Tag Archives: Relationships

On a Walk with My Niece

“Do you want to go for a walk?” she asks, and I’m glad she does, because there are fewer things I enjoy more than spending time with her.

She’s twelve. And she’s my oldest niece. And she’s so different from me – so well-adjusted and bright and sweet – and kind of the same – so sensitive and we both crack ourselves up.  

I truly adore her.

So I don my tennis shoes and some mosquito repellent, and a-walking we go.

And we talk about boys. (You did not hear it from me.) Mostly, she wanted to hear about my boyfriends. She wanted to know when I had my first kiss and if I loved them and why they didn’t work out.

And as I was talking about the guy I briefly dated earlier this year, I was surprised she already knew the details of why we didn’t work out. Details I wouldn’t have shared with her because I don’t want to see her ever choose this kind of guy just because she saw me do it, you know? My sister-in-law had apparently showed her this guy’s picture, so my niece says to me, “Yeah, he looked too laid back for you anyway.” At which I could only shrug and agree.

Well, I came back from vacation, and almost immediately, another guy started pursuing me, and let me tell you, it’s like I never learn! I was ready to buy everything he was peddling. Ready to take it all, just because it was being offered. Like I always do.

Only I know this guy is bad, bad, bad for me. I’ve observed firsthand how he treats women, and what? I think he’s going to be different with me? Like I have some mysterious and magical quality that’s going to mysteriously and magically make him shape up? I’ll be honest, that’s exactly what I was thinking.

Just like that, I forgot. I forgot my twelve-year-old niece, and the six other nieces coming behind her. I forgot the young girls I teach at church. I forgot my younger sister. I forgot that they’re watching and listening to what I do and say, even if I don’t realize it. I forgot that they will base what they accept in relationships based on what they see and hear me accept in my relationships.

If I accept not being a priority in a guy’s life, they will, too.

If I accept being disrespected by a guy physically, emotionally, or spiritually, they will, too.

If I accept immaturity and constantly excuse and cover for a guy’s behavior around others, they will, too.

If I tell them they are beautiful and worthy of being cared for, respected, and adored, then I have to surround myself with people who nurture, respect, and adore me.

If I tell them they are sacred, I have to be incredibly careful to whom I give my time, energy, talents, and heart.

If I tell them to wait for a man who matches their time, energy, talents, and heart with his own – for a man who leaves no doubt where his heart is, I have to do the same.

Because I should be setting the example here. Because they’re watching and listening, and in a few short years, they’re going to be emulating.

 

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Tough Love

Listen up.

You’re not ready to hold a heart at all, let alone mine.

I am a “one and only” kind of woman, and you’re an “as much as you can get” kind of guy. And as long as you’re out there, trying to fill yourself (or numb yourself) with any number of women, you do not have what it takes to be with me. In fact, if you’re out there trying to fill or numb yourself with any number of things, you’re not ready for a woman like me.

Because you’re out there looking for something, anything to make it all better, and you’re looking in all of the wrong places. And don’t look at me, because I don’t exist to make you better. I’m not here to inspire you to change. You are responsible for your own journey – to decide whether the way you’re doing things is enough for you, and, if it’s not, to make changes until you look at you and you’re happy.

It’s on you, because there is already a man out there ready to make me his one and only. He already knows no woman (not even me), no amount of money, no amount of success, no amount of material possessions can fill him, and he’s brave enough to go through difficult things without having to numb himself. Already.

So whether you change to be a “one and only” kind of man is of no consequence to me. But since you are attracted to me, since you want to be around me and get to know me better, and since you seem to think I should spend my time and energy and heart on you, I just want to be clear: you’re not ready for my time, energy, and heart. Where you are right now, you literally can’t handle it.

And if you ever hope to have the time, energy, and heart of a woman like me in the future, boy, you’re going to have to change.

Tough love,

Lydia

 

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If You Like It Put A Label On It

I want to have a serious conversation about the human tendency to size each other up, to try and figure each other out, and to put each other in molds as a way of understanding and relating to each other.  I want to have a serious conversation because it’s a very serious issue.

I do not want to have a conversation about the semantics of this conversation.  I posted an introduction to this topic on Facebook late last week, and the conversation ended up being quibbles over semantics, which vary greatly depending on where an individual is coming from.  I want to be clear: sizing people up, trying to figure people out, and trying to fit people into molds as a way of understanding and relating to them are all synonymous in my experience.  Others may call it labeling or categorizing or something else entirely, but I can assure you, we’re talking about the same thing.  Also, throughout this post, I will use a number of illustrations (possibly hypothetical, possibly not) to help in explaining my point.  In these illustrations, I will clarify my opinions on things, but I’m not interested in having a conversation about my opinions at this time, either.

