the cycle of nice boys, almostships, and bitterness ends today

(Okay, y’all. I know this is a long post. I know your time is precious. I’m not claiming that these words are magical or are going to change every aspect of your life. However, I have been praying over these words for months and I believe them to be truth. Maybe you can relate or maybe not; but I would like to especially encourage my sisters striving for holiness and wholeness to please take them to prayer. I’m praying for you.)

 

I’m nineteen and I’ve never had a boyfriend.

Look into the spaces of those words and you’ll see stories of heartbreak and confusion. A relationship status is never as straightforward as it sounds.

I have struggled trusting Jesus with the desires of my heart.

When we don’t believe that God is enough to fill us, things get messy. When we take the fulfillment of our longing into our own hands, things get ugly.

And then, when you stumble into Nice Boy who lurks in every Christian circle, you’re setting yourself up for a disaster.

Let’s define the Nice Boy. He’s generally polite and engaging. He’ll laugh at your jokes. He goes to church and does the whole Jesus thing. He might include you with his friends or even single you out for a conversation of some sort of depth. He might tell you a lot about his life and you can’t stop talking about your own.

He says friendship but acts relationship. He’s unsure. He fears commitment, he fears your heart.

And he makes you feel bubbly. He makes you feel pretty. He makes you feel enough. You want him to ask you out and thoughts creep in about giving him more and more of your heart. You allow him to take over more and more of your imagination. You’re so ready to leave the friendship stage and dive headfirst into a romantic relationship.

Except…it goes on. And on. And on. The feelings are intensifying but nothing is happening. The walks are getting longer but you aren’t having the “defining the relationship” conversation. While you don’t deserve this, you’re also enabling it by not holding him to a higher standard.

The Nice Boy is responsible for a lot of almostships. Not relationships, not friendships, just weird whattheheckships. There’s a lot of confusion. It provides the perfect stage for over-thinking, over-analyzation, and a lack of emotional virtue.

The thing about the almostship: it’s not built on truth. It’s built on a hazy, confusing understanding of the bridge between friendship and relationship. A bridge was never meant to be a foundation; it’s supposed to be a gateway to more. It’s not a place to camp out.

Y’all, I have lived on that bridge for longer and more times than I would care to admit. It’s unstable. It’s scary.

I have deceived myself that that bridge is where I was created to live. That I was supposed to be there. That I wasn’t worth being honest with. There are so many conversations that I should have had that I didn’t out of fear.

When there’s no truth and no definition, it makes it even harder to move on when something explodes.

The explosion is inevitable, as are the feelings that come with it. Shame and confusion; desperation and regret. And bitterness.

Bitterness is a big one for me. It’s filled me with thoughts of “I am the worst person ever why did I ever even like him” and “wow he’s the worst guy ever can he just not”. I wanted the guys who caused me so much hurt to feel shame. I wanted them to feel regret– how dare they not pursue me? How dare they just let me go like that? How dare they not be upfront and honest with me?

Bitterness has often numbed me to feeling the full gravity of the pain of rejection. Thus, it has propelled me to the next Nice Boy to prove that I am enough. And the cycle starts all over again.

Ladies, I am SICK of the cycle. Not just in my life, but in the lives of so many of those around me. I am sick of the living in fear, of the living in chains. I am sick of the shame and I am sick of the despair.

Are you sick of it? Are you sick of shutting up the parts of your heart that carry hurt you don’t know how to deal with?

I could keep wallowing in what I do not have. I could mourn a dead relationship forever and it still wouldn’t make it come alive. Or I could stop looking for the living among the dead. I could throw off the talons of the creature that is seeking to pull me down and destroy me with regrets of what I have done and the shame of what has been done to me…and I could be free.

Let’s deal with these emotions. The captivity ends TODAY. You weren’t created to live in the shadows of relationships that didn’t work out. You are not to be defined by rejection. You were never meant to be a slave to fear and shame.

Jesus already purchased a way out. He has already died for you. It’s time to receive everything He has won for you.

First of all– YOU ARE GOOD. Simply in who you are. Sunsets and chocolate and everything else beautiful are  not made in the image and likeness of God. You are. Your worth is not determined by your actions…it’s determined by His love which deems you priceless.

