A Gilmore Girls connection.

IMG_2671.JPGOne of my absolute favorite shows is Gilmore Girls. My roommate introduced me to it last year and I couldn’t watch it fast enough. I love the relationship that Lorelai has with Rory. They’re more like each other’s best friends than mother and daughter and they relate to each other so well. They share in each other’s ups and downs, have the same interests and do everything together. They love unconditionally, not expecting anything in return. What’s not to love?

Then there’s Lorelai’s and Emily’s relationship. I hate Lorelai’s relationship with Emily because it’s built on conditions, miscommunications, and work. A lot of work. Lorelai puts off her relationship with her mother because it always costs something and she must work hard to maintain it. Lost yet? Hold on, I’m getting somewhere.

During a season of drought in which I felt very distant from the Lord, I realized (courtesy of my small group leader) that my relationship with Christ mirrored Lorelai and Emily’s more often than Lorelai and Rory’s and that saddened me. I often viewed my relationship with Jesus as a lot of work. I needed read my Bible every day, pray often, mentor others, go to church, and try not to sin. If I did more for Christ, then He would love me more. This mindset was so draining. I found my worth coming from what I did rather than who I was loved by. When I messed up, I would feel like a failure because I just couldn’t get it right. It frustrated me. There were times when I felt so distant from God, even though I was doing so many “right” things. I felt defeated.

I desperately wanted my relationship with Christ to be as effortless as Rory and Lorelai’s but I didn’t know how to fix it. I searched for answers but came back to where I was empty handed.

Then one day, I was listening to worship music in my dorm room and everything changed. In one moment, I went from feeling distant from God to feeling the closest I had ever felt to him. I felt immense joy and happiness. But I didn’t do anything. How is it that I had worked so hard in the past to experience closeness with Christ but in a moment I had done nothing, I experienced what I had been searching for for months? That’s the truth about God’s love. He doesn’t expect anything from us but asks us to fully step into His presence and plan. The moments where I have felt closest to God have stemmed from me being at my lowest and therefore causing me to surrender all to Him.

Knowing this takes the pressure off. Although I want to be an active Christian who reads her Bible daily, brings others into my life to mentor, go to church, and do everything I can for Jesus, my salvation is not contingent on do these things. My surrender of idols, future plans, daily struggles and ultimately whole life to Christ is what God wants. He wants me. All of me, the good and the bad. But so often, I find this hard to do, even knowing the end result.

If I have felt what it’s like to surrender to Christ, then why am I so hesitant to do so? I think for me, it boils down to control. I want to control who my friends are, how I spend my money, what job I take, and my plan for my life. The thought of giving up control of those things scares the heck out of me. I feel safer living inside of my comfort zone, not surrendering control because I’m afraid of what God might ask me to do. But leaning into His plan shows me a greater view of life, one where I am stretched and tried but reliant on Him. Each little step of faith has brought me to the edge of His plan for my life, one that I’m still currently wrestling through. I’m about to graduate college but still have no clue where I want He wants me to be and what He wants me to do. God isn’t asking me to have everything figured out but He is asking me to step out in faith into His plan.

So just as Rory has an amazing trust in Lorelai that she will come through, so I will have that kind of trust in Christ. I can rest in His plan, His timing, and His control and wipe the word fear from my vocabulary. This is where God wants me. He doesn’t want me to be focused on all the things that I can do for Him as part of my salvation, He wants me to rest in His presence and surrender to His plan.

And that’s the best place to be.

I hope you have courage to step out in faith today.

Lizzie

P.S. The picture is actually from a pop-up Luke’s dinner that I visited! Excuse me while I go fangirl.

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What I’ve learned (and am still learning) from this season of singleness.

 

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I’ve spent hours dreaming about meeting and falling in love with “the one” and guess what?

I still haven’t.

