Merry Christmas Eve! Tonight I want to write about my favorite carol, lyricaly speaking. If we are talking straight Christmas songs, it’s All I Want for Christmas by Mariah Carey. But word wise, it’s O Little Town of Bethlehem.
O Little Town of Bethlehem
Phillips Brooks(1835-1893), 1868
O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie.
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by;
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.
For Christ is born of Mary,
And, gathered all above
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars, together
Proclaim the holy birth.
And praises sing to God the King.
And peace to men on earth.
How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming;
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him,
still The dear Christ enters in.
O Holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin and enter in;
Be born in us today!
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us,
Our Lord Emmanuel!
This is my favorite carol because of the line, “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.” I like to think of it every night at some point during Christmas Eve. I love to stop and attempt to wrap my head around the moment all of our hopes, all of our fears, for all of mankind, throughout out all of time were met in the person of Jesus. Anything we could ever want or need deep in our souls are somehow realized in Him. Everything we are afraid of, all our pains, and all of our longings are fulfilled in Him.
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called WonderfulCounselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
Joy joy for Christ is born, The Babe, the Son of Mary!
Jesus could’ve been born at any time, under any circumstances. Really?? A barn in the Middle East? “Why lies He in such mean estate?” Surely He could’ve come up with a plan that didn’t include taking on a feeble body, capable of exhaustion, hunger, pain, and death. It doesn’t make any sense. Martin Luther said, “He sunk Himself into our flesh” and that it is, “beyond all human understanding.”
I’ve always loved the carol, What Child is This? because it asks the question in so many words, “Who would do this?”
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” John 1:14
“The Word” is another name for God, and this short verse tells the story of Christmas. It’s describes the unthinkable moment when God came down to live in the harshness of earth. Karl Barth called it the, “climbing down of God.”
“This is Christ our King.” He wasn’t born in a palace and he didn’t live a life of comfort. Jesus could’ve surrounded himself with the most powerful and influential people living in that day but chose to hang out with beggars, and outcasts instead. From the way he was born and all the way through his death, Jesus’ entire life was the continual giving up of power, prestige, and well-being.
Quite frankly, Jesus lived his life in the opposite direction I normally try to live mine. He went downward, while I feel a constant desire to move upward. I want to hold on to comfort, safety, and pleasure when those are the exact things he let go of on Christmas. And why did he do this? As the carol says, “Good Christian, fear: for sinners here, the silent Word is pleading.” Even as a baby, God was earning our forgiveness.
I heard a great sermon this morning (by my dad:) that touched on the inn keeper in the Christmas story who didn’t have time to deal with Mary and Joseph when they showed up on his doorstep. Can you imagine being that guy? God has literally given up heaven to come to earth and you can’t give up a bed for his pregnant mother. Sadly, I do this kind of thing all the time. Even at Christmas, right when I should be thinking about all Jesus gave up to be here, I find myself too busy with my own agenda to spend quality time with Him. If you’re like me, then it’s time to make it happen- pray, attend a Christmas Eve service, or read the story. However you do it, I pray God meets you in a powerful way this Christmas.
We are overdue for a DecemRED Giveaway update!:) This time of year is insane, right? I can’t figure out how moms get everything done. Anyway, I’ve been wearing red lipstick literally everywhere I go for a little over two weeks now. Here are a few highlights:
Places I Loved It
Meeting friends for dinner
The Riskiest Place I Wore It
Job Interview (although I did read wearing a splash of red increases your chance of getting hired b/c it shows confidence and strength.)
Places I felt Ridiculous
Anywhere before noon
What I’ve learned
I look less like the walking dead in red lipstick
It’s a lot like high heels in that you feel pulled together all the time
It’s super annoying and has to be touched up constantly
Favorite Red Lipstick Moment:
My level of red lipstick enjoyment has everything to do with my environment. There are places where a bold lip is appreciated, and places where it is not. In general, getting “dolled-up” for any type of active sport is not ideal. You can understand why I mentally had to prepare myself for wearing it to my sister-in-law, Jenni’s birthday party at a rock climbing gym.
When I arrived, I did my best to forget I had it on while searching the gym for the birthday party. I’m 99% sure it was all in my head, but I felt like the sporty girls in their earth toned yoga pants were judging my bright red lipstick. Once I found everyone, Jenni waved a big hello and introduced me to her climbing friends. They were all super athletic and the kind of girls who are beautiful without makeup. I should also mention that they are amazing climbers and I’m not very good…..I like doing things I’m good at…… I like looking the part… I don’t think I’m alone in this.
