Hashtag Goals

Have you ever thought about what your goals and aspirations are for motherhood and of your children? What is it that you want to accomplish on this journey and what do you most desire for your children to know and to become? There is a fairly new practice on social media of using the hashtag #parentinggoals when people comment on a relevant picture. A picture of a sweet moment between mother and her child or an image of a daddy rocking his baby to sleep might elicit such comment. When we make this comment are we looking more at the perceived ‘perfection’ of the shot or the heart of the moment? While it is important to have goals for our motherhood it is equally important to remember that snapshots are a second in time, a second that usually shows us at our best – not the everyday “in the trench” life we live. It seems to be true – especially on social media – that people post all their best in order to prove self worth. Lets look instead at our everyday moments and how we can truly turn them into times of abundant joy. We have all heard many times that life is not picture perfect and while that is true, we can be deliberate about finding light and joy in our daily life. What would it look like if – instead of trying to shoot perfect pictures to hide behind – we stepped into a life of true joy, let down our guard and chose to live every moment abundantly?

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You may be asking yourself why this is such an important goal to have. I believe God calls Christians to live set apart in this life. He calls us to follow after Him with all that we are, and we cannot know fullness of joy if we are half-hearted about life, God goes as far as telling us (Revelation 3:16) that He will spit the lukewarm out of His mouth, it is not something He wants us to be. Even though our time spent on this earth will not be perfect, we are called to be ambassadors of Christ and live a life that may lead others to Him. Living in true joy not only blesses us, but is a light to those we encounter. If you have not been living this way and you are living for Jesus, I suggest you start by releasing your preconceived notions of how life is meant to be. Sometimes we can build over-romanticized ideas in our minds of how we want life to look and when it doesn’t end up looking that way, we lose track of the blessings God has placed before us. If we are to live our life abundantly we cannot allow this to be so.

As mommas it is so important for us to model joy to our children; this truly should be one of our largest parenting goals. It must be an intentional decision to walk in fullness of joy and to live the abundant life that God promises us. We must also teach our children to embrace a joyful life. Children need us to lead by example. If we are not living in abundance, they will never learn to do so. For us mommas, that often looks like finding God (and therefore joy) in the ordinary. We live a life of seemingly predictable chaos and if we are not careful we can soon become run down by our emotions. In order to really have moments we would aspire to as #pareninggoals we must not let our feelings take control of us. Living in abundance means we seek Jesus first.

In our culture there are so many demands placed on us about how we and our children are supposed to exist. Let go of these cultural ideals and take up the yoke of Jesus instead. Let Jesus be your joy and your guide. Rejoice in the seemingly small, a smile, a rock handed to you by your child, a flower blooming, the rainbow after the storm and realize that all of these are ways that God adds joy to our lives. He uses the big and the small; we must have an open heart to see all of His blessings. It is a daily decision to walk in the blessings the Lord has surrounded us with; a daily counting of our gifts, if you will.

One of the best ways to teach our children about God’s blessings is through creation. We can show them the sunset God painted for us that day, talk about the shapes of the clouds, plant a garden and care for the flowers God has created. Children often learn best through our example and through doing things with their hands. Point out to them the blessings you are noticing in your personal life and they will be more apt to start looking for blessings God has placed in their life too.

Its in the every day moments that we choose to see joy, choose to rejoice in the abundance of God’s blessings. These moments are going to be messy and imperfect. They may even appear broken. But if we learn to embrace them we will soon see the blessings God has hidden in our every day, ordinary moments. We don’t have to look hard to find these blessings, but we must change our mindset in order to find them.

I challenge you, to start today. Be an ambassador of joy – live in abundance!

A Life of Abundance

If you’re anything like me, living an abundant, joy-filled, life can often feel like a carrot (or chocolate fudge brownie) dangled, just out of our reach. We wake up to a new battle each day. Spiritual battles, physical battles, battles in our marriages, battles in parenting, battles in relationships, battles in our health, battles with the scale, the laundry or the dishes!

Girl Drawing Picture As Mother Prepares Meal In Kitchen

The battle is real!

With so many battles how do we ever live an abundant, joy-filled life? After all, Jesus did say, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”

So, how do we live an abundant, joy-filled, life? 

This was a genuine question I needed God to answer!  It was in a moment of frustration, exhaustion, and complete desperation that I prayed, “Lord how do I ever live a joy-filled life when I am always fighting some battle?”

