Who I’ve Become; A Rant on Self-Love, & a Trip Down Memory Lane

Our world is rather obsessed with self-love at the moment. Be who you are, be authentic, love your flaws, don’t change yourself for the approval of the world.

Those are all rather neutral ideas. But they can easily be abused, I think they need to be updated to fit a more biblical standpoint…

Be who God created you to be, and who He is making you to be.

Love the way God makes up for your flaws. Your flaws allow Him to shine through you.

Change yourself for the approval of God even if that means loosing the approval of the world. Or, rather, let God change you into something He approves of, and don’t worry what the world thinks.

Let God’s love shine authentically through you.

Over the last three-four years, I have gone through some major changes that have helped me realize those things…

November. 22, 2014, my mom passed away at age 47.

March 2015, I began a new career in Ophthalmology.

June 2015, I met Peter, and…

March 2016 …soon after began my first courtship with him, which lead me on many wild and exciting adventures of travel, self-discovery, and fear-facing. Car crashes, long talks about marriage, delved so deeply into who I am with the help of a truly amazing man by my side.

April 2016, my dad got remarried to a really lovely lady who is now, obviously, my stepmom. And I gained two step siblings.

September 2016, Peter broke off our courtship, which was extremely difficult, as the last 6 months of our relationship had gone amazingly and the only reason to end the courtship was that he felt he was meant to live a life of celibacy. A calling he has felt most of his life, but he sought God through our courtship to see if he was meant to marry me. He felt he was not. But we have remained very close friends and still love one another deeply as such.

December 2016, I obtained two certifications in Ophthalmology. OSC & COA.

January 2017, I moved from the house I grew up in into a house with a roommate.

July-ish 2017? I began developing a friendship with Jonathan, a lovely fellow I’ve known as long as I’ve known Peter, but had never really sought to spend one-on-one time with. He’s my adopted little brother now. He’s a gem. I love that guy dearly. ❤️

December 2017, Got my first tattoo. A memorial for my mom.

June 2018, Got my second tattoo, a reminder that Jesus has paid my debit in full and my battle is won by His blood.

And now, here we are, June 30th, 2018, and I am just a day short of one month away from being 25. In among those above dates are countless road trips, hours and hours of laughter, tears, literally thousands of dollars worth of fuel and fast food, moments of fear, moments of joy, dashed hopes and hopes turned into realities, and lots of good music. My heart aches to be able to go back in time and relive the moments of discovery I’ve had over this stretch of time. So many good memories, woven together with so much pain. Growing pains that have lead me to where I am now. Stronger, wiser, more confident, freer than I have ever been.

I still struggle hard sometimes with things. Temptations, fears, laziness, etc. But I love the person God has made me to be. I love the heart he has given me towards certain people and certain struggles, I love the adventures He’s taken me on, I love the risks I’ve taken and the way those risks paid off in my life…

I feel that now, for the first time ever in my life, I can say that I honestly do love myself. Not for what I’ve accomplished, but for what God has accomplished in and through me. I love the way He’s used me to love and provide for people. I love the way He’s dashed all my fears against the rocks and sent me out into the ocean of His love to drown. Dying to who I thought I was, and coming back as someone far, far better than I thought was possible.

As I sit here today in a very weird rocking chair (seriously… it’s strange..) typing this, with my tattoos and my Oklahoma shirt that I got in the airport years ago on my first solo traveling adventure, I cannot wait to see what God’s going to do next. I still have fears, and insecurities, and doubts, but the excitement far outweighs it all.

Anyway, all this to say… Love yourself. But not in the way the world tells you to. Keep going on adventures. Keep being spontaneous. Never stop exploring. And let God lead.

 

 

 

 

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Tetelestai

My “it is finished” tattoo is…. well. Finished!!

 

Totally love it. The T’s look like three crosses, and the red looks like a world map. Because Jesus’ blood covers the world. ❤️

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It Is Finished

After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, “I am thirsty.”  A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth. Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished! And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

John 19:28-30

When translated into Greek, “it is finished” is “Tetelestai”, which literally means “it is finished” or “paid in full”, it was often used on bills of sale, to confirm that the sale was complete and no further payment was required.

For many years, I’ve struggled with accepting that I am truly forgiven and sanctified in Christ. That word, Tetelestai, has been monumental in helping me remember who I am in Christ.

Come June 16th, I am getting this word tattooed. A permanent reminder that I am made new in Christ, and that my debt of sin has been paid in full. Super excited! Such a beautiful reminder.

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Fish Love 🐠 ❤️

So I was talking with one of my super awesome dude friends late last night after we had a fabulous adventure day at Carowinds Season Passholder Preview Night, and he shared a super cool thing. He gave me permission to share it with you all.

There was a Jewish man who once saw a guy eating a fish, and he said:

“Oh, enjoying that meal are you?”

and the man said, “Oh yes! I love fish!”

