I am Finally Free!!

I have been reading ‘Sacred Singleness’, which you know if you have been following my blog at all lately (I finished it today, sadly…), and the author had been talking a lot about being joyful and finding fulfillment in this season of Singleness. I wanted to believe that that was possible, but to be honest, I had my doubts. I still dreamt about having a guy in my life right now. And I’m not at all saying that those moments will never come again…I believe that they will. The Devil seems to like to attack us where we are our weakest. But today, with the help of one of my best friends, I began to see just how…freeing it is to be Single right now! 

I mean, think about it…I’m only going to be 19 once. I’m only going to be in college once. I only have this time of my life ONCE. So why am I wishing it away? Because chances are, I’m going to miss this time in my life…and if I am constantly wishing things were different, I will look back on this time and realize at all of the amazing opportunities that God has placed before me that I missed because I was so focused on ‘finding the One‘. I can’t live like that. Tonight, I realized that I am free.

I am free to travel and discover the beautiful creation that God has made (at least more than I would be if I was seriously dating someone or married). I am free to discover who I am and who I am meant to be. I am free to be a blessing to my friends and to be blessed by them. I am free to build amazing friendships with both guys and girls and make many memories with them. I am free to not look perfect all the time and worry about impressing someone. I am free to give God my whole heart, and to not be distracted by a guy or have to give God only part of my heart because ‘my guy’ has the other part. I am free to invest my time and energy in finding out God’s calling for my life and why God has made me, instead of investing my time and energy in an earthly romantic relationship! Some things have happened recently that has made me realize just how fortunate I actually am to be Single. Sure, Singleness has it’s ‘downs’, but so does being a girlfriend, fiancé, or wife. 

And I know that I will not always feel like I do right now…because I have come to realize that, often, when God asks you to let go of something, it is a daily thing. He doesn’t ask us to pick up our cross and follow Him once. He asks us to pick up our cross and follow Him every single day. Sure, we get tired…we get distracted, but I think that God understands that. That’s when he works through our weakness, He comes along side us and encourages us to stand up. When we hold our hands out in front of us, palm up and open, willing to give Him everything, then He will start to move and work in ways that we could not even imagine! He doesn’t expect us to do this alone. And I am so amazed that God has given me such amazing friends to help me through this journey, because there is no way that I could do this alone!

I know that I am not through this struggle yet, and sometimes everything might come crashing back more intensely than ever…but I know without a shadow of a doubt, that I am finally free!! (: 

{A broken heart & a calling}

I have still not finished ‘Sacred Singleness’ yet. I only have about a chapter left (actually a little less), and I’m not sure what was stopping me from reading it, except for the fact that I don’t want to finish it! Haha. But I guess if I finish it, then I can go find another good book to read! But anyway, I finally picked it up and read a little bit tonight, though I didn’t get far. This last chapter is a lot about how to practically help Orphans. I broke down as I read about the Orphans. I literally sat there and cried. She was talking about how children were being sold into sex slavery at extremely young ages-some at only 5-years-old. FIVE! That’s when I started to lose it, but it just continued.

She then told a story of a girl who had been forced into sex slavery when she was 13, and she was required to sleep with 15 men a day, and she was beaten or shocked with electricity whenever she tried to refuse.

Several days ago (I don’t remember when, exactly) I remember asking God to break my heart for what breaks His. Well, it turns out that’s a dangerous thing to do. Because He just did. I think James 1:27 is pretty clear:

      Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit

orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Orphans breaks His heart. They have no one to love them or care for them. In America we are so sheltered to the harsh reality of what is going on in the rest of the world. But even here, there are Orphans. We call them Foster children, or something like that. But they are Orphans. In ‘sacred Singleness’, she told of a woman who asked God how she could use her photography skills to minister to orphans in some way. Obviously, that drew me in very quickly. That’s something I think I would love to do!

…you have been the helper of the fatherless. -Psalm 10:14

Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. -Psalm 68:5

Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. -Psalm 82:3

I’d say that God cares about Orphans. I firmly believe that this breaks His heart. No one should be forced into anything like that, yet men are forcing young girls into slavery. I’m not sure what to do about all of this right now, but I promise you that I will be praying about what I can do about it. I am praying that God will show me where I am supposed to go and when. I don’t know at all what it will look like, but maybe this is at least part of the calling that I was talking about earlier…the calling that I didn’t know what too. Maybe this is what He has called me to do, or a part of it anyway.

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall Isend, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here amSend me.” -Isaiah 6:8

I don’t know where He will lead. But I am willing. He has broken my heart for what breaks His. Now I say: “Here I am, Lord! Send me!”

