Friday, November 30, 2007

circumstances change, god's promises don't

when i first started this blog, i would write down snippets of post ideas on post-it notes and stick them in my journal. i came across one this morning that says here, in my singleness, god will appear to me. i am not leaving until i can really see him. underneath that i had written obedience and then underneath that, phil 1:6. woah. i'm not leaving?

philippians 1:6 is a great verse. but i kept reading in philippians, and i came across 1:19-20.

i am continuing to rejoice. i know that what's happened and continues to happen will turn out for my deliverance, my character building, and my being the image of jesus for someone else. the last part of verse 20, with just a simple phrase change, sort of sums it up, for me. below is the passage, with my phrase change in italics....

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether in singleness or in marriage.

if i can't see or experience christ right now, with my circumstances as they are, what makes me think i will be able to experience him more or better with different circumstances? god controls circumstances, not the other way around.

i saw rob bell speak last night. wow. as he reminded me, god is already on my side. it's finished. he's for me. no matter what circumstances now say, thousands of years of history and the stories of those years as told in the bible prove that god is on my side. i have sufficient courage. i will exalt you, christ, no matter what. i want to exalt you. i can honestly say that i would rather stay here and exalt you and understand you and feel my heart wanting to be about what you are about. i would rather have all of that right now than drop it to meet someone and move toward being married.

woah. that is big for me. really big for me.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

holidays, reunions and fabulousness

so happy post thanksgiving. i had family in town and was busy with them for most of the break, so i was slacking on the posting. the break was a lot of fun. and i have to say that for the first time in a really long time, i didn't really feel any pangs of loneliness over the holiday. even when my dad, his girlfriend, my brother and his wife and i went out to dinner. even when i sat by myself in the back of my brother and his wife's car on the way home from black friday shopping. i felt pretty comfortable and content the whole time. it was great!

believe it or not, i even felt comfortable when i went to... my ten year high school reunion! yup. i showed up alone, sparkled and shone for about 4 hours, and left alone. and it was great.

i was kind of a nerd in high school. too tall, too skinny, and too insecure. i know most of us have that last one in common. i'm a pretty humble person, most of the time, but i have to say... i looked fabulous at my reunion. how do i know this? first of all, i felt fabulous. and second of all, people told me i looked fabulous. not just, hey you look good! but i mean, like, wow, sc! you look fabulous! i mean, like really, really good! even the people who used to be popular back in the day were saying it.

i actually had a really great time. i walked around chatting with people i haven't seen in years, feeling fabulous the whole time. even when people asked me if i was married. nope! i'd say, and then i'd laugh or look mischievous.

i am so thankful to be in this place where i am secure and confident. and i'm not even dating anyone! i've struggled with self confidence since i was in middle school. i'm not 100% sure what all has contributed to me feeling so good recently. i think some of it's just me deciding i'm sick of feeling insecure.

if you don't feel fabulous at least 30 to 50% of the time, stop and think about why. and then do something about it. seriously. god wants you to feel fabulous. so do i! oh and so does your future spouse!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

a happy, hope-filled holiday season?

strolling through my local target tonight, i had my first big christmas retail experience of the season. trees, lights, ornaments, christmas dishses, christmas towels... you name it, they had it. and it's not even thanksgiving yet. i even almost bought a christmas gift, but i didn't have cell service in the store so i couldn't call my friend to ask if her mom wants a certain home decor item for christmas.

as i meandered through the christmas ornament aisle, i noticed a young couple looking at ornament packages. they seemed to be trying to decide what color scheme to go with. that seems like it would be fun, i thought, smiling. picking out your first christmas ornaments and decorations together. sure, i could buy a tree and decorate it myself, or do it with my roommate, but i don't think either of us will be around much during the holidays. and besides, as most of you would probably agree, it's just not the same.

the cool thing about seeing this couple was what happened inside me... i was really happy for them! and my happy thoughts for them were followed by happy thoughts for me; someday i'll do that. not this year, probably not next year, but someday. and it feels good to feel happy. to be able to be happy for someone else and happy about the hope that i have.

