The Christian Guy vs. The Man of God

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By this point, it should be no secret I have quite the opinions on dating as a Christian. As already discussed in previous posts, I believing in dating with a purpose. A relationship should lead to a marriage, plain and simple. However, recently my eyes have been opened to more than just what we should look for in dating, but also who we should look for. Mainly, the difference between the good Christian guy and the man after God’s own heart.

Before you get upset and close this post because you think I’m about to rip the entire male population to shreds (and I promise I’m not), just hear me out – there is a BIG difference between the Christian guy and a man of God.

Let’s start with the basic things:

A Christian guy will be the one to text you verses, and kind of sort of remind you of them in moments of desperation. He knows what the scripture says, but he doesn’t know what they mean. On the other hand, a man of God has those verses written on his heart. A man of God lives out what the scripture says in his daily life. He reminds you of the scripture in word and action both during the good times and the bad.

A Christian guy will go to church. Let’s never deny this – all Christian guys recognize the importance of church, even if it’s only culturally. Christian guys will go to church with you because they know you want them at church. They will even partake in different church activities because they know you want them to. However, this is usually as far as it goes. A man of God, however, recognizes his highest calling is to give Christ all the glory. A man of God doesn’t see church as one part of the rest of the week. He strives to grow in Christ daily. He gives God the glory in all he does. A man after God’s own heart sees and knows there is a greater purpose for his life. He does not compartmentalize his faith, but instead allows it to become manifest in every possible moment.

A Christian guy will take you out on dates. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t like going on dates? He’ll show you off to the world, let everyone know that you are his (and there is nothing wrong with this. It’s fun to be spoiled). But mostly, this is as far as that will ever go. In contrast, a man of God will hold you up to his heavenly Father in his prayers. A man of God recognizes lifting you up to God, showing you off to God, is far more important than any glory he could try to get the world to give you. When he holds you up to his heavenly Father in prayer, he displays how much more important you are to him. He cares about you far more in that moment of prayer than that one time he took you to that one fancy restaurant.

Moving on:

A Christian guy might “accidentally” compromise your virtue. This is the man that is willing to follow his own desires to the end, regardless who he claims to be or what he claims to believe. This is the guy that tells you it will be okay, that he will protect you if anything were to happen. This guy simply wants what he wants, no matter what his convictions tell him. Yet a man of God will protect that virtue above all things. A man of God will be the one to lead you, to step up and say no, and to never put you in compromising situations. A man of God respects your boundaries and will not try to push your limits. He is the one who recognizes the importance of protecting you before anything were to ever happen.

Most importantly:

A Christian guy will say he loves you, and he probably does. He knows you are important to him. He would do anything for you. He keeps you a top priority in his life. There is nothing wrong with this. Of course we all want the person who loves us. A man of God, however, will love God more than he loves you. A man of God will allow his Savior to capture his heart before he tries to capture yours. He is the man who will lead you toward God and away from sin. He is the man who will always strive to focus on God first, and you second (sorry, but we’re not all the center of the world).

In an interview with Crown of Beauty magazine, singer-songwriter Ellie Holcomb stated her husband wasn’t the guy she ever planned on dating until the thought of dating anyone else began to sadden her. On their second date, her husband Drew said this:

Ellie, I’m really crazy about you, and I want to love you really well. But I’m just a man, and I am going to fail you, I am going to hurt you, and I am going to disappoint you. I don’t want to do any of those things, but I’m only human. So I need you to run as hard as you can after a relationship with Jesus, because He is going to be able to love you far better than I’ll ever be able to you, and I want you to be loved best.

I hope you realize the point Drew Holcomb was making here. If you read the love story of Drew and Ellie (the full article can be found here), you know there is no denying the love they have for each other. But Drew also realized that his and Ellie’s relationships with their Savior should always take precedence over their relationship with each other. While we pursue dating and relationships, we do not need to simply look for the person who reciprocates our attraction. This will always be easy to find. Instead look for the person who desires to honor Christ in the relationship above all else.