“You love fish? You love it so much that you killed it, skinned it, cooked it and ate it?”

So much of what we call “love” is fish love. We love something because it gives us gratification or pleasure. We don’t actually care about the well being of the person, place, or thing when we say we “love” it. What we are actually saying is that we love the feeling it gives us. If we really loved the fish, we would care for it, provide for it’s needs, give it a good place to live with fresh clean water and food. And then we would be both satisfying it’s desires and needs as well as our own, because if we really loved it, our satisfaction would be found in the act of providing for it.

You cannot separate love from Jesus. Real, true love, is the desire to provide for, satisfy, and care for the object of our affection regardless of how we feel or what we get in return. Only Jesus can sustain that type of love within us, because He is constantly pouring His selfless love into us from the moment we accept His forgiveness.

This is why so many marriages and relationships fail. We are shown through TV and movies that love is that spark, that “love at first sight” moment followed by romance, sex, and falling “madly in love”, where your passions are so strong you just can’t stay away from one another. And that is not love. That is lust. It’s the love of ourselves, our own gratification, and the feeling of being accepted and adored. Sure, it’s consensual and both parties are equally taking advantage of one another without complaint. But, a few months, a few years down the road, when desires and passions change and fade, and things start to become less like a thrilling rollercoaster ride and more like a long trudging journey uphill, suddenly “the spark is gone”, “I’m just not in love with you anymore”, and heartache, divorce, affairs… Suddenly they start seeking the feeling of “love” again elsewhere, thinking they perhaps married the wrong person, or just that “the love is gone”. No, dears. The lust is gone. The gratification is gone. And since, though you refuse to acknowledge it, you were in it for the thrill of gratification, you aren’t really interested in sticking around for the long haul. You were in it for the fish love. And well, there are plenty of fish in the sea.

Jesus doesn’t love us because we have so much to bring to the table. Actually, we bring absolutely nothing to the table. We come to the table with empty stomachs and dirty hands, hoping for a few crumbs. And Jesus cleans us up, dresses us in His own clean clothes, sits us in the seat of highest honor, and serves us humbly the best of the harvest. He his satisfaction in us is to care for us. Our satisfaction in Him is to serve Him, and our joy in Him is to share His love with everyone we meet. Because why let a lost world sit in rags, begging for crumbs, when we have a Savior who longs to take us under His wing?

One Single Thing (Me)

March 4th, 2018. This is the year I turn 25. The year I wanted to be married by. Had my previous (and only) relationship worked out, I’d be just a few months away from celebrating our one year anniversary. But, alas, here I am. Single, living with an older lady from my church, spending my days working at an eye clinic and going to the gym, primarily.

I gotta be real with you all. I’m frustrated. I’m lonely. I am NOT desperate, ready to fall for any guy who looks my way, however. Quite the opposite. My best friend/man I almost married is still my closest friend and continues to be such a fabulous example of what I desire in a spouse. Just yesterday we were watching a movie and the characters were talking about failed relationships, he turned to me and asked, “Do you consider our courtship a failed relationship?”

No. I don’t. We did everything right, our relationship was and is still healthy, God honoring, and we would have made an amazing couple had we gotten married. The only reason we did not is because he feels called to be single. Our courtship did not end in marriage, but it was not a failure. We both sought God, learned about one another and ourselves, and when it ended, we continued to honor God by maintaining a love and respect for one another that I have not seen between “exes” before.

Because of that, my expectations, hopes, dreams, requirements, and standards for a man have gotten higher. Now that I know there is such a thing as a man who loves Jesus more than me, who loves me selflessly and choses to protect my heart over satisfying his own desires, I cannot and will not settle for less.

And I am frustrated. Because men like that are so rare. Or at least, it appears that way. My heart aches to share life with someone, to have someone to snuggle up in bed with after long day and just be with.

Someone who enjoys going grocery shopping on the weekends and considers that a fun day out together.

Who loves to cook with me, and doesn’t get frustrated with me when I can’t remember what ingredients I just read on the recipe and have to reread it a dozen times.

Someone who knows how important snuggling is to me, and knows that when I’m mad or frustrated with life, cuddles are always the answer.

Someone who randomly starts singing in the car even when he doesn’t remember the real lyrics, and the radio isn’t even on.

Someone who knows more scripture by heart than I do, and doesn’t act superior because of it.

Someone who doesn’t mind me sending him texts throughout the day about inconsequential things that I thought were interesting (That in hindsight aren’t actually that interesting).

Someone who sets boundaries and sticks to them no matter what, honors his commitments, and doesn’t make empty promises.

Someone who knows that showing emotions is a sign of strength, not weakness, and loves people openly without shame.

Someone who calls me beautiful, and loves me for who I am as a person. But also calls me a hot chick, thinks my body is a treasure, something to be respected and appreciated, and refuses to indulge it in until we are married.