I know what it is to be pushed aside. I know what it is to have someone you love want to hide a relationship with you. I know what it is for someone to be embarrassed to be seen with you. I know what it is for someone to be afraid of committing to you. I know what it is to give too much of my heart, to live on that damn bridge. But this does not define me.

Furthermore just because you were never officially dating him doesn’t mean that you don’t have baggage. It doesn’t mean that you’re not allowed to hurt. Your emotions are valid. We cannot let these situations cause us to fall into a hole of self-hatred, feeling that we are not enough.

Right now, what are you silencing? What hurt has been gnawing at your heart that you haven’t allowed yourself to feel? What wounds of rejection have you invalidated?

The maker of your heart looks at you and says, “I’m not a stranger to wounds. Look at my hands. I’m not afraid of the damage. I am enough.”

You can take authority over the bitterness and shame. Jesus is filling you with power. Just as He rebuked the waves, you can rebuke them. Proclaim this over your life: “In the name of Jesus Christ, I renounce all bitterness and shame. You have no place here. I bind you to the cross where you are no more.”

It’s time to forgive them. Verbally. Maybe you’re not called to actually call them up, but claim forgiveness.  It is not up to us to uphold justice. Know, dear sisters, that your heavenly Father is far more aware of the hurt than even you are. He sees it…He sees you. By withholding forgiveness, you’re only strengthening the chains holding you back. With power and confidence, proclaim: “In the name of Jesus Christ, I forgive (name) and release him from the hurt he has caused me.”

It’s time to rest.

No more running. No more hiding. It’s time to let God work on your heart. That doesn’t mean He’s going to sit you down and bring up every past hurt to yell at you. It means that He’s going to show you what love really is.

His love knows how it feels about you.

His love is loyal, His love is honest. What His love promises, it gives. His love is constant, His love is consistent. His love does not run away, His love does not abandon. His love does not ignore. His love embraces. His love enters into the mess. His love understands.

His love is mature. His love is bold. His love is reckess. His love is jealous. His love demands a response. His love is not passive. His love is captivating, is captivated by you. His love takes risks. There is nothing His love has not purchased for you.

His love is pure. His love is selfless. His love is radical. His love pursues. His love is faithful. His love is devoted. His love goes all the way.

His love is in awe of you. His love calls you worthy. His love does not use. His love does not play games. His love is breathless at the sight of you. His love is proud to be seen with you. His love does not lead you astray. His love is trusting and trustworthy.

His love is for you.

Whatever has prevented you from falling into this love, from claiming this love as your own…bind it to the cross. Our distrust in real love often goes back beyond our encounters with guys…it can stem from deep wounds from childhood. We have a tendency to project failed human love on the infinite love of the Father.

In prayer, think of all of the ways you have been hurt. Then write out the opposite of that hurt. For example, if you have been hurt by rejection, write “His love accepts all of me, forever”. Think back on those memories that caused so much hurt and claim the presence of Jesus there, defending you.

Friends, no other “love” or illusion of love will ever satisfy.

You are not defined by the hurt or the mistakes. Let what has hindered love fade into the background as Jesus runs to you.

You don’t have to run anymore. You don’t have to fight for love anymore. It’s yours. You don’t have to justify your mistakes anymore. They’re gone. You don’t need to prove your worth anymore. It’s been confirmed.

The old has passed away. I have been made new.

I’m with you on this journey. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any prayer requests or more info about any of this.

Let me leave you with this: you are worth giving everything for. It has been given. You are worth so much more than a guy who isn’t sure how he feels. Let go and fall into the arms of a Mighty Lover who has been pursuing you since the beginning of time.

I’m praying for you.

 

 

 

 

wanting to be well.

How much of your time is spent looking at impossibilities? 

Once there was a lame man sitting at a gate. Within the gate was Bethesda, a sacred pool where many found healing. The man was at the gate…so close to healing and yet so far. He had no way of getting inside; everyone else keep getting there faster.

How much mind space have you given over to all of the reasons why not?

There was a lot between the man and healing. But then Healing came to him. Healing came and He asked the lame man: “Do you want to be well?”

Do you want to be well?

The man didn’t respond with a yes or a no…instead, he responded with all of the reasons why not. Healing wasn’t possible because he was too slow, because everyone was too fast, because he could never get there in time.

Sometimes, I think we get so caught up in the brokenness of our lives. We’ve settled in it and we think that it’s actually the way life is supposed to be. Sometimes, we don’t even see a need for healing. We just think we’re not supposed to walk or see or hear.

