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I wrote and read this for a large group talk on the Gospel that I gave for my students in InterVarsity about two weeks ago. 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God, and the Word was intimately face-to-face with God. Everything that has been made was made through Him. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.

Immanuel

God with Us.

This God-man, not too big for our dirt, not too holy to stay away, came to earth to be with us, walk with us, talk with us, eat with us, and breathe with us.

He touched the sick and healed the lame, turned the kingdoms of this world on their heads, and came to make way for our shame.

He came to restore that which was lost.

Intimacy with God.

A holy nation. A family.

He came to heal all of creation.

He said, “I am the Bread of Life.”

Feed on me, and you will live forever.

He said, “I am the Light of the World.”

Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.

He said, “I am the Good Shepherd.”

I lay down my life for the sheep.

He said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he dies, yet he shall live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.”

Jesus came to proclaim

Good news to the poor

Freedom for those captive

Recovering of sight to the blind

Freedom for the oppressed

The Year of the Lord’s favor

And so, in his time with us, he revealed his love, his life, and his healing for us.

But we are selfish.

Even the high priest- the one man who could go into the holiest of holies in the temple to be in the presence of the Lord did not recognize his very God when they spat in Jesus’ face.

What a dark, sad place.

So we took him, and we nailed him to a cross,

And he bled there

And there he held the weight of the world on his shoulders, all of our sin and shame, all of our selfishness and darkness.

He said he would lay down his life for his sheep so that they may not die.

This God of compassion saw us helpless to save ourselves, helpless to heal ourselves, feed ourselves, redeem ourselves, so he came to do it for us.

He preached a life eternal, one that never ends.

He spoke of life and light to replace our death and darkness.

He would no longer live without us, he had to give us a way, longed that we would know of His deep love for us.

A God willing to die so that we may live.

And in his last breath, he spoke the ultimate grace:

“It is finished.”

No more do we need to run to our witch doctors and magicians, to our elixirs and salves. No more do the temporary fixes have to fake any fix at all because,

It is finished.

Our constant striving for the best life for me, Me, ME can end.

Our broken hearts from broken relationships have hope to mend.

The pressure’s off.

We don’t have to save ourselves from death,

Because after it was finished, we had a Risen King.

Our old life dies in Jesus’ death and our new life rises in Jesus’ life.

Three days later he set in motion a reversal of all the mess we had made.

He rose from the grave.

A God who does not stay dead.

That’s a God I want to follow.

That’s a God I want to know.

 

So when I’m asked, “why Jesus?”

I say because I know who I would be.

Without Jesus, I would fatherless.

I would be brotherless and sisterless.

And my mother would be nothing like a mother at all.

We’d all be drowning in our broken family, broken identities.

I know that I would seek the love of men in a way I could never return from.

I know that without Jesus I would hate myself.

I would be ugly, inside and out.

Without Jesus, I would be hopeless for rescue.

Nothing would be good enough to heal my heart.

I would fill myself with ways to satisfy like a smoldering oven, the never-ending need for fuel.

I would be empty and brokenhearted.

 

But I’m not.

God came for me.

He chose me.

He rescued my dad from

13 years of drug addiction

and “snap” like that,

our lives are changed forever.

One year old baby Bridget would never know

Life without a father

Life without Jesus

Life without Rosemary and Luke

I would never know divorced parents, or a dad in prison.

My father visits men in prisons and psyche wards, to share the story

Of a God who loved him enough to come for him and save him

A God who had a plan to restore our lives and relationships.

That’s why Jesus.

Because even in our sin he comes.

Even in our selfishness he makes all things new.

 

On Fundraising

A couple weeks ago, I had a very discouraging phone conversation with a potential advocate for my ministry with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Right off the bat, I’ll just be honest- I have a hard time making phone calls while fundraising. I always think I’m going to be rejected, they just feel awkward, and they have the potential of failing miserably. But they rarely do. 9 times out of 10, I have really delightful conversations. So, this one in particular was that tenth one, the dreaded tenth one.

I think the person on the other end of the line wanted to let me down easily. However, in the exchange of facts and thoughts, an interesting statement was said:

 “Fundraising is unbiblical.”

 Hmm.

 Unbiblical.

There were more offensive comments and insinuations thrown in, but I’ll stick with the phrase unbiblical.

My whole life has been a testament of God’s love, faithfulness, and how he chooses us. After 24 years of being called into ministry over and over, I like to believe that God has very specifically called me into a very Biblical following of him.

