The Person I’ll Spend the Rest of My Life With: A Man’s Perspective

 Here is another personal insight to add to the collection of words from young men after God’s heart. Mitchell Capps, whom you may read about in a post from my “Meet My Friends” series, has the strongest command of human language of anyone I’ve known. I asked him to answer a prompt and, of course, was blown away by his response. I really think everyone – male and female – should read this.

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     The prompt, as I understand it, is to write about the person that I would like to spend the rest of my life with. In the realm of written word, this is probably the most difficult thing I can imagine writing. This strain is made confusing by the fact that the subject is something I have given a great deal of thought. My mind is so ill-arrived upon an answer. We are taught that if we seek after something hard enough, we will eventually find it. In my search and subsequent failure I am still able to hold on to this truth.

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Give Me Love

marshall

Here’s another guest blog from an awesome bro! Marshall Pickard is so full of energy and seems to carry laughter with him wherever he goes. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him through another good friend of mine, and it’s so exciting to see breathing evidence of a man living to follow Christ.

Marshall likes to pretend he lives in Chattanooga, even though he is a PR major at Lee University in Cleveland, TN. Although one day he hopes to work for an incredible nonprofit organization, his passion has always been writing— especially about his Savior—and he blogs at The Train of His Robe. Marshall’s other favorite things include oceans, The Chronicles of Narnia, European travel, NCIS, tigers, and the Smoky Mountains. Writing bios, admittedly, isn’t his forte. 

Are you ready? Let’s jump into it.

Give. Me. Love.

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She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. (Hosea 2:7 NIV)

Since Heart in Bloom has a large focus on purity, especially in relationships, I have felt compelled for a long time to write about a subject that I think plagues my generation’s relationships: How far is too far (emotionally, physically, spiritually)? This question doesn’t just apply to romantic relationships; we wonder what distance we are supposed to maintain in almost all our friendships. This definitely seems like an area of question that trips up many young people and leads to physical immorality or emotional over-dependence.

However, as much as I wanted to talk about this, the words never came. I discovered that I certainly don’t know the answer to the question, and after a short time in my life where I seemed to not be loving anyone in my life correctly, I became convinced of the importance of a deeper question we must ask ourselves: am I giving and receiving love in a healthy, Christ-centered manner?

So many of our problems and sins result from the fact that we are all broken lovers. We want to love people well, but so often we react to them with aggression, lust, jealousy, covetousness, and apathy. Conversely, when we don’t fully embrace the love of Father, we have to work for our own worth and often treasure the acceptance of others idolatrously.

 

The song “Give Me Love” by Ed Sheeran really sold me on this point. In this song, a lonely guy is crying out to a woman with whom he is encountering conflict. In one part of the song, he releases a guttural scream for her to love him. It’s amazing how similarly our hearts scream like this for love and belonging. I’ve always rolled my eyes at the cliché analogy of there being a “God-shaped hole” in our lives, but it is honestly very true. There is a place of satisfaction—a deep unfulfilled place within our hearts—that groans for love and attention. Unless we find fulfillment in Christ, we won’t be able to quit adulterously running after other lovers.

I believe there are four fundamental ways we’ve gotten this love thing wrong:

  1. We overvalue “stuff” in our lives. We might be able to help the poor if we could give up a Starbucks drink or an hour of work once a week. We could actually have time to spend with people we love if we didn’t care more about the new iOS update or the series finale of Breaking Bad. In materialistic America, we spend so much time-consuming media and building up physical treasure for ourselves on Earth that sometimes we completely miss genuine connection.
  2. We undervalue people in our lives. While it is very possible to have idolatrous relationships, more often than not, the way we love someone is the problem, not our choice to love them in itself. Ironically, Christians many times lock our hearts behind vaults that no one can penetrate. We fail to love people because there are no guarantees they will love us back. Vulnerability is viewed as weakness, and because we all feel insecure, we don’t allow ourselves to be truly known by anyone. As C.S. Lewis said, “To love at all is to be vulnerable.”
  3. We hate ourselves. It’s no wonder we don’t love others: too often our hearts are closed off to loving one of the most important people in our lives—ourselves. Encased in shame, we don’t let the light of Christ penetrate our darkest mission field—preaching the Gospel to ourselves. We ignore Jesus’ command: “Love your neighbor AS yourself.” When I’m not allowing Father’s love to penetrate my heart, it hardens, and I treat everyone around me as harshly as I’m treating myself.
  4. We don’t know how to love God. The only way to love God is to recognize that He loved us first. However, Christians today put so much emphasis on our actions, and much like the Pharisees of Jesus’ time, we build walls between our hearts and the heart of God by reducing our love walk with Him to a set of rules and regulations. Our code of ethics should instead be this: is the choice I’m making a loving action towards my Savior or not?

