A man who is a follower of Christ.
A man who will encourage me to keep pursuing God.
A man who shows compassion for others.
A man who is comfortable praying with me.
A man who cares about social justice and “the least of these.”
A man who loves children.
A man who has control of his temper.
A man who is faithful and reliable.
A man who is forgiving and able to admit when he’s wrong.
A man who has a positive outlook on life.
I’m doing my best to be the kind of woman who deserves this man.
To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us– and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a gift of grace.
If you’re happy in your head, then solitude is blessed, & alone is okay.
This is the longest I’ve been single in 6 years and sometimes it’s lonely. At times, I worry that I’m missing out, or passing up too many people, or that I’ll end up alone forever. I can’t compare myself to other people’s relationships or even my past relationships anymore though… I’m on a different path.
My Previous Formula for Relationships:
1. Find the right person
2. Fall in love. Determine everything by how I feel.
3. Put all my hopes and dreams on that person
4. When it doesn’t work, assume I have the wrong person and start the process over with someone else.
My New Formula for Relationships:
1. Focus on becoming the right person
2. Walk in love and compassion for everyone.
3. Set my hopes and dreams on God, knowing that human relationships can’t fulfill me or make me whole. Only God can.
4. If that doesn’t work, start again at step 1– becoming the kind of woman God wants me to be. I know that He will make me into the perfect match for my future husband.
I’m clinging to hope and trying to keep my heart open to possibilities. I’m fighting the fear and doubt that try to take residence in the corner of my mind. Someday, I’ll give my heart to someone who wants the same things I do. Someday, I’ll know that all this waiting was worth it. Someday, I’ll get this right.
I’m learning to actively take a personal inventory of my heart. By that, I just mean that I’m intentional about setting aside time with God to figure out the areas of my life that need transformation.
I never used to do personal inventories because I was scared that I would find something. I realize how backwards that reasoning sounds, but I think we apply it to many areas of our lives. It’s like people who think they have a medical problem but avoid seeing a doctor because they’re scared of the results. Denial doesn’t make illness go away, it just prolongs the pain.
I think too many of us live this way. We realize a problem with our attitude or heart but, instead of taking it to God, we choose to ignore it. I spent years doing this. I recognized broken parts of my heart that put strain on my relationships, but I ignored it until I ran out of options. As traumatic as that was, it taught me a lot about myself and God.
God won’t expose you in front of others if you ask for help. Instead, He’ll draw you closer and teach you about true healing. I don’t think we realize how much we need Jesus until we look introspectively. 2 Corinthians 13:5 says, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?”
My pastor gave us this acronym as a guideline for personal inventory:
Posture: Put yourself in a position of being receptive.
Reflect: Ask God to show you the good, bad, & ugly parts of your day. (James 1:5)
Assess: What’s the next step?
Your response: Thank Him for your progress and ask Him for continued guidance.
Setting aside this time with God can be as simple as taking 5 minutes before you go to sleep every night to “check in” with Him. Some nights I don’t even know where to begin. If I’m feeling overwhelmed or disheartened, I say, God, I can’t change yesterday so I’m just going to worship you now. Then I close my eyes, go to sleep, and try to carry that worship into tomorrow.
Dear Everything I’ve Lost and then Found,
Losing you teaches me how to let go more gracefully. It forces me to accept that there are some things we’re not meant to hold onto. You remind me of the delicious spontaneity of life and that things are rarely lost forever.
I often find you again in unexpected places, like a pocket or a cluttered cabinet. Although many things are harder to get back than inanimate objects, you give me faith that life works out the way it should… and that, if I ever get lost, I’ll eventually be found too.
I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.
I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.
I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life.
I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.”
I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.
I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.
I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.
I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.
I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.
I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Dear 14 Year-Old Self,
Even when it feels like the world is shouting that you’re not good enough… You are. You always have been. You always will be.
You are beautiful. People around you will be obsessed with their appearance, but you shouldn’t let them get to you. Don’t compromise your self-worth to fit in. I promise, you won’t feel better by starving yourself. It may make you feel “in control” for a short amount of time… But then everything else will spin out of control. Eat well, exercise, and love yourself.
Always remember that the prettiest girls are not necessarily the thinnest ones, with the whitest teeth, and a closet full of vintage dresses. The prettiest girls are the ones who have only kind things to say about others, and themselves. Try to be of those girls. Some people will disagree with this description of beauty, but those aren’t the people you need to surround yourself with anyway.
People are more dangerous than your naïve heart can imagine. I don’t want you to live in fear, but you need to know how to protect yourself. If a boy ever physically or emotionally hurts you, that should be the last time he ever sees you. I don’t care how many times he says he loves you or promises not to hurt you again. He doesn’t and he will. If you stay, you’ll start a pattern of playing the victim. You were not meant to be the victim, darling. You need to be the heroine of your life.
Insist on your own happiness. Fight the temptation to give into depression. Disregard the pressure to compete with your peers. Ignore the voices in your mind that wonder if you’re loved. Don’t give in. Be stronger than everything that hinders your spirit. Be creative, seize opportunities, and pursue everything that inspires you. Paint. Read. Write. Swim. Express your soul.
Don’t worry if you’re not the girl all the boys like when you’re young. You’ll have plenty of time and opportunities for that later. Just enjoy the time you have now– time to be free, innocent and void of responsibilities. Someday, there will be a line of men who claim to adore you. You won’t accept all their offers, because you’re not desperate for love. Instead, you’ll ask these men to prove themselves through words and acts of genuine kindness and respect.
The older you get, the more you will realize that your life needs to be about giving more than you take. When you start feeling overwhelmed or insecure, pray about it. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and ask God to fill your mind with His love and compassion. Ask Him for a mind that thinks of others more than yourself. If you do this enough times, your fears and insecurities will be replaced with joy and peace.
You will not make it through life without scars, but it’s never too late to re-do parts of your past. You always have choices. You can choose to give and accept forgiveness. You can choose to make peace with your past. You can choose to silence cruel words with compassion. You can choose to stand up for what’s right. Even if you stand alone.
Walk in beauty and grace, today and always.