Monday, November 12, 2007


i'm trying not to do too much of either, but it's freaking hard. i had one conversation with this guy, yet i am really having to work hard to keep him out of my thoughts. i want to talk about him and be giggly with some of my girlfriends. i want to google him at work all the time. ridiculous!

but... i've done ok so far. steady doses of reality (i don't even know him!) and prayer are helping. that and the fact that i've walked down the fantasy path before, and the after-effects weren't pretty.

i'm trying to guard my heart and my mind. it's hard!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

quality, not quantity

sometimes i get down because i feel like i know all of the quality single (& tall) guys in my city. is that a ridiculous way to feel? oh sure. i totally admit that. but sometimes it feels that way. i've lived in this city more or less my entire life, and i have an ever-evolving group of single friends ranging from 22 to about 42. if some great new guy appeared, i like to think i'd hear about him pretty quickly. or at least see him at church. (i go to a gigantic mega church that's a seeker-friendly/emerging-church type place; it also seems to be the place to go if you're single)

so imagine my surprise when i show up for volleyball last week and start chatting with a rather attractive tall guy who seems to be pretty quality. oddly enough, i'd seen his name in a few of the local free papers for various charity and young professional events. he has kind of a weird last name and a double first name, so it stuck in my head. when i met him, i thought, ohhhh... you're that guy! hmm... from what i've seen, you're quality! cool!

and then imagine my surprise when i realize that this attractive, quality, tall, smart guy is flirting with me! woah!!! i almost didn't know what to do. but i think i managed to pull myself together enough to flirt back. we had great conversation for a while, but unfortunately, i left without him asking for my number. no biggy; i figure god will take care of that part. i'm not worried.

so hope is restored! there are, in fact, tall, quality, available men out there who i have not met yet. and even though i'd like to think i know all the available men at my mega-church, i don't. because this guy apparently goes there. i found out from a friend of a friend at church today that this guy both goes to my church and is in a small group. amazing. just when i think i have it all figured out, god pulls another trick out of his sleeve. thanks, god!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

learning from my mistakes

i still feel a little guilty, but i have done what i need to do, and i really feel like i've learned this lesson. what exactly is it i've learned? well, when it comes to friends of the opposite sex:
• be open and honest. if you only like the guy as a friend, be sure he knows that.

• don't avoid hard or awkward conversations. i avoided talking about dating or what i was looking for in a guy around seth. i probably did this because on some level i knew he liked me as more than a friend and i enjoyed the attention and didn't want to change anything.

• make sure your actions follow your words. i know that as a christ follower, this should be a no-brainer. but in this context i really think it's extra important. if you're saying we're just friends, then act like it. don't spend all your free time with him. don't be overly flirty with him. don't do overly "coupley" things with him. not sure? then listen to the voices inside you (holy spirit, conscience) and the ones around you. with me and seth, i was definitely hearing voices and ignoring them. both the voice of the holy spirit inside me and the voices of friends who were telling me that he really liked me.

• guard your heart and his. sometimes people don't understand that they're not guarding their hearts, and you have to kind of help them out. i'm not exactly sure what that looks like, but i know i didn't do it with seth. i guess it means that if you have any inkling that your guy 'friend' might like you as more than a friend, be careful. don't take him or the friendship for granted.

i think it all boils down to really serving and loving the other person. putting him and his heart and his feelings first. the last few days i've been thinking about ways i can start practicing that with my friends and family. i've started to pray specifically that i could be less selfish.

want to add anything to the list? comment it!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

hurting someone sucks

it just does. especially when you know you could have avoided it. of course, i would say that being hurt sucks more. as sad as i feel right now, i'm sure seth probably feel worse.

why do we always think we can take short cuts or be reckless or negligent, and nothing will come of it? i see so many things i shouldn't have done. we were just friends, but i never talked about dating or relationships around him. i avoided topics like that because i knew that they'd create distance. seth admitted last night that he avoided admitting he liked me because he knew that meant he'd lose me. so we both denied and avoided... until suddenly i found myself curled up on the couch with him.

i never want to think i am capable of being as selfish as i was with seth. but i am. such a scary reminder of all the crap that hides in a human heart. i've asked forgiveness from god and seth, and have received it from both. that feels good.

i am hoping and praying that this won't happen again. i'm also hoping and praying seth is able to heal and connect to others, and that at some point we'll be able to be friends again.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

the hard lesson in the treasure chest

just when i thought everything was ok, and i would skate out of this seth situation without messing anything up too badly, the real consequences show up.

tonight i met seth for coffee, at his request. he asked if was sure that i just wanted to be friends, and i realized for the first time just how much pain i had caused us both. i mean, yeah, we're both to blame, to some extent. neither one of us protected either our own hearts or each other's. but i am very guilty of not lining my actions up with my words. it's one thing to say 'we're just friends,' but quite another to act like it.

tonight, seth told me that after processing and praying more, he realized that he really did want to date me. he really did like me as more than a friend. and i had to sit there and tell him that i was sure that i didn't have those feelings. and now i have to leave him alone for awhile. who knows how long. and he has some hard work to do; finding other people to spend time with and open up to.

it was really hard talking to him tonight because a big chunk of his pain is my fault, and now that it's been inflicted, i can't help him. i just have to back off and pray. plus, i've been there. i know that pain, and i know how much worse it is when you don't have a roommate or any close friends to help you figure it out. thinking about seth alone in his house and dealing with heartbreak breaks my heart.