I’ll be honest with you, friend, I didn’t expect the answer He gave me.

Between you and me, I was secretly hoping He would say that I needed to go on the next woman’s retreat to learn how to use a revolutionary parenting idea, or I would need to go on some amazing date with my husband where we would decide to implement a magical home routine. I could see rest, relaxation, and bonbons in my future! Somewhere in my mind, I had concocted this idea that to live an abundant joy-filled life I had to have victory over my laundry, my marriage, my children, and the scale! I wouldn’t ever know what abundant living was until every battle was won! I don’t know when or where that false teaching infiltrated my thinking, but it was stealing my joy. I knew something had to change I just had no idea what to change or how to change it; I was desperate for answers!

What the Lord showed me was that it wasn’t about removing the battle from my life that would bring joy, rather He wanted me to live abundantly and joyfully right in the midst of the battle.

In my morning devotions, the Lord reminded me of a popular Psalm many of us may be familiar with, Psalm 23.  

Psalm 23

A Psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:

He leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul:

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;

Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

  Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:

Thou lanointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

 

As I prayed and continued to study this passage I started to understand what living this abundantly and joy-filled life looked like. Let’s look at verse 5, “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:”

I encourage you to look this passage up and the meanings of each word. I’ll share just a few thoughts for today’s blog post purposes. Let’s take a look at four words: preparest, table, presence, and enemy.

Preparest means to put in order, to arrange. Let’s consider what God is putting into order, it’s a table.

The word table means a physical table like a piece of wood with four legs. The kind of table we put in our kitchen and serve our family meals on.

Presence means, in front of, straight before, in sight.

The word enemy that is used here means a personal enemy.

As I considered these thoughts, this passage started to answer my question on how I could live this abundantly, joy-filled life!

I realized, that the Lord is calling me, you, to dine with Him right in front of our personal enemies. Think about that, He wants to dine with us in the presence of our laundry, in the midst of our marriage struggles, parenting struggles, or health struggles. The Lord has prepared a table where He daily serves Himself to us, in His fullness, so that we might live abundantly, joyful lives right in the middle of the battle!

It’s time for us to stop looking for the retreat, or the absence of the battle. It’s time we make dinning with Him our priority. Let’s fill ourselves with the Living Water and Bread Of Life that will not only sustain us through the battle but make us abundantly, joyfully, victorious!

If you would like to learn more about living an abundant, joy-filled, life I invite you to join me over on my personal blog where I will be sharing practical helps, scriptural concepts, and encouragement from the lessons I’ve learned on the battlefield.

Until our next chat,
Mrs. Joseph Wood

The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ps 23). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ps 23:5). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

Husband of the Blogger Monthly Link Up

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Hello again dear readers! As promised, I am back today with another installment of the Husband of the Blogger Link Up. These monthly posts are a chance for readers to get to know our husbands better, we feel that it is important to bring our husbands into our blogging. If you have seen the previous posts you know we did an introduction to our husbands, a “what do you wish I knew” post where we wives asked our husbands what they wish we knew about a few different topics, last month Lance and I skipped last month when they discussed men’s ministry due to the fact Lance has never had much experience in that area (yet). This month we come to you to talk about legacy.
Have you ever thought of the legacy that has been left to you, or the one that you are leaving your children? Below, Lance answers questions about the legacy his parents left him and what he hopes to leave our children.

  1. Lance, what legacy do you feel that your mother is leaving you?
    _ A commitment to God and family, love, support, industriousness, serving others (she’s gotten better at this in recent years).

    2). Lance, what legacy do you feel that your father is leaving?
    _ A commitment to God and family, work ethic, stewardship, both with people and the land. Serving others (Dad’s always had this desire, from his tour with the Navy in Vietnam, volunteering as a 4-H leader, Ditch Board member, Planning Board Member and taking on the thankless job of County Commissioner for 12 years). Helping others and volunteering what time he can spare from a busy Rancher’s schedule is always something that’s come naturally to Dad.

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    3). Lance, what legacy do you want to leave for your children?
    _ A combination of all of the above features of Mom and Dad, with God at the forefront.

    4). Lance, if there is one thing you wish your parents would have helped impress upon you more, what is it?
    _ Take time/make time to read the Bible

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    5). Lance, What way or ways can I help support the legacy you want our children to gain?

