Solidified in Solitude

There’s power in unity, in community, but surely there are places you can only get to on your own.

The times that are for you and you alone to step forward, to step up, to step down, to step in.

Where the certainty doesn’t quite match up to the calling, but the determination overpowers the doubt.

When “This isn’t going to work” is the smart answer, but not the right one.

You’ve decided to enter in alone, but you’re not going in blind.

If you’ve never gone anywhere solo, you’ve never been anywhere at all

Sometimes in kneeling, you look around and you only see critics

But the real anxiety kicks when in looking, you see no one at all

Not even a heckler made the trek…

But the awareness that alienation is only a vehicle, not the objective keeps you from bailing

Just beyond your line of vision are others who are being prompted to move when all else is still

You begin to realize it’s just a fog and that there are objects closer than they appear

That in seclusion, there can be solitude just as much as there can be isolation

There are some places you can only get to alone

The best thing that can happen realization and comfort in knowing that you were never really alone at all

Cadence

Curl up real tight with the pleasant truths of the day

Grab a handful of the bold words you wish to say

Taste the sounds in shallow patterns of youthful thought

Play a song on the plans you made with the dreams you bought

Sail away on the beach of preparation that will surely heal your wounds

Recite your memories that you’ve elaborately dressed in costumes

Extinguish the lesson that taught to you to journey well

Close your eyes to our hands and the stories they tell

Follow the leaves and they’ll lead you to pure gold

Breach it with lock and key to watch your past unfold

You see, none of these things make any bit of sense

But everything sounds beautiful with just a touch of cadence

The same with unsuspecting life in its everyday living

The fascination is not in our perceiving but in our giving

Again: Why I will not be with a non-Christian

This will have been the 3rd time I’ve posted this blog (with alterations of course) and with every post it’s become abundantly clearer why I feel the things I do. That being said, I’ve learned so much in the 3 (almost 4 years of the initial post). The first being very honest and sincere but without a lot of life to back it up, the second having a little more experience to add some conviction, and this one compounded with more wisdom that makes any other reality even hard to imagine. Another round:

One of these days I’m going to bind myself with another person and like most people I had a list… you know what I’m talking about.  Since initial conception that list has evolved (Darwin-style: only the strong survive). The list has gotten shorter but the principle has become unshakable.

Numero uno on my list of ‘has to be’ is a Christian follower of Christ.  Not a person who simply believes in God, not a person who just goes to church every Sunday, not a person who owns a Bible, but doesn’t read it.  But a person who is trying to follow God and has surrendered their life to Christ. It sounds very old-fashioned and restrictive if you don’t understand my reasoning behind it so (again) I thought I’d take this opportunity to explain my (and maybe a lot of others’) reasons as to why I have no problem being friends with people who do not follow Christ, but will not pursue a relationship with a person who doesn’t.

From my own walk, I have a better understanding of how messy that can look. Following Christ often appears less inviting than a life that’s not, but somewhere in that mess is a man that’s priceless to God and now, to me.

