Paula Writes Header

When You’re Just Not Beautiful Enough to Keep His Attention

When You’re Just Not Beautiful Enough to Keep His Attention

How I need You, Abba. I don’t normally think about things like this, but I don’t have toned thighs, and suddenly I’m aware he would probably like that. I think it all started when I asked him how he’s most often tempted and what he does about it. He told me he wasn’t too keen on sharing details, but he said the standard things you hear guys struggle with are true, beginning with idolizing outer beauty. More

A Lighthearted Interview on Singleness

Enjoy this lighthearted interview that Brenda from Triple Braided Life did with me. 

Brenda: First, tell us a little about yourself – your name, age, where you live, and where you grew up.

Paula: Hey there! I’m Paula Hendricks. If you’d told me as a teen that I’d be 31 and single someday, I think I would’ve said, “Shoot me now!” What a journey it’s been . . .

I live in Michigan (you should too; it’s lovely!). I grew up in the Midwest, surrounded by cornfields (not a fan).

Brenda: Where do you work, and how did you get started in your job?

Paula: I serve as Writing & Editorial Manager at Revive Our Hearts, a women’s ministry calling women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ. I’ve practically grown up here, as I started working at ROH over nine years ago, fresh out of college. It’s a real God-story how He led me here, but unfortunately too lengthy for this post. Ask me about it sometime if we ever meet!

Brenda: Tell us one thing you LOVE about being single and one thing you hate (or your biggest struggle) about being single.

Paula: I love the quiet. “Silence is golden.” It really is.

It’s also nice not to have to wear makeup everyday or worry that my armpits stink or . . . ut-oh. You just asked for one thing. Oh well, that was getting pretty personal anyway.

What I hate: going to church solo on Sundays.

Brenda: Do you ever get mad at God because you are single? When bitterness, discontentment, confusion, and even jealousy creep into your mind, how to you deal with it? Do you have a go-to person or scripture verse or something else that helps?

Paula: When I’m tempted to think wrong thoughts about God, I talk to myself and pray. It usually starts out something like this: “Thank You, God, that You’re not capricious. You aren’t cruel; You’re not trying to tease me. . . .”

Brenda: What is your biggest pet peeve about the way single women are perceived?

Paula: There’s this lie Christians have bought into that if a single woman will just relinquish her strong desire for marriage, then . . . poof! God will give her the gift of marriage. As if we’ve ever earned His gifts . . .

Brenda: Do you struggle with finding community in your local church? How do you find community in a world that seems coupled up?

Paula: If I’m looking for people who are just like me, yes, I struggle. There aren’t many older single females my age left. But if I’m open to God providing community through people who aren’t necessarily in my stage of life, then I realize how incredibly rich I am.

Brenda: Our perception of you is that you are living a fulfilled, purposeful life as a single woman. You’re not waiting around for marriage, but fulfilling God’s call on your life now. What would you say is your secret to doing this?

Paula: Actually, if I weren’t involved in meaningful kingdom work right now, I’d probably be pining away on my couch with a romance novel and a big bag of candy. I’m so grateful God allows us to play a part in advancing His kingdom here on earth. Not only is it crazy adventurous; it’s an awesome antidote to self-pity. You don’t need a public position to do this: volunteer at your church, rake that widow’s leaves, babysit for your neighbors . . . the opportunities are endless.

 

Brenda: What words of advice do you have for other single women who want to live with purpose now and not wait for marriage to start their lives?

Paula: It’s not original to me, but if you’re not content single, you really won’t be content married. Begin to live fully in the moment. It may seem God isn’t answering your prayers, but He’s not just answering them the way you want. Ask Him to help you see the incredible ways He takes care of and loves you each day!

Brenda: And some fun stuff!

Brenda: Which do you like best – Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Pinterest (or all of it!)?

Paula: None of them. I honestly think I belong on the prarie making homemade soap and fighting off wild bears. But since people are on Facebook and Twitter, I’ve caved and joined them. You can find me @PaulaWrites678 and Facebook.com/PaulaWrites678. (The “678” is reminiscent of Romans 6–8 as the truths in those chapters changed everything about me several years ago.)

Brenda: What’s your favorite drink?

Paula: That’s tough. Right now apples are in season, and I have some mean fresh apple cider in my fridge. Yum!

Brenda: Where would you want to live the rest of your life – beach or mountains?

Paula: Beach. I have a dream of owning a house made of sand—well, at least having a bed of sand with sand floors so I’d never need to sweep the sand off my floors.