_ Encourage me and our children to walk daily with God and strive to reach our goals.

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This interview made me so grateful for the amazing man that I have. I am thankful that he desires to put God first in all He does.

If you want to follow along with my blogger friends who are also doing this monthly series with their husbands, you can find them here:

Kayla at the Accidental Nomad Life

Sarah at Christ Centered Mama

Caitlin at Flannelgraphs

Crystal at Pennies and Playdough

Hailey at This Life We Love

Rebekah at Hargraves Home and Hearth

 

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Mama, You are too Busy NOT to Have Friends

I believe in community, in coming together as Christian woman to encourage each other on towards Christ. That is why this summer I have chosen five beautiful ladies to share with you from their heart. This week I have asked Rebekah Hargraves to join us. She has written a beautiful post on friendship. Rebekah can be found online at Hargraves Home and Hearth her instagram is: Rebekah Hargraves. Enjoy her words of wisdom below. And come back tomorrow for another “husband of the blogger link up post”. 

One of the saddest things I hear moms say is, “I’m just too busy in this season of life to have friends. With all these little kids, I just don’t have time to cultivate friendships right now.” Every time I hear a mom say that, I want to put my arm around her and say, “Sweet sister, you are too busy NOT to have friends!”

Throughout the Word, both in direct teaching and in story, we see the importance God placed upon friendships. Just think for a moment on the relationships between David and Jonathan or Ruth and Naomi or Paul and his various co-laborers in the truth. Sally Clarkson
says all the time that a mother left to herself in her home all day with her children becomes one of the biggest targets for Satan. It’s true! He wants you all alone, isolated from anyone who would dare attempt to encourage you in your faith, point you to the Lord, or inspire you to greatness in your mothering. Bottom line – Satan wants you thinking you are too busy to cultivate friendships in this season of your life. After all, he knows that it is in this very season of being neck-deep in mothering when you need inspiring friendships the most! He also knows that if he can get you to make excuses now for not fostering friendships, he can get you in the habit of doing so later, as well, to where no matter what season of life you are in, you will always think yourself too busy for such things. Don’t be deceived into making the little years of child-raising out to be a prison wherein you have no ability to fellowship with the outside world. That’s a lie, plain and simple, and we need to stop believing it.

 

3 Reasons Christian Friendship is so Crucial 

 

~ Christian friends are there to help us in times of need.

I love the passage in Ecclesiastes which says,

Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” ~Eccelesiastes 7:9-12

Whether it’s hard work that needs to be done, a fall into sin, a season of temptation, or another time of great need, friends are invaluable! We need each other. God made us that way! It’s foolish for us to think ourselves too busy for such a crucial aspect of life as community. Don’t try to go it alone, mama! Find a friend and you will go through life stronger, more encouraged, and more fruitful in your Christian walk and your work for the Kingdom.

 

~Christian friends edify you and are used by God in your sanctification process.

Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”  In his Bible commentary, Matthew Henry writes,

“This intimates both the pleasure and the advantage of conversation…. Wise and profitable discourse sharpens men’s wits… It sharpens men’s looks, and, by cheering the spirits, puts a briskness and liveliness into the countenance… Good men’s graces are sharpened by converse with those that are good… Men are filed, made smooth, and bright, and fit for business (who were rough, and dull, and inactive), by conversation.

True godly friends are a fantastic resource for renewing your mind in the things of God, expanding your knowledge and understanding of the Christian worldview, and fine-tuning your thought process in regards to all areas of life. This is especially true for busy moms. When we are in the thick of mothering and feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, or downtrodden, a conversation with an encouraging, God-centered friend who will point us to Christ and renew our perspective is exactly what we need. Not binge-watching Netflix, scrolling through social media, or going out for a manicure. Though those may help us feel better for a time, what we really need is to have our minds renewed with the lasting, refining, inspiring, encouraging truths of God’s Word. The truths that we will have fed back to us by godly friends.

 

~Christian friendship is a powerful tool for keeping your heart in close fellowship with the Lord and His ways.

We often hear that “bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33). The opposite is also true – good company grows and encourages the development of good character. Christian friendship is an incredibly powerful influence for good in your heart and life. Esther Edwards Burr (1732-1758), daughter of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards and mother of the infamous Aaron Burr Jr., perhaps said it best when she wrote,

“I esteem religious conversation one of the best helps to keep up religion in the soul, excepting secret devotion, I don’t know but the very best. Then what a lamentable thing ’tis so neglected by God’s own children.” (And, I would add – what a lamentable thing to neglect God’s own children!)