We think that maybe that relationship is just never supposed to be fixed. Maybe we’re always supposed to be lonely. Maybe we’re always supposed to be fearful. Maybe we’re never supposed to pray with power. Maybe we’re just supposed to stay here in this spot.

We accept defeat, we accept despair.

And sometimes, we do it under a false sense of faith. Does this sound familiar? “Oh, Jesus, this is just the cross you want me to carry my whole life.”

Here’s what Jesus says to that: “Do you want to be well?”

Do you want to be well? Because Jesus wants you to be well. He wouldn’t offer you something He wasn’t going to give you. Maybe you’ve been asking and asking and asking and nothing is happening. Nothing is changing.

Are you putting healing in a box? Are you imposing what you think that healing looks like on the reality of what it is? Maybe you think you’re only healed if x,y, and z happen.

His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.

Maybe healing starts with our eyes being able to see what healing actually is, our minds being able to know what healing is. Healing starts when our hearts actually encounter who healing is.

Do you want to be well?

The man is sitting at the gate because he wants more. He wants more than whatever he’s been settling in. He wants to be healed. However, he’s so caught up in that desire to be healed how he wants to be healed that he doesn’t even recognize Healing.

Healing wants to encounter you. Jesus wants to encounter you.

Stop telling Him all of the impossibilities, stop telling Him all of the reasons why not. Instead, let’s ask that our eyes be opened to see Healing and our hearts open to expectant desire.

I’m praying for you.

more.

Enlarge the space for your tent, spread out your tent cloths unsparingly; lengthen your ropes and make firm your pegs. -Isaiah 54:2

What size tent do you have God in?

Are you praying without expectation? Maybe there’s a specific need that you’ve been giving to the Lord constantly and you’re just not seeing Him move. You’re feeling frustrated and maybe seriously doubting the power of prayer.

If you want to see God move radically in your life, expect Him to move radically.

Expect more.

Whatever you’re expecting right now, expect more. It doesn’t matter what the situation is. Expect more. Wherever you’re at in life, expect more. Expect Him to do more.

Jesus Christ could have saved us from our sins by cutting His pinky finger. But y’all, He chose to die the most horrific death. There was no suffering that He did not experience, emotional or physical. Why?

Because He wanted to show you how much He loves you. He loves you more. So He endured more.

He goes all the way. But He loves you so much that He wants you to be a participant in His miracles. He wants to use your faith to bring it about.

Why don’t we hope for more? Why do we become satisfied in our dissatisfaction, with the bare minimum?

Is it because we’re scared? Are we afraid of longing? Have we allowed fear of wanting more and not being satisfied paralyze us?

We project our experience with human love onto God sometimes, don’t we? We’ve all wanted more out of people…parents, spouses, friends. And we’ve all been left wanting. We’ve all been let down. We’ve all be rejected. We’ve all been abandoned.

So, subconsciously, we often assume that God will do the same thing. What if we long for more…and it never comes? Because we’ve longed for more before this and we’ve been disappointed.

Disappointed? Actually, utterly crushed. Heartbroken. We don’t want to go back.

So we build walls around our hearts. We tell ourselves that we’re content with our little isolated world the way it is. We stare at the dirt because we’re afraid that we’ll look up and there will be no sky.

Maybe the reason why we’re so wounded isn’t that we’ve hoped,  but that we’ve placed our hope in the wrong things.

We’ve hoped in people. We’ve hoped in events. We’ve been left wanting.

But God is different. His love is bigger. His love is better. His love is more.

God wants to break out of the boxes we’ve put Him in. He wants to break out of the illusions that we’ve confined Him to.

If any part of you wants to long for more…follow that.

Because here’s the deal, friend: you were created for more.

Spread out your tent cloths unsparingly.

He will come into whatever space we have for Him and He will fill it. He might not fill it with what you think you want, but He will fill it with what you actually want.

Stop being afraid of looking at the sky. I don’t know if the sun is there or not; if it’s not, there’s a beautiful night sky.

He doesn’t introduce a desire without having the means of fulfilling it. If you have a desire, He is going to satisfy. It might not look how you think it will…but He will satisfy you with the absolute best.

So let’s start expecting more. He’s God. He can handle it.