Feeling uncomfortable, I tried to explain myself right away and reminded Jenni about my blog challenge. Then she did the best thing- she said they’d ALL put on red lipstick for the climbing day! The others were into it and one girl admitted she’s secretly been wanting to try it for some time. I gladly passed my tube around and the fun began! Since we were all in it together, our bright red lips weren’t out-of-place and we all agreed we looked better climbing with it on;) More importantly, I noticed the uncomfortable ice was broken, I made instant new friends, and felt closer to my sister-in-law.
Thanks to Jenni, what I thought was going to be my toughest challenge ended up being my favorite day of all! It reminded me of a time a few years ago when my family took a trip to Alaska. Jenni and I decided it would be funny to wear bright lipstick with our sweatshirts to this fancy wine tasting thing. Since neither of us wear a ton of makeup, we played it up and laughed at ourselves the entire time. It is one of my favorite memories from the whole trip.
In nearly every story I’ve received this month, one of you mentions something about a prior fear or hesitancy over wearing red lipstick. It turns out most of you have been waiting for an excuse or simply needed someone to do it with. And like my new climbing friends, the challenge has given us the opportunity.
It’s crazy that something as small and insignificant as lipstick could bond people or help us make new friends, but I see it all the time. It’s the moment in the silent bathroom line when one stranger says, “I love your shoes” and instantly we all start chatting and remember we’re on the same team. It’s how as a female you know you’re “in” with a new a co-worker after she asks for some reassurance on her new haircut. It’s not actually the clothes, or the hair, or the shoes that connects us, it’s the shared vulnerability. We become friends when we admit our insecurities to each other. With all the pressure to maintain an image, look perfect, and compete all the time, having another girl ask, “Do I look ok?” or say “You look great in that” truly goes a long way.
Thanks for sending all your stories! My friend Bree even wrote a blog of her own about her day in red lipstick! Click here to read it. It’s not too late to join in the fun! Hashtag #decemred on Instagram or post on facebook:) Each post gets you an entry for a 31 Bits necklace.
Also, I want to tell you that Jenni helps lots of men and women feel great about themselves every day. She co-owns a fitness business called Rough Fit in Tustin that goes far beyond other boot camps by helping people make fitness a way of life. My favorite part is that you are actually part of a team with other people and everyone rallies together to reach their goals. If you are in the area and wanting to make some changes in the new year, definitely check them out!
Today begins a short series of blogs on Christmas carols. Short, since as you can see, I’m only just beginning now. I LOVE carols (I am the obnoxious co-worker that doesn’t mind playing them eight hours a day beginning in late November) but my reason for these posts is that I’ve found, often hidden beneath the jolly arrangements and melodies, are some of the most powerful statements about Christ and His love for mankind. My hope is that what we often miss while singing, will be noticed in reading.
Oh Holy Night
O holy night,
the stars are brightly shining;
It is the night of
our dear Savior’s birth!
Long lay the world
in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared
and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope,
the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks
a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees,
O hear the angel voices!
O night divine,
O night when Christ was born!
O night divine, O night,
O night divine!
Led by the light of Faith
With glowing hearts
by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star
Here came the wise men
from Orient land.
The King of Kings lay thus
in lowly manger,
In all our trials
born to be our Friend!
He knows our need,
To our weakness no stranger;
Behold your King!
Before the lowly bend!
Behold your King! your King!
before Him bend.
Truly He taught us
to love one another;
His law is love and
His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break
for the slave is our brother
And in His name
all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in
grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us
praise His holy name!
Christ is the Lord,
Oh praise His name forever,
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim
His pow’r and glory
Isn’t it incredible? In addition to beautiful lyrics, the song has an inspiring story of its own. “Oh Holy Night” or “Cantique de Noel” was a french poem written by a man named Placide Cappeau in 1847. Using the gospel of Luke as his guide, Cappeau sought to capture what it would’ve been like to be at the birth of Christ. He wasn’t a man of faith, so to speak, but when he was only eight, he and a friend were playing with a gun when it went off, shooting him in the hand. The doctors were unable to save Placide’s hand and he lived his childhood and adult life as an amputee. I can’t help but read the lines, “He knows our need, to our weakness no stranger” and wonder what it meant to him, personally.
The song was later translated into English in 1855 by John Sullivan Dwight, a pastor from Massachusetts. He was an abolitionist and loved the lines, “Truly He taught us to love one another; his law is love and His gospel is peace. Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother and in His name all oppression shall cease.” The song spread like wildfire in the North during the Civil War.
