(My) Real Relationship Goals

Hey, how is it going? Hope you are having an awesome day! This topic is one that has been on my mind lately. If you are on social media at any point, you will probably see something along the lines of #RelationshipGoals. You will see probably something extraordinary picture between a girlfriend and a boyfriend. It seems to me like just some of the what used to be ordinary things have become extraordinary, but also some of the things are just downright absurd to think about (just my thoughts, you can think as you please). Now I really don’t like calling it goals, because I think that makes it out to be like “if you don’t achieve this than your relationship isn’t good enough or you aren’t happy together”, and I just don’t think that is right. However since it is a big topic in our relationship driven society I’ll give you a few of mine. I have come up with a few things that, even though I have never personally been in a relationship, is what I would like to see. Now understand, that these are not foolproof and everything will be just peachy all the time.

1) Put God First — Always. Every Single Time. No Matter What. Now first, I would want to prepare myself before actually entering in a relationship (If you want to see what I have to say about that I would encourage you to read While I’m Waiting (Becoming the Right One Before Pursing the Right One). Proverbs 3:6 says this: “Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” I truly believe that when you put God first in your relationship, and seek his guidance in both the good and bad times, your relationship will flourish. 1 John 4:8 says, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” When you both know God truly, and know and have experienced His love, you will truly know how to love someone. Think of it like a dare I say it a love triangle (Now before you start bashing me let me explain). Think of it like this: You have God at the top of the triangle, next you have yourself at one of the lower corners and your partner at the other, both having God at the top of the triangle, and both growing together at the same time. I truly believe that in a relationship, I am to lead you closer to God than closer to myself. Understand that I am not perfect and that I cannot fill a void that only God can fill, it will never happen. I want our relationship to honor God and lead us both closer to Him than draw us away from Him. A relationship built on Christ is a relationship that will last.

2) No Playing Games, Make Your Intentions Known — End of story. Your relationship is either leading to something bigger (Marriage) or you are wasting your time. Now I’m not saying that you are proposing on the first date or anything. However, as you progress through the relationship, you should be able to tell if you can see a long future with them. It is like this quote from Jefferson Bethke, “Dating with no intent to marry is like going to the grocery store with no money. You either leave unhappy or take something that isn’t yours.” Think about that, would you like for your future husband or wife running around dating like it is a game? I know I wouldn’t, not only would I think it might cause some hurting, but it would also make me question someone’s commitment. I think that when you know that games are being played, your trust goes right down the drain, because you don’t know whether someone will be with you for the next day or the next week. With your trust gone, it will nearly be impossible to have a thriving relationship without trust.

3) Accept the Past Good and Bad — A big one right here, everything that I have done in the past has made me who I am today, that includes the good and the bad. Yes, I believe that I have some good things in the past that I am proud of. However, I have also done things that I am not proud of. Now I can’t go back and change everything, and I want you to understand that. However, you can start new and write the future. Like I said I have done things in my past that I’m not proud of, and I brought those to God, asked for forgiveness, and He has made me new. Just like I know other people bring baggage from their past. Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Just as Christ has forgiven me for my past, I want to be so close that we can share the past with each other and understand that God has forgiven us, and we won’t hold it against each other.

4) Tell Me When I Do Something Right and Wrong– I think this is a big key, sometimes when you aren’t told that you are doing a good job, you only feel that you can only be doing a bad job. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Encourage one another, and build each other up” I think that it is huge for someone to tell their significant other that they see them trying and doing a good job, especially if one of their love languages is words of affirmation (that’s a totally different topic, but check out that book if you have the chance). Now to saying when I do something wrong. If I do something wrong, I’m big on wanting someone to tell me about it. I mean how would I know if it bothers you if you don’t tell me, I can’t read minds, and since I’m a guy you pretty much have to tell me, I don’t take hints very well. I know that if I keep doing something that is wrong I will just keep hurting you if you don’t tell me. If you tell me, then I would be able to do my best to correct it and do better.

5) Sex Will Wait — Plain and Simple. God’s intent for sex is within marriage and we will follow that. Not waiting is not only dangerous but will definitely lead someone to not be happy. We will not be influenced by this world’s distorted view of sex. It was created by God, holy and pure and we will follow His will on the matter. If you want your relationship to be different this one is definitely one to consider. Plus, how awesome will it be to say that you waited, and then have one awesome time starting on your wedding night.

