associated with divorce? Just because we’ve given our lives to Jesus and chosen to live for Him doesn’t mean that we don’t still struggle with the pain of an empty womb or the longing to share our lives with a companion by our side. Telling a woman that she’ll never thirst for attention if she chooses to live for God… Do you see how that could be detrimental to her spirit? “Oh, I am still thirsty for love and affection…” She thinks. “I must not be fully living for God.” 

In the wise words of one of my favorite authors Alyssa Joy Bethke: “God is good and everything that happens is for our good. Not necessarily for our happiness but for our holiness. God’s goal is to make us more like His son, and often that involves trials and pain. But those difficulties are opportunities to rely on our Savior, to run into His arms, to nestle ourselves in His embrace and to walk with Him.”

Emptiness is that feeling left over after you give something your absolute all and it still doesn’t turn out the way you worked so hard for it to. You’re exhausted of energy, depleated of hope, and disappointed that it didn’t work out. Perhaps you have some unfulfilled dreams or a place in your heart that aches because your beloved didn’t return your love. Perhaps, like me, you fought hard to save your marriage and did everything possible to redeem it but it still fell apart in your hands.

God’s Word offers some promises to combat the emptiness and find fulfillment in Christ.

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.” – Psalm 81:10

“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

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” – Romans 15:13

“I ask God from the wealth of His glory to give you power through His Spirit to be strong in your inner selves,  and I pray that Christ will make His home in your hearts through faith as you open the door and invite Him in.  I pray that you may have your roots and foundation in love, so that you, together with all God’s people, may have the power to understand how broad and long, how high and deep, is Christ’s love. Yes, may you come to know the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love—although it can never be fully known—and be so completely filled with the very nature of God.” -Ephesians 3:16-19

Just because we’ve completely given our lives to God doesn’t mean the longings He’s plsb10065339i-001aced there will completely go away. I believe they are from Him and they aren’t sinful. I mean, not all of us are called to be nuns!!! On the plane home from my sister’s wedding last weeekend I saw a nun. I immediately was drawn to her because of her calm, elegant beauty and of course the curiousity of what made her decide to live under the vows of poverty and chastity but especially the latter. Perhaps she doesn’t have those desires? I can’t imagine not having those desires. If she DOES have those desires then I applaud her for her strength and uncompromising commitment to purity.  She is SO KICK-BUTT! Wish I would have had the courage to ask her my questions. Again, I digress.

It’s healthy to recognize that sometimes the longings we feel aren’t for anything Earth can provide. Psalmist cries out to God, “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek You; I thirst for You, my whole being longs for You, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” (Psalm 63:1). Just like the Samaritan woman at the well who thirsted for Living Water, God put a longing in our heart that was intended to lead us back to Him. There is an emptiness that ONLY HE can fill. There is a deep thirst that ONLY HE can quench. If His love doesn’t fill you up, then nothing else will.

“Now let me ask you again, My beloved daughter: Whom do you seek?”

If you’re like me, you’re COMPLETELY honest with yourself and if your desires are the same as mine then you’re seeking a husband. The Bible says, But seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” -Matthew 6:33. It never says it’s wrong to seek a husband, but make sure God is first in your heart.

As for me, I’m allowing God to use this loneliness and emptiness to teach me what it means to depend upon His strength and love every day. I know that having a husband won’t satisfy the craving that only God can fill. When you allow yourself to be controlled by Christ’s love you have the indwelling of God’s presence and are closer to unity and maturity. I don’t think we can ever experience the whole measure of the perfection that is found in Christ (Ephesians 4:13) this side of Heaven, but I do believe we can experience joy and fullness here on Earth. I pray this for us both, dear reader, that we would be filled with His love and be content in our single season.

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)

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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Men Don’t Know What They Want

This is what I wrote in my journal on January 7th:

What does my future husband want in a woman?

He wants someone strong, independent, comfortable in her own skin, who knows what she wants. Madly in love with Jesus, excited about this gift called life and passionate about her goals and dreams. She loves people and loves to have fun, singing, dancing, and joking around with a laugh that reverberates off the walls. She is refreshingly honest and won’t sugar coat the truth. She has a fiesty, larger than life personality but she’s also a good listener, an encourager, a faithful lover, a hopeless romantic who would do ANYTHING for the one she loves.