I want to have a conversation about the problems with sizing people up, trying to figure people out, and putting people into molds as a means of understanding and relating to each other.

First of all, it cannot be done, and you’re kidding yourself if you think it can be.  I am not an assessment that you can categorize by asking a few questions, I am not a mathematical equation that you can solve by following a formula, and I’m not a puzzle piece that you should can search for a place where I fit.  No person is any of these things.  We are all unique individuals, and try as we might, we will never be 100% like anyone else.  By nature, we cannot be categorized, unless we are all a category unto ourselves.

I often describe myself as a libertarian (small “l”) because our nation was founded on small (or limited) government principles, and for that reason, I think small (or limited) government is worth defending.  Unlike many people in the Libertarian party, I am not interested in small (or limited) government because I think people are basically good or are capable of making good decisions for themselves.  From a Biblical and historical perspective, I know that is not the case, and so I do not believe making decisions entirely in favor of small (or limited) government is wise or practical, and I have a wide range of opinion on policy ranging from very liberal to very conservative.

Secondly, using methods of assessment, formula, and mold to try to know someone is extremely restrictive and reductive to that person.  These methods say, “This is where you best fit, so you must go here,” even when it’s not a perfect fit. And let’s face it, there is no perfect fit.   And often those who want to make others fit into certain categories do not take into account growth and change.

According to every assessment, I am an introvert.  I test this way because I am deeply introspective, and value time alone to process circumstances and how I feel about them.  Otherwise, I display the characteristics of an extrovert.  I’m not an outgoing person, but having grown up with seven siblings, I enjoy having people around.  I love getting to know people and building deep relationships with them, but I have no problems with small talk, either.  Regardless of any assessment, I’m not entirely introverted, and I’m not entirely extroverted.  I’m just an introspective people person.

Thirdly, it might prevent you from knowing some really great people because either they identify with categories you don’t like or you’ve placed them in categories you don’t like.  I can’t imagine only getting to know people who prescribe to the same thinking I do. (Not that such a person exists, but you know).  As humans, we need people different from us to help us grow and mature.

I have friends who believe that President Obama needs to take a stronger stance on foreign policy; I personally agree with the President when he says, “Just because you have the best hammer, doesn’t mean every problem is a nail.” We’re all still friends.  I have friends who support same sex marriage; I believe marriage should be between a man and a woman.  We’re (mostly) all still friends. I have friends who are really outgoing, friends who are really shy, friends who are in between, like me, but not. I have friends who put people into categories and find methods of categorization helpful; I know better (hahaha).  We’re still friends. (Might not be after this post, but…) I think variety is the spice of life, and that’s true when it comes to my friendships as well.

You might read this blog (or what I post on FB and Twitter) or have a few conversations with me and come away thinking you know me and what I stand for if you use formulaic methods to assess me.  I’ve had people take issue with my stance on homosexuality, with my stance on sexual abuse in the Church, with my stance on people who work minimum wage jobs, with my not wanting to marry a pastor (which is preference, not even a stance).  People either scan my posts and misunderstand what I’m saying (and often push the conversation in a different direction than it should go), or they do understand but they don’t like it and so they have to make me into something I’m not in order to disagree with me. (HERETIC!!! Ha).

No offense, but you don’t know me.  You know things about me, and maybe that makes you feel comfortable sizing me up or figuring me out or putting me into a mold or labeling me or categorizing me or whatever term for this laziness you can come up with.

You shouldn’t.  It won’t work on me because I don’t fit perfectly into any category.  Even if I align pretty closely with certain categories now, doesn’t mean I can’t change (or haven’t changed for that matter).  And it’s going to keep you from really knowing me, because while I have friends with diverse ideas and opinions, I’m not interested in anyone’s assessment of who I am and what I stand for.

 

 

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Broken Cisterns

“My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns – broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13 NKJV).

My cisterns.  The places where I have tried to do it myself.  I’ve even made it look pretty good. But my self-constructed cisterns are broken, and they hold no water.  Don’t be fooled, no matter how good it looks, I’m dehydrated.

There’s the broken cistern of my finances.  I think this is the most obviously broken, and I sometimes discuss it, but almost always in the context of, “Oh, I’ve got this.”  It’s broken because I keep trying to control things I have no control over (job/career), and exercise no control over things well within my grasp (where I put my money).  It’s broken because I’m trying to manage it on my own, and I can’t.