She went on to write,

“I look on the ties of friendship as sacred… A person who looks upon himself to be friendless must of all Creatures be miserable in this life – Tis the life of life.” (spelling her own 😉 )

I couldn’t agree more. If you want to be armed for spiritual battle, growing in your Christian walk, encouraged and bolstered for the hard seasons of life, you need friends. I said above that you are too busy not to have friends because you are just that – so busy with all the cares of this life – the struggles of marriage, the questions of motherhood, the stresses of health issues, whatever it is- that you absolutely must have godly friends by your side to see you through.

 

Cultivating Friendship as a Busy Mom

Now for the practical side of things! You may be sitting there thinking, “Yeah, I see the importance of friendship now, but how do you expect me to dedicate time to that when I’m just so busy?” My answer would be this – if you are too busy to find time for friends, you are busy doing a lot of extra things God never asked you to do. If God places a huge importance on friendship, then don’t you think He has made a way for you to pursue it, even in this season of your life? When we describe ourselves as being “too busy” for friendship, we are thinking ourselves to be wiser than God, better at prioritizing than He is, more understanding of what is and is not important. We are wrong. I love how my friend Naomi Quick said in our recent podcast interview that we are asking the Lord the wrong question – we are always asking Him how we are supposed to handle all the different hats we are wearing when, in reality, we ought to be asking Him if we are wearing hats that we put on our own head and that were never put there by God. And then be willing to remove them!

It has been said so much that it has almost become cliche, but it’s so true – we make time for the things that are important to us. If we are dedicated to aligning our lives with those things which the Lord calls important, then we will embrace His view of the importance of friendship and make the time to pursue it. The hard part is that doing so will require a relinquishing of some of the other pursuits we hold most dear:

  • Many of us are guilty of giving time to Netflix more often than to a friend we invite over for coffee.
  • Many of us are exchanging face-to-face fellowship for social media “friends” that we barely know at all
  • Many of us keep things surface-level with our online friends when we could instead go a step further and really cultivate a true, deep camaraderie and friendship with them (as I have with the dear gal on whose blog you are reading this!)

The fact of the matter is this – if we are too busy for friendship, I’m afraid we only have ourselves to blame. If women hundreds of years ago who had no modern conveniences and who instead had to make all their own clothes and wash them by hand and grow, prepare, and preserve all their food still placed great importance on pursuing friendship and cultivating community, so can we, sweet sisters! It all comes down to whether or not we grasp the importance of it in the first place. With that in mind, here are some ideas to help get you started:

 

  • I don’t like to use the quote “It takes a village” because of who it originated from, but the basic concept is very true – it takes community, encouragement, and friendship to do this mama thing well! We need each other in order to be bolstered in our endeavors! So, how about scheduling a play date with your friend who has littles of her own? Have her over and enjoy coffee or tea together while your babies play or meet up at the park!
  • Take an hour or two one evening or on a Saturday, let your little ones have special Daddy time, and meet up with a friend for a nice, long chat!
  • Text your friends uplifting Bible verses or lessons learned through your quiet time that day or leave them little messages of encouragement when they come to mind – this just takes a minute to do! My sweet friend, Geneva, is a pro at this.
  • Check in on a regular basis with just a short little note asking how they’re doing – again, it doesn’t take long! Amber is awesome at this.

Those are just a few ideas to hopefully get you started and to inspire you in coming up with ways you can be about the business of fostering friendship in your life. I hope you have been encouraged today, sweet sisters! And now I want to hear from you:

 

How have godly Christian friends had a big impact on your own life and made a difference in your walk with the Lord? What is one little practice you are going to implement today that will help you in your mission to deepen friendships with other ladies? What has worked for you in the past?

 

 

 

 

Rebekah Hargraves is a wife, mama of two littles, home business owner, podcaster, and blogger residing in TN. Her passion is to bless fellow Christian women through her writings on her website, Hargraves Home and Hearth, which exists to “edify, equip, and encourage women in their journey of Biblical womanhood”.

