Prepare

I want to be mentally, physically, and spiritually prepared for what God has for me. I can’t do that in a week or two weeks, a few months or even a year. It takes years and years of preparation.

Yesterday while at church my pastor told us the sermon was going to be about parenting. My first thought was ‘I should’ve stayed home’. I’m not a parent yet and didn’t feel like I needed the information.

Then, I thought about this blog post. I actually started writing it in January and decided to finish it today – mostly because my pastor’s sermon triggered something in me.

So, instead of tuning out the message, I sat up and took notes. One day it’ll be applicable and in the meantime, I’ll have a better idea of what I want my future family life to be like.

I view this time – my time as a single person – as time spent preparing for what’s next. I’d hate to get to the next level and find myself totally unprepared. So I’ll let God do His thing and get out of the way.

Now, preparation isn’t always pretty. It can come with lots of waiting and uncertainty. It can also involve discomfort but wouldn’t you agree it’s worth it? Think about the job, the degree, or the athletic event you prepared for. Didn’t it feel good to show up as your best self? To know you put in work ahead of time?

One thing is for sure, if something doesn’t go well or turn into something long term, I’d hate for the reason to be a lack of preparation on my part. So, I’ll keep learning, growing and stretching until that time comes. Knowing God, they’ll be more stretching, growing and learning after that. I hope you’ll come long for the ride! I’m sure God has some work He’s trying to do in you – let Him – so you can show up fully prepared and better than ever!

Happy Waiting!

Why I Took a 6 Month Break From Dating

While dating someone last year I fasted and prayed about the relationship that was developing. In many ways he seemed like the perfect guy but I didn’t feel peace in my spirit about it even though I really wanted to.

So I fasted.

One day while on my way into church, during the fast, I said to myself, ” I don’t know how to date.” I’ve never been the kind of girl who dates multiple guys. One guy at a time is more than enough for me. I’d much rather be with one guy and in a relationship. Dating sucks.

While in the bathroom at church I heard a woman crying. I asked if I could give her a hug and we talked a bit. She told me about her husband and how he had passed away years ago. She also told me about someone she had started dating recently and that she realized she didn’t know how to date. She literally said, “I don’t know how to date”.

I was shocked.

That was the SAME thing I said to myself as I walked into church. While sharing that I thought something similar walking into church she said “God told me to buy these books, I think I’m supposed to give one to you.”

The following Sunday, we met at church and she gave me the book. As I sat in church waiting for the service to start I began reading. Three to four pages in it said to commit to a six month break from dating to focus on myself and my relationship with God.

I wanted to throw the book out of the window. What?! 6 months?! Why? How Jesus? Again – I had taken a 3 month break the year before. The book also had different activities at the end of each chapter.

While I was reluctant at first, I did it. I took a 6 month break and here’s what I learned.

1. Make Room

I’m really good at staying busy. I was an opportunity addict. Something would come across my email and I’d apply even if I knew I was already overwhelmed. I was filling the time just in case there was nothing in the future to fill the time. So my yes’ started to become nos and I stared reclaiming my time. There really wasn’t room for anything else. I had to purposefully and intentionally make room.

2. Get Your House in Order

I bought my house and with the hustle and bustle of life, along with a new job, grad school and other opportunities I was so exhausted I couldn’t even hang a picture on the wall. Getting my actual house in order was something I had to do. I also committed to joining and joined a new church. I had been attending for a little over a year and it was time. On the last day of the dating break, I received the right hand of fellowship at a new church. I had reached a level of spiritual maturity that required a different kind of preaching, worship, and praise.

3. Self-Care

Once I finished my degree, I began intentionally engaging in self-care. I began working out more often, getting back to my healthy eating routine and spent more time doing the things I loved with the people I loved. I became more intentional about personal boundaries at work and removed myself from troublesome situations. Above all else, I’ve been praying more and praising more and more frequently. Joy doesn’t seem so out of reach anymore.

4. I Stopped Caring So Much

A good friend of mine use to say “If everyone cared as much as you do…the world would be a better place.” Truth is I can be a bit of a perfectionist. Deep down I believed if I was perfect nothing would go wrong but I have 1,000,000 examples of how untrue that is! I learned it’s ok to be imperfect and that life will still go on.

5. I Learned How to Have (More) Fun

Okay so I had some fun over the last few years but I didn’t allow too much fun. Why? Because I had to write a paper, read an article, write a lesson plan, post to blackboard… now, weekends aren’t catch up sessions with books and papers, it’s fun! I didn’t know how much I missed it.

6. I Realized What Was Important

Family and friends are important. Spending time doing the things I love with the people I love is important. Jobs come and go, yesterday is not like today but each day is a gift and should be treated as such. Yesterday I walked into a classroom to talk to a teacher and she said “what’s going on with you? You look so happy!.” I was and nothing in particular had happened to spark that. I had just reached a point of contentment with myself and the things around me.

Ultimately I think this journey was about becoming what I wanted to attract and intentionally investing in me. There’s no use looking for something or someone who is the complete opposite of who you are. If I’m honest, I spent a lot of time looking for the qualities I lacked in the guys I dated. That was wrong. I had to learn, know, and be true to myself and become the woman God wanted me to be. Now, not all of this happened in 6 months, it’s definitely a process but I’m farther along than I’ve ever been.

Through this process God wanted to restore me, to teach me a few lessons, and to return me better than ever! Now, I’m not perfect (no where near it) but one thing is for sure, I’m better now than I’ve ever been. I’m expecting God’s greatness real soon. But in the meantime…

Happy Waiting!

Reroute

Don’t be afraid to start over.

