Hello guys! I know it's been 4 months since I last posted. A quick bullet point update of life in 2017 thus far:
- I dyed my hair grey-blonde, and had a new photo shoot with a very talented friend called Dan Ax in November. Hence, all pages have been updated with new snaps!
- My Social Worker position in Western Sydney fulfils all buckets of great organisation, meaningful work, utilising and growing my skills.
- After reaching a particular financial goal I will be pursuing a Masters in Counselling and Psychotherapy (or equivalent) to become a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. (Don't worry, I'll be 40 by the time I finish my PhD if they accept me first try).
- I spent Valentine's Day with a beautiful man who asked me to be his girlfriend. And yes, he absolutely subscribes to Jesus.
THE CURRENT SITUATION
Falling in love is terrifying.
For those of you who have subscribed to this blog since late 2015, you have journeyed with me as I have tried to untangle the confusing Christian Dating Culture. My heart is with you.
Five years of singleness was not easy. My church atmosphere was rife with expectation, mostly well-meaning, but not always so well-informed. Yes, we must know our Bibles - what does God say about relationships, dating, and marriage?
But we must also understand the person in front of us. How to relate and connect, how to empathise, how to speak the truth in love? I like to joke that I met my boyfriend on Tinder. I didn't - but I say that because I think meeting someone on Tinder is completely fine. It is a modern introduction tool, and uptight Christians need to stop being so judgmental.
Long term, my key frustration in the church is the lack of critical thinking. I'm not in a rush to pretend I understand things anymore. I hate praying out loud in Bible Study, I don't want to feel like I'm performing. I dislike strangers who ask me what the Holy Spirit had taught me recently. There's too much context I'd have to fill them in on.
Too much over simplification of ways to do things, and I think there's not enough people saying "No matter what is preached on the pulpit, it is your own life and your own relationship with God." Since Jan 2016 I have witnessed a handful of weddings, and two of those now a rubble of separation and divorce. My point being, I see people in my community rushing to get married, but not attaining the map of wisdom to walk towards a satisfying, emotionally-fulfilling marriage.
Please don't think I'm being judgmental. As I write these words, my boyfriend's voice lingers "If we don't take risks, we don't get anything." I think that is faith - doing it scared. I think God's love is reckless, and we've been made in His image.
Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.
Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot sweep it away.
If one were to give
all the wealth of one’s house for love,
it would be utterly scorned.
- Song of Songs 8:6-7
That is why I write this post, ladies and gentlemen. If falling in love is incredibly risky, and the break up of a marriage the most traumatic incident in the life of a human being, it is because love must be worth it. Dizzying spells, can't sleep, constant flow of overwhelm tears; this is God's clever and insane analogy for His intense commitment and feelings about us, His people.
A GENTLEMAN'S PURSUIT, A LADY'S RESTRAINT
I'm ok with you cringing, but man-pursuing-woman stories are the best.
I am surrounded by many bachelors, who are mature and masculine, love God, and honestly do want to embark on the journey of getting to know a beautiful godly woman.
It is an honour to be asked what I think about what one of my brothers are thinking about a girl they crush on, what their next move should be, if they act in a certain way, will that appear desperate? Too much? Too soon? What if she says no?
Their self-esteem is fragile, and their egos largely dependent on how successful they are with you, ladies.
All this to say - godly men absolutely want to pursue you, sisters. Anecdotally, I can confirm that.
Now that I am in a relationship (which is still very new), I see how all the etchings of men are vastly different to that of women.
"I just kept asking you out on dates, and you kept saying yes." my now boyfriend tells me.
"When I couldn't ask for your number that day we met, I sat in the car with my friend and we came up with strategies on how I was going to get it."
And in this origin story, I was completely oblivious to what his plans were, let alone what he was concocting inside his own head.
5 PHRASES FOR US TO INTERNALISE:
It is a mix of our foundations in Christ, our emotional life, and our actions. In a previous post I talk about social competency as a strategic move.
These statements are internal beliefs of the woman who deeply accepts herself, enjoys her life, adds value to others, keeps a level-head when she meets a cute guy and, is a naturally hard-to-get, high value, woman of God who knows how to let a worthy guy pursue her:
- "I love who God has made me."
- "I have created an awesome life."
- "I want everyone to feel welcome and connected."
- "I will judge a man by his actions."
- "The man I choose will adore me and be compatible with my inner self."
"I LOVE WHO GOD HAS MADE ME"
Attitude Take-Away: Believe you are amazing and worthy of the best, and it will show on the outside.
Her name was Janine. She was fiercely intelligent, funny and asked me great questions. "Get me a drink, babe?" to which her boyfriend, who was sitting beside her, swiftly obeyed. When she laughed, her black curls bounced against her tanned cheeks as she threw her chin up in the air. She was also a size 18.