For some, I’m a little too much woman to handle. I need to find a man who wants this woman and I need to stop falling for men who want someone else. I vow to be myself, not apologize for being myself or wish I were someone else because the man who is looking for ME will only find me when I’m not hiding who I truly am.

Right after I wrote the above encouragement to myself, I went to a birthday party that very night in which I saw a man who I met back in October and saw one other time previously at a Christmas party.

Even though we had only met twice before this, we already had several inside jokes and were very comfortable around each other.

For the sake of anonymity, we’ll just call him Heathcliff Dudley Worthington III, because that’s the most pretentious name I can dream up even though he’s not very pretentious at all; he’s warm, welcoming, and unassuming.

I hadn’t even been at the party for ten minutes when a girl there told me to, and I quote, “Calm down.” I could have just toned it down a notch or two but instead, I declared to the whole room that my New Year’s Resolution was to be fearless and to be myself and so I wasn’t going to let her or anyone else crush my energetic spirit. I was happy and having a good time, dang it, and no one was going to put a damper on my enjoyment. I read a quote somewhere once that said, “Don’t let someone dim your light simply because you’re shining in their eyes.”

After my little speech Heathcliff whispered in my ear, “I admire that. I think that’s good.” I instantly respected him.

We were heavily flirting into the night to the point where he swept me up off my feet in front of all my friends, carried me across the room, and tossed me on the couch. This sort of euphoric glee permeated my being and in that moment I decided I liked him and wanted to get to know him better. (Some people might call that sexual harassment and it probably would have easily classified as such for it was certainly unsolicited, though not undesirable.)

One of my friends put on a movie and I grabbed a spot on the couch as Heathcliff laid by my feet on the floor. He put his hand up very close to where I was sitting and instinctively, I just grabbed it and we held hands for the rest of the night. I got butterflies in my stomach and had to keep telling myself to “calm down,” which is ironic because that’s what my friend told me to do much earlier in the night but I didn’t listen.

Since he has lived and worked on almost every continent, studied abroad, and speaks multiple languages, Heathcliff is cultured, articulate, and has developed refined taste and style. He’s the kind of classy, dapper gentleman who wears well-tailored suits, snug-fitting shirts with the first few buttons un-done, and a sexy fedora hat. Here are just a few of the things I love about him: His sense of humor is slightly roguish in a harmlessly mischievous way, I love how he playfully teases me,  he makes his own facial moisturizer and shaving cream… and it smells like coconut, and he wears the softest, most luxurious underwear made of Turkish cotton (I promise I did not see said underwear; I was only told about it and it sounded delightful.) Also, he has the most drop dead gorgeous smile and succulent lips. Oh, did I mention he spoils me? We went grocery shopping together after church and he paid for my food at the checkout. I couldn’t believe it. I love that he’s upbeat, fun, affectionate, and ridiculously open and honest. He makes me feel so comfortable that I can tell him anything. He washes the dishes every time after I cook us dinner and he gives good massages. He challenges me intellectually, can combat me in a battle of wits, and tackles my psyche in a way few men have ever been able to. This evening, I heard a knock on my door and it was him… he came to my house because he was worried about me when I didn’t answer his calls or texts and he wanted to check on me and make sure I was okay. That was just about the sweetest thing ever. (BTW my phone was dead, charging, and I forgot to turn it on as I was totally absorbed in writing this.) I could probably keep going here with all the reasons he’s wonderful, but I digress.

The point of this whole story is that we had a conversation about where the relationship is going and it turns out it’s not going anywhere. As I’ve stated in previous blog entries, I’ve heard literally every excuse in the book as to why men passionately pursue me for about a week and then change their minds.

Me: “Why don’t you like me?”
Heathcliff: “I DO like you.”
Me: “I know that, but why don’t you want me?”
Heathcliff: “I DO want you.”
Me: “No, you want me SEXUALLY, but you haven’t taken the time to get to know my heart. I think you’re scared to get to know me because you’re scared of falling in love.”
He nodded. I had hit the nail on the head.

Men aren’t stupid. They take longer than women to decide if they want to commit but once they do, they are usually more faithful than women. If he’s in love, he will do anything to keep the woman he loves by his side and he won’t let her get away. Period.