I like to think that I wouldn’t waste my time on things if they weren’t Biblical. Especially my life and vocational choice.

Surely, if this were about what I wanted for myself, I would not have chosen to raise my salary and expenses so I can live in a cold northern forest town, would I?

No, I would be in Tucson, being paid to do something super fun, that involved people and laughter and a flexible schedule. I would go on morning walks everyday, and read and write for fun more than I do right now.

I would not choose to be in the vocation of people’s hearts because people’s hearts are terrible. They are so fickle and prone to anger and idolatry. People (we) are so prone to chasing temporary things no matter how much we encourage each other not to.

 When I get to tell people about my ministry and invite them into giving to it, I am not asking them to pay my bills. I am not asking them to help me live the American dream. I am not asking them to give me their money so that they could have a say in where it goes either.

I invite people to join my ministry if they want to invest in the lives of college students and the future leaders of our world. I’m asking people to invest their temporary money to give me a limited time on campus in order to leave an eternal impact. Investing in college ministry is one the most strategic places to invest your money if you love Jesus, your country, and the world. We develop students into world-changers for Jesus. We equip them with leadership and cross-cultural skills. We invite students to take risks for the Kingdom of God, and those risks lead to salvations for others. Those risks lead to even higher education so that they can affect change in our legal systems and make a difference in the disease and the poverty in this world. These are students who really meet the real, crazy, transformative Jesus who asks them to give their very lives for the sake of the Gospel. And then they take the Gospel and the Holy Spirit in them, and they are your teachers and your social workers and nurses and lawyers and professors and engineers. There’s all these IV alumni out there who love Jesus and are astronauts and Presidents of colleges, and policy makers and pastors. They love God, His Word, His people of every ethnicity and culture, and His purposes in this world. They are people who are fully informed and fully formed.

I ask people to get behind that because really, it affects us all. I love the idea of sending out hundreds of thousands of Spirit-filled world changers who selflessly bring the Gospel to all corners of the earth. I love surrounding this society with those type of people.

And I ask people to join that because it’s worth it, and it’s exciting. And I want to be a part of that. I want to do this ALL of my work week. I want to invest my time there. But, I am allotted the amount of time that I raise money for with IV.

For me, money is time. If I can raise a full-time budget, then I don’t need any side jobs. I can do what I feel called to do, full-time. And I feel like giving all of my time to that IS what I am called to do. Right now, I am a freelance writer, a substitute teacher, and a nursery worker on the side. While all of those part time gigs are a blessing for my bills to get paid, it’s just not the life I feel called to live. I don’t want to be spread thin. I want to give all my energy and time to campus and the students. 

So that’s why I ask people to support me. I ask people to get behind the call I feel God has on my life so I may invest in the eternal at NAU. If I had more time on campus, I think I could start some new Bible studies- maybe some at Coconino Community College across the street. Those students shouldn’t have to miss out. I know for a fact that there are some Greek students who want a Bible study. There are more dorms and freshmen and areas of campus that are unreached. Will you help me be at 100% funding so I can give 100% of my time to this? I have huge dreams for the college campus in Arizona. 

Help me run after those dreams. 

 

Love, Love, Love

Dear Bridget,
I love you. You know I do. Because sometimes, I think about what life could be like if I were living it with someone else’s brain, heart, and physique and after all that, I don’t like the idea very much. I’m so glad you’re you.
You make me laugh and giggle and feel inspired. I love your that main love in life is relationship, because it has brought you more joy and learning than anything else could.
I love your desire to be close to God and know Him well. You don’t like to be ignorant about God and His values. You’re so smart. I know you doubt that sometimes because there are always smarter people, but you always ask questions, you always seek MORE.
I want you to know that you are, in fact, beautiful. You heart is always growing more beautiful. But also, you have the cutest nose that scrunches up when you laugh. Your big eyes are full of light and life. You’ve got great hair!
Bridget, I love you for who you are- a child God made with an almost unshakable faith. You wear your heart on your sleeve and you let people know you, never assuming that you’ll get hurt. That’s so pure and genuine and good.
What I want to tell you most, though, is that Jesus is so all about you in a way no one else will ever be. To Him, you were worth EVERYTHING. He gave it all up to be with you, to make sure you could be with Him. He is so good! He’s so great! He’s everything your heart longs for! All He has is yours.
Bridget, I will try to love you the way God does, because you are worth it.
Love,
You.

