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Set High Standards

Disclaimer This was not written in the recent past. 

My mind has been on relationships a lot lately, particularly Christian relationships.  For a multitude of reasons.  And when I say relationships, I’m particularly talking about romantic relationships.

SetHigherStandards

If someone you are romantically interested in cannot put effort into prioritizing your relationship, they are not worth your time.

Please, hear me when I say that. I beg you.

You probably know what they are doing daily if you’re dating or “talking” to someone and if they can’t manage to talk to you on the phone on a semi regular basis or put the effort in to see you, why are you with them?  No one has so very little time that they cannot pick up the phone for 5 minutes to talk to someone that they like.  Moreso, if they want to be “with you,” they’re going to want to be with you hanging out.

If you know for a fact that they have plenty of time but are making it seem like they’re incredibly busy, stop talking to them (romantically). Stop giving them the time of day, because you are worth so much more than that and someone, someday will value you and put effort into a relationship with you.  Just because they refuse to do so right now doesn’t mean that you must settle for that kind of behavior.

Nope.  You can gracefully tell them that you deserve to be a priority and you can still be friends with that person if you’re both civil human beings.  But that doesn’t mean you should accept that in a romantic relationship.  Got it? Good. Because I feel like a broken record right now.

It’s perfectly okay to have high standards, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Gosh, I can’t even say how many times I’ve heard “You expect too damn much.” No, I don’t.  I don’t date for fun.  So I’m not looking for someone to just hang out with when I think about dating.  I’m considering whether they’d actually be someone I could see myself with.  Yeah, I know that’s a lot.  It’s a hell of a lot. But that’s living with intention.

It doesn’t mean we’re gonna get married.  It means we have similar values, interests, and most importantly, beliefs.  It means we can both be ourselves around each other. And preferably he’s not a giant stick in the mud.

High standards are a good thing.  Especially in Christian relationships.  You should be holding one another to high standards, especially once you are already dating.  Before you are dating, you should be looking for character traits that are indicative of strong character and a desire to honor and glorify God in everything.

You have to know that you are worth so much more than to not be valued.  So I’ll leave you with this — for a Christian relationship to succeed and flourish, Jesus must be your first focus.  Jesus must be the person you would like to date or are dating’s first focus. You can’t be one another’s primary focus.

“Only God gives inward peace, and I depend on Him. God alone is the mighty rock that keeps me safe, and he is the fortress where I feel secure”  (Psalm 62:5-6 CEV).

You cannot get your peace from another human being or anything else in this world.  I promise you that.  Peace only comes from Jesus.

 

 

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Know Who You Belong To

KnowWhoYouBelongTo

As I was thinking about this, I was thinking it would be mainly for single Christian girls.  But no matter what stage of life you’re in or if you’re a guy, I think we all need this reminder – and often.  Or maybe it’s just me.  

“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price.  So you must honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NLT). 

While this passage is discussing avoiding sexual sin – scratch that, fleeing from it – in order to honor God with our bodies, there is a deeper message behind Paul’s words here.  Our bodies and our lives are not our own.  God literally purchased us at a price – the death of Jesus on the cross.  God created us to be first in relationship with Him.  And in order to restore that relationship, He allowed His Son to be sacrificed on the cross for the sins of all humanity.     

The past few months have been a rollercoaster of emotions for me.  And in the process of that, I managed to be incredibly angry with God, question what God was doing in my life, and where He was in the midst of my struggle.  But through all of that, the main thing that I realized was that I am a child of the King of Kings.  And that is all that matters in the end.   

I know that no matter what I’m going through or how bad of a day I have, my God allowed His one and only Son to die a horrific death on the cross so that I could live a joy-filled life while I’m on earth and have life eternally with Him.  So I will continue to surrender this life to God, no matter how crazy y’all think I am in the process.  And I just want to encourage you to seriously consider where you find your worth, because if you find that worth anywhere but in Jesus, whatever that is will let you down at some point.  