{Finding Worth & Beauty}

In high school, she tried so hard to fit in. Sure, she didn’t really go to any drastic measures, and she often pretended that she didn’t care…but she knew that she wasn’t exactly popular (though she wasn’t an outcast or anything like that, either!) Everyone told her that she was too quiet. They wanted her to be someone she was not. She tried to fit into the mold for a while. But she soon found that it was exhausting and totally not worth it. It didn’t work, either. So that didn’t last for long, so she had to learn to settle for who she really was, even if people didn’t like her for who she was.

She went to college, and her outlook on life, in many ways, changed. She has now started to see herself a little differently and she has begun the long journey in discovering just who she is and where to find her identity. She knows the ‘right‘ answer… she has grown up in church and she knows that she is supposed to find her identity in Christ. She knows that but she also knows that that truth hasn’t become real in her life, yet. She doesn’t quite believe it for herself yet, though she seems to be heading in that direction. 

That girl has had to learn to embrace who she really is. That girl is me.

I know that I have been blogging a lot about Singleness lately, because that is the season that I am in and that is what I am going through right now…and I think this post connects with the previous ones (even though I didn’t get the idea from this from ‘Sacred Singleness’). As I said above, I have had to embrace who God made me to be, and my guess is is that I’m not alone in this. I think it is most important for a girl to be completely confident and comfortable in who she is before she dates someone. Maybe that is yet another reason why I am Single. I know that I’m not there yet, but that is what I am striving for! 

Girls/women, embrace who you are in CHRIST! The world does not define you. A boyfriend/husband does not define you. Your gifts and talents and passions and dreams do not define you. Your friends don’t define you. Your earthly possessions do not define you. Christ is the only one who should define you, Ladies! He knows you better than you know yourself. He made you-personally! He hand-picked every feature and personality quirk that you can’t stand. Maybe He sees those little things that you wish you could change as beautiful and unique to only You! You are beautiful, my friends! Believe it. You are unique, and that is a good thing!!! Don’t try to be just like everyone else, because that is not what God intended when he made us. If it was, He wouldn’t go to so much trouble to make us all so different! Don’t lower yourself and stoop down to who the world wants you to be, because who God wants you to be is so much better! (: 

I do want to point out, friends, that time is of the essence. There is no time to waste, so don’t complicate your lives unnecessarily. Keep it simple—in marriage, grief, joy, whatever. Even in ordinary things—your daily routines of shopping, and so on. Deal as sparingly as possible with the things the world thrusts on you. This world as you see it is on its way out. -1 Corinthians 7:29-31 (MSG)

By the way, if you’re struggling with Singleness, read the rest of 1 Corinthians 7 (I love what the Message version says)! 😀

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{Day Six} Idols

If you have been following along for my latest blog entries, you have probably figured out that I have been reading through “sacred Singleness” by Leslie Ludy. If you have been reading my blog entries instead of simply passing over them, my guess is you are a Single woman who has been feeling a lot of the same things that I have. If you’re not, you’re obviously still welcome to read my random thoughts and my response to Leslie Ludy’s book. But if you are a Single Young Woman with a heart for God, I welcome you to join in on my adventure in seeking God’s best for our lives. Not settling for good or better, but striving for the absolute best!

Isn’t it funny how we can have good desires, even desires that seem (and may actually be) desires that line up with God’s desires? But when we take those desires too far, they can actually become idols! Leslie Ludy defines what Idolatry really is:

     “Anything that captures our heart, time, focus, and affection above Jesus Christ is an idol in our life.” I think that it is easy for us to think of Idols as stone statues that people bow down too, because that is what the idols often were in the Bible, but not all the time. We can so easily focus all of our attention on ‘finding the right guy’ so that we obsess over it, and then it actually does become an idol in our lives.

As I’ve said before, the desire for a guy isn’t wrong and is actually natural and a gift from God. It’s our response to those desires that make a difference.

I admit that I have made guys (specific guys and guys in general) idols in my life. Even after letting go of my desire to have a guy right now, that doesn’t mean that I will completely give up my desire for a guy or to be married someday. But, it does mean that I will put those desires in the right perspective. I have said this in previous entries, I am sure, but it’s still true. If God wants me to have a guy right now, I would have one. Obviously it’s not supposed to happen right now. Maybe it is supposed to happen to some of my friends right now, though. That is what seems to be most difficult for me a lot of the time…when my close friends all start dating, and I’m left “alone” (a.k.a. Single) my self-pity starts shouting at me. But just because it seems to be God’s plan for my friends at this time, that doesn’t mean that it’s time for me!

