Sunday, June 2, 2013

A little light-hearted fun this evening on dating, faith, and my "incredible" prayer life

I just got off the treadmill where two jack delightful men were having a very informative conversation about their "matches" they were "reviewing" on the ole iphone. I heard their voices while I was speeding passed them on my treadmill ;) as they stood and chatted. Actually, I overheard the convo on one of my many pitstops...what is it about turning 36 and apparently not being able to run without a gazillion pitstops...well, on my last pitstop, I caught wind of their insightful dialogue on just how "lovely" these ladies were and how 23 was lookin' pretty good to them.

Ya, it didn't give guys a good name...and if they weren't completely buff and I completely not, I would have said something really catchy and witty, but I didn't. I just put my headphones on and went back to kicking their butts on the treadmill.

On which I was watching "He's Just Not that Into You." Now that's a movie I couldn't watch for a few years. Yep, I watched it once, wanted to throw up, and never watched it again. In fact, it took me a while to forgive Bradley Cooper and watch other movies of his. :)

I related to too may of the characters and story lines in the film, and I hated watching it play out on screen.

Well I never related to Jennifer Aniston's character. I've never had her body...not even when I was 10, and the gorgeous hair, nope, never. Oh, and some tall, dark and handsome being in love with me for 7 years...that also is a big. fat. never.

But all the other awkward, terrible, make you vomit story lines having to do with love in that movie...ya, I could relate to those.

But over these last couple years or so, as TNT or TBS or whoever it is plays and replays it, I tend to watch it...intently. I don't know why.

Maybe for the very reason of it not making me want to throw up anymore, brings me pleasure. I like the end of it...the last 10 minutes. I don't typically get my great wisdoms or insights from Hollywood...well, I probably do, and that might be what is wrong with me, but that's beside my point...but as of late, I've really been thinking about this whole dating thing, love and all the advice and sayings and strategies, and well, I've made a few conclusions, and the last 10 minutes of this movie speaks to my conclusions, so of course, that means it. is. brilliant. ;)

About a week ago I had decided that I was going to write a blog on ridiculous dating advice and how it's all a bunch of hogwash. I was going to title it something like, "Rage against the dating machine..." but I knew if it sounded way too cynical in my head (which it did), then in blog form, I'd look like a complete bitter and cynical woman, so I opted not to write it...and just go on pretending I wasn't that bitter, nor cynical.

Actually, that's not why I definitely decided against definite against it was when I was sitting in a large prayer circle last week and listened to all of the hurting and conflict and heartache and so much of it was tied to families and marriages. My heart hurt for them...and my heart became significantly more content with its present form...intact.

But, if I had written on that subject I would have included how I've decided that all the advice or strategies land squarely on on my list of "Ridonkerous Nonsense."

Why? you say.

Well, first off, if someone is a "dating expert" what does that say about them?? Let's think this through...who really wants to be a dating expert?.?. I'm a professional at going out with a whole bunch of people, but never really making a long lasting connection, or making a commitment or choosing just the right person...frankly, my suckage factor in picking the right person is so high that I am now an expert at just dating people.

So...why is it exactly I should take advice from them??

Next, the random advices one receives from the randoms in life are gems, let me tell ya.

"You are too closed...put yourself out there more." So, you do...then you are deemed "too eager."

So, you back up on the eager, which lands you in the, "You give off the 'I'm independent and not looking'" vibe.


Um, shoot me now.

Then, there's the friend advice. Yes, the advice from the lovelies in your life whose marriages you really do envy...or don't. So, half of it, you must filter through because frankly, you don't want to do what they did...but inevitably, the good ones, the love stories you've watched play out over the last 10 years include scenarios like,

"You know I didn't want anything to do with him because his first words to me were ridiculous and he couldn't string 2 thoughts together, but he pursued and I fell in love."

or "I just watched her/him from afar. I couldn't get enough courage to go up, but somehow, someway, it happened."

"I had stopped looking."

"I wouldn't have ever dated someone like him before."

"I was at work and he walked in the door...and boom, that was it."

"I knew him when I was younger, and I always told myself, I want to marry someone like him." (That's my personal favorite.  :)  )

I don't believe in the magical fairytale kind of stuff, but someone who has been a watcher, over thinking, break it all down, ridiculous kind of girl, I have concluded that when it is right, there was a touch of magic...a touch of a miracle moment.

None of it played out like the "dating advice" would have played it out: someone made a fool of themselves, went out on a limb, was too eager, was too hard to get, was not even looking.

That brings me back to the movie. There's a fantastic line right at the end, and yes, it is the ultimate chick flick money making kind of line, but honestly, I see truth in it.

The guy who eventually figures out he's in love with his good friend tells her (ever so sweetly and quietly as he gently kisses her...but I digress), "You are my exception."

Let's just all sit there for a moment...ahhh.

Ok, you might be saying this line is right up there with the "you complete me" nonsense from Jerry Maguire, but I do like this one much better.

I see more truth in this line.

Somehow, when it is right between two people who are willing to risk life and limb, their future, their heart, their hopes and dreams on someone, there is an exception that takes place that doesn't happen with other people.

