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Singleness

What to Do While You Wait

What to Do While You Wait

“What did you do while you waited for Trevor?” a girl asked me. (Trevor is my husband of almost ten months.) “It’s so hard to wait patiently.”

I can tell you I sure didn’t wait perfectly! There were lots of hard days, and more and more really sweet days as I learned to put my hope in God rather than in a potential boyfriend or husband.

What did I do during my days as a single?

I did the next thing—whatever was right in front of me.

I spent time with people—the old and the young.

I took dance lessons.

I kept journaling.

I wrote a book.

I pursued God through His Word and in prayer (which really means He was pursuing me!).

I picked Michigan cherries and canned applesauce.

I laid on my beach towel by the waves.

I served in my local church.

I played volleyball at the YMCA.

I did laundry and grocery shopped and cleaned my apartment.

I looked for others who were lonely and tried to encourage them.

I “crashed” from constantly go-go-going, and then I slowly re-learned how to live.

I learned how to say “no” occasionally instead of automatically saying “yes” to every invitation. (Goodbye, burnout!)

I learned how to identify my emotions and communicate what I really thought.

And slowly, without even realizing it, I stopped waiting for a guy and started living for God.

Slowly, without even realizing it, I stopped waiting for a guy and started living for God.

What that doesn’t mean is that I “earned” Trevor because I stopped wanting a guy so bad or because I lived well. Not.at.all.

Trevor was and is an undeserved gift from God.

I love my life with Trevor now. But I also had a purposeful, fulfilling life before Trevor.

I say that to assure you that you are not waiting on a guy to start living. In fact, you have a whole lot of good works just waiting for you to do! Ephesians 2:10 tells us:

We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

How can you—this very day—do the most good to the most people?

“May the world this day be happier and better because I live.” —A Puritan prayer

What to Do While You Wait was originally published on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

How to Tell if He’s a Christian

How to Tell if He’s a Christian

Sweet girl,

I hear a really nice guy has been showing you a lot of attention lately. I know you’ve gone on a couple dates, and you like him a lot. He’s told you he’s a Christian, but you’re not sure how strong he is in his faith.

Maybe he is a Christian; maybe he isn’t. I don’t know. But here are a few thing I do know . . .

Be on the lookout for the fruit of faith. Anyone can claim to be a Christian (just like anyone can claim to be an astrophysicist), but there should be evidence of Christ’s transformative work in His followers. James (Jesus’ brother) puts it like this:

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? . . . So also, faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead (2:14, 17, emphasis added).

Pay attention to how this guy lives. Is he living like a young man who has been redeemed from the slave block of sin? Or is he still living like a slave to sin (Rom. 6:15–23)? Put him to the test (1 John 4:1). I’ve included one below.

You shouldn’t have to wonder if this guy is a Christian or not. It should be obvious. As 2 Corinthians 5:17 says:

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

No, he’s not going to be perfect. Yes, we’re all in process. But if he truly has the Holy Spirit of God living in him, he will look more and more like His adoptive Father.

If he truly has the Holy Spirit of God living in him, he will look more and more like His adoptive Father.

Trust me on this one. You don’t want someone who maybe, possibly, probably, hopefully is a Christian. One who just barely squeezes by. You want a thriving Christian. A white-hot Christian. A young man who is well on his way to being able to lead you spiritually.

So here are a few questions to ask about him, straight from 1 John:

  • Does he walk in “light,” or does he walk in “darkness” (1 John 1:6–7)?
  • Does he confess his sins, or does he claim not to have sin in his life (1 John 1:8–10)?
  • Does he keep God’s commandments, or does he live differently than Jesus lived (1 John 2:3–6)?
  • Does he love others, or does he hate others (1 John 2:9–11, 4:7–21)?
  • Does he love the Father, or does he love the world and the things in the world (1 John 2:15–17)?
  • Does he confess that Jesus is God, or does he deny that Jesus is God (1 John 2:22–23)?
  • Does he practice righteousness (1 John 2:29) or does he make a practice of sinning (1 John 3:4–10)?
  • Does he believe that Jesus came to earth and took on human flesh, or does he not believe this (1 John 4:2–3)?
  • Does he have the Spirit of God? The Son of God? Or is he just doing life on his own (1 John 3:24; 4:12)?

If the majority of your answers were on the right side of the comma rather than the left, this guy is not for you, nice as he might seem. God is the treasure in this life—and in the life to come—and you will want a man who will consistently point you to this treasure . . . through his words and his life.

How about you? Are you currently dating or considering dating someone you have doubts about? Where does this post find you today? I’d love to hear from you.

How to Tell if He’s a Christian was originally published on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. 

How Could He Choose HER?

How Could He Choose HER?

I still remember where I was when Mary told me the guy I’d liked for over a year was now dating . . . her. A girl who—in my opinion—wasn’t nearly as pretty as me.

I looked down at the cracks as we walked that small town sidewalk, holding back tears as I felt my heart cracking.

How could he like her? What did he see in her?

