Tag Archives: God

Why Long Distance Relationships Never Work

Well, thanks for coming over to my blog! I haven’t written anything in quite a while, but that’s because of college term papers and life in general. Now that I’ve had time to sit and contemplate life, I think I’ve found a topic worth considering. Today, I want to write about an idea near and dear to my heart, which is the thought that – on most occasions – a long distance relationship is doomed from the start.

(A disclaimer: I am not speaking directly to any individual. I have experienced nothing but love and support in my growth and my relationship, but I have seen others who weren’t as lucky. I love the people who have been around me, and my hope is that you will see both sides of this topic and come out of it with understanding.)

Sadly, long-distance relationships are doomed from the outset.

You want to know why?

It seems like it fails because people decide to make it their personal ambition to destroy the idea that two people can care for each other from a distance.

Guys.

Really?

Why the lack of faith?

Did someone do something to cause you to see distance as insurmountable?

I’m of the mind that love can work across any distance, if it is real, and the parties who are in love are willing to work their hardest to make the relationship work. It isn’t an issue of money, and it isn’t an issue of distance. It is a matter of the heart, and if it’s right, it’s right.

I have my own opinions on what it takes to make a long-distance relationship work, and I think it takes a concerted effort on the part of two different parties for a successful experience to occur:

1. Friends and family (the outsiders) that are observing the relationship develop, and

2. The people in said relationship.

First, I want to offer three concepts to understand for the person who comes from an outside perspective:

1. Yes, the people in this relationship are gluttons for punishment. They wait for days, weeks, even months, do see their significant other, and often, those visits only last but a few days. Do not think of them as childish, because it takes a great amount of composure and maturity to keep from crying like a baby every time their S.O. leaves (I know this, because I was in a long distance relationship for two years and nine months before I was able to see my S.O. consistently). These are two people who work very hard to maintain loyalty and constant contact with their S.O., so my hope is that you will honor the fact that they are doing their best to care for a person who they find to be very important.

2. No, it is not easy for your friend to bring their long-distance S.O. up for a visit at any time. This is tough, because naturally, if your friend could have their S.O. with them at all times, they would do anything they could to make it happen. Sadly, most people are in long distance relationships because they can’t find a way to shorten said distance. Not a major complaint, just something to remember.

3. Yes, this relationship does not make sense, but try to be encouraging anyway. I know it’s hard to believe that people would subject themselves to such deep hurt every time their S.O. leaves, but I promise that the person in this relationship thinks it’s worth the hurt. If this person didn’t feel like being in this relationship was right, they probably wouldn’t have ever decided to pursue it. (Another disclaimer: if your family member or friend’s S.O. is clearly hurting them and they can’t see it, just be honest. But be loving at the same time. They will never hear you if you are a jerk in your approach. Help them to understand that their relationship is damaging in a kind and gentle way. And if it isn’t, stay supportive.)

Remember, you are key in the success of this relationship! If you do not commit to encouraging and supporting this individual in his or her endeavors, then there is a chance that their relationship will not succeed. Be good to one another. That should be obvious.

Now, I want to offer three ideas to the person who is in a long distance relationship:

1. It will be okay! Remember why you are doing this. When it gets hard, just know that your S.O. is probably feeling the same way. Long distance relationships are hard, but they are tremendously rewarding. To think that this won’t work out is to hamper your chances at success. You have to either be fully committed to the relationship, or you shouldn’t date this person at all. Half-hearted people have a hard time succeeding when hard work is necessary.

2. Understand that the people around you may not be able to make sense of your relationship decisions. I’ve been in a long-distance relationship, and I can’t even make sense of my own decisions! Be willing to explain the dynamic of your relationship, and just what about your S.O. really makes you want to press on.  Just a thought: if you are willing and able to explain just what makes you happy about your S.O., then you might find out some interesting things about that individual and yourself. For me, talking about my girlfriend actually makes me love her even more (as if that’s possible!). Communicating your thoughts clearly shows a maturity that is hard to discount, and it is a skill that helps you avoid being labelled as “immature,” or “angsty.”