My friend Kevin was very encouraged by my previous singleness blogs, and since he doesn’t have one of his own, he asked if he could write a guest post on mine about his experience with singleness in the church, and as a post-grad with that! So here it is:

My name is Kevin, and I’m grateful to Bridget for giving me a venue to speak about my experience as a single Christian in a hostile world.  I wish I could say that it was the world outside of the church walls that was hostile, but my experience is that the church has been more hostile to singles than the Bible would encourage.

 

I grew up in a Christian household, born to parents who had been married 17 years before I came along unexpectedly, and contrary to what doctors said was possible.  I was baptized at the age of 7, but by middle school I had decided that science had all the answers and I had no desire for Christianity or the church.  But I did have a desire for a girlfriend, for as long as I can remember.  I still remember the names of girls I had crushes on when I was 3-4 years old.  It was my dream to get married and have a happy little family.  However, the crushes never became girlfriends, and by my freshmen year I was getting desperate.  A girl came into my life that I was optimistic would end my string of bad luck, but instead she opened herself up to reveal that she had been raped, and I was the first guy she’d felt she could trust since then.  This led to my realization that I needed help from above, and I needed to believe in a justice beyond the local courts.  God had used my singleness, and my desire for a relationship, to save me.

 

What followed in my college career was three and a half years of depression, loneliness, and the kind of deep, dark singleness that believed all my problems would vanish if I could just find the right woman.  I would meet women, and start praying for wisdom if I should ask her out.  I kept hoping that one of these women would like me, and would become my girlfriend and answer to all my problems.  But that never worked out.  99% of the time, I wouldn’t even ask her out because it would become apparent that it was not going to work.  The other 1% of the time, I was roundly rejected.  My luck improved ever so slightly after college, and I have had two long-distance relationships that lasted a combined total of 8 months of my 28 year life.

 

Looking back over my life, I realize that I was turning romantic love into an idol.  There were certain things that God could help me with, and for the rest, I needed a woman.  Reading “The Confessions of St. Augustine,” I was struck by his words: “I thought I should be too miserable, unless folded in female arms; and of the medicine of Thy mercy to cure that infirmity I thought not, not having tried it.”  Here I am suffering from the same struggles as a 4th Century Christian theologian, and over a millennium later the cure hasn’t changed.  The cure is Christ, and a proper way of relating to him…the cure is not marriage.  If it is an idol before marriage, it will most certainly be an idol after marriage.

 

Yet marriage is precisely the solution proposed by many Christians I have encountered lately, pastors included.  Simply because most people will marry at some point in their life, singleness is rarely affirmed in Christian preaching, and even then it is often spoken of primarily as a transitory state.  “Singleness is the time of life when God is preparing you for your spouse,” is often the extent of the affirmation being offered.  My experience at churches and parachurch organizations is that singles are either strongly steered towards marriage, or else singleness is ignored in favor of topics which are more universal in application.

 

The first and most difficult to cope with is Biblical misapplication, which has caused the most pain to me.  This summer as my pastor discussed family, his words on Genesis 1-2 felt particularly painful to me.  The discussion centered on such verses as “It is not good for the man to be alone,” and “Be fruitful and multiply.”  The pastor highlighted the latter verse as “God’s first words to man.”  To him, this meant that it was and is a commandment we are expected to keep.  As I heard his sermon, I felt this incredible internal conflict, as if I was being accused of failing God or even sinning by remaining unmarried and childless, even though these were things I deeply desired.  No affirmation was offered to singles, except in extreme cases such as someone planning to become a missionary in Iran, and the words of Paul, in 1 Corinthians 7 were not even mentioned.  There Paul offers affirmation to singles in verses 8 and 9

“To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” 

Let me repeat that for you. It is a good thing for them to remain single.  But he doesn’t say it just once.  Verse 26 says to the unmarried “I think that in view of the present distress it is good for a person to remain as he is.”  Brothers and sisters, let me strengthen you, it is good.  Your singleness is, in Paul’s view, an opportunity for you to serve God with time and energy that are not available to the married and the parents.  The married have emotional support, a degree of protection from sexual sin, and the opportunity to provide a picture of Christ and the church.  Both marriage AND singleness are good.  1 Corinthians 7 is the ultimate source of discussion on singleness and marriage, and whatever your relationship status, it is a wonderful piece of scripture upon which to meditate.