On Christmas Eve 1906, using a new type of generator, a young Canadian professor named Reginald Fessenden spoke into a microphone and a man’s voice was broadcast over the airwaves for the first time in history. The very first words ever heard were from the gospel of Luke, “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus…” Men and women as far South as Norfolk, Virginia were in shock, having never heard anything like it before. When he finished reading the Christmas story, Reginald picked up his violin and played, “O Holy Night” making it the first song to ever be played on the radio. The program was transmitted using naval ships on New Year’s Eve and heard as far away as the Caribbean.
As exciting and fun as the holidays can be, I’ve noticed the season has a way of heightening our awareness over the things we have, or things we lack. Depending on our circumstances, it can be a joyus time of gratitude, or a time of sadness for what is missing. Some smile as they look around a table full of loved ones, while others can’t help but notice the empty chairs left by those who are absent. None of us can read the news without seeing how this Christmas will be painful for so many all over the world. I imagine it’s hard to see the lights and hear the music without feeling a bit resentful over the call to “be of good cheer.”
I love “O Holy Night” because it reminds me that Christmas isn’t first and foremost a festive party; it’s the moment God came to earth because we needed Him. Christmas is a holiday for the needy. It’s for the desperate, the lonely, the lost. As the song says, the earth was dark, pining, and weary until Jesus came. For the first time, in what are some of the most compelling and meaningful words ever written, “the soul felt it’s worth.”
Whether you are celebrating the end of a wonderful year, and I hope you are, or a particularly difficult one, I pray the message of this carol fills you with hope and peace.
I recently had to move some of my furniture and odds and ends from my brother’s garage to a storage unit. Having dumped it back in March, I wasn’t exactly sure what awaited me.
A TV cabinet
You know, THE BOX. The one you store your ticket stubs, Valentine’s cards, and sweet notes in after a breakup. The place where pictures go from frames, to a stack, and ultimately to their final resting place inside THE BOX. THE BOX gets shoved in the back of the closet where no one, including you, can see it.
As my brother, Matt, carried it over, he took one look at the pink hearts on the outside and asked, “Why not just toss it now?”
I really wanted to. I did. I did not want to take THE BOX with me to my next destination and have been happily free from the person’s face and handwriting lurking inside for some time. But….since I couldn’t remember the exact contents of THE BOX, I thought I needed to go through it. Peering in the lid, I discovered I hadn’t used THE BOX solely for the relics of a bad relationship. In the rush of moving I had thrown in my ihome and a few other random items. Knowing my dad and brother were waiting on me, I figured this wasn’t the time to sort out THE BOX. Isn’t this the kind of thing you do in your bedroom with sad music playing or something?
“Ugh. I’ll deal with it later at home” I told Matt.
Once everything was loaded, I drove my friend Tony’s truck while my dad and Matt followed. I looked to the front passenger seat and saw that someone had put THE BOX up front. Awesome.
“What are you doing here?” I muttered to it. Didn’t THE BOX know it wasn’t meant for the light of day, much less shotgun?
We arrived at the storage unit and the guys started unloading while I signed paperwork. Noelle and Kathy, the friendly employees, greeted me with mass amounts of small talk. Eventually one of them asked me why I was storing.
Oh, it’s one of those, is it?
Sabotage conversations. The kind you get sprung on you while trying to do normal things. Ex) doctor’s office: “When did you last have sex? Are you in a relationship?” Verizon Wireless: “Have you heard of our family plan? Isn’t there someone you could sign-up with??”
Why am I storing? Why is my life not together in such a fashion that I don’t need to shove it in some 5×7 unit? Well…given that THE BOX was fresh in my mind I wanted to blame my ex, an unattractive habit that springs up now and again. I blame THE BOX. Vicious cycle.
I figured they didn’t want to hear that. Noelle (male) was wearing a Santa hat and two, not one, but two, earrings with dangling Christmas ornaments. I didn’t want to ruin his jolly mood so I smiled and muttered something along the lines of “guy’s suck.” Kathy loves it. She says it’s their mother’s fault. I love it.
I went upstairs to help with the loading. Once the big stuff was in my dad and brother went downstairs to get the last load. When they came back up I noticed THE BOX was not with them. I wondered how that conversation went down and was glad Matt had to explain my box instead of me.
Finally it was time to return the truck keys and be done. I hopped in the driver’s seat and saw that it was literally just THE BOX and me in the car. I swear it was mocking me.
