Vulnerability

From where I sat tonight, I enjoyed clouds, cooler weather, and a day when I’ve felt more me than I have in days – maybe weeks.

Summer heat gets me down, y’all.

So, here I sit on this cooler day finally enjoying myself – reading & writing, tending to my soul & spirit…contemplating many things, including relationships.

See, that date has become something…so, it means letting someone in…

I am so, so used to single life. In single life, I’m only responsible and accountable to me (to an extent).

I mean, it is my desire to bring my husband good all the days of my life (Proverbs 31:12) – but I’ve already failed, I’m sure. So, I try moving forward – that whoever he is will truly find good when he finds me as his wife (Proverbs 18:22).

But, I digress…

In single life, you don’t have to let anyone in.
You don’t have to be vulnerable and wonder if they can/want to handle it.
There’s always fear in vulnerability.

If you move forward with someone – there’s risk. You let someone into your pain, your mess, your darkness, your weakness, your faults – along with your joy, your celebration, your gifts, your passion.

Entering a relationship requires trust.

For me, a big area of vulnerability is this blog. My heart shared, post after post; and, there are questions that go with that:

  • What if “he” finds it?
  • What if he doesn’t like what he reads?
  • What if it scares him?
  • What if he doesn’t understand the struggle, the doubt, the darkness…?
  • What if I find myself to be too much or not enough?

Honestly, though, this openness & willingness to risk vulnerability is essential to any relationship – whether two weeks old or fifty years old (not that you should spill all day one, there are levels to this…)

We cannot connect with others without it – and, yes, at some point it will lead to conflict, disappointment, and misunderstanding. It’s what you do together to overcome that which will make the difference.

Just as you hope he/she will be that for you, this gives you a beautiful opportunity for you to be open & accepting of him/her in their darkness, weakness, struggle.

In doing this for one another, you find the beauty to overcoming this fear – you find a partner, a war buddy.

And, you discover someone who loves your heart: weakness, faults, and all. You discover someone you love: weakness, faults, and all.

So, do we fear vulnerability? Of course we do.

But, overcoming that fear leads to something we are all hoping to find in this life – and it leads to the kind of relationship & love that glorifies, honors, reveals, & represents God and His love for us.


I listen to a lot of [Christian] Hip-hop, and recently, there is a song that has worked it’s way into my heart. It comes along these lines so well. It deals with this kind of openness and vulnerability, from the perspective of the one being supportive and accepting, and loving. I want to share it with you, as it may be an encouragement to others, too (KB – Lights Go Out (ft. Blanca & Justin Ebach) – Reach Records):

Oh, should…

Let me tell you about what I hope to have in my life one day:

A wonderful relationship led by God, where He is the center. A man I can support who also supports me (then again, you already know this, don’t you).

Someone strong in his faith, and whose life is built around the things of God.

A good sense of humor, encouragement, and friendship.

I want us to travel and explore. I want us to fall in love and love unconditionally. I want us to have a family and an intimate friendship.

I hope for someone who finds me beautiful, and who lets me know he sees me that way. Especially on the days I don’t see it in myself, I know those days will come.

I desire that we could learn each others’ love languages, and, we’d learn to speak them well.

I pray for a man who is willing to take the lead, but who also understands I have ideas and opinions. I want someone I can submit to because I know he is fully submitted to God. I pray for wisdom, peace, and patience (in both of us).

I hope for a gentleman, and I look forward to the little things: having him open doors for me, maybe buy me flowers or my favorite candy; getting to know each others’ favorites; quiet nights at home; days out adventuring. I look forward to the exciting and the monotonous…

I want all of the above…but to get there, I have to wade through the “shoulds”…

Recently, I went on a date. While getting ready, the following conversation transpired:

Me: “I don’t know where my make up is.”
Sister: “Me either”
Me: “Maybe I just won’t wear makeup…”
Sister: “That would be rude.”
Me:”Why?”
Sister: “Because, he deserves to have you look like you tried.”

Look like I tried…I had showered, fixed my hair, and I was in a dress (a rarity in my world – the dress part).

But, I got to thinking about the “shoulds” and the expectations we have as a society about relationships. Everything from how we should look on the first date to when we should kiss someone for the first time.

It also got me thinking about what we “owe” the people we date:

  • Timeliness – your date is taking time to spend with you. We should respect that.
  • Respect – on that note, your date deserves respect
  • Being put together – clean, neat. This doesn’t mean you have to be made up or in the fanciest clothes
  • A thank you – especially if they paid.

