21 Lessons in 21 Days: Singleness

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This post is apart of the blog series 21 Lessons in 21 Days

Lesson Twenty One: Its okay to be single

I don’t know if it’s the nurturer nature in me, or the fact that I didn’t have my father in my life growing up that has made me really crave attention from the opposite sex, but ever since I was really young I’ve always wanted a male by my side. I had my first boyfriend in second grade, and it seems like from then on I continued to have one up until this year. I like long-lasting, deep friendship types of relationships. I love taking care of people and making them feel like the most special and cared for person in the world. I love the idea of bonding with and growing with one person for a long time. Somehow, though, the relationships I’m in always end up in a disaster. Anything from being cheated on, physically/emotionally hurt or just a random break up has occurred and left me feeling lower than the ground. I realized that I would place my identity in these people and once our relationship was over, it began to feel like my life was too. So I found myself jumping from relationship to relationship for a long long time.

In May I made a promise to God that I would take this most recent break up as a much needed break from relationships. Though it feels almost unnatural for me, I’m learning that it’s okay to be single. Singleness serves as a time to learn more about self and all the hidden beauties that are almost impossible to see when another person is constantly involved. It’s a time to focus on self without any distractions. It’s an opportunity to try new things without being held back, and a chance to get to know God on a deeper, more personal level. It’s scary, because I’m used to the total opposite, but in these four months I’ve already learned so much about myself and my self esteem is on the rise. My identity is being broken apart from other people and growing more into who God has called me to be. I’m exploring passions and falling more in love with who I truly am deep down.

As of now I don’t know how long I’ll be in this state of singleness but Ive become content within it. I don’t know what the future holds for my future love, but I’m learning what I want that to look like when the time does come. I don’t know what other amazing things I’ll get to learn about myself, but I’m excited to continue this journey of the unknown because I trust in the one who is leading it.

21 Lessons in 21 Days: Paul Perspective

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This post is apart of the blog series  21 Lessons in 21 Days

Lesson Twenty: Having more of a Paul perspective

The theme of my last mission trip was “press on”, inspired by Paul’s insight in Philippians. Throughout the mission trip we studied Philippians 1-4 together in small bible study groups. I remember being in awe of the way Paul viewed his personal struggles. Despite his terrible setting of prison, he chose to stay joyful instead of displaying negative emotions. He understood God’s purpose for him, so he was able to compare his situation to the bigger, more important picture. He understood what the end goals were and that every situation is gain for the kingdom. Through it all he openly expressed his love for Christ and Christ’s people. How many of us rejoice and express love to others when we’re going through a rough time? I certainly don’t. It’s a hard thing to do.

During the San Diego mission trip I discovered that want to be more like Paul. I want to learn to embrace my struggles and take them as an opportunity to share the gospel. I want to learn how to be content in those struggles. I want to be confident that my trials are advancing the kingdom like Paul was in 1:12, and I want to know deep down that everything happening will deliver me into who God created me to be, the same way Paul did in 1:19. I want to one day be able to automatically see things the way that Paul did, and hopefully my struggles will attract people to God the same exact way Paul’s witnesses did jail 1:14.

21 Lessons in 21 Days: Fasting

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This post is apart of the blog series 21 Lessons in 21 Days

Lesson Eighteen: Fasting helps you grow closer to God

This year I learned that fasting is a spiritual discipline. I used to think it was just something people did because they either wanted to diet or wanted to see how long they could go without something. I learned that fasting serves as a way to be more intimate with God. It’s an opportunity to become more dependent on Him, rather than those things we feel we need like food, social media, tv shows and phones in general. When done right, it makes you commit to God and focus on necessity.
I fasted for the first time this year and boy was it hard! I felt God leading me to do it. I kept hearing things about it at church and in random conversations, so I decided to try it. I gave up all food and social media for four days straight (it’s good to start short and work your way up). The four day time period I chose happened to fall on the first few days of RA training, which usually means lots of good free food. Whenever it was a meal time I would drink water and either read a bible plan on my phone or continuously say a verse in my head. I was doing really well until one day we had a mandatory staff dinner at a restaurant that served my favorite foods. I had to sit in front of and next to people that were eating my favorites and all I could do was drink my water and pretend not to be dying inside. I made it through the night somehow, but I feel like that was the ultimate test for me. And in the endurance of my fast I got closer to God, making our relationship grow stronger.

When Jesus fasted  he went without food for 40 days and 40 nights. And the same way I was tempted toward the end of my fast, He was too. He was really hungry, and the devil came along to remind Him that as the son of God He could literally turn a stone into bread and eat it. Even through His hunger, though, He knew that the Word of God was more important than food. He was able to keep His fast going because He relied on Gods strength. It’s such a powerful feeling to complete a fast without allowing any temptations to ruin it. So my lesson learned? Fasting is really important for learning to rely on God more, and you have to do it for the right reasons for it to be effective.