6) It’s A Relationship, Not a Contract — I see this all the time in relationships nowadays. It seems like one or the other thinks that they control each others lives and if they aren’t spending each and every minute talking or being with each other than the other person doesn’t love them. I think that is absurd. First, I want to build a trust that I wouldn’t put myself in a position that wouldn’t put our relationship in jeopardy. Next, if we are in a relationship, it’s not like we signed a contract or a binding agreement, where you had to be with me every single chance of free time that you get. No, if you want to go hang out with your friends or go do something then go do it. You aren’t legally binded to me in any way, shape or form. I want to be able to trust you enough like I said that you and I wouldn’t put ourselves in positions where we would jeopardize our relationship. If we set it up like a contract and had all these rules and such, someone would get unhappy really quick, and our relationship could be ruined quickly.

7) It is Better to Give Than to Receive — It truly is. Don’t think about how much or what you can get from someone in a relationship, but how much you can help and give someone in a relationship. If all you do is take, take, and take, you are consuming and not contributing in the relationship, especially if you go with the, “you get out what you put in method” before long if all you do is take the other person will stop putting in. Now to the giving, doesn’t it feel awesome when you help someone out and you see that it makes them feel better? How awesome would that be to do that each and every day to the person that you love, now I’m not saying it is easy, but I feel that it truly more blessed to give than to receive.

8) It’s a Marathon, Not a Race — It seems like today we have gotten to the point that we want everything NOW! “He hasn’t said this to me, yet so he must not love me” or “She hasn’t done this for me, so she must not like me.” That is absurd, when you start using things in relationships I think you put yourself on the road to unhappiness. Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean you have to. You want your relationship to stand out from the rest and honor God. When you start making rash quick decisions, someone is bound to get hurt. Remember, life is a journey not a race, no one is trying to hurry up and die. So just enjoy the journey with someone and enjoy doing life together.

9) Never Stop — I’ll close with this point, I was introduced to this song and haven’t stopped listening to it since. It is called “Never Stop” by Safetysuit, and quite honestly, stop reading this and go listen to it. The moral of the song is I will never stop loving and pursuing you. I think that nowadays that we seem to get out of the beginning phase of the relationship we tend to stop pursuing and start getting complacent, we get in trouble, because we forget to keep doing the things that attracted the other person to us in the first place. No matter what keep pursuing, keep learning and loving each other, keep getting to know each other, and never stop growing closer with each other, and certainly never stop growing closer and leading each other closer to God in the process.

Like I said, these are foolproof and just my thoughts, I mean take them as you wish, especially considering myself, one who has never had a relationship and had that kind of experience. I just thought that some of these might help you in yours, have an awesome day!!

(Un)Masking It (I’m Not A Superhuman, I Am Just A Man)

Have you ever put on a mask? I’m not really talking like a mask that you might wear to a ball of something but like a mask to hide yourself from someone to get found out. You think that putting on a mask will suddenly take away all of your insecurities and suddenly give you a perfect look like a superpower give a superhero. I know I have put on a mask before to try and gain the acceptance or make myself look good to someone else. Kind of like this example that unfortunately I tend to do from time to time.

Andy Mineo’s song Superhuman pretty much can explain everything about what this post is about. He says, “that’s why when someone ask how we doin, we tell’em fine, knowing we hurt inside.” When someone I haven’t seen for a while asks me how I’m doing or how college is going I have trained myself to answer with something along the lines of “Yea totally great, everything is going well” when in reality all I can think about is the stress, the anxiety, the sleepless nights, or the trying to make it through the day without having some sort of breakdown and thoughts of is this really worth it? (I know that sounds like a pretty weenie answer but hey I have all of those feelings at some sort of another) So when we put on a mask and make it look like we have it all together when focusing on the external leads us to miss what is on the internal. I know that I can struggle with this big time. I know there is times when i think i might meet so for the first time so what do I do, I’m going to try to dress the best I can and make sure that everything looks good in the outside, where someone would see me or I would talk and act like I have things all together when in reality I don’t.