Ladies, I speak directly to you now. We are quick to lift each other up for our identity in Christ, I feel sometimes we often forget that our men of God need just as much encouragement of to whom they belong as we do. This post can just as easily be reversed to “The Christian Girl vs. the Woman of God.” Yes, it is the husbands job to love his wife as Christ loves the church. Yes, it is the husbands job to lead and stand up when we can’t. BUT this will become much harder for them if they are striving to be a man of God while we only strive to be the Christian girl. Remember Drew and Ellie – you BOTH need to run toward God with all you have.

I leave you with this – 1 Corinthians 13 is a wonderful passage, but you should look at it beyond “love is patient, love is kind…” Guy or girl, man or woman, you should be able to appropriately replace both their name and your name in the place of love (fun fact: I actually did this before I told my ex I loved him, and I didn’t even realize it was a thing at the time).

We are first a soul and then a body. We are sustained by our Creator, not His creation. Therefore, no one else in this world can complete you; only compliment you. Until Christ is the obsession of our heart, we will always find ourselves looking to other for needs only He can fill. Only when we make Christ our first love will we be ready for a story that reflects His glory.

The moments we are filled first with the love of Christ, the moments we are truly loved, are the moments God’s light will shine through us brighter than ever before. You are a child of God first. Never forget that.

What is Past is Prologue

 

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The National Archives in Washington D.C.

“And by that destiny to perform an act, Whereof what’s past is prologue, what to come In yours and my discharge.”
The Temptest: Act 2, Scene 1, William Shakespeare

Yesterday, in my post Extraordinary Glory, I wrote about God’s plan and how He works all things together for His glory. Today I ventured further into that concept by talking to some of my closest friends about what happened yesterday. I’ve always loved the quote “what is past is prologue,” and today I began to really see that come to play in my life.

Let’s backtrack a little bit – yesterday I got a piece of news and for about five minutes this piece of news upset me. More importantly, it confused me. I was confused because I thought what was to come went against the journey God had been taking me on in my life. For five minutes, I felt like things weren’t adding up. Then, in the moments of hurt and confusion and tears, I heard my Father’s still voice in my head, and His gentle hand reach out to me. In that moment my Father comforted me by saying “My child, don’t you realize this just sets the stage for a greater chance to allow my glory to shine forth?”

Everything changed. I knew the change was coming, but this was the moment. This was the pinnacle. I have been on a roller coaster, but the roller coaster hadn’t dropped yet. I’ve just been climbing the beginning track. Now, it’s like I have reached the climax.

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The Titan at Six Flags Over Texas

I’m sure this is all very confusing to you. I apologize, I’m really not meaning for it to be vague (but I am trying to protect the situation at hand). The point I’m trying to convey is what happened yesterday, by society’s standards, should have seriously upset/angered me. But it didn’t. Was a door closed on my life? Yes. But (there’s always a but), this was a door that needed to be closed, and quite frankly needed to be closed a long time ago. I respected what happened yesterday. I allowed the door to close and walked away.

Why was I able to do this? God gave me the strength to do it. I never would have been able to close this door without Him having my hand the entire time. Because closing this door in my life was probably the greatest thing to ever happen to me, even if I couldn’t see it at the time. I haven’t been able to stop smiling since last night. I have felt a peace from God that I haven’t felt in a long time. One door closed. That’s cool. Yet in this moment, so many other doors have opened.

As I said, I knew this moment was coming. God has been pushing my faith and refining me to reach this moment. I am now at the climax of the roller coaster. My Father told me now is the time for His glory to shine forth brighter than ever. I know it’s true. The drop is coming and I am about to be propelled forward to something great.

I have been praying constantly for God’s glory. I have been asking Him that He would find ways to have it shine forth brighter than it ever has before. I am now filled with the peace that it is coming. Funny how He answers our prayers sometimes. He just swung so many doors wide open, and I cannot wait to see where He leads me.