There’s the broken cistern of my body.  I hadn’t talked about this to anybody until yesterday; in fact, I’ve deliberately mislead people about it.  I’ve been telling myself, “Just 20 more pounds, then I’ll stop.” God punched me in the gut yesterday morning that I was already not able to stop, and brought me into accountability about my unhealthy eating habits.  It’s broken because I am worried about what people think of my body and my eating habits.  It’s broken because I have an awful tendency to take shortcuts, rather than working through something productively (eating healthy and exercising).  It’s broken because I try to manage it on my own, and I can’t.

There’s the broken cistern of my relationships.  This one could be obvious to everyone or no one, but I’ve personally been in denial about it.  I want people to like me, I want them to want to be around me,  I want them to know I am a good investment of their time, energy, and affection.  (Even though I really feel like I’m not with all of my mess).  So I try to be this positive, pulled together person to be more attractive to other people.  Inevitably, my mess starts to creep up at some point, usually somebody does or says something that rubs me the wrong way on a day when I just have a little too much on my plate, and I react.  My reactions cause me to withdraw.  I have come to automatically expect that the real Lydia, who has feelings that can get hurt, and who acts out of that hurt from time to time, will be rejected.  I withdraw to not deal with the pain of rejection, because it is painful.  And with the exception of a few notable friends, I have some really shallow relationships.  This cistern is broken because I am afraid of what people will do (or not do) when they see the reality of who I am.  It’s broken because I try to manage it on my own, and I can’t.

The theme?  I don’t have this.  I act like I do sometimes, to my very great detriment.

You guys, I’m still a sinner, I’m still an awful mess, and I still need God.  Thankfully, He sees the girl in way over her head, the fatty, and the insecure one and He isn’t done with her yet.

Thank you so much for your prayerful and loving support.  It means the world to me and gives me courage to show the real me, even when it’s ugly.

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I Don’t Want To Settle Down

It’s not that I don’t want to settle, I just don’t want to settle down.

It’s not that I’m afraid of commitment, I just don’t want an adventure-less life.

And it’s not that I don’t want to be in a relationship, I just don’t want to lose myself.

I used to think that I would be single forever because of these things, or that at least my heart would need to change about them.  I realized earlier this year, my heart isn’t going to change on these things: they are a part of who I am.

Now, I am certain there is at least one guy out there who doesn’t want to settle down, who wants more than the careers, the house, the cars, the kids.  I am certain there is at least one guy out there who still wants to explore life and do things.  I am certain that there is at least one guy out there who will understand my autonomy.

I’m confident we’ll find each other when it’s time.

In the meantime, I just enjoy life and take everything as it comes! 🙂

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Everybody’s NOT Doing It

I’ve been wanting to write on this topic for a few weeks now.  I have been waiting, because I want to make sure my words on this topic are gracious, and not judgmental; authoritative, and not condemning.

Three weeks ago, I was cleaning out my younger sister’s car for some extra cash, and while I cleaned, we talked.  We were on the topic of sexual immorality (which I define as any sexual activity outside of a covenant/marriage relationship) because someone we knew had recently been found out in this area.  I’d had a feeling about this particular person being involved in this sin before it came out, and mentioned that to my sister.

“Lydia,” she said, in a tone that would have made anybody think she was older than me, “anybody in that kind of a relationship is doing it.”

“No,” I responded, “they’re not.”

I didn’t challenge her further on it, but here’s what bugs me about her statement: what exactly is that kind of relationship, and why is anybody in that kind of relationship doing it?  Pretty general, isn’t it?  And, to me at least, it reeks of justification: if anybody in that kind of relationship is doing it, something about doing it becomes more okay.

Ladies and Gentlemen, first of all, it is NOT okay.  Sexual sin is NOT God’s will for you and I. His Word is clear: “It is God’s will for you to be holy, so stay away from sexual sin” (1 Thessalonians 4:7 NLT). Sexual sin violates God’s standards first and foremost.  Sexual sin is also often accompanied by consequences in our bodies (STDs and unwanted pregnancies) and spirits (distance from God).  Sexual sin violates us.  If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, and you are engaging in this sin, it is not okay.  It is not going to be okay, no matter how hard you try to justify it in yourself or before other people.  So can I give you some advice?  Stop trying to justify it! Go before God and those who are involved and confess that what you’ve been doing is sin.  Surrender it to God, and watch Him change you and your situation.  I promise you He will redeem every mistake you’ve made if you humble yourself and let Him: it’s not a stain that will be on you forever!