One of Lecrae’s many lyrics that i take to heart is: “You live for their acceptance, you die from their rejection. Life is a cage, a prison of everyone’s approval. We fight for acceptance and struggle so you don’t ever lose it, but livin’ for their acceptance has got us stressing. Insecure people obsessed with leaving impressions” When we try to live for the acceptance of others we put on a mask to hide our insecurities and vulnerabilities because we are scared to be rejected for our failures, but it feels like we aren’t really living because we are just showing the masked hollow self rather than our real, vulnerable self. It’s kind of like Superman and kryptonite in relation to us and our sins. See kryptonite was superman’s weakness just like sin is our weakness. Sin hollows us out leaving us empty because we are never satisfied with it, but Jesus makes us new, He makes us alive again. You see Jesus sees all of that, He sees the real me, the unmasked me, the vulnerable me, the sinful me, and He says I accept you even with all of those things. I died for your sins and failures, and you don’t have to try harder or live with the guilt or weight of those burdens anymore, because you are set free from those chains. Jesus was perfect something we could never be, took the sins of the world when he wore the cross. Although I don’t think that we could live without good company; so when you have those friends that accept you, the real unmasked you, I would suggest you keep them close.

When we see ourselves as not superhuman and perfect we can take off the mask because we know that we are broken and Jesus sees all of that and makes us new again. In conclusion I’ll leave you with a quote from Jefferson Bethke’s book that I found awesome and a few lyrics by Andy Mineo that influenced this post: “My identity, my worth, and my purpose in life were wrapped up in my behavior and earning others’ approval. Because of this I sacrificed my life trying to make others think I was a good person. Who cares if I actually was? I just wanted others to think I was. All my energy was devoted to keeping people’s perceptions of me in good standing. I wonder how many others behave this way. As long as others think we are good, we really don’t care what our lives actually look like. Outside reputation is more valuable than personal transformation.” I’m not a superhuman, I am just a man, I’m nothing more than a man lost, dead in my sin, so here I am alive in Your hands.”

There is nothing more freeing than being able to gather regularly with people who see me without the mask, without the hiding, without the act. We all come in with baggage. We all come in trying to find out way. We all come in with broken edges. However, broken people living life together is a beautiful picture.

Why There Is Nothing I Could Ever Do To Make Me Good Enough

How’s it going? Hope you are having a great day and glad you could stop by and read what I have to write on this topic. Do you like to earn or work for things of have a yearning to be good enough? I know I do, I’ll be honest I’ll be quite honest with you if I don’t work to earn it I really don’t feel like I have really earned it. Something like that’s if it’s given to me for free either a) it must not be that good anyway or b) someone is trying to get me to do something and this is just a bribe to draw me in.  Now let me tell you that throughout the years I have realized that there is one thing that I know understand that I could NEVER do earn: The love, mercy, and grace of Jesus Christ. This one has been pretty tough to think about especially when I have been on both sides of the fence on this one before. I have been reading a lot of books lately and one that really hit me deep was Jefferson Bethke’s “Jesus>Religion, Why He Is So Much Better Than Trying Harder, Doing More, and Being Good Enough.” He does an outstanding job teaching and showing how there is nothing that I could ever do to earn the love, grace, and mercy that Jesus displayed on the cross. He can describe it much better than I can; so if I don’t make sense I would highly suggest you to take a look at his book or some of his videos like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IAhDGYlpqY (even if I do make sense check it out anyway!).

