Say no.

bad date

In my post two weeks ago, I talked about the need for women to say “yes” when asked out on a date by a good guy.  When I wrote that post, I was writing to a certain kind of woman. I was also writing to 23-year old me.

Until about the age of 27 (and even following), I was looking for a brunette male, 6’4″, handsome, with a sharp wit, who loved Jesus. I didn’t think that was too much to ask.  I didn’t have a list of 100 items. Just 5: Tall, hunky, brown, hilarious, Jesus-lover.  Yet somehow that list of 5 things was almost impossible for any guy to meet. So, 99% of the time, I said “no” to great guys without ever giving them a chance and getting to know them.

It took the poking and prodding of two close, older/WISER women, who suggested I was looking for the “wrong guy” and God doing quite a number on my heart before I was ready to “say yes” to my future-husband when he asked me out on our first date.  The only reason my husband and I are married, is because I had my “say yes” rule and he got that first date.

Though I firmly stand behind what I wrote in that post, I also need to address that not every woman needs to “say yes” more.  In fact, some women need to “say no” more often. In the words of CS Lewis, some of us are “like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because (s)he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.” Harsh? Yes. Truthful? Dead on.

Some of us are content dating mud pies when God has something entirely better in mind for us.

My friend, Stephanie May Wilson, wrote the perfect blog this week to sum it up. Let’s make sure we’re saying “yes” to the good guys and giving them a chance, but saying “no thank you” to the mud pies. It’s time to trust God has something better in store for you.

The 5 Guys You Don’t Want to Date

1. The one who won’t commit

You’re talking to a guy, acting like you’re dating even, but no matter how much time passes, or what happens, it seems like he’s never willing to fully commit. Every time you talk about it, trying to super gently bring it up, he talks around it. He has reasons why you shouldn’t be exclusive, or even better, reasons why titles totally don’t matter.

And because you like the guy so much, or because you want the relationship to work so badly, you continue to wait. You wait, and you hope, and you settle for this weird middle ground where no promises have been made, and no accountability exists.

But it’s fine. Right?

The truth is that if a guy wants to be your boyfriend, he will be your boyfriend. People who want to commit generally do. Not only that, but you deserve someone who wants to be with you. You deserve someone who wants you to be theirs, who wants to make a commitment to you, who wants to be exclusive. You deserve to be chosen. Bottom line.

Read the rest…

Things that drive you crazy

Photo Jan 19, 5 08 05 PM copy

“I’m going to kill my husband,” she said.

“He always leaves his shoes at the front door. No matter what I do; no matter how many times I ask, beg, plead, throw fits, he will not pick up his shoes and put them in our closet.  He knows it drives me crazy and for whatever reason, he can’t seem to put them in the closet. What do I do?”

I heard this story about 8 years ago.

My sweet friend and mentor was relaying to me a conversation she had recently with another woman. This woman, her friend, was pleading with her for help. The shoe issue was killing her, making her angry, and ultimately creating so much resentment towards her husband.

Some of us can read that and go “Oh honey, get over it,” but others of us empathize. There are things our husbands do that drive us bananas. And sometimes those things seem like they will actually kill us because it gets under our skin so much. So what’s a girl to do?  She’s communicated maturely and not-so-maturely about the situation, both to no avail.

Some would counsel, “Come hell or high water you must teach him to put his shoes away.  Don’t be his mother.  Don’t clean up after him.  Force him to do it.”  But instead, this is how my mentor responded.

“You know what you’re going to do? Every day when he leaves his shoes at the front door and it drives you crazy, you’re going to pick up his shoes and put them in the closet for him. When he asks later, ‘Where are my shoes?!” you say, “I put them in the closet; let me get them for you.” No attitude. No sass.

And guess what? Eight years later, that story is my life.

We’ve compromised some.  We agreed I could handle one pair of shoes by the door. But when he leaves more than a pair, I pick them up and put them in our closet. When he asks where they are, I respond, “Oh! I put them in the closet; let me get them for you.”

You know what that does? It makes something that shouldn’t be an issue, a non-issue.

I really like things a certain way, especially our house. It would be very easy for me to be annoyed and angry every time my husband leaves his shoes at the front door. But you know what fixes it? Just putting them away! If they bother me at the door, then I should put them away. Keep in mind, I’m not punishing him, by putting his shoes away and forcing him to retrieve them. I don’t inconvenience him. I serve him.

The same thing can be applied with roommates. I realized one day I was practically losing my salvation over dirty dishes in the sink. (Side note: I kid. I don’t really think you can lose your salvation.) So if the dirty dishes are really getting me that angry, you know what fixes it?  Putting them in the dishwasher.

But you shouldn’t clean up after your roommate or your husband. Ok, I agree with that, but then I will be frustrated and rattled for NOTHING.

My same sweet mentor also says,

“Don’t let Satan steal your joy for one second.”

