people say they hate the world and i don't blame them. especially with what is going on everywhere, the news is quite depressing and so despairing. i've even thought a couple times how i just don't want to live in the world anymore. not because i'm depressed and want to die or anything, but because i just can't believe the things that are going on these days! i really can't. i don't think i can hear any more of it. there's a shooting every other week, injustice everywhere and racism and hatred. trust and love and kindness seem to be decreasing, and their opposites increasing. as followers of Jesus, it's easy to want to throw our hands up, be done, and say "take me home, Jesus."
but i think God loves the world (and every christian recites john 3:16 in unison)... He created the world, came to the world, showed the world there's a better way to live, died for the world. it would've been easier for Jesus to stay with the Father and let us continue on our downward spiral with no hope. but He didn't. He came, with a great cost.
if our goal is to be more like Christ, we can't check out. we can't wish to get away from it all and be done. i think it's never been more crucial to stay. to be light in dark darkness. to weep and mourn with those who weep and mourn. to be advocates. to fight for justice. to work hard to show people that there is good, there is hope. that people can still be trusted. that people can still be kind. to make more room at the table, and invite everyone. to tear down walls instead of put them up. it is crucial that we press on.
like my new favorite author said, "we can't deliver folks from their pits, but we can sure get in there with them until God does. live long enough and it becomes clear that stuff is not the stuff of life. people are." (jen hatmaker)
keep going, friend.
a while ago i told myself that i wouldn't write about dating or singleness. first, as a personal boundary with this blog. i've made just about everything else a pretty open book but i wanted to have that part of my life, my thoughts and feelings about it, kept private and disclosed to friends and family. second, because when it comes to dating, i am a total noob and not in any place to offer nuggets of wisdom. sometimes i feel i'm at the same level of understanding dating as like a fifth grader. haha.
but lately i've realized i actually have a lot to say about this topic, things i've observed, and things i'm learning, and maybe i'm not at a fifth grade level of understanding... maybe i'm at sixth grade! (; and mostly i've thought, what if someone could benefit from what i have to say? as far as the personal boundary side, i'm still going to keep to that and i'm not going to disclose a ton of personal details. but here goes! no promises on this. it might be bumpy and not make any sense and you might think i'm the biggest noob and i might bumble around the whole time. that's okay, that's kind of me all the time. (; may Jesus be honored by what i say here, nonetheless. and may you have grace with me. here goes... things i've observed and learned along the way... Lord have mercy: (iced sugar-free vanilla nirvana from dunn bros in hand. thanks ava kendall)
christians are afraid of dating.
i don't know where you grew up, but i grew up in a small private school where we had the "6 inch rule" (there must be 6 inches between you and someone of the opposite sex)... one time my principal even said "make room for the Holy Spirit!" when walking by a couple. ...oh Lordie. palm to face. i thought my private school was bomb in a lot of areas, but i think it majorly messed up in this one. it certainly messed me up for a while. what kind of message is that??
church people in general, for whatever reason, seem to have this unspoken thing where if you go on a date, it means you're in a relationship. i don't think it's a church message even, but somehow it's very present in christian culture. the consequence of this is people don't go on dates or show they're interested until they've prayed about it for a long time and are sure they want to be in a relationship. but this breeds a lot of issues, because then you're sure or not sure about something without even trying it out. and it brings in a lot of unnecessary pressure and makes dating this super serious thing that you better not be thinking about until you're ready for marriage. don't get me wrong, there's a place for taking dating seriously, but why can't you just have a low-key, fun, casual conversation with someone you think is attractive? why is that bad? so we end up with a lot of "friend group hang outs," which is definitely fine, but what if your friend group doesn't have an upcoming event or what if, gee, the other person doesn't know you're interested in them, or what if you're an adult? (sorry, sassy lex comin out a little bit here, haha.)
i think both men and women have issues here (i know because i've been majorly, stupidly crushed when a few dates didn't lead to a relationship, and i've also witnessed a lot of scared men and super-attached women)... men are afraid to ask girls on dates because they think the girl will think it means everything, and a lot of times, women think the date means everything. people have different convictions here, but mine is this: CALM THE HECK DOWN, PEOPLE. just calm the heck down. it's just coffee or dinner (or breakfast, preferably) ;). it's not a week in oahu. it's not an engagement ring. it doesn't compromise your purity. you aren't obligated to go on ten more. it's. just. a. date.