In today’s society there seems to be a lot of rules that we have to follow, right? Rules that we may or may not agree on don’t you think? Rules that don’t even make any sense and you think to yourself how can that even be a rule? Rules that state you have to do so and so to separate us from the good and the bad. I’ll carry on a conversation I’ve had with myself so just take a ride with me. Have you ever thought or asked yourself the question “Are you a good person?” Then you answer yourself something like this, “I mean yeah, I haven’t really done anything major (Big Sins) like killing someone or anything so yeah I’d say I’m pretty a pretty good person. That’s when I start thinking that I’m good enough. That I haven’t broken any major laws or anything like that so obviously that puts me above those people. I mean I answered this question with the same exact answer. So then what do I ask myself, “So what makes someone a bad person (sins)?” Well let’s think here, “murderers, definitely so, liars for sure, the adulters or sexually immoral and lust obviously, those that steal, those that are greedy and don’t think they can ever have enough, I could go on and on and on and on.” Then take a look at my life, ever lied [✓], ever lusted [✓], ever stolen anything [✓], ever been greedy or never have had enough material things [✓]. Well let’s see there if you count all those and check back with my answer that makes me a pretty bad person too don’t you think? I’d definitely say so. Well then you look at those and then you try to start evening out everything by weighing the good against the bad. I try to start remembering ever little good thing that I had ever done to try even things out. you try to mask it. I’ll put it this way have you ever tried to have a perfect day? I;m talking perfect, no thinking bad thought, no doing nothing wrong action wise, not saying anything bad about anyone or anything. Yea I tried that once and it took me about 10 minutes to mess up. Then I started realizing that no matter what I’ll fail no matter how hard I try to be perfect or have a how many things that I try to do good that I will always have a blip on the screen because I’ll mess up, it is inevitable for me because I’m human and I’m sinful, I do bad things. It says in Hebrews 4:13 that “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” That God sees everything about us, the good, the bad, they ugly, and you know what since He is God, He has pretty much every right to send us to Hell, because He is perfect and we are imperfect. But guess what, it doesn’t end there. Probably the most known verse in the world says this, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son that whoever believes in Him shall have eternal life.” If you don’t know Jesus is God’s son and He sent Jesus who was without sin, 1 John 3:5 says, “but you know that He appeared so that He might take away our sins. And in Him is no sin.” (Never did anything wrong, ever, everyday was like that perfect day that I was telling you about). He came into this world and took all of our sin on the cross, died for us, and defeated death and sin and rose on the third day from the grave. As humans, we are dead in our sins, and sin separates us from God. 1 John 4:10 says “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” when God sent Jesus to Earth and He lived a perfect life without sin, He became the only sacrifice that could be made in that we could have a relationship with God. 1 John 2:2 says, “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” Guess who’s included in the sins of the whole world? You got it me and you. In Romans 3:23 it says, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” Did you get that, if not read it again, the keyword is EVERYONE. You see Jesus lived a perfect life and He set the standard and the thing is me, you, and everyone else could never live up to that standard no matter how good we try to be because we are always going to fall short of that. You see that is what is so amazing is that God so loved us that He would send Jesus as a sacrifice just so we could spend eternity with Him. When we realize that we are broken and that there is nothing that we could ever do to earn God’s love or make us good enough, that is when we get somewhere. We realize that Jesus sees us in our weakness and sinfulness and says, I died for you, it says in Romans 5:8, “God demonstrated His own love for us that while we were still sinners that Christ died for us.” We realize just how great that His love is for us that He would do something like that. You might say “well that’s too good to be true (stuff like that just happens in fairytales) well I’ve got something for you, “It’s too good not to be true”. Throughout the Bible stories when Jesus was alive they are all about sinners and Jesus not showing them condemnation, but grace. Such as the woman caught in adultery and was about to be stoned. Jesus had every right to condemn her to death, but he said “Those without sin can throw the first stone” Guess what Jesus was the only one without sin and He didn’t throw one, and then He says something that really hits here, He says “I do not condemn you, now go sin no more.” Sometimes we like to read that backwards and think it says “Go sin no more, and I do not condemn you” but it doesn’t Jesus sees us in our weakness and says I love you, I don’t condemn you believe in me and my sacrifice and what I did you you on the cross and have a relationship with me.  So going back to earning something, I’ve realized that simply “no” there is nothing that I could ever do to earn the love, grace, and mercy that was bought with Jesus’ blood that is freely given to us, because we could never do anything that could ever make us right with God, only Jesus dying on the cross could do that. Now you say well you act like you are good enough and you try to follow all of these rules and that I’m such a hypocrite. Well guess what you’re right but you’re also wrong. I’ll end with this: Yes i tend to follow a lot what seem to be rules, but I more or less like to call them something else, I’ll say standards, because rules give you a good side and a bad side. I do this because I have seen myself in my darkest and I have seen the power of Christ work in me and His love and His grace and His mercy at my lowest, and therefore I want to live like He does, not because if I do I’ll get special treatment or anything, but because I have seen the great joy He has brought me and brought many other people and I want to show that and have others experience that same joy and that same love and that same grace, that’s why I try to live my life like Christ does, not because there’s something in it for me on this world. Yes, I am a hypocrite, I’ll say not to do things and then turn right around and do them, or say do this and then turn right around and do something else, but guess what, I know that I’m going to fail, I know that I’m going to mess u, but I also know that I’m a bad person, I have sinned and fallen short (so you can label me a bad person if you want) and there is nothing that I could ever do to make me Good enough in God’s eyes. However, I know that through Christ’s on the cross and in my heart by the fact that I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and I know that believing in Him is the only way to Heaven that is the reward for me, and I want you to see that reflection of Christ in me. It took me time to realize but know I know that I’m never going to be good enough and there is nothing I could ever do to earn it. but through Jesus’ sacrafice on the cross I’m able to see that He loves me even though I’m not and was willing to die for me and you. He sees all of our sins but He doesn’t call us sin He calls us saved. Not because of who I am
But because of what He’s done.
Not because of what I’ve done
But because of who He is.

