Bro, Don’t Me.

Based on a thousand true stories of malilinaw na malabong usapan, though not one of them mine. Rather, these are the collective thoughts of males and females alike who are close to me and have been in such circumstances before. 

Let’s make it clear before this gets too far. Like a puppet-master with a string, you have always known how to pull me to you. But today, I might have to cut the ties.

The Greek have said that emotion must warm reason, but reason must rule emotion. I confess, I can love you in spite of everything. I can give up my “rights” and what I “deserve.” However, I choose not to, not because I choose in selfishness but because I choose in wisdom. I apologize for not standing my ground sooner yet I will not apologize for this, now.

I refuse to allow you to keep waging active warfare against my heart.

Stop messaging me audaciously on Facebook if you can’t even face me properly in person. Stop flirting with my emotions if you can’t take responsibility. Stop strategizing and teasing, drawing me near the boundary lines, tempting me to compromise.

Stop making me forget my worth and who I am in Christ.

I am not a secret kept in the dark; I am to be loved in the light. I am not a trophy to be won; I am to be treasured like the jewel in your crown. I am not a toy to be played around with; I am to be treated as I am – created in the image of Maker, bought by the life of the Savior.

They say boys will be boys, but I refuse to accept that. I don’t want to forget your mantle and who God created you to be, too.

You are not a boy, weak and unsure; you are to be a man, ready to lead and take risks. You are not a slave to your emotions and desires; you are to be a warrior fighting for what is right and true. You are not a player; you are to be who you are – entrusted by the Maker to care for His creation, marked by the love of the Savior.

I will not take the easiest route with you, not if it means settling for less than the quality of relationship God might have for us. I don’t want to keep each other stuck like this. The stakes are simply too high. I deserve better. You deserve better. I refuse to rob you and your future wife of your time and affection, so please don’t rob me and my future husband of mine.

If you’re going to pursue me, then do so the way Christ would want you to pursue me.

Love me with clarity.

How would you feel if your sister is being treated the way you treat me?

Love me with purity.

Brother, a man who looks to Jesus would know how to treat a woman.

A woman’s insecurity is never an excuse for a man’s irresponsibility. And as you do your job, I promise I will do mine.

Man up. Please, don’t me.

This Is Who You Are

Take a long look in the mirror right now and tell me what you see.

Hips too thin, waist too fat, arms too flabby.

Look closer. Tell me what you see.

Eyes too far apart, nose too flat, acne scars too deep.

Closer. Look deeper. Don’t you see what I see?

There, right there, swimming in your eyes, reflecting the very depths of your soul.

Beautiful. Breathtaking. The image of the Maker.

You are not an accident. You are not a mistake. God did not create you for the sake of creating. God did not create you out of boredom.

Nothing could come to being out of boredom.

No, like a masterpiece in the hands of an Artist, you were created out of inspiration and love and color bursting. He picked you up and held you close. Face-to-face, nose-to-nose, He breathed life into you. Air from His lungs flow in yours.

Fearfully and wonderfully made – this is who you are.

But maybe you could no longer recognize the face in the mirror. Maybe you’ve hidden behind layers of makeup and clothes and success, afraid that your flaws may be seen; playing your part well, thinking that if you can convince other people that everything is okay, you’ll believe it too. You’ve labored away, hammering walls to keep discerning eyes out and building shiny Christian-dreams of perfection only to find yourself hitting the glass.

Have you shattered?

Love, He does not mind picking up the pieces. He can deal with your mess. Christ didn’t come for those who have it all together; He came for those who don’t. You can let Him hold you together. Your jagged edges and broken fragments won’t stop Him from keeping you close.

The scars in His hands ought to be enough proof of that: He loves you just as you are, not as you should be. There’s no longer anything to prove, because the cross has already declared:

Broken, yet chosen – this is who you are.

The world can try to tell you that you are not enough; that you are hopeless and horrible and shameful. But there is only One righteous to judge and in all His blinding glory and holy, He has His arms wide open waiting for you.

No condemnation. Just forgiveness.

He does not cower from the skeletons in your closet. He is not put off by the darkness of your past. His love is far brighter than that. His sacrifice is enough.

Fully known, truly forgiven – this is who you are.

No more striving to find a place in this world. No more fighting for approval. God has written this story and has put a period to your happy ever after; you know how this tale ends.

Beloved, allow yourself to be loved.

Because the truth is, it’s not about who you are; it’s about who He is. It’s not about what you do or don’t do; it’s about what He has done.

Accept it.

Irrevocably, wildly, unconditionally loved – this is who you are.

