Letting Go of the “Ideal”

My home church is doing a series right now on Hebrews and how Jesus is better than anything. This got me thinking about why do we as Christians need a reminder that Jesus is better. Throughout the series as well as studying it in my small groups, I realized that we tend to get stuck in looking for the ideal, the ideal Christian life, the ideal Christian community, the ideal Christian relationships. These things in of themselves aren’t bad things, but when we get fixed on finding only the ideal, we look past the perfect plans that God has for us.

We aren’t promised a perfect Christian life, in fact, we are guaranteed trials and tribulations. And we aren’t promised a perfect Christian community because a church and a community is filled with fellow sinners. The same goes for finding an perfect relationship. So why do we strive so hard to look for the ideals?

I think that part of it is that it is ingrained in society. We are supposed to look and act a certain way because that is what those who came before us told us. For example, for a long time I felt like I was going against the grain because I was a women going into law enforcement. At one point, I had even been told that I would not find a good Christian man to marry because I was not going to look like the ideal Christian wife.

I remember standing at the crossroads of two paths: one being the path to what I was being told was the ideal and the path to what God was leading me to. I struggled with trying to understand why people in the Christian community were telling me that following God’s direction for my life would lead me to no longer being considered a good Christian. But let me let you into a secret, I followed the path to where God was directed me, and not only did I find a job where I could absolutely glorify God, but I also fell in love with a godly man who can lead me spiritually. If I had followed the path to in “ideal” of the people around me, I would not be where I am now and I would’ve ignored God.

Letting go of the “ideal” or “perfect” situations, scenarios, and people has shown me that everyone’s purpose looks different and everyone’s service in the name of the Lord looks different. My fiancé and I will end up with a different looking life then either of our parents, but the one thing that looks the same is the fact that he will be the spiritual leader of our household in the same way that both of our fathers were. I may not be what some people consider the “ideal” Christian wife, but what I do know is that I was faithful to what God called me to. By letting go, I honored God.

Instead of letting the search or the need for the “ideal” to direct you, take a moment and look at where God is directing you. Because at the end of the day, God is better than anything that we could search for or name as the “ideal”.

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Here’s to 2019

As 2018 comes to a close, people are starting to reflect back on things they did or accomplished and things they didn’t get done. People then tend to use these as a frame for creating lists of what they want to get done in the new year. I had a lot of things happen this year to make 2018 an amazing year, and as I was looking back on things, I realized that I was really narrowing myself by only reflecting on this one year.

Three years ago, I attending a conference from the time between Christmas and New Year’s. The conference was looking at missions and a more global perspective of Christianity. This particular conference only happens every three years, so it is currently going on right now. I didn’t go this year, but seeing all the different things from social media got me thinking about how much my life changed directions following that conference.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that my life was completely altered because of that conference. It was at that conference in St. Louis that I began to look at Christianity and missions in a more global and complete perspective. I also saw that missions can be done in many different ways such as through ministries seeking justice for those who need it, running orphanages, translating Bibles, and even through environmental work. It was like a whole new world had opened up for me.

It was because of this conference that I changed my major to Environmental Science and why I spent hours studying Genesis and God’s command for us as His people to take care of the environment. It was because of this conference that I had amazing opportunities such as backpacking through the Amazon jungle this summer.

But the most important thing is that it was at this conference that I truly opened myself up to God’s complete guidance and plan for my life. I remember sitting there with several of my friends from Roger Williams University InterVarsity and truly surrendering.

That week in St. Louis set the stage for where my life has gone since then. I am passionate about the environment because God has shown me that He has placed us as stewards over the environment. I am passionate about helping people and justice for all because God has shown me His heart for the nations and I have adopted that as my own.

I hope and pray that 2019 is a year where God continues to use me and continues to direct my path. So I guess my 2019 list of what I want to accomplish is simple: I want my 2019 to be filled with doing the things that God has in store for me.

When Life Gets the Best of You

I promise myself in May that I was going to be more consistent about blogging. My goal had been one to two posts each week so that you guys had a schedule versus just getting one a month or three in a week. 

I failed that goal in the first week. 

So each of the next months following, I promise myself to get more consistent, but that never happened…surprise, surprise. 

I follow all these other blogs of women who seem to have their lives so together and post anywhere from once a week to every single day which then makes me stressed out and feeling like I must look like a chicken with my head cut off. 

Spoiler alert: I do act like a chicken with my head cut off a lot of the time

So when I get discouraged by these other super bloggers, I tell myself that I’m going to get more consistent. And then Monday hits…

Before I know it, it is Friday, and I didn’t make a blog post. But the thing is, I wasn’t just sitting around doing nothing all week, I was living life. I am working, going to school, going to bible studies, and I’m most importantly enjoy all the little moments such as a facetime date with my boyfriend or a phone call with a friend away at school. 

So what if I’m not the most consistent blogger? 

