Tag Archives: jesse

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

The Miracle of Successful Time Management (and why I am Living on a Prayer).

Well, I have to be honest. I am bad with my time. This week in particular, I have really struggled with productivity, especially when it comes to doing homework and writing papers. I’m learning again, as I always do at this time in the semester, that time management is paramount to success as a student or even more broadly, as a human being. These are the proverbial “Dog Days” of the semester, when students decide to put down Hemingway and pick up a new series on Netflix. Every college student has felt this at one time or another, and that is almost a proven problem. In my case, my time management issue comes in my literature classes (I love these classes, and the material is fantastic. Just not staying on track very well. lol). Instead of writing papers or reading my assigned book, I’ve been killing time on Facebook, and distracting myself with anything within reach. This has not inhibited me greatly, but it will if I am not careful (I learned this lesson last year, so I am taking precautionary measures). All of this rambling aside, I am going to give you all a few ideas for battling boredom and staying on track (in a collegiate context. When I learn about adult life, I’ll blog about it too). Here they are!

(Another disclaimer before I begin this list: I understand that in the previous paragraph I mentioned my issues with time-management. I am no authority, but every pointer I am putting up here will be applied in my life at some point in the semester. Just food for thought – not the golden rules.)

 

1. You don’t have to overschedule in order to succeed.

I find that there is a healthy balance between overzealously blocking out every single minute and not keeping a planner at all. I think that if you were to keep and check a planner, you would be more effective, but you must also allow time for flexibility. As a college student especially, campus activities will take up time on a pretty consistent basis. These events are scheduled in a seemingly arbitrary way, so if you want to remain involved on campus, you must allow a little bit of wiggle room in your schedule. No need at all to be blocked up down to every minute of every day. Living that way makes life a pain.

2. Do NOT get over-involved. Just don’t do it.

I know this sounds really weird, coming from a guy who at one time was in a campus activities committee, working two different jobs, and taking twenty hours in a semester. Trust me. Getting involved is great, but it comes at a cost: time. I would submit that in order to enjoy college more, you must at least go to events put on by campus committees. You know the activities fee in your tuition costs? Yeah. You are already paying for it, just go get involved. It is a waste of money to not show up to events. My warning for you comes connected with the idea of involvement: if you do too much, you will burn out. Guaranteed. It is incredibly difficult to stay on track with homework and work (two things that are kind of important…) if you are busy at the Pizza Hodown or Shaving Cream Slip ‘n’ Slide (ficticious events). Again – involvement good, over-involvement, bad.

3. Make time for the things and people you love. After your homework is done.

I sound like your dad. I’m sorry. Seriously though, make your degree your priority. The frat boy can finish school by the skin of his teeth, saying that he networked like crazy, but friends does not a good person make. The key to success in this area of time management is a balance between social activity and academic focus. These sides can intermingle, but as long as they are somewhat evenly balanced, success should be at least a little easier. It may sound weird that I think homework should come first, but as I’ve done all the college nights out (stay at McDonalds till 4 A.M., IHOP till about the same time, etc.), I can say from experience that too much social activity hurts grades, and too much studying hurts social skills. It is good to come out of college a well-rounded student. Not someone who wasted time on any one thing.

I am not an authority. At all. I hope that these are only a short list of some pretty wonderful ideas for living a little more efficiently, and if you feel I am either off-base or lacking in my ideas, submit more! I’m always in need of more blog ideas. Just a few thoughts for you, from a college kid who is still on his way around the block. Love y’all. Keep readin’.

 

 

 

 

 

The  challenge of work-life balance is without question one of the most significant  struggles faced by modern man.
Stephen Covey

My Summer Reading

Today is a day I would like to call “Jesse’s stream of consciousness day.” I have had a busy week, and today is the day that I am typing to organize my thoughts. lol. I hope that this post will hold some sense of continuity, but we will see.

So I have been reading alot this summer. I figure if I am going to be an English major, then I need to really dig in and read alot, just to get used to chomping up alot of pages and writing alot as well. Shockingly enough, the reading I’ve done has been remarkably beneficial to me so far! I’ve been challenged by the study I’ve completed.

One of the books I have been working through is Read the Bible for Life. The basic idea of this book is that there is an issue of poor Biblical literacy in the world today. The author of this book wanted to use it as a resource to help people understand how to read the Bible better, and how to better apply it to their lives. So far, this book is fascinating! Sometimes in my life, I really struggle with the issue of staying consistent in my Bble reading. I may lose track of time, but for the most part, I think the issue lies with me not being ready to read or understand the scripture in the book. It’s complicated, I understand, and I have to say this book has definitely given me a new perspective on the Bible and Biblical interpretation. I am looking at things in the Bible through new eyes, and already I am seeing the benefits of taking on this book. 

I want to share a portion of it with you in order to give you a taste of what I’ve read: in this chapter, the author is conversing with Professor Bruce Waltke on how to take in the Old Testament. This portion really hit me, and I hope it will be meaningful to you too: “…tension is absolutely essential to life. We grow and develop through tension. Our character is shaped by it. If God answered  our prayers immediately, relieving all of our tension in life, it would destroy us because we would see God as a tool to be used, like a genie in Aladdin’s lamp. We would become more selfish than we already are. By not rewarding virtue immediately, or punishing vice immediately, God develops our character. So tensions–living in a story in which there is a struggle between good and evil–are really necessary to our own development. In the same way,,, the tension we find in the Old Testament stories tells us something about how to live with tension in our own relationships with God.”

Fascinating stuff right? I agree. This book has challenged me endlessly. I’ve learned alot about reading the Bible, but as you can see from the quote above, there are several life lessons present in the book as well. I feel challenged and refreshed by this book, and i hope that some time you as readers will consider taking it on as well! It is very much worthwhile for religious or academic purposes in regards to studying the Bible. Read the Bible for Life is a wonderfully refreshing and very straight-forward set of methods for understanding scripture, and I hope it will prove to be worthwhile for any of you that take it up!

These studies have been good to me this summer. I am going to set my goal at finishing ten books in the next two months, and I hope you all will hold me to that! I also want to say thanks for reading. You are awesome.

Remember: No story is worth reading if it never has any tension. Hold on tight, when things get hard, the resolution becomes even more special.