The sky hooks of safety

So the Lenten season is over. And I stuck to my goal of not seeking out dates and focusing on my relationship with God.

In that time, I did go on two dates. They were…what they were. And I started to think I was ready to entertain the idea of a relationship with someone other than/as well as God. Evidently I still have some more healing to do, because the resounding answer I felt in my heart and stomach was “nope”.

INDEPENDENCE

That one word can bring so much growth, and yet cause so much turmoil. Yes, it is good to be independent. It is good to want to work towards goals. It is good to have the desire and gumption to dream and act on those dreams.

What’s not good? Doing those things without God.

The Lenten season, and the two weeks since, taught me that I’ve been doing a lot of independent-of-God aspiring lately. Yeah, we’ve talked about it before. The bull in a china shop, the child with tourettes on the roller coaster. Take your pick…the theme is woven throughout this blog. I knew it was a part of me, but I could never name it.

These last weeks…I’ve named it. Independence. Self-protection. In aspiring to achieve a fulfilling life, I turned my focus away from God. I assumed He was right beside me, cheering me on. I decided, like the ignorant human that I am, that I could achieve my goals faster and easier on my own, with Him as my failsafe and cheerleader.

Holy cow, I’m dumb.

Time for some architectural metaphors:

Background: In architecture school, there’s always bad students who don’t consider the reality of their design…namely: how it will stand. When it came time for presentations, we joked that their projects would be held up by “sky hooks” – theoretical hooks in the clouds that held the load of the roof and somehow kept the building from collapsing.

So…in me trying to take on the world by myself, in being independent, in protecting myself…I built this wall. Whatever its need was, it was sturdy, and made of real things, and there was “evident” safety in its structure. It held me up. And then the next problem or goal arose, and I built another wall. And another. And another. And soon enough I’m running around in this maze of walls, trying to figure it all out on my own. My “safety” is now my prison.

God? He’s the sky hooks. You can’t see Him. And that’s crazy scary. You don’t know how He is going to hold you up. How He is going to get you to your goals, His goals for you….but you just have to trust. You have to depend on Him, and know that you are safe. You have to know that your life, your plan and path, is this beautifully wondrous design. It defies all human expectations. And it is capable of happening if you just trust God.

Let your faith be bigger than your fear

Your choices are:

1.  the maze of man-made walls with no window to the future

or

2.  the amazing sky hooks that allow views to the wonder of life surrounding you.

It’s a no-brainer to me now.

Now I just have to actually practice that realization.

He is the sky hooks holding up the design of your life. You just have to get out of your own way to trust the safety of His love, and everything else will come in His time.

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There are lessons everywhere

Church today hit the nail on the head in some feelings I’ve been having lately.

I’ve written about this before. I’m a woman of action. I hate sitting around waiting when I can be out doing. And more to that, (typically) when I set my mind to something, very little keeps me from reaching that goal. I’m determined, courageous, focused.

That person, though? Is a bull in a china shop when it comes to the dating world. I hate the waiting and the seeking. I hate going on dates only to realize this guy isn’t what he says he is in one way or another. That he lied about himself or his intentions. Or is just plain boring. So I go back to the drawing board and I seek more, harder, better, faster, stronger. *cue techno dance break*

I know what I want. WHY CAN’T I FIND IT?!?!?!

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Today’s lesson was the first of 6 Lenten lessons. It was about Abram and his life. In Genesis 12-18, The Lord comes to Abram to tell him to pack up his stuff and move his family to an unknown place. He’s going to make him famous, and give him more descendants than there are stars. Mind you, Abram is 75 and his wife is barren. But he says, “Alright. That sounds awesome. Let’s do this.” Abram makes a sacrifice to the Lord, creating a covenant between them to honor these promises to each other. 11 years later, there’s still no kid, so Abram takes matters into his own hands. He defies The Lord’s promise. The Lord says, “I will still honor you.” His wife even questions the ability for this to happen, given how old they are. The Lord says, “Why did you laugh at me? Just believe.”

Finally, 24 years later, Sara finally bears Abraham a son.

God came to both of them on many occasions throughout that time period. Reminding them of His promise, of the covenant between them, that He would provide. Sometimes the more impossible the promise, the more frequently The Lord reaches out to remind you he will deliver. All we have to do is believe. Abram asks The Lord how he can know for sure this will happen. God’s response is something to the likes of “The time is not ready yet, but my promises will be fulfilled.”

His promises will be fulfilled.

