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.

 

 

 

 

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.