Your steady love

By the time I post this, it will be Valentine’s day (or Galentine’s, whatever applies to you best this season) so yay – that can be real or sarcastic, you decide. I found and re-shared this post I wrote exactly two years ago on college singleness just because I love visiting my old self and the thoughts and words I had back then on my perpetual [lack of a] relationship status. I would say a big part of me seems like not much has changed in my heart since then, but I’d probably be lying. When I posted it to my wall this week, I added this update:

Doing some blog inventory and came across this oldie but a goodie from my 2 years ago self. Since Valentine’s Day is coming up this week, I thought I’d re-share. **Update to the update** : I laugh at my all-the-women-independent vibes all throughout this. But I think I’m more convinced than ever that the waiting season will always be worth it. God KNOWS our hearts, friends, and I’m certain there is more of his good, good, Father heart to be found in these days of singleness than we’ll ever realize on this side of our story.CS lewis

It really is funny how things can change in a year, let alone two. (No family, I’m still not dating anyone right now…) I’m just saying God has a crazy and cool way of crafting friendships, crossing paths, and throwing some pretty sweet and unpredictable adventures our way every now and then. That was all very vague talk to say, “Yes I’m still single. But I’ve no doubt moved away from my walls-up/don’t want to date until I’m done with school/there is no guy I’m attracted to self.” LOL at life. Anyway.

This morning I made the trek across town (via SEPTA – don’t worry I didn’t walk) despite the extremely frigid temps to Old City to check out the CUTEST little coffee shop I had only seen on Instagram. Well, folks, I think I finally found my favorite. I was camped out there for the better part of Saturday afternoon chugging a perfect Columbian pourover, eavesdropping on a cute older British couple, watching the snow come in sideways, and desperately trying to cram origins, insertions, and innervations into my little weary brain. It was lovely, really.coffee

I don’t feel like hashing out all the details of these CRAY couple of weeks for my classmates and I in this post, but I’ll just say the ONLY things (besides coffee+Jesus as always) getting me through these next exams and application deadlines is knowing there’s only 2 weeks to sweet Waco and just 3 weeks to ample time with my best friend/spring break. I’m writing mainly because it had been a couple of dry weeks sans writing and that makes me sad.

Also because I love writing about love on a day about love. But really, I just like to throw a curveball amidst all the sappy and lovey dovey articles or bitter single posts being shared in the realm of social media this week. Honestly, this video of kids confessing their feelings about their crushes is the only thing you need to see.

It is possible, believe it or not, to be single or not have a hot date on Valentine’s Day and be content in waiting. This morning I reached the last page of my current journal, and that’s always a day I look forward to. It urges me to go back to read through and look for all the ways that God was his usual funny and full of surprises self, answering prayers in ways I never imagined. I think this journal holding the journey of these past few months might be up there for the most rambling entries and pages of heartfelt scribbles. [This is a plug to start journaling if you don’t. It is hands down my favorite way to have a tangible record of my dreams, thoughts, and fears, and the ways that God speaks into those]. There have been some BIG and scary prayers in there, my friends. I am nothing but thankful for how He has already begun to answer them so clearly, and I’m filled with hope for the ways I know he will continue to guide my heart throughout the process. No matter how distant I feel sometimes or how shaky and wavering my love for God is on any given day, He shows nothing but a steady and patient love towards undeserving me.

I’m content and grateful today because I know and receive a love daily that will surpass any extravagant romantic gesture on this earth. A love that knows my heart.