But then, if Paul recommends singleness, then how are we to interpret “Be fruitful and multiply”?  In my view, this command was for a time that the earth was sparsely populated, and God’s intended method for the propagation of His worshipers was sexual reproduction.  When the people of Israel called themselves “Sons of Abraham”, they meant it literally.  The covenant God made was with the family line, and therefore marriage and child-bearing was of utmost importance.  One need look no further than the Bible’s numerous barren women to see evidence of its importance.  Barrenness was a point of shame, a sign of God’s punishment for sins.  This view was long entrenched in the culture starting with the story of Sarah, all the way to Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist.  But God gave us a new covenant, and with the new covenant came a new command that sounds a lot like “Be fruitful and multiply.”  “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” God at last revealed that membership in His family would not be passed from parent to child, as the nation of Israel thought.  Jesus says that his family are those who do the will of his Father!  So then it seems to me that Paul’s advice is for Christians to make for themselves a family by making disciples out of those already born.  I wish that my pastor had the courage to say this, instead of just suggesting that the whole congregation get married and start churning out babies to fill God’s commandment.  There is much work to be done for the spread of the gospel, and the church needs singles and the as-of-yet childless couples to help with the extra time and energy they can devote.  But if we are to do so, then it will help for churches to honor the position of singles and childless couples, and to remind them of the opportunities for service available to them which are beyond the reach of couples devoting their time to child-rearing.

 

Another issue my pastor spent some time on was our selfish cultural attitude towards marriage and children.  He pointed to a recent issue of Time magazine with the cover “The Child-Free Life: When  having it all means not having children.”  He (very rightly) criticizes this selfish view of marriage and children.  To remain single because one doesn’t want the “shackles” of a relationship is not at all what Paul advised.  If one intends to use their singleness to satisfy a desire for video games, spur-of-the-moment road trips, or general self-serving revelry, then this falls well short of God’s desire for singles.  Likewise, choosing not to have children for similar reasons is not to be supported.  Marriage is good, and children are wonderful, so we as Christians should fight against this cultural trend.  But we should not, as the pastor suggested, fight it by getting married and having children.  We should fight this trend by pursuing God and making disciples with whatever gifts we have been given.  It is our job to show people Christ.  This is much more important than showing them a Godly marriage and family.  What use it is to show people “the mystery of Christ and the Church,” or demonstrate a father’s love, if they don’t know who Christ or the Heavenly Father is?

While the above cases in which I have felt myself (and other Christian singles) being bullied by a biased and selective reading of scripture need to be addressed, choosing the opposite extreme of ignoring marital status and ministering solely to the universal needs is insufficient.  It is this which I felt was more the atmosphere of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IV) in my time there.  Although it is frequently referred to somewhat jokingly as the InterVarsity Dating Service, I never felt like there was any pressure to date or to “court”, or even to associate with the opposite gender, if one desired to avoid that.  When you put dozens of single college students in a social group, romance is bound to blossom in some of the people, which is a wonderful thing.  But I cannot recall any real discussion of singleness, marriage, and the ministry roles for each.  Most of the students in IV are single, so it makes perfect sense to address how to live a Godly life as single people, and to touch upon the advantages and disadvantages of dating and marriage. And most of them will marry, so it is worth touching upon those issues as well.  

 

But unfortunately, what we wind up with is usually men getting together to discuss their issues with lust and pornography, and women gathering to discuss who has a crush on who, how the relationships are going for those with boyfriends, and lots of general hand-wringing about when God is finally going to provide Mr. Right so they can get married.  The men’s discussion is woefully inadequate to address its stated goal, the problem of lust, and does even worse at addressing issues of loneliness, idolizing relationships, and how to manage platonic friendships.  According to Bridget’s account of the women’s gatherings, they frequently fail to discuss their value as image-bearers of Christ, their wholeness without a man, and the challenge of the curse that “your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you” (Gen 3:16b).  Bridget has heard these sorts of things in one-on-one conversations, but all  women should be taught these things, not just the ones who are “still single.”  Men are “taught” to just keep their lustful desires in check until God gives them a wife, and, unless unfortunate enough to be single, women seem to not be corrected from the mistaken line of thinking that their worth in life is defined by marriage and children.  There is so much more that could and should be done to prepare us for enduring singleness with contentment, and to have realistic expectations for relationships and marriage.  Sadly, all too much of our “training” for relationships come from Hollywood, whether it’s pornography, Bond films, romantic comedies, or Disney.  It is not enough to ignore relationships and teach about prayer, social justice, grace, and all the rest, hoping that singleness and relationship falls into place without any effort.