This lesson today was like a bucket of cold water over my shoulders. I believe in Him, in His goals in my life…but I get restless and try to achieve them faster on my own. I put in effort. I join dating site, after dating site, after dating site. Searching. Trying. Seeking.

And all God asks is that I look to Him. That I keep my promise to Him, as He will to me. That I step back. From rushing. From the computer. And trust Him.

The inverse of this being The Lord’s promise to us and our rebellion in seeking answers of our own means. We broke our promise to Him. We do it daily. When someone breaks a promise with us, we have a tendency to overpower, dominate – to do to them what they did to us. To take matters into our own hands, as Abram did. And God? He still honored His promise. HE STILL HONORS HIS PROMISE. When we walk a life with God, when we truly trust in Him, it doesn’t matter (as much) what others do to us. It doesn’t matter how long it takes. Yes, someone may hurt us, and we may realize that they aren’t to be trusted, or kept close. But we release them. We forgive. We move forward. Yes, it’s frustrating to wait – like an excitable kid in line for his first roller coaster ride. But with God, the plan is so much more wonderful than anything we could have imagined. Why rush for the vanilla, when you can hold out for the mint chocolate chip?

A major part of the Lenten season is about what you’re “giving up”. It becomes fodder at lunches, around the water cooler, in talks with friends. Who is so strong that they can go 40 days without something? But if we step back, really we’re saying: that thing…is essential to my life. And it’s hard for me to live without it. It…this THING…fills me up.

What does that compare with the splendors God has for you? What does that compare with the empty tomb of resurrection and salvation? He should be what fills us up. Lent has become what we give up. Why don’t we make ourselves empty so He can fill us up?

For me, this “thing” is dating. I bum-rushed it like a rookie cornerback looking for his first sack. I want that joy, that happiness, of having someone by my side who gets me. Who wants to experience life with me. Who will love me through and through and shout it from the mountains. I’ve been searching and fighting and clawing the last 2.5 months, looking for him. When really I should have been looking to Him. So for Lent, I’m stepping back. I will answer responses as they come to me, but I won’t be seeking anything out. I’m refocusing my gaze on where it should have always been. On Him. Because in Him lies my ultimate promise and my ultimate mate. He knows and has already picked out the man who is my equal whole. He knows the man who will take my hand and my heart and treat it with compassion (and passion)…because He created him. And who am I to argue with that?

I honor my covenant with Him, He honors it with me. That’s how it works, folks.

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On matters of the heart

The first months of dating have been unsuccessful, borderline downright discouraging. Men who lie. Men as dumb as cardboard boxes. Men who don’t know how to open up. Cowards. Bores. You get the picture…

While unsuccessful, it has continued to teach me about what I want out of a relationship. That I want someone who will stand beside me bravely, not paralyzed with fear. That I want someone passionate about us, as I will be to him. Someone so excited with our love that he will yell it from the rooftops. Someone who will love me unconditionally as God does. Whose love in Him will show through in his character as a wonderful, loving spouse, not motivated by fear or external factors, but by his love of God, and by the love I give him, given to me by God. An unabashed, unwavering, unfaltering love.

I’m also beginning to learn that my timeframe is not the timeframe in question. I can’t rush these things, any more than I can make the earth spin backwards. Love and marriage are gifts given to mankind by God. It is His will. Yes, there are marriages that are entered into with the wrong motives, or become filled with the wrong motives over time to the extent that the only healing to be done is walk away. But you do so, bravely, with God. Knowing His love for you is unending and that His plan is greater than any you can imagine. And those plans can’t be rushed.

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Forgetting that the timeline is not yours can lead to a lot of miserable feelings. Doubt. Hurt. A lack of faith in the path your life is taking. It is a dark place. Reminding myself that it is not only up to me as to my path is a daily chore. Remembering that there is a love out there meant for me, my gift from God, is hard to swallow in the dark moments. But it is true. God tells me that there is a love out there for me, a man who will love me without condition or fear, whose heart overflows with love for me, because God is in it.

And so I pray that the heart of my future husband will be filled with God just as He is in mine. And when that happens, watch out for the fireworks…

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Wake up, Sleeping Beauty…

…this ain’t no fairy tale.

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I’ve had this thought swirling around in my head for awhile. The pieces and parts. And the other day it finally clicked. Disney has ruined me.