You CAN’T GET to that level of love overnight though. Love, by definiton, takes work and it takes time because it requires deep knowledge of a person. I think it’s true for both men and women that we crave this intimacy but we think we’re going to feel it right away. No, that’s infatuation. True love can only happen after you’ve supported each other through trials, worked through disagreements, and bonded over time in shared activities and conversations.

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If you think you can make someone love you, you’re wrong. You could be the most beautiful, loving, intelligent, wonderful woman in the world but he still could be stuck in his head and not sure if you’re the right one. You know he’s not right for you if he makes you beg for attention, affection, or time. The right person is dying to spend time with you, won’t flake out on his promises and commitments, and will smother you in affection because he adores you.

Let’s say you have been on three dates with a man and you don’t know where it is going. If you DON’T ask him, you’ll potentially be wasting your time going nowhere with a philophobic but if you DO ask you might scare him away with talk of commitment so soon. So sometimes you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. But I believe it’s always best to err on the side of caution. Just be upfront because it’s better to be on the same page than wonder where you stand. No one wants to get their heart invested in something that’s not going anywhere.

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As a woman who wastes no time stating up front that marriage is my goal and I don’t date for funzies, men realize right away that I don’t mess around so they take their decision-making more seriously because they don’t want to lead me on or break my heart. Sometimes the selfish ones escape through the cracks because they love being around me and don’t want to stop seeing me but they aren’t interested in anything romantic long-term.

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You might be surprised how many men I’ve gone on a single date with who then discontinued their online dating account the very next day. When I texted them to find out why they replied, “You made me realize I’m not ready for a commitment yet.”(If you are reading this right now and find yourself to be such a man, please read this helpful article entitled: “10 Reasons Men Should Stop Avoiding Commitment.”)

In my personal experience, when men are faced with a beautiful woman who is wife material they realize one of three things fairly quickly:
A.) I’m not ready for a relationship right now, at least not a serious one
B.) This woman is AWESOME but she’s not the type I’m looking for
C.) This could be the woman of my dreams but I’m not sure what I’m looking for

I cannot stress this enough: You don’t need to change for a man. The right person will love you for exactly who you are.  Don’t allow yourself to be played. Be honest about what you want out of the relationship, set firm boundaries and adhere to them. Don’t let yourself get too attached to someone who’s just not that into you and don’t let yourself think you might be able to change his mind.

Here’s a little known secret about men: A lot of them have this fantasy woman in their mind that they hope to fall in love with one day. (This is very true of women, too, but for some reason I feel like men have way higher expectations that are pretty unrealistic in many cases.) Half the men I’ve met don’t know the qualities they’re supposed to be looking for. When I ask them what they’re hoping to find they assume they’ll know once they meet the “right woman” because they’ll get “feelings.”  Ugh. No, you need to figure out what you want BEFORE you meet because the right woman will walk right by you and you won’t even know because you weren’t aware of what you wanted.

Men don’t know what they want. You have to show them. Just keep being yourself!!!eaa3ed7d868e0294c6464974777d4c4e-1

The Craziest Thing I’ve Done for Love

 

After my date with Dream Guy I could not get him off my mind and I could not stop thinking “what if.” WHAT IF he was “the one?” What if we had more time to figure it out? I  might kick myself for the rest of my life if I didn’t find out.

The day after Christmas he asked me to be his date to a New Year’s Eve ball in San Francisco to celebrate 2016 and usher in 2017. How could I say “no” when he offered to pay for the whole trip, including the gas money to get there and back? So I said “yes” to the most romantic date in my life.

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First of all I must say it’s been a dream of mine to visit California since I was a little girl and I’ve only ever been to the LAX airport for a connecting flight which totally doesn’t count so this was a dream vacation of mine come true.

It took me nearly 14 hours to drive there but it was worth it when I got to hold him in my arms again and look into those bright, playful hazel eyes.

The first thing we did was wine tasting in Livermore Valley at Tenuta Vineyards. My favorite out of ten wines was a Syrah called “Black Mamba.”

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We took the Bart (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to San Fran and dropped our bags off at a gloriously posh hotel with funky, celebrity-designed suites called Hotel Triton. The decor was as unique and colorful as my personality.