 

My journey as a single man has been rough, and it isn’t over.  I still have much to learn about finding “contentment” in all things, but it is a shame that I’ve had to learn most of that through experience and reading.  Church sermons, youth groups, and college groups should be preparing Christians for the challenges of any relationship status. Instead we are being tossed out into the world where many stumble and fall, suffering unnecessary injury because of the lack of education in this critical area of life.  I want to see the church provide adequate eduction, to stop attempting to “set up” every bachelor and bachelorette, and to fight for the multiplication of the church by Gospel discipleship moreso than human means.

I need to tell you some major truths about you and I being single.

It’s good stuff, trust me.

1. Singleness is a freedom you will never get back.
I’m not bashing marriage by any means, but if you do end up getting married and things go well, you will never be single again. And I hope that’s true for you! I hope that if you long to be married, that you get married someday and stay married. But there’s something about being unattached and single that gives you a lot of freedom. I see it as an opportunity. Why wait around for someone to come along, as if that is what determines your “arrival” in this world? Go see the world! Eat all types of food! Climb all the mountains! Learn a new language! You are free to do that. You are free to adventure. You are free to learn to swing dance and be in local theater and write a book. You are free to lose all the weight and gain all the weight you want! When you’re single, you have time to be a good kind of selfish. Take advantage!

Biblically, Paul is with me on this one. He says in 1 Corinthians, “I want you to be free from anxieties…the unmarried [are] anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord.” I just want to encourage you that Paul thinks it’s BETTER that we stay single, because he’s just that sold out on serving Jesus. So, I want to encourage you that being single makes it easier to follow Jesus in so many ways! Rejoice!

2. Singleness has nothing to do with worth or value.
I want to beat down the biggest lie I know that us single people battle. It’s the idea that if you’re dating someone, you’re somehow better or more valuable. Or take this for example: I have a lot of girlfriends growing up who were/are TOTAL BABES. They got asked out a lot. At one point or another every guy has dreamed of ending up with this dream girl, who also happens to be one of my closest friends. So, since boys started liking girls, I’ve always had at least one of those girls by my side. And I used to think that if guys were asking them out but not me, then surely there must be something wrong with me! I must be way uglier, dorkier, and fatter than I ever knew! But that’s not true at all. Guys not asking me out does not mean I am not worth dating. It means a plethora of other things. But my worth isn’t one of them.

Another reason I want to address this lie is because in the Christian world, people tell each other all the time that if you are totally content in being single, then you will find your man/woman the next day. But that’s not true. You know how I know? God doesn’t give us opportunities, relationships, or blessings based off of our performance. If he did, he wouldn’t have died on the cross for all our sins, we could have done that ourselves. God isn’t waiting for you or me to become better at loving ourselves as single people to give us relationships. I think it’s all timing. I think God lets us enter into relationships if we want to, or if it’s the lasting relationship- if now you could glorify him more as a couple than as two single people. In that same passage as earlier, Paul encourages that people should marry if his or her passions are strong, and wants to get married, they should! I think that’s kind of how God feels about it too, and he likes to bless us with people who make us better in Him.

3. Singleness is so not the drama.
It’s great to be single because you aren’t constantly living for another person, making sure that their feelings, opinions and decisions don’t clash with yours. Everyone is fair game for good friendship, and you don’t have deep obligations to any of them. This one goes alongside the freedom one, but I wanted to make it separate so you can realize how good you have it. You don’t have to deal with the agony of a long distance relationship. You don’t have to have a talk about “going too far” physically with your boyfriend/girlfriend. You don’t have to deal with jealousy. Your friends are probably not annoyed, disappointed, or mad at you for ditching them to be with your boyfriend. No one is judging your relationship because it doesn’t exist! That’s so great! And don’t get me wrong, there isn’t one hint of sarcasm in any of this.

I just think it’s so important that while we are all single, we should really embrace it, love ourselves well, and don’t let American or church culture speak lies over our identities. This is a half and half deal, friends! Your friends in couples can only do so much to take care of you as a single person, you’ve gotta do the rest!