Anyway, God’s got it all figured out and I am quite glad that I don’t have too! It’s WAY too complicated and confusing for me to figure out by myself! Right now, since it’s obvious that it is God’s plan for me to be in a season of Singleness (or several of them), I need to start focusing my attention most of all on Christ and what He has in store for me and how I can further His Kingdom here on earth. Also, I need to remember that the Christian guys in my life are simply my friends and brothers in Christ because that is always a blessing! Where are my Single Ladies? Who’s with me? Lay down those Idols in front of the cross and simply walk away. Because remember, if God wants Him to be in your life, He’ll direct the guy’s life to cross yours and it’ll happen in a beautiful love story expertly crafted by the most amazing author ever known. 

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{Day Five} Pursuing or Being Pursued

I always said that I would never pursue a guy. That’s the guy’s job. The guy is supposed to take the responsibility and pursue the girl. I whole-heartedly agreed with that and I thought that I would never do the pursuing. Well, life moves a little faster than I realize sometimes. Sometimes I feel like it gets a little blurry because it’s moving too fast, before I can slow things down a little to get a clear look. I didn’t let him do all of the pursuing. It started out that way. But somehow, I moved away from that because I wanted to see him or hang out with him so badly.

As I was reading through ‘Sacred Singleness’ again, the author pointed something out that I hadn’t ever really thought through completely before. The guys that are worth waiting for, aren’t necessarily the easiest to see or find (my words) because they aren’t pursuing just any girl. Sure, they may have had past girlfriends before…everyone makes mistakes (I would prefer that my future guy has never dated anyone before, but I’m not sure if that’s realistic or not…)… but she says,

     “Rather, they can be found on their knees in private prayer and worship of their King, fighting for the cause of the least and the outcast around the world, or pouring out their life to build the kingdom of God.”

How true is that?! Things like that (above) are so attractive…and those things are also what I should be engaging in now as a Single woman, searching for God’s heart and will for me. Obviously my motivation for doing those things should not be to find a great, Christian guy. That would be great if it was an added bonus, but if not, there will still be no regrets. When I look back on my life as I get older, I don’t want to be looking back and constantly regretting my decisions. I want to look back and smile and say that I used my talents to the best of my ability for God’s glory!

But anyway, to all my Single Ladies: DON’T PURSUE ANY POTENTIAL GUYS! That is definitely something that I have learned. I thought I knew it, and I thought that I would stick to that. But I guess I didn’t know it as well as I thought I did, and I didn’t stick to it L But it’s really not worth it. It’s not God’s plan for the woman to do the pursuing. Trust me, if it’s God’s plan, it will happen! We don’t need to ‘help God’ in the area of finding a guy for us! (She also talks about that in her book). He’s doing a pretty good job of controlling everything without our help, so I’m pretty sure he can handle this too. It is SUCH a temptation for me, and I’m sure for you too, to pursue a guy that we find attractive (and like he’s a good guy, too) when we look around and see no guy pursuing us. I KNOW. If you’ve felt this, you are so not alone. I’ve been there; I’m there. But don’t do it! Everything will work out so much better if we simply hand the pen over to God to write our love story…if we give it all to Him. We shouldn’t try to keep a small piece of it to write our own beginning, middle, or ending. It won’t work properly. The guys are supposed to do the pursuing.

So, until some Godly guy pursues me someday, I’m going to try to get busy and focus on Christ and what I can do to further His Kingdom…I refuse to simply sit around and wait for a guy to come. That doesn’t mean that I’m ‘giving up hope’, or whatever. But I won’t just sit on my hands and do nothing until some guy finds me. That’s not God’s best. And it is definitely not God’s best for me to pursue any guy! Thoughts/stories, Ladies?

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{Day Four} Amazing Grace

Christians mean well. But seriously…why does life have to be so cookie-cutter perfect? You go through high school, go to college, meet the “perfect guy”, graduate from college and get married right after that. And then there’s the added expectation that I’m supposed to be a stay at home wife and Mother. But what if that’s not my only ambition in life? That’s too much pressure! Sure, I pray that I am in a wife and mother someday. But I also want to do something else…I don’t want the only reason that I go to college to meet a guy and then never use what I “learned” in college.

We, as Christians, shouldn’t uphold the same attitude as everyone else. If someone’s single, we pray for them to “find” someone and tell them to keep looking-instead of telling me to give it to God and wait on His timing. If a woman is married, we expect them to immediately start a family and forget a career path to stay at home. If a girl has never been in a relationship by the time she is in college, she is left feeling like she’s weird and not valuable or loveable or beautiful. Christians make each other feel that way almost as often as non-believers do. What if I don’t want to conform and ‘be like everybody else’? Does that make me weird? What if that’s not God’s plan for me? It is so easy for us to try to be ‘just like everyone else’, especially in junior high and high school. But, s my brother put it, “Who the heck wants to be ‘normal’ anyway?” What’s the fun in that? Where’s the adventure? I want to be able to travel-for fun as well as on missions trips (I am dying to go on a mission trip!) Maybe God’s plan is for me to be single for a while so that I can do those things. I have no idea. But I am actually getting exciting about all of the possibilities! Sure, I’m gonna have times of heartache, loneliness and perhaps jealousy, but I already feel those things so it’s nothing new! But I am seriously excited to see what exciting adventures God has in store for me. It won’t all be smooth sailing, but it’ll all be worth it in the end. Sometimes I will think that I know part of His plan only to have a door shut in my face. I just need to remember to not keep trying that door. I might fall down, as I feel the ‘wind’ of the door slamming closed. I might try to stand up by myself-only to stumble again. And then God will finally get through my thick skull and remind me that all I need to do is hold my arms out towards Him and He will pick me up. We all make mistakes. I’ve made them (as I’ve often said), and I will continue to make them! But that’s why God’s grace is so amazing!

