Holding Out For A Hero

I’m not really sure why people put so much stock in the whole Valentine’s Day thing.  It’s just another day of the year.  A day to show appreciation to the person that we love most.  Is that really so terrible?

And yes, I can find mushy couples just as vomit-inducing as the next single girl, but I have to admit that when it comes to being in a relationship on Valentine’s Day, it’s not so bad.  Granted, it’s been years since I’ve actually been in a relationship on what some people call “Single Awareness Day”  but that doesn’t change the fact that being in love has a lot to do with people’s attitudes on this particular day.

That being said, you have to wonder how our society has built so much of an empire on days designed for individual people.  Shouldn’t the people that we care about always feel special and loved?  And I’m not just talking about our significant others.  Mothers Day, Father’s Day, Veteran’s Day.  Why is it that every other day of the year is a day that we can take these people completely for granted, and think we can make up for it with a bouquet of flowers or dinner?

Anyway- little rant over… this post is more about what I’m looking forward to in the future.  The kind of man that I want and the kind of woman I want to be.

Last Saturday we had a “Valentine’s” dinner at my church.  Every year we do a ladies appreciation dinner where the men cook and serve and the women can relax and enjoy each other’s company.  This year, instead of doing a ‘newly wed’ game or something similar, we watched a movie.  It was a movie that I saw with the last b/f in the theaters and cried my eyes out at.  It’s also an amazingly powerful movie and says so much about what Godly, God fearing men should be.

The movie is called Courageous.  Basically it’s a story about 5 men (4 of them cops) and their determination to become better husbands and fathers.  They each take a good long look at their lives, and they sign a resolution to make each day count.  It’s a touching story about hard choices and love.  About life and loss and how we handle each decision we make.  The final scene is a powerful portrayal of one of the men standing before his entire church.  Here is his speech:

   “There are some men who, regardless of the mistakes we’ve made in the past, regardless of what our fathers did not do for us, will give the strength of our arms and the rest of our days to loving God with all that we are and to teach our children to do the same—and whenever possible, to love and mentor others who have no father in their lives but who desperately need help and direction. And we are inviting any man whose heart is willing and courageous to join us in this resolution.

God’s Word shows us that God desires for every father to courageous step up and do whatever it takes to be involved in the lives of his children. More than just being there for them or providing for them, he is to walk with them through their young lives and be a visual representation of the character of God, their Father in heaven. Who will accept the responsibility of providing and protecting my family? Who will ask God to break the chain of destructive patterns in my family? Who will pray for, and bless my children to boldly pursue whatever God calls them to do? 

In my home, the decision has already been made. You don’t have to ask who will guide my family because, by God’s grace, I will. You don’t have to ask who will teach my son to follow Christ because I will.”

So where are you, men of courage? Where are you, fathers who fear the Lord?   It’s time to rise up and answer the call God has given you and say, I will! I will! I will!

I think that quote packs enough punch to knock anyone down a peg or two.  It was enough to cause me to take a look at my own life, and think about what choices I’m making now that could help me become the wife and mother that I want to be some day.

I also think that this movie is a great indication of why I’m waiting.  Of why I’m taking this year off of men.  I always thought that I knew exactly what I wanted in a guy.  How many times over the years have I daydreamed about Gilbert Blythe or Mr. Darcy or Danny Zuko?  Too many to count.

And even though I always thought I knew what I wanted in a guy… this movie made me doubletake with one major line.  During a conversation, Adam (one of the cops) explains that he wants to be a better father.  His partner looks at him and says “You’re being too hard on yourself.  You’re a good enough father.”  Adam’s reply is what really struck a cord with me.  He said “I don’t want to be good enough.”  There’s something very alluring about being ‘good enough’.  Not in the sense that we all want to be ‘good enough’ for something, but in the sense that sometimes we do as little as possible.  We do just enough to get by.  We settle for being ‘good enough’ when we should be specatcular.

I think so often in life, we let our schedules dictate our lives.  We focus on the most demanding, the most pressing matters above anything else.  And sometimes, that’s good.  We all have things that we need to do.  But those things aren’t the only things that matter.  Because work and school and hobbies don’t have souls.  But friends, family, kids- those do.  We need to remember to invest our time in people- because in the end, people are really the only thing that matter.

I just recently started re-reading through the book called Captivating: Unveiling the Mysteries of a Woman’s Soul.  It’s a book about women, why we have the needs and desires that we do, and understanding that having these desires is not wrong.  In fact, God made us to have three big desires in our souls.

1. To be romanced
2. To play an irreplaceable role in a grand adventure
3. To unveil beauty

There are a lot of things about this book that leave me wary.  It paraphrases Scripture more than it actually uses it.  But at the same time, I think it points to some major issues that women deal with, and things that tug at our heart strings over and over again.  It tries to explain the constant longing we feel for the three ‘big desires’ of our hearts and how God specifically made us that way.  It’s not another 12 step “How to be a better woman” book.  It’s more of an encouragement that we are fearfully and wonderfully made just the way we are.  It’s a book that acknowledges how hard women try to be perfect, to be everything.  It explores the feelings that we have of constantly being ‘not enough’ but at the same time feeling like we’re ‘too much’.  We’re not strong enough, not pretty enough, not thin enough.  But we’re too emotional, too careful, too caring.

I think every woman has felt this way before.  And I like that Captivating is a book designed to help us feel secure in the person that we are.  It’s not meant to be a fix-all.  It’s an attempt to identify the places in our hearts that God has made especially for Himself to be like Himself. 