4. CHASE JESUS
Now, this is just a piece of the best dang advice I have. In fact, I have no other legitimate advice in the world. Just this. Run after Jesus and his call with all of your heart. Even if right now you are not following him! He is the source of all of these deep desires you have. In reality, your desire for love, companionship, worth and value will only truly come from Jesus. You will only feel completely convinced of all of that in a relationship with the God of the Universe. So, while you’re single, check yourself! Where are you going to in order to fill the void? Probably everywhere else. That’s why we can be so upset about being “alone!” But really, we’re not, we never have to be. Jesus made a way so that we could be with the One who loves us most forevermore.

Now THAT’S romance!

Okay single people, I dare you to go kick life’s BUTT! And if you fall in love with another single person along the way, and can’t help yourself, because God is so good at making people, go for it! Be brave! =)

My name is Bridget Gee and I’ve been single most of my life.

Recently, I was talking to some freshmen girls and they were surprised to find out that I’ve only dated one guy and it was when I was 20 years old! They were even more surprised to find out that it’s been 3 years since I’ve dated, especially as a 24 year old. I’m not getting any younger, after all. 😉

I didn’t feel like I needed to defend my singleness, like I have in the past, but instead it felt right, it made sense. I told them that I’d rather go years as a single woman instead of spending valuable time in a relationship that won’t last.

(Side note: This year, I’ve set aside my fears and I don’t think taking risks in relationship is a waste by any means. God teaches us plenty of things even in temporary relationships.)

I’m just glad that I’ve been single for the past couple years, instead of investing myself in relationships that wouldn’t last, and might’ve hurt me more in the long run. But, I’ve been thinking a lot about my singleness lately, as I’ve realized that it’s been several months since I even had a nearby close relationship with the opposite gender. I think it’s good, but it does make me wonder how I function as a single woman. You see, I haven’t been comfortable or happy, or a functioning single person for almost the past 4 years! The last time I was thriving in my singleness was when I was a sophomore in college! I can’t believe that was 4 years ago… In the mean time, I’ve been in a relationship, and a couple unhealthy friendships with guys who felt like more than friends, but were never more than that.

It hasn’t been until the last year that I’ve been able to take a long, hard look at myself and my behavior. What have I been seeking these past couple of years? How have I been bringing my broken messed up heart into friendships and tried to seek attention? What have I been doing that’s actually totally okay and just shows that I long for companionship- the very thing we were created for? There’s always grace! 

So here I am in a new town, with a new life, and I am looking for a new approach to my singleness. Because really guys, as much as the world tells us it is, singleness is not hopelessness. Here are a few thoughts I’ve had recently!

How to Love Single People
Recently, a friend of mine posted a status on facebook, asking her friends in couples to give single people a break. I didn’t tell her, but that status really meant a lot to me because she is, in a very simple way, advocating for her single friends. She’s engaged! I think something that I want to do is speak up as a single person, while I still am one, and help my friends in couples be a little more considerate of us single folk. I know that no one is trying to hurt anyone by being a part of a couple, but there are a few ways I think that single people can be loved better. Here are a few ideas:
1. Talk about more than romance: I don’t know why, but there’s something about being in a group of people that romance always comes up. Now, I’m all about fun, silly conversations, and I care deeply about my friends’ relationships, but sometimes I have felt sort of devalued as a single person when this question comes around, “So Bridget, is there anyone special in your life?” And I’m like, “Yeah, everyone. Ha.” And since it’s a conversation killing question, they move onto someone else who has something more exciting to contribute. So what if the most exciting thing in my life is that I’m getting a bunch of teeth fixed next week? I want to know that I’m valued as a human whether or not I’m in a relationship. Here’s an idea: what if we asked each other how singleness has been?  I feel like that would be a really kind thing to do. Seriously. I would be honored to tell people about my singleness. I would feel very loved if they asked. 

2. Facebook posting: I see so many gushy facebook statuses, and I honestly can stomach more of those than you might think. But here’s the moment when it starts getting to me: when every. single. fb. post. is. about. your. relationship. There’s more to life! That’s all I’m trying to say! I’m glad you found love! But inspire me! Show me that you value more than YOUR relationship. 
3. Initiate: I, being a HIGH extravert, have a hard time initiating hang outs with couples or even halves of couples! I think I’ve been let down multiple times, ditched, or just haven’t had quality time with them that’s it’s hard to swallow my pride, and do it again. Over and over. Here’s the greatest thing about this one: I know we all want friends. So, whether you’re single or in a relationship, we should all be better at initiating quality time with one another. 
4. Consider all things: Every single single person is in a different place about relationships. They might have just broken up with their boyfriend or girlfriend and their ex might be in the room! They might have bigger fish to fry than trying to figure out when they’re next relationship will be. They might struggle with sexuality and identity in the area of relationships. Anyone could be going through anything!
5. Be humble: No one knows everything. And I think a pet peeve of single people is when non-singles try to give advice about how to be content being single or how to find the perfect man. Neither of those is truly helpful. Just to reiterate, I really think asking good questions is the best thing to do. 