 

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(For anyone concerned about what happened in said suite, don’t worry, he is a wholesome Christian gentleman with honorable biblical values. )

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The internet calls San Francisco’s #1 New Year’s Eve party the International Ball at the Palace Hotel,  which is ranked as one of the top luxury hotels in the world. It’s located in the heart of downtown with ten different world-renowned DJs playing top 40, hip hop, latin, dance, house, and techno music in separate opulently-decorated rooms. There were live performances by musical artists such as an electric violinist in the techno room and people in elaborate costumes walking around the dance floor on stilts. I grabbed a champagne and a screwdriver at the open bar and we danced for an hour and a half straight, people moving to make room for us and cheering us on as we tore up the dance floor.  I felt like no one in that whole room was having more fun than us. At the count down to midnight, thousands of balloons dropped from the soaring glass-domed ceiling as we shared our first kiss. Unless someone was getting engaged, no one in the whole world was having more fun than us at that moment.

He took my hand and guided me out of the room and next to a full-length mirror where we stood looking into each other’s eyes. He nodded his head toward our reflection.

“We look really great together, don’t we?” He asked, his eyes shining with excitement.

I looked at the two happy people in the mirror and I had to agree. “Yeah, we do.”

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“You’re my dream woman,” he said. I smiled. “I know it’s crazy because I live in Maryland but we could make it work. I swear it’s not the alcohol talking… but will you be my girlfriend?” I felt my eyebrows raise in surprise. I had imagined, of course, what my life might be like as his girlfriend, but I hadn’t spent much time considering it. I was mostly focused on just having a great time in San Francisco and I honestly didn’t think he’d ask me to be his girlfriend so soon in our brief relationship. We hadn’t yet spent a full 24 hours together at that point. There was so much I needed to know about him. For instance, in his Navy job, did he have deployments? How often were they and for what duration?  I’ve experienced the life of a Navy wife so I know just how hard it is. I searched his eyes trying to come up with a reply. The word “yes” dangled on the tip of my tongue but for some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to say it. I hate to admit it but the face of my Ultimate Crush uninvitedly flashed into my mind. Saying “yes” would be saying goodbye to the possibility of ever having a chance with him, even though he’s made it clear he only feels friendship toward me. I also thought about how hard it would be to have a long distance relationship because I’ve done that, too, and it’s not always fun. “You still haven’t said yes,” he said in a hushed tone, waiting expectantly for my answer. “I need to pray about it,” I said finally. “Can I have a night to pray and sleep on it?” He didn’t seem too pleased but he respected my decision.

The next morning, we had brunch at an upscale American restaurant called Bluestem Brasserie.

We toured San Francisco and saw the Full House from the TV show of the same name and got chocolate on Beach Street where you could see ships in the harbor and the Golden Gate Bridge not too far away.

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He would go on to tell me that my hesitation killed the spark for him. I didn’t say it then but the truth is that if a little hesitation can kill a spark then it wasn’t a very strong spark to begin with. I’m afraid that we’re just not right for one another despite being so perfect on paper. If he had been the right man for me I probably would have shouted a resounding “yes” at the top of my lungs, Navy or no Navy, distance or not. Later on I discovered a dealbreaker. It wasn’t astronomical, it was something he could work on, but it was still something I want taken care of BEFORE I enter a commited relationship.

“I’m sorry, I’m an impulsive person.” He apologized. “I shouldn’t have asked you to be my girlfriend. It wasn’t fair to you since you just met me.”

“Please don’t be sorry. You did what you thought was right in the moment. You were just following your heart.” He assured me that I was beautiful and wonderful and that he knew I would make someone an amazing wife someday but it wasn’t him. We embraced and went our separate ways.

Before I drove back to Tucson I visited my pen pal since I was twelve who only lives half an hour from San Francisco. American Girl Magazine hooked us up back in 1997 and the last time we saw each other was 2011 in New York City so it was a long time coming. We trash talked each other in an epic game of Scrabble over wine (in which I won by 9 points!) and it was such a great night.

Now I am sitting at home writing this with with a head cold. The whole weekend was spectacularly magical and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. It was the best New Year’s I’ve ever had with one of the most amazing men I’ve ever met who gave me a romantic night to remember for always. Someday I’ll tell my grandchildren that I drove all the way to California for a man I just met in the hopes that maybe I would find the love of my life.

Sometimes you have to follow your heart and sometimes it’s not meant to be, but I can’t let disappointments keep me from playing the Game of Love.