Let’s allow ourselves to long. God longs to show Himself in our lives in glory and power. Let’s approach the Throne of Grace admitting that we are lacking. There is space that needs to be filled. There are limitations that we are sick of living with. He already knows our needs…let’s invite Him into them knowing that He has the power to change everything.

And then, step back and watch what happens. Widen your tent. Open your arms. Expect more than you have ever expected in your life. Expect more than you could possibly imagine.

The time for miracles is now. The time for wonders is now.

He’s just waiting for your tent to be big enough. Invite Him to rip open the tent and then expect Him to. He wants to.

Why? Because He doesn’t do things by halves. He goes all the way. He goes to the cross. He goes to hell and comes back.

Because He loves you.

the way the wildflowers grow.

 

Learn from the way the wildflowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them.  If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry… -Matthew 6:28-31

 

Simplicity. Even the word itself is simple.

So, of course, I complicate it. Because that’s what I do.

“Keep it simple,” is the number one piece of advice my friends give me again and again and again, relating to everything from friendships to guys to work to school to God. Every time this piece of advice is bestowed upon me, I vow with renewed vigor to “keep it simple”. But what is simple? I start thinking about all the ways that something can be kept simple– what I need to think about, what I need to not think about, what I need to say, what I need to not say, what I need to do, not do– but what if I don’t do x, and then y happens and then what if I do actually have to say this and I don’t so then–

Complexity. It’s been an addiction of mine. It masks a much bigger addiction: control. Which hides an infinitely bigger reality of my heart: fear.

I have had a fear of resting and just being. I have had a fear of letting things just stand as they are and admitting that I do not have control over anything.

But I liked to deceive myself into thinking I have control. And so I tried to piece together and I tried to force and I tried to stretch and I tried to come to conclusions and have my life wrapped in a pretty little clean box, tied up shut. Because even though I complicate everything, I’ve been afraid of complexity, too.

This fear, though. We’re all afraid. We’ve all bought into lies. What is it though, really? What is this fear that drives us? What are we truly afraid of?

We’re afraid that we’re not enough. We’re afraid that we’ll never be enough.

We’re filled with fear that everyone will leave us, that we’ll be totally abandoned. We’re consumed by fear that we will live in our brokenness forever, unhealed and unrestored. We’re living in the fear that even if we really let go and give everything to God, we’ll still be left unsatisfied. We’re crippled by the fear of being seen and being seen as not enough.

We project how we have experienced love onto how we view God’s love. We’ve been abandoned, abused, used, rejected, misunderstood. We have serious trust issues, understandably so. We’re locked up in fear, living in our brokenness, having convinced ourselves that it’s how we’re supposed to be. We don’t even admit wounds are there anymore, because there is no point. We talk around real issues because we’re afraid of the cost of being honest. “It’s fine” has become our chorus.

“Fine” is the worst word.

Learn from the way the wildflowers grow.

Okay, Jesus, that’s cute but what does that actually mean? What does that mean to a heart that is so alone and is never enough? What does that mean to a heart that’s been bruised and rejected? Nice little wildflowers blowing in the wind. Simple and pure and perfect. None of those words describe me. What do I have in common with wildflowers?

They do not work or spin.

We work a lot, don’t we, y’all? I know I’m not alone in this. We work to be seen, we work to matter, we work to be significant. Actually, let me rephrase that: we work to be seen as we want to be seen. We work to be identified as we want to be identified. Not as we truly are.

Here’s how the wildflowers grow.

They just do.

Simply, they exist. They don’t try to be what they’re not. They don’t hide from the sun. No, they turn and they face that sun with all that they are. And when they don’t see the sun, they’re still facing the sky, demanding a reappearance because they know that it is up there.

Brothers and sisters, I am SICK of hiding from the sun. I am sick of hiding the reality of the fear that has gripped my heart under a mask of complexity and control. I am not in control. I don’t know what is going in my life most days, what is going on in my heart. I don’t have it together. I have days where I feel so lost and abandoned.

Surrendering to God means this scary admission: I am not enough.

I am not enough.

But I am not going to dive back into the dirt. I’m not hiding from the Son. He came to seek and save the lost. He didn’t come to the healthy, but for the sick. I am going to stand here and let Him see me as I am.

For Lent (and forever), I’m giving up the fear of the reality that I am not enough. If I was, I wouldn’t need a Savior.