Dirty dishes in the sink, shoes at the front door– those are things to be thankful for.  We have shoes for goodness sakes!  Lots of them if you’ve seen my closet.  A lot of people in this world don’t have shoes. We have so much food, we leave it out in excess, dirty dishes everywhere!  What a blessing!  Both things are things to be grateful for, but the trivial annoyance that I allow them to become– well that is just stealing my joy.

What about you?  What are things that just make your skin scrawl or steal your joy?  Is it time for you to just start “putting the shoes away”?


Say yes.

o-FIRST-DATE-facebookShortly after graduating from college, I began to experience the epidemic known as “I kissed dating goodbye.”

It’s not that I, individually, kissed dating goodbye.  I definitely didn’t want to kiss dating goodbye, but it seemed like all my friends had.  Guys weren’t asking girls out on dates.  They still don’t for the most part.

My girlfriends and I would sit around complaining about how all our single guy friends were pansies due to their lack of asking girls out.

Then one day, not unlike so many other days when we gathered together and gabbed about our lame guy friends, one of our friends announced she had been asked out on a date!

“HURRAY!”  We all cheered! “Finally a guy who GETS IT!”

Then, to our dismay, we learned she had politely turned him down. WHAT?!

She “just wasn’t attracted to him,” she explained.  Some of us nodded understandingly, others of us looked at her in disgust.  I’m sure as you read this, you fall into one of those two categories.  We’ll get to that in a moment.

A few weeks go by, the same girlfriends gather, the same conversation comes up, and my friend– who had just been asked out– jumps right back into the conversation and complains about guys not asking girls out, and that’s when I decided,

If a guy asks you out on a date, say yes.

Barring he’s an axe-murderer, total jerk, man-whore, or something truly unacceptable– if a guy drums up enough courage to ask you out, you should say yes.

Otherwise, you lose all right to ever complain that guys don’t ask girls out.  But what’s worse is that when you turn a guy down for a lame-reason (i.e. “not attracted to him”) you are only further perpetuating the problem.  One of the reasons guys don’t ask girls out on dates is because they’re scared of rejection. When you say no, you are just reinforcing that fear!

I know some of you are thinking it’s a perfectly valid reason to turn a guy down if you aren’t attracted to him. Or because he’s “just friend” material, or you really don’t have chemistry with him, or he dated your friend, or he stands weird (to get technical “his knees bend backwards” yes that is real), or he’s a waiter at Applebees, or… you know what I’m talking about.

Whatever valid reason you think you have, that guy is a human, just like you.  How would you feel if the roles were reversed?  I’m sure guys haven’t asked me out before because I was too tall, not skinny enough, my front teeth are large, I’m too opinionated, I walk weird… I could go on. If we heard a guy say any of those things about a girlfriend we would be LIVID.  Instead, those are somehow valid excuses for turning down a brother!

It’s time to end the double standard.

You want to be asked out? Then say yes when you’re asked.

“But I’d be leading him on!” some of you would object.  You’re right.  If you’ve made up in your mind that there is 100% no way ever that you would go out on a second date with him, then yes– you are wasting his time.  But that’s where I want to plead with you, say yes to him and be open to it.  Be open to having fun.  Be open to laughing.  Be open to making a new friend. Be open to enjoying yourself.  Be open to saying yes to another date with him if you both enjoyed the conversation and company.

Say yes and be open. 

For every love-at-first sight stories there are, I can find you twice as many “s/he grew on me” stories. Love, chemistry, connection, attraction– it all grows.  I will argue that side until the day I die.  I am more attracted to and love my husband a thousand times more than the day I met him; I am more attracted to him and love him more than I did on our wedding day.  Every day it grows.

So quit turning good guys down when they ask you out.  Say yes and be open to having a good time.

A New Year’s Resolution for Over Achievers

better-to-do-listCalling all my over achiever friends!  You know who you are.

You wrote down your New Year’s Resolutions in December.  You put pen to paper and hung them in a visible place or you bought an app that tracks your resolutions and sends you weekly reminders. You’ve asked friends to keep you accountable with you resolutions–partly because accountability seems to ensure higher success rates, but partly because, it makes you feel good to impress others with your lofty (but achievable for you, wink wink) goals and resolutions.

Now, I’m not going to knock your resolutions. They aren’t bad. In fact, I’m sure most are even great!

But from one recovering over achiever to another, here is my challenge for you.

For every goal or resolution you set for yourself this year to accomplish, achieve, or do, define one thing you won’t do this year.

A few years ago, I read a life-changing chapter in a book called Bittersweet by Shauna Neiquist. The title of the chapter is simple: Things I don’t do.

Shauna puts it like this:

I love the illusion of being able to do it all, and I’m fascinated with people who seem to do that, who have challenging careers and beautiful homes and vibrant minds and well-tended abs.

One of my core fears is that someone would think I can’t handle as much as the next person.

I love the illusion of being able to do it all so much that it made me a New Year’s Resolution MONSTER.  Each year, I had to craft bigger and better resolutions than the year before, to prove to myself and others that I was always growing and improving.  But eventually, it caught up with me.  I had created a laundry list of all these goals and achievements I wanted to continue to uphold, master, and perfect.

