Posts Tagged With: Aladdin

Dating Is Not A Formula (And God Is Not A Genie)

This is the second post in a series my sister and I are writing together. We are taking on common misconceptions in Christian circles about dating and trying to reconcile them with real life situations. Whatever your relationship status–be it happily married, engaged, in a serious relationship, divorced, single and loving it, single and hating it, a complicated relationship–we hope and pray that our words are able to encourage you.

I’m convinced that Christians who give dating advice almost all love math.

Math was never a favorite subject of mine. When I was little, math didn’t seem that bad–I’m really good at basic math. I can wrap my head around those concepts. As I grew older, math became more complicated. Algebraic formulas and geometric proofs frazzled my brain as I worked to understand them. Algebraic formulas made (somewhat) sense to me because there was a structure, a defined procedure to follow in order to find the value of x.

One thing that I have noticed among the Christian relationship/dating advice that I have come across is that almost all of it involves some type of formula.

“If you want to find your future spouse, you must do this, add this, subtract this from your life, add this in two steps later, divide it, find the square root of it, and multiply all of this by the level of patience that you have.”

It is almost like they are telling me to complete the Quadratic Equation, with “x” symbolizing my future husband.

quadratic_formula

“If you want to find your future spouse, you must pray about it as often as you can.” “If you want to find your future spouse, you must be obedient; you must read Scripture daily; you must do everything else that makes you a “good” Christian–give money to the poor, fast, evangelize, disciple, worship, attend church….” “If you want to find your future spouse, you have to be fully content being single.” “If you want to find your future spouse, you must not actively desire a relationship.” And of course, we can’t forget the two most commonly quoted Scriptures given as dating advice—“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).” “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23).”

If finding your future spouse is as easy as plugging some life circumstances into a formula and waiting for it to work itself out, there is an obvious answer to the question of, “Well, why am I still single?”–it is because you haven’t done the formula. In other words, being single becomes a result of not fully living out the Christian life.

If formulas based on “good Christian behaviors” were the end-all to attain your future spouse, I should have been married before I graduated high school. The truth is, I am nowhere near entering into a dating relationship, let alone marriage. Just the other day, an older guy joked with me, “You should be married off by now.” The truth is, I can count on one hand the number of guys who have shown a romantic interest in me. The truth is, I have friends who in complete honesty have told me, “I don’t understand why you don’t have a guy pursuing you. You have so many good qualities.” The truth is, I have no answer for the question, “Why aren’t any guys lining up at the door to date you?”
guy_knocking(image credit: Reidsville Baptist Church)

God is not Genie in Aladdin. You can’t just rub a magic lamp (or complete a formula) and have God grant you three wishes. “Poof! What do you need?” “Poof! What do you need?” “Poof! What do you need?” is not how God works. God also does not work in formulas. Jesus consistently called out the Pharisees for their insistence that religious duties and full obedience of the Law were your one-way ticket to salvation. If following specific rules and structure doesn’t give me eternal life, why would I want a specific, cookie-cutter plan so that I could “find” the value of x—I mean, my future spouse?

My life is not a scavenger hunt from God. I do not get any brownie points from Jesus for handing Him a list of things that I have found. “Look Jesus! I found my husband! I had to look all over for him! You sure made that difficult, Jesus.” God is my Provider in all things—including my future husband. Let’s leave the formulas where they belong—back in Algebra class—and live our lives leaning into the adventure God has for us, trusting Him as Provider.

Categories: Love & Dating, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

May: Birthday Week And Then Some

I have a confession: I love cake. If there is a celebration where cake is involved and I refuse cake, it would be wise to make sure that I am not very ill and on the verge of dying. Cake is the perfect complement to any celebration–light, sweet, and delicious. A day when I can enjoy a slice of cake is a good day. When life allows an entire week of enjoying cake almost every single day, that week is bound to be a memorable and important week.

Cue April 30-May 5, 2013.

April 30

A group of friends and I decided to surprise our younger friends on the college campus where we all met. We all became friends through a campus ministry organization, so what better way to surprise our friends than by crashing the last meeting of the year for that ministry? Our group of alumni first met up for dinner on the opposite side of campus. When we are all together, especially for the first time in a very long time, we become that group of obnoxiously loud, always laughing people. We may or may not have actually scared the girlfriend of one of the guys as she met us for the first time. She’s still friends with all of us, so we couldn’t have scared her THAT much 😉 After we ate, we headed across campus to put our plan into action. We gathered in the kitchen next to the meeting room where the campus group meets. Excitement was bursting out of all of us. We tried to keep our voices down, but the more we whispered, the more excited we got for our plan. Once we were all ready, we opened the door, yelled, “SURPRISE!!!” and ran out of the kitchen. Sean, a fellow alumni who had taken up a leadership role in the club after graduation, went around and picked as many of us as he could hold in one hug off the ground out of sheer excitement, until he had picked up all of us.

 

The night was spent laughing, sharing stories, and taking pictures. It also happened that one of the underclassmen had a birthday that week. A cake was bought for that person. Well, once there was word that a birthday cake was involved, Megan and a few others made sure that the whole room knew that my birthday was only a couple of days away. When “Happy Birthday” was sung, I was included. A night with dear friends, in the place that brought us all together, celebrating Jesus, laughter, and a bonus birthday cake? Yes, please.

scf_alumni

(Most of these photos are courtesy of my lovely friend Kristen).