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Yeah, I Wanna Get Married Young

Yeah, I do want to get married young.  And I’ll openly talk about that desire.  But if you dismiss that idea as stupid or never going to happen, I’ll probably shut down.  Why the heck do people think it’s okay to shut down other’s dreams?  Let me rephrase that …  Why would you want to diminish someone else’s desires?   

Yeah, I Wanna Get Married Young

Let’s frame this in the lens of Scripture, because, especially in this circumstance, it’s incredibly important.   

“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4 NIV).  

If you’re not first delighting in God’s presence this verse is not applicable.  Nor can you fake delighting in God’s presence.  I hate the phrase “fake it till you make it.”   It makes me cringe every time I hear it.  No, how about actually be honest about where you’re at and be joyful and content with where you’ve made it to.   Now, if you’re not in a good place spiritually, that’s a different conversation altogether. That was a little off topic, though.   

This verse is telling us that God does promise to give us the desires of our hearts if we delight in Him.  So when someone says that they have a desire to be married whether young, old, anywhere in between or any desire that is honoring to God, don’t shoot that down.   

I have had so many people say, “Yeah, well, life doesn’t turn out like you plan.”   And I kinda just nod my head.  Because I feel like if these people know me at all, they should know that I know that my life hasn’t turn out how I planned already.  However, I also am completely and one hundred percent aware of the fact that God has bigger and better plans for my life than I could ever imagine.  So when it comes to marriage, there is no exception.   

Look, I’m not saying that I’m going to be horrified and angry if I don’t get married young.  I’ll be content with it.  However, when that’s something I talk about, it’s because it’s a desire that I have.  It’s like a little kid saying they want a toy or a piece of candy.  Do you tell them they’re never going to get that toy or piece of candy?  Probably not.

That escalated quickly, but seriously, just use your words wisely.

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Dating Someone Who Doesn’t Love Jesus

Disclaimer: We’re gonna talk more about marriage than dating because the Bible doesn’t directly address dating but it talks an awful lot about marriage. Okay? Okay.

I’m gonna say this, plain and simple:

It’s not easy to find someone you like who is following Jesus whom you can potentially see yourself falling in love with.

Is it okay to date someone who doesn't love Jesus?

But don’t give up and decide it’s okay to date anyone regardless of their faith. We are very clearly told that we are not to be “unequally yoked with unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 6:14 NKJV). What’s that actually mean, though?

Let’s take a deeper look at this verse and see exactly what the Apostle Paul was talking about when he wrote this verse and, specifically, the words “unequally yoked.”

“A yoke is a wooden bar that joins two oxen to each other and to the burden they pull. An “unequally yoked” team has one stronger ox and one weaker, or one taller and one shorter. The weaker or shorter ox would walk more slowly than the taller, stronger one, causing the load to go around in circles. When oxen are unequally yoked, they cannot perform the task set before them. Instead of working together, they are at odds with one another.”[1]

Here’s the whole verse:

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14 NKJV).

Now picture that image that is discussing marriage between believer and unbeliever. You don’t get anything done. You only go ’round and ’round in circles when you try to make decisions because you’re on opposing ends of the spectrum when it comes to what you believe is important.

Let me give you a few examples:

  1. Say you meet someone in college and he’s the guy of your dreams (minus the following Jesus part). The two of you decide to get married right after graduation. You both get decent jobs as soon as you graduate (yay, you!) As soon as you get your first paychecks, you go to give 10% of both of your checks – or even just yours, to your church and he has an issue with that. See the problem?
  2. A few years into your marriage, you now have a 2 year old and another baby on the way. After this baby comes, you’d really like to adopt because you have a heart for ministry and caring others. He says you have a perfectly healthy body and doesn’t understand why you’d want to adopt.
  3. You would really like to take your kids to church, but he says absolutely not. What do you do?