I got to my friend’s house, parked, and began walking down the street… carrying the damn BOX like a sick present to return the keys. How was something I foolishly thought I could privately hold on to now publicly on display for my friend’s and family to see? I hate THE BOX! I hate THE BOX!
Embarrassed, me and THE BOX rode in the backseat of my dad’s car like five-year-olds to go to lunch. Again, I wondered what my dad thought of my BOX.
I was pretty frustrated with myself by the time we reached the restaurant. While my dad ordered, my brother and I sat opposite each other at the table as my tears threatened to spill over. Matt took one look at my face and says, “Forget this. I’m throwing away THAT BOX! You don’t need this.”
Just like that, he jogged to the car, grabbed THE BOX and dumped it. Right there, in the restaurant trash can.
Love guys, so rational.
He had to go back and dig out my ihome, but other than that, I was free.
That stupid BOX. That stupid boy. Why had I held on to either one of those? Matt was right, I didn’t need it. All day I just kept thinking, why didn’t I throw that crap away a year ago?
Was it because I wanted to reminisce? Not particularly. Was it because I was hoping to get back together? Not a chance. Do I care about the items inside? No. So why, then?
The truth is, I was just avoiding the situation. I simply didn’t want to deal with it. Yet, had I just handled my business the first time, THE BOX wouldn’t have haunted my moving day. The whole ordeal would’ve been entirely avoided. Also, my holding on to THE BOX represented what I’d done wrong in the relationship… God, you’re super funny with this whole BOX day…I’m getting the picture. I held on to someone I shouldn’t have because I was afraid you wouldn’t provide someone better.
My friend Katy told me once that every time she’s broken up with someone, she has upgraded while her ex downgraded. I laughed and had to admit she was right about her own life, was unsure it would play out in mine….until it did. The one person I’ve dated since was an absolute upgrade in every way. Why had I doubted?
The whole experience has me wondering if there are other places I am doing this in my life.
Where else am I avoiding something I should take care of now?
What things have I convinced myself are private but are actually one situation away from a public debut?
Where am I clinging to less than God’s best for my life out of fear?
These are the places where sin has great opportunity to grow. Things like avoidance, laziness, fear, and a desire to control can hide out and stay around awhile. We don’t notice anything is wrong because they are often wrapped up in small things that aren’t inherently bad, like my BOX. A narrow definition of sin allows us to make deals with ourselves like, “Later. I’m waiting for the right time. It’s not that big of a deal…it’s just a few memories…a small habit… a little too much food…a love of things…a realtionship that needs to end….one that needs to mend….a website….bitterness I can’t let go of…I need to do things my way”
We shove these small items into BOXES in the back of the closet only to end up carrying them around later, often publicly. We make today’s problem tomorrow’s.
It’s fine I still had THE BOX, but it wasn’t good for me and there’s a difference. I don’t want to give past burdens space in next year’s closet. No more carrying around a BOX full of things that weight me down or hold me back or from what God is calling me to. What about you? Do you have a BOX?
This morning I find myself very thankful for God’s grace. My closet is full of this kind of stuff and He is mercifully patient about it. He doesn’t give up on me when I cling and petition to keep items out of fear and distrust. He helps me get better at tossing things out. He’s given me the kind of friends and family that will say, “Forget this! You don’t need it” when I can’t do it for myself.
The instructions of the Lord are perfect reviving the soul. The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living. Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever.
The laws of the Lord are true; each one is fair. They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb. They are a warning to your servant, a great reward for those who obey them.
How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Time for my first giveaway! This one is for the ladies. Men, you are welcome to play along. I don’t judge…but I’m assuming most of you won’t.
My DecemRED Lipstick Challenge is the culmination of a few different thoughts swirling in my head:
I’ve been thinking a lot about the topic since my Halloween Post.Where does it come from? Why do women feel the pressure to be pretty? Why do I sometimes like beauty and other times resent it?
Since Red Lipstick is a quintessential beauty go-to, I thought wearing it might be an easy and interesting lens with which to explore the topic. I don’t know what I’ll get out of the experience, but I have a feeling some insights will surface. Plus the holidays are the perfect time to get fistive and kick it up a notch:)
Few fun facts about the color red:
Red means “Beautiful” in Russian.
Seeing the color red can make your heart beat faster
Why should guys have all the fun? There are some nice parallels between beards and red lips. Some guys love the excuse to show off their hair growth hormones, while others feel self-conscious about their lack thereof. Women have similar feelings toward embracing a bold lip. A few of us have been waiting for an excuse to try it, while others hate the idea all together. An elite group of you already wear red lipstick and must find the whole idea silly.