We need to cry out to Him in our poverty. We need to stop hiding our brokenness from Him, our wounds. We need to stop hiding the fact that rejection and loneliness has scarred our fragile hearts.

Y’all. Jesus desperately wants to satisfy you. He wants to fill you, He wants to restore you. He wants to be enough for you. It’s not just a passive desire. It’s a radical desire that lead Him to leave Heaven and walk where you walk and feel your hearts and be crucified and come back. There is nothing that He wouldn’t do for you.

Maybe you’re like me and you’ve heard these things your whole life. But how much do you believe them?

When we cry out to Him from the most broken parts of our hearts, He does not turn away. When we keep calling and calling and open ourselves to allow Him to work in an uncontrollable way, in a way He wants to work…He works. He heals. He restores.

You are precious. You are priceless. You are loved. There is no fear that He cannot conquer and no heart that He cannot restore.

I’m praying for you.

simplicity

My heart is a raging sea right now. I hear you say breathe.

But I don’t want to breathe. I want to run, I want to jump, I want to KNOW. I want to know what is going on. I want to plan, I want to figure out. I want to scream, I want to cry, I want to be obnoxious.

Wait, little one, wait, you say.

But I don’t want to wait. I want to climb the tallest mountain NOW. I want to rip off all of the band aids now. I want to figure everything out. I want to solve the most complex math problem. I want to know everything. Right. Now.

Just be, beloved, just be, you whisper when I finally have to take a breath.

But what if I don’t figure things out in time? What if everything just flies right by, what if I don’t think of the right words in time? What if I just wait and wait and wait and nothing happens?

Trust me. You reach out your hands.

But if I grab your hands, then I won’t be able to grab anything else.

Exactly.

 

Simplicity. It makes me uncomfortable.

I have a paper due Saturday that has to be done by Friday in the midst of catching up on reading for another class. I have two quizzes week and so many problem sets due. I need to do research and planning for my marketing job. And then there’s just the every day stuff of meetings and loving people and relationships and all that insanity.

My world is so loud that the silence of simplicity is scary. I need to be so aware of every moment from here on out while dissecting the past. My mind needs to be totally consumed with what is coming next, with preparing for the future. I can’t just sit here and wait for it, I need to go out and get it.

Simplicity. Taking things as they are, as they come. Not reading into. Not taking more than is actually mine. Living in each minute. Being. Fully entering into each moment, because now is where Jesus is. Experiencing His full heart in this moment requires me to be in this moment. Not the next one.

So this Advent, I’m giving up planning, plotting, and orchestrating. I am done. I’m done stressing about what is to come.

Simplicity. There is wonder in simplicity. The simplicity of a young, scared teenager who was pregnant and unmarried. The simplicity of a skeptical man who had trust issues. The simplicity of a bunch of little lost boy shepherds. The simplicity of a stable. The simplicity of a baby.

God took all of that simplicity and lit it up with miracles.

 

So, Jesus, take me to a place of simplicity. Let me simply be. I give you my plans and my hopes and dreams and fears. Let me dive into this moment…give me trust in the journey, in the process. Let me see the glory in the mundane. Give me a pure heart that hopefully waits upon you while being fully invested in seeing you work in this moment. 

Teach me how to breathe. Teach me how to just allow you to work without giving my input and preferences all of the time. Teach me how to listen. Teach me how to trust, how to be okay with wherever you’re leading. Whatever you do, I know it’s because you’re in love with me. You see everything that I do. You know. You know, so I don’t need to.

Reveal whatever you want to reveal, Jesus. I’m okay just following you. I don’t need to really see, because I know that you do. Give me your heart, I just want your desires. Smash the idol I have made of busyness, of noise. I am going to hold your hands. I am holding your hands. I trust that you will lead me to whatever is next. I trust that being in love with you, I waste no time. I trust that I won’t miss anything. I trust that I can keep my eyes fixed on you completely and totally and I will. not. fall. Nothing that is supposed to be mine will pass me by.

Jesus, let’s just dance.

on perfection and pursuit.

When I was little, I was absolutely obsessed with Disney princesses.

