All of Him and All of Me {The “Other Half” Fallacy}

“As a single woman, I thought there was something wrong with me,” she confessed. “While all my peers were out there looking for their ‘other half,’ I didn’t want that.”

It wasn’t the thought of having a relationship that scared her, it was the use of that phrase “other half.” Because if she had an “other half” out there somewhere, it meant she wasn’t complete without him. It meant that she, as a single woman, was somehow lacking.

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to be a whole person on your own,” she said.

And it was all I could do to stay in my seat and remain silent when those words slipped out of her mouth, because my heart was singing a resounding echo of, “Yes! Yes! Thank you so much for going there!”

Because I think too many girls obsess over the thought of their “other half.” And I think that whether we realize it or not, that choice of wording plays out in our hearts in powerful and painful ways. Because as long as your “other half” is somewhere out there waiting, you are not complete.

I think it would be a dreadful thing to be missing half of myself. I have a hard enough time figuring out who I am without having to imagine that there’s still a huge piece of myself that I haven’t even met yet.

I don’t want to be half a person. I don’t want a fractured, broken, vital-pieces-missing version of myself to be all I have to offer my husband. And I certainly don’t want that to be all he has to offer me.

I want all of him and all of me. And I want to somehow meld all that together one day. But I still want to be whole in myself. Complete without him. And I want him to be complete without me.

When people say you should marry someone you cannot live without, I don’t think they mean it in a literal sense. Because I don’t think it’s healthy to depend on another human being like you depend on the air that you breathe. Because even though your spouse should be the most important aspect of your life, there will always be life outside each other. And I think so many of us tend to forget that.

Because what if we do believe in the “other half”? And what if spend our single years believing we’re not good enough on our own? And what if we do get married, but then tragedy strikes? As my friend shared last night, “What happens if my husband dies tomorrow? Am I half a person? I certainly hope not.”

I don’t think anyone should have to spend their life in pieces.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to be a whole person on your own.

And I don’t want to live a fractured life, trying to discover how the pieces are supposed to fit together.

So let’s all take a step toward becoming whole.

all of him and all of me

 

A Letter to My Former Self ~ A Guest Post

(The following is an excerpt from Renee Fisher’s new ebook Loves Me Not. She asked if I’d be willing to let her guest post in order to spread the word about her latest release. Of course I said “yes” because Renee was such a blessing when I needed to find places to promote Beyond Waiting. Also, I love the idea of writing a letter to my former self. I think I’m going to try it out after scheduling this post!)             

Loves Me NotI just hate that stupid cliche that so many married and/or older adults tell young people.

“It’s not until you’re satisfied in God that He’ll bring you someone.”

I was far from content.

If nothing else, it was the complete opposite.

I told God that He was late, and I tried to do my own thing because I was tired of all the waiting around.

I’m sure God chuckled about my attitude, but that didn’t stop Him from bringing me “the one.” Some days I look back on my past and think, If only I knew. If only my former self knew God could and would bring my future husband to me in spite of my attitude. He certainly didn’t need my help. It wasn’t up to me to be the perfect Christian and try to help Him along.

Recently, I wrote a letter to my former self because there are a few things that I know now that I didn’t know then, but wished I did. It is my hope that after reading this letter you might try in your own words to write a letter as well. Who knows, maybe you’ll realize you really are being your own person!

Letter to My Former Self:

I wish I could invent a time machine so I could go back and tell you a secret. Also, tell you how beautiful and brave and fierce you have become. A woman who loves God and isn’t afraid to show it.

Many girls wish they had your confidence.

You may not believe that now, but someday you’ll see it.

Then I’d tell my former self the secret I’ve been dying to tell her: you WILL meet your handsome prince.

You will not be single forever.

You will lose weight and find another, better job.

I know she’s held on to that prayer request for years—cherished it in her heart even.

Hoped. Prayed for that day when she’d no longer be single.