I really hope you see where I’m going with this. Marriage between a Christian and a non-Christian is a constant battle that we are not meant to fight.   God intended marriage to be a beautiful thing.   He didn’t intend for marriage to be chaos. Yes, you will have ups and downs, but if you ride them, you will find beauty in the journey.

Don’t even go down the road of thinking about the possibility of being with someone until you know for sure that they are completely head over heels for your Savior before they’re going to fall in love with you. Especially when you think that person does love Jesus to find out that they don’t. Just be absolutely 100% certain. Protect your heart – someday, someone will cherish it. For now, rest in the fact that your Savior loves you more than you can comprehend.

Bibliography

“What does it mean to be unequally yoked?,” Got Questions Ministries, accessed July 7, 2017, [https://www.gotquestions.org/unequally-yoked.html].
[1] “What does it mean to be unequally yoked?,” Got Questions Ministries, accessed July 7, 2017, [https://www.gotquestions.org/unequally-yoked.html].

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Christian Relationship Goals (Part 2)

ChristianRelationshipGoalsPart2_2Corinthians614

If you didn’t read Part 1 of this post from last week, go check that out and then come back here if you like to read things in order 😉

But just in case you didn’t read Part 1, last week I started writing about things we should look for in a future spouse.  And that post started getting really long, so I decided to cut it short and continue today. So hey there!

I’m just going to jump right in, the person that you’re thinking you’re going to spend the rest of you’re life with should have or be striving to have these qualities

#4: Encouraging 

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV).”

If you’re dating someone or you like someone and all they do is tear you down, you should probably say goodbye.  Now at the same time, think about if you’re tearing them down as well.  Don’t use that as an excuse to stay with them, because if you’re both extremely discouraging to one another, that’s not good and you know it.  However, you do need to be able to reflect on what you’re doing to be able to grow and learn from your mistakes.

 

#5: Fear of God 

Hebrews 10:25-26 addresses that we should all have a healthy fear of God and the fact that one day we all will stand before Him and be judged.   Someday we all must account for everything we have done, and if you have not trusted Jesus as your Lord and Savior to be the one to take your place on judgement day, my heart aches for you.

In the same way, if you are a Christian, your heart should ache for those who do not know Jesus.  Yet at the same time, you should not marry someone in an attempt to convert them.  That can only do more harm than good.

“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14 NIV)

ChristianRelationshipGoalsPart2_2Corinthians614

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:23 NIV).

#6: Humble 

To be a Christian and prideful is a complete oxymoron.  Pride is putting your trust in what you can do on your own and Christianity is putting your trust in Christ alone.  How opposite are those two things? As followers of Christ we should be modestly aware of our own abilities and strengths and focused more on Christ.

Humility is an attractive quality.  Arrogance is a not.  

But because pride has been encouraged so much in our culture, I think we have skewed the true definition of humility.  Humility is a choice; an action that we take.  Jesus was humble because He chose to be humble not because He was forced to be.

Take two different people working in two different positions: CEO and intern.  Does their position make determine whether they are prideful or humble? No.  The CEO could be the humble one and the intern could be the most prideful person you ever meet in your life.

We must choose to walk a life of humility, and we should look for a future spouse who does the same.  Why? First and foremost, Jesus lived humbly and we are to follow His example.  Second, we are told directly to be completely humble.

#7: Gentle 

I think this one speaks for itself, but to enter a relationship or potentially marriage with someone who is not gentle is dangerous.  This goes for in the way they speak as well as the way they act.  Not only for yourself, here, but if you plan on having children in the future.  (You have to think about the way this person speaks and acts around other people!)

#8: Patient 

Patience, people! How do they handle little things?  Or the big things? What is their response—is it to trust in the one who holds their future or is to just fold up under the pressure?

#9: Gracious 

Are they forgiving? Do they get over an argument quickly or do they hold on to stupid little things?