The Father’s love reveals who you are.

His.

You are His.

Do you now see?

Dear Student: What To Do When You Like Someone

Dear Student,

I have something to say first, because maybe you have heard from some people that you should not like someone. Maybe you’ve been told that you’re too young to develop such attraction. I’ve had a lot of voices like that in my life. I grew up feeling condemned and sinful whenever I had a crush on someone because there were those who told me that I shouldn’t be having any crush at all. Having a crush meant I wasn’t fixated enough on God. Liking someone meant I would be distracted from God. Admiring meant I would be sinning emotionally. (If you have never heard these statements before in your life, you can skip ahead to the numerated part of this post).

Don’t get me wrong, I do understand where they were coming from and I appreciate the heart behind it. However, experiences like those left me scarred, dubious, cynical, shamed, and above all else, legalistic.

I actually haven’t liked a guy romantically for two years now. Not because I try not to admire someone, but simply because I haven’t found someone who captured my attention. It’s funny that it was when I graduated university that I lost those kinds of emotions, but I guess this is just the season God is placing me in now. However, I certainly have had my fair share of crushes – all when I was a student. And for most of that time, I felt extremely dirty because I was no longer “emotionally pure.”

So let me tell you something that will get that weight off your chest: it’s okay to like someone. It’s okay that you admire him. It’s okay that you feel something for her. It’s okay. You don’t have to suppress it. You don’t have to downplay it. I know your emotions feel so real, so acting like it’s not would be messy. Trust me, I tried. I would attempt to minimize my emotions, then I’d act on them, then I’d pull back, then I’d show emotion again, then things would get incredibly messy. 

And so through all my years of trial and error, I want to share with you the best way to deal with these emotions at that stage in your life:

1. Be honest to God and yourself about how you feel.

The faster you become transparent about it, the better. Don’t worry, God’s not going to strike you with lightning and He can handle your emotions. Thank Him that you have someone to admire and care for so much, then surrender those feelings to Him – don’t let them lead the way. Take a step back and listen to what He says about it. Because while you cannot imagine your life with this person right now, he or she might not what God wants for you – even if said individual is too amazing or attractive or perfect. 

You have free will, but you wouldn’t want to make any rash decisions based on the fleeting and fickle knowing that it might rob you from His best. Not to belittle what you think you possibly feel, but truly loving is different from temporary liking. 

My feelings are not God. God is God. My feelings do not define truth. God’s word defines truth. My feelings are echoes and responses to what my mind perceives. And sometimes – many times – my feelings are out of sync with the truth. When that happens – and it happens every day in some measure – I try not to bend the truth to justify my imperfect feelings, but rather, I plead with God: Purify my perceptions of your truth and transform my feelings so that they are in sync with the truth.
-John Piper

2. Be accountable.

Don’t go spreading it around like a 5th grader. Tell your leaders, people you trust and look up to, and listen to their counsel. Tell the ones you know would guard you and look out for you, not the “friends” who would spread the fact around like a joke and stir up your emotions inappropriately even more.

3. Guard your thoughts

I am so sure you’ve heard Proverbs 4:23 used to tell you to be careful about how you feel: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” But while there is a good point to that, contextually, that is not what this verse is saying. If you read the entire chapter, you will find that this is a father speaking to his son, telling him to keep wisdom in his heart and to make sure he guarded this wisdom. And so this I tell you as you venture on the adventures of the heart: don’t be legalistic, be wise. Guard your thoughts and keep them pure. It’s not wrong to think about that person every now and then and to continually admire, but it’s wrong if that’s all you ever think about. Don’t stalk his social media accounts 24/7. Don’t overthink every little detail; don’t meditate on every single word he or she says. Don’t fixate on the person; fixate on Jesus. As you submit your emotions to Him, ask for the grace to take every thought captive and make them obedient to Christ. Let your thought life be that of all that is true, pure, noble, and praiseworthy. 

“Not to think of him was impossible. How to think of him was within her power.”
-Regarding Lady Helen’s affection for Wallace, The Scottish Chiefs

4. Watch your actions.

As your thoughts become captive to Christ, I hope your actions do too. Don’t be unnatural around him or her. Don’t take matters into your own hands, don’t grow impatient, and don’t take control. Don’t let attraction turn into manipulation. Don’t go under the guise of “group hangouts” or “study dates” with just the two (or three, if you add a thirdwheel) of you. Maybe it would be wise for you to talk or text less, even. If you’re friends, please don’t stop being friends but also don’t place yourself in positions that would stir you up even more. Let your fists relinquish control and with your heart wide open, hands off. 