Sex and the 3 H’s

How’s it going? Hope you are having an awesome day! This is one of the hardest topics for me to write on especially when I can struggle in some of these areas, but I thought that I would talk a little about one of the most publicized and pressured topics in society today: Sex. If you go anywhere (Take look at the magazines the next time you are waiting to check out at the grocery store, I would almost guarantee it says something about sex on the cover in bold letters or it’ll have some ripped guy with 18″biceps, an 8 pack set of abs in a speedo of some sorts, or some girl who is wearing some kind of spandex or bikini that is showing enough but just barely to put it on the cover and sell it there), watch or look at anything (Heck, I can barely look at Twitter anymore without something going across my timeline that flaunts it, and dare I start about the new movie 50 Shades of Grey), you will probably see something or another about sex. Now I’m not here to say sex is bad (God created it so it must be good), but it is bad when it is used in the wrong sense (not in marriage). I’ll be totally honest with you, I’m a virgin still and quite honestly I’m pretty proud about it, it has not been easy but I try not to put myself in those types of positions. Also, I’m not here to condemn you to hell if you aren’t still a virgin (I know some have been abused sexually and are in a bondage and were forced and I feel the upmost sympathy for those caught in sexual trafficking in the past and even today where it is more relevant as ever). It says in Romans 3:23 that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, I’m a sinner just like everyone else and need God’s grace just as much as everyone else. I’ll agree you on this topic, with sex being publicized so much in our culture it is hard not to see or think about it in some sort or another. I’m want to talk about three “H’s” that I have come up with the next time something related to sex comes up. I’m not going to say that these will make a difference, but just a few thoughts here that we tend to follow as humans.

1. Hormones — I’ll start with this one. If you’re a guy it doesn’t take much unfortunately for this one to kick in, and guess what when you start trusting those, you are probably going to be in T-R-O-U-B-L-E. All you can think about is pleasure, and that quick high that you will get. Then what, you want it again and again and again, that’s what sin does to you. It gives you this craving of a worldly pleasure that you can’t get enough out, but seem to feel so empty after. Then all you can think about it “YES, YES, YES” I have to have it. The word “NO” never even crosses your mind. So then what do you do, you go to enormous lengths to get it, hurting plenty of people in the process I’m sure, just to have that empty feeling and craving again. 1 Corinthians 6:18 says “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” I have been reading and this usually means but not always when having sexual relations outside the boundaries of marriage. Think of it this ways guys or girls. Next time time someone who looks great on the outside will obviously will spark your hormones, but it’s time to start looking deeper than skin. Even though her heart is black, her exterior’s beautiful. She’ll take your life away, strip away your joy. Pretends that she gon build you up but she’s just gon destroy you” (Lecrae, Killa, take a listen to that one he can tell it like it is). Let’s just say following your hormones is almost a guarantee for leading you down a path of destruction.

2. Head — Proverbs 28:26 says “he who trusts in his own mind is a fool” Hmm… or  Also in Colossians 3:2-5 ESV, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” I’ll be quite honest it is extremely hard especially for me who tends to overthink things, “I usually get the, YES YES YES, but at the same time NO NO NO”, kind of like in James 1:8 where it says, “He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”Also, it is pressed and drilled into our heads in our culture today. Yep, give your body to him and he will love you even more and never leave (never seems to work out like that does it, that’s usually when the guys thoughts are more on lust rather than love), or the peer pressure “If you don’t do that your a big sissy, and then your pride factor kicks in (I can’t be put down by my boys like that so I’ll go through it to prove to them now). It says in Romans 12:1-2, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Now I’m not going to say it is easy to do this especially with sex being so publicized today, but it is a narrow road to follow, but with God leading you I know that He will guide you on the right path. Let’s just say I’d go with the head over the hormones any day.