Again, God and I talk a lot about His promises. While I may not always know what the mean or when they are coming, of this I am certain – God’s promises are rarely early but they are never late. He is preparing for one of His greatest victories yet.

There is a song by Kristian Stanfill called “Always.” You may have heard it before. It can be found on the Passion soundtrack. The chorus simply goes “Oh my God, You will not delay, my refuge and strength always. I will not fear, His promise is true, my God will come through always, always.” Before, this song used to make me cry. Now this song makes me smile. I can feel this happening in my life. God’s promises will never delay.

As pastor Charles Spurgeon would state, “Continue in prayer, and though the blessing may tarry, it must come; in God’s own time it must appear to you.”

What is past is prologue suggests that all that has happened before that time has led to this opportunity. (And no, I’m not about to commit murder as Antonio and Sebastian were). But all of our acts lead up to the next moment. The past sets up the stage for the next act, as a prologue does for a play, as the climb of a roller coaster sets up for the ride itself.

God has been helping me reach the next moment. All the work He has done in my life has set up the stage for where He will send me next. Yesterday, I had a door closed in my life. But God is here. He is working in my life. He is sending me where I am to go next, and I’ve never been so excited to see his glory shine forth in my life. So watch out world, because God is about to do something great, and it’s going to be a great ride.

Extraordinary Glory

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“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.”
-Joseph Campbell

I have been debating for a while about what I wanted to post next, and then today I received some news. News that I knew was coming, but still was a slight slap in the face when I found out. I won’t deny I was upset, I cried a little bit, but that was it. I am even willing to say most of the tears came from building up to the news, and weren’t from the actual news itself. By the time everything was said and done, I was at peace about the situation.

See, it was in this moment I realized how much I have experienced the power of God’s healing. I never thought I would reach this day. I didn’t know how I would be able to handle having another curveball thrown into my life, but in this moment I could feel God standing with me. His encouragement filled my life. As I moved forward throughout my day, I knew the best was still yet to come.

Would it be weird to say in this moment everything began to make sense even though nothing makes sense at all? Probably. Are you thinking I’m crazy right now? I’m sure. But as my Father has taken me through this crazy journey of life, what I am seeing happen again and again over time is that if God showed us all He had planned for us, it would boggle our minds. All of those nights we cry out to God for answers, He doesn’t not answer us because He wants to hurt us. He doesn’t answer because He is protecting us.

My entire life God has pushed my faith beyond its limits. People often say God will never give us more than we can handle. I disagree. God does give us more than we can handle. Then when we ask why He only gives us glimpses of His plan along the way. If we could see all the open doors, all the paths we will cross, and the people we will collide with in our lives, we would not be able to handle it. This is why it stays in God’s hands and not ours. This is where our faith comes into play stronger than ever. This is where God grows our faith into believing Him before we see it.

God’s plan is intricate. Everything we face, all the setbacks, heartaches, disappointments, and even the victories, and happy moments are designed to get us where we are supposed to be. What we cannot do is fall into the trap of negativity and become complacent. God has something new down the road. We haven’t even touched what He has in store.

Not knowing the plan God has for us is scary, like really scary. But we never have to be afraid because our fears are drowned in perfect love.

God’s plan for my life takes me back, a lot. Here I am, I try to be and act like I’m this great Godly woman, but if y’all knew how many times I have questioned God’s plan and provision for me, how often I have yelled and screamed at Him, and how many times I have flat out asked Him where He is in my life, I guarantee you that you’d be shocked. Yet over the past few weeks, months, years (whichever you prefer), one thing I have constantly prayed is that God’s grace and glory would shine through me. I may not get to see it right now, but let’s remember we cannot always understand God’s plan in our immediate situations. My heart is filled with peace because somewhere down the road, I know God’s glory will shine forth in ways I never imagined.

I don’t say this to brag on myself. God’s plan for my life is not about me. It never has been. But after what happened today, I know that the day is coming where God’s glory is going to shine in my life brighter than it ever has before.