3. Something my dad told me as he was going to bed today (I am writing this late at night in my living room) really struck me. This advice is multi-faceted, and very applicable in this context: Stay focused, stay on the narrow way, and avoid heartache. Being in a long-distance relationship is tough. It is like a long road race. You prepare for this race, but there is no experience like actually running it. You hit bumps and potholes and bends in the road, and sometimes it gets so narrow that you are not able to run side-by-side. When you get to those points, you can be confident in your Heavenly Father and your significant other, who will support you in different ways. A key to this analogy; however, is that you are willing to support him or her as well. Long-distance relationships do not succeed if you do not work at them, so you must understand that constant effort is key. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Be aware of just how quickly you are moving, and how quickly your partner is moving. Finding success is all about finding the right running mate.

Long-distance relationships are doomed to fail.

If you don’t have faith.

Work hard, and love even harder. Don’t give up, and know that – if this person is the one you are meant for, then you will someday find your joyous reunion.

A quote:

“Distance is not for the fearful, it is for the bold. It’s for those who are willing to spend a lot of time alone in exchange for a little time with the one they love. It’s for those knowing a good thing when they see it, even if they don’t see it nearly enough…”

This is the girl I dated long-distance for two years and nine months. We are now happily dating face-to-face!

This is Tori, the girl I dated long-distance for two years and nine months. We are now happily dating face-to-face!

 

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What is important in a relationship? Chapter 1 of 10 – Why it is okay to be single…wait…what?

Before I write anything on this topic, I must offer a disclaimer: I am only human. My views are not universally constant, and to be totally honest, I am still figuring this relationship thing out. I just have a few ideas, small and big, that might be workable for others, so I want to present them. Feel free to hear me out, but if you think you have it all together, go ahead and move along. If you’d like. 

Well, here is something I haven’t done before; a self-help series! I want to offer you, as the blogger, some tips that might help in the topic of dating and singleness. These, as previously stated, are not umbrella concepts. They are just concepts I’ve mulled over in my own relationship, and hopefully they, in some way, might have some sort of application to your life, single or not! I have ten tips, and I will present each of them over the next few weeks, hopefully ending on December 31st, so you can start a new year with your significant other, trying some new things. 

Today, I will present my introduction, and my first tip!

Introduction: Dating is a weird aspect of human life. We dance around people of the opposite sex, hoping to impress them with some odd cocktail of pheremones, eventually to commit only to them, get married, and procreate. Why in the world do we do this? It makes no sense at all sometimes, until we go back to the beginning of time, and look at the world’s first couple. In the Bible, Adam was the first man, and he was alone – one man to name every animal on Earth. That job seems massive, right? God decided that no animal would do any good for Adam as a partner, so he created Eve (from one of Adam’s ribs – SCIENCE!), and Adam finally had a partner suitable for living with. God said that this partnering of Adam and Eve was good, so all was well with the world upon this pairing. I think if you were to look at the triune Godhead (Father, Son, Holy Ghost) and the very first relationship on Earth, you would probably begin to see that it was okay to be in community with others, whether in a romantic sense or otherwise. I think God desires for us to have companionship. It doesn’t have to be romantic, but I think we need to establish that perpetual isolation is not the best option. We must pursue interpersonal relationships with other people, and I think personally that the way we think and feel will improve because of more interaction. In this series I will probably focus on the romantic side of a relationship, but hopefully, you will find that some aspects I’ll discuss will transfer over into the world of friendship as well! All relationships are important, whether good bad or otherwise, and hopefully these conversations will help us understand that a little better. I want to discuss some misconceptions about relationships over the next few days, and hopefully provide insight that might bring you all some peace, new understanding, or reaffirmation of an idea that you already had! Are you ready, because I’m not! This will be fun. 