3. Heart — Jeremiah 17:9 says “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?”, or in Matthew 5:27-28 says “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” OUCH that one hurt, I’ll be honest with you I’ve committed that one before, and it is not a good one. Or this one: Matthew 15:19, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” Now those hit pretty hard especially when they say follow your heart. However, is also says in Proverbs 3:5-7 to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil, and again in Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” When we do these things, and put God first in our hearts. I truly believe we will able to make better decisions concerning the topic of sex, and will be able to flee from these temptations when they arise. As in my cases it’s the heart that is telling me “No, wait for God has greater plans than this momentary pleasure” When you seek with your heart your wife you may think, “when I give my heart away to my husband or wife one day I want to share this amazing thing only with her” Rarely we do, but I think when you believe you will faithful to one woman in your heart, those momentary pleasures will not even cross your mind, because you know that they aren’t worth it.

Now I’m not here to say everyone is perfect, heck I know I’m not and struggle with sins in this context. However, when you realize the way God intended sex to be (1 woman and 1 man in marriage), you will realize just how beautiful it is. In James 1:2-3 is says, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know hat when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. If you are put in a situation like this think of it as this way, saying no isn’t just being faithful to my future spouse, but also being faithful to God and His intended ways. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. As before mentioned God created sex to be holy, and even if you have messed up and stumbled in this area know that Jesus died for those sins too, if you come with a heart full of repentance and ask for His forgiveness, and He will pick you up and dust you off by His power and forgiveness.

While I’m Waiting (Becoming the Right One Before Pursuing the Right One)

Hey, hope you are having a fantastic day, and I’m thrilled you took time out of your day to read what I have to say. Well pretty much everyone knows what today is, Valentines Day, and pretty much you have two options: first, you have an awesome night with your significant other (Although I would suggest if you do have a significant other you treat them like it’s Valentines Day everyday), or you are like me, you sit at home in bed with a tub of ice cream and watch a Friends marathon on Netflix (ok maybe not that far but still), and if you’re like me you have mastered this tactic due to never having a date on Valentines Day, and even more so if you’re like me you’ve gotten so good at it you’ve never been on a DATE, much less had a relationship! (Kinda cheesy but I had to put that in there). Anyways, if you’re like me even more all you can think of sometimes is, “What’s so wrong with me that I can’t find anyone who is attracted to me, I mean my grandma tells me I’m the most beautiful person there is, so it must be that everyone else is wrong, because grandma is always right” Moving on through this post I’m going to try and explain what I feel is the best possible thing to think about before pursing a relationship with someone else, “Becoming the Right One Before Pursuing the Right One”. You might ask, what in the world does that mean? Here is my answer from a guy’s perspective, It’s not about finding the right girl but becoming the right guy (I have certainly learned this going through my college years at Oklahoma State University) I want to talk about a few things that I think that would help and am trying to instill in myself.

1. Put God First  —  This goes for single or in a relationship, always put God first. 1 John 4:19 says “We love because he first loved us.” I can only learn to love someone else when I truly understand God’s love first. If you feel like you have this void in your heart or your life, you must understand that that part can only be filled by God not by someone of this world. You must understand that Jesus is the only one who can complete you, and until you understand and receive His love first, you won’t be able to give it to anyone else. Putting God first while your still single will be critical to keeping Him first when you find someone.

2. Learn to Commit, No More “Just for Funzies” — During your single years, you are pretty much free to do whatever you want. However, I think that we must learn how important commitment is and instill it in ourselves before we even think about a relationship, because commitment to someone else (in the good and bad times) is critical in a successful relationship. Staying with what sounds fun will keep you finding yourself empty and moving on to something else when it’s not as fun or when it goes bad. Same goes when you do think about finding someone else, they must see that you are able and willing to commit, if not you will leave them and yourself hurt when you find someone who meets your needs better. Your commitment must be also more than a physical commitment, you need to be deeply rooted and committed to a companionship. Find something to commit to, whether it is your grades or school (I’m probably not as committed there as I should be but that’s for another discussion). As for me, I’m committed to work (I’ll talk more about that later on) but also I am pretty committed to working out (If you see me it may not look at it but I do everyday). If you would have told me that I would be that committed to something like that before I would have laughed in your face. Anyways, find something you enjoy and stick with it through the good and the bad.