See, God and I like to talk about His promises. So much so, I’m sure you saw them on my guided visualization board from one of previous posts. The thing about these promises is God never told me what they were or when they were coming, He just told me He had great things in store and I needed to wait on them. Today was a reminder of that.

Romans 8:28 says “And we know that all things work together for the good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” I love this verse. Not only is it a verse of encouragement, it’s a verse of fact. The word know is from a Greek word meaning to know intuitively, not just experientially (yeah, I did some research). This verse reminds us God has a way of working things in our life together for our good. If this doesn’t comfort you, then I don’t know what will.

Let’s go back to that whole thing about God’s plan – how many times in our life have we experienced things we thought would be our destruction that actually ended up being some of the most amazing things to have ever endured in our lives? None of this was accident, blind chance, or some random act of fate. God Himself is the behind the scenes work in our lives.

I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but I want to say it again: as Christians, this does not mean we will not endure pain. There will still be sickness, there will still be struggles, we will still make mistakes. What this does mean is God will be there to work everything, or as the scripture uses all things, for our good. All things include the unfair and difficult things. But all things were tied together at the cross for our good and more importantly God’s glory.

And loving God is where we are filled with the sense of purpose and truth from this verse. Love is an action. Love is a verb. Love is not something we feel, it is something we do. Loving God is how we abide in His will.

If anything, this is how I was filled with peace today. Not because I had an innate sense of what news was to come, and it certainly was not because I don’t care, but it’s because God is awake and aware of everything that comes our way.

When we moved to Hillsboro, my dad constantly reminded me that nothing takes God by surprise, that He would protect me. This has stayed with me far more than I’m sure my dad ever thought it would, but after all these years I am still seeing it ring true within my life. God has His own wonderful way of turning bitterness into blessings.

Music Wednesday: Prince

We all knew this was coming. After the death of singer-songwriter Prince, it’s only fitting this music Wednesday be dedicated to the man who could record music for all different genre types.

So without any other delay, here are some of my favorite Prince songs. I have many memories driving back and forth from Fort Worth jamming out to these songs.

Enjoy! And have a blast blaring and dancing to them like I am!

3. Kiss

2. 1999

1. Little Red Corvette

Have a fun, Prince-filled Wednesday y’all!

Have a Vision, Know Your Why

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Ever hear of the 8 steps to success? They’re very popular in the marketing and business world. A simple Google search and you can find them instantly. Naturally, we talk about these 8 steps a lot at work.

Simply to break it down, the 8 steps are:

  1. Have a great attitude
  2. Be on time (that means 15 minutes prior)
  3. Always be prepared
  4. Work the full day
  5. Work the full territory
  6. Maintain your attitude
  7. Know your why
  8. Take control

I will not lie, my job is hard, and moving forward every day is a challenge in itself. Ever since I got back from Maryland, I’ve felt very burnt out at work. I tried my best to push forward, however some days were better than others. Then on Friday I did something I had never done before, I rolled a zero.

In case you don’t remember, my job is direct marketing and that means generating leads, and we are trained to be able to generate leads every day. Finishing with a zero was not a good thing.

I was upset, discouraged, and confused. I called my mom in tears. I didn’t know what to do. All I could think about is where I wanted to end up – Virginia, D.C., and federal affairs.

Just that morning, my boss talked about step 7 in the 8 steps to success – know your why. He said this as a motivation tool, to remind us and help us to keep moving forward that day. I knew my why, and I knew it was time to take the steps to remind myself of it every single day.

I thought back to a video I watched in Maryland – A TED Talk by Carrie Green called Programming Your Mind For Success. Green touches on a lot of important subjects in the video, obviously the most important being the power of your mind. What struck me the most about the video is when she talks about how she created a global company, lived what most would call a successful life, yet she wasn’t happy. She wanted to be successful but she wasn’t following her dreams, and instead her mind was filled with doubts, worries, and self-limited thoughts.