5. Pray.

I have had students ask me if it’s okay to pray for a specific person they desire, and my answer is yes. There is really, really nothing wrong with that. God has always wanted us to be transparent about our desires, and to present this person before Him is as honest and vulnerable as it gets. It’s worse to stay within the line of praying “only for the qualities” while thinking of this someone, simply because you think that it would be wrong to ask God and thus you end up being completely untruthful to Him. Just be sure that when you pray, you are completely surrendering those emotions to Him. Be ready to submit to His will when He says no, and be ready to risk when the time comes and He says go. If you aren’t willing to adjust to the idea that God might say no and if prayers just make you obsess all the more then stop completely, because that is no longer love; that is idolatry.

6. Let Christ be your First Love.

Now don’t ask me if you’re allowed to enter into a relationship as a student, because honestly, I won’t say that you’re not allowed. That is not for me to dictate upon you. I don’t want you to follow a formula; I want you to follow Him. So check your heart, your thoughts, your intentions, your actions – is it still about God and what He wants for you or has it become about you and what you want? Be discerning, would a relationship cause you to compromise and sin? Would it distract you from your studies? Would it make you disobedient to your parents? If you answer yes, then take it from someone who entered a relationship when she was 12 years old (I was in 2nd year high school, mind you, and it was mostly out of rebellion): be careful about trading your destiny for something that is temporary. Because let’s be honest, teenage hormones can be immensely misleading. And I don’t think it really matters to God how cute you would be with this person if your relationship wouldn’t be of honor to Him.

“Everything is permissible” you say, but not everything is beneficial (1 Corinthians 10:23). Your willingness to bend your values might mean that you’re only using that person to fill holes in your heart, and that is just setting yourself up for disaster. My dear, you may think you just have to be in a relationship now and all your friends may be in relationships already, but if you think of the fact that you’ll live up to probably 70 or 80, you’ll realize that there’s no need to rush. Know without a doubt that God makes everything beautiful in its time. 

“Our love for God becomes our scale to judge things: we do things and don’t do things because we love God.”
-David Bonifacio

The most important thing is you let your love and life (and lovelife 😂) flow from a place of deep adoration for God. Human love will fall short, and no one in this world can compare to the Lover of your soul. He is the only one who can fill your deepest needs and wants; He alone can satisfy your deepest longings.

And the only way to be sure that you are being wise about how you are handling your emotions is when you love Him most, when you allow yourself to be governed by His holy love. He is the standard of true love, and so let this be how we love– with a love that is patient and not self-seeking and protects; with a love that does not seek to be completed, but is already whole. 

Photo by Jah Sales

Dear Mr. Right: I Can’t Love You That Way Anymore

Dear Mr. Right,

Just a heads up: this might not make you feel butterflies or see hearts.

I’m assuming you’ve read the thousand of books and posts out there on the qualities “God’s Perfect Choice” should have. Of course you have, you’re a godly man. The truth is, I have always wanted you to be the epitome of what everyone would call “The One”. You know how some people say that from the very first time you lay your eyes on that one person, you just know? Well, I have a type. And this entire time, I have waited for that leap of recognition when I look at faces that pass this physical standard. I have held a list up to every guy who dares to get close to me, trying to see how many qualities on my list he lives up to, trying to rate and trying to see if he is you.

But maybe it won’t be that way for us. Maybe you look nothing like how I want you to. And so let me look for you not through the lens of this world and its superficial standards. Let me recognize you through your bubbling laughter and sparkling eyes, through your kind soul and compassionate smile. Let me see not how many barbells you lift at the gym, but how you arms are outstretched to those in need. Let me see not the brand of shoes you wear, but how your feet are willing to go wherever the Lord says so. Let me hear not how deep and melodic your voice is, but how you speak life, grace, and truth. Let me notice not how high you hold your head up, but how low you kneel before His Throne.

One of the main reasons I will love you so much is because you look like Christ. 

Yet amidst all these expectations and requirements, I realized that while having standards is most certainly not wrong, I was teaching myself to only love good people. I was conditioning myself to love you conditionally, and that the moment you start messing up, I can no longer consider you as God’s best. And I can’t love you that way anymore. I’m done claiming to be ready to love you when it’s actually on the basis of my preferences and comforts and pretensions. 

How can I expect you to never make a mistake when I constantly make mistakes too? How can I expect you to be forgiving and understanding of my issues when I refuse to even give any guy the time of the day because he has struggles? How can I say that I love you when it has become all about my standards and my happiness? 