Brenda: Do you read more fiction or nonfiction?

Paula: Probably more nonfiction, but my true love is fiction. I’m working my way through the classics now; the last one I read was The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Brenda: Are you an introvert or extrovert?

Paula: 50/50, according to the tests.

Brenda: What’s something quirky about you?

Paula: I “pluck” (a.k.a. demolish) my bread. I really shouldn’t be allowed out of the house . . .

Brenda: What else do we need to know about you? Where can we connect with you online?

Paula: You can connect with me at PaulaWrites.com to learn more about my book, Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, to read my blog posts, and more.

Undercover at Oprah’s Tour

Undercover at Oprah’s Tour

“We come from the stars. . . . How amazing is that?” These were Oprah’s opening words at The Life You Want Weekend 2014 Tour.

Undercover at Oprah’s Tour

I know, because I was there. Oprah Winfrey’s The Life You Want Weekend Tour is drawing women like crazy, and I wanted to see what women are feasting on. What is Oprah feeding them? I figured I’d return to the office with fresh passion for why I do what I do.

I got that . . . and more.

As I slipped into my seat just minutes before the tour started with my pen and notebook, I asked God for compassion, wisdom, and discernment.

Those prayers quickly turned toward marriages and families as Elizabeth Gilbert encouraged women to go on a quest (even if it meant divorcing their husbands, as she did, in order to “find themselves”).

I prayed for Rob Bell, who, according to TIME magazine, “is at the forefront of a rethinking of Christianity in America.” I prayed big, that Rob would share the Gospel without even being able to help himself, but . . . alas. There was not one mention of sin or of our need for a Savior.

I prayed for speakers Oprah and Mark Nepo and Iyanla Vanzant. You might assume I left discouraged, disheartened, and thoroughly defeated, but just the opposite is true.

I left praying prayers of thankfulness.

Praying Prayers of Thankfulness

I left praying prayers of thankfulness that I know the name of the “unnamed spirit” Mark Nepo addressed in his group meditation:

“Oh endless Creator, Force of Life, Seat of the Unconscious, Dharma, Otman, Rah, Kal, Dahr, Center of our Love, Christ-light, Yaweh, Allah, Mother of the Universe . . . Oh nameless spirit that is not done with us . . .”

I left praying prayers of thankfulness that I am not the “master of my fate, the captain of my soul,” (the mantra Oprah imbibed as a young girl), but I know the One who is.

I left praying prayers of thankfulness that I don’t have to figure out why I’m here by catching the “whispers” the Universe sends my way—I already know why I’m here through the reliable, unchanging Word of God.

Mostly, I left praying prayers of thankfulness that God would reveal Himself to me. I left freshly aware that the best the world has to offer is utterly empty in comparison to the riches found in Christ.

Now I’m praying that Oprah Tour attendees will rub shoulders with Spirit-filled Christians and breathe in deep the fragrance of Jesus Christ, slain for sinners, raised to defeat sin and death and secure for His children everlasting life with Him.

You may not have attended one of Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend Tours, but in your own life—as you see what the world has to offer—what prayers of thanksgiving can you offer as you consider all that is yours in Christ?

Undercover at Oprah’s Tour” was originally posted on TrueWoman.com.

5 Ways to Make Sure Your Friends (Don’t) Like God

5 Ways to Make Sure Your Friends (Don’t) Like God

How do I get my friends that never talk about God to actually like Him? That’s what one of you asked me recently.

Well, ultimately you can’t make anyone like God. But there are some things you can do along the way that will definitely help . . . or hurt. Here are five ways you can help your friends not like God.

  1. Don’t enjoy God yourself.
    You can’t help but talk about what you enjoy. So don’t spend any time with Him, just you and Him. And by all means, don’t enjoy Him! Then you might not be able to contain your excitement—you might spill the latest thing you’ve been admiring about Him—and your friends might actually get excited about God, too.
  2. Don’t live what you claim to believe.
    Embrace Jesus as your Savior but not your Lord. It doesn’t really matter that you follow and obey Him each day. I mean, He shouldn’t mess up your life or plans or have a say over every area of your life. That would be too . . . radical, don’t you think?
  3. Don’t share the Good News with your friend.
    There are a whole heap of reasons for this. It might make the conversation weird. You might stutter and stumble over your words. Surely your friend wouldn’t be interested! And what if it ruined your friendship? You might miss out on a future opportunity to share the Good News with her.
  4. Only share the gospel once, but expect your friend to trust in Christ immediately.
    Never mind the fact that God is a patient God or that you and I had to hear the gospel countless times; this is different. Your friend really should just get it! Besides, if you’ve told him or her once, you’ve done your job, right?
  5. Never seek to understand.
    Don’t ask your friend questions; don’t seek to understand what he or she has been told about God, or if they even believe He exists at all. Just preach at your friend. Act as if you have all the answers. I mean, you basically do, right? Why bother asking questions like Jesus did? He was God—you’re not. Just try to impress them with all your knowledge.