Now, what do we not owe them, especially early on?

  • Perfection – No one is perfect.
  • Physical affection – even if he/she pays. You do not owe them anything in the area of physical affection.

But, we as a society put out all these “shoulds” – you should look perfect, be perfectly made up, wearing the best clothing out there. You should kiss by date “x”, other physical affection by month “x” (or in Christian circles, be careful of when you kiss, no other physical affection until the ring is on). You should play hard to get, make the guy come to you. It’s the 21st century, go get your guy…
Often, advice is conflicting, and sometimes, goes even so far as to encourage you to hide yourself at first – “keep in the crazy”.

Honestly, though, if I am ever going to be blessed with the relationship mentioned above, I can be nothing but myself: honest, loyal, who.I.am.

And, in case you’re wondering, I did end up putting on my make-up. Not because I felt it would be rude to him, but because I wanted to.

 


This is a part of this week’s Five Minute Friday…always one of my favorite ways to jump-start the blog again.

What are some “shoulds” that you have come up with in your own dating/relationship experience?

“The List”

Finally participating in 5 Minute Friday again. The rules are: write for 5 minutes. No over-thinking; no over-editing. This week’s prompt is:

Middle

Ready? GO

“Oh, he’s married, so he’s off the table”, I joked at a restaurant with some friends.

“Man, you just make it so hard to set you up”, a friend joked back.

“No, no. Single. Loves Jesus. That’s not hard, right?” I responded.

After thinking for a moment, we both said, “yeah, yeah it is”, and then laughed.

The truth is, maybe I’m looking for a little more than just “Single & Loves Jesus”, though that’s pretty much where to start.

But, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a list.
But that list is somewhere in the middle of 2 & a million traits (closer to 2 than a million, you’ll be happy to know).

Over the years, I’ve come to realize that people have to be realistic about what they’re looking for.

Our desired traits have to be a middle ground between “Breathing” & “Prince Charming”; our relationship expectations a middle ground between “hell on earth” & “perfect fairy tale”.

So, what’s on my list? I’ll share the gist:

image

You know, the important things. Beyond this, I have complete faith my Abba knows what I need/the relationship I’ve been praying for.


Did you have a “list”? If so, did your significant other match or exceed (or not quite)? Any encouragement as I continue to be patient in the waiting? Can’t wait to hear from you.

“I knew about you, but…”

My most traumatic life experience has nothing to do with the abuse I’ve lived through, the amount of death that I have been surrounded by, or near death experiences I’ve had.
My most traumatic experience came in the form of a church play…

When I was younger (like, little kid young), my church did a show a couple of times called “Heaven’s Gates, and Hell’s Flames”.

When I was about 7, we did the play and my mom played a young mom who dies with her baby & faces judgement after having lived a “good” life, but not really committed to the gospel. My little sister played the baby.
Let me set a scene for you that has haunted me to this day.
One of my biggest fears, and actually quite a bit more traumatic for me than I ever realized:

A young woman and her baby are killed. She stands before the judgement seat & begins to think over her life. She knows of God & His Son, she has been a good person, but she’s never really sold out to Christ. Never been dedicated to the relationship or expansion of the Kingdom. Her name is not in the book of life. But, her baby has yet to be marred by the world & unable to make any decisions for herself.

So, the woman’s baby is taken from her to heaven; Then she cries, as she realizes where she’s going, and as she is dragged off to eternal damnation, she screams “I knew about you, but I never really knew you!”

– Reality Outreach Ministries, Inc.

This was my mom, and to this day, there are certain times when I still picture my baby sister being removed from her hands, her being dragged away, & her blood curdling scream comes into my head: I knew about you, but I never really knew you.

Just like the Pastor in the Left Behind movie who screams at God, “I stood right there!” pointing at the pulpit. Lamenting on how he had spoken the word of God each week but it hadn’t penetrated his heart.

Since I was 7 years old (there is a reason they recommend offering a place for kids 9 and under during the performance) and watched my sister be taken from my mom’s arms & my mom dragged away to the pit of hell – this has been one of my biggest fears.
For myself, for my family.

That we would know about Him, but not really know Him.

We know all the lingo, the words to the songs, we raise our hands in Worship.
But, it’s not enough…

Our hearts have to be filled with faith & our lives filled with action (James 1:14-26).
Lip service, pious tweets, & pretty Instagram pictures aren’t enough.

