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.

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Beware of the Little Foxes

Men are getting bolder these days but have less tact than they used to. (In my experience anyway.) Allow me to share some actual quotes from men to me the past couple weeks:

“Is it wrong that I want to grab your booty?”

“You are very attractive and I wish I could give you my heart and love the hell out of you. I want to be intimate with your mind and make love to you.”

“You have a nice booty though. A classy little booty. I am taking you out on a date. We would be making out like no other getting the windows steamy like in high school.”

“That dress makes you look like you got back.” (I got so mad I yelled at him, “If you love my butt so much, why don’t you marry it!?”)

If you are reading this right now and happened to make one of the above comments, I forgive you. Truly I do. It’s in the past and I’m moving on from this… but at the time when you said it, it made me feel like a piece of meat. Please consider thinking before you speak. If you wouldn’t say it to your sister or your mom, you probably shouldn’t say it to your friend.

All of these were spoken or written by men I consider friends. I have known since childhood that “friend” is such a strong word. “A friend loves at all times,” (Proverbs 17:17) was my favorite verse and I even had it on matching bracelets with my best friend. Recently I’ve been reminded that I need to stop throwing that word “friend” around so much with people. A true friend honors, respects, and loves you… he doesn’t make you feel like you’re just a piece of meat.

Why do men treat us like this? It’s probably because we’ve let them. We don’t call them out. We continue to let them make comments like this. Don’t get me wrong, I like when men are forward. (Saves me so much time trying to figure out if they are interested or not.) But I don’t appreciate it when a man who only considers me a friend and has no intentions of pursuing long-term romance says something sexual to me. I don’t appreciate it when I’ve already told a man I’m not interested but he doesn’t cease to pursue me. PLEASE, for the love of all things good, keep your comments about my body and what you want to do to me to yourself… unless you’re my husband. In that case, by all means, talk dirty to me!

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I’ve been thinking about what I allow in my life. My vineyards are blooming with tender grapes but I’ve let the little foxes in. I’ve put myself in positions where men exploited the situation for their own benefit because I was lonely and misplaced my trust. I put my foot down! I want genuine love.  From this day forward, I am going to call men out when they make comments like this every single time. Why yes, I DO want to make out until the windows go foggy and I DO want a man to squeeze my butt. But I don’t want a shadow of the real thing… I want to be cherished and treasured and adored until death do us part.

The realization hit me that I was beginning to lose faith that I would ever find this person to love me completely and wholeheartedly. Well, just look at how the men in my life treat me!

Perhaps someone you love betrayed you. Someone you trusted abandoned you or was unfaithful to you. Someone you believed would protect you hurt you. Someone you considered a friend made you feel objectified. As life drifts by and we encounter heartbreak after heartbreak, we begin to lose faith that love of any kind is real.

When people let me down I just remember that God’s love will never fail me. We have to mentally separate our experience with people from our idea of God. God is NOT human. We can’t let our relationship with God be tainted or distorted by comparing it with friendships or relationships with people who have let us down, disappointed us, and rejected us. God doesn’t lie. He never breaks a promise. And He doesn’t ever leave us. He is holy and perfect. He is loyal and true. He is always good and always kind. His love is unmeasurable and incomparible to any love we’ve ever known on Earth.

Set God apart in your heart because He is not like any other. Humans fail. We just do. That’s our inevitable nature. But God loves us so extravagantly and eternally and He will never break our heart.

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