I love listening to and creating music. I love swinging on all types of swings, having picnics, going on adventures, taking spontaneous trips, laughing, reading good books, and drinking coffee. I like surprises and pretty things and autumn. I always keep a kite in my car (whose name is Max, by the way), just in case it's windy. My favorite color is yellow, although sometimes I prefer blue. I love the mountains and camping and climbing rocks and swimming and being outside. I love giant storms - I like listening to the sounds and watching pounding rain and lightning. I like to listen to sad music. I like it when it's really cold but I'm bundled up and warm and cozy. I like the smell of fires and anything chocolate. I like lots of things.
I am a junior at Texas A&M University and I am nineteen (but almost twenty) years old. Most importantly, I love my Lord and Savior. He has adopted me and made me His daughter. I want to go everywhere and love His people - I would love to be a missionary. I trust that He has a plan for my life, even though I don't have a clue what that plan is. I am passionate about His word and His people.
I've never had a boyfriend. My (nearly) twenty years has been a sweet season of singleness. I'm not here to tell you that you should date Jesus or that singleness is the answer to your problems - but I will say that God has a lot to teach us in both seasons of singleness and seasons of dating and eventually marriage. It's all part of His plan to sanctify us and make us look more like Him. Life has all different seasons - my life has had seasons of change and seasons of pain and seasons of general comfort. And God has used all of them to shape me and teach me and grow me.
What does the phrase "guard your heart" mean to you and how do you practice this? How would you define this Biblically?
Okay, I am personally guilty of using the phrase "guard my heart" as kind of a joke. Whenever someone shows me a picture of puppies or something else that triggers my typical girly love of all small or fluffy things, I've been known to laugh and say, "Guaaard my heeeart."
Christian circles throw this phrase around quite often as a matter of fact. We are constantly told to guard our hearts - but what does that even mean? I am a counselor at a summer camp and this summer, God showed me that I didn't actually know as much about this as I thought I did - looks like it's something we get to keep figuring out more and more as we go. I grew up attending church and so I heard Proverbs 4:23 a lot. Like, a lot a lot. I wanted to pursue the Lord in all I did, so I knew I needed to guard my heart. I mostly thought this meant from boys. But the problem was that I tried to guard MY heart. I tried to do it in my own strength and in the way I thought was best. I thought that guarding my heart meant avoiding hurt by putting up walls.
I love the Oh Hello's and I love their song, "Hello My Old Heart." One of the lyrics in that song says, "Every day I add another stone to the walls I built around you [talking about their heart] to keep you safe." Seriously, great song, great band - go listen to them. However, that is not actually what guarding your heart should look like. That is definitely the approach I was taking.
I have literally run in the opposite direction if a boy showed interest in me (like a dead on sprint, I'm not kidding). I was careful about what I would say and sometimes I would try to avoid my brothers in Christ all in the name of guarding my heart. God revealed to me this summer that this was a MAJOR control issue.
I was reading through the book of Isaiah and God decided to use chapter 30 to speak directly to my stony, "guarded" heart. The chapter starts off by saying, "Ah, stubborn children." It goes on to reprimand the Israelites for carrying out a plan for their own protection without consulting God. It wasn't His idea for them to run off to Egypt where they thought they would be safe! He had way better plans for protecting them! The next few chapters were full of words that God used to reveal my stubborn heart and my desire to be in control so that I wouldn't ever get hurt. The Lord showed me that I was holding onto my heart too tightly. I should be less concerned with how I can protect MYSELF and more concerned with loving others - God makes it clear that loving others is our priority, second only to loving Him.
So what am I saying, exactly? That you shouldn't guard your heart? No! Proverbs 4:23 still clearly commands us to guard our hearts above all else, and 1 Peter 1:16 reminds us that we are called to be holy. But as you guard your heart, make sure that you are constantly surrendering it to the Lord. Ask HIM to protect you and to do what is best for you. There may be seasons of hurt - that's okay! God uses even painful seasons to shape us to be more like Him.
Guarding your heart isn't avoiding a broken heart; it is pursuing the Lord and focusing on His good things. Colossians 3:2-3 says, "Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things, for you died and your life is hidden with Christ in God." 2 Corinthians 10:5 commands us to take every single thought captive to obey Christ. So think about what you think about!