3. Learn about the Real You — You would think, that sounds stupid, I’ve been with me my entire life, of course I know me. Here’s what I’m saying, learn about the inner you and learn about what irks you and what you like to see in other people other than physical attractiveness, it’s your character. Learn about where you struggle or where you need to improve other than physical, is it your honesty, trustworthiness, or another important trait. Is it your quick to anger or easily offended or do you need to become a better listeners like in James 1:19, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry”, (I’ve heard multiple times how guys need to become better listeners) , how do you think it would go the first time your partner did something that you didn’t like and you lashed out harshly at them? Probably not so well; therefore, maybe it is something like that you might want to work out before you pursue someone.

4. Do Things You Wouldn’t Be Able to Do if You were in a Relationship — Time is precious and it is hard to find time to do everything that you want to. It will be even harder to do those things when you are in a relationship especially if one of you love languages is spending quality time together (If you don’t know what a love language is I would encourage you to read the 5 Love Languages). Whether it is hanging out with your friends, doing something on your bucket list, or seeing someone you love every chance you get, go do it. I’m not saying you are going to completely neglect those things when you start a relationship, but you will have to make time sacrifices unfortunately.  

5. Be Ambitious About Your Future — Now I’m not saying that you need to know what year you are going to retire, what investments you are going to make, or what your 401k or retirement plan is going to look like (I’m not even sure what a 401k means). However, I would suggest you embrace your near future. If you are about to graduate, start looking at where you might like to have your first job out of college, or where you think the opportunity might come. Put the time in now where you will be able to put yourself in a good position for your near future.

6. Check Yourself — What do you mean by that do you say? I think you need to check yourself about what you want in a relationship before you get into one. Do you only think about what the other person can give to you, or only the gifts, or dare I say it just the physical relationship itself (I would say if you just want a physical pleasures of the relationship you might definitely need to check yourself). However, do you see what you can give to someone else, do you see and enjoy the thought of simply doing life with someone, feeling joy when he/she feels joy, and yes, hurting and suffering right there with him/her when he/she is hurting, and being there to help whenever you can. When you realize it is better to give than to receive, and seeing what you an give to someone rather than what you can get from them, you are on the right track. That is one thing I am trying to instill in myself, I want to show someone a love like the way that I’ve experienced Christ’s love.

7. Love who You are — Simple as that. God created you in His image, and there is no one else like you. Psalm 139:14 says “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” God knew what He was doing when He created you. Trust me this may be the hardest one for me to work on. For some reason I always seem myself as less than someone else especially when it comes to relationships. No matter what, I will always think “There’s no way that girl would like me, she’s way out of my league” or “There is so many guys that are better than me and would make her happier than I ever could.” I know these are all physical (Honestly, some may think it’s funny but for some reason if you use the 1-10 looks scale, I normally rate myself, as a hard 3, or a soft 4 on a good day) I must realize that there’s definitely better looking guys than me, there’s guys who have ripped muscles and stuff like that, and guys who could buy her the world ( I wouldn’t base too many relationships on having material things though, because those fade and come and go, and you are always left wanting more). I must understand that God created me the way He wanted to and He knew what He was doing, and His opinion is the only one that matter, because like it says, “Beauty can be in vain.”

8. While I Wait — Finish up here, trust me I know it can be hard and painful waiting for that someone special to come into your life. It seems like no one will ever see your worth or think that you are good enough. That no matter what you don’t seem to measure up. I will promise you one thing, when you put God first in you life, He will give you a greater happiness and show you a perfect love that no earthy person ever could, and maybe if it is His will, He may bring someone into your life that could change your life.  I hope you enjoyed reading what I had to say. The single life is a great time in your life even though some might not think it. Embrace being single and enjoy the journey God is taking you until you meet someone, and then enjoy the journey that God takes you both when you are together. It will be worth every minute. I’ll leave you with this song that kind of says what I feel about becoming the right one until you pursue the right one. God Bless!!

I’m waiting, I’m waiting on You Lord

And I am hopeful, I’m waiting on You Lord
Though it is painful, but patiently I will wait

And I will move ahead bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience

While I’m waiting I will serve You
While I’m waiting I will worship
While I’m waiting I will not faint

Though it’s not easy no, but faithfully I will wait

I want to set a disclaimer here that these are not some rules or formula that do this and it will automatically happen, these are just standards that I’m trying to instill in myself because I want to

Grace Like Rain

Hi! Hope you are having a great day and glad you took a few minutes out of your busy life to read what I have to say. I’m new to this whole blog thing so bear with me, I’m sure I’ll ramble and make very little sense (I’m pretty used to shrinking my thoughts into 140 characters or less).

