Lessons To My Younger Self-Part 1

LessonsPerson

Every so often I reach out to friends and family to see if they will share their stories on my blog. When I do, I often ask them to share lessons of what they wish they had known in regards to relationships.

This time, I’m going to direct that question to myself.

Over the last few months, I’ve come to some realizations that I wished I had learned earlier in life.  If I had, perhaps I would not have struggled with my singleness so much when I was younger.

You Are Physically Attractive And Attraction Is Not Just About Sexual Desire

Sound familiar? These principles are from the recent blog posts- Laws of Attraction: Let’s Get Practical Part 1, Part 2.

I’m introspective, analytical, and I often draw conclusions based on the information/circumstances around me.  This analytical personality can be beneficial, but sometimes the conclusions that I’ve come to are based on false assumptions.

A false assumption that I’ve been holding onto for years is…

Men pursue attractive women. Therefore if a man is not pursuing me, I am not attractive.

I am not a “serial dater”. In fact my romantic calendar has been somewhat blank.  Although, I know that one’s worth is not found in a multitude of admirers. I would be lying to say that I don’t want male attention. And at times, the lack of Christian suitors has been a blow to my pride.

Side note:

And it doesn’t help that more often than not, the men who’ve been the most aggressive about their intentions, have been non-Christians.

(The whole issue of Christian-friendship-dating-ambiguity is another topic for another day…a future post. However, as a woman who’s been on the receiving end of said ambiguity, the experience can be frustrating.)

-But-

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that attraction is more than an equation of pleasing symmetry and harmonious parts…physical beauty. It’s a little more complicated than that.

I wished that I had realized that sooner.

I wished that I had realized that a man’s lack of interest wasn’t due to my lack of physical beauty, witty conversation, or whatever.  If I had realized that attraction is complex, I probably wouldn’t have taken “rejection” so personally.

So, if you find yourself in a circumstance of unrequited affection, try not to take it personally.  Just because someone is not pursuing you or isn’t romantically attracted to you, doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you.

Contentment Is Not The Absence Of Desire

Single people come from a variety of backgrounds.

  • Some are young, old, have children, etc.
  • Some singles are very happy with their “relationship status”, but others struggle…

For those who struggle, we’re often told that we should be content in whatever state we find ourselves.  But what does that mean?

For many years I thought the following was true:

Being a content single means that you will no longer desire (or struggle with the desire) to be married and/or have children.

I no longer believe that this is what it means to be content.

I believe that being content means to believe in the sovereignty and the goodness of God no matter your circumstances. Sometimes those circumstances are pleasant and other times they are painful.  And singleness is sometimes painful.

Pain is not necessarily bad. In fact there will always be some measure of tension when we long for something we do not have.  And many times God uses that tension to refine us.

Consider, when it comes to music, sometimes the most beautiful moments in a musical piece is a moment of dissonance- a clashing or unresolved musical interval or chord merriam-webster . Just like in music, sometimes the most beautiful moments of life can be a season of- clashing or unresolved desires.

I’ve spent a lot of unnecessary energy trying to resolve or take away the dissonance of my singleness.  However, I’m not sure that God was asking me to resolve my dissonance. Instead, I’m learning how to live in and embrace the dissonance.

I’m learning how to surrender in the midst of an unresolved desire.

So, if you are a single person who struggles with your singleness, it’s okay that you struggle. Your mission is not to eradicate that sensation, but instead embrace the dissonance.  Let that struggle refine you.

That being said, if you find yourself becoming bitter and resentful, don’t struggle alone.  Find someone-a counselor, a mentor, friends, etc. to help  you walk to a place of wholeness.

And realize that this struggle is a journey. It’s not a fixed moment in time, a life altering decision. It’s a day to day decision to believe in the sovereignty and goodness of God whether you are in a state of pleasure or pain.

To be continued…Part 2

Hear This

Laura Mvula: Sing To The Moon

Honestly, I’m not sure how I discovered Laura Mvula.  It might have been through the “suggested music” feature in Rhapsody, but I’m glad that I did.  She’s a crazy talented British import to these American shores.

Style: If you’re a fan of Emeli Sandé or pop/rock with souring orchestral elements,  you’ll like her.

Enjoy!

Knowing The Will of God

Bible

I have hidden your word in my heart that I may not sin against you. Psalm 119:11

At some point in your life you’ll find yourself at the proverbial crossroad, wondering…which way do I go? Perhaps you may feel a nudge in a particular direction, but more often than not, you may be met with silence. Believe it or not, there are some tried and true ways to discern the will of God.

Back in the day, I had the opportunity to do Experiencing God a few times.  Henry Blackaby, the author, had some good ideas about discerning God’s will. He says that God speaks through the

  • Holy Spirit
  • The Bible
  • Prayer
  • Circumstances

Specifically, when it comes to reading the Bible, I’ll admit I’m not always as consistent as I should be. However, I’ve started to use some practical  Bible Study methods that have helped me  to be more consistent.

There’s an App for that

A few months ago, I got my first iPhone…RIP blackberry :(. If you have a smart phone or a tablet, you should check into getting one of the many Bible apps that have been created.  I personally use YouVersion.  (You can also access YouVersion via the web if that format works better.)

With YouVersion, you can subscribe to a number of Bible studies (devotionals).  Some are short. Some are long.  You can also set up your account to remind you to do your reading throughout the week.

Another cool feature is that you can use the audio function for the day’s reading. This function has been convenient because I can listen to my daily devotion while I’m getting ready for work  or during my commute in the car.

*There are many apps to choose from, but below are links to one’s that I have personally used.

YouVersioneBible

Get On The Bus

So now that you’ve found a good Bible app or a good devotion series, what do you do next? How do you actually study the Bible?

Years ago, I went to a woman’s retreat at my church.  The speaker shared some tips about how to study the Bible. Specifically she called her method the Bible Bus Stop. (Although she references the One Year Bible as her devotion source, her tips can be applied to any Bible passage.) Overall, she encourages readers to be intentional in their study of God’s word.  In addition, she lists a number of questions to ask yourself as you are reading to help you apply what you’ve learned (see below).

Bus Stop Guide

  • What did I learn about God today in my reading?
  • What did I learn about life?
  • What did I learn about myself, attitudes, priorities, fears, failures, or desires?
  • Is there a lesson that I can apply today?
  • What can I take from my reading and pray back to God for understanding, instructions, or help?

So, if you have struggled with consistent Bible reading, hopefully these tips will help.

Overall, I think it’s important to spend time reading the word of God.  After all, how can I obey God or live out His will for my life if I don’t take the time to read His instruction manual…a.k.a the Bible? 🙂

If you have a devotion tip or sources that have been helpful to you, please leave a comment in the comment section.

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