1. IT IS OKAY TO BE SINGLE. Really. I promise. 

This post goes out to all of the friends and strangers that – like me, have felt struggles to feel right in their singleness. For the longest time, I couldn’t deal with being single. All of my friends were pairing off, and it seemed like I would move to a place of “Old Maidhood,” in which I would just be a crazy old single friend that no one wanted to be around anymore. I felt lost, and I felt lonely. It felt like, without a girlfriend, I wouldn’t be able to make it. I moved from affection to affection, seeking some sort of satisfaction, but never experiencing any. It was really hard to look at my friends who were in relationships, and honestly, I just felt like sitting alone was the only thing I could do in peace anymore (totally counter-intuitive. If you feel lonely, don’t go be alone. That does no good. Just for what it’s worth), so I would try to do that. What I didn’t realize at that time was that it is okay, sometimes advantageous, to be single. (Let me throw in another disclaimer: I am no longer single. I’ve been in a committed relationship for over 3 years, and I couldn’t be happier! I just know that this relationship only started after I came to understand the benefits of singleness, so I feel as if I must bring forward the idea that it is indeed okay to not have a boyfriend or girlfriend. Just for what it’s worth.) Being single has several benefits, but for time’s sake, I will choose three:

1. Singleness can, on occasion, be beneficial for ministry efforts.

This is very much a contextual idea, but if you think about it, Jesus and Paul were both single. I think Paul especially was confident in his singleness, as it allowed him issue-free travelling, with no responsibility to provide for a family while on mission. This fit his ministry well, as he traveled all over the known world, sharing the Gospel with anyone who offered an ear. It is reasonable to think that this kind of travel and punishment (several jail trips, numerous other persecutions), would have been very exhaustive/damaging to a family, so it was better that he was single.

It is not always better to be single while doing ministry, as there are benefits to doing mission work alone, or in partnership (Going to save that idea for another post). As I mentioned earlier, I think singleness fits in many ministerial contexts, if you feel called to a ministry that requires singleness for effectiveness, I would encourage you to pursue that lifestyle. It may lead to a freedom and effectiveness in ministry that you might never have imagined. 

2. Sometimes it is okay to spend time just getting to know yourself. 

Let’s be honest – do you really feel like you know yourself? Do you? When you are in a relationship, your significant other will learn things about you – small things, sometimes things you didn’t even know – that may spark some very interesting conversations/arguments, and if you don’t know things in your life that are stumbling blocks or quirks that would cause relational problems, then you should probably take some time by yourself to learn about those things. No human on this Earth is perfect, so we all could probably use a time of reflection to figure out things that we don’t like that might be in our control. Our significant other should love us for our imperfections as much as our good qualities, but we can’t expect them to be perfect either. Our responsibility is to become the best us that we can be, in order for our relationship with our future significant other to be even more special, and even more successful. 

3. Dating for the sake of dating is not the best method for success. 

Dating is fun. I get it. Seriously though, don’t date unless you have prayed about it and prepped for it. Dating is a prep for a life together, so if you date and break up many times, then I would venture to say that you would struggle eventually with a lifetime commitment like marriage. Playing games with a person’s heart is unfair to that person’s future spouse. You can only imagine what that young person is going to go through after you break up, so it would almost be better if you never dated in the first place. I am not saying that not dating is the best option, but I am saying that you need to be very careful with the heart that you do decide to pursue. If a person is willing to put their feelings in your hands, then it is your responsibility to hold tight to them, and respect them, whether or not they end up in your possession or not. If you are not ready to handle a commitment like that, then you must make sure that your priorities are in the right place. Singleness is not a bad thing in this context. Until you are ready, wait. Pray. Think. Let the Lord work in your singleness, and pursue Him in all other aspects of your life as well. When you do that, you will find that He will bless and honor your relationships in a new and vibrant way. 

Singleness is just fine. Isolation and loneliness are not. Seek out community with other people, and let the Lord work in your relationships, and if all goes according to His plan (it will), then you will experience exactly what He wants for you, which is best. Sit tight, and hold onto Him. That’s all that matters. All of this relationship stuff will happen on His timing. I hope you all will learn to become the best you, and things will improve in all aspects of life! I hope this blog held at least a little insight. If not, tell me now, and I’ll discontinue the series. If it did hold some worthwhile ideas, let me know, and I’ll keep it going! Thanks for reading this far, and I wish you the best as you look through some of the muddled thoughts that I like to present on a page. God bless!

