DATING NON-NEGOTIABLES

Okay… yes.

Another one. Eat your heart out, people sick of dating blogs.

WHAT ARE YOUR NON-NEGOTIABLES?

Red flags? No nos? Turn offs? Yes. Those.

Some of you think you know what you’re looking for, what you want in a husband or a boyfriend, or the future father of your children, but when a guy comes around and starts flirting with you, you act STUPID.

{there is grace for you, this is a hug}

BUT SERIOUSLY.

You might have no idea what you want {or what you don’t want}, so you end up entertaining the idea of being with someone who violates your {possibly nonexistent} non-negotiables. You flirt back. You string him along. You might actually date. You might even start to get attached, and override all of your panic alerts inside going “no no no no no no” just because of the attention? Fear? Confusion?

That’s okay in middle school, when Bobby gives you his puddin’ cups at lunch, and for the love of God, you love the puddin’ cups so much {not Bobby} and that’s a tough call. Honestly, puddin’ is delicious. This might still be a tough call… anyway…

NOT OKAY WHEN YOU’RE A GROWN UP.

It is not okay to wager hurting someone in order to get attention.
It is not okay to flirt with people in order to get attention.
It is not okay to go on multiple dates with people you do not like in order to get attention.

It’s mean, and mean girls lose respect. Respect is hard to get back.

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{there is grace for you, and this is another hug}

So, let’s think of what it is that we don’t like. Dig deep, friends.

This is for you, ladies. Maybe you should know a few things that make you cringe a little or shake your head, so you don’t string a guy along or date someone you don’t even like.

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Here are my most honest, ridiculous maybe and vulnerable red flags:
I am not too picky and my specificity will be a big relief for my man, thank you.
:: & don’t judge my very specific and accurate red flags, because these things do not work for me::

1) Holy Spirit shy {weird is good, actually}
2) Easily intimidated/small dreaming {yes, I do divorce ministry, that’s hard}
3) Has soul ties {you be talkin bout her, shutty}
4) Unsettled, not ready {babies shouldn’t be scary}
5) Fake laughs {80% of my jokes are just sad, so I know}
6) Can’t just “be” and do nothing with me {comfort factor}
7) Irresponsible spender {hello fights about money}
8) Sends me messages at ungodly hours {hey shady}
9) Reminds me of an ex {yeah no, that’s unfortunate}
10) Doesn’t affirm me verbally {gotta hear it, often}
11) Imperative verbs without saying please {rude, no}
12) Hides me from his family and best friends {not okay, I’m awesome}
13) Makes me feel uneasy or weird {best friend comfort level}
14) No rhythm/non-musical {I’m Latina…}
15) Non-dancer {I’m Latina…}
16) Non-fun-haver {if you just know me, you’ll know}
17) PDA hater/non-kisser {it’s my love language!}
18) Manboy {can’t cook/clean/buy grown-up clothes… that’s a baby}
19) Funky teeth {if I’m gonna tell my kids to brush, daddy’s gotta}
20) Doesn’t joke back {banter banter banter}
21) Jury is still out on certain tank tops {wife beaters sometimes weird me out mostly bc of #22}
22) Chest hair {excessive, bear status… personal preference}
23) Doesn’t have a Twitter account {subtweeting about each other…}*
24) If there are a lot of red flags, about family or friends, or emotional maturity {obvi}
25) Mean to strangers/servers {just makes me cringe and want to apologize}

*#23 Twitter is not a deal breaker.

There you have it, folks.
Non-negotiables.
Write them down or something. Have some.
It’ll make a lot of sense if you can say “well I don’t like him because ___________” and then be a big girl and say “Hey Guy, thank you for being so kind to me, but I don’t see you as more than a friend.” and you don’t have to explain anything else. You just have to be honest.

Honest SOONER than later.
And you stop texting.
You stop hanging out by yourselves.
You don’t manipulate them or do anything that would be considered manipulation.

Please trust that Jesus made you to be who you are.
The guy you marry should sharpen you into a better, truer version of who you are, and you should sharpen him.
You don’t have to marry, much less somebody you don’t like.
You don’t have to date someone more than a couple of times to realize that you aren’t feelin it.
Don’t keep dating in hopes that you’ll eventually like them.
That’s a terrible idea.
That’s not nice, and it puts a stumbling block in your ministry.

If you don’t know what you want, at least know what you don’t want and save time, hearts, and money.

{{Oh please leave comments. What are your non-negotiables?}}

4 Reasons Why You Feel LONELY

COMMUNITY. Ahh, the word that gets tossed around but not truly explained, this mythical, inconvenient concept of having people around who love you, being in consistent relationship. It’s messy, you have to share things, it’s obnoxious and yet it’s so needed. We feel lonely without it.