Janine, who I will never forget, was one of the most attractive women I had ever met. She oozed confidence, a genuine interest in people, and was intensely curious about many topics. Her energy and aura made her magnetic.
Women who accept themselves emanate a lovingkindness. Janine thought quite highly of herself, respected the tough narrative that was her past, and how it produced this amazing, resilient woman. She was kind and gracious to herself, and was therefore kind in how she spoke to everyone else.
After meeting her, I realised that confident people back themselves. And it shows in the way they dress, how they stand tall, how they show compassion to others, the words they use, down to the way they carry their shoulders.
They really believe they are loved and accepted by God, and this vibrant energy naturally spills out wherever they go.
Action Point: Create good energy wherever you go, by genuinely showing interest in others. Listen with empathy and never make anyone feel stupid for lacking knowledge that you already possess. People are drawn to people who are warm, considerate, nurturing and interesting.
"I HAVE CREATED AN AWESOME LIFE."
Attitude Take-Away: Take responsibility for your own happiness.
Even if you met Mr Right tomorrow, and decided to become quickly official, he would want to go on the Grand Tour of Your Life.
You'd take him to lunch with your best friends, bring him home to meet your family, go to see your favourite band play at the place you love to go to, and during the week, you would catch up about your stressful work days to each other. Then, you'd take turns to provide each other with emotional support before cracking jokes and sharing God-revelations or whatever else you want to talk about with future-projected boyfriend.
So before Mr Right comes galavanting across the country side to halt his horse with a screech at your doorstep, the pursued woman isn't waiting around for him. She is too busy consoling her girlfriends, serving in a ministry that fills her soul, sharpening her skills for the job she loves working in. She is distracted by the latest Suits episode, and her goals to save for her first property. She is tied up in her 5am gym routine and loves trying on her latest Lorna Jane outfit. Then, she might hang out with her Mum.
She enjoys the life she created, and continues creating.
She is too busy to waste time over-analysing the actions of the cute guy she just met at church...
Action Point: Schedule 2 things this month that make you feel a) relaxed and peaceful and b) buzzing with excitement. Other things need to be more exciting than our relationship with a man!
"I WANT EVERYONE TO FEEL WELCOME AND CONNECTED."
Attitude Take-Away: Always aim to create a good atmosphere regardless of the outcome. Not doing this will limit your opportunities to create new connections.
I met my boyfriend at a good friend's birthday party. He popped in for a drink for 5 minutes, waiting for his mate to finish up so they could migrate to a Gallery Opening of another friend that was happening later that night. Across the room I saw him sit down at the end of the table with 2 other guys.
As the birthday party held only about 20 people, most of which I knew, I sat in the empty seat beside this kind-faced stranger and said "Hello, I'm Jessica."
Was I immediately attracted to him? No. Was I nervous about approaching him? No, I'd done it so many times before, introducing myself to a stranger was something I practiced regularly, almost daily.
In other words, it was me who made the first move.
Action Point: Go out to a social event where most guests will be people you hardly know. Spend most of your time talking to new faces.
"I WILL JUDGE A MAN BY HIS ACTIONS."
Attitude Take-Away: Choose to focus only on what you can control, and leave the guy's actions to God. (ie. Complimenting his new hair cut. His response will not be in your control).
Godly men want to hunt, chase and pursue. The question is how do we allow them the room to do this?
We need to take a risk by putting ourselves in their way, but NOT removing their challenge. Please listen to me. So many women misunderstand this very crucial detail!
After I said a mere hello, my boyfriend used mutual connections to ask for my number, asked me out (on our first date), and then asked for my exclusivity 4 dates later. He was gentle and well-paced, but extremely clear about his intentions.
Think of it like a chess game, where you take a step, then he takes a step. If you move too many steps forward, the whole dynamic will be ruined. Even if you are captivated by his good looks, charm and excellent conversation skills, that is a reason to say hello and introduce yourself. That's it. If he's keen on you too, he will ask further questions, like if you're a dog or a cat person. Then, your number.
Men are socially conditioned to know it's their job to do the chasing.
As women, once we decide we're keen on a guy, it's as if we are biologically wired to invest so much emotional real estate before he's done anything to deserve it. Suddenly a handsome new acquaintance consumes our thoughts, our conversations with our girlfriends, and the analytical segment of our prayers.
But innocent flirting at the Easter Sunday dinner with you is exactly that - flirting. It is not pursuing. It is not investing. And no prospective Christian male deserves to take up your precious brain space if he hasn't even asked you out! I don't care how many mission trips to Zimbabwe he's been on!
Action Point: Next time a guy asks you out, say yes if you want to go. If you don't, say no, but tell him you appreciate him having the balls to do so. Do not, under any circumstance send twenty texts to a guy who has not even asked you out!