Tomorrow’s post: Five Ideas for Application in Relationships. 

See you then! 

Jesse

Birth, Death, and all things In-between.

Human mortality is a weird aspect of life. When someone goes, the people they leave behind are always on their backs. They are forced to think about how one day someone was there, and now they are not. The most disturbing thing about this sad event is the idea that it is so regular. I’ve got news for you, every person who has stepped foot on Earth has left. It’s unavoidable, sadly. I heard a quote some time ago (I forget who said it) that really put this into perspective: “We as humans are dying from birth. When we come out of the womb, we begin a race towards death, whether we are ready for that or not.” When people have to contemplate their impending “doom,” they begin what really is one of the most intense varieties of existential crisis possible: did I live my life to the fullest? Did my time on Earth go down as a waste, or will my actions be remembered as worthwhile? These questions are what inspired me to blog today, as I am in the middle of such a time.

This weekend, I went to a funeral. Not just any funeral, one for a friend who lost her life earlier than she should have. Well, by my opinion anyway. She was an eighteen-year old senior in high school, and was killed in a tragic car accident on October 19th. This girl had potential. She was prepping for college, and a pretty vibrant adult life, only to be stopped by a man who couldn’t put away his phone to drive twenty minutes. Understandably, everyone was shocked. A lot of people got really mad, a lot of people were really sad, and just about everybody had to take some time to work through this problem. This was a weird week for me. I have lost friends at young ages. I can think of five or six off the top of my head that went before they should have, but none of them hit me quite as hard as this loss did. It may be that I was a lot closer to the situation this time around, or maybe it was compassion for the family of this young girl. I’m not really sure, and honestly I don’t think I’ll ever know. This loss just hit me like a ton of bricks.

As I went to her viewing, I really started to think about the reality/inevitability of loss and how beliefs can change the responses of people around the situation. I watched people who were notoriously anti-religion question how a “God who was so just would let this happen to a poor girl,” or people on the other end of the spectrum who were incredibly hopeful, saying that eternity for her would be a time of great peace and wonder in Heaven. Responses were all over the spectrum. I understand all of them, oddly enough. I’ve had days where I really question what God’s plan is for loss like this, and I’ve had days where I just need to drop to my knees and have faith. I have learned that in these situations, reliance on God is a lot better than questioning Him. I think to a time where I was reading about Job, a man who lost everything. Instead of cursing God, he had faith. He questioned why this happened, as any human would, God put him in his place, and then he began the process of embracing the plan that God had for him. It is hard to think that God is using loss, but I can confidently say that loss almost never ends in a way that destroys someone. Every time I have experienced loss, I have come closer to God. Death puts you on your knees, and helps you to see reality more clearly. Death helps us to understand the importance of life, and the importance of eternity.

As we gain this perspective from loss, we see the need for hope. We see the need for something to hold on to, something to lean on. I would submit to you, the reader, that the best source of hope is in Christ Jesus. You can stop reading now, if you feel like this is so greatly going to offend you. You may have other coping mechanisms, but I feel pretty confidently that this one is pretty great. If you do decide to keep reading, however, I would really appreciate it. When it comes to loss, or really any other aspects of life, leaning on Jesus has its advantages. Having an infinite source of hope provides a sense of security that doesn’t come otherwise, Having a source of hope like that can allow us to walk through our lives without fear of the future, because we know that there is a security in our eternity. As I looked at the girl during the viewing, I remembered that she was a Christ-follower, and a passionate one at that. She was gone, and I believe firmly that her soul is in Heaven for all of eternity. Knowing that brings me a great amount of peace.