  1. My faith is not a religion or set of rules to me.It is the way I live and how I operate. With every day that passes the goal is to make it my only the motivation in anything and everything I do. Two people can commit to different ways of living and beliefs without ever offending or disrupting the other’s faith in friendship.  (This is why I like having friends who think differently as well as family in the faith.  We don’t learn if we all think the same. God has not called us to live in a Christian bubble.) But in the two-become-one kind of relationship, that’s not an option.
  2. I will not date someone I don’t intend to marry. I know that you never really know whether or not a person is a good match until you date them blah, blah, blah. There’s some truth to that, but very little. There are many guys I liked-liked (middle school throwback) and didn’t have to date them to know that they are not my husband… even when I was in like with them, I knew it was a dead-end. Now, that doesn’t mean that I’ll never talk to a guy and be friends in some capacity, but we aren’t going to date.  I got this advice from a high school teacher when I was 16 and it sounded so dumb at the time (so dumb), but now I understand. I’ve never been ‘casual’ about much of anything anyway. I have an ‘all or nothing’ mentality and understanding that about myself is enough to make me hella cautious about commitments. We develop deeper feelings than we gambled on when you open yourself up to a relationship of any kind, especially at this stage of life as compared to high school.
  3. When we commit to a relationship we are two separate people creating one relationship. All relationships are founded on something (complementary personalities, likes, dislikes, routine, lifestyle).  If we’re both bringing our foundation rooted in God together, we’re combining and multiplying.  If we’re trying to combine two mismatched foundations, we’re subtracting and dividing. Compromise is healthy in a relationship depending on what is being compromised. The behaviors, likes, dislikes, etc can be compromised without requiring one to abandon who they are. But compromising anything that God’s put in my heart is on the ‘not gonna do’ list and it would be unfair of me to want my potential mate to do something I’m not willing to do myself.
  4. As a couple who has vowed to spend the rest of our lives together, being his #1 supporter is high up on the responsibility list and I’m looking forward to it. I want him to complement me in my walk with God and I want to do the same for him. A marriage of tolerance is the best we could hope for if we’re heading different directions and that’s not good enough for me nor is it an unrealistic desire.  For us to agree on the critical things that will surely come up, we’ll have to have the same desires, same goals. Mine are from God, deeply rooted in there. If he has no relationship with God, how is it possible that he’d have the same?  When things get difficult, I want it to be us vs. everything else, not me vs. him. We’ll both be consulting the same source (God) and although our methods of handling the situation may be different, our end goal will be the same. A husband who doesn’t commit to the same things may support my earnestness in seeking God, but unless he’s walking the walk himself, he can do nothing more than say “go get ‘em”. I want to be able to fully put my support him but the same holds true for me. We’re teammates and in order to be effective, we have to be playing the same game.
  5. Humans were created to worship something. We worship work, money, fame, talent, fantasies, etc. I don’t want to be worshiped (seriously, no) because I’ll only disappoint him as I’ve disappointed myself in doing the same. However, I also don’t want to be second best to any of these material worldly things either.  I’m not gonna lie, I love attention and I will not spend my life trying to compete with his other idols.  The ONLY thing I will happily and respectfully step down to in my boyfriend’s/spouse’s worship is God.  Since I also love and worship God, I personally know this God my husband is devoting his life to.  I know for a fact that our God will guide him and teach him how to love me.
  6. Last but not least,I will not date a non-Christian because I’m crazy.  Seriously, I’m amazed at how complicated my mind is. Sometimes I look to God and just ask him, not out of self-loathing or self-pity but stupefaction, “Why?” What were you trying to get done when you put the puzzle that is me together? If a guy doesn’t have the patience and love of God and the patience and the gentleness of God and the PATIENCE and wisdom of God in him, I wouldn’t even ask him to go through the trouble of trying to handle me. I’m a handful to say the least and human hands will be crushed under the weight of Simone if they are not held up by an almighty God.

It’s a tall order for anyone, which is why I would never ask anyone who hasn’t been led by God, to do any of those things.  So, my reasons for not dating non-Christians, have absolutely nothing to do with separation or dissociation.  I simply know the big picture of what will and will not work in the future. I’ll let God handle the details of personality, timing and what not, but we both deserve a good shot at a realistically healthy and enjoyable relationship.  If we’re going to have that, the Christian (me) and the non-Christian (him, whoever he may be) must realize that it’s not with each other.

Weighted and Weightless

As a leader sometimes my role is infected with desire for power

As a Christian sometimes my sight is clouded with self-righteousness

As a woman sometimes my femininity contaminated with cattiness

As a worker sometimes my ethic is muddied with entitlement

As a friend sometimes my relationships are polluted with selfishness

As a human sometimes my behavior is tainted with imperfection

School’d

As elementary as it is, there’s always something to learn and whether you’re a good student or not life is gonna school you. I’m trying to be teacher’s pet, so I’ll just call this a tutor session and let you all in on what I’ve learned thus far:

1. It’s not about me — Sometimes I want to assume that certain things do or don’t happen because I’m not ready. That there’s something I need to learn before I can move on to the next phase. Truth is, sometimes I’m still on this level not because I’m not ready to transition but because where I am still needs me or where I’m going isn’t ready for me. This has become hard to ignore in being single. I LOVE being single, but I’m also looking forward to being married. Some days I want one more than the other and the tension is legit, but I heard somewhere (don’t ask me where, when, or who) that my time is clearly marked on God’s calendar and until that date there are things internal and external that are in need of my attention. God looks at more than just my ‘readiness’ (what does that even mean?) and he has deemed that right now at this very moment in my life, that is more beneficial for me to be single. For my own good, for others’ good, for my husband’s good and one day that will no longer be true, until then, it’s time to own this. Ecclesiastes 3: 1 — a time for everything

2. Asking for an upgrade in any gift from God is going to invite its friend: discomfort — Whatever I pray for in God usually comes in the form of a really hard to open and sometimes unaestheticly pleasing box. You ever buy something that you’re so excited to open but it takes literal blood, sweat and tears just to get it open. THAT’S THE SAME THING WITH GOD! Ask for patience, you’re bombarded with annoying situations that build up your composure. Pray for compassion, you’re going to get wrecked with some sob-worthy situations. Pray for wisdom, you gon’ learn sumthin’ for real. There’s no spiritual gift that comes without spiritual grit.   Galatians 6: 9 — Doing good can get exhausting