And, just like the young mom in the play; just like the pastor in Left Behind; God’s word says some people will look like they have it all together, like they are on their way to Heaven, but they will be turned away:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons  and perform miracles?’  Then I will say to them, ‘I never knew you. Away from me you evildoers!'”

– Matthew 7:21-22

One of the biggest criticisms I’ve found online for this play (which still tours), is that it scares people into repentance; and it’s not true repentance. Along with this scare tactic people have complained about comes a lot of people who balk at a doctrine of hell, and eternal separation from God, calling it “unbiblical”
…Unfortunately they are wrong.

It’s clear from this passage, and others, that though God’s will is that none should perish (2 Peter 3:9; John 3:16-17; Ezekiel 33:11), some still will due to His loving design of free-will (Ezekiel 18:21-32; John 3:18; Romans 6:23; Revelation 20-21; 2 Thes 1:9).

So, I’ve been terrified at different points of my life…
how do I really know I’m saved…

Lucky for me, His word outlines that, as well:

  • I am saved if I: confess Jesus as Lord; believe in my heart that He has been raised up by God. Justified by belief in my heart & professed of faith with my mouth – Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:9-10,13) (Acts 2:21; Joel 2:32)
  • If I am saved, my life will look different, and it will be evidenced by my love for others (1 John 4:7-21); it will be evidenced by the fruit of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-24)

It’s about the heart. The changes made, dying to myself each day & following him (Luke 9:23, Matt 16:24, Mark 8:34).

I know I can’t actually see into the hearts of those around me, but I can be sure of my own salvation. I can be pretty sure of the salvation of those in my life based on the above evidence.

And, I can recognize the tool of the devil to try to confuse & scare me, as he is prone to do (1 Peter 5:8).
When I hear that scream in my head & I get worried or confused, I can come back with the Word of God knowing that fear and confusion isn’t of Him (2 Tim 1:7).

I have faith on the other side of that fear that instead of me crying out “I knew of you, but never knew you”; Instead, my name will be in the book & I will hear “Well done, good and faithful one”.


Let me know what you think, below. Let me know how I can pray for you 🙂

“Does he love Jesus?”

Always my first question when:

  1. A Christian friend says she met someone.
  2. Someone offers to set me up (which is basically never)

What surprises me is when even fellow Christians tell me that I place too much emphasis on this, or expect too much in this area.

Really?!

2 Corinthians 6:14 tells me not to be yoked to an unbeliever. Actually, even someone not on the same level as me. What’s more? This passage is actually about avoiding idolatry. How quickly what we choose to link to can become idolatry – leading us away from God’s purpose.

I know based on human nature, I’m at risk for putting my “him” above God. So, I definitely need a “him” who is completely committed to the Kingdom of Heaven, who will steer me back in that direction.

I believe life is best lived for Christ. So, I can’t have someone who doesn’t understand that part of my life – the biggest part of my life.

To hear other believers tell me I’m expecting “too much” or have too much emphasis on this, it’s disheartening. It saddens me greatly to know that they feel that there are so few of us, and that it’s too great of an expectation in todays world.

Because, I really feel we can all expect it, and should celebrate it when we find it.

A partner who is passionate about the Will of God is a beautiful thing. And, being equally yoked is the only way to really make it work. Otherwise, it becomes a huge hurdle for everyone involved.

Do I have to have someone who likes country music, reading, and rainy weather? Probably not. These qualities would be a bonus, but not a necessity for a happy life.

Do I have to have a man dedicated to Christ? ABSOLUTELY. Because, it’s the biggest part of my life. Faith & ministry; I can’t not share those things.

You see, I’d rather serve God alone and single, than try to serve God alone in a relationship.

Do I want to be a wife and a mom? Yes. With the depths of my heart I do.

But, I trust that my Abba knows this. So, I trust He is helping me become the best wife & mom I can be one day –
To one of His sons, a like-minded man who is equally prepared & prayed up (maybe even more so).

The question: “does he/she love Jesus?” should never be an obsolete question when discussing relationships – it should be the most important.

So, does he love Jesus? 
If the answer is no, or maybe, or I don’t know, then, move along. I’m not the one.
If the answer is yes; then, may God guide you rightly.


Do you think it is expecting too much to expect someone dedicated to Christ? Let me know your thoughts below. 

If you, like me, are waiting for a God-loving man or woman, let me know below. I will add you to my prayer list & we can encourage one another. And, as we wait, enjoy this post just for my future “him” 🙂