I loved the beauty of the princesses and how, for the most part, they never tried to be anything that they weren’t. They loved boldly in the face of the uncomfortable. I loved how their stories weren’t smooth and easy going. My favorite parts of these movies were the chase parts, when the princes had to prove their love, had to fight for them. I loved the moments of raw honesty when they put themselves on the line, both emotionally and physically. I loved the way that the princes pursued their princesses, the ways that they seriously died to themselves.

I watched these movies over and over and over again. I played the stories out with my Barbies and with my friends. I dreamed of Prince Charming and wrote my own stories about a reckless kind of true love. I would actually even pray that I wouldn’t have an “easy” relationship but that there would be dragons and dungeons and distress.

Now, as a freshman in college, I’m like JESUS NO NO NO I DID NOT MEAN THAT. Is there a way to invalidate prayer? I want it easy, I want to enter into a relationship 100% perfect, not lacking in any way. I don’t want to bring any baggage into a relationship, I don’t want to have any wounds or scars.

Basically, I want to meet some perfect, Jesus-obsessed guy who I date for a year or so and then get married to. No arguments, no secrets, no communication problems. Just a bunch of really cute hand-holding dates where we always perfectly understand each other. There is nothing to work at because everything is already perfect. Everything is clean and happy and beautiful and, more than anything, safe.

So, I sit here, with my perfectly painted toes and a pretty little dress and my ankles crossed, waiting for Prince Charming to show up. And the scars and imperfection? Oh, if I ignore it, if I don’t acknowledge it…it doesn’t exist

Except. It does.

I mentioned I loved the way the princes pursue the princesses. I want to be pursued. I don’t want to settle. There is an incredible amount of excitement in the chase.

Well, that’s all good in theory. But what happens when you meet the super nice Jesus boy who is just the sweetest and kindest and most encouraging but unclear with his intentions? Oh, no big deal. Well, I want to be perfect, and maybe he could be perfect, too.

So you have your perfect little conversations but not too deep because, oh no, can’t be emotionally unvirtuous! We can’t actually talk about how we feel. He seems like he’s scared of messes, and you feel like a mess so better reapply that emotional concealer.

Apparently, you’re intimidating, share too much of your heart, and love too easily. So you tread carefully, fearfully.  You just keep going because perfect Jesus boy and you don’t really talk about how you’re actually feeling. Everything is fine. Superficial. You let yourself get walked all over in the name of perfection and pursuit. Just keep being perfect, just keeping loving because you’re the one with the issues and things will straighten out.

Everything is easy. No hearts are on the line. There’s no need to be honest because nothing is actually wrong. Everything is perfect.

Except. You have no peace.

You’re chasing after God, but you’re slowing down because you’re trying to drag him with you. This is a story I’ve heard, seen, and experienced…and it’s hard. Trying to not be a mess eventually becomes the messiest thing ever.

If this sounds familiar, do not be afraid. Do not be afraid to let go. Do not be afraid to be honest regardless of what reaction you receive. Have confidence in what you feel, in what God has spoken through prayer. The guy (or girl) might not be Gaston, but he’s not the Beast either, you know?

God is so good. He is the God of restoration and not replacement. I feel like God is continually opening my clenched fists and asking me to let go so He can hold my hands. And He never gets tired of it.

Speaking of Jesus. He’s perfect and He pursues me.

Our story is way more dramatic than any Disney movie. In my imperfection, He saved me. He gave Himself for me even when it was plausible that I might never love Him back.

He allowed Himself to be tortured physically and emotionally, to be literally killed for me. When I might never love Him back. He pursued me in the midst of immense imperfection.

I have come to realize that I am PETRIFIED of being in a relationship. I am petrified of being seen and loved by someone in that way. It’s hard enough to be vulnerable with my friends sometimes. I am petrified of hurting someone. I am petrified of hurting myself.

But perfect love casts out fear.

Life is not easy, relationships are not easy. In the perfection of my Savior, I am freed from the illusion of perfection. To me, perfection means not acknowledging any brokenness.

I AM BROKEN. In my brokenness, Jesus is glorified because in my weakness, His power is made perfect.

I thought that having high standards meant that whatever guy or guys I eventually date have to have all of their lives together before entering into a relationship. I have to have my whole life together before letting someone else in.

Lies lies lies.

Who am I to dictate how Jesus should love on me, how He should heal me? What if He wants to use someone else as a vessel of His love to bring me closer to His heart? He does it in my friendships all of the time.