DecemRED is a simple and fun way to interact with my readers outside of the blog! I get excited just thinking of us doing something together in the “real” world. Especially those of you I don’t get to see that often or have never met in person.
I’m going to wear red lipstick every day for the month of December. (Yes, I’m starting a few days late. Yes, I’ve been wearing it the last few days). I have to wear it everywhere. No excuses. I’ll periodically blog about how it feels, reactions, and insecurities, etc.
You can play along by doing the same! You don’t have to wear it every day to join in. Try wearing red lips out for one day, a week, or the whole month. If you have followed my blog or liked my facebook page, you can enter into a drawing every time you:
Send a pic of you in your red lipstick- post to the facebook page, Instagram (@olivemepost #decemred), or by email at OliveMePost@gmail.com
Send me a story of your experience. It doesn’t have to be long, just a few sentences about how you felt or what happened.
I lead a small group of amazing girls on Thursday nights and I adore them! Maggie attends and has already joined the challenge. Her story is below:
I didn’t have any red lipstick besides some super old stuff from about 5th grade that I used for dress-up. So I went to Wal-Mart with my mom to buy some (whilst wearing my super old lipstick of course). I found a red lip stain by Maybelline and decided this would be better than the lipstick.
. I took off my lipstick and put on the lip stain in the car on our way to the next store. I don’t know if you have ever used lip stain but you are supposed to put it on clean lips and you have to let it dry before you put the gloss on top. I didn’t do either of these things. As we got out of the car my mom says to me, “WOW that’s bright. When December is over you can put that in the Halloween stuff.”
Thank you mom. Now I feel ridiculous.
. In Best Buy four different workers asked if I needed help with anything. I’m not saying it was the lipstick, but really? Four? At the television section of the store another young man asked if I needed help with anything. I said no but my mother proceeded to ask him a question. The entire time he was answering my mother’s question, he was looking at me! ( Not going to lie, this made me feel pretty good).
After shopping, we went to dinner and this is where the lip stain drops the ball. By the end of the meal the color had chipped off around the outer edges of my lips and it looked disgusting! Over all, I honestly can’t decide if the red lipstick made me more self-conscious or more confident throughout the day. It definitely had its moments and I felt more noticed but at the same time I was constantly thinking about my make-up.
A guy friend of mine and I recently got into a conversation about his experience in online dating. He’s been reading my girlfriend’s stories and wondered if I’d want him to write-up his perspective. Did Christmas come early? As women, we analyze and then over analyze what little we know of the male brain to no end. If you are offering me a window in, I will take it.
So here you go! Oh.. he needs a nickname…. Let’s just call him E.
So I have to admit I signed up for online dating with much grumbling at first. From a guy’s perspective, our pride constantly tells us that, “I am too good for this,” or “Signing up for a site is too desperate…she will come.” But after years of her not “just coming” I thought, “What could it hurt? Besides I won’t tell anyone I am on it.”
. So I looked for the free ones because again, “paying for an online dating website was for losers.” But not long after swimming with “PlentyofFish.com” I soon figured out that most of those were bombarded with profiles that were titled, “Just looking for some fun,” or “If you can have fun, then you can’t have nun” …just trashy girls really.
. I’d like to believe myself to be a good guy; I have a good head on my shoulders, a career, a car, an apartment (just got one but still…), I get along with people, I would like to humbly say I am good-looking, and I hold to a Christian world view with Christian morals. So trashy was out, and it was on to the Christian websites.
. I found some free ones, but the free ones never came with a large enough “fish pond” to sort through. After looking on some of those I found there to be some really unattractive women on there. And I will stand by view that the person you look for needs to be attractive both inside and out. You should never feel as if you settled, I don’t want a girl settling for me and I don’t want to feel as if I settled for some girl either. So being physically attractive was a priority on my list. And I would say that it is a priority for all guys. I don’t consider myself a “sexist pig” or a “horny” guy and people who know me would never give me those labels, however when looking for a girl, she first has to pass my physical attraction test.
. The physical attraction test doesn’t really consist of anything really tedious or overly critical list, but I would say, it’s a list that everyone would consider the “must haves.”
. The Must Haves: Physical
– must have a cute face/smile (If I potentially have to look at you everyday for the rest of my life since I essentially date to marry, then you better be cute to me. You don’t have to be drop dead gorgeous but you have to be cute enough.)