here's what i think dating is: hey, you're interesting and super attractive and seem to have a good head on your shoulders. i'd like to get to know you more and see if i could have feelings for you and if we could be compatible. you aren't going to break the other person if it doesn't go well or if you end up not wanting to continue going on dates with them. (at least, heavens, i hope not). best case scenario: you both dig each other enough to go on another one. worst case scenario: it's awkward and you don't. let's all just calm way down about dating.
the best remedy for all of this noobiness: guys, ask that girl you're interested in to a cup of coffee, and be clear you're interested and want to get to know her. girls, go on a date with him without thinking it means you're going to get married.
boldness speaks volumes.
as a girl, one of the most attractive things in a guy is walking up to me, looking me in the eye, and telling me he'd like to get to know me and take me on a date. or if you like me, like, "like like" me, (; putting yourself out there and admitting your feelings. i think that is manly and mature. boldness/bravery and clarity. i've had this happen to me and i didn't feel the same way, but my respect for the guy putting himself out there grew tenfold. i was still super impressed even when i didn't feel the same. i think you can't lose. maybe it's awkward and embarrassing if they don't reciprocate, but at least you know and can move on, right? and i can't speak for all women, but for me, i'm really done with the ambiguous one-on-one coffee hang out. it's confusing and i have to try to interpret what it means and discern if it's necessary to tell him where i'm at. it's so more than okay to hang out one on one as friends, but if you're inviting the other person to hang out and you just mean as friends, be up front about it. even a "hey, friend, wanna hang out?" gets the job done. clarity is always best. i actually end up unimpressed if i get the feeling that a guy is interested in getting to know me as more than a friend but doesn't let me know and i have to wonder if i'm on a date or not. unfortunately the ambiguous one happens more often than the direct/clear-intentioned one. just be up front, and be bold if you're interested in someone. it speaks loads about your maturity.
women are not off the hook here. when you are interested in a guy/have feelings for him, i think you should let them know. i've done this twice and both times were painful because the feelings were not reciprocated but i felt so brave for it! and so proud of myself, and really glad i did it. i've heard countless women tell me about guys they're crushing on bad, but they never tell the guy (and i am so guilty of this). i'm not a guy, but i'm sure guys wonder about what the heck we're thinking/what our intentions are just as much as women do about men.
as far as men and women's roles in asking on dates, i genuinely just don't know. i don't think there's a universal. as a woman, i've always wanted to be the one to be asked on dates, but then i've wondered many times what to do if i want to go on a casual date with a guy i'm interested in? i've heard of women asking men on dates and i don't think that's wrong/not okay. but i've always thought it's special for the guy to plan the date. i don't know. if you have any ideas or thoughts about this, i'd love to hear it! (oohh, the feist just started playing in dunn brothers. okay, dunn bros, okay. i see you. good one.)
this feels like a good place to stop for now. i have a lot more to say, (more than i thought i did!) but the other stuff is more about singleness. if you're still reading this, thank you, i can't believe it, and you're the real mvp. thanks for caring about what i have to say. i hope it was at least interesting or maybe helpful. i hope you don't hate me. haha. if you're mad at me or think i'm nuts for anything i've said so far, i can take it, and i'd actually love to hear about what you'e thinking. please let me know! i am learning just as much as the next person (if not more so because i have some years of damage to make up for haha). oooh, dating. does anyone actually know what they're doing?
there are so many people i want to thank in my life for taking nooby alexi under their wing when it comes to this topic... the ones who let me know, "hey, lex, this date doesn't mean you're going to get married," and "hey, why don't you take a freaking chill pill, dates are just dates!" or the one who took a risk and asked immature alexi on dates even though i still thought it meant everything, and got way too attached. and the ones who were brave with me and their feelings, and the ones who weren't, so i could learn. and the ones who were the unfortunate recipients of way too weird and awkward alexi trying to figure out what to do with my feelings for them and bumbling the whole way through, getting everything wrong and not being brave either. and the ones i wasn't as gentle and kind with as i should or could have been. so much grace from all of you. thanks a million times, friends, family, and hottie mcdotties. (;
tonight i made myself spaghetti with beef and chopped onions with the windows open wide and ben howard in the background and a glass of wine and candle lit. then i read holland's words about sleep and thought thankful thoughts about her and about the way she loves Jesus and i felt like i love Him more because of it and i'm just feeling shalom. the world is crazy right now but Jesus is very very good.
"aslan, aslan. dear aslan,” sobbed lucy. “at last.”
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