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not the most accurate depiction, maybe

My views on community are my own. You don’t have to agree with me. You don’t have to change the way you do life. All I’d like to point out is that only you know the level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction you have right now with your ‘community’ and if you feel LONELY, there’s a problem.

If you feel like you DON’T FIT IN or that you DON’T BELONG or that you are UNLOVED, or that you lack DEPTH in your relationships, or that REJECTION is one engagement or baby bump or move away… there’s a problem. There’s a big problem. It needs to get addressed. You shouldn’t continue on into life feeling like that.

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sometimes Goosebumps don’t cut it

I’d like to share a little bit about what my community looks like first

I choose to call my community my “FAMILY” and that includes about 6 people, of various ages, relationship statuses, and geographical locations, some blood-related, and some that I choose to love as such. Some of them weigh into my life spiritually, some do not. That’s okay.

I pursue depth with those people.

They are my family and my best friends. I consider them my blood. I try to keep a few close to me that will have fun and encourage my faith, so sometimes this circle ebbs and flows, because the gospel drives them to different nations and states. It’s a fun family. It’s spread out.

There’s a high level of trust and loyalty. There’s been time invested. I’ve showed them over time that I love them and their love is returned.

What that looks like is that I call them {and they call me} to see how life is going.
I tell them about my life, my struggles, and my walk with the Lord.
I tell them things, and they tell me things.
We ask each other hard questions.
It’s not uncommon that sometimes we cry on the phone with each other.
We encourage each other deeply with big matters.

Sometimes my brother will say something that is exactly what I needed to hear, and he doesn’t sugarcoat things. I get to hear about when depression is on the horizon, and when someone is frustrated, or when there’s been a fight, or a conflict. I get to hear about financial, spiritual, and emotional struggles, and I also get to hear about the good grade on the hard test, roommates, and funny stories. I keep in communication with my “family.” I open that channel and I keep it wide open.

I see a correlation between my vulnerable, constant pursuit of my ‘community’ with my feelings of being loved by them.

Do they ever let me down? Yep.
Do they ever make me mad? Yep.
Do I stop calling or answering the calls? Nope.
We don’t walk away when things are difficult, or when one offends the other.
Families fight.
Oh well.
That’s life.
We still love each other.

In Psalm 68, it says that God puts the lonely in families.

It doesn’t say that He gives them conditional besties.
Doesn’t say that He rearranges their social calendar.
Doesn’t say that He makes sure they have more money to offset their loneliness.
Nah… He puts them in FAMILIES.

I think we focus too much on COMMUNITY and we forget that FAMILY is the key.

Looking at it from a family’s perspective, here are 4 reasons why you might feel lonely…

1) PHYSICAL DISTANCE – with families, some members are distant but some are right with you. You come home to family, right? You do life with them. You share meals, and share stuff, and you’re fun together and boring together. You clean up after each other. You help each other. You’re present with each other. You go to the store, and church, and you also know that there’s a constancy about that presence. You might feel lonely because you don’t live with “family” and that doesn’t necessarily mean you should move back in with your blood-related family. That just might mean that you appreciate your roommates, that you do life with people and enjoy the gift of their company. Live with people.

2) EMOTIONAL DISTANCE – You might live with someone, but you might feel lonely because their hearts are far away. You might have so many walls up that all you do is talk about the weather and sports. There’s an emotional vulnerability and openness to family. You can tell them how your day really went, and your frustrations, and your fears. You can tell them, and they want to hear it. And they tell you, and you want to hear it. The only way to kill emotional distance is to approach someone and tell them “hey, can I tell you about my day?” and to be honest. Give them the chance to get to that level with you. Thank them and tell them that you’re there for them. The way I know I’ve built emotional closeness with someone is that they react to my news in a way that ministers to my heart. If I’m sad, they have compassion. If I’m overjoyed, they jump with me. They rejoice and mourn with me, it’s really quite Biblical. But someone has to take the first step.

3) REJECTION – families shouldn’t walk away from each other because of hardship. In a perfect world, you’d see that played out more. Unfortunately, lots of people bail when things get tough, and we now have generations who are scarred by rejection, and terrified of it. The Lord does not reject you. You have the ability to trust people, and trust is a gift. You might feel lonely because you are afraid of loving someone and not being loved back.

awkwardhugsYou don’t want to invite someone over because they might say no. You don’t want to initiate because you fear the response. And so you become that person who doesn’t reach out, and you tape your arms to your sides, and it’s harder to hug that way. Even when someone approaches you, you can’t embrace them back. You think it’s the world rejecting you, but really at the root of it, there’s a fear living in your heart. It’s a legitimate fear. It’s awful to be rejected. I pray you see the risk as worth it, though. I pray you free your arms to reach out, regardless of the outcome. You just might find that someone says yes, that someone does want to spend time with you and get to know your heart. Ask the Lord to give you a friend. When He does, be bold about loving that friend well.