I sincerely apologize for having diminished your worth to a formula; for thinking that your value is rooted in how convenient it would be to love you. I don’t want you to be a checklist I get to tick off. I want you to be real.

So know that I will also love you in the moments that you fall short.

I never want you to feel as if I would judge you just because you lost control over your anger or had a murky past. I never want you to think that you have to be the poster boy for Prince Charming to gain my affection. All I expect of you is that you love God above everything and anything else; I expect you to revere Him and adore Him and live out your life in light of who He is.

Still even then, I know there will still be mess-ups. You’re going to make mistakes and so am I. We’re going to hurt and we’re going to fight because fairy tales and chick flicks are just that – fiction. But what we have is better. What we have is not a story of pretend written by human hands, we have one written by the Author of the Universe – full of plot twists and conflicts for we are to be refined all through out this journey called life. I doubt that it’s going to be easy, walking on this path together, but there will be no balking the moment things get tough and there will be no running away. There will be love, there will be understanding, and there will be repentance and forgiveness.

See, I don’t want us to be like couples who claim to have missed out on “The One” and that they married the wrong person. My love, to me, you don’t become “The One” when you have fulfilled my preferences; you become The One the moment we say, “I do” – that’s why the path to you must be filled with reason and guidance. You remain to be The One even when you fail and even when times get rough. And though you will change through the years, that wouldn’t change a thing because I know that I would have married a person, dynamic and changing, not a list.

To be honest, I’m writing this more for my sake than yours. I have always been obsessed with getting things right, but I am done having criteria that are selfish and are driven by my individual desires. I’m doing this to remind myself that The One I’m waiting for is also a human being – and I wouldn’t have him any other way.

And so tell me, tell me about the universe hidden inside of you, show me the darkness, and let me point out all the stars I see. Let me commit to you not with knowledge of my ideals, but with knowledge of your faults and your weaknesses. Let me love you not only because, let me love you in spite of.

For while the process of choosing you would mean the need for wisdom on the basis of clear thinking, being in a relationship with you would be driven by wisdom on the basis of God’s unconditional love. And so when I dive into this adventure with you, it means witnessing both wonders and horrors; it means embracing the beauty of mystery and uncertainty.

When I love you, I love you completely – past, present, and future; mess and all. When I choose you, I don’t choose by formula, I choose by faith.

And it is with faith that is neither blind nor naïve, with eyes fixed on The One who first loved, that we’ll get this right.

A Lover, Not A Sugar Daddy

I still remember the day I first saw you. Immediately, you were etched into My heart. It was love at first sight and since then, I adored you with all My might.

I’m sure, being in a relationship with Me is not all you pictured it to be.
Because you knew I treasured you so immensely, you pictured rainbows and butterflies when in reality, all I offered you was a love that would fight for you; a love I hoped you’d fight for.

And so I ask you today: why do you love Me?

Do you love Me because of the gifts I give you?
Do you love Me because of how tightly I hug you?
Do you love Me because of how gentle I am?
Do you love Me because of My promises, My glorious plan?

Or do you love Me just because I am?

Will you still like Me if blessings stop going your way?
Or when you can’t see the light of day?
Will you still want Me if I do not answer your prayer?
If I say no to all your desires, will you still lift Me higher?

Now what if death happens to someone you love?
What if the promise doesn’t come when you expected it from above?
What if I ask you to wait twenty years more?
Will you still be there, praising my name even as you lay crying on the floor?

What will happen if I take all your prized possessions?
Will your mouth speak worship or will it mutter moans?
Will you grumble like a spoiled little baby?
Or will you, in faith, hold on to what you cannot see?

When you feel My absence, will you still be faithful?
In your heart, will I still be the One in reign, in rule?
When I discipline you, will you allow it in humility?
Or will you be defiant and refuse, acting so stubbornly?

See, I think I need to remind you
It is a narrow road you have chosen to pursue.
You require too many blessings of this earth,
Is it not enough that I have died so you may have birth?

When I ask you to take up your cross
Will you die to yourself, none too much of a loss?

Beloved, this is a two-way relationship, so do count the cost.

If you want to love Me, love Me for all I am

I am Love as I am Justice
I am Grace as I am Truth
I am Patient as I am Wrath
I am Kind as I am Discipline
I am Forgiving as I am Holy

I am He

Father, King, Lord, Lover


Not Sugar Daddy.