Nothing should have more of your affection than Christ Jesus. If we are pursuing Him first always, we can trust Him to "guard our hearts" and to give us opportunities to share His love with those around us. It's not about boys, it's about pursuing purity of thoughts and actions.
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?
Do you feel like there are seasons when EVERYONE is beginning relationships, you attend a bridal shower or engagement party at least once a week, and your refrigerator is covered in save-the-dates and wedding invitations? I know I do. To me, seasons like this are when I find it most difficult to keep my satisfaction steadfastly in the Lord in my singleness.
2 Corinthians 10:5 comes in handy again here. It commands us to "take every thought captive to obey Christ." Every thought. All of them. It is normal for us to long for intimacy with a man. (Although this will never be a substitute for intimacy with God.) That is how we were created! And when this season comes in the Lord's timing, it is AWESOME! So we will definitely have thoughts from time to time of longing to be in a relationship! When those thoughts come, we have a choice. We can either choose to negatively dwell on our singleness and not be content in that. Or we can set our minds on God and all the many blessings He has given us - how He is protecting us and growing us right now! How He has given us ministry right now - we don't have to wait until some other stage of life to minister to people! He longs to use us right now! I promise you this: being used fully by the Lord always brings fullness of joy.
A practical way to fight our fleshly desire to be discontent is to make a list of the lies we are believing and then COMBAT THEM! How do you combat a lie? With truth! We know that the Bible is 100% true, so it is our best weapon against lies! When we believe lies about our singleness or anything else for that matter, we must turn to Scripture.
I like to make a list of the lies I'm believing and then write the truth from Scripture that combats those lies right next to it! When they are right there next to each other, the truth wins every time.
What does waiting mean to you?
Okay, so I know this asked me what I personally think that waiting means, but I did some homework. I wanted to look up the meaning of the Hebrew words that we translate as "wait." I took this from an article on bible.org.
In the NASB the word most often translated "wait" in the sense of waiting on the Lord is the Hebrew qavah. Qavah means (1) "to bind together" (perhaps by twisting strands as in making rope), (2) "look patiently," (3) "tarry or wait," and (4) "hope, expect, look eagerly."
The second most frequently used word translated "wait" is yachal. Yachal means "to wait," or "hope, wait expectantly," and is so translated in our English Bibles.
What sticks out to me in these definitions is the expectancy. What does it mean to wait expectantly? It's not this idea of sitting around in a doctor's office waiting for our name to finally be called so that we can accomplish the purpose of our visit. It's more like when my parents would leave me at home as a child to clean my room while they went to the store. I knew they were coming back! I didn't waste any time (okay, sometimes I wasted time... but I shouldn't have!), I cleaned my room! I wanted them to come home and find that I had accomplished the task they had given me.
As we wait for the Lord and for future seasons of our life, we need to be active. To me, waiting is doing something now! The things I'm doing now are preparing me for the future that I'm waiting for!
What advice/encouragement would you give to girls who are pursuing holiness in singleness and relationships?
Regardless of whether you're single or in a dating relationship, something I want to encourage women to do is continuously seek wisdom. James 1:5 says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him."
How can you seek wisdom? First and foremost, seek wisdom from Scripture. The words in the Bible are inspired by and directly from God. By spending time in the word, we grow in wisdom. Secondly, I would encourage you to seek out wisdom from older women who are more mature believers and have experienced more life than you. I'm not even twenty yet, so while I can tell you about things that God has revealed to me, I still have a ton to learn! We can learn so much from older believers. We see Timothy learning from Paul throughout the Old Testament. Find someone who can give you mature perspective founded in truth!
Also, I want to encourage you to remember Ecclesiastes 1:9. "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun." The hard things we go through are not unique. Tons of your sisters are facing the same struggles - whether struggling to be joyful in singleness or facing difficulties and temptations in relationships, you are not alone! God has named you His daughter and you will find Him when you seek Him with all your heart! So keep on striving towards Him!
Two years ago: Homesick
Three years ago: Donate clothes to a shelter.