To sweeten up this bittersweet ending, Corvette Guy is setting up a blind date for me and his roommate in whom he claims is “perfect” for me so I am looking forward to that but first I have to get rid of this cold and feel better.

“Don’t be deceived by merely the flutter of a heart. Love is a commitment that will be tested in the most vulnerable areas of spirituality, a commitment that will force you to make some very difficult choices. It is a commitment that demands that you deal with your lust, your greed, your pride, your power, your desire to control, your temper, your patience, and every area of temptation that the Bible clearly talks about. It demands the quality of commitment that Jesus demonstrates in His relationship to us.”

–Ravi Zacharias

Episode III in Dating Adventures & an Epiphany

Me: I am a spirited, fun-loving, outgoing, bubbly, affectionate, fiesty personality.

But I am also a deeply introspective individual who loves to have passionately intense spiritual, philosophical,  and intellectual conversations.

I am perceptive and intuitive of intentions and attitudes but also very accepting and nonjudgmental. People who build walls to protect themselves from getting hurt feel intimidated by me because I won’t let them hide behind their defense mechanism.

I’m very self-aware and I know exactly what I want. For some, I’m just too much woman to handle.

Because of this, I’ve learned to temper myself. It feels inauthentic to hold myself back, but as my Ultimate Crush of 2016 jokes, “Don’t go full Dannielle right away. You don’t want to scare him.”

I have heard every variation in the book of the classic “It’s not you, it’s me” line including: “You’re too good for me.” “You’re out of my league.” “You deserve someone better.” “I wish I were, but I could never be what you’re looking for.”

Most of these excuses reek of a self-depricating attitude and reflect a low evaluation of his own worth. I was exhausted from hearing these phrases but I had an epiphany a couple days ago after a super fun date with a quirky fireman who took me for a spin in his Daytona Sunrise Metallic Orange Corvette Z06.

When I asked him why he hadn’t called for a second date after he said he’d call, he was refreshingly straightforward when he replied,”Your personality is not what I’ve envisioned marrying.”

I think that’s the most honest reason I’ve ever heard. I also think it’s what all the others meant when they said I deserved better. They were just trying to be “nice” so as to not hurt my feelings. I really would rather they be as frank as Corvette Guy instead of spoonfeeding me insincere, sugary sweet nonsense.

Corvette guy said, “You’re an awesome person and our date was one of the best I’ve had in a while. But I also know I’m not what you’re looking for, either.” What a breath of fresh air to hear him tell me straight up that he knew what he wanted and it wasn’t me. I was so thankful to hear him say this because I knew I would be spared from being dragged into yet another relationship where the guy knew I wasn’t what he really wanted but strung me along anyway because he was too selfish to let me go.

I think I had been holding on to some secret chagrin with my Ultimate Crush of 2016. It bothered me that he said, “I can’t really put my finger on why exactly but I just feel in my gut that you’re not the one.” Funny, because I’ve always felt in my gut that he WAS. Every time I asked him “why not” he had a different reason and I called him out on it because I felt it was invalid.  I told him, “You better figure out what you want because if you don’t know then she’ll walk right past you and you won’t even recognize her.”

But after my encounter with Corvette Guy, I think I FINALLY understand and respect his reasoning.

Feelings are lighthouses in the ocean of our being. They cut through the fog of confusion and doubt, illuminating our needs, and lead us the way home.

Although feelings can be deceitful, sometimes they are all you have when evaluating a decision and you have to trust them.

“You need to be more picky” Corvette Guy said. “WHAT!?” I replied. “I’m already so picky as it is!” And he responded, “You need to be even more.”

This comment made me think of a gentleman I dated in October. He had an uncanny resemblance to Wolverine and that’s precisely the name I put him in my phone contacts as. On our date he gave two sandwiches to a homeless couple and shared the gospel with them. I was blown away by this and couldn’t believe what a man I had encountered. He was just as into theatre as I am and ended our date with an incredibly amazing massage and told me there was more where that came from. The date was LITERALLY PERFECT and I can’t say one single thing wrong with how it unfolded from start to finish. But there was something missing… I hope it doesn’t seem shallow but we didn’t connect the way I wanted to and it’s my guess that’s because he’s a sensing personality and I’m intuitive. I REALLY wanted to like him so bad because he’s handsome and charming and a driven go-getter and so many things on my list. Hanging out with him felt like catching up with an old friend from childhood. But I haven’t really thrown him out of the picture yet for whatever reason but I think I have to, as wonderful as he is.