I do believe that God promises to bless His people. However, I also believe it is good to check our hearts every so often to know why we actually follow God. I have heard people turning their backs on Christ so many times just because He refused to give what they wanted, as if He existed for our satisfaction and not the other way around. I honestly grieve when people complain of how much God is requiring of them; such a stark contrast to the disciples who readily laid down their lives for Him with no question. People seem to think that following Christ should mean tangible rewards. 

“God since I obeyed You, give me…” 

Newsflash: God does not need to “pay” us for our obedience. I think we all need to be reminded that we live for His glory – every breath we breathe, every second we’re alive is to His glory.

We love because He first loved us, and the greatest manifestation of that love is His sacrifice on the cross. He need not give us any more proof of His love, for that act alone was proof enough. The fact that He created us and He died for us and He continues to sustain us is enough for us to love Him for all that He is with all that we are – even if material blessings no longer come our way, trusting that our reward is in heaven. 

One ultimate question I would want to pose is this: will you live for Him – even if it means you will have to die for Him?

May it be that it’s okay that we have nothing because God alone, to us, means everything.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

-‭‭Matthew‬ ‭16:24‬ ‭(emphasis mine)

Dear Millenials: How Do You Love?

Dear Generation Y,

Hear me out. In this world of modernization, we claim to know love by insisting on “marriage equality” all the while pushing for divorce and pre-nuptial agreements. We stay in a relationship until someone more interesting comes along. We think that sex before marriage is completely normal because, hello, we have to check the sexual compatibility.

Let me stop you right there. What’s your definition of love in the first place? I find it sad that so many people in relationships cry out, “understand me” “listen to me” “give me this” “pleasure me”, me me me me me. People these days enter a relationship based on what they can get – on how much the other puts out sexually, on how rich the person is, on how much fun they’ll experience while it lasts. We don’t look for partners who will walk out the rest of our lives with us, we look for people who set our hearts ablaze until the fire runs out. We ride along until the bursts of adventure turn into comfortable moments of mundane, then we go along looking for another person to give us the thrill yet again. 

We enter relationships founded on chemistry, not trust. We enter relationships based on “similar interests”, not mutual beliefs and values. We want someone cool who’s good-looking and dresses well, not a beautiful soul who inspires us to be a better person. We want someone easy, not someone who knows her worth. We want someone perfect, not someone we can grow with. We want someone right now, not someone who is worth the wait. We want someone who’s “modern”, who believes in open relationships and one night stands and understands that there are other fish in the sea, not someone who believes in loyalty and building a life together.

Instead, the talk of commitment makes people balk. We laugh at couples who “take things too seriously” in their 20s. We tell children to “explore, but don’t invest too much because you’ll break up eventually.” We romanticize people who leave their homes so they can spend their life wandering from one place to another. We don’t believe in settling down. We believe in “options.” We believe in being “explorers.”

We have wider social circles than people ever did in any other generation. Yet we have less meaningful relationships than people did in any other generation as well. We know people based on their facebook wall and instagram account, not their history and personality. We think that a person’s value is dependent on how many friends they have and how many likes they get, not their identity.

We’re run by logic, you see. We’re practical. Getting to know another person’s depths is just too time-consuming and takes too much effort. We have to save the energy for our school and work. Relationships can take the back-burner because we have a career ladder to climb. Long-distance is just too difficult so we’d rather break up. We want what we want so we refuse to meet halfway and swallow our pride.The people we have relationships with should fit our schedule, anything less convenient and we cut them off. Apparently, material things and temporary gratifications matter more than people these days.

And you’re surprised the relationship didn’t work out? Love, to its core, has been about giving, never about receiving. Love is a commitment, a decision, not a fading emotion.

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
-C.S. Lewis

We love movies where the girl comes up to the boy whose heart she has broken a million times over before, asking him to love her. We adore TV shows where the guy runs to the airport and while the girl turns him away, he is undeterred as he promises to still wait, to still hold on. We like stories where the guy is edgy yet respectful -a gentleman in all the right ways. We watch them over and over, wishing that that was our story.

But wait a second, are you sure you can have that as your story? Are you ready to love someone that much? Can you risk leaving your life behind and move to another continent to chase after the one you love? Are you willing to ignore other people vying for your attention as you wait 7 years for the one person you truly want? Do you believe in abstaining from physical intimacy so that the body you’ll give on your honeymoon night would have only been one with your spouse’s? Are you willing to give up certain goals you have for yourself because you know that you can build a better life together with the person you love? Can you open your heart like that and be completely vulnerable as you lay your love down for another person?

No. Because we’re too scared. We’re too guarded. We’re too selfish. We’re too embarassed by the thought of putting ourselves out there and getting turned down. We don’t want others to think of us as “old-fashioned” or “whipped.” But then, that just shows how we’re thinking of ourselves. 