To be honest, I just think that the world we live in is all about relationships. There is a wonderful, blessed, uplifting side to that, and a really nasty, dark, and deceiving side to it too. The wonderful side is that God really does want to make our lives about relationships, that we would love each other sacrificially and selflessly. But this broken world has twisted it, and our mindsets about relationships have twisted with it. This world tells us that we don’t have value without a romantic relationship. And sometimes we tell each other that in covert and overt ways. 

The wonderful truth is that we all have value to God, no matter who we are, where we’re at, or who we’re with. I think we’re called to show each other that and defy the culture of this world that always makes us question our worth. 

I got home at 11:30pm tonight, and still had another hour of work to do. I hadn’t planned on my day turning into a broken up 12 hour day, but that’s staff life. And I love it.

I thought about how funny this job is, how great it is for my personality, and that it would be a great thing to explain and describe in a blog for my family, friends, and ministry partners to see. So here I go, I will try and capture what it is to work as a missionary to the campus…

Everyday is different on staff. Certain days, I can be on campus from morning til midnight, spending time with students, having quiet time, meetings to get outreach in order, fun meals with new people, and happenstance conversations with passersby. Today, I had a staff meeting with my coworkers, where we talked about defining moments in our lives for an hour, and business for another. We are doing an outreach this week, engaging students on campus in the topic of racial reconciliation and spirituality. A lot goes into something like that:
-training
-building the station we do the outreach with
-making contact cards
-gathering supplies
-google spreadsheets
-lots of side conversations
-prayer

And tonight, I went to the dorm to hang out with my small group members, make cookies and then go pass them out to some people in the dorm! We had two new people come tonight, for a total of 11 people! We are about to reach capacity if these students all keep coming, because we were missing a couple tonight! But, that only means some crazy ideas on the horizon to reach more people, more students behind closed doors, just waiting to be loved and accepted. 

After small group, I typically give two of my students rides home. Sometimes students feel like friends and students, they aren’t much younger than me, so I love spending time with them. We had to run an errand before the night was over, and such a mundane task as printing out contact cards for tomorrow’s outreach became much more difficult and drawn out, but we laughed the whole way through it together, and for that, I am grateful. 

So, tomorrow is a mixture of prayer, sharing the Gospel, coaching, discipling, and debriefing with students. I also have to do my duty of raising the support that it takes to get me on campus full time, and as hard as that is, it’s worth it because of the life-change I see in my students. And man, these students are impressive. They want to see Jesus do His thing on this campus. They are willing to give their time, effort, creativity, and energy into sharing love and life with their friends and strangers! 

And then Thursday is a Halloween Dance Party. 

And Friday is a little more relaxed. I have some conference calls and discipleship and more fundraising, or as we call it in InterVarsity, Ministry Partnership Development! 

This job keeps me quite busy, hands-on, and always with people. I love it! It’s nothing close to 9-5, I create my own hours, play up on my strengths, grow in my weaknesses, and learn to lead out of a deep need for Jesus’ power and authority. I love the little conversations I have with students, where sometimes they just hold out their heart, to be spoken truth over, prayed over, something-ed over! I love seeing these people come alive with compassion for others on campus, in their dorms, or even around the world. I am so privileged to see God move through them, heal them, empower them to make a difference while they’re in college. He’s constantly making us new, giving us never-ending blessings and goodness. Man, if I loved IV in undergrad, I’m crazy about it now! I feel as though I have been freed to do what I have been longing to do my whole life- just love God and love people!

I need so much prayer during this time of life, though! I can easily get caught in just doing, doing, doing, and forgetting to stop and take care of myself like God wants me to. I want to be a healthy adult who manages her time, money, and resources well, but I just got started in this life! While I’m so excited about all the opportunities given to me, I am afraid of all the responsibility, and failing. But as I have written before, I know God wants me to spend all of this time, at His feet, letting him love me, reveal the eternal to me, and provide for me everyday.