I want being with a topic that has been weighing on my heart lately: Grace

God’s grace is so abundant and so amazing that it is hard (and impossible) for my human brain and heart to comprehend many times, I’ll get to that down the page.  Grace is beautiful when you truly see and experience, again I’ll get to that, but let me start with this:

I read in a book recently by Jefferson Bethke titled “Jesus>Religion” (Check it out, he can explain it a lot better than I can) and a line hit me deep. “Grace is messy, it’s not nice and cute” Just think about that for a second, I know I had to really think. I’ll explain it like this “Grace covers all of our sins” Think about that, sins are messy, I know that ones I have committed are, and to know that grace covers all of those, WOW that must be only a perfect love and perfect grace. When Christ died upon the cross He took on the sins of the whole world, just imagine that (I can’t even count how many sins I committed today).  I think of it this way: Have you ever played in the mud, it is awesome for a little bit but then you get all nasty and have to clean yourself up. When I sin, it is like a mud. Yeah it feels awesome for a bit, but then what you feel that nastiness after a while (or at least I do). Todd Agnew has a song that explains what I want to say about grace, it goes like this: ” Hallelujah, grace like rain falls down on me, and hallelujah, all my stains are washed away, they’re washed away.” When I come to God, broken, fallen, and in repentance He washes away all of my sin. It’s kind of like getting your white shoes (myself) all messy and then having God say “Here I’ve taken these cleaned them, and now they are white again” He puts His hands into my mess and makes me new again. Just like He sent Jesus into the mess of this world to bleed and die for us as the only possible sacrifice to have a relationship with Him. It says when Jesus was beaten and crucified He was nearly beyond recognition (You think that was a little messy, but so beautiful was the outcome when He defeated death and rose from the grave) The thing that is amazing is that we’re washed by the blood of Jesus that was shed on the cross for all of our sins.

Here’s another aspect: If you don’t know I grow grass on sports field for a living, and here’s one thing I think I can relate: Every once in a while the ground gets so hard that we actually poke large holes in the ground to help allow the water to go to the roots and so forth to help the plant grow (It’s kind of a long process so I won’t bore you). Anyways, here is the list: when the ground gets so hard the water just runs off and does nothing. I relate that to myself in this way. Before, and still sometimes, I try to earn grace. I work harder and harder trying to do better things to earn grace thinking that if I become in the right standing with God I’ll be good. Here’s the thing, when I try to do that, my heart becomes like the ground hard. Another verse, 1st Peter 5:5 says “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” When I think that I am proud of myself when I go into one of my “earning grace” phases, I get this sense of pride thinking yea I’m doing so good, and unfortunately before I realized how amazing grace was I thought maybe I only need this grace in certain areas because I’m doing kinda bad there. Then I realize I’m a sinner and since I sin, I’m bad everywhere, and I’m in need of this grace everywhere. There is nothing that I could ever do to earn the grace of God. That’s what is amazing about it, it is freely given. When I realize I don’t have to try hard enough, I experience and realize that I grow because I truly experience grace.

Finally, when I fail, when I am weak because I feel like I have sinned too much, when I feel that water is rushing over my head with everything that I have to do with college and work and everything else. That’s when I go back to the trying harder thing. I have this real fear about messing up, I know it’s going to happen, but for some reason I just don’t like it like many people. I really get scared when things go wrong, because of me. One of my favorite songs is Hillsong’s “Oceans” (I’m sure most of you have heard it but if you haven’t I would strongly encourage you to take a listen) There is a line that goes like this: Your grace abounds in deepest waters.” I relate that to many things during my life, and can sometimes go back to the aforementioned trying harder to earn it part. 2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV says But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Another line in Todd Agnew’s song goes like this: “grace my fears relieved.” I must go back to that and understand that I’m going to mess up, I’m going to fail, I’m going to sin, but that I don’t have to fear. You don’t have to get better or clean yourself up before you run and be covered by God’s grace. He says come as you are. When we do the beautiful part comes in, He washes all of our sins away, like rain, A Grace Like Rain.

image