DEMYSTIFYING DATING

DEMYSTIFYING DATING

From 2015 by Connor Mullen: How do you have peace about entering a relationship? Recently, I was posed this question by a couple in our church. It’s an excellent question, one that I have heard quite a bit. Pulling from experience, I’ve broken the answer down to two fundamental things I have found true for myself: Knowing ourselves and who we are in Christ helps us know the desires that God has placed on our heart. Constructing a list of qualities and characteristics, drawing from our experience around people (hint: look at your best friends) and in dating, that are attractive to us. A part of God giving us freewill is the ability to exercise it. Plain and simple. We choose God, He chose us. We choose to love others, for love can’t exist without freewill. At the end of the day, a choice is much more powerful when we make it ourselves. I teach at a local high school, and time and time again students say, “Mr. Mullen, just tell me the answer!” In response, I ask them questions that pull the answer out of them. God does the same with us. Sure, He guides us in the process. But at the end of the day, choosing to date someone is a decision we make … and it’s not rocket science. We run into problems when we put dating on the same level as marriage. It creates the unrealistic expectation that you are going all in before you have even begun to play the game. That’s pretty scary, isn’t it? How many people want that? Dating is a...
DOING SINGLENESS WELL – PT. 4

DOING SINGLENESS WELL – PT. 4

People are always writing about how to do relationships or dating well, but the truth of the matter is that more people are single than connected. Who’s out there to speak to us single people? Well, I’m here to represent. Being a self-appointed expert of singleness, (I’ve spent 26 years of my life happily and unhappily single) I think I may have something to say on the matter of how to accept and enjoy this phase of life. People are always asking me, “Annalisa, how do you make singleness seem so easy?” or, “How could you be so gracefully single?” Ok, no one’s ever asked me that, but maybe they will after hearing these tips: Embrace it: Once you get married, you’re (hopefully) married forever. So make an effort to do the things that may be more difficult once you’ve settled down. Travel, spend endless amounts of time with friends, be spontaneous, and live that YOLO lifestyle. I’ve found that I appreciate my singleness most when I spend my money. Most married people need to check in with each other when spending money, something I will cheerfully submit to when I’m there. For now, I blissfully check in with myself, and I’m usually ok with my semi-frequent, frivolous purchases. Don’t torture yourself: If the rom-coms, pinterest boards, or hanging with a certain person is not helping you stay content, then don’t put yourself in that situation. You have to see what’s right for you and what you can or can’t handle. Only you can determine that and only you are capable of holding yourself to it. Enjoy the process:...
UNITY, A BIG DEAL

UNITY, A BIG DEAL

Early in my walk with Jesus I made a choice to say no to divsion and yes to unity. Click To Tweet The devil hates unity. He hates covenant. He hates the very things that God loves. “How good and how pleasant it is when God’s people dwell together in unity.” God loves unity. Like a good father, He rejoices and releases blessings when His kids are living lives that promote it. The word for devil is diablo, it literally means to put a wedge between, basically one who brings division. The devil has no new tricks up his sleeve just the same old ones that have been working from the beginning: dividing people and then conquering the purposes of God. Often it is hard for any one of us to see beyond our own lives, our own problems and what we are going through; however, the good news of Jesus was the announcement of a greater reality. The reality that the King is here to make wrong things right, crooked things straight, and broken things whole. One of the things we will all fight against in this life will be division. Coming into agreement with the evil one with his plan to divide homes, churches, friendships, and work environments. I have found it incredibly life-giving to realize that this life is bigger than me. It is bigger than what I am going through and what is happening to me. For me to take life personal and give into the enemy’s tactics of trying to get me to see others for less than the value that Jesus has for...
FIGHTING FOR FRIENDSHIP

FIGHTING FOR FRIENDSHIP

With hundreds of friends at our fingertips on Facebook and Instagram, it is all too easy to effortlessly “maintain” friendships through quick comments and likes without ever realizing the missed potential for authentic relationships. When we minimize friendships to short text messages and small talk, we miss out on the opportunity to speak identity over each other and draw out one’s destiny that may otherwise lay dormant. For me, the hurdle to experiencing true friendship was the concept of vulnerability—I cringed at the word. The thought of opening up my heart and letting people into my deepest thoughts and fears was terrifying because I didn’t want to give anyone the power to hurt me. For a long time I was paralyzed by that risk and found safety in self-protection and shallow interactions. Since that time God has taught me the true meaning of friendship and spent the last few years challenging me to embrace vulnerability and fight for connection. At first it felt unnatural to let others into my past experiences, current feelings, and dreams for the future. But to my surprise, as I continued to step out in vulnerability, I actually found a palpable sense of safety and true acceptance. The feeling of being known and still unconditionally loved in community has been the most powerful experience in my walk with God. It has propelled me into freedom, challenged me to walk in my calling, and eradicated fear in my life. What does friendship look like to me now? It looks like opening up my heart and sharing my story, inviting people into my present struggles, and giving...

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