And secondly, everybody’s NOT doing it.  Believe me, I’m aware of the statistics of teens who claim to have had sex, and I agree they’re staggering and probably not far off from reality.  It’s even more unusual for a single person to make it through college with his or her virginity intact.  But it’s not impossible.  I know because I’m not doing it, nor have I ever done it.

And this is the point where somebody who HAS engaged in this sin will lose me; not because they have sinned in this way, or because I think this sin is so much worse than any other kind of sin (HA! no, I don’t really think that), but because at this point in the conversation, I am almost always told I have no business saying these things.  Why?  I’m still a virgin and therefore don’t have the life experience to back me up.  And if I’m still a virgin, it’s probably because I’ve never been tempted to give it up to a guy, and so I can’t possibly understand where they are coming from. (Puh-lease. Those who have heard my full-version testimony know that’s not true).

Justify, justify, justify.

And that’s my whole point with this post: Don’t set yourself up for failure by justifying sexual sin.  There is no justification.  Sure, there is grace and mercy,  there is redemption once it’s done, and anyone who has sinned sexually but surrenders to God’s will for his or her life can have just as blessed a life as me.  But as long as you’re justifying it, complacently looking to other people to set the standards God has already laid out, you’re circumventing that blessing.

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Love Note of Sorts

Mornings like this I miss you.

I wish we could be together today, doing our thing, instead of me doing mine, and you doing yours, separately.

I know it’s worth the wait, and I know it won’t be long, but…

Mornings like this I miss you.

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In Love With a Feeling

Dear Baby Sister,

Do you know I write a lot of this for you? Sure, I address it to all women in so if somebody needs a real-world talking-to, she can find it here. I hate seeing anyone make the same mistakes I’ve made, especially in matters of the heart. But I care most about you, because watching you trample your heart is slowly killing mine. And I know that you’re going to be mad that I address you specifically here, but I read your blog today, and it’s time for a reality check.

Let’s talk about love, Baby Sister. Let’s talk about what love is, and what love isn’t. I tried talking to you about this in March, when I told you about how a friend and I got into a mild debate about whether or not love was a feeling. In both the debate and my conversation with you, I expressed that love was not a feeling, although feelings often accompany love. You asked me what I knew about it, since I’d never been in an “official”, dad-approved relationship.

Although I was too hurt to respond then, I’ll tell you now. I know about love, because as you stated in your post, love is a choice. I know about love because even without the “official”, dad-approved relationship, I am loved deeply. First John 3:16 says, “This is how we know love: Christ laid down His life for us. And we also should lay down our lives for the brethren.” True love is a setting aside of ourselves for the true benefit of another, following the example of Christ. So while my relationship resume is virtually nonexistent, I have experienced Christ’s love and Christ-like love, and I can spot a counterfeit.

Although you will doubtless experience feelings for those you love, my dear Baby Sister, love is NOT a mere feeling. It is so much higher and holier than a feeling. In talking about love only in terms of the feelings, you exchange love for something cheap and far less superior. And you don’t even know you’ve done it, because those feelings make you feel so good, don’t they? I know I like that feeling, when I’m just getting to know a guy, and anything can happen. (Heck, we could even get married). Every little thing he does is just so sweet, so considerate, so Christ-like. I’ll even go a little crazy, wearing make-up and dressing up a little bit every time I see him.  I like the nervous butterflies in my stomach when I’m around him. It’s all just so exciting. And sometimes even I think silly things like, “I might be falling for him.” But sooner or later, I come down from that feelings-induced high when I realize he’s a player and he’s just using me, he doesn’t even like me, he’s kind of a jerk, we don’t value the same things, we’re going different directions, or he’s just too short. And I usually realize that I didn’t really even like the guy, let alone love him.

Another thing, Baby Sister. Love is not being willing to do anything the other person asks you to do, even if they tell you that’s what love is to them. Even when you truly love people, you are not their doormat. Yes, love requires sacrifice, but more often than not, that sacrifice involves surrendering them to God’s will and what is God’s best for them, rather than insisting on your way for them or your way with them.  It doesn’t involve flying to the moon and collecting moon dust for them.

So your two great loves, Baby Sister? Based on how you described them, you didn’t love them. Not really. You loved how they made you feel and you thought you should express that love by doing whatever they asked. And if you really believe that’s love, I’m sorry, but you’ve been robbed of the Real Deal and left with a fake in its place.