"THE MAN I CHOOSE MUST ADORE ME AND BE COMPATIBLE WITH MY INNER SELF"
Attitude Take-Away: It doesn't matter how great a person he is, the way he treats you is most important.
I know many women who have been caught up in a man's resume. "He's got an MBA, owns 3 houses, a boat and a million dollar business" she says, yet he was looking at his phone during their whole conversation. Or we think our unique personality will only fit with his equally eccentric, guitar playing, fedora wearing, always slipping into deep-and-meaningful-conversation interactions; and yet the only time he texts you is when he wants something... bi-monthly.
The other extreme, is the guy who is heavy-handed in his pursuit of you, but during the 30 minute drive home, you barely had anything to talk about. For more information on compatibility, read my post from last year here.
You are looking for someone whom you are mutually attracted and connected. Choose the guy that treats you well and who you effortlessly have 1 hour conversations with. Choose the guy who shares your sense of humour, and digs deeper into your "yes, it was fine" response when he asks how your day was.
Action Point: Be open to dating anyone of good character, balancing the choice you make of his super star qualities and how beautifully he treats you. Settle for nothing less.
LIKE, COMMENT WITH ANY FURTHER INSIGHTS, QUESTIONS OR LOVING DISAGREEMENTS! WHAT ELSE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE ON THE COMFORT BLOG?
READ MORE OF THE COMFORT BLOG:
- Mar 12, 2018 Stop Worrying About Getting Older Mar 12, 2018
- May 31, 2017 How To Not Be Intimidated By Really Attractive People May 31, 2017
- Apr 21, 2017 How To Let Him Pursue You Apr 21, 2017
- Jan 18, 2017 A Note on Work Ethic Jan 18, 2017
- Nov 1, 2016 9 Thoughts on Christian App & Online Dating Nov 1, 2016
- Oct 25, 2016 A Note to The Creatives Oct 25, 2016
- Jul 31, 2016 A Note on Money Jul 31, 2016
- Jun 30, 2016 Like Does He Have A Car? Why Financial Stability Is So Important To Women Jun 30, 2016
- Jun 8, 2016 Part 5. Navigating Christian Dating Culture: The 10 Blindspots of Faith-Filled Single Gents Jun 8, 2016
- Jun 1, 2016 Part 4. Navigating Christian Dating Culture: The 10 Blindspots of Faith-Filled Single Ladies Jun 1, 2016
- May 26, 2016 Part 3. Navigating Christian Dating Culture: In Defence of the Friend Zone May 26, 2016
- May 19, 2016 Part 2. Navigating Christian Dating Culture: Some Practical Applications May 19, 2016
- May 10, 2016 Part 1. Introduction to Navigating The Christian Dating Culture May 10, 2016
- May 4, 2016 The Self-Respecting Person's Guide to Networking May 4, 2016
- April 2016
- Mar 30, 2016 The Love We Crave Series: Parents Mar 30, 2016
- Mar 24, 2016 A Note on Intimacy Mar 24, 2016
- Mar 17, 2016 So Cool Was SoCal: Mexican Food, Margaritas and Money Matters Mar 17, 2016
- Mar 6, 2016 So Far in SoCal: Observations from an Asian Australian Tourist Mar 6, 2016
- Feb 24, 2016 5 Truths to Help You Annihilate Self-Doubt Feb 24, 2016
- Feb 19, 2016 4 Reasons Why I'd Like To Stop Swearing Feb 19, 2016
- Feb 10, 2016 The 7 Benefits of Being Asian Feb 10, 2016
- Feb 1, 2016 4 Things You Need To Know About Your Personality Type Feb 1, 2016
- Jan 19, 2016 Part 3 – Figuring Out Who We Want To Be In A Relationship With Jan 19, 2016
- Jan 12, 2016 Part 2 - Figuring Out Why We Want To Be In A Relationship Jan 12, 2016
- Jan 11, 2016 Part 1 - Figuring Out What We Want In A Relationship Jan 11, 2016
- Jan 4, 2016 7 Strategies for Controlling Negative Emotions Jan 4, 2016
- Dec 31, 2015 The 1 New Year's Resolution That Will Actually Work Dec 31, 2015
- Dec 29, 2015 10 Questions to Test Your Self-Awareness & Self-Respect Dec 29, 2015
- Dec 21, 2015 5 Tips On Handling Rejection Well Dec 21, 2015
- Dec 12, 2015 7 Tips to Help You Kill It On Stage Dec 12, 2015
- Dec 7, 2015 Poetry: 5 Life Lessons That Took Me Forever to Understand Dec 7, 2015
- Dec 1, 2015 Short Story: Power Dec 1, 2015
- November 2015