Of course I’m saying this tongue in cheek, since you and I actually want our friends to like God. In fact, we want them to love Him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength! But sometimes we put obstacles in their way.

Have you ever done any of this? If so, what do you relate to? And more importantly, what can you do today to share the Good News with your friend in a way that will possibly help them almost . . . like God?
5 Ways to Make Sure Your Friends (Don’t) Like God” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

Six Truths to Remember When a Christian Leader Sins

Six Truths to Remember When a Christian Leader Sins

When a Christian leader sins, you’ll want to unfollow them on Instagram and burn their books and reject every truth they ever taught you but apparently didn’t live themselves. Your stomach will hurt, your head will ache, and you’ll feel like throwing up. While your emotions are churning, here are six truths to remember that will serve as salve for your soul.

Six Truths to Remember When a Christian Leader Sins

  1. Only God is good. Jesus said it Himself in Mark 10:18: “No one is good except God alone.” Boy, we forget this all the time, don’t we? We set men and women up on pedestals and follow them rather than following the God to whom they’re pointing. Always remember that anything good you see in a Christian leader—if it truly is good—is only a result of Jesus Christ making His home in them.
  2. Truth is still truth, whether they lived it or not. Romans 1:18 doesn’t say man’s unrighteousness disproves the truth—He says it suppresses the truth. This is why God’s wrath is revealed from heaven, because He takes the truth very seriously! Truth is still truth—even if it’s hard to distinguish it through the lie of their life. It’s also entirely possible that they twisted the truth. Open your Bible, and search out truth for yourself. Don’t just do this when a leader fails but anytime a leader teaches or writes or preaches (Acts 17:11).
  3. “But for the grace of God, there go I.” Be careful if you think you’re above ever stooping to that level. We’re warned in 1 Corinthians 10, “Let anyone who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man” (vv. 12–13). You will probably be tempted in a similar way someday. When that happens, God promises He’ll provide a way of escape (v. 13)—it’ll be up to you to take it. When that happens, run far, far away as fast as your little legs will take you. Don’t linger and dream about what it might be like to toy with sin just a little.
  4. God still loves them. Their sin hasn’t “chilled” God’s love for them. Remember, He died for them while they were still His enemies (Rom. 5:10)! The fact that their sin was discovered by others is actually God’s mercy. Romans 2:4 tells us that God’s kindness is meant to lead us to repentance. If they don’t repent and trust in Christ’s righteousness on their behalf, you can be sure they’ll experience God’s wrath in the future (Rom. 2:5). But for now, He waits patiently, kindly, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9).
  5. Repentance is a process. If you’re like me, you’ll expect that leader to repent immediately. To confess their sin and bring it out into the light and turn from it back to the Lord. That’s certainly God’s desire, too! But this won’t always happen right away.When King David (a man who genuinely loved God) had sex with another man’s wife and then had that man murdered in order to cover up his sin, it was at least nine months before he acknowledged, “I have sinned against the LORD” (2 Sam. 12:13). Pray that God would give the leader you looked up to godly sorrow leading to repentance (2 Cor. 7:10).
  6. Not everyone who claims to be a Christ-follower actually is one. First John 2:19 tells us that only the person who finishes well was actually ever saved: “If they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.” Not that believers never stumble (remember King David!). But if they really are Christ-followers, you will see them repent and return to their original faith in Christ’s righteousness on their behalf.

If you’ve ever had a Christian leader sin big time, what other truths have you clung to? If it hasn’t happened to you yet, is there someone you need to take off your pedestal? Remember, no one but God is ultimately good.

And don’t forget to pray for that Christian leader in your life. A great prayer is found at the end of the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:13: “Lead [them] not into temptation, but deliver [them] from evil.” Which Christian leader can you commit to praying for regularly?

This post was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com as “6 Truths to Remember When a Christian Leader Messes Up Royally.”