Instead of sitting back and keeping with a company she didn’t have a passion for, Green instead asked herself these four questions:

  1. What do you want to achieve?
  2. Why do you want to achieve it?
  3. Who do you want to become?
  4. How to take the steps to achieve it?

Green accomplished this through guided visualizations – picture where you want to be and get there. To do this, she made a goal board. And after rolling a zero on Friday, I knew it was time to analyze my success the same way Green did. So I got home from work on Friday and for the past two days I have been creating a goal board.

My goal board is finally done. So now I have a cork board full of my step 7 staring me in the eye every single day, reminding me of my why.

My friends often tell me it’s me against the world, that I am the next Maya from Zero Dark Thirty who is destined to marry the next Chris Kyle. I cannot lie, I love these comments and I hope to make these come true one day. But until that point, I cannot just have dreams anymore. I know my why. I know my vision. Now is the time to take the steps to make it come true.

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Because as the quote says, “be fearless in pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”

Music Wednesday: Somber Songs

It’s a rainy day here in Fort Worth. Now as much as I love rain, sometimes you just want to listen to sad songs to go along with your somber day.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m having a great day, but hey we all knew the sad song music Wednesday was coming eventually. Therefore, I present to you three of my favorite sad songs.

3. Broken by Seether feat. Amy Lee

2. When You Come Back Down by Nickel Creek

1. Lay Your Weapons Down by Brand New Shadows

As always, these are just some of my favorites. I have an entire playlist on my Spotify which includes One Day I’ll Fly Away from Moulin Rouge, You’re Gone by Diamond Rio, Little Wonders by Rob Thomas, and Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley.

There’s always those songs we love to listen to on the gloomy days. Don’t let the rain get you down too much guys! Just listen to those sad songs and then get going again! Have a fantastic rainy Wednesday friends!

Lexington & Concord

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April 19, 1775. In the area of Middlesex County in the Province of Massachusetts Bay, the first engagements of the American Revolutionary War were fought. Minor as they may have seemed at the time, the battles marked the outbreak of open armed conflict between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the thirteen colonies on the British American mainland.

After the Boston Tea Party and a “rebel” government rising in British-controlled Boston, the British government declared Massachusetts to be in a state of rebellion in February 1775.

In Boston, British army regulars were given orders to capture and destroy supplies held by the Massachusetts militia in Concord. The night before the attacks, the Patriots received firm notifications of the British plans. Rapidly racing against the British, Paul Revere & William Dawes (poor William, always forgotten) rode from Charleston to Lexington to warn of the coming of the regulars. Colonial militia men prepared to intercept the Redcoat column.

As the sun was rising in Lexington, the first shots were fired, beginning the unleashing of volleys from the British and the chaos which would then ensue for the battles. At the end of Lexington, eight militiamen lay dead and one Redcoat wounded.

After the first phase of fighting, the British then marched on toward Concord in search of the hidden militia arms. However, thanks to Revere’s famous midnight ride, many of these arms had already been hidden. What the Redcoats were able to find, they burned.

The militiamen hustled to Concord’s North Bridge to meet the British army, which was already being defended by the soldiers. Once meeting at the bridge, a shot rang out, which has now become immortalized as “the shot heard ’round the world.” 

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After failing to find more weapons in Concord, the British then marched to Boston. By this time, minutemen from surrounding areas had arrived on the scene, and began firing at the Redcoats from behind trees, walls, and houses. The British began abandoning clothes and weapons in order to retreat faster.

At the end of the day, only about 250 Redcoats were wounded or killed (compared to the 700 plus troops that had arrived on scene that morning). Nevertheless, the spirit of the American patriot began. The militiamen proved they could and were willing to stand up the most powerful army in the world.

By May 28, news of the battle had reached London. By the summer, the full-scale war of independence had broken out, shaping the face of world history forevermore.

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Supplemental Information:
History.com
US History