Meal Time Interview with Sharon From Around the Table blog

Hello dear reader! Life gets hectic sometimes doesn’t it? Sometime ago, I had an interview with Sharon from her blog Around The Table that I forgot to share with you. I really appreciate her vision of restoring the culture of family meals. We realize that no two dinner tables are going to look the same, however it is important to Sharon (and to me) that mealtimes are times of celebration and fellowship. Sharon and I discussed how meal time looks in my family from who sits around the table to what exactly happens around the table. You can find the whole interview posted on her blog, here I will just give you a small taste of meal time in the Durgan home but be sure to go over to her blog to read the rest of the interview.

Tell me who is around your table:
My husband, our 20 month old son, and myself. We are Christians and love the Lord first, each other second. My husband, Lance, and I take turns praying before meals. He is an engineer (and rancher, we have a family ranch) and I am a stay at home momma to our toddler boy, who is adventurous and loves all things boy!
I hope you enjoy and are encouraged to build better meal times for your family. It is something I am always working on myself as I believe fellowship over meals is a beautiful thing.

Loving The Lord with our Mind

John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

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Jesus came so that we may have an abundant life; living vibrantly should be our focus as Christians. Ladies, we are missing out on blessings if we do not walk wisely in this area. An abundant life is lived when we are thriving right where God has us. If we are purposeful with our daily decisions even our most mundane moments can add up to create a beautifully abundant life. Life is a gift from God and it is up to us how we live under His direction. We all have the choice to live in such a way that is honoring to God. Luke 10:27 tells us that we are to love God with all of our heart, strength, soul and mind. A large determining factor of how we live are the thoughts we think.

Our thoughts shape our life. Proverbs 4:23 tells us to guard our hearts for from it flow the issues of life. Therefore we must be mindful of our thoughts. The Bible instructs us to walk in wisdom and we must do so if we are going to have vibrant lives. Three ways of practicing this are: constantly taking our thoughts captive, stopping the comparison game and expressing gratitude. These habits will enable us to set our perspective on abundance and our life will reflect that.

Taking Our Thoughts Captive

2 Corinthians 10:15 tells us to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. One of the hardest battles we will fight in purposing to live an abundant life are our thoughts. We are innate sinners and do not naturally have thoughts directed towards goodness. We must train our minds to focus on the good. This does not mean we live with our heads buried in the sand, refusing to acknowledge that this world is a fallen place. However, a person living for Christ understands the need to set their mind on things above. Focusing on worldly measures will only tear us down and ruin any hope of living an abundant life. We are to be the gatekeepers of our minds, allowing only what will benefit us to pass through, turning away everything else. Going to the scriptures we find God tells us what to think about. Philippians 4:8 tells us to focus (think) on eight things.

1). Whatever is true
2). Whatever is noble
3). Whatever is right
4). Whatever is pure
5). Whatever is lovely
6). Whatever is admirable
7). Whatever is excellent
8). Whatever is praiseworthy

Think of your mind as a garden; it is up to you what you grow in this garden. Letting bad thoughts past the gate of your mind is like allowing weeds to creep in. Eventually they will choke out all the beauty you have cultivated. It cannot be stressed enough that the type of thoughts we have create the type of life we live. Guard your thoughts and protect your life. Allow goodness to grow and you will flourish in abundance.

Stopping the Comparison Game

As females we can often get swept up in comparing ourselves to others. This may or may not be intentional but if we are going to live beautiful lives it needs to stop. God would not have gone through with your creation if He did not know the world needed you. When we compare ourselves to others we are in a sense telling God He didn’t do a good enough job creating us. Comparison is a heart issue and not something to be taken lightly. Satan wants to see you fail, he wants you to think that you are not good enough and stop you from living your full potential. The time we spend comparing ourselves to others is time that is wasted, time we can’t get back. If we are desiring to live a vibrant life, you don’t have time for satan and his lies. Stop him in his tracks ladies.

Meditate on verses such as Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you plans to give you a hope and a future” and Zephaniah 3:17 “The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exalt over you with loud singing.” Realize that God doesn’t make mistakes and that what you perceive as your greatest weaknesses may just be your largest assets; we never are sure how God will use us. Let’s be thankful for the beautiful life we live and stop wasting our time comparing ourselves to others.