3. Privacy is powerful — My love language is quality time so there’s no question as to why I feel closest to God is when I’m spending time with him by myself. I love corporate worship and meeting together because you can feed off each others’ energy, but it’s in my insane rambling thru journaling, my lying on the floor in lone prayer, my jigsaw puzzle doing while listening to sermons, my too intense for the car worship concert driving to work, etc. Those are the things that I look back on and see God and myself more clearly. Sharing God with the world is profitable, but it’s the intimate relationship that takes me from employee to child that keeps me going. Jeremiah 33: 3 — God is personal

4. God is not concerned with how spiritual you look — In jumpstarting my walk with God again, I was looking forward to all the great things I was going to be lead to do in his name. I enjoy volunteering, bible studies, trips, all those things that look good but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I tend to wear them like a badge sometimes. God is teaching me intimacy and humility, by growing me internally without all the bells and whistles to show off. When I meet new people and they ask what I’m involved in and what I do, my list is short and I feel the need to say “but I really do love God! Ask me what God taught me today and what I prayed about.” (How cute, right?) I want so badly to prove that I’m not just wearing the label but also living the life. God’s teaching me that I have nothing to prove; he knows where my heart really is and he’s the one who matters. It’s great to get involved in those things, but I don’t have to use my roles in ministry as evidence to for me following God. Matthew 6: 5 — Don’t be showy

5. God does exactly what he says he’s going to do — This is one of those ‘duh’ things but it’s almost like a math formula. You’re pretty sure you got it when it’s teaching time, but it’s not until the exam and you think you need a change of underwear that you understand you probably didn’t get it as well as you thought you did. You may have knowledge of this truth, but until you’ve applied it and experienced it, your knowledge is of very little value. When God said he’d provide, he meant it. When God said he is enough, he meant it. When God said he can bring peace that only he can give, he meant it. When God said there’s joy in praise, he meant that! I’ve learned all these things through experience and in all honesty, it was because I knew what was supposed to happen but I’m not sure I really believed it. But now?! Now you can’t convince me of anything different. 2 Peter 1: 4 — God’s promises 

6. No day is like the last — Since intentionally trying to milk each day for what it’s worth, it’s become abundantly clear that there’s no time warp. No, this is not the 3rd Tuesday you’ve had this week. Some of that cheesy stuff you hear is actually true; living each day on a treasure hunt doesn’t bring you recycled riches. No, there may not be some huge occasion that distinguishes yesterday from today, but if you’re putting yourself at the mercy of note-worthy events, you’re books gonna be pretty exciting, but it’s also going to be really short. Psalms 16:11 — Joy of life

This isn’t a comprehensive list, but it’s a good glimpse into such simple truths, with such a big impact on how I live my day to day life. But is an ongoing process. Having one aha! moment doesn’t carry me through the rest of my days, it’s a constant digestion of these things that will happen for the rest of my life.

One of the most annoying and comforting truths I’ve come by is that this walk is just like a class in which there are always going to be tests. You can pass a test and you’re still gonna get another one. You can fail a test and you’re still gonna get another one. AND your previous ‘grade’ does not determine your next one. So don’t be surprised when your obstacle looks familiar and don’t be discouraged when you didn’t do as well as you thought. There’s always another opportunity to get it right (again or for the first time) around the corner.

Alright, cram session’s over.

Calling

I made you, you, a limited resource

And I look at the you I made with no remorse

Just as I made the seas and the stars and deeming them good

I do the same for you even knowing the sinful likelihood

Some days you get it right and some days not so much

I’m more concerned about your growth and sensitivity to my touch

The perfection you seek is not a requirement of mine

And if you’re honest, that’s what you’re really striving for most of the time

As you are I love you and as you will be we move toward

I’m not dragging you down but calling you forward

Your enemy is not who I intend to be

I use all weakness, strength, good, bad, blessing, strife to bring you to me

Flow

Today I just want to let things flow

So much happening in this mind of mine

Minute by minute, I just try to capture my thoughts

To take the time to appreciate them before they move on

Some stick to my skull and make a home

Others barely appear long enough to be considered existent

Just like people, some I beg to stick around but they’ve got to move on

Just like people, some I beg to leave but they’ve got something to give

Today I let some go and I chose which are welcome to stay

There are some that baffle me, all the while, inspiring me

When I’m most unsure I find the push to be more thorough

It’s when I’m most assured I find myself most unwise

So today I let things flow, whether wrong or right

I acknowledge presence before I analyze the validity

Whether wrong or right, they’ve found a way in

Does it belong? I’ll soon figure out enough

More importantly, why is it here?

I challenge the thoughts that challenge me

I challenge the thoughts that comfort me

The person who is completely cozy in their own mind is blind

The person who finds no peace in his own mind is tormented

You’ve got to embrace that there will be a mixture of both

Days when you feel like a stranger to yourself

And days when you love the way you think

Today just let it flow, not let it go, not let it stay

Let them take their course and use the appropriate actions necessary

You don’t rule your mind (sorry, but you don’t), but it doesn’t have to rule you either