I got lost for the 2nd time a few weeks ago while driving to a new(er) gym. I arrived at the same street I did the first time but with a better attitude. I knew I wasn’t far away and that checking the directions would get me there with time to spare.

I don’t know how many times God has let me drive to a dead end to get me to turn back to Him and ask for direction.

He does it a lot. Constantly charging me to do and be better and to turn around and try again. It’s frustrating but it’s all for my good.

One thing is for sure, I know I’m close and every dead end, every change in direction and every detour is getting me closer to where God wants me to be.

I used to throw fits in the car when I’d get lost and sometimes, I’d give up. Now, I just keep on driving knowing that eventually, I’ll get there.

You can get there too. Wherever your there may be. Promise me you won’t give up and that as life twists, turns, and throws you for a loop, that you’ll keep on going, knowing that God’s best is waiting for you!

Happy Waiting!

A Double Portion

Not long ago, I went to a soup kitchen to volunteer. I volunteered with this organization a few times in the past and was eager to spend more time volunteering in 2018.

The last few times I volunteered, we served food during three shifts and it was critically important to ensure each guest received the same portion.

During the first two shifts the portions were the same for everyone. However, once it was time for the last shift, we were told to give our guests double of everything.

I’ll admit, although we were told to do this I didn’t think there would be enough food to go around. I was also concerned that the other group would find out double portions were given out when they only received one serving of each food.

But, the chef knew exactly what she had stored up, and she knew we wouldn’t run out. We had more than enough.

So we gave out double portions.

Imagine waking up hungry and finding out you’re last in line.  As your stomach growls, you have to wait and watch as busses full of people go before you.

Now, you don’t know how much others are getting, all you know is that they’re getting something you’re not.

That’s kinda how it is to wait. You have a desire for something (or someone) in your heart. Yet, day after day, year after year you watch as others go before you. Now, you may not know the ends and outs of what they got but the fact is, they got something.

Well…I am here to tell you God has a double portion stored up for you! That’s not to say those who went before you didn’t get enough or received less. They may have received exactly what they needed. Sometimes getting what you need is a double portion.

So, don’t lose heart. It may seem like you’re waiting a long time – trust me I know the feeling. But rest easy knowing that God hasn’t forgotten about you and that just like our guests on that day, He may be making you wait because He set aside a double portion just for you!

Happy Waiting!

Happy New You

The new year gives us the perfect opportunity to start over. Whether it’s a resolution you set last year that didn’t get accomplished or a new goal you have for 2018, you can do it!

Our pastor challenged us to think about the space between where we are now, where we are going, and what we need to do to get there. There are places God wants to take us but we won’t be able to get there with old habits and old ways.

For a long time I thought waiting was enough – a means to an end of sorts – but now I know that spiritual, physical, and mental transformation are why God wants us to wait. He wants us to be able to think clearly and critically about the decisions we are making. Most importantly, He wants us to be whole.

So, in 2018 I’m committing to being still and listening to what God is telling/showing me and taking action so I can be the very best me.

Are there things you need to work on that will help you get there? Are you willing to slow down enough for God to tell you what you need to do to grow and change?

2018 is going to be a life-changing year, let’s walk into this season of change, together.

Happy New Year! I hope your year is filled with more blessings than your hands and heart can hold. You deserve it. And if you really listen to God, I bet that at the end of this year you’ll say you had a fantastic New Year and that you’re happy you’re a new you!

Happy Waiting!

It’s Still a Blessing

After you’ve prayed and waited a long time, and God finally gives you what you’ve been praying for, although it may come with obstacles big and small, don’t forget that it’s still a blessing.

I bought my house 4.5 years ago. For the first 2-3 years I would sit on the steps, in the dark, and thank God for this magnificent blessing.

This year, I’ve had more things break than ever before. The microwave, dishwasher, garbage disposal, vents, vacuum cleaner…I’ve had pipes back up and water leak… if it wasn’t one thing it was another.

My blessing isn’t so shiny and new anymore. It has been all the way broken in. I found myself feeling burdened instead of feeling blessed. My source of comfort had become my source of pain.

But…when I really think about it, it’s not that bad. Everything can be fixed.

Prior to buying my house, I put in offers on 5 different homes. Before the offer was accepted, I laid face down on the floor and prayed. I wanted this house. How foolish of me to ever treat it as less of a blessing.

Think about the things/people you prayed for that came to pass. Are you treating them as a blessing or a burden? Are you recalling the good or the bad? You get to decide.

God’s Word says to think of whatever is nobel, true, praiseworthy… think of all of God’s blessings this way. He’s got so much more in store for you. But first, you have to be grateful for what you have now.

Happy Waiting!

What Waiting Has Taught Me

Waiting has taught me to look deeper and be more critical about my choices while dating. In years past, my attraction to men was mostly physical. Now that I’ve spent more time thinking about what I want long term, I’m taking my time and really getting to know the person I’m dating. 

Not long ago, I did an exercise with a counselor. I wrote down the names of guys I had dated/been in a relationship with and wrote down what I liked about them and what attracted me to them. What I didn’t spend enough time on were the things I didn’t like. 

So, this weekend I’m going to write 3 names, what attracted me to them, what I liked and disliked and see if I can find any patterns. Then, I’ll take this knowledge along with what I’ve learned about myself  – including what I’ve done to attract these kinds of men – and decide what I need to do to attract a different kind of man. 

Will you do this exercise with me? It shouldn’t take long. The first time I did it, it was helpful. Now that I’ve had a longer stretch of dating the same person it will be interesting to see how (and if) my dating pattern has changed. 

Feel free to share what you learned! I’m hoping to break some chains and do a new thing in my dating life. I hope you are too.

Happy Waiting!