– must have good hygiene (This is typically found out on the date or in person. Bad breath, body odor, acne, crust in your eyes as if you just woke up…these are all pretty much deal breakers.)
That’s it physically! You don’t have to have this “supermodel body” and all that mumbo jumbo. The requirement for me is cute and well taken care of. Anything above that is a plus for me. I feel sorry for the guys who expect perfection and they themselves are far from it…I have a few friends like this…they are single haha.
. The Must Haves: Personality:
– Must be Christian (One who lives it out and has morals)
– Must not be prideful
– Must not be rude
– Must not be boring (In other words we know the very quiet people out there who really have no personality at all? That’s not my cup of tea! I want to be able to have a conversation with someone, not be the one doing all the talking. So someone with a little life, able to express their views, opinions, and interests.)
– Must have a sense of humor – (Please be able to laugh and joke about things, life,…whatever it may be. If you cannot take a joke or anything of that nature I wont bother with you.)
– Must be caring and loving
Everything else is pretty much an addition. Ultimately I am looking for a girl who I can share life with and we have some similar interests. In other words I probably wont date a girl who loves opera and quiet nights at home reading…..Anybody in their right mind would want to date someone with some similar interests…
. So that’s my mindset as I look for the girl on Christian websites. I have somewhere along the line allowed my pride to move by the wayside and pay for the good ones such as Christianmingle or Eharmony. Yes I have tried both and so far no luck.
. It wasn’t long after my time with E-harmony that I figured out that I would rather try Christianmingle. Guys are visual by nature and so rather than waiting for E-harmony to send me some “matches” that they think would work well with my preferences and personality, I thought the “free browsing” through profiles on Christianmingle was more convenient because it allowed me to quickly sift through a number of profiles quickly using my “must have physical test.”
. Not long after I got a date. She lived about 30 minutes away from me so that was already a plus. Her pictures all passed my physical must have test, her profile described a girl with morals, who went to church weekly, and we shared some similar interests. All signs pointed to go. So I messaged her, which might I add is the hardest thing for guys. Why? Because we don’t know what to say? We typically stare at your profile for minutes trying to figure out how to not sound “cheesy.” Do we keep it short and just say, “Hi” or do we find something on your profile that stuck out to us and conjure up some way of adding it to the same ol “came across your profile and saw that you liked….” or “anyways just stopping by to say hi, hope to hear back from you.”
. The truth is we have no clue. Woman these days have made it so hard for a guy to approach them with anything because everything to a woman seems like a “cheap line.” Or they just ignore or shrug you off. Especially here in Orange County; Seems like every girls requirement in is white boy, blond hair, washboard abs, a lot of money and a good car. Then woman hope that there is at least some good qualities and personality traits that can come with the predetermined requirements. But anyways, back to what I was saying; We don’t know what to say. The truth is we are nervous and already feeling low for being on an actual website that we find something to say, and pray that it works as we quickly hit “send!”
So many thoughts….how to keep this a readable length… Ok. I’ll hit two points.
We all have some form of a test or checklist that we use while dating and yet we slightly resent that our date is using one on us. It feels judgemental when it’s coming our way. My brother and I were talking the other day about lists and whether they were a good idea or a bad idea. We both agreed that the real sign of a good prospect is when you forget the list all together. When you’re super aware of how someone is or isn’t preforming, you are probably trying to convince yourself you feel something you don’t. Anyway, that’s our 2 cents.
2. What to say
I’m so glad E brought up what a guy should say when approaching a girl! Honestly, it’s simple. Say hi. Just say hi. Be it email or in person, that’s all you need. You won’t believe the things guys try. Just last weekend, one gentleman approached our table and asked if we’d like to play a game. In the bar. Nope. I wouldn’t suggest trying to be “creative” or “different” since I’ve never once heard any of my friends say that was something they were looking for in this interaction. Want to know what we all say we want when meeting a guy? NORMAL. So be that..
The truth is, your success has very little to do with your method. Your demise can, if you do something weird or awkward, but not your success. If she likes you, she’ll find whatever you do endearing and tell her friends about it. I’m not an expert, but I’d send a friendly low-key email instead of an over-the-top one to be on the safe side.
