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)

Why I’m Still Single

Don’t you hate it when guys say, “You’re amazing, BUT…” Oh that dreaded word “but” you always know he’s going to tack on at the end of that sentence. It’s so frustrating, right? Because if I’m so amazing then why the heck am I still single?

Do you ever catch yourself thinking, “If only I were ____fill-in-the-blank___, then I wouldn’t be single?”

STOP IT.

There isn’t anything wrong with you.

The truth is, you could probably easily find someone right now to date… but you have high standards. You know the kind of person you’re looking for and you’re not going to settle. Don’t let the devil eat away at your self-esteem by making you believe you’re somehow “less than.” You know God desires someone for you who is your equal counterpart. Anyone who isn’t complementary is not appriopriate and is outside of His Divine will. (Genesis 2:18)

Relationships require a little bit of sacrifice and compromise but not so much that you no longer feel like the person God made you to be and certainly not any compromise that would build a wall between you and God.

If ever you start feeling discouraged about who, how, where, but mostly WHEN you’ll meet your future hubby or wifey, just remind yourself of these three things:

 

God is faithful. 

He has always been faithful in the past and He will be faithful to answer your prayers concerning a spouse.

For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. –Psalm 100:5

God is not finished with you.

God will never leave you for long without direction. He will comfort and renew you and guide you where He wants you to go. Stay faithful to the Lord even when you feel like settling. Trust that He’s working all things together for good. When you are running low on strength and it’s newborn baby season on your Facebook feed and you feel tempted to give up waiting, ask God for extra perseverance and for peace. I can’t promise that there is someone right around the corner for you but I can promise you that waiting for the right one is worth the wait and settling will only lead to heartache and regret. Keep obeying God for obedience’s sake out of love for God, not because obeying Him will result in blessings.

Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. –Hebrews 10:35-36

You’re a freaking unicorn.

That’s right, you heard me!

Because you’re made in the image of God, you have a beautiful purpose for your life, and you are dearly loved by the Creator of the Universe who sent His son to wash your sins clean and made you pure white as snow.

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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

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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