You said, “One of the cruelest things a person can do is to awaken someone’s love without the intention of truly loving them.” (Which is a paraphrase/misquote of a Bob Marley quote: “The biggest coward is a man who awakens a woman’s love with no intention of loving her.”) In Song of Songs, the Shulamite woman admonishes other women “not to awaken love until the time is right.” Solomon was a wise man; in Proverbs 4:23, he says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” YOU are responsible for diligently keeping your heart in regard to these matters. I’m not saying guys can’t and don’t lead girls on, because sometimes they do, but you were not lead on in either of these instances. You awoke your own heart, your own love, without any consideration of whether the time was right or not. I know your heart hurts, Baby Sister, and I am sorry about that. I know when it hurts its easiest to blame someone else. But I also know that GREAT healing comes when we take responsibility for our own actions.

I want to tell you about one of my greatest loves.

She came into my life when I was five years old. Growing up, we shared a bedroom, and she was always taking my stuff and making messes that I had to clean up. She would also occasionally pummel me, but I could never tell on her because that was tattling, and I could never pummel her back because that would have been wrong. (And also I was nowhere near as strong). But she was so sensitive, she would get really emotional if somebody pretend died, or if our older sister threatened to suck my brains out through my nose with a vacuum cleaner. As we got older, we got our own bedrooms (which did wonders for our relationship), and she would come to my room and talk and I would go to her room and talk. She always knew when and if I liked a guy (even though she blabbed one time), and typically, I knew who she liked. There was this one time when I had just had my wisdom teeth out and I was out from all the painkillers. I woke up and she was giving me a manicure and reading me this random story she was writing. We went through all of life’s ups and downs together.

Then, what felt like out of nowhere, there was distance. Backhanded remarks. Lashing out. She started saying mean things to other people about me. Things that made me insecure and sad. I tried to spend time with her, but I was constantly being accused of minding her business. And one day, she broke my heart all together, I think probably more than anyone else ever had.

But you know something? I still love her. I’m sitting here, bawling because of her, but I still love her. Why? It’s not because she makes me feel good about myself. It’s not because she’s this wonderful person who has her life together. It’s not because she’s easy to love. It’s not even because she’s my sister. I don’t know if there even is a because. I just love her.

Would I do anything for her? Absolutely not. I try to maintain a relationship with her, to give of my time and energy, but I don’t do everything she wants. Sometimes, in recent months, my love for her has meant sitting back and letting God pursue her, rather than trying to intervene myself. It means watching her do things I would never desire for her, knowing that God can redeem them.

I know, Baby Sister, that God loves you so much more fully than I ever can. It is my greatest prayer, the one I breathe every instant, that you will wake up one morning and realize how deeply loved you are and that will inspire you to deeply (and truly) love others.

I love you!

Your Next Oldest Sister

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The Ultimate Relationship

Over the past few months, I’ve been praying over a potential relationship. It had been my heart’s desire to be in this particular relationship for some time, and I really thought this friend was “the one.” After all, he is on fire for Jesus, we have similar ministry goals, and we complement each other well. (Those are the top three things on “the list”).  From the outset of this desire, there have been obstacles to this relationship, yet as I prayed, I came to view them as opportunities for God to work, to grow us if this indeed was His will for us.

Throughout this prayer process, God has had one word for me, “Wait.”

I was so afraid that if I did what God asked and waited, I would be more likely to get my hopes up and be disillusioned if the answer ended up being no. Somewhere in there, God gave me the faith to wait on Him.

Still, I’ve been feeling (and have shared) that something big is heading my way.  A few weeks ago I woke up very early in the morning with the sense that I really needed to pursue a yes or no answer with God … and to be open to either alternative. So I began to pray for God to resolve the desires and feelings about this man in my heart, whether that meant fulfillment or removal. If it meant removal, I didn’t want them suppressed or rooted out. Suppression would only lead to a part of my heart blocked off that I would eventually have to go back and deal with later, and rooting these desires and feelings would leave my recently-blossoming heart barren. I guess what I really wanted was a transformation of these desires and feelings.

This past week I’ve been busy. The Enemy has been trying to distract me through attacks on my character. I’ve had to confront the lies with the truth. It’s been taxing. And several days went by when I didn’t think about this relationship at all. And when I did think about it, I felt … nothing. I thought, “Well, maybe it’s because I’ve been so busy. Maybe this doesn’t mean anything.”