Being single on Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be hard (despite the fact that I work across the street from a florist).  Sure, it may not be my favorite day of the year to be single on… but whose to say I can’t still get flowers and chocolate?  Spend an evening cooking myself a delicious meal and watching a sappy movie.  Maybe today is the perfect day to daydream about Gilbert Blythe and Mr Darcy and Danny Zuko.  So long as I don’t lose sight of what is really important.  Because all three of those guys have something in common.  They’re great stories, but as far as a Courageous, Godly man go… I’m not quite sure how they stack up.

On a better note, I’ve been adding more to my story.  What’s that you say?  You want a sneak peak?  Okay… I suppose I can do that.  But I’m only sharing two paragraphs.

Lia dragged the bag of clothes down the hall to the door at the very end.  She turned the handle and pulled; both the door and frame swollen from the heat refused to budge.  Dropping the bag and gripping the knob with both hands, Lia pulled again, harder until the door yielded to her demands and swung open.  She hadn’t expected it to actually open and the force of her pulling on the knob left her off balance when it finally gave in.

Flipping the light switch on just inside the door, Lia sighed when nothing happened.  She wasn’t all-together surprised.  Who knew when the last time was that anyone was up there?  Backtracking to the linen closet down the hallway, Lia found a flashlight in the emergency kit and clicked it on.  Shining it up the stairs into the attic, Lia began up the stairs, pulling the garbage bag full of her grandfather’s old clothes with her.

So what happens next?  Well… it’s a secret.  But you’re more than welcome to guess if you want.  I finally have momentum with this story again.  I’m really excited to see what happens.  I think it’s going to be good!

To all my single ladies out there…
Be brave,

 

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If This Was A Movie

You know those cliché movie scenes where the favorite couple breaks up and the girl is driving home all broken hearted- but when she rounds the bend to her house, the guy is standing there waiting?  Ok, well maybe they don’t happen exactly like that, but you get the gist.  Just when the girl thought she was going to be alone and that the love of her life doesn’t feel the same- suddenly there he is- waiting.  I guess my point is this- have you ever wondered “why isn’t my life like that?”  Come on girls- we’ve all thought it about one movie or another.  But here’s the kicker- real life isn’t like the movies.  Real life is messy.  It’s broken hearts and broken homes.  Its unemployment and family illness and you can never tie up all the loose ends in a 2 hour span.

I used to be that girl.  The one who drives home with the small flicker of ‘will he be there waiting for me?’  I used to dream of the romantic comedy chance meeting- the falling in love with a perfect stranger over an ‘accidental’ meeting of fate.  I used to hope for a two hour neatly tied up ending.  And I say used to because I’m not that girl anymore.  Or at least, I don’t want to be.  That girl is a waiter.  She waits for the chance encounter with the handsome stranger.  She watches the ideal fantasies of often love deprived writers who create characters that have the romance and adventure that they crave.  And yes- love stories do still happen.  But the hard truth is- waiting gets you no where.  Waiting= never going to have a part in any sort of story like that.

And that’s why I’m not that girl anymore.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about women in society today.  More specifically, why it is that so many of us think that we need a man to be happy.  And more over why we measure ourselves by how men see us.  We’re supposed to be thin, but not too thin.  Trendy but without caring too much about it.  Successful but not more successful than him.  Beautiful but not fake.  Cook and clean.  Need him but not be clingy.  Sensitive but not overly emotional.  We have to do jobs twice as well as men to get half the recognition- or it’s said that we’re sleeping our way to the top.  And on top of all of that we have to be willing to give it all up in bed but not too soon or with too many people.  We have to do all of these things just to be recognized by society’s standards and to what end?  So that a guy can grace us with his presence until he finds someone younger/skinnier/smarter/blonder?  Why do we hold ourselves to such a double standard?

I know I may sound bitter, and that’s really not my intention.  I just don’t understand why we as women continue to torture ourselves to fit some mold.  To be something that we’re not.  To hide the true feelings and needs of our souls and to repress it so far that our only escape are these romantic movies that only briefly sate an unquenchable thirst.

Why do women love romance movies so much?  Because we all ache for another person to ‘get’ us in some deep way.

Personally, I think it’s the same reason we all go for bad boys.  Because even though we know they’ll break our hearts in the end, the brief explosion of passion and romance gives us the chance to feel like the women in all those romantic movies that we idolize.  There’s something in our souls that longs for romance and adventure and passion.  And those things so often seem to come at the expense of the bad boy jerks who tend to love and leave.

I’m reminded of one of those cheesy ABC Family movies I insist on torturing myself with where one of the characters says something to the effect of “You can change everything about a relationship except the most important thing- fate.” For some reason, all those other relationships that I’ve tried have failed.  And there’s a line of thinking that says that someday in the future, I’ll meet the guy that will show me why.  But that doesn’t change the now.  It doesn’t change the fact that until that person comes along, I have to be somebody.  I can’t just be the ghost of a person who goes through her day to day actions just hoping that she sparks some guy’s interest.  Because as far as lives go, that one’s pretty pathetic.

Going back to the past for a moment, I just want to say this.  No matter how good you thought things were or how perfect you thought the guy was for you, God has other plans.  If you think that I don’t understand that this is a hard concept to grasp when you’re elbow deep in Ben & Jerry’s and snotty tissues- I promise you, I get it.  But what if the heartbreak was preparing you for something?  And I don’t just mean the cliché ‘you have to know the bad to appreciate the good’ although that is applicable as well.  But what if it was preparing you for this time.  Right now.

That guy (the one in my past and yours) was great for a reason.  What did he teach you?  Maybe to stand up for yourself?  Maybe he taught you how to laugh again, or how to enjoy the little things- how to motivate yourself to do something you never imagined.  And because of that you have the strength to be exactly where and who you are right now, today.

God pinpointed today on his map of your life.  You are exactly where you are supposed to be right now.  It’s up to you to figure out why.

 

Be brave,