I wish I could tell her not to grow bitter and jaded because of her “single” relationship status.

It makes me so sad to look back at my former self and see her lose all hope. She thought she had nothing left to give. That her world was over. It wasn’t, although it was sure close.

I wish I could tell her that her dreams of working in ministry alongside her husband will come true, just not the way she expected but better. That’s the part she gave up on. I so, so wish she stopped assuming things about her future.

I wish she had just let her prayers climb and continue climbing higher and higher until they reached the throne room of God.

Her future husband wasn’t to be found through online dating, but she already knew that.

Her future husband was busy like her and needed more time. (This was a good thing.)

She just needed to find herself first. (This was and still is the most important thing.)

(***Random Intrusion from Rebekah: Please, please, please don’t lose sight of the most important thing! You belong to Jesus, girl. There’s no love story more beautiful than that of the God who died for you!***)

Renee FisherRenee Fisher, the Devotional Diva®, is the spirited speaker and author of Faithbook of Jesus, Not Another Dating Book, Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me, and Loves Me Not. A graduate of Biola University, Renee’s mission in life is to “spur others forward” (Hebrews 10:24) using the lessons learned from her own trials to encourage others in their walk with God. She and her husband, Marc, live in California with their dog, Star. Learn more about Renee at www.devotionaldiva.com.

Keep Running {A Beyond Waiting Success Story}

It has been five years since my brother used a couple of pencils to explain his frustrations in searching for a wife. Five years since I watched those pencils dance across a counter as he described how easily distracted he is by his search for “the one.”

“The girl who is right for me,” he began, “is not the one who will cross in front of me, leading me off my path. When God brings the right girl, she will come and run alongside me.”

And even when I published those words last year, I had no idea how close he was to finding that one. I had no idea how soon he would glance over and realize that someone had been running alongside him all along.

If you’ve noticed a silence in this corner of the internet recently it’s because I spent the last two weeks in Europe where I witnessed the wedding of my precious brother Donald and his beautiful British bride.

You know, a lot of people have told me that I’ll have to write a sequel to Beyond Waiting  once I get married (and I just laugh like, “Sooo not happening”). While I’m not anywhere close to doing that, if you open that book to page 39, you’ll find the beginnings of a love story that promises to be absolutely beautiful: My Ugandan-born brother, his English wife, and a calling to reach the lost people in Mexico.

Only God could ordain that. Only God could bring those two together. Only God could make them realize they had been running the same path all along.

So I sit here and watch as God knits three nations together like some sort of beautiful patchwork quilt.

I sit here reminded that part of living the Beyond Waiting journey is to never slow down, but to make my prince catch up. Which reminds me that it is possible. He can  catch up. Somewhere in the world, there’s someone running the same path I run and we’re bound to find each other.

As I celebrated with my brother and new sister-in-law, I was so inspired by their story. By the way God slowly knit their hearts together. And I was reminded to keep running—just keep running—knowing that one day I’ll look up and find I’m not alone. Knowing that God is writing a story more beautiful than I can possibly imagine, just as He did for Donald and Becky.

So here’s some advice from my brother and his new bride:

Don’t. Slow. Down.

Don’t let yourself become distracted.

Just keep pressing on toward the dream God has given you until you realize you’re no longer alone. And when that day comes, keep on running—just keep on running. Because that makes for the most beautiful love story of all.

Donald and Becky

The Alleged Singleness Expert

Once you’ve written a book on singleness, people tend to assume that anything involving singleness, marriage, or dating must interest you. If I had a dollar for every time someone came up to me to point out yet another book, blog post, seminar, etc. about relationship statuses, I might actually be making decent money off this accidental venture of mine. And I might be less inclined to roll my eyes every time someone approached me with yet another you-name-it.

Because, seriously, it happens all the time and, honestly, I’m not all that interested in talking about romance and relationships.