There are no solid rules that will eliminate the element of risk involved in dating. Everyone gets rejected, it’s just part of the deal. I don’t envy guys’ role in this and I can see why E finds it scary. But if you are up for it, just give a hello and ask her how her night is going. Be genuinely interested and the rest is up to _________ (chemistry, fate, personality dimensions, God, Adele, Tequilia…pick your love source)
One of my favorite Christmas decorations is the Advent Calendar. Growing up, our family had one shaped like a chimney with a Santa on top. Each “brick” had candy in it and my brothers and I would rush home from school and wait for my mom to give the green light. Advent, from the Latin word adventus, means “coming” and it refers to a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the birth of Christ. I guess those tiny chocolates were meant to help us wait out the time before the big day.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about waiting. Most of us are waiting for something: a vacation, a baby, a test result, a job, a relationship, recovery, forgiveness. It’s hard to wait. It’s even harder wait expectantly and prepare for something you’ve never seen work out. As grown-ups, there is no countdown. No guaranteed outcome. No candy to help along the way. There’s just waiting.
My wise and thoughtful friend Crissy and I met up for coffee a few weeks ago and we talked about this waiting business. We both agreed it can be painful, annoying, and frustrating at times. (Ok, mostly I was saying that. She’s a better person in general) Crissy, knows a bit about waiting, specifically waiting to meet the right person.
She told me that when she turned 35, she started looking at waiting differently when she noticed that waiting is, and always has been, a part of God’s people. It’s who we are. We have always been waiting for something: delivery from Egypt, the Promised Land, the Messiah, the return of Christ. Crissy said she believed God was actually interested in making her good at waiting. That realization helped her learn how to wait with hope, expectant of God’s goodness in her life.
I admitted to her that sometimes I hate hope. Hope gets your hopes up. When it doesn’t work out, you have a fall that you wouldn’t have had if you hadn’t hoped in the first place. Maybe it’s better to just take what comes? Crissy just smiled and said that reminded her of a verse from Zechariah (b/c she is that cool, and can bust out Zechariah. What?!?!) and it says:
“Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will
restore twice as much to you.” Zechariah 9:12
I’ve thought a lot about that strange phrase, “Prisoners of hope” since that day. I take it to mean that when we follow Jesus, there comes a point when we can’t get away from hoping in Him. The truth is, even if I wanted to stop hoping, I couldn’t because I know Jesus and I know Him to be terribly good and reliable. It’s too late. I can’t stop hoping. I’ve experienced too much of His kindness to deny that He has my best in mind whether it feels that way or not. Deep down, I expect Him to come through in the way that He sees is right. I’m hope’s prisoner.
Crissy also serves as a living reminder of what it looks like to prepare while waiting. She founded and runs Mika, a non-profit community development organization that identifies and equips leaders already living in low-income neighborhoods to effect the changes their community needs. Through relationships, Mika helps these leaders identify, design, fund and manage the initiatives the residents want to see happen. Mika also has a number of youth programs ranging from access to arts, to surfing, to academic tutoring; all of which gives kids access to healthy role models. If you want more info on volunteering or giving to Mika, click here.
I should also tell you that Crissy didn’t wait to meet someone in vain. I had the honor of attending her wedding to Moses a couple of weeks ago and it was truly a holy and joyful day. It was hands down one of the most fun weddings I’ve ever been to. Complete with a live band and pinatas! More importantly, it was beautiful to watch two people who love the Lord with their lives join each other in bringing healing and restoration to the world.
Whatever you are waiting for this year, I pray you are a fellow prisoner of hope, waiting expectantly on the God who never fails and is always good. There’s no countdown per say, but He’ll show up in the right way at the right time. Remember that waiting is part of who we are and God can use this time to make us better waiters. Lord knows I need the practice….
“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” Psalm 31:24
Hello…. So I have all these goals that include posting 3 awesomely impressive blogs a week. It hasn’t happened once. The problem I’m facing this week is spelled out quite literally in my title. My computer has died a slow death. What writer needs one of those? Also, I’m working on my second to the last chapter and I am not creative and/or smart enough to do both blog and book at once. Also, Christmas movies. They are just so wonderful.
One of them actually led me to quite an epiphany. The scene goes man and woman (played by Jesse Spano, might as well be her real name) are on their first date. Both of them are working multiple jobs but have big dreams. In these movies the dreams are ALWAYS the same- eco-friendly architect, owning a small business (think cafe or flower shop), or opening a charming bed-and-breakfast.
Anyway, as the woman chatted passionately about her dream cafe on main street, I realized that she was going to make it! Things weren’t looking good for her, but I new by the end it would all turn around! (Holiday movies end well every time, typically after things go badly on Thanksgiving. The leads spend Christmas alone and sad only to reunite epically on New Years Eve). As I sat there, glamorous in my pajama pants and flannel, I realized, and may or may not have said to an empty room, “Me too! I’m living my dream! Right now!”