Life gets the best of me, but there is nothing I would rather have happen. I don’t want to get so caught up in a weekly blog post that I miss the little moments with my family and friends. Those things are way more important then keeping to a schedule. 

Especially as the holidays begin, remember that living in the moment of life is way more important then getting a weekly blog post done or whatever the equivalent is for you. Sometimes it is okay to let life get the best of me. I will always put the small things before a blog post. 

So for those people who keep hoping for a more regularly posting schedule, don’t get your hopes up. If you don’t hear from me, its because I’m living in the moment. 

Four Things from Four Months of Long Distance Dating

So as most of you know, about four months ago, I started dating the most amazing guy ever. It has been an amazing journey so far, and we are both so looking forward to what the future holds for us. I’m going to share four things that I have learned in the last four months.

1. Don’t do a long distance relationship unless you are serious about it

I realize that might sound incredible obvious, but a long distance relationship isn’t for those who are just looking for a relationship. It sucks, especially right now. We haven’t seen each other for a little over a month, and we are both very ready to see each other again in a week. I’m not in this relationship just so I can say I have a boyfriend because there are times when I am with friends who are in relationships, and there I am all by myself because my boyfriend lives six hours away. It is also a lot of work to maintain a long distance relationship. You have to be dedicated to making time, even if it is a ten minute phone call between his class and you driving home from work (We have gotten pretty good at stuff like that). And that kinda leads perfect into #2.

2. Communication is crucial

I know that cheesy. Everyone knows that communication is required to have a successful relationship, but I would say it is even more so when there is distance between you. We don’t have the benefit of very many face to face conversations, so we are having to learn to make the most of phone calls, FaceTime, and texting. This also means we have to learn to be better communicators. For example, I am not typically a big talk on the phone person…before Joey, I pretty much just called my mom, dad, and brother on the phone. So I had to learn how to communicate over the phone. Likewise, Joey had to learn to become a better texter. We both had to learn which helped us feel a little bit more like we met each other in the middle. Not only is different forms of communication important, but being open and vulnerable is also important to communication. You have to be willing to be open about things and how you are feeling because they are not with you everyday, and at the same time, you need to figure out a way to invite them into your life so that there is some normalcy to the relationship. Joey and I regularly talk about our work days, and even the funny things are families did. I don’t know about him, but it makes me feel a little bit more like I was there with him.

3. You are going to have disagreements

I have yet to meet a perfect couple. I wish I could say that Joey and I were, but the fact of the matter is that if you are both humans, you aren’t going to have a perfect relationship free of disagreements. Realizing that sooner rather than later will help when the arguments, disagreements, or miscommunications occur.

4. But these disagreements aren’t going to end you

Talk to each other. Figure out the root of the problem and address it together. Sometimes that means staying up late trying to figure out how to solve the problem. But that also means listening to each other and not getting defensive. Misunderstandings and miscommunications happen all the time, and these can leave people feeling hurt. Whatever you do, don’t go to bed angry with your SO. Talk and Listen. I don’t think I can say that enough. A relationship is a two way street.

 

 

Biblical Feminism: Spiritual Submission

It’s been a while since I wrote a Biblical Feminism post due to life and changes (mostly good things). I’ve been wanting to talk about the idea of submission for a while. It was one of the first topics I came up with when I was brainstorming my other biblical feminism posts (Click here and here to read them), but honestly, there was a part of me that wondered how could I talk about something that I really had little experience in. I always want my posts to be authentic, and most of the time that comes when I have had personal experiences related to the topic. I felt like until recently, that me talking about submission in the context of a relationship wasn’t really fair until I had truly experienced it. Now, don’t get me wrong, I submit to my father since he is an authority figure, and I submit to God. But in both of those cases, it is a father figure that I am submitting to. It is someone who I know at all times has my best intentions in mind, especially when it doesn’t seem like it.

Until recently, I hadn’t really had to venture or wrestle with the idea of submitting to someone who is my peer, who sometimes may be selfish, and who could break my heart. It is a scary thought to be that vulnerable with someone. It means compromising and sometimes completely changing my way of thinking.

In Ephesians 5:22-24, Paul instructs Christian wives to submit to their husbands in the same way that they submit to the Lord.

Sounds great, right?

In our day and age the word submit within the context of a marriage tends to be interpreted as the wife being a doormat and going with whatever the husband wants. That she no longer possess the ability to make her own decisions about things, and instead must do whatever he wants.

That is absolutely not what God intended for a Biblical marriage to look like.

Remember that God made us as equals, but not the same. That means that us women have different roles than the men, particularly in the church. God’s plan was to set the husband as the spiritual leader of the household, and this is not because He sees women as inferior at all. So in Ephesians 5 when the wives are told to submit, it means that we are to follow the leadership of our future husbands and husbands (for those who are married already). We are not to be doormats. In fact when God created Eve for Adam, it was so that he had a helper, a partner. When a Christian marriage is in harmony it is a beautiful thing. There is a gentle give and take that happens where there is respect and honor given to both people involved.