So when a friend of mine posted a link on my wall saying she thought I would like it, I had one of those “ugh” moments. Except the title of this blog really intrigued me.

“I don’t wait anymore,” it said. So I clicked the link and read what may honestly be the best message on singleness I ever read.

Seriously.

Go read it and see what you think.

“’True Love Waits.’ Waits. What’s it ‘waiting’ for, anyway?”

Apparently I’m not the only person in the world who discovered that waiting is not always a good thing. Someone aside from me realized that the pat answers we give single people do more harm than good. And someone other than me decided that she wasn’t okay with it anymore.

“Whether it was the fault of the leaders, the fault of us girls, or both, a tragedy happened back then. A lot of girls were sold on a deal and not on a Savior.”

Somewhere along the line, we started to get this idea that singleness is an if/then agreement with God.

“If you seek Me first, then I’ll bring the right guy into your life.”

Well okay, God, but is that sort of like how my dad promised we’d get a horse after my brother was potty-trained? Because he’d been wearing big boy pants for seven years when we finally got one, and I don’t know that I can wait seven years for a guy. I’m sort of satisfied now, so could You hurry up a little?

“What if we as girls had learned early on that having Him was everything, not a means to the life we think He would want us to have?”

I completely and totally, wholeheartedly agree with Grace on this one. Somehow we’ve taken something as beautiful as purity and waiting and distorted it until it was all about a guy. But God didn’t give us a season of singleness so we could spend it searching for Mr. Right; He gave us that time to fall in love with Him.

We’ve lost sight of that. We’ve let our focus shift. And we’re insecure and unsatisfied because of it.

“I’ve planned major life decisions around possibilities. I lived like I was waiting for something.”

But you know what? There’s something bigger out there. Something better. God desires so much for you in this season of your life and He is simply waiting for you to reach out and take hold of the life He intended for you.

“I just didn’t want to wait anymore – didn’t want to live like I was waiting on anyone to get here.”

So maybe instead of “True Love Waits,” we should be saying it this way:

It can wait. It can wait until we’ve figured out what’s truly important in life. It can wait until we realize that what we’ve really been missing has been right there all along. After all…

“I already have Him … and He is everything.”

The Day I Decided She Was Worth It

I’ve been sort of jaded by relationships—the ones that don’t stand the test of time. The ones that clutter the path of my life, leaving glaring evidence that they didn’t end well. For years I’ve tried to blame the other person—the one that did the walking away. I’ve only just begun to realize that I’m just as much at fault for standing back and just watching them leave.

I’ve been thinking about my best friend recently. You know, that shy little girl I met in fourth grade who didn’t turn out to be as shy as she first appeared. At. All. I started thinking about all the not-so-pretty seasons of our friendship (and trust me, there have been a few). And I started wondering how we—being the two opposites that we are—actually overcame all of our struggles and made it this far. How did we survive the tests of time and trial and love and sacrifice and swallowing my pride to say that I—yes, I—am sorry even when I’m still convinced that she’s the one in the wrong?

How is it that my greatest and dearest friendship is the one that has been the hardest for me to keep?

Then I realized that what was really hard about our relationship wasn’t so much what we experienced, but what we survived. Because I faced a lot of junk in my other relationships, too. But the thing that made those different from my relationship with Emily is that, with the others, I simply walked away and left the mess behind. Emily and I couldn’t do that, no matter how badly we sometimes wanted to. No, we had to stay and clean the mess. Take out the trash. Make it so there was room to breathe once more.

And I’m realizing that the key to thriving friendships is not in what you face, but in who you deem worth it. Worth the hardship. Worth the struggle. Worth saving no matter the cost.

Somewhere along the lines of our friendship, I decided Emily was worth it. Because I tried to walk away from her before. When the going got tough, I pulled away—just as I had with every other relationship in my life. But walking away from Emily was like walking away from myself. I needed her too badly—even when I tried to convince myself it was she who needed me.