#10: Your Goals Align

Also a no-brainer.  If he/she wants to move to the other side of the country and your roots are planted right where you’re at, I think you may have a problem.  At the same time, that’s something that can be figured out.   You just have to figure out what is worth compromising on for you and what is not.  Things that I wouldn’t recommend compromising on–

  • Faith: “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14 NIV)  Without being judgmental, if there is no evidence of any of these qualities developing in their lives, you might have to ask yourself if they are really following Christ.
  • Career Goals  (Don’t be willing to settle for someone that wants you to put aside what God has called you to do for them.)
  • Family & Kids (If they prioritize their family on a significantly different level than you do, how is that going to play out long-term? Also, you need to know if you’re on the same page about wanting kids and when.

Liked this post? Go check out these ones:

Christian Relationship Goals (Part 1)

To My 15 Year Old Self

How We Should Use Social Media

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Christian Relationship Goals (Part 1)

ChristianRelationshipGoals_GraceUnbroken

This girl with (essentially) no relationship experience has decided that she’s going to start writing about Christian relationships as part of this blog.  Partly because, why not?  Partly because I think if the topic is avoided then Christian girls and guys are going to just pick the first person that comes along and think they were made for each other.  (Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that can’t happen but it generally doesn’t, sorry.)

So in case you haven’t been paying attention, which I’m sure you have, our culture (and I’m not just going to blame the media, it’s everywhere) likes to portray relationships as disposable.  And I’m not even necessarily talking just about romantic relationships; the general disregard for one another that people have in friendships, family relationships and romantic relationships never ceases to amaze me.

Culture says it’s okay to just up and leave when you’re simply done with a relationship, culture says it’s okay to be prideful and boast about your relationship. (#RelationshipGoals) Culture says that it’s okay to be mean-spirited.  That’s what culture does, but here’s what Scripture says:

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13 NIV).

 

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV).”

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:23 NIV).

I think one of the biggest things we need to do for each other as Christians is to encourage one another to grow.  And that doesn’t necessarily just mean spiritually.  Growth in every healthy area of our lives demonstrates growth in our faith when our faith is the most important area of our lives.

So let’s look back over those verses together, one at a time and lay out some ground work for what we should really be looking for in a Christian relationship.

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).

#1: Love

I think this is kind of a no-brainer, but if you don’t love the person you’re with and believe that you could have a future with them (aka you want the same things)—ditch them. Now, that might seem like I’m going back on what I just said and also seem a little harsh, but I’m talking about a dating relationship here, not marriage.  So you’re still in the place where you’re figuring out how you feel about this person and if you have a future together.  Now if it’s like week one of dating and you don’t absolutely love them I’m not saying to break up with them, but if you’re a few years into dating someone and you really don’t know yet if you could have a future with them or not you might have an issue.

#2: Willingness to Sacrifice

This one kind of speaks for itself in that as Christians we should be willing to sacrifice for others in general, so when it comes to a romantic relationship this is no different.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV).”

#3: Church Attendance –Meeting Together

I’m going to say something that you might not like, but you need to understand it. You’re not going to find a perfect church.  That’s because in the walls of a church you’re going to find a lot of broken, hurting people that are there because they need Jesus’ love and forgiveness just as much as you do.  We have to come to a point where we have a healthy view of the church as both the body and the bride of Christ, and for the purposes of this post the metaphor of the bride is most helpful. Jesus loves His bride, just as every girl hopes that her future husband will love her.  And if you’re a girl, wouldn’t you hope that your future groom would defend you if someone said they didn’t like  you?  What about if you’re a guy, imagine someone coming to you on your wedding day and saying they hated your bride. Seriously, what would you do? Jesus’ love for His bride is deep and He would not tolerate hatred or even distaste towards her.  So go to church… 😉

Check back next week for Part 2! Until then, check out these other posts!

Waiting on God’s Timing

Come to Me.

One Nation Under God