“In that day,” declares the LORD, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master.’” (Hosea 2:16 NIV)

 

Lord, let us love this world, the people you’ve placed in our lives, ourselves, and You correctly. Let us not scorn the place deep within us that You have left unsatisfied, but may we chase after You. We know You will satisfy like no other lover can. Stir up love to guide our decisions and our lives.

How to Actually Pursue Her Heart

The following is an honest and poignant perspective from another friend of mine, 21-year-old Ian White. If you could meet him in person, you’d see that he is quirky, witty, and zealous for life. He and his girlfriend of two years, Sarah, serve Christ together and are the epitome of a fun-loving, respectful, energetic couple. 

Do you think you understand what it truly means to pursue or be pursued? This is going to challenge your outlook.

ian and sarah

 

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How to Be a Good Girlfriend

Lie Detector #3: Girls

Loving and straight-forward guidance on how women of God can present themselves as both available and valuable – from the perspective of a man of God. This article is an excerpt from a series written by my fellow Wesley-brother and blogger-friend, Andrew Huang. You can find more of his insight, compositions (he is a musician!), and photography (hire him!) at:

instepintime.com

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Ok, a little off the beaten path of a blog post. I have been identifying a lot of lies out there in my recent writing and this is something I can’t really stop thinking about. So I’m gonna write it. If you haven’t read the previous two, you should! Just scroll down… Anyway: This is not a single lie identification, but a presentation of a great truth that will combat a lot of lies that you believe. And you guessed it: I’m talking to girls. But everyone, including guys, should know and think about this kind of thing. Because I am a guy writing on a “girl” thing, I need to write a healthy preface to make clear exactly what I’m doing here and why I’m doing it.

Before I begin: know this. When it comes to girls I have made many many many mistakes. And though those mistakes created hardship for me in terms of believing in my worth as a son of God and also my worthiness to be made pure, they have given me a platform to share this kind of thing and also a deep hunger to understand what I am about to write about. Also, I understand in Christian culture that it’s super hip for a guy to stand up on a stage (or platform like this) and just say how amazing and beautiful girls are and how they are all worthy and beloved by God. Which is true, but my intention is not at all to paint myself to be some kind of OneDirection SuperChristian who sees girls perfectly just as God does. I’m not gonna sit here and be like “guys get it together and girls sit tight, you are so beautiful and perfect.” I am working on all of this, I’m still a child learning to be like his dad. Make sense?  this whole thing is a really fun topic for me to write about, and I am having a good time sharing it with you. It’s light-hearted and a little off the dome, so let’s have fun with it and talk.  Lastly, I want to speak to you in the spirit of fatherhood. I’m 20, I’m nowhere near that level of maturity – but I hope we can look at this as if a father were saying it to you. So, without further adieu, sisters in Christ : This is how you be a good girlfriend, prepare yourself to be a good girlfriend, and have a meaningful relationship in general. 

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The Diagnosis/ The Cure

Guns. Money. Self-Ambition. Love.

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Selfish ambition only forces us to steal from others

And our communities are being raped by money loves.

So we decide to gang bang because we need protection.

Because we want money so we head the same direction.

So if somebody gets in the way, a fights out.

We pull our nines out. Cock-n-bang! It’s lights out!

But if we see.. that all of us seek the same thing

Then we can work together. Only then we’ll see some change.

If our basic necessities are being met;

We got a roof over our heads and we’re being fed;

And we got clothes on our backs –  so what if he’s got ice?

Are his possessions really more valuable than his life?

But first we gotta lay aside the root of many evils.

We gotta stop loving money and start loving people.

We gotta redirect our focus to what’s really important.

Love guides us through the night and leads us to tomorrow morning.

Joel Ubiera, 25

Woman! Yes, You!

Sometimes, as women, we tend to devalue the treasure that lies within us. This is a special message placed on the heart of a man of God to share with his sisters in Christ.

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 Woman, YES YOU!

If you only allowed God to do what He wants to do:

cover your nakedness and tend to you, love on you and comfort you, hold you and protect you, captivate you and make you smile, enlighten you and guide you, reassure you and give you peace, hold your hand as your Father, romance you as your Lover…

If you would only let Him ,

you’d radiate like the sun, emit the loveliest of fragrances and nurture others, overflow with unshakable joy, live life purposefully, thrive with emotional and spiritual well-being, captivate the world with gracefulness, and live with eternal life!

-Joel Ubiera, 25