So while this sounds all great and all, how does it stack up when it is actually put to the test? Like how easy is it to actually submit and not just say that I want to?

It’s not always easy. It isn’t easy because sometimes it does involve having to put your own wants or feelings on things down so that you can submit. But the beautiful thing about it is that, a godly man will not take advantage of this. Instead, he will work alongside you to help nurture and grow your relationship with God. Because at the end of the day, that is his job as the spiritual leader.

Submission can become a beautiful thing, just like when we submit to God.

Let’s be clear, I’m not telling you to be a doormat, but I’m also not telling you to be stubborn. Be a women who is filled with strength and dignity. In honoring whatever man is the spiritual leader of your household (whether your father or your husband), you are honoring God. That is the most beautiful picture of submission possible. It is when we lay down our agendas and agree to do the hard things that God can have a chance to take ahold of our hearts and work great things for Him.

Why do I believe?

Recently, a friend of mine asked me how I could let my future rest in the hands of someone else. At first, I wasn’t sure what he was talking about, but the more we talked I realized he was talking about God. While it took me a little by surprise, it was a good conversation, and it got me thinking. No one had really every asked me that sort of a question. Of course I’ve gotten the “what do I believe?” or the “how can you believe in a God?” The more I thought about this question, the more I realized it was more a why question which got me thinking.

Why do I believe in God? Why do I trust God with the plans for my life?

The simplest answer is hope and faith. At the root of it, I have faith that what I’ve been taught about the Bible and God is true. Believing in God also gives me hope because I believe that despite everything going on, there is God who has everything under control. That is a lot more reassuring then looking at life without that hope. It would be very easy to get overwhelmed with everything going on in the world, particularly all the bad things, and sometimes despite my best efforts, I look at things and feel hopeless. But then I return back to the promises in the Bible and am reminded that the Earth will see restoration and justice.

That hope is why I believe what I believe. I have also seen the way the God works in seemingly terrible circumstances. That is the reason why I trust God’s direction in my life. I’ve been faced with hard circumstances that ultimately shaped me into who I am today. My human reaction in every single one of those moments was directly opposite of what God was telling me to do, whether it was run when I should stay or stay when I should run.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I believe in God because in this world, at least I can have hope because of my belief in Him. I trust His direction because he has never failed me yet. And maybe that makes me crazy, but at the end of the day, I would rather have Him on my side then try to make it through this world alone. It might not make sense to someone else, but it makes sense to me.

It takes faith to believe in anything. My faith happens to be in the God of the Bible.

Embrace the Suck

Embrace the suck. This phrase was first introduce to me as a mantra during my backpacking trip over the summer. Our guide looked at all of us as we were in our last day of orientation before heading into the jungle and told us three things: we are all going to smell bad by the end of the week, it is going to suck at times, but embrace the suck, and finally to have fun. That always stuck me as weird: embrace the suck but have fun. That trip showed me what it meant, especially our last day as we hiked out of the jungle.

But more recently, this saying has taken on a different meaning in a different context. In the last week or so, Joey and I have exited the “honeymoon phase” as I’ve been calling it. We’ve settled into our respective routines and general business of work, but that also means that we’ve established a routine in our relationship. We text “good morning” and “good night” at a minimal, but most days we have been able to talk on the phone. Instead of going back and forth with questions like we had been, we’ve settled into talking about our days and frustrating or exciting things that have happened. It feels normal which is actually a really cool feeling.

But with that routine comes the obvious observation everyday that we are not in the same place. I don’t get to get home from work and be able to talk to him in person. If either of us have had a rough day, we most definitely talk on the phone, but we can’t even hug each other. It may not seem like a big deal, but it really sucks.

We knew what we were getting into when we started this, so there is really only two options: give up or embrace the suck. I’m choosing the latter. This last week, especially, it has been really hard on both of us. We haven’t seen each other for about two weeks. Typically at this point, we start our countdown because we get to see each other soon, but instead we just hit the one month mark until we get to see each other again…and it really sucks.

But by embracing the suck these last few days, we’ve had some really good conversations that we won’t have had if either one of us had just given up. And I wouldn’t trade this for anything. He is so worth embracing the suck.

So I guess the point of this is that sometimes things in life feel like you are trudging through mud or just trying to survive to the next day. I’ve been there and am there right now. Instead of throwing your hands up in the air, embrace the suck. The parts of life that are hard challenge and shape us.

Joey and I are having to work extra on communication and coming up with things to talk about. Sometimes, it would be easier to just not text back because I am exhausted from working and talking to him makes me miss him even more. But 100% of the time, those are the days that we have amazing conversations. And I know that in a month when I see him again, all of this missing him and wishing he was here will be so worth it. Because at the end of the day, there is nothing I would rather be doing and no one I would rather be on this journey with.