“Fear is always a killer. It doesn’t always look like ugly cowardly fear. Sometimes it looks like unforgiveness – when we don’t want to forgive because it may just happen again. Sometimes it looks like entitlement – when we want to hold back for ourselves just in case. Sometimes it looks like pride – when we think we’re better off.

Whatever it is, fear and love are like oil and water. If you want to hold on to your fears you’ll end up with your fears. If you want love, you have to be brave.”
-David Bonifacio

There’s no such thing as loving with half of your heart, as the John Mayer song goes. No, love is all-in. I noticed that most regrets stem from the fact that one played things too safe, and so I have come to find that the greatest risk is not taking risks at all. At the end of my life, I’d rather have the ones I love beside me instead of newspaper clippings of me and stacks of money that won’t matter when I’m gone. 

So I plead to you, don’t run and don’t hide your heart away. Love the way Christ loved you – wholeheartedly, patiently, deliberately, unconditionally. Love because you want to give, not because there’s something you want to receive. Love purely. Love no matter what it costs. Love until your graffitied walls have been peeled and the hidden canvas underneath has been uncovered. Love in a way that commits your entire life to one plan and one plan only – laying yourself down for this person. Love to the point that the word love feels insufficient anymore.

Love like it’s already the last chapter. Love like you’re sealing the letter.

Because that is the only way worth loving; that is the only way worth living.

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:1-8‬ (emphasis mine)‭

P.S. Please be secure of your identity in Christ first. Know who you are and who you commit to because loving selflessly even when it hurts and when it’s hard is different from being a masochist and a pushover; from giving yourself away because you’re insecure. Love because you’re filled with God’s unconditional love; anything less, you’ll lose yourself and you’ll run out eventually.

Dear Reader: Stop Copying My Convictions

Hello, my dearest reader.

I mean this in the kindest way possible. As you read through this, don’t hear my voice in your head as someone mad or annoyed. Hear the sincerity and the heartfelt concern.

As much as I am immensely grateful that you hold my convictions admirable enough to imitate, I must say this: please know why you’re doing it. If you do it because you understood my point of view and God convicted your heart, then by all means do so. But if you’re doing it only because you feel condemned for not having better convictions, then don’t.

I personally have gone through that. Books such as I Kissed Dating Goodbye (though I have nothing against Joshua Harris) have held my stands captive for a long time because the thought of the books sounded nice. It seemed like I would have been less a Christian if I didn’t follow suit. It appeared to me as if I was marring my purity if I didn’t have the exact same beliefs. And so my entire high school and part of my college life has been lived based upon the stances of other people. I spent that entire time being so concentrated on living like a good, emotionally pure Christian girl that you wouldn’t hear anything else out of my mouth other than love (friends who have known me for at least 3 years would attest to this). In fact, I made a completely new blog because looking back, I was kind of appalled by how much my old blog revolved on romance – as if there wasn’t more to life with God. After constant reading of Christian books and blogs about love, emotional purity, courtship, and romance, I have turned into a well-meaning person who made the opinions of others her own, obsessed with getting things right. I have become legalistic.

My most popular post so far on this blog has been the one about guy friends. And while I am thrilled that so many people related to it, I dearly hope none of them broke it off with their best friends of the opposite sex without thinking through the heart behind it. Contrary to popular belief, guys and girls can have relationships built on purity and integrity without the need to overthink every little thing because they have God in the center. Loving each other as brother and sister is a beautiful thing. 

I used to have a “no texting guys beyond 9 pm” rule in high school because someone said so. I used to avoid going on one on one friendly dates with guys because I read that you “shouldn’t.” Only to discover eventually that constant communication and hanging out with guys don’t deter my heart, and that I was only doing it because I based upon a set of rules to follow, not a personal relationship with God. But people, being a Christian isn’t based on a formula. It’s based on having intimacy with the Father.

Gain as much wisdom as you can from these kinds of blogs, but never map out your life in such a way simply to fit a box that seems right. If it’s extra-biblical and it’s not sin, then know that we all have free will in Christ, and you have the right to use your own mind. Know what your spiritual family and leader has to say about it and listen intently, for Christianity still has massively to do with us as a body. Take the ideas you get and consider them. Know your past, know what would make your heart weak, know what you struggle with, know not to cause others to stumble. Don’t live off of the relationships God has with other people because everyone has different histories and stories. Seek Him on your own. Ask God what He would have you do. Is it wise or is it compromise? Would it bring Him glory? Would He be pleased? Would He be honored? Then proceed to hold convictions based upon this awareness.