I thought that by this time in my life, I’d be in a serious relationship, leading towards marriage. But here I sit, coasting towards nearly two years of singleness. I’ve struggled with questioning this part of God’s plan for my life. My roommate often jokes that whoever I marry needs to be a crazy romantic because that’s how I’m wired, and she’s not wrong. But while I sit moping, watching Hallmark channel movies, and reading Nicholas Sparks on the weekends, I’m reminded of all that has happened. I’ve learned so much in this season of singleness.

And yeah, it’s only a season.

I’ve learned that my worth is rooted in Christ. I know, it’s so cliché but I’ve had to remind myself of this day after day. The only place I can truly have worth and confidence is resting in God’s grace. I am confident in the woman that God created me to be because He created me.

I’ve learned that I can do so much for Christ in this season of singleness. That’s not to say that I can’t change the world married, but I do have much more freedom to follow Jesus to the ends of the earth. One day I hope that the man I marry has the same desire to chase after Christ with reckless abandon. I hope that he will carry out the call of the great commission right alongside me, going into all the nations. But in the meantime, it’s exciting not to have anything tying me down. I can be rootless in where I live, but fully rooted in Christ.

I’ve learned that Jesus is enough. This has been a hard lesson for me to learn. For so long I’ve bought into the lie that I need someone to love me here on earth, that Jesus wasn’t enough. And it caused so much pain. I would become obsessed with guys and any glimmer of hope in a relationship would cause me to plunge deeper into this obsession. I became so emotionally entangled in this heart idol and it caused heartache. But God was always waiting, with open arms, for me to turn my heart back to Him. His love is constant. His love is unfailing and before I start quoting 1 Corinthians 13, He is ultimately all I need. God has placed in me an innate desire to be a wife and a mother. I trust that He will provide.

“Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

And so, I keep pushing forward, delighting in the Lord, trusting that He will provide for the desires in my heart. It might not be in the way that I had planned for my life but He won’t desert me.

I’ve learned to love myself. I know, another cliché response, but it’s so true! Learning to love who you are is one of the hardest tasks you can be faced with but if God created us in His image, then how can we criticize what He has created? If I have confidence rooted in Christ, then I can learn to love myself, and not wish that I was different. It has taken time (and a lot of prayer!) to come to this point, but truly loving who I am in Christ has been one of the biggest blessings that has come out of this season of singleness.

I’ve learned to be patient. In my pursuit to honor God, I have chosen to save sex for marriage and it has been hard. But through this season of singleness, God has shown me how to be patient and how to wait. When I eventually do enter that serious relationship that will lead to marriage, I will have learned how to be patient and to wait. Although it still probably won’t be easy.

I’ve learned to trust. I am the least likely person to place my trust in something other than myself. It’s hard for me to trust when my best friend drives me around. It’s hard for me to trust that groups members in a project will complete their work on time. And it’s definitely hard for me to trust that God’s plan is better than I could ever imagine. Singleness has taught me to trust that God will provide for my every need, even if it’s not in the way I envisioned. Like the verse below says, I pray that as I trust, my heart may be filled with joy and peace and overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

I’ve learned to be content. Man, this is the toughest lesson that I’ve had to learn. I have so many hopes and dreams for the future that it’s hard for me be content with where I’m at. I struggle to be completely content because there are so many temptations and lies that tell me I deserve more than what I have now. So many times, I have believed the lie that my life would be better off with whatever material things that I thought I needed. But I’ve found out this is not true. I continue to struggle daily with being content in my singleness but I’ve realized that this is a season that I should cherish, one that will allow me to pick up my life and move wherever the Lord calls me, to be free to pursue after the Lord with all my heart and never look back.

So, I’m not going to end with final thoughts of encouragement or glimmers of hope. I know that if you’re single, you’ve already been told a thousand times what a catch you are and how this will not last forever. But I do want to tell you to take heart and think of all the things that you can do during this season. Make a list and actually live out those things. Find joy in doing life with the Lord and gratefulness that you get the chance to walk through this season with Him by your side.

I hope today you feel loved!

Lizzie