The truth is that if we want to be really great at some things, we have to chose to not be great at other things.

You and I can’t do it all.  So, my dear over achiever, when you look at your laundry list for 2015 of all the glorious goals you will accomplish, what are you going to cut out of your life or chose to not do in order to prioritize the do’s? And I’m not talking about more resolutions like “I won’t bite my nails.”  I’m talking real things that you free yourself from having to be great at.

Things I don’t do: (to name a few)

I don’t bargain shop. I’m not good at it and I don’t enjoy it.  Most, if not all, women will always be much better at this than me.

I don’t bake. Sure, I’ll make a 3-ingredient cookie from time to time, but overall baking is too specific and the process generally annoys me.

I don’t do zumba, dance cardio, or anything similar. I love a good workout, but I’m just not excited about dancing with a bunch of women in lines to get my sweat on.  Plus, I look like an idiot.

I don’t do crafts, DIY, pinterest projects, or anything of the like– including paint and sip parties. Let’s throw in sewing, knitting, and all other needle point projects as well.  I’m not artistic and similar to baking, the process just makes me cranky.

So, what are you not going to do in 2015?

Let’s stop trying to create the illusion that we can do it all. We can’t do it all.

Go ahead. Next to that list of glorious resolutions for 2015, write down another list of “things you don’t do.”  Keep them next to each other to remind yourself you can’t do it all but if you prioritize well, you can do some things great.

Lessons from the Wise Men

camelsAfter Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, in the time of King Herod, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem saying, “Where is the one who is born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 

When King Herod heard this he was alarmed, and all Jerusalem with him. After assembling all the chief priests and experts in the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. “In Bethlehem of Judea,” they said, “for it is written this way by the prophet:

And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are in no way least among the rulers of Judah,
for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Then Herod privately summoned the wise men and determined from them when the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and look carefully for the child. When you find him, inform me so that I can go and worship him as well.” 

After listening to the king they left, and once again the star they saw when it rose led them until it stopped above the place where the child was. When they saw the star they shouted joyfully. As they came into the house and saw the child with Mary his mother, they bowed down and worshiped him. They opened their treasure boxes and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. After being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they went back by another route to their own country.  [Matthew 2:2-12]

If you glanced over the above passage or skipped it entirely, stop right now, take a deep breath, go back and read it slowly. Even if you’ve already read this passage of scripture this Christmas season, read it again. Slowly.  As Professor Hendricks often said, “The moment you come to a passage of Scripture and say, “Oh, I know this one already,” you’re in deep trouble. Instead, you need to come to every text as if you’d never seen it before in your life. That’s quite a discipline. It involves cultivating a mind-set, an attitude toward the Word.”¹  Now read it.

You read it?  Slowly?  Good job.

I’ve always been fascinated with this story. To think that the Creator of the Universe, the God of Israel, chose to reveal a star to pagan magi thrills me to no end.

You see, we have this version of the Three Wise Men in our heads that’s not quite right and, in my opinion, also less powerful.

The wise men, or magi, were probably not rich kings.

The three gifts they bring were precious commodities of the time, and therefore why we might jump to the conclusion that they were wealthy.  However, magi in this time were royal servants who performed mystical and astrological services to the king.²  Which makes sense when you consider the passage above, how Herod called upon them and ordered them to seek out the new born king and bring back information on his whereabouts.  So, not rich, not kings, just a handful of men who studied astrology and were servants in the king’s palace.

They were also probably not Jewish.

They didn’t even worship the God of Israel!  And yet, a star was revealed to them and they followed it to Jerusalem where the chief Jewish priests had to explain to them that the king would be born in Bethlehem. Had they been Jewish, they would have known the scriptures foretelling of the Messiah’s birth. They would have known to go to Bethlehem. But they didn’t.

Instead, God revealed Himself to these men through the stars they studied so closely.  They saw the star, they believed a king had been born, and they set out on a journey to find Him.

So what?

God revealed Himself to a group of men who weren’t awaiting the arrival of the Messiah.  And when they saw the star, their belief, their conviction was so strong, they chose to travel a great and dangerous distance, bearing gifts that were expensive and customary to give to a king.

Which makes me wonder about our own convictions.

“The magi offer us a powerful lesson in faith. They traveled a great length through a dangerous country in their desire to see the new King.  Despite the humble setting in which they found the Christ child, they believed they were in the presence of Israel’s greatest king and presented Him with lavish gifts befitting that office.  Warned by God not to return to Herod, they obeyed taking a different route to their homeland, thus foiling Harod’s evil intentions.

Do we pay such honor to Jesus? Do we go out of our way to seek Him and lavish Him with gifts? Do we demonstrate such obedience?

If pagan astrologers can do so much, how can we do less?” [David Seal & Matthew M. Whitehead]²

¹William D. Hendricks & Howard G. Hendricks. “Living By the Book/Living By the Book Workbook Set.” iBooks.

²David Seal & Matthew M. Whitehead. “The Faithlife Study Bible, The Magi.”