The most important thing here is that you live a life that is led by the Holy Spirit, a life that is worthy of what Jesus has done, a life that worships the Father in all areas. Develop such an interaction with Him that every decision you make and every word you speak is lifted up to Him. Know what kind of person He wants you to be. And I dearly hope that at all times, you will be in tune to His heart.

Again, this is for extra-biblical matters. For convictions on issues such as homosexuality and pre-marital sex, I have this to say: sin is sin. He will never ever lead you to anything that goes against what He has said in the Bible, remember that. If you feel led to hold convictions that goes against the Scriptures, then know that it isn’t the Holy Spirit leading you.

And for everyone else out there, please know that more uptight convictions don’t make you a better person, so don’t look down on people who hold different views. It’s about God’s grace, not our strength or accomplishments. I remember having seen a wedding video of someone bragging about how he chose not to say “I love you” before they wedded and how he told others to do the same. Now let me tell you, saying “I love you” or holding hands before you get married isn’t defrauding. Don’t get me wrong, I hold admiration for people who do, but simply because it’s what they believe in and not because it’s a trophy to hang on their wall.

We don’t live by formula. I don’t post everything I do for God on Facebook because I don’t understand how it magnifies Him more than me. That doesn’t make me more of a Christian than those who do. I no longer have time constraints as to when I text and I meet up alone with guy friends because it’s not something I struggle with. It doesn’t make me less a Christian than those who don’t. Just as long as we take up our crosses and live surrendered to Him, honor Him in everything, don’t steal any form of glory from Him, and stay aligned to His will, then we’re just fine. Life with God is living under His grace and having freedom under His truth, not under a set of made-up rules.

And so as you continue to walk with me through this blog, I hope it imparts wisdom and truth, inspires you to seek His heart, and points you to His glory, not confine you or the way you live. 

Don’t imitate me or any other writer or preacher out there. Imitate Jesus. And live life to the full. 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.

The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight. Prize her highly, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her. She will place on your head a graceful garland; she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.

Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil. Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on.

Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.”
-‭‭Proverbs‬ 3:5-7; ‭4:7-9, 14-15, 26-27‬

Loving a Cheater

Your eyes hardened in defensiveness as I confronted you with your mistake. I could hear the way your pride is telling you to just leave, just walk away, to go with who you cheated on me with.

You know, someone once tempted me to stray from my love, too.

The only difference is, I chose love.

I chose you.

Even if it meant waiting for years.
Even if it meant chasing after you repeatedly as you reject me.
Even if it meant being taken for granted as you choose other things that capture your fancy.

You see, I knew your issues even before we entered this relationship.

I knew how easy it was for your heart to be captured by another one’s shallow, sugar-coated words.
I knew how you had the tendency to look for loopholes so you could justify your sins.
I knew how you succumb to moments of pleasure with another only to run back apologetically into my arms.

I knew exactly what I was walking into.

My love is not blind.
I see you exactly as you are.
My love just doesn’t change its mind.

I’m rightfully jealous, I’m rightfully angered. But my heart holds no hatred for you as I wait for you to decide.

You act
As if you’re the victim
As if I’m still just an option
As if your betrayal could be justified.

I’m nailed to a cross
My arms wide open,
My head hung down,
My blood pouring out from my side.

Oh sweetheart, remember.

I chose you.

It cost me everything, but I chose you.

And I still choose you.

So please. Choose me, too.

And this time, please give me all of you.

I wrote this as I was thinking about how vulnerable God can be to us, how we actually have the capacity to bring Him pleasure or pain. I remember a time when I fell into sin and I felt the Holy Spirit grieve. In the moment, I felt my heart shatter as I cried in remorse. I couldn’t believe I offended God that way, and as I thought of all the times I have sinned (which I couldn’t count because there are so many times!!), I was startled with the realization that that was how I break His heart each and every time I lie or gossip or choose my will over His. Every time I sin, I say that the God who formed the universe and breathed life into me is less important than my temporary gratification. Yet in His love, I feel Him accept my heartfelt repentance as He wrapped me in His arms and He sung innocence over me. It changed me forever.

I just want you to know, everyone has fallen short of His glory. Every. One. But none are too far from His grace. Don’t be afraid to approach Him as you do so with a heart that is fully repentant. He’s waiting for you with arms wide open, He’s waiting for you with a heart full of love and forgiveness. Just take that first step and trust me, He’ll meet you where you’re at. Then allow His love to change you radically from the inside out. 