Broken computer, writers block, and lack of full-time employment in all it’s glory, folks! I’d been so focused on navigating the challenges that I missed the overall picture. It may not look like much but it all makes me very happy. In this season of thankfulness, I feel truly lucky and blessed to be on this journey and you are the most important part of it.
Thanks for reading, commenting, and supporting me in my own version of a Hallmark classic. I can’t tell you how it feels when one of you says something I’ve written has impacted you, made you think, or encouraged you in some small way. It means more to me then you know! I hope you are going after your dreams in some way, too. Tell me how or simply what you are thankful for.
Speaking of dreams, please watch, enjoy, and promptly pass on this video. It’s the holiday dream of my very good friends to go viral and make it on the Ellen show. I recommend watching the whole thing b/c there is animated food at the end. Who doesn’t love that? You should check out Sara’s music and Greg’s writing, too. What a power couple, huh?
I hate when people ask me why I’m still single so it surprised me when I decided to write about it. Am I doing it because a)I’m out of my mind today b) desperate for blog traffic or c) I’m assuming my readers also hate getting this question and might appreciate it? Probably a mix of all three.
I don’t particularly enjoy putting my feelings on dating and relationships “out there.” In fact, I go to great lengths to dodge such interrogations conversations in life, preferring to reserve them for close girl friends over bottles of wine. But I’m writing a book and a blog is part of the publishing process. (Which I’m totally excited about!) The only downside is they have both led to an increase in awkward interactions. Just this past Thursday while watching a friend’s band play the lead singer (whom I don’t know that well) asked me about my work and then said, “Oh..So you’re looking for a man, then?”
Kill me now.
I laughed and cringed and pictured myself deleting the whole thing as soon as I got home and answered that I would never put it that way. Ever. I can’t blame him for thinking that might be the case. I might stumble across this blog and think the same thing. I know my life is not all about “finding a man” (might be the worst phrase ever) but strangers don’t and that worries me.
Thankfully, Singer saved the conversation. He said it would be ok if I was looking and that he has found himself in that place before. We both agreed it’s a normal thing to want to meet the person you want to be with. He said his problem was that it’s hard to actually find someone you are interested in.
So, without further ado, here are the top 4 reasons I think I’m still single:
1.I don’t meet many guys I want to date. I’m pretty sure 100% of my single girl friends and guy friends would say the exact same thing. We go out, we get set up, some are online, and it all leads to nowhere. We’ve all had our share of rejection and heartbreak, but at the end of the day I feel like for me the real truth is- It’s not me, it’s him. “Him” being the proverbial hidden and/or impaired male species.
It’s really hard to find a single guy I find attractive, click with, has his crap together, and is into me, too. I imagine guys feel the same about finding “her.” Sure, I have days where I freak out and think I need a new hairstyle, stop eating food all together, or start-up some ridiculous yet possibly impressive hobby like windsurfing or dirt bike riding. But those thoughts pass and I remember that I like being me. There’s nothing “wrong” with me.
2. I’m still single b/c I spent 3 yrs in an on and off rollercoaster relationship. Think of all the missed opportunities! Just kidding, I don’t see it that way at all. But it’s technically true.
3. What I’m looking for takes time to find. People say all kinds of things about love and get married for different reasons. I think the important thing is to look for what matters most to you in a relationship. For me, it’s finding a best friend. (One I’m attracted to. I’m no nun). Some people think spark is the most important feature. I’ve felt it many times with guys I didn’t date long term and chemistry doesn’t indicate the other person is good for you. Others really want to find someone who shares their ideals and goals. Also important but I’ve met guys who share my values on paper but are not what I’m looking for in a relationship. If our love for Jesus is the only thing we have in common its a no go.
What I’m looking for is someone I can look up to, enjoy spending time with, makes me laugh thinks I’m funny, and is kind. It would help if he miraculously found it charming that I watch mass amounts of the Hallmark channel at Christmas and want to talk about it. See…he’s going to be hard to find. I’m hoping the fact that I’m up for adapting to his quirks and try to be a good person most days helps. All in all, if this is what I want, I’m going to have to wait for it. And I’m willing to wait for it and enjoy my freedom in the meantime.
4. this blog I’m fairly certain this blog is going to be my downfall.
Well, there you have it- that is why I think I’m still single. I think that’s why my friends are still single. They are total catches and it just so happens JoJo was right, “True love is hard to find. And once you find it, it probably has rabies.“