The exception makes people say, "I will choose to turn my back on sooooooo many things in life that try and drag me in and drag me down. I choose to walk this path with you, with a partner, with someone else who is counting on me to not flush their life, their heart, their hopes, their dreams down the toilet. I choose to hitch myself to you. I will risk it all for a chance with you."

So, today as I hopped off my treadmill, sweating, getting my body in shape because delightful men are out their checking profiles and one's cellulite and age count, I thanked God for where I'm at, with the chance to someday meet someone who will be my exception...and I will be his.

This morning as I overslept, yet again, for church, and scurried out the door, I flipped on my radio to KLOVE. They were doing some special "day after fan awards" worship service. When I was just a couple miles away from the church parking lot, I got hooked in on the "sermon". He was laying out something he called basic and simple but crucial to our walk with the Lord. It was "3 Principles of faith." I was sucked in immediately, because I do a faith run down with my kiddos each fall, so simple, basic principles of faith would be great for me to hear.

But, I was also panicking since I was already showing up 10 minutes late and strategizing how I could walk in sans purse to appear like I've been there the whole time and not some loser who keeps walking in just before the preacher gets up.

I kept willing the KLOVE sermoner to get to it, to just tell me at the beginning of his spiel what his 3 principles would be. I needed him to break all the "I'm a good public speaker" rules and just list them out for those of us losers who overslept and were trying not to look foolish walking into church now 20 minutes late.

He listed the first one, "faith believes" and I was like, "ya, ya....Matthew 14, feeding the 5000, I get it...good one. Next one please."

Then, "Principle Number two, Faith Prays."

It hit me, between my eyes, in my heart.

I sat in my car and listened. I stopped worrying about my entrance strategies...but my purse was already hidden under my seat. ;)

See, when I wake up in the morning, I spend time in prayer...

I don't immediately turn on the TV or yell at my alarm clock for playing Depeche Mode, WHY radio?? Just WHY??

and during my days, I stay in constant prayer, over every decision, every child, every word I speak... nope, I don't whine all day to God or say things like, "God, You have GOT to be kidding me!"

and in my evenings, Frasier certainly is not my lullaby, and it is not true that I can quote more lines from Season 4 than I can from John or Romans.

And I don't ever realize and think, "Oh crap, I haven't prayed for Cade in like 2 days"...and that's spotting me a couple days.

Nope, none of that...

"Faith Prays", he said.

Gosh, I struggle the most with prayer.

And as the sermoner was talking about how faith prays, he said, "and doubt doesn't".


That. is. me.

When I get frustrated, angry, confused, annoyed, irritated at how my life is not how I pictured it, I. stop. praying.

I doubt all the time.

And then, I talk myself out of praying. I convince myself I'm manipulating or treating God like a genie or all I'm doing is asking Him to fix things, or I don't want to keep being disappointed, or...I just stop and give Him the silent treatment, because well, that's what I do, because I doubt.

The Sermoner went on to say how someone who believes in the sovereignty of God, who TRUSTS God, who has a heart for God, His agenda, His will, PRAYS.

His 3 Principles on faith may have been basic and simple, but I needed to hear them. I needed God to speak to my heart about prayer.

I'm in front of kids a lot.

I tell kids about God, we talk Bible and faith and walking things out.

This spring was the first time I ever thought, "as you write them this note, Shelly, saying these truths, encouraging their walk with God...are you believing this? Are you holding onto this? Are you walking this out?"

That was a tough conversation to have with myself...and I sat there, telling God I didn't know what to say back. I didn't know my honest answer to those questions.

When my mom was sick and I was going through a complete melt down in my marriage and life, I journaled an enormous amount. I spent loads of time in my Bible because I had no where else to turn than to beg Him for help.

That time led me to start a card company. I made cards with all the verses I wished people had told me during the time my heart hurt so badly.

It wasn't the "you can do all things through Christ...", which you can and is true, but that verse seemed to be one that people always said, you know, when they worried about a test, or if their chicken was going to turn out in spite of their lack of cooking skills.

I was passed worrying about finding the best baby wipes (Huggies, not even a question) or making sure I had lipstick on when my husband got home, my heart was breaking, and I needed to hear how God rescues, redeems, and goes to the edge of the eternity to grab hold of you.

I needed to hear,

"I will give new life to the humble, and to those whose hearts are broken."

"He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you can hide. His truth will be your shield and protection."

"I am still confident that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord, and take courage. Wait for the Lord. Yes, STAY with God."

"Do not fear! Stand and see the salvation the Lord will accomplish for you today...The Lord will fight for you, you need only to keep still."

I made it my mission to tell others what MY heart needed to hear.

So, today, in spite of my "come and go" questions, my thoughts that can be twisting in the wind, or my wandering faith, I make it my mission to tell my kiddos the truths about God, the One who does not change like shifting shadows, to speak Scripture into them, because my heart, my mind, my soul need to hear it just as much.

Keep walking, keep dreaming, keep believing, keep praying, keep trusting God in and for everything.

Maybe the dating experts are just like that...they share simple truths, common sense ways to present yourself, to be a normal human being so others will feel comfortable rejecting approaching you and striking up a conversation with you. They share it, because they too need to be reminded of it. They too are hoping one of these times, as they are fumbling to practice what they preach, it'll "work" because eventually, if they are willing to wait and persevere, they will find themselves standing in front of their exception, and that magical, miracle kind of moment will occur.