The Reality of College Singleness

***This post is from last year and here are just some updates: Yes, I’m still single. Yes, more and more of my friends at Baylor (seriously like a few more each week) are engaged. Yes, I’m still incredibly excited for their future marriages and they’ve all done it the right way I believe and are not necessarily rushing into it. Nowadays I have a flashing neon sign that says, “Better not even think about dating me now, I’m moving across the country in a few months.” But really…Yes, I’m nervous and excited for who knows what could happen in this next season in an entirely new place. To any future classmates that might be reading this – Don’t worry, I promise I’m not the stereotypical southern belle on a mad search for my husband. Let’s be real, I really don’t want to marry a fellow crazy-indebted doctor…***

With tomorrow being the inevitable and overly-sappy one day a year that people feel obligated to go out and buy an overpriced box of chocolate covered mysteries for their valentine while all the singles try to treat it like any other month’s 14th day, I thought I’d write a little on what it’s really like to live life as a joyful single but who still sometimes struggles with the waiting game.

First things first – a healthy dose of funny V-day quotes and memes for all my fellow single folks to appreciate.

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seriously though

seriously though

I promise I’m not going to go off on some bitter couple-hating rant (I’m seriously SO happy for all my friends in great relationships and my parents, my sis and bro-n-law, and others who are still in so much love!), but I just want to give my honest two cents on this whole concept of “singleness” as a twenty-one year old college student. Every day for the past three years I’ve been surrounded by thousands of people of the opposite sex that are my age, driven and intelligent (well, some), following wholeheartedly after God, easy on the eyes, and just overall cool folks. Granted, a portion are overly cocky frat daddies, lazy slackers relying on parents’ credit cards, unattractively-heavy drinkers and partiers, and of course just some that I’m not interested in at all. A significant amount, though, are great guys that thousands of girls would be lucky to call their other half one day.

***An entirely separate blog post needs to be devoted to how messed-up my generation (and maybe specifically my university) treats the foreign idea of “DATING.” It doesn’t exist anymore, and I really wish I lived in a different era of actually asking a girl out to get to know her instead of this extreme scale of casual and shallow texting/”talking” to the high-pressure atmosphere of everyone thinking every interaction is with the frame of marriage in mind from day one. I’m not kidding when I say an unmentioned guy friend’s family asked him if he realized he only had another year left to find a wife at Baylor. New flash, boys, we don’t all care about that ring by spring, and we might just want to go on a date or two because we’re in college and want to have a memorable social life with a fun and respectable guy every now and then (sure, the END goal will be looking for potential spouses but don’t be so scared of us..step up and be a man if you simply want to get to know a girl better). Can we please make this so much less weird and not treat it like the elephant in the room? (guess what – it’s only going to be harder once we’re out in the real world)***.

Also, have you ever actually looked around and seen all the single people at Baylor? The odds should be in our favor. I’d say it’s safe to say the majority of my friends (and obviously myself) are single and by no means “should” be. This is what society tells us: that if we’re attractive, intelligent, driven, confident, passionate, caring, fun, etc, then of course it would be absurd for us not to be dating. That is not what God tells us, though. His timing is perfect, and we can question and doubt it all we want, but the truth is He knows what’s best for us through every phase of our lives.

My entire life I have taken pride in being an independent woman who does not need to find identity solely in a man. My identity is in Christ, and I know I am a daughter of the King; I am not and will not be only defined as a girlfriend, a wife, a student, a dentist, a surgeon, a musician, a chef, a blogger. My heart breaks for the countless girls my age that place so much of their value and purpose in being someone’s significant other with no real focus on their own spiritual and emotional health, not to mention a riddance of any real dreams they might have had for their own individual lives. I never had the intention of going off to college for the purpose of finding my husband, getting married, and being a non-working mom relying on my husband’s income. My future career will be extremely rewarding both generally speaking as well as financially, while still granting me the flexibility to have a family one day if that is what God has for me. I should have no problem providing for myself and even being more of the bread-winner than my husband if that ends up being the case. We live in a different time than our parents and that is just that. I’m not on some hunt for a guy that will be able to support shopping sprees and luxury cars. Sadly, I don’t think I can say the same for all the girls here at my school, and we have a notorious phrase, “Ring by Spring” that is incredibly accurate.