But I had two really beautiful and vivid dreams and they both inspired me. I don’t usually remember my dreams, and my dreams certainly don’t inspire me. But in these two dreams I was in these gorgeous middles-of-nowhere. Wilderness places. Hiking, but mostly just talking with people on these hikes. Having good conversations, building relationships. It was so pleasant and even though there were people in these dreams I didn’t even know, and groups of people I do know who never mix, it all made sense.

I finished reading Hosea a week ago, and since then I’ve been in Exodus. In Hosea, God refers to wooing His people to wilderness places so they will seek Him and love Him. In Exodus, God brings His people to a wilderness and leads them there. Through all of this, God has been speaking to me about two things: He wants my love and He wants me to take care of His people. After the dreams, I would say God wants my love and He wants me to take care of His people in the wilderness places. To cultivate and restore life and health in barren places. It is my calling to walk with people through times of difficulty, particularly young people from broken and poverty-stricken homes.  I will walk with people through these times, I will bear their burdens before my Heavenly Father.

As I relaxed Sunday morning during church and quieted my heart to hear what God was saying about this relationship, I heard Him say, “I want something different for you.”

The miracle is, I don’t feel resentful about it. It makes complete sense.

The thing is, however much we love Christ and want to honor Him, however similar we are, however many obstacles we could have overcome with God’s help, God has given this man and I different desires, different visions. Without ever intending to, we would have held each other back. That’s not to say we wouldn’t or couldn’t have had a good life.

But I don’t just want a good life.

I want a great life. I want to be most passionate about God, to hold nothing back from Him, to have nowhere I am unwilling to go and nothing I am unwilling to do for Him. I want a husband who I can inspire to passion about God, to hold nothing back from Him, to have nowhere and nothing he is unwilling to do for Him. And I want a husband who will not only be living these things for himself, but who will rise to the challenge of calling these things out in me. And I want to call these things forth in him.

Again I am reminded, it’s not about my future husband, whoever and wherever he may be, though I certainly lift him up in prayer day by day. It’s about the ultimate relationship: the one I share with my Creator, my Redeemer, my Source. I love Him more than anything on this earth. Spending time with Him is what I crave throughout my day. That’s not to say there aren’t bumps in the road on my end, but my relationship with Him has overall changed for the better.

And I am so excited to see what He does next!

For now, though, I’m just going to relax and listen to some uplifting music.

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R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

I currently have several young women in my life suffering from the same problem in varying degrees:  relationships with men who have no respect for them. This post is not from a place of judgment, rather from a place of been-there-done-that-and-not-going-back.

On one hand, this is fairly cut and dry, if completely upsetting: they are receiving the respect they have asked for. Worse, they are asking for the respect they think they deserve.

None. On both counts.

That hurts my heart a lot. I want to come alongside of every young woman in this position and say, “What are you doing here? You deserve SO much better.”  I want to train them to see themselves the way God sees them, so they won’t be tempted to settle for less than His best.

But. When it comes to the human heart, things are complex. There is no formula because we are all unique.

Sometimes, even though we know his view of us is self-centered, we like the attention he gives us. And we stand by him. Sometimes, even though we know he is all wrong for us, his badness feeds our sense of adventure. And we go along with him. Sometimes, even when he makes us feel bad about ourselves, our heart has gone before our head and we have feelings for him. And we stay with him.

But at what cost?

We want to please him, so it all becomes about him. We begin to focus on what he likes about us, and sometimes forget what we like about ourselves. We let him take what he wants so we don’t lose him. And we let him hurt us, because we think we’ve provoked it by somehow not living up to his demands.

We lose ourselves.

And we deserve better.

We deserve men who view us the way God views us. Who pursue love God and want to live their lives for Him. Who love us and build us up.

Look. If I see you heading into one of these relationships, I will most definitely tell you that you deserve better. Once you’re in the relationship, I’m probably not going to speak against it, but I will take you out for coffee a lot, and seek to affirm you through God’s Word, because I know that man isn’t doing it. And if he breaks your heart, I’ll be there with the chocolate and chick flicks. (Same for if you work up the courage to walk away). I want you to understand your worth.

UPDATE: This may even seem simplistic, so I want you to know that the longer a relationship goes on the more complex the emotions about it become. I don’t want it to seem like I’m belittling anyone’s emotions. On the contrary, I respect them, which is why I’m generally the person who will support you no matter who you choose to date. Just don’t mistake my support of you as a person for my support of a harmful relationship.

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