4) SAMESIESYou might feel lonely if you think that your friends need to be LIFE TWINS with you. Life is a constant change. People get engaged, they have babies, they age, they move to Houston, and what do you do? Now your circle of friends is UTTERLY RUINED because you saw your friendship through conditional lenses. Because you live together, or because you’re both single ladies, or because you work together, or whatever SAMESIES you met through should not, then, kill the friendship when life changes.

samesies

not all your friends should wear this

If you only ate one kind of food, your nutrition would be LACKING.
It’s the same with your community, if it is made up only of people your age/status/location.
That community is DEFICIENT.
It’s deficient of AGE, and WISDOM, and DIVERSITY, and CHALLENGE.
It’s a community of ice-cream for dinner, and that’s not going to sustain you for long.

You need friends who are in high school, and friends who are in college, friends who are married, friends with kids, friends old enough to be your parents, and grandparents.
You need variety in your life, otherwise you’re stuck.

Engagements, babies, and moving should not ruin your community… they should enhance it.

Families are not all made up of people of the same age, from the same place, at the same status.
It should be the same with your friendships, if we can mature unto fullness and realize that we ourselves will change, and will not know anything about what’s next if we don’t choose to surround ourselves with those who walk ahead of us, and those who walk behind us.

Community is not just a two-way street,
but a maddening highway of multiple lanes, bridges, and intersections.
If you’re feeling lonely today, friend, I pray that the road of your heart gets a little more traffic.

What will you do about your loneliness?

Do you struggle with any of these things?

Feel free to comment, and I’d love to be praying for you.

Learning How To Be Alone

It took everything I had not to pick up my phone and call someone tonight.
I had to purposefully put down my car keys, and tell myself not to ‘drop by’ any of my friends’ homes.

I even contemplated going to the gym, just so I’d be around people and be able to politely ignore them while secretly enjoying their company, knowing we were all doing the same activity, feeling the same way, hearts pounding, sweat prickling, and feet slamming down on the treadmills, side by side, all running sort of in the same direction, going nowhere. But again, I stopped myself.

Tonight, I would try to learn how to be alone.

I changed out of my cute clothes, topping off the laundry basket. What does one wear to be alone? Lounge clothes? Okay. So I chose to wear my cotton “same same but different” t-shirt from Asia (WR free pile!), and my terracotta Grey’s Anatomy brand scrub pants, hands-down my softest scrubs. It baffles me still that I used to be paid the big bucks to save lives while wearing the most comfortable pants I’ve ever owned.

I take a load of laundry down the stairs, sorting them, thinking to myself how much I don’t understand introverts. How do they enjoy the silence? Don’t they miss the laughter?

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What extroverts secretly think of introverts. #realtalk

I come upstairs and wonder to myself (obviously) if there’s something wrong with me.

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Which is really hard, or so it sounds like. I’ve never been hit with a ton of bricks… I hope to never experience that… anyway…

It hit me like a ton of bricks that I’M NOT ALONE!

I felt like such a jerk. He was right there. He is RIGHT here.

Tears welled up in my eyes and I repented in my heart and rebuked my eyes for not seeing the unseen loveliness of the presence of God.

It is not good for man to be alone,” He said.

If it isn’t good, for my ultimate good, my God would never allow it.

Being alone, feeling alone–not good. And we don’t have a choice in that. He’s always here.

He loves us way too much to want to be apart from us, dying to bridge the gap between sin and perfect holiness.

Dying to kill my dependence on the seen, on people.

Dying to kill my loneliness.

Dying to fill that empty void that craves and craves and craves…

I love people so much. I was made to love lots of people, and truly enjoy their presence. I was made to have a loud home, a busy kitchen, fun-having company. I was made to be affectionate and nurturing. That is who I am. That’s all I want to do when I get home.

So yes, it feels absolutely foreign to me when there is nobody around. When I can’t make jokes that are so not even funny, and laugh at myself for trying. When I want to hug and there’s not someone to hug. When I want to dance all crazy like the Brazilian I am, there’s no one to shimmy back to me. I was wired for intimacy, for relationship.

On nights like this, a book doesn’t do it. A show doesn’t do it. I have to have Someone around. I miss my friends somethin’ fierce tonight, and they are blowing me up on Snapchat haha. But it takes times like these, intentional times to just be, to push me outside my comfort zone and deny my flesh what it really wants. I rest when I’m around my people… my trusted friends, my favorites, my loved ones. It doesn’t make much sense, but there it is. And Jesus is in all of that, where two or more are gathered. Jesus gets me. I’m learning to rest in Him.

Here’s to learning how to live life. I raise my box of Cheez-its to all of you.

I can cross off “learning how to be alone” from my to-do list, not because I learned, but because I won’t need that skill, ever.

With that said, my laundry is done.

((what are you learning about rest? alone time? books? Jesus? do people wear you out? leave a comment!))