And maybe more importantly,

Why was I not enough for him? Why didn’t he choose me?

Have you ever been there?

Totally taken back? Heartbroken? Jealous?

You didn’t earn God’s love, and you won’t earn the love of a man.

It’s too late for me to try to encourage my younger self walking down that weathered sidewalk with cracked insides, but maybe I can encourage you.

Here’s what I want you to know most of all:

Love isn’t a commodity you earn by your good looks or your social skills or your résumé or your spirituality. Love is an undeserved gift from your all-wise, kind, generous heavenly Father.

First John tells us that this is love: “not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (4:10).

You didn’t earn God’s love, and you won’t earn the love of a man. Just as God’s love for you was a gracious gift, a man’s love for you will be a precious gift. You won’t earn it. You won’t deserve it. And if he’s a godly (God-like) man, you won’t have to fight to keep it.

Wait, sweet girl. God’s “no” is as much a gift as His “yes.” He gives the best gifts. He proved that at the cross. And He will continue to give you His very best.

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Rom. 8:32).

I’d love to hear from you. Have you ever wondered how your crush could choose that girl? Are you seeking to earn a guy’s love or waiting on your heavenly Father to give you His very best?

How Could He Choose HER? was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. 

Trevor Declares His Undying Love . . . Sorta

Trevor Declares His Undying Love . . . Sorta

Trevor and I met in “The Promised Land” (a.k.a. Chick-fil-A) on a Saturday night last summer. (If you’re just joining us, I’m sharing my journey from “boy-crazy to my man” this week on the blog. Click here and here for the first two posts.)

We’d never even talked on the phone before—just written back and forth on Facebook for the past four months, but it was as comfortable as could be from the get-go. He was sitting at a table when I walked in—not holding a rose like in romance novels—but reading a book in true Trevor-fashion.

We did all sorts of “manly” things together that long weekend (remember, I was trying to show him a good time!), like exploring an abandoned house, shooting guns, lifting weights, hiking through a riverbed, canoeing, swimming in the lake, and making a bonfire. We ate. And talked. That was my favorite part. We talked about what we were looking for in a spouse, theological beliefs, and past experiences.

Tuesday morning, as we met at Chick-fil-A for one last meal before he headed back to New York, I fought back tears. We’d become even better friends over the long weekend, but I had no idea if I’d ever see this guy again. I wasn’t about to put him on the spot and ask, “Sooooo . . . what are you thinking about us?”

But while I prepared to say goodbye for good, he did it. He did what God created men to do; he initiated. It went something like this:

T: “So, how do you think this weekend went?”
Me: “It was fun!”
T: “Where do you see our relationship going?”
Me: “You tell me. I’m wide open.” (I’m not sure he was expecting that answer!)

He let me know he had qualms about a long-distance relationship, so he wanted to take a few days to seek advice about how to pursue me from nine hours away.

I sent him on his way with some black licorice Swedish dogs, overwhelmed by God’s wonderful surprise and by Trevor acting like a man should. I was on top of the world . . . until the morning.

All too soon I pulled out my journal, and my sin spilled out:

Today I was ungrateful for all God has done and just wanted more. I wanted Trevor to pursue me now.

He’s seeking the Lord about how to do that, but I want and expect to be fawned over and contacted and pursued hotly from his first admission of liking me.

Thank You, God, for this training ground. I want to learn now how to thank You for what he does rather than focusing on what he doesn’t do.

So thank You for his sensitivity and leadership in texting me this today:

“I don’t know if I said this when we had breakfast yesterday, but I want to make sure I’m clear on this—I like you, too, and the question I face is, ‘How might a relationship like this work?’ So that’s the main thing I’m going to try to work through in the coming days and such. Just wanted to maintain the clarity a bit. “

I continued writing,

I also confess that when I responded to his text and admitted my struggle with him only telling me I “had a good head on my shoulders,” I didn’t think of how that would sound to him (probably like “You failed”). I wanted him to text me back saying,

“Of course! Dumb me. You must be wondering WHY I like you. WHAT I like about you. Where should I start?!” (This is where I imagined him rattling off a long list.)

Forgive me for seeking to manipulate him. For trying to gauge my worth on his praise of me.

Here it is again. I want to be worshipped rather than to worship the only worthy God. I am an idolater. A breaker of the first commandment. Rescue me, Abba.

Almost instantly I came face to face with my ugly expectations for a dating relationship. It was as if I no longer cherished our friendship; I only wanted romance . . . and now! How patient Trevor was with me as I worked through my junk. I’ve already written about that season in these two posts: “When a Fantasy Romance Seems So Much Better Than a Real One” and “My Ugly Expectations for My Boyfriend.” They’ll give you a good idea of what this man has put up with!

So . . . what gave me the confidence to move forward with this man even when he wasn’t meeting all my crazy expectations for 24/7 romance? Check back tomorrow to hear the three main things that caused me to joyfully and confidently say “yes!” when Trevor asked me to be his wife this past April.

Trevor Declares His Undying Love . . . Sorta was originally published on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.