With the understanding of death and its inevitability, we must pursue a full life. We are not given an excuse to live like fools,  but I feel like we must pursue God and ask Him to use us to the fullest before we go. We must live, laugh, and love, and make sure that we don’t have regrets when we leave this earth. Carpe Diem, or seize the day, is the phrase that comes to mind as I contemplate life. My hope is that when we leave, we are known for having lived a vibrant life, full of passions and excitement, and a hope that can only be found in Jesus. When I die, I want people to see how God used me throughout my life, and how His power impacted the people I was around. I hope that people will see me as someone who lived and died well.

Existential debates are okay, everyone needs to understand what they are doing. I pray that as you see life and loss, you will become more aware of your own existence and how to live better. As you look at a grave, you see a date of birth, and a date of death, with a dash in-between. As cliche as it may sound, the dash in-between those two numbers may be the most important aspect of a tombstone that isn’t discussed. My question for you as the reader is as follows: when you die, what will the people you left say about what you did with your dash? Will it matter? When you are in eternity, what will the people on Earth remember you by? I remember Heather for her tenacity, and for her passion about the different elements of her life, mainly for her faith. Will people remember you for what you did, or what God did through you?

Food for thought:
I am responsible. Although I may not be able to prevent the worst from happening,
I am responsible for my attitude toward the inevitable misfortunes that darken
life. Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the
quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the
gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure
the most precious gift I have – life itself.
” – Walter Anderson.

For your enjoyment, a picture of a big mountain.

This is the picture of a mountain I got to climb. Well. The valley in between the two mountains was the place I hiked to. I am not crazy adventurous, but that was fun, and this is one of the best pictures I’ve ever taken. I hope you guys like it. The mountain is called the Shark tooth, and it is in Estes Park, Colorado. Nice little place. I may post pictures and other things sometimes to alleviate the stress of reading one of my long, rambling posts. So yeah. Mountains. Majesty. The whole nine yards. Image

(Insert Semi-interesting, semi-awesome blog title here)

Summer into autumn
Summer into autumn (Photo credit: blmiers2)

Well, it has been an interesting few weeks here in the ‘Lou. I graduated college, and then came home to begin what will go down as the most unsuccessful job hunt in the history of the universe ever. Ever. No lie. No luck whatsoever. Luckily, my parents love me and they are willing for me to mooch for a few more summers. I am jobless, and have no prospects. Let me tell you though, there are some reasons as to why this is okay.

1. Being gainfully employed would have taken all the time that I’ve had to play ping pong, walk with my mom, or read. See? Not all that great. Lol.

2. When I mentioned reading earlier, I meant that I have done ALOT of it. I sit down at the beginning of the day and read until I decide I’m done. I mean sure, I could be off making money, but I tell ya what: I have learned alot. I am going to be way ahead of the game next year going into my new major (English), and I think having some wicked awesome book knowledge will be meaningful somewhere down the road.

3. I have time to go do mission work this summer. With a job, I would have to stay in town and work alot, but because I’m a bum, I actually have been afforded an even greater opportunity to serve on three weeks of mission trips this summer. I am looking forward to it too!

4. I know that I shouldn’t have any reasons as to why I’m okay with being unemployed. I know. But I really think that this summer, I haven’t attained employment because I had some traits in my life that needed reworking before I went off to school next year. I think God is opening up my schedule in order for me to give Him more time and more of my focus. I have already reformed alot of my ideas and motivations, and I think that I am headed in the right direction.

Just as a disclaimer for potential future employers: I would love a job. I’m not saying I don’t want one. I am just saying that I am not employed this summer, and I think there is a great reason for that. So. Anyways. Hire me. Please. I don’t want to sit in my computer chair all summer. (Unless you’ll pay me for that…)

So. Those are my thoughts on this summer so far. It’s been kind of a weird experience, but honestly I don’t regret it. I pray that God works in my life and in yours to give this same kind of refreshed perspective.

So. What does this mean to you? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I just thought I’d let you know how my summer was going. Its great. Even though I am broke. I feel loved, and I feel at peace. Hopefully your summer is going as well as mine.

You guys are great. Thanks for reading my posts, I hope you will continue on! I am really excited for the blogging potential, and I really hope you all don’t hate me or my writing by the end of the process.

So. Love y’all.

Keep blogging.