The thing about relationships is that they are fragile. You’re going to hurt and be hurt. You’re going to fail and be failed. There’s no getting around that—it’s what humans do. And sometimes it’s okay to walk away from those train wreck relationships. But there are a few—precious few—that you must fight for. That you must be willing to lay your pride down to save.

And if you’re looking for the kind of friend who will be there for the rest of your life, here’s my oh so simple, yet impossibly difficult advice: You must decide that she is worth it—so absolutely worth it—because loving her isn’t always going to be easy. But then, the best relationships never are…

No, I Don’t Have a Boyfriend (But Thanks for Asking).

I was working with elementary aged kids last week when one of the kids made a reference to my boyfriend and I had to inform her that I don’t have one. This happens to me a lot, actually—kids assuming that I have a boyfriend and then appearing shocked when I tell them, “Sorry, this guy you’re referring to doesn’t exist.”

“Yeah, but you’ve had one before,” one girl said. (Another line I hear quite often.)

“Actually, I haven’t.”

The girl’s jaw dropped. “So, you’re telling me you’ve never had a boyfriend in like, your whole life?”

That pretty much summed it up, so I shrugged and told her, “Yeah.”

She studied my face as she let this sink in. Finally she told me, very matter of factly, “You need to wear make-up.” As if that would solve all my life problems…

Yeah.

I wondered if I should tell this girl that my problem was not getting a boyfriend; it was wanting a boyfriend. I thought about letting her know that if I hadn’t been in this whole “five years and forever” deal with God, I probably would have gone on my first date a couple years ago. And maybe I was just being defensive because my face was being criticized, but what I wanted to tell this girl was that if I had been a typical teenager, I would have spent my high school years bouncing in and out of romantic relationships. But the thing is…

I never wanted to be typical; I wanted to be exceptional. Like my favorite Disney heroine, I wanted adventure in the great, wide somewhere. I wanted it more than I can tell. And for once it might be grand to have someone understand…

I am not opposed to dating, nor am I obsessed with it. I’m resting quite comfortably somewhere in the middle, trusting that the God who set the universe in motion can also handle the details of my life.

I chose singleness. It’s not some horrible fate I was forced into. It’s not some prison I’m desperate to escape.

I gave God five years. Willingly. No one told me I had to. Sure, someone who gave God five years (and survived) recommended it, but I walked in her footsteps because I wanted to, not because I felt that I had to. I followed her example because I saw the value of letting God shape and mold my heart during that season.

Just because I can date doesn’t mean I should date. Yes, my five years are over. I’m now free to date whomever I please, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to go out with the first guy who asks me (unless, of course, he’s the kind of guy I can envision spending the rest of my life alongside, in which case I really have no reason to turn him down).

I’m not trying to be difficult. Honestly. In fact, I want to apologize to the amazing guys who have asked me out… and the amazing guys who have known better than to ask me out. It’s not you; it’s me. And I truly am sorry if my unusual approach to relationships has made things complicated for you. But, you see…

I’m not playing games with anyone’s heart—including my own. And while my lack of make-up may throw some people off, this is the real reason I’ve been single all my life.

But try telling that to a ten-year-old.

Purity: A Journey ~ A Guest Post

When my little brother got a girlfriend last year, my sister asked me, “Rebekah, don’t you think it’s weird that Josiah has a girlfriend before you or Joshua ever had a date?”

In case you’re wondering, the answer was “no.” I didn’t find that weird at all. So what if my baby brother beat me into the dating world? I was never looking for a relationship. And maybe that’s why, when a friend of mine asked me to write a guest post on purity, I wondered if I actually had anything to say on the subject.

So I wrote and I backspaced and I wrote and rewrote, and mostly, I learned… I learned something about myself, I learned something about purity, and I learned exactly how purity and my life intertwine.

So take a journey with me to Meditations of His Love, and maybe you’ll learn something about purity along with me.