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Sabrina Gauer

Faith, Life & The Journey

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Single

More Than An Apple

“Your past is a chapter in your life. NOT the whole book!” – Proverbs 31 Ministries

I read another cringe-worthy analogy about guarding your heart as a single Christian. Well, more specifically, guarding your heart as a single, Christian, FEMALE. It went something like this:

“Your heart is like an apple. Every time you have a relationship with someone who is not your husband, they take a bite from it. And by the time you meet your husband, do you want to only have the core and seeds leftover? No? Then guard your heart until you meet him!”

Seriously right now?

Why do these horrible, guilt-ridden analogies and comparisons keep circulating in Christian circles? Why do we keep making women feel worthless? There is nothing Biblical about any of it.

I’ve already ranted once on here about the status of the white wedding dress, so I don’t need to rehash (but click the link if you’re curious!). Whoever is reading this post, I want you to hear this Truth right now; You are more than an apple.

Sounds stupid, right? Because it is! You are more than a piece of fruit with bruises and bites missing! You are more than what happened in your past. You are being made new, every day, as  bittenappleJesus works in your heart and mind. I pray the person you were five years ago would hardly recognize the person you are today. And that’s growth! That’s progress! That’s the power of Christ literally changing you daily into the man or woman He’s called you to be.

When you become wholeheartedly in love with your Savior, He works on the broken things of the past to create the most beautiful redemption story. Because He is in every detail, not just the “big things” that we worry about. Your friendships, your relationships, your finances, your job, every little moment…He’s there. He’s in it all.

And if we keep comparing ourselves to meaningless objects (apple cores, sticky-less duct tape, an opened present), then we miss the point altogether. As followers of Jesus, we are called to a higher standard. We are called to put His Will before our own will. But I do not subscribe to the idea that every relationship I have ever had only served to make me less of a woman – either emotionally, physically, or spiritually – for the man I’ll one day marry. 

Rather, every person comes into our life for a purpose. Some are there to draw us closer to Christ. Others are there to make us realize that we’re stronger than we think we are. Some are lessons-learned, even through the hardest times. And the same is true for ourselves! We are used in others’ lives exactly the way God intends. Sometimes just for a season, and other times for the long-haul.

I choose to chalk it all up to experience. If I ever catch myself feeling guilty or regretting my past, I know immediately that those thoughts aren’t from God. “There is, therefore, NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1) We have a very real Enemy who plants these ideas into our heads, makes us shrink back in self-doubt and fear, and would like nothing more than to take the rough parts of our lives and convince us that we are worthless, rotting apple cores. Because if you feel worthless, you hide yourself. Just like Adam and Eve in the garden, you cover up and run away from God.

But you have a choice. You can choose to believe that broken is beautiful. Laying it all at His feet, and watching God take all the pieces of shattered dreams and wrong turns and stepping back to see the incredible masterpiece He’s created is what this life is all about. He is the Redeemer, Restorer, and Provider. If you believe His promises, then you (like me!) vehemently reject the idea that you are a useless past. Instead, we begin as nothing – but God makes us something amazing. And every mountain top and every deep, dark valley, He is there to guide, protect, and make us new.

He’s not finished with you yet!

A Note About Mr. Right

Love’s tricky. In my personal experience, it’s fickle, complicated, full of ups and downs, frustrating, exhilarating, highest highs, lowest lows, and takes a LOT of work. True love lasts, and fleeting, I-thought-you-were-the-one-but-where’d-you-go love is a flash in the pan. We’re told to wait for love to find us, but then we’re told we have to coax it along by putting ourselves “out there”. Flirt, but don’t show all your cards. Don’t call him, let him chase. But don’t be too hard-to-get. Guard your heart, don’t show emotions, but don’t be too closed off. Keep him hooked, but don’t try too hard.

Oh. my. word.

My serious relationships have been a tough bunch. Some people can look back on their past and say they’re still friends with their exes, and that just isn’t the case for me. But it’s perfectly okay. I’ve talked about seasons of life multiple times, and the same rings true for past relationships; they served a purpose for a season, but they were never meant for the long haul. What I needed then is very different from what I need in my life now. The person they knew then is no longer the woman I have become.

The funny thing is, no matter how well you “play your cards” and don’t “give away the milk for Death_to_stock_photography_Wake_Up_5free” (I hate that phrase so much!), sometimes it literally isn’t you. You can do everything “right” in a relationship and follow all the confusing advice, and still end up with a broken heart or with a disappointing ending.

When two people decide to do life together, you are trying to connect two separate souls, minds, and lives…and all that well-intended advice won’t give you the power to bend someone else’s will to your own. Sometimes, it’s really just not meant to be. And if you find yourself stepping back and doing some self-reflecting, you may just discover the opportunity to grow.