I have never been in a relationship before, so I’m very good at this whole single thing. It’s all I’ve ever known. In high school, I can probably point it to the fact that I grew up in a very small town and went to a pretty small school (with very limited options), and while I’m not trying to be overly confident, I’m pretty sure I simply intimidated guys at my school with just being the way that I am. Through all these years of not being tied up in another person, I’ve had so much time to discover myself, my interests/hobbies/passions, and how God is leading me to become even more of the woman I’m made to be. Also, a lot of my academic success is probably due to the fact that I haven’t had someone stealing my attention from studying when I need to.

If I’m being honest with myself, right now (and in my future long path of professional schooling), it seems like I don’t have the actual time to invest in a relationship even if I wanted to. I barely have enough time as it is to eat, shower, and rest myself, let alone think about another person’s needs and desires. Having said that, I don’t at all mean that it’s not something I want. Sure, I’m perfectly content to remain single for the time being and have time for myself to do things I want (I am pretty selfish of my “me-time”) as well as stay focused on the rest of my education, but I’m not going to lie and say I don’t think about what it would be like to be in a relationship right now. How it would feel to have flowers waiting for me when I get home from class tomorrow, occasional handwritten letters in my mailbox just because, having someone in mind when I sing love songs by my favorite artists, or just someone to cook me a nice meal for once. Every girl wants that. Period.

But…that is not the season of life where I find myself currently. I am smack dab in singleness and spending time preparing my heart to be more like Christ’s every day, so I will know more how to love like Him whenever that guy does come along. My college pastor spoke last week on dating, and he said some really refreshing things that shed some light on the tricky topic of Godly dating in college. To loosely paraphrase some of his points…

When I was looking for a girl to date I would picture me running after God. I would look around at the people keeping up and say “Hey, how’s it going?” I would pick up speed and when I saw a girl going faster than me, I’d ask her out.

Ask yourself, “Am I the kind of person that the person I’m looking for is looking for?” and “Do they love Jesus more than me?”

I was being overly cautious and ridiculously careless and that just led to WEIRD.

He was looking for her and she didn’t even know it (in reference to the passage in Genesis 24). 

A lot of guys ask me when is it OK to kiss her, and my answer is always, “If you’re looking at porn, NEVER.” 

The 4 gauges of Commitment, Time, Communication, and Physical – When one goes up, they need to then all be at the same level. 

One of the funniest/most right-on things he said was, “Not that I’m advocating getting married young/while in college, but guys, if you graduate Baylor and leave this college ministry without your future wife, IT IS NOT MY FAULT! Take a look around at all these beautiful, Godly, servant-hearted, passionate women of God and ASK THEM OUT! Girls, since I’m telling them to put their necks out there, you will say YES.” 

Now that I’ve taken the time to just put my heart out there about how I feel on this day, I guess I will spend this holiday stereotypical-single-ladies style: maybe have my own chocolate-covered strawberries and red wine, curled up on the couch in my pjs and quite possibly studying. Not out of self pity or bitterness towards people in love today, but because this is simply where I find myself and that I’m accepting exactly where I am – full of love for my family and friends and the love which comes from the Father – a divine romance like none other on this earth.

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I’m waiting so I’m this excited one day

Saying NO so I can say YES

One of my resolutions this year was to say no to more things while saying yes more to other things. (to read up on the rest of aspirations for 2014 see here.) So far, I think I’m actually holding up to this one pretty well. As far as the rest, ask me about those later…

What I mean by that statement is realizing what really is important and what can simply go undone on a given day.

Today I read a post from one of my favorite bloggers/authors, Shauna Niequist, titled “More Love, Less Hustle.” (By the way, I highly recommend following her blog, reading every one of her books, and joining the club of hopeful invitees to her dinner parties). It sparked such a passion in me to want to live this out in my own life, and it paralleled my No/Yes resolution. She says, “But saying NO lets me say YES to the most important things.” Another phrase that seemed to jump from the screen and speak to my heart was her own realization that Tough is not something I want to be. Hard is not something I aspire to.” 