I let what Corvette Guy said sink it and I discovered he is right. I really do need to be more picky. Even my Ultimate Crush wasn’t absolutely EVERYTHING on my list that I wanted. But he was so damn close and no one else I’d ever met in my entire life came that close.

All of this changed last night when I met someone we shall refer to from this point onward as Dream Guy.

I was COMPLETELY myself around Dream Guy from the moment I met him because I thought, “What have I got to lose?” And he not only accepted me, he was smitten with me just exactly as I am, and he even called me out on the date when I was feeling self-conscious and not being my true self. I told him today that the best gift he gave me last night was the permission to feel safe in my own skin. When someone gives you room to relax and be yourself, you don’t believe you have to shrink so others won’t feel insecure. He made me feel that I was more than enough just the way I am and that made me feel invincible and irresistible.

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So it all started with a message on OK Cupid from a handsome Hispanic man playing a guitar in his profile pic. His interests were all the same as mine: poetry,  dancing, theatre, learning languages, specific movies we had in common, and even the fact that he wanted to do foster care. Here’s his message:

I’ve been reading your profile multiple times now and I just can’t believe how amazing you sound. You karaoke? Game nights? You’re writing a book? For teens? That’s incredible! I have a passion for mentoring teens myself. Salsa? I was literally born to salsa. And you’re in love with God, that’s the best thing of all.

So here’s the catch, I wasn’t going to message you at all, because I live and work in Maryland. I’m just visiting my sister in Tucson for a week or so. But I jumped on this app for whatever reason, saw your profile, and seriously thought I’d regret it if I didn’t at least try to see if it could work between us. Either way, it sounds like you’re doing great things and I hope you’ll continue to bless the people around you.

And also merry Christmas!

Get this… it turns out he was less than a minute’s walk away from me… his sister was my neighbor! So we got together for karaoke.

I was flipping through the music list to pick a song as a guy named “Coach” with a voice like Tony Bennet was singing an old-school love song when I felt a warm hand gently slip into my own and confidently guide me out onto the floor. Before I could process what was happening, we were swing dancing together. It was the most perfect moment… just like a scene out of a romance film. I have been asked to dance so many times in my life I cannot count them but I’ve never been led out to dance like he knew it was exactly what I was unaware I even wanted.

“When you sang Crazy by Patsy Cline, I was blown away. Actually, every song you sang was absolutely beautiful,” He said. I knew he meant it because he’s a musician in a band and has a a gorgeous voice himself.

We talked a lot about Jesus and danced in the parking lot some more. Then we went back to my apartment and played a card game my sister gave me for Christmas called Oregon Trail. We both got cholera and then I traded all my supplies including my extra oxen to buy medicine for him so he wouldn’t die of typhoid. The very next turn our oxen died and since we didn’t have any extra we were stranded along the trail and died. We laughed until our sides hurt and we didn’t want the night to end so we got cozy and watched Bruce Almighty. His flight was leaving the next day so he had to leave and get some rest. I squeezed him and said, “NO! I finally found you- I’m not letting you go!” And he replied, “What should we do? I can’t just ask you to move to Maryland after one date…” We were stuck. No one finds their soulmate after just one date, right? But we both had this sense that we were done looking. We exchanged phone numbers and decided to “See where the Lord would lead things.”

What happened last night was pure MAGIC. After a night like that I will never accept watered down, mediocre versions of the real thing. Why settle for luke warm when I could have FIRE!?

Whether this works out or not, meeting Dream Guy gave me valuable insight I will keep with me forever:

♥ Always love yourself and be yourself because if you don’t, you’ll always be chasing after people who don’t love you, either.

♥ Love that isn’t freely given isn’t worth having.

♥ Find someone who loves the same way you do.

♥ Don’t EVER settle for less than exactly what you want. It’s not selfish to ask God for what you want. Ask, believe, and receive.

♥ Who would you be if you weren’t afraid of what people would think? To be yourself and believe you are worthy is to be truly beautful.

♥ Someone giving you less doesn’t mean try harder. If they don’t love you for who you are, they aren’t for you.

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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