i know he'll be ok, and that makes me feel better. but it was really hard to stomach how guilty i am in this situation. i hurt someone i really care about. i was really dumb. i am praying for him, that he'll connect with some great people and be able to open up and share, and feel known. also that god will draw him close and reassure him that he is loved and cared for and just an amazing, amazing guy.

i'm pretty sure the lesson has sunk in now. i get it. i don't ever want to be careless with someone's heart again. the flirting and temporary good feelings aren't worth it. i'm sorry, lord. i am really, really sorry. this is a lesson it took me a long time to figure out, but i get it now. negligence and denial and carelessness can hurt people just as much as intentional meanness or spite or any of those more active things.

Monday, November 05, 2007

god made treasure out of my trash!

wow. so i really thought i had screwed up my friendship with seth beyond recognition. but god took my selfishness, convicted me, and enabled me to step up, sort things out, and maybe even help a friend, even though i had to hurt him first.

let me backtrack a little. after the incident last weekend where seth and i slept on the futon after my party, things got a little... undefined. he was much more flirty with me, and i was enjoying it, so i was flirty back. all the while i kept telling myself, we're just friends! it's ok!

but it wasn't ok. it's never ok to not guard your heart or someone else's. the next week, while at work, we were emailing each other frequently throughout the day. then seth asked me if i wanted to go to a hockey game with him on saturday night. i said, sure. i love hockey! we went to the game with several other people, and afterward ended up at my place to chill and watch monty python dvds.

as we sat on the couch laughing, i realized he was inching closer to me. even though i knew better, i let him. and then somehow we were curled up together on the couch, and he was stroking my arm. um. yeah. and i let him. and then he started talking about how great this was. and i was like, um yeah, it is. and i was stuck. i had agreed; he thought we were on the same page. i completely knew we weren't, but i couldn't bring myself to say it. i just stayed there, curled up with him, letting him hold me and stroke my hair and tell me how this was so cool.

the next day, we had church and then brunch with some friends. afterwards, seth invited me over to watch a moto GP race later. i said sure, i'll come over around six.

so i went home, prayed, and called my good friend evan. we talked a while, and in true evan-fashion he gave me the truth i needed; be honest with seth, and do it ASAP. preferably in person. no hiding behind the phone. i also talked to my roommate, who gave me pretty much the same advice. and both of them made me feel a lot better by reminding me that seth is a big boy, and even though i might hurt his feelings, i wouldn't wreck his life or anything.

armed with encouragement, truth, and determination, i went over to seth's house sunday evening to watch the race. we ate dinner, watched the race, and then i turned to face him on the couch. it was really tough to get the words out, but i did. of course i started to cry, but i think that was good.

i told seth that this just wasn't working. that the change from friends to more than friends was not good. i told him that there was just something missing for me. i like you, i said. you are solid. you love jesus, and you like hockey and racing. i have prayed for a guy who loves jesus and likes hockey and racing! but you are not that guy. i can't engage in this 100% because i can feel that you are not that guy, and we are not supposed to be more than friends. and i'm pretty sure more time won't change that.

and wouldn't you know it... even though he was sad and and frustrated, (and honestly so was i), he saw it. we talked more about how things had progressed between us, and he admitted that yeah, he probably would have pursued me harder if were really sure he was into me. we were both pretty emotional, and kind of holding each other sideways on the couch after a while. eventually he looked at me and said, yeah, if this were the real deal, i'd be wanting to do a lot more than just hold you like this right now. it took me a minute to figure out what he meant.... oh! yeah, like if we really liked each other, we'd want to kiss. but neither of us wants that.

we talked for a long time after that, and it was really good. he opened up and shared a lot with me, and i felt like listening to him and just being there for him enabled me to kind of make up for hurting him, in a way. kind of. maybe.

since leaving his place last night, i've felt so much better. more whole. more ready for what's next, even if it's just more time with god and my girlfriends. and i am so humbled that god used me to help seth after i was so selfish. thanks, god.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

selfishness doesn't help anyone

ok so i really screwed up. i got selfish and now i have to undo some stuff i never should have done. because of it all, i may have lost a friend, and i'm pretty sure i've hurt him.

don't coast. don't avoid the hard conversations. don't assume everything is fine and you can keep doing what you're doing and you'll just get away with it. if you have any kind of a conscience, you won't. and if the word 'defraud' is floating around in your head, probably you're doing something you shouldn't be, and you should stop right away, before you do real damage to someone's heart.

god, i'm sorry. i was selfish again, and have probably hurt a really cool guy by being that way. please give me the strength to say what i need to say, to be mature about it, and give him the strength to hear it and realize that this just isn't meant to be.

more later, after i set things right.