I thought of how that applied to my own life in the current stage I find myself. Do I add activity, title, and responsibility after another to my plate because I really do enjoy it, or is it just a way of living up to my extremely high expectations I have of myself to be everything, everywhere, all the time? I’ve always said things like I thrive when under pressure, following busy schedules, or facing and overcoming seemingly impossible challenges. If I’m truly being honest with myself, do I really, though? Part of me exclaims a resounding yes – I literally go stir-crazy after about two or three days of having nothing to do, nowhere to be, no projects to accomplish. I’m striving for a fast-paced, exciting, and always challenging career as an oral surgeon or dentist because I could never just sit at a desk all day. The other part of me wonders exactly how healthily managing the demanding schedule of a dental student, and potentially a medical resident, will look like. Without a doubt, I am setting myself up for aspiring to “hard” things that obviously will demand me to be “tough.” Would I rather be worn ragged at the end of a never-ending day, knowing I squeezed out every ounce of energy and life I had in me, or does an actual free hour or two to fill doing whatever I wanted do me good every now and then (for example, blogging at midnight)?

I believe it is all about keeping a crucial balance of striving for excellence to fulfill our passions and purposes on the earth, while still keeping our focus on things that truly satisfy our soul and go beyond the taxing demands of this temporary, material life. Things like relationships, joy, and time actually cherished, not just used efficiently. I’m not saying I’m going to completely abandon my qualities of typical type A, extremely driven, and goal oriented, but I am going to slow down from the hustle to take a breath occasionally, live my life with a clearer perspective, and strive to follow a kingdom-oriented mindset.

What exactly has this “saying no so I can say yes” mantra looked like so far? Here are just a few instances…

Saying no to staying up until 2 a.m. because I don’t need to worry about over-preparing for a anatomy or biochem quiz so I can ace another one; saying yes to anti-perfectionism.

Saying no to staying in yet another Saturday night and yes to hanging out with a friend that I rarely get to see by going to a basketball game and out for late night pizza after.

Saying no to apprehension and yes to boldly chatting with all of my professors outside of class so they can know me as a person with real dreams and deep thoughts, not just a student shallowly striving to get the grade and move past their class.

Saying no to fear of being vulnerable or honest about where exactly I am in my walk with God and yes to discipleship alongside one of my closest friends.

Saying no to thinking I have to come up with a perfect conclusion to this post and yes to sleep.

What could your life look like with “more love, less hustle?”

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How Much More

This is a song of God’s unmatched love and faithfulness that speaks to me so deeply right now in the midst of my seemingly never-ending and overwhelming obligations and deadlines that I’m facing the next couple of weeks (and ultimately months, years).  I know compared to the bigger picture, what I think of as my “trials” are so insignificant compared to others.  Still, so often I feel like I’m the only one facing these little battles everyday and that no one could possibly understand everything going on in my specific circumstances day-to-day. When it feels impossible to balance all the demands of my schedule,  God knows my heart and understands how big and heavy-weighted these projects, exams, and application processes, just to name a few, feel to me in the moment, even if it’s nothing that severe.

Plain and simple: College is hard. God is good.

“How Much More”

(by my local church’s band that puts out an annual worship album of powerful and original songs – check it out here)

 Tear for tear

Groan for groan

All my pain, You have known

 Step by step

 Hand in hand

 You carry me when I can’t stand

You have suffered for me

 How much more will You fill my need

 You have suffered for me

 How much more will You give all things to me

Always good

 Always kind

 Thoughts of mercy fill Your mind

 All may leave

 But You have stayed

 And plunged me in Your depths of grace

You have suffered for me

 How much more will You fill my need

 You have suffered for me

 How much more will You give all things to me

You understand my weakness

 You have felt my pain

 You have carried my sorrow

 And overcome my shame

Nail by nail

 Blow by Blow

 Pain that I will never know

 You obeyed the Father’s call

You said I was worth it all