Because of who I am in Jesus, I deserve to be pursued. I deserve to be led in a relationship. I deserve to be in a relationship where intentions are clear, where I am fought for. I deserve honesty. I deserve vulnerability. So do you, friend.

I want to go back to my expectations for love when I was little. I refuse to let Christian boys discourage me from holding out for Godly men. I want to look at deficiency or imperfection and be convicted that now is the time that Jesus is to be glorified.

Brothers and sisters, you are worthy of love. We are not mess-ups, we are children of the King, radically loved by the Son. Wherever you are in life, allow Jesus to pursue you. Let’s keep chasing after His heart with full confidence that He is chasing after ours. Let’s not put limits on how He wants to love us.

You are not a burden, friend. You are worthy of love, you are worthy of being pursued.

Let’s be seen as we are, giving all fear to Him. Let’s be seen and let’s be pursued.

Jesus is Lord. And He’s radically, desperately, and irrationally in love with you.

I’m praying for you.

my dad.

 

When I was three, my elbow was dislocated as a result of an airplane ride gone awry.

Despite the agonizing pain, I fought against going to the hospital with every ounce of my three-year-old being. I remember being in the back of our Barney-colored van exclaiming through tears, “Dad can just pray over it! I don’t need to go to the hospital!”

Maybe fear was part of the reason why I didn’t want to go. But a significant factor was also the sheer irrelvency of the hospital. Why go to the hospital to get a doctor when Dad could just pray over it?

Prayer was normal in my house. Expecting the unexpected was expected growing up. Radical trust was a common theme.

This is why I thank God for my dad. My dad embraced his spiritual leadership, creating an environment of unceasing prayer. Growing up, I saw my dad strive to surrender everything to Jesus. I saw my dad take steps that he didn’t understand and make hard decisions because he understood that God would provide.

In everything, he pointed us to prayer. In every heartbreak, every knee scrape…prayer. Literally, every knee scrape. There was nothing too insignifcant to call in God involved. In all things, my dad brought us to our heavenly Father.

My dad has shown me how to relentlessly pursue Jesus in prayer. He has shown me how to live a life of prayer but moving boldly, by loving radically. I have seen my dad wrestle with hard decisions. In that, I have seen how God is the God of clarity and that He does reveal Himself. My dad has taught me that God is not outdone in faithfulness. That when we step with faithfulness and boldness, God will bless. When we are taking everything to prayer, we don’t need to agonize over what is the right step we just need to go.

I have seen my dad radically love. I have seen him love people who have wronged him, who are not easy to love. I have seen my dad radically forgive and I have seen him sacrifice his pride to build bridges that perhaps would have been more comfortable left unbuilt. I have seen my dad be the first one to apologize and work tirelessly to repair relationships, even when he is not in the wrong.

I have seen my dad feel righteous anger towards mediocraty and apathy in the Church. He has shown me that emotions are a good thing, that it is okay to feel. He has taught me that God uses emotions, we just have to continually surrender them over to Him. He has taught me how to deeply emphathize with the poor and the marginalized. He has taught me how to channel emotions into getting major stuff done. I have seen him press on when victory seems impossible and exhaustion is all consuming.

My dad taught me that vulnerability is a good thing. I have seen him work through his own flaws, acknowledging them and continually surrendering them to His Savior.

I have never ceased to be amazed by the selflessness with which my dad lives his life. So many times upon passing a homeless person has he stopped and talked, provided meals. Once, he even gave a homeless guy a ride some place on his way to a friend’s house. Actually, it was probably more than once.

The word that best describes my dad is “radical”. He loves radically, serves radically, prays radically. He dives into life wholeheartedly, especially God’s call to fatherhood.

Lots of dads dance with their daughters. But not all dads introduce their daughters to the King and teach them how to dance with Him. My dad did. He does.

Daddy, I love you a lot. Our relationship isn’t perfect because it doesn’t have to be. I don’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to be perfect because we both have a Dad who is. I love living life with you and I love learning from you. I am so grateful for your life and can’t wait for the ways that God is going to continue to work miracles through you.

God is so proud of you, Dad. So many souls are going to be in heaven as a result of your yes. This blog post is so little and my words fall short to express my gratitude to God for giving me to you. Each sentence could exapand into twenty different stories…but just know that I incredibly love you. And miss you a lot.

And really just…thank you.

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