A Fighting Stance

Last weekend I went to the movies. That same week I was meditating on whether or not I should open myself up in a way I hadn’t in the past. While watching the movie I heard this quote –

“You can’t love with both of your hands up, covering your face.”

When I wrote my New Years Eve post, Lessons Learned in 2018, I wrote that I had taken some risks. One of those risks was online dating.

I had a bad experience with online dating years ago but when a good friend suggested it, I figured it was time. So I signed up, uploaded a couple of pictures, and gave it a go.

I met some guys and went on a date but it didn’t work out. So, I tried another site. I didn’t put any pictures up for a month. I reached out to guys I saw who had qualities I liked but didn’t get very far. After all, I was covering my face – afraid of that level of vulnerability.

Then, on January 1st 2019, I got some courage and added some pictures. The same day, I paid to keep them private.

Typical me.

My rationale was – I could let people see me only if I wanted them to and everything was still on my terms. While I met and went out with a couple of guys, I was doing all of the looking and getting nowhere fast.

Then, about a week ago, I made my profile visible and as a result, I’m being found.

Now, all attention isn’t good attention (trust) but I do expect to meet some good people this way – and it’s all because I took my hands down and let myself be seen. I got out of a fighting stance and allowed vulnerability in.

While this may or may not be the way I meet my future husband, I’m learning to be open to the possibility that God wants to bless me this way.

A couple of friends were shocked when I told them I was giving online dating a try because it’s so unlike me but I figured I’d try something different and possibly get a different result.

I don’t know how you’re navigating the dating world but I will say, lowering your hands and opening your heart is the best way to invite someone in.

If you’re navigating through life with a fighters stance, you’ll always be ready to fight but not quite ready to love.

Online dating might not be your thing – it may not be my thing either – but the point is, let your guard down a bit. Then, when you’re ready, collect your courage, lower your hands and let love in. Love is waiting for you!

Happy Waiting!

Cherished

A couple of years ago around this time I met a guy – a really nice guy. He was kind and caring, considerate and attentive – just an all around good person.

One day in particular, after we got off the phone, I rested in my thoughts for a minute thinking, ‘what is this feeling?’. After mulling over it for a few moments I realized what it was.

Cherish(ed) – verb

To protect and care for (someone) lovingly.

Synonyms: adore, hold dear, love, care very much for, feel great affection for, dote on, be devoted to, revere, esteem, admire, appreciate. – Dictionary.com

I felt cherished.

It was a feeling I hadn’t felt in a very long time. It was through dating him that I learned what it meant to be treated really…..really well.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’d dated other guys in the past who had a host of good qualities but this was the first time I was cared for in this way. He didn’t objectify me which was important especially since I was waiting. He listened and was patient with me. He truly cared for me and showed it through his words and his actions.

That standard of care changed the game for me.

Years ago a friend of mine was talking about her now husband. After dating him for a while and then getting engaged she said something like, “I can’t believe I let myself be treated so badly for so long”.

Oftentimes people treat you the way you allow them to, or people treat you the way you treat you.

With that said, if you don’t step your you game up no one else will.

Some years back I had to have a very necessary talk with a family member about what I would and would not allow. How I would and would not be spoken to. And while it took a lot of courage to have this conversation, I haven’t been treated that way by that person, since.

While talking to a friend recently she said, “there’s the gold standard of care – treat people how you want to be treated. And there’s the platinum standard of care – treat people how they want to be treated.”

Love languages fit here – And treating people how they want to be treated fits here because everyone experiences love in different ways. Share how you want to be loved and as long as it’s not hurtful, love others the way they want to be loved.

Everyone deserves to be cherished. You deserve to be cherished but you have to start with cherishing yourself first.

So get real with yourself. Do you want to be doted on or discarded? Loved or loathed? Criticized or cherished?

You get to decide.

And once you decide, make sure you treat yourself that way. It all starts with you.

Happy Waiting.

You’re Not As Strong As You Look

While debriefing with my personal trainer he said, “you’re not as strong as you look.” His voice trembled a little when he said it. It seemed, he was trying not to hurt my feelings.

He didn’t.

Although I knew he was talking about my physical strength, deep down inside I knew I needed to work on my mental strength, my thought-life.

