Go F*** Yourself.

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I bet a lot of you clicked on this solely on the fact that “F***” is in the title.
Well, folks, it’s not what you think.

Free.

Go free yourself.

Almost always we are our own limitations.  We place ourselves within made-up parameters so that we never go very far.  So many times we, as humans, are so afraid of failure or rejection that we put on our own shackles, just to hold ourselves back to a level far below our potential.

Don’t be like that.  Unlock those shackles you clasped around your own feet.  Break down those invisible walls.  Reject those parameters.

Go. Now.

Go free yourself.

You were made for beautiful, wonderful things.  Big or small, you are filled with purpose.  You are full of life.  You have been given talents and passions, dreams and capabilities to make a difference, to be a help.

What are you waiting for?

Be free. 

“You are not limited by us, but you are limited by your own affections.”
(2 Corinthians 6:12)

“For you were called to be free, brothers; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love.”  (Galatians 5:13)

“For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

You Can’t Win With Love…

…in a tennis game, but on Valentine’s Day (and in life) it’s a whole different story.

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There’s a lot of talk about love and even more so in the month of February.  Think about it.  Go into Target and you are instantly met with graphics of pink and red hearts with some sort of phrase about love or that “someone special.”   (Sidenote:  You are all someone special.  You don’t need a significant other to validate that.  They just help remind you when you forget it.)

People think that for one day, their “love” can be shown through heart shaped candies, overstuffed teddy bears, candle-lit dinners, and large romantic gestures because, hey, the calendar says that on February 14th you’re suppose to actually live out that whole love thing.  Lucky for all of us, we’re told how to “love” on Valentine’s Day, too. 

It breaks my heart every year to see friends of mine and acquaintances who feel so negatively about Valentine’s Day.  We all have (or some of you are) that friend who has been single for so long they have forgotten to believe in real love anymore.  Or, there’s that friend who will choose the worst guy/girl possible to spend Valentine’s Day with because they are afraid to be alone.  Then there are the friends who, from past relationships and more battle scars on their hearts than many of us can imagine, are not sad on Valentine’s Day , but rather bitter.  And overly critical of any and all relationships of their loved ones.  Still yet, there are the newly hurt hearts who long for the idealistic love that media has come to portray through Valentine’s Day.  Oh, and can’t forget the “I don’t know why I am single” friends who try to act too cool for relationships and love.  (Sidenote:  You aren’t that cool.  Next time you ask the rhetorical question of ‘seriously, what is wrong with me?’ I sincerely hope a friend or family member loves you enough to answer that.  It’s for your own good.)

It also kills me to see friends who really buy into the whole one-day love of Valentine’s Day.  I know those girls who will purposefully date a man right before Valentine’s Day just to get attention on that day and presents.  Or, there are always the newly-formed couples who think that saying “I love you” just feels right on Valentine’s Day…despite the fact that they have only known each other a matter of three or less weeks.  Let’s not forget the ‘we’re not together but let’s be together today’ couples who have broken up and been put back together more times than a preschool puzzle.  Just say no. 

So who are the real winners on Valentine’s Day (aside from the jewelry, flower, and candy markets)?  I’ll tell you:  the ones who treat that day as any other day in their life-long love story, just with an extra reminder or two of the love that is shared.  The couples who are long-standing, who believe in marriage and keep it holy, who fight for love against daily life and hold one another in the winner’s circle every single day.  The real winners are the couples who know that love isn’t always sweet like heart-shaped candies, elegant like diamonds, or vibrant like flowers, but know that it is always worth it. 

The real winners on Valentine’s Day are the couples who know what it means to fight for love.  The real winners on Valentine’s Day are those who understand that there are no easy buttons.  The real winners on Valentine’s Day are the ones who have had issues and refuse to give up because, well, they couldn’t imagine life without their significant other – and wouldn’t want to.  The real winners on Valentine’s Day are the couples who hold on to one another instead of trading one another in for something else or someone else.  The real winners on Valentine’s Day are those who understand one simple fact, and have given all of themselves within that understanding:  love is sacrifice. 

The real winners on Valentine’s Day are, also, those who have yet to find that romantic, long-lasting, never-giving-up love but can be joyful and genuinely happy for those who have.  The real winners go on to include the widows who spend the day without the presence of the person they vowed to love forever, but never spend a day without cherishing the memories.  Finally, the real winners on Valentine’s Day must include those who have been hurt, scarred, rejected, and crushed but have yet to give up. 

Don’t give up, buttercup. 

Be a winner this Valentine’s Day.  

You are lovely. 
You are loved.
 You were made to love and be loved.

 Live that way.

Men Must Be Strong And Wealthy….Or Must They?

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I think we, as a societal whole, have chosen standards that are grotesquely inaccurate for men.

Look around.  Everywhere is telling men that for them to be real that they have to be: strong and wealthy.

But what if that’s all wrong?

I do think men need to be strong, but not from hours in the gym or an emotional detachment.  Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate a man with muscles.  However, I appreciate a man who derives his strength from his faith in the God more.  Way more.  A man who knows that strength is found when he admits his weakness to God and allows God to BE his strength is the best kind of man.  Oh, and men, you are human.  You can have emotions.  If you are sad, it’s okay to be sad.  If you are excited, it’s okay to be excited.  If you are disappointed, you can be disappointed.  If you’re happy, it’s okay to be happy.  Seriously, I don’t know a single lady who has ever preferred a man who shows no emotions at all.  That isn’t considered “strong” — it’s considered sociopathic.  I recently had a conversation with a male friend of mine who admitted that he didn’t want to seem weak to anyone, so instead he just pushes them away.  Don’t be that man.

And now in steps the topic of money.  It’s often assumed that women want to marry a wealthy man.  Why?  Because many girls do.  But do you know why girls flock towards men with money?  It’s a stability and thing.  Women see having an abundance of money as a life of stability.  (Of course, you do still have those women who just marry money because they are amoral shopaholics — but they’re the exception, not the rule.)  Be a man who is stable to a woman, and the money part won’t matter as much.  Now, a man should want to work and help (notice I didn’t say solely do) provide for his wife/family, but I think it’s a nasty pseudo-requirement for society to tell men that they are less of a man for not having a higher monetary value in their bank accounts.  Men:  you are the same YOU whether you make $170,000 a year or $17,000 a year.  Don’t let a woman or a society of women tell you that the higher the number, the more valuable you are as a person.  It’s a lie.

Ladies, you’re ruining good men by telling them they disqualify as a man if they don’t meet your made up and irrational requirements.  Men, by believing those lies you are disqualifying yourself.
Stop it.