Expressing Gratitude and Counting our Gifts

You cannot have an abundant life apart from Christ and we know that God is love. Therefore you cannot have an abundant life if you are not doing so in love. What do you love about this life? Focus on cultivating those things and notice how your life changes for the better. Ask anyone living in abundance and they will tell you just how important the practice of gratitude is. This world is not perfect, its not meant to be. We all have hard, messy, imperfect days. However, that does not mean we can’t look for blessings God has given. Might I encourage you to keep a gratitude journal where you record the blessings God has given you? The more you practice looking for these gifts, the more you will find throughout your day. Ann Voskamp – the author of One Thousand Gifts – is quoted as saying “Gratitude for the seemingly insignificant – a seed – this plants the great miracle.” Its a change of perspective when we begin to count blessings, we lose our sense of entitlement and really begin to notice all God has given. What we have becomes enough. Letting go of what we think our life is supposed to look like allows us to celebrate everything that our life truly is.

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So ladies, purpose to love the Lord with your mind. Purpose to live abundantly. Give God your all and watch as He makes it enough. We really can live beautiful lives if only we will be purposeful about doing so.

Are You Ready To Be in A Relationship by Raquel Duarte

I believe in community, in coming together as Christian woman to encourage each other on towards Christ. That is why this summer I have chosen five beautiful ladies to share with you from their heart. I have asked Raquel Duarte to join us today to talk to you single lady readers. Even if you are not single, maybe you know someone who is that you could direct to this post. Raquel can be found online at http://www.itsjustraquel.com/ her instagram is the same: @itsjustraquel. Enjoy her words of wisdom below and come back next Wednesday when I will be talking about our mindset as people who live abundantly! 

 

This article isn’t some sort of quiz or step-by-step process to figure out if you have “what it takes” to be in a relationship.  It’s an article to help figure out for yourself if you believe you are ready.

 

Since when is it hard to be loyal and committed?  Since when does “being in love” mean just a phrase, not a deep soulful promise?  Why even try to be in a relationship if you’re not ready or willing to commit to one person?  Figure out what you want before you go around investing time, energy and emotions into relationship after relationship.

 

You want to meet someone, have deep conversations with them, hang out, feel a connection, see that they prove their loyalty, and if it leads to something more, that’s amazing.

 

I get that.

 

But if you’re still figuring your life out and trying to understand who you are as a person, then don’t mistake love for lust.  No one is in a hurry, but almost everyone is looking for that special someone to spend the rest of their life with.  You can so easily make them think you want more than you’re making apparent.  That’s when it can get messy, and that isn’t fair for either of you.

 

Sure, there are instances when people misread your friendliness as interest.  Or you really did like them, but after a few dates, you just don’t see it working out.  That happens.  And that’s okay.  But learning the difference between being ready to pursue something or not will save you a lot of awkwardness and heartache.

 

I think that one of the greatest mistakes people make these days is thinking that “all it takes is to have a boyfriend/girlfriend”.  “All it’ll take to make them happy will be to have a significant other”.  “Being in a relationship will be the best thing that’s ever happened to them”.  

And no matter if they verbally admit to this or not, more than half of my generation most likely believes this.  

 

But the truth is, a relationship isn’t going to fix anything.  It’s only going to make life harder.  Relationships take work.  Of course they’re not as difficult when both people know how to communicate and know how to deal with issues correctly and maturely, but that’s a skill that should be honed before committing to a relationship, you know?

All these “taking breaks from him/her” isn’t how relationships should work.  If a few months into dating, you “need a break” from them, it’s usually you that’s the problem.  If you truly care for someone, you deal with your crap before you even start a relationship.  And if you actually end up marrying that person, you won’t be able to “take breaks”.  So learn now, okay?

 

I’m not saying that you have to have your life altogether before even considering dating someone.  You’ll never have it altogether.  That’s part of being a human.  You’re always going to be working at improving yourself and the environment around you – even while you’re dating, even when you’re married.  But do you think it’s fair to someone for them to be dating an individual who doesn’t know what they want in life, doesn’t know who they are, doesn’t have goals, doesn’t know how to handle conflict, doesn’t know how to trust someone because they have huge trust issues in their past, etc.?

 

I’ll answer for you.

 

No, it’s not.

 

So the next question to ask yourself is – are you ready to be in a relationship?

 

And I’ll let you answer that one.

 

Raquel is an Oregon human, residing just outside the crazy city of Portland where she works at Dutch Bros by day, and a writer by night.  She is full of Jesus and sass and you can oftentimes find her making music, going on hikes, or drinking matcha tea.