I spent my life growing up thinking “Some day my prince will come” and that we will “live happily ever after” despite all odds. I know I’m not alone in saying that as a girl, I – on more than one occasion – spent a wish on “I hope so-and-so and I live happily. EVER. AFTER.”

So far, a couple relationships, a failed marriage, and two dates in…I think my life is more like Mulan’s: “I’ll make a man out of you…”

Is it so darn hard to find a man with a backbone and his sh!t together? Driven and compassionate? Strong and loving? Or did Disney make them all up?

Is this one of those build-a-bear things, but instead I build-a-man?

I have to think that he’s out there somewhere. The guy who can handle my stubbornness, and see that it comes from an intense drive that also provides intense love. The guy who will stand strong for us and our happiness, and yet delicately cradle and care for the heart I give him. Who will keep me on my toes intellectually, but also make me laugh so hard my stomach hurts. Who will provide, protect…and love.

Perhaps that thought is just my own Disney movie playing in my head.

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You’re doing WHAT in your profile picture?!

In the last week of beginning my foray into online dating, I’ve noticed a couple things. For a the sex that it is said takes the most selfies, these doofuss-es online are REALLY bad at it.

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So for the bozos out there snapping picture after picture, thinking, “Yeah! I’m the MAN! Every woman is going to want me when they see this glamour shot!”…please adhere to these tips:

1. Make sure we can see your mug. Unless it’s not worth seeing, then I’m not sure what to tell you. I’m sure that sunny vista behind you that you’re trying to get in your shot is lovely, but it makes it hard for us fairer sex to see your face. I know we all say personality matters, but it’s that initial glimpse of your face that decides whether we want to get to know you. See also: It doesn’t work in your favor to use pictures of Halloween as your profile pic. You know, the one where you’re wearing a mask.

2. Don’t take your picture in the bathroom. Or at least, don’t make it obvious. I know there’s a mirror in there, but your phone (unless you still operate in the stone age) has a reverse camera. Take use of it. You can snap that puppy anywhere. Or better yet, browse through pictures of you traveling, having fun with friends, or at events where you’re dressed nicely. I promise they will all look better than you standing in a batman shirt in front of your dirty shower curtain (true story).

3. Speaking of batman, try to make sure the pic you choose from the pile, or the day you set out to take a selfie, you’re not wearing a shirt with a ridiculous saying on it, let alone expletives. I don’t need to know you’re a FBI (Female Body Inspector) or that you’ve got a “long schlong”. Try to find something respectable to wear. Unless that IS your most respectable piece of clothing, in which case, I’ll just merrily hit that “X” next to your name and move right along.

4. While we’re on the subject of inappropriate, let’s take a break from the profile picture and talk about your username choice. “Pu$$ydestroyer69″ [my $$ emphasis]…not gonna catch the ladies. Or at least not the right ones. Unless our definition of “right” is different, in which case, go on destroying. Don’t get the clap.

5. Also inappropriate? Drugs in the picture. Either as the only thing in your picture, or you doing them in your picture. This also encompasses smoking. I realize not every woman may feel that way, but this one does. So…on second thought….if you do smoke, put up a pic of you smoking. It saves me time of finding that out later and I can just move right along.

6. Don’t flash gang signs. Especially if you’re a clean cut white boy in a polo. Yeah, you, bro. You’re so ‘hood. You also look SO DUMB. So thanks for making this choice easy. X. Moving right along.

7. Duck face. I thought it was just a dumb girl craze. Evidently boys do it too. Who knew. Guess what? You look just as dumb as they do.

8. Don’t, for the love of God, upload a sideways picture. ROTATE. If I have to even contemplate turning my head sideways to see your bad profile pic choices, it’s not going to happen. You obviously don’t know how to use a computer, or are just too lazy to care. X. Next.

9. Try to upload a recent or relevant picture. It says you’re 28 but you look 14. Not up for jailbate, kiddos. And I don’t think your mommy will be happy with how you’re spending your internet time. And if you are actually 28, or 35, or 42…UPLOAD A RECENT PICTURE. I want to see the weight you gained…or lost. The tattoos or piercings you acquired (because I need to know if I’m hitting that X or lingering). What I don’t need is a picture from your high school graduation. Unless you’re telling me that’s all the education you got. In which case, X.

So. There it is. The short list of what not to do. I’m sure there’s more, but I’m so frightened for online humanity that I’m choosing to stop there and not seek out any more crazy pictures.

Until next time,

Cuddlez69*

*This is a joke with a girlfriend. It is NOT my online dating username.

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