And so my prayer is that you realize that all sin is equally serious, no matter how seemingly big or small, and it is all an act of rebellion against God that can never be justified. I pray that you will be more concerned about how sin grieves the heart of God rather than just gaining personal victory, and so you will cultivate a heart that is pure and pleasing in the sight of Him who sits on the throne. I pray that you will open your heart to all the grace that He has poured out for us so you can be free from the chains and bondages of sin. And I pray that you will remember what it cost Him to love you, and that you will love Him at whatever cost too.

Dear Pretty Lady: You Are Not Cheap

Dear Pretty Lady,

I know there’s so much more to you than a pretty face and an attractive body.

So let me say this: you are worth far more than a booty call or a flirty text. You deserve more than mixed signals and promises unfulfilled. You cannot be demeaned by catcalls and lingering gazes.

You do not have to reveal your body to get men to like you. You do not have to distinguish your value based on the number of likes you get on social media. You do not have to post an album of selfies and bikini shots just to show everyone how pretty you are. You do not have to have a new boyfriend every time a relationship fails because it makes you feel secure. You do not have to starve yourself thin just so you can be as physically attractive as the photoshopped women on magazines. You do not have to change your values so that your peers would like you.

Just because everyone else is lowering their standards and values doesn’t mean that you should too. You were made to stand out. You may have had a messy past, but who doesn’t? You don’t have to doubt your worth, and you don’t have to prove it to other people.

Therefore I plead you, do not give in to someone just because he gives you the butterflies, because emotions are easily manipulated. Wait for the one who will pursue you like a dying man in the desert would pursue water, wait for the man who knows your true value – the way God sees you. Do not expose your precious body and soul to a man who does not understand that such a treasure is worth waiting and working for. Do not succumb to the pressures of this culture and cover yourself in piles of makeup and facades of personality just to be “cool” and accepted. You are beautiful just as you are, and friends who do not see that might not be real friends at all.

You are not defined by how many men court you, by how many followers you have, nor by how pretty everyone else says you are.

Your value was declared and decided when the One who is love gave up His life for you. Know who He says you are, His beloved, His princess. You are worth pursuing, you are worth waiting for, you are worth dying for.

You are worth so much more.

You are a series of complexities, layering upon the other, an endless adventure to the people who are privileged enough to be let in on your journey. You are every possible color slammed together in one canvas, an abstract appreciated by those who are educated enough to know that art encompasses a broad range of wonder, and induces a wide range of emotions.

There may be times you feel so filled by darkness that you cannot see beyond yourself, but trust me, you are the universe. And there are so many stars and galaxies living inside of you, waiting to burst and show true stellar potential.

You are gold, constantly being refined. You are a precious jewel, rare and hard to find.

You are a pearl, and you do not throw pearls to pigs.

Let’s Take It Slow

Let’s take it slow

Not because I’m playing it safe, but because I’m not
Truth be told, you’re the surest thing I’ve got
And so I want to hold on to this feeling and stretch it out
I want to know everything that makes you laugh, cry, and pout

Let’s take it slow

Because I want to explore every nook and cranny of your soul
I want to know what tears you apart and makes you whole
I want you to be a part of every page of my book
I want to capture and memorize every whisper and stolen look

Let’s take it slow

Not because I don’t want to make mistakes, but because I do
And I want to see every flaw that there is about you
Not to judge you or to deem you unworthy
But for you to know that I’m beside you even when you feel lowly

Let’s take it slow

Because I want to make sure these minutes turn into hours
And I want to spend my nights with you talking under the stars
Because being with you, the hours feel like minutes
And I want to make sure that our love won’t feel pressured by limits

Let’s take it slow

Not because I’m not ready, but because I am
And we need to let this unfold as in God’s plan
Together, we will have a love that lives and dreams
Yet we have to acknowledge that love takes time; it’s not as easy as it seems

Let’s take it slow

Because yes, you’ve been running through my thoughts all day
But I do believe it is wisdom that we don’t immediately follow what our hearts say
So let’s wait a while, there’s only now to lose and a lifetime to gain
For you’re all my dreams come true and I’ve never been more certain

Let’s take it slow

Not because we’re bound by rules, but because I want to honor God
And you know, you really have to go through my dad 😂
Because relationships aren’t a formula of one plus one equals two
It’s a different story for each, but I hope this one leads to “I do”

Let’s take it slow

Because in you, I’ve found something good and I’m not letting go
But to reach the end, we wait and keep it down low
For God’s still molding me, like He is doing with you
And we’ve got to be aligned to Him to have a love that is true

So let’s take it slow