Today Ali will be guest-blogging as part of The Unveiled Project. She has so much wisdom to share. Ali has a blog over at Big Hair Ali, although she does not post there often. However, feel free to visit and say hi or share your response in the comments below!
Hi, I'm Ali. I'm not even sure where to start! I love the Lord and I love others. I am a very relational person. I love deep and real relationships. If my whole life could be summed up in one conclusive truth or statement, it would be about the Lord's great faithfulness and mercy. He has taken me, a broken and dirty vessel, and in His faithfulness has loved me through my crazy journey. He has pulled the strings of my heart and has called me His own. I constantly miss the mark, but in His perfect love He is patient and leads me.
I am a student at Dallas Baptist University. I love my school. I'm a psychology major with a criminal justice minor. I really enjoy traveling and learning about other cultures. I actually live with three international girls and one other American who is so passionate about people in other cultures that she might as well be international. I like staying active and having fun. I think a smile is one of the most attractive features someone can have. Yellow is my favorite color. For a while, I tried to change it because I thought, "I need to grow out of it," but I just can't! There is something about yellow that just gets me.
On the opposite side, if I am not careful, I can become too action-oriented and too focused on a certain goal and lose sight of other things, allowing stress to drive my life. When this happens, I can be too self-focused and not patient enough with others. The Lord right now is teaching me more about the qualities of true love and patience. This is all a little embarrassing to share, but I want to be honest about who I am and what I struggle with.
Life motto: Every day is a new day for new beginnings and to learn something new.
What does the phrase "guard your heart" mean to you and how do you practice this? How would you define this Biblically?
I think "guarding your heart" in Proverbs 4:23 isn't just about boys. To me, it means guarding my heart against foolishness. I think we often buy into things and beliefs instead of sitting down and praying and seeking the Lord in decisions we make and what we believe. I would define "guarding your heart" as discernment. The heart holds
more than just emotions. The heart holds wisdom too. In 1 Kings 3, whenever Solomon
asked for wisdom, the Lord didn't say, "I'm going to give your
mind discernment," but He gave Solomon's heart discernment.
I guard my heart by seeking the Lord and believing His Word and meditating on it. I guard my heart even against myself because sometimes my emotions will tell me something and I'll have to sit down and ask myself, "Okay, is this from the Lord? Is it from me?" I have to stop and ask the Lord to give me direction.
Sometimes, even though I'm emotional, I put up walls. I have this image in my mind of me getting cement and putting it under a brick and quickly trying to build a wall before people get too close to me. Sometimes I feel like that's guarding my heart, but that's actually my emotions and I need to guard my heart against that!
What is the most difficult part of finding satisfaction in the Lord through singleness? How have you learned to find fullness of joy in Him?
I've always learned about singleness from Christian books like I Kissed Dating Goodbye.
Books like that always say things like, "Singleness is the best part of
your time because you can really focus on the Lord and blah, blah,
blah." I heard it so much that it became cliche. I felt obligated to
be single. But once I truly understood what these books were saying, it was
The most difficult part of finding satisfaction in the Lord through singleness is that I am a very touchy and affectionate person. Because that is what media most puts out there about relationships, I see physical contact everywhere. That's so hard for me as a single person, because I long (I feel so girly saying this, but I'm just being genuine here!) to be held. I even long for my hand to be caressed! I long to be hugged.
Another thing would be keeping my emotions in check. Sometimes I'm too careful about this though. The other day I was talking to a girl and I said, "I tend to be a Dating Pharisee." Later, I was thinking about what I said and I realized I didn't want to be any kind of a pharisee because Jesus called them white-washed tombs!
What are some Bible verses that have encouraged you in your walk with the Lord?
I'm doing a Bible study right now about Ruth. I know so many people hold Ruth as their example of a good, single girl, but I think the book of Ruth is really encouraging me this semester through the redemption of Ruth being a Moabite. The Lord still used her and put her in the lineage of Jesus. There is so much redemption in that.
Hosea too. I came into this last summer so broken. My prayer at the beginning of the summer was that God would rebuild me. The Lord used Hosea. Redemption is the theme. I had always focused on the first chapter when the Lord said to Hosea, "Go and show your wife this love because this is the love I show Israel." Hosea loved his wife so much that he bought her back from prostitution. When we are adulterers against the Lord, He brings us back to Him. That's so special. Hosea 2 talks about the Lord's emphasis of Gomer as a wife, not just as a prostitute. The focus isn't on Hosea, who is the Lord's servant. It's on God's love for His wife.
Hosea also talks about how the Lord exposes her lewdness and takes away her lovers and stops all her celebrations and then He allures her and speaks tenderly to her in the desert. The Lord did that in my life this summer. I feel like He took away my celebrations; part of it was because I wasn't focused on Him and part of it was His disciplining me. God was merciful and led me to an actual desert and spoke very tenderly to me. He just loved me.
I feel like so much of my life, in a respectful and loving way, I've called the Lord my master, but He's my husband. Because I do long for a husband, knowing that right now the Lord is my only husband is so satisfying. I've come to not just know that with my mind but also with my heart.
How are you preparing now to be a wife in the future?
I like this question. Even today I was thinking about this! I used to think, "I'm prepared to be a wife," but I've examined my relationships and I can't help but think, "Oh my goodness! I am not ready." Even today I was so impatient with my roommate that it was almost comical. We had three little issues in fifteen minutes. We jumped from one issue to another to another, and I went to my room feeling kind of upset and thought, "Am I serious? This is so ridiculous it's funny." So I went back in and apologized. I want to get to the point where I think before I say something and don't have to apologize so much.
I'm also trying to build good habits now. I'm trying to build good cleaning habits! This sounds like I live in the 50s, but I'm trying to learn how to cook! I just want to build good habits, not only in cooking and cleaning, but in my relationships.
What advice/encouragement would you give to girls who are pursuing holiness in singleness and relationships?
I love the word holiness. I think if you grow up in church, you hear that word so much that you forget what it means. But if a girl is seeking holiness in her singleness, she is trying to seek the Lord.
Just be strong in the Lord and wait for Him. Remember that the Lord has a purpose and plan. A lot of times we can get caught up in what media throws out there and long for that, but it goes back to what we first talked about: guard your heart. Seek the Lord in wisdom and ask for wisdom in all areas of your life, not just the single aspect, because they all connect.
After reading I Kissed Dating Goodbye, I felt like it just said, "Wait, wait, wait, wait, and sit here and wait." Now I think that the right approach is actually, "Wait in an active waiting." Wait while you pursue the Lord and other relationships. I don't mean actively seek out a boyfriend! I mean wait while actively pursuing the Lord and being open-minded to what He brings to your life.
One year ago: This is your purpose.
Two years ago: I love Carmex
Three years ago: A Tour of my Bedroom