May 1

May 1st was the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner for Sam & Krystle‘s wedding. I made sure to get out of work on time and went right to the wedding venue. Under most circumstances, a rehearsal is done the day/night before the wedding, but the only day that was available with the venue was one in the middle of the week. One of the other bridesmaids, Leanne, had gotten engaged since the last time I saw her. Before she even said hello, she jumped up and down and showed me her gorgeous ring. We ooh-ed and ahh-ed over the ring and chatted until everyone who was able to make to the rehearsal arrived.

We went through the details of how we were to be lined up and who would walk in when. We then did a practice run. Rocky, our maitre d’, was impressed that I knew how to lead off the bridesmaids with an appropriately timed walk, even though I told him that I had the same responsibility in January. 😉 Once we all got to our places, Rocky was explaining to Krystle and Sam more details of the day. Leanne and I were talking and joking around. I noticed that the lighting was AMAZING and snapped some photos on my phone.

rehearsal_light

 

rehearsal_lighting_tree

The rehearsal itself was pretty short. Soon enough, we were getting ready to leave to head to the dinner. Krystle’s dad asked if we all knew how to get to the house. The rehearsal dinner was being held at Krystle’s childhood home–which is three blocks away from my house. Growing up, the easiest way to see if she was home was to stand in the middle of our street and look to see if there were any cars at her house. I responded to her dad, “Umm…..I am not quite sure…….”  to which he gave me a look, smiled, laughed, and hugged me. Even though Krystle and I have been friends since 6th grade, her dad never hugged me until that moment. It was finally the right moment for a hug. 🙂

The dinner was good all around–good food, good conversations, good company, good dessert, good laughs. Even though the night was celebrating Krystle and Sam, when it was time for cake, part of me couldn’t help but see the moment as half celebrating the happy couple and half celebrating my birthday. It was the day before my birthday, and I got cake and gifts. This thought was given more validity when Krystle and Sam presented the bridal party with gifts for being part of their wedding. We ended the night seeing our bouquets, figuring out some last minute details, and almost everyone practicing the dance to “Gangam Style.”

May 2

HAPPY 25TH BIRTHDAY TO ME!!! I celebrated by working at returns from 10 am-7 pm. Of course, there were some crazy/stressful moments, but the fact that it was my birthday made the stress not a big deal. On my lunch break, I got free Chick-Fil-A and free Rita’s water ice.  After work, I came home, opened my gifts, had a little bit of family time, read all of the birthday posts on my Facebook wall and then had to get to sleep early, as I had to open the next morning at work.  I did not have my birthday cake on my birthday because I have problems as it is getting a good night’s sleep before an opening without having a sugary dessert right before bed. Free Rita’s water ice made up for the lack of cake.

bday_2013

May 3

I worked in the morning. My family and I went out to dinner to celebrate my birthday. I chose Applebees as the restaurant. After we ate, we went home and I finally had my birthday cake. I had no idea what kind of cake my mom had made me. Prior to my birthday, I kept asking her for sprinkles on my cake. She kept telling me no. No part of me could understand why my mom, of all people, was not allowing me to have sprinkles on my birthday cake! When she opened the cake pan and I saw the cake, she explained why she had been so “mean” about the sprinkles. If there had been sprinkles on my cake, the smiley face would have looked diseased!

bday_cake_dinner

May 4

Birthday cake is never finished the first day. I’m positive that at some point, I enjoyed some more birthday cake, because why not? It was still my birthday week and completely acceptable.

In the evening, Krystle, Gina, and I met up to get our nails done for Krystle’s wedding. While we were in the salon, I also saw a friend from church and her daughter and took a few minutes to talk to them. While we were talking, I also saw Sam’s brother and his girlfriend. Apparently the thing to do the evening before your brother’s wedding is to take your girlfriend on a date to the mall. Who knew.

dodge_nails

After our nails were done, we drove over to Michael’s, since Krystle still needed to get her “something blue.” We walked back to the ribbon section and rummaged through the ones on sale and found a cute, small ribbon with blue bows on it. We walked up front, Krystle paid, and we got in our cars. Krystle took Gina back to her parent’s house, where she was sleeping over. I drove home, picked up all of my stuff for the next day (dress, shoes, bag, etc.) and  went over to Krystle’s house to drop off my stuff. I put my things in what used to be Krystle’s bedroom (but was now being used as our dressing room). Krystle, Gina, and I talked for a little bit. I don’t even know what we talked about, except we were SO excited and giddy. The day was finally almost here!!!! I did not stay long. Once I got home, I took a shower and got my last minute stuff ready. I tried to get to sleep early, but I probably did not get to sleep as early as I wanted.

May 5

“He doesn’t want to heal you. He wants to resurrect you.” Moment Maker, Carlos Whittaker

The wedding of Sam and Krystle, a day that was one of the best days of my life. This day deserves it’s own entry (or a handful of entries). Be on the lookout for this!

(And yes, there was cake at the wedding).

 Dodges_teaser

Other highlights of the month of May include celebrating my Mom’s birthday, playing one game of softball with my church team, and deciding to go for a run after the game. Going for a run might not sound like a big deal, but it was the beginning of a new chapter in my life.

 

May 2013 is a year that will be hard to top with any birthday celebrations in the near future.

 

 

 

 

Categories: 2013:Immeasurably More | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.