Maybe my expectations are too high. But I know one man who meets them. And I’d rather be alone than settle for less.

 

Broken for a broken world

It stinks that if I’m out by myself and am approached by a man, my first instinct is to be defensive and protect myself. I’m not a feminist by any measure, and I have at least two male friends who have been sexually assaulted, this isn’t a male vs female issue. It’s a heart issue.

And boy, does it break mine. I wish I lived in a world that allowed us to openly trust one another without fear.

There may come a day…

Hold your ground, hold your ground! Sons of Gondor, of Rohan, my brothers! I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you, stand, Men of the West!

By far, one of my favorite inspiring quotes from Lord of the Rings. I really need to watch these movies again.

Welcome to February

Hello, and welcome to February. Or, as I prefer to call it, my least favorite month of the year.

Nooo, not just because of Single’s Awareness Day, though that does weigh in on my distaste for the month of February. Allow me to list my reasons.

  1. Christmas is over. But it is still bitterly cold. Still. Why. Do I still have toes? I haven’t felt them in months.
  2. Valentine’s Day. Pink. Everywhere. Ugly, pepto pink. And fluffy, useless teddy bears and things that I secretly would still be happy to receive from an admirer if such an admirer existed.
  3. The new year has begun, but I still can’t correctly write the date. On anything. Help.
  4. The gym is still packed with Resolutioner’s who have not yet given up. Give ’em one more month, then my favorite elliptical might actually be mine yet again.
  5. February 16th is my mom’s birthday. She would have been 51 this year. For those of you who are new to me and my blog, she passed away on Nov. 22, 2014 at the age of 47 from a rare incurable disease called Polymyositis (Polly-my-O-site-us). An autoimmune disorder that attacks the lungs and muscles.

This month is just kind of a downer for me. As my dad, by God’s grace, is married to my awesome step mom Polly, no longer do I get my Valentine’s Day dates with my dad the way I did growing up and after my mom passed. I have never had a Valentine’s Day while in any kind of relationship. My 6 month courtship with my best friend Peter began in March and ended in September, and even then, Peter is not one to celebrate any holidays really. His culture (Chinese) only really acknowledge Chinese New Year, beyond that they don’t celebrate much. Which is fine. Being with him would have been enough, he’s pretty awesome. But, that relationship is purely platonic now. Valentine’s Day would be a great distraction from the other downsides of this month, if I had someone to celebrate it with.

Tuesday, my dad was hospitalized with a massive kidney stone and had to have surgery. This is his 13th kidney stone, and the largest one yet apparently.

My best friend Peter just moved to a new apartment which is farther away and much smaller than his previous place. Also, his car died, and he now has no vehicle and is using Uber and Lyft to get to work. $$Yikes$$

My other best friend Jonathan is technically homeless, couch surfing and trying desperately to find a decent paying job whilst also not having a vehicle because his motorcycle is having a very expensive repair done. Again, $$Yikes$$

My car insurance dropped me, because I am on the same plan with my step-siblings and they have had a ridiculous number of incidents over the last three years. So my insurance is about to drastically go up.

I am currently 24 years old, will be 25 in July. Marking my very last year of being on my dad’s health insurance plan. Just one year before I have to take a pay cut because the government forces us to have health insurance. Yayyy.

I’m tired. I’m stressed. I’m lonely. Did I mention 25 has been the age I always wanted to be married by? Yeah…. I’ve got 6 months. Not gunna happen.

*sigh* Anyway. Sorry to be a downer. But that’s my February for you… Hope everyone else is having a better one than I am.

Side note, I know others have it worse than me. A childhood friend of mine who is just a year or two older than me just lost her husband of two years to cancer. My heart absolutely breaks for her. I do not pretend to understand how she must be feeling. Her name is Joyce, please include her in your prayers. She needs it.

Unofendable

🚨 Rant Alert 🚨

Actual conversation I had today on Instagram with an undisclosed stranger:

Me: “Your body is exquisitely beautiful, too beautiful, in fact, to be given away for free. Which is why it saddens me to see gorgeous women post scantily clad or nude photos of themselves. You’re worth so much more.”

Them: “How dare you disrespect me! I graduated from ____ school of art! You’re making me feel uncomfortable! I am offended!”

So. I basically said you’re way too beautiful to be given away for free to the world, you’re worth so much more than that and this world doesn’t deserve you for free…. And that is offensive.

This is how our culture responds to truth. “OH, my feelings!!” Not all the time, but most times, “I’m offended” can be translated to “You made my conscience feel convicted and I’m not ready for a paradigm shift so I’m copping out of this discussion that endangers my lifestyle!”

Just a reminder to my fellow Jesus Freaks. When you walk in the truth, you cannot, should not, be offended by any slander thrown your way. Jesus promised that the world will hate us. We must be unoffendable. When you walk in the light, you no longer need to fear the dark.