I still do not know exactly where God is going to take me… there are still many, many unknowns. But I am not as terrified as I am now. Although I am slow, I think I am finally starting to learn to give that up to God-so maybe there is hope for me after all!

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{Day Three} A Heart Fully His

Insecurity. Yeah, you probably guessed that topic would probably come up. So often I find that I don’t realize I am feeling a certain way (or at least I don’t call it by the right name) until later, when I look back on a portion of my life and realize what I really was feeling or how I was acting. Insecurity has been a big part of my life, unfortunately, I think. Not having a boyfriend can definitely contribute to feeling insecure for many girls/women. It can lead to many questions like ‘since no guys have been interested in me (or they haven’t stayed long) does that mean that I’m not good enough? Maybe I’m not pretty enough, or smart, or fun, or [fill in the blank] enough.’ 

I think we single girls easily fall into the trap of thinking that if we find “The One”, we will immediately be happy and we will find fulfillment and security. Again, I think we’ve been looking in the wrong place for ultimate fulfillment and even romance. Leslie Ludy puts it this way:

“Jesus Christ is the One who ultimately satisfies the deepest needs and desires of my heart. Jesus Christ is the One I lean upon for fulfillment, strength, and security.”

How I long to be able to say with complete sincerity that I am leaning on Jesus Christ, instead of always looking for another special guy to fill this empty place in my heart…because that guy won’t be able to fill that place anyway. This reminds me of the song, “The more I seek you” by Kari Jobe. I love that song and recently played the piano and sang it for church. This is the lyrics for the chorus:

I wanna sit at your feet
Drink from the cup in your hand.
Lay back against you and breath, feel your heart beat
This love is so deep, it’s more than I can stand.
I melt in your peace, it’s overwhelming

Also in “Sacred Singleness”, the author goes on to tell a story of a single woman in her twenties who said, “I’m so thankful that God hasn’t brought my husband along yet. It’s because I’ve been on my own that I’ve really learned to really make Jesus Christ my first love, my all in all. Now I know how to lean upon Jesus Christ for everything- comfort, strength, security, peace, and joy.” I think I agree with her. Apparently I’m more stubborn than the women whose relationships have worked out so easily. God needed to test me. He wanted to draw me closer to Himself. I think it worked, though I know that I still have such a long way to go!

Also in the book, she mentions a little about the opportunity of the ‘single season’ (my words). I haven’t really thought much about that in the past, I’m afraid. It’s all been about me. And a guy who I hope will find me soon. I haven’t stopped to think much about why I’m single. Well, obviously I’m single because that’s God’s best for me right now. It may not always be that way…or it might. Either way, I have to get to the place where I’m okay with that. I’m not there yet (I’m just being honest!). Maybe I am way more effective for God single. Maybe (and very likely) I am not ready for a serious earthly relationship yet. Perhaps He wants me to draw closer and closer to Him without the distraction of an earthly romance. Attitude is everything, my friends. My parents used to say that to me all the time (about…well, about everything), but I didn’t believe it for the longest time. Well, needless to say, they were right (again). A person’s attitude makes SUCH a huge difference. God wants our hearts, Ladies. He wants a heart that is so radical and on fire for Him and His mission, that we will give up our hopes and desires for an earthly relationship (any kind of earthly relationship) to follow His plan for our lives without hesitation. I’m not gonna lie…I am not in that place yet, but that’s where I’m aiming to go…with God’s strength ALL things are possible

Until we [silence the selfish demands of our whims and emotions and become consumed with Him alone], we aren’t truly ready for an earthly romance. And often God will hold off bringing our future husband into our life until our heart is fully His.” -Leslie Ludy “Sacred Singleness” 

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” 
― Dr. Seuss

I like Dr. Seuss’ quote. There is a time to cry or be sad or whatever. I’ve done that (I mean, who hasn’t?!)…but I think it’s about time to stop crying because it’s over, to smile because it happened (There were good parts…), and to just move on already! 😉 

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