Now that I’m in my “late” 20s and still single, I more frequently hear, “How are you trying to meet Mr. Right?” from very well-meaning older women or married friends. “Why don’t you…” go out to bars more often, get involved at a church, volunteer somewhere, join a gym, go to more events, set up a profile on a dating website…

And quite frankly, I don’t need or want the advice on how to meet this “Mr. Right.” It’s very possible that I might not be ready to meet him! Or vice versa. But I’m using this time intentionally to grow and learn more about myself before I ever say “I do”. To become perfectly content in who I am and being complete in myself and in Christ.

I think the very worst thing we ever do is latch onto, and expect, the other person to fill our needs. That is always a dead-end and heartbreaking road to travel on. It confuses us, makes us question ourselves, and constantly trying to change for someone else is exhausting. Having a partner doesn’t fill the emptiness inside- in fact, it only makes it worse.

But it’s a beautiful thing when two complete people come together to create one complete life in Jesus. When their fulfillment is already in God, there is a strength, a perseverance through life’s hardships, and a lasting, real love.

So, wherever he is, whoever he is, I know that God will bring us together at the right time. I don’t need to go looking- there’s already a beautiful love story unfolding throughout my life, and God is writing it exactly the way it should be. My job is just to trust, and keep eagerly turning the pages.

 

 

 

6 Reasons Why Meaningful Relationships Are Everything

I’m not going to pretend like I’m perfect at the whole relationship area of life. I’ve had (many!) moments of being a terrible friend, girlfriend, sister, and daughter. I’ve gossiped when I should have prayed for, torn down when I should have encouraged, been harsh and judgmental instead of tender and compassionate. I’ve refused to see the other side of the story, had my moments of selfishness and arrogance, and broken trust while demanding it from the other person. And if you’re honest, you have too.

Life is messy. Relationships are messy. But meaningful, lasting connections with the people who love us anyway is the stuff that makes life beautiful. And here are 6 very important reasons why it’s vitally necessary:

  • Lonely, but Never Alone

We all have moments when we feel really lonely. Life happens, time gets away from us, friends and family are moving into different seasons, and we feel stuck. But when we have those close relationships, we are never truly alone. Think of that one person you can always count on, no   Processed with VSCO with t1 presetmatter what time of day, or how many miles apart. You know you’d do the same for them, regardless of that dumb argument you may have had or how long it’s been since you’ve sat  down and had a heart-to-heart. You always have them in your corner.

  • Through Thick and Thin

This also means you have a network to turn to when things are over-the-top happy or never-knew-it-could-be-so-awful sad. Close relationships rejoice together when there is something to celebrate, and grieve together in the hard times. Just as marriage vows read “in sickness and in health, good times and in bad”, when we take our relationships seriously, we have people walking alongside us in life who are willing to do just that with us. Circumstances may change, but they are there through it all.

  • That Shoulder to Lean On

Sometimes, we just aren’t at our best. We slip and fall, our greatest intentions can have the worst results, the ugly comes out and we see ourselves for who we really are. Those relationships we’ve cultivated in the best of times will also be there for us when we’re falling apart. When others are only seeing the addiction, the mess-up, the lost cause, we don’t have to hide from those who love us and care about us the most. Just like you’ve been there for them in the messy and the broken, they’re more than ready for your not-so-beautiful moments too. But not to wallow–no, they are there to hold you up, dust you off, and help you find your way again. They will never give up on you!

  • Eyes to See, Ears to Hear

Have you ever dated someone who was so wrong for you, but were blinded by “love” and couldn’t see the florescent, screaming red flags slapping you in the face? Or had a toxic person in your life who was so manipulative and judgmental, and yet you felt the need to change yourself and work with them, hoping things would just get better? Sometimes you need the loving shake from a trusted friend to help you see the truth. We can dissect situations on our own, good and bad, but we can only get so far in our understanding. Those who love us the most and have discerning hearts can give us a better perspective, a deeper insight, and can see our blindspots.

  • Iron Sharpens Iron

Here’s the thing about meaningful relationships- they are hard. It’s not fluffy, feel-good emotions all the time. But if you are looking for deep, nitty-gritty, lasting friendships, then you’re on the right track.

I am so grateful for the people in my life who love me and aren’t afraid to tell the truth. This doesn’t mean I’m always ready to hear the truth, but when I need to grow and be challenged, God has a funny way of putting the words in their mouths. Sure, there are many people who will think they have some sort of authority to speak into your life, but only those you trust will be able to have an impact–just as you are a source of truth and encouragement for them also.

  • God’s Intention for Us

Finally, and probably most importantly, God specifically designed us to have close relationships. That’s the nature of humanity. We can pretend like we’re independent and self-sufficient, but in the end, if you’ve never taken the time and effort to love, follow through, cultivate and grow with others, you’ve lived a very lonely and broken existence as a human being. Togetherness is what helps us to overcome difficulties, take risks, and believe in something greater than ourselves. If you’re unsure of your relationships, it’s time to take a step back, reevaluate and ask for wisdom. Life is too complicated to navigate alone.

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