My strength only goes so far and then fear checks in. One of the reasons why I started personal training was to have someone there to push me past my personal limits. If it were up to me, I’d do the same exercises over and over again, I wouldn’t increase the weight knowing I could go harder and I’d go home and wonder why I wasn’t getting results. My strength mentally was only taking me so far.

This mental block would keep me from doing a lot of things. God has given me so many great ideas over the years. And now, since I haven’t acted on them, I see them on TV and it’s devastating. I had those ideas 10 years ago and never did anything about it because I was afraid of the work or afraid of failure. There are many things I have wanted to do and try but I’d consistently talk myself out of doing or trying any of it.

Lately, I’ve been feeling a push to strengthen my thought-life. To be more in control of my thinking. To be more intentional about what I watch, and what I listen to….even what I say.

I’ve done this work before but lately I’ve felt myself getting off track. And now that I’m going into a new season, this work is more important than ever.

Are you like me? Are you trying to get control of your thought-life?

Oftentimes what we think colors what we see. Our minds are a powerful playing field and if we don’t get control over our thoughts, everything in life will become more challenging, be less fulfilling or we’ll miss out on great opportunities.

We, yep you and me, have to decide to think about good things and to have faith and trust God always. We also have to check fear at the door. If we get control over our thoughts, He will change our lives! It’s a lot of work but we can do it – together.

So, are you down? Can I count on you to do this work with me? Let’s be stronger mentally, physically, and spiritually and let’s watch as God does his BEST work in us!

Happy Waiting!

Check On Your Strong (Single) Friend

Not long ago there was a Huffington Post article with the title Don’t Forget To Check On Your Strong Friend. After a series of events, this blog post was inspired by that article.

A few weeks ago I was having a really bad week. There were some things that were out of my control and everything was coming at me at the same time.

Within 48 hours of each other, two friends reached out. Both were folks I hadn’t talked to in a while and said I was either on their mind or showed up in a dream. One thing is for sure, that week, I really needed a friend and a reminder that God sees my hurt and will send people to check in on me.

There was a particular day that week that was really hard. I don’t usually let myself cry but in-between both conversations I cried. I mean it was an ugly mess up your makeup kind-of cry.

I’m really good at putting things up on the shelf and leaving them there until I’m ready to deal. But one day, sometimes years later, I’ll break down and cry.

I had a conversation with a friend about what it’s like to be single and not have someone lay eyes on you everyday. There have been times when I’m really going through it and I call 3 friends and no one answers. With no fault on their parts, everyone is busy, what happens when I really need someone and can’t find anyone to share with? People assume that when you’re single, you’re just out living your life when in reality, you could be at home in a puddle of tears.

This is why the title of this post is check on your strong (single) friend. We need to know there’s someone out there thinking about us, praying for us, and checking in on us. Lay eyes on us and make sure we’re ok. Even those of us who are “strong” get weak and could really use a friend.

Happy Waiting.

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!

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!

Valentine’s Day Victory

It’s the end of Valentine’s Day and it was better than I imagined!

At church on Sunday, the Pastor said a sex therapist would be talking about singles and sex on Tuesday (today). I was a little skeptical and planned on eating ice cream and reading into Valentine’s night but I decided to go. I’m so glad I did.

Here are some of takeaways…

Assistant Lead Pastor Larry Paige gave us these little bits of wisdom –

First, you must know your purpose. You have to know you well. Know what you will and won’t do and exactly what you’re looking for. I spoke about this in an earlier blog post. You can find it here.

He also said to be patient. You should spend more time preparing than dating. This was in response to a question about how long is too long to wait for a proposal. This spoke volumes to me since I haven’t been in a serious/committed relationship in 4+ years. I feel like I’m overdue but hey, I want to be ready when the time comes.

He also spoke about permission. While I don’t remember everything he said regarding this, the message was to investigate. Don’t fall for potential. Oftentimes potential is just that, potential. Trust me when I say I’ve dated potential and he never changes!

If you want to learn more about Larry Paige you can find his bio and information about the here. If you’re not in the area, there’s a live stream! Watch it from your living room. It was a great way to end Valentine’s Day.

Have a good night!