At first glance, reading the title of my post today might seem depressing, dramatic, and even down right dumb. Everyone needs love in their life right? Absolutely! That is the point. Some days I am so consumed with it that I forget to love on those around me. Okay, maybe that was a little dramatic. But I do find myself obsessing over the boy I just passed or the fairy tale wedding that just never seems to come, especially with the laundry list of weddings I am involved in over the course of the next 6 months. Daily, I battle the thoughts of patience, persistence, contentment, loneliness, happiness... etc I have been raised with an incredible support system of family and friends that remind me consistently that God is just waiting to give me something great. Yes, I understand that and to a degree I believe it. To a degree. There is the problem. I believe it with my heart, but when I begin to think about it, I decide that God is just waiting on me to make the move - to open up opportunities.
Like the God of the Universe NEEDS ME to do something.
As I write that sentence it is like daggers in my heart. Since when has Sunday School and church taught me that God needs me? Since when do I doubt God and not have complete faith in His timing and His will? I mean a girl's favorite verse is Psalm 37:4 right? Delight yourself in the Will of the Lord and He will give you the Desires of your heart. Pretty sure my desires are straight forward... Love, Husband, Baby (in that order). However, God seems to be taking His sweet precious time - and I am "fed" up with it.
After having this way of thinking for a little bit (it's been like years - don't judge), I began to really believe that I had a part to play in orchestrating my love story. I'll give you 3 guesses on what comes next. If you guessed eHarmony, Match.com, and of course gotta throw God in there - ChristianMingle. You guessed correctly. I did them. Because in some facet of the imagination I thought I could control my love story.
Flash forward to present day.
I've said it before, but moving to South Carolina has both challenged and strengthened my walk with Jesus. I mean the whole dependence thing and happiness thing, not to mention the big L (loneliness) have been affected in such a positive way. I think the best thing for me is the little Jesus Calling desk calendar that my mom sent me back in August. It is a constant reminder that God is bigger then any issue I have. At the beginning of November I started going to a LifeGroup and inadvertently these girls began to challenge me and so I wanted to do something to challenge myself spiritually, kind of like lent, but during the winter - oh of course advent... what was I thinking - God already created it. So during the time of Thanksgiving and Christmas I wanted to give something up. However, my selfishness got in the way and so those 30 days instead of giving up something, I wrestled with the idea of giving something up - until it was too late.
The thought I wanted to give up was LOVE. Who gives up love during one of the loveliest seasons of the year? Yah, this girl. There was no way I could do this - in fact, I had no idea what this would even look like. I said yes one moment and said heck no! the next. The girls in my lifegroup were all for it and very encouraging and then I would go home and say there is no way that I can give this up. Really? I can't give something worldly up? What does that sound like? The definition of an IDOL. Then it hit me, I had made marriage, love, boys - an idol. So what is the easiest way to change? Stop thinking about it - stop associating yourself with it - it is a complete and total retraining of the mind.
I came across several books (mainly because my life group leader Ty gave them to me), but I read a little of them and decided that they would help me in my challenge. They are Abbie Smith's Celibate Sex, Packer's Knowing God, and Piper's Desiring God. I am really enjoying my first two - Celibate Sex and Desiring God.
I know exactly what you are thinking: a book called Celibate Sex? Isn't that an oxymoron? You can't be celibate and have sex.... The book (the first several chapters anyway) are about loneliness, singleness, contentment. All of those words I described above are discussed in this book and so far it is a really encouraging and eye-opening book. Several books I have read in the past include Dating While Waiting, I kissed Dating Goodbye, Captivated, When God Writes Your Love Story. And if you asked me what those books taught me they are all the same: "Don't be lonely or sad while you are single - be in love with God, He is your real prince charming. God has a man for you - just wait." While that mantra is correct and I wholeheartedly believe that. I don't need someone to tell me that, I want someone raw, someone telling me that singleness sucks and that God understands singleness and wants to hear about it. Abbie does that in this book. She allows me to journal about my feelings - however selfish they might be, because that's apart of the process - understanding that the place I am at right now in life is the place God wants me to be.
I have told several of you about the first chapter, which was encouraging even today, a week later. The chapter was entitled Fig Leaves. Abbie asks you to journal about the "fig leaves" in your life. What are the masks that you put on or that you tell yourself why you aren't dating or married. They can be a number of things - I had 11. She goes on to write that these fig leaves are inhibiting your ability to see that God is in control of those things and He wouldn't have made you that way if He didn't want you to be that way. What a thought. I am outgoing, loud, vivacious, curvy, happy, and sometimes inapproachable because GOD MADE ME THAT WAY and GOD WANTS ME THAT WAY. I hadn't thought about it that way.
I have begun approaching life in a totally different way. The first week has been hard. But it has been worth it. I am not necessarily giving up on love, but maybe more in my dependence on love. Love is a great thing, but with anything too much of a great thing can be dangerously idyllic - that is the part that I am changing. My hopes in journaling with you, is not only to maintain accountability, but that you would be encouraged by the stuff I am going through and maybe even use my story to help someone else. My story doesn't do anything if it just sits here floating in the web space, but if you share it, you are allowing God to work through it and with it in someone else's life.
Here are some BASIC guidelines for my challenge:
-No chick flicks
-No romantic comedies
-No TV Shows that include love (only shoot-em-ups :))
-No Match.com/ChristianMingle (not like I would - but occasionally I get on there)
An update on the rest of my challenges:
1. I am still losing weight and on track to that wedding (however, I broke down and bought the next size up as well - so I have a little bit of lee way).
2. It has been a solid week since I have had sweets of any kind. If it weren't for coffee and my Nature Valley Granola Bars I would be toast right now.
3. This whole 6 months without boys is hard... I am constantly relying on the Lord to take thoughts out of my mind - however, I have not watched a chick-flick, not checked match or ChristianMingle
4. My first guitar lesson was last night, I can officially play Happy Birthday! (Check in tomorrow for a video)