Boys are Icky

Boys are icky.

That has been my mantra for nearly twenty years now. I use it constantly. One might even say that it’s a Rebekah Snyder original.

Whenever someone asks me about boyfriends or marriage, I just tell them, “Boys are icky.” It’s much easier than launching into an explanation of Beyond Waiting and how God has called me to five years and forever. Of course, it’s also easily misunderstood.

The latest response to my cherished phrase was, “God will change your mindset. And He will change the boys.”

I had to smile because it was a cute answer, but I don’t think God will be changing my mindset because I’m pretty sure He gave it to me. And although I may one day fall in love with one of them, boys will always be “icky” (but that’s okay because girls are icky too).

The thing is, we live in a world that pushes relationships. The message we’ve heard most clearly by the time we’ve reached our teen years is that our lives are not complete without a man… The story doesn’t begin until you’ve found Prince Charming… You are incomplete because you’re missing your “other half.”…  And so the search begins.

Thankfully, I was raised by parents who didn’t buy into that lie and didn’t let me get caught up in it either. My dad was the self-declared king of the He-Man Woman Haters Club during his high school years. He didn’t marry my mom because he needed her to complete him; he was already a complete person. My dad married my mom because he knew it was part of God’s plan for his life. That’s the love story I’m looking to write.

The reason I can say that boys are icky is because I don’t need them to define my security. I’ve come to see myself as God’s perfect creation, whole and complete in Him. I can move Beyond Waiting for icky boys because I’ve already been found by the King of Kings. In Him alone I find my purpose. For Him alone I live and breathe.

(If you were bamboozled by this post, please read my disclaimer.)

“The One”

I couldn’t help but sigh as I read my friend’s status update: 1 month! ❤

Ironically enough, that same friend’s status read 18 months only a couple months ago. And so continues the search for “the one”. Boyfriend after boyfriend after boyfriend, she still hasn’t found him, but manages to convince herself that the next guy will be different. And, yes, he will be different as not one human is the same as another. But different isn’t necessarily right.

It’s probably pretty easy for me to judge because I’ve never actually dated anyone (GASP!), but sometimes I feel like those counting statuses are almost like a twisted little game. Let’s see how long I can keep this one. Yes, 14 months! A new record! That probably sounds callous because I know that’s not the intention. There’s a joy and excitement behind those status updates that I’ve yet to experience, but I’ve also seen the pain and disappointment that comes when a person falls short of that 19- month marker. For awhile, she really thought he would be the one… but he wasn’t.

Ever heard that quote, “My knight in shining armor turned out to be a loser in tinfoil.”? Isn’t it strange how close his disguise resembled shining armor until the breakup? I guess I’m just sick of hearing, “Oh, he’s so wonderful,” only to learn that, “He’s such a jerk,” a few months later. What happened? I don’t believe that someone can go from being Mr. Wonderful to Mr. Scum-of-the-Earth in a split-second. I’m not inclined to believe he was ever either of those things. But it hurts me to think that two people can become so set against one another simply because a relationship failed to play out the way they imagined it would.

So, ladies, cut the guys a break. Don’t pretend he’s more than he is, and don’t gripe about him being any less either. If he’s not the one, take a deep breath and walk away. Because one day, you will find the one. And if you will only wait for him, he could be even more than you imagined. Just try not to get too caught up in your fantasies, and allow God to guide your steps. He’ll take care of the rest.

And just for fun, check out this humorous song from Superchick about waiting for Prince Charming.

The Next Best Thing

I was at one of the hardest points of my life. I’d lost someone I’d loved dearly, and found that I was struggling to regain the security that was lost with him being gone. While walking with my mom one day, I confessed my frustrations. What was wrong with me? And why was I having romantic feelings toward a friend who had long been like a brother to me?

“Honey,” my mom whispered sympathetically, “he’s the next best thing.”

Perhaps it stems from the contents of the novel I’m currently working on, but I’ve been thinking of “the next best thing” recently. It’s strange how quick we are to settle for it. What our hearts truly want is that best thing, but since it’s out of our reach for the time being, we attempt to appease that aching with “the next best thing” instead. Take it from a girl who has been there, it doesn’t work. It may distract for a time, but it never really fills the void in our hearts.

I feel that too many women are afraid that they will never find the man of their dreams. Through the fault of their impatience, and perhaps some discouragement from others, they convince themselves that the prince of their dreams only exists in their dreams. So they settle for “the next best thing.”

When I look at our world, I see the mess we’ve made of relationships. We don’t strive to develop good relationships anymore. We’re content to settle for the mediocre. We believe that love is for the fairytales, and greatness is nearly impossible to achieve. I think that the demand to “be realistic” has been taken to the extreme. We’ve forgotten how to hope. We’ve forgotten how to dream.

The man of your dreams is out there. It may be awhile before he comes into view, but he is there. So don’t settle for “the next best thing”, because the best thing is out there waiting.

Five Years and Forever

Sometimes I think I’m the strangest young woman on the planet, or at least the most unusual. But here I am, nearly twenty years old, running from romantic relationships. Sometimes that fact makes me wonder if there’s something wrong with me. Even those women who have accepted their single status seem to yearn for that special someone. Don’t get me wrong. I do yearn for that special someone.  Someday. But for now I have embraced the fact that it isn’t time for him yet, and I refuse to let him be the focus of my thoughts. (Except for certain occasions, like as I write this now.)

My coworkers don’t believe me when I insist that, should Prince Charming walk through the doors of my office today, I’d send him right back out. Perhaps if they knew my reasons, they’d be the first to shut the door in his face. What my coworkers don’t realize is that I made a covenant with God several years ago. And a covenant with God is not something to be taken lightly.

It all started with my parents’ decision not to let me date until I was sixteen. Of course, by the time I actually turned sixteen, I had witnessed too many bad high school relationships. That wasn’t going to be my fate. I decided that my high school years must be meant for so much more than a dating relationship. With the encouragement of my mentor, I dedicated five years straight to seeking God alone. Five precious years to cultivate my relationship with Him without the distraction of any other.

Which is where I am today. I can’t believe how much time has passed, how much I’ve fallen in love with Jesus, and how much deeper I’m continuing to press into Him. It’s not like my time with Him is over. My five years are not yet up. But even when they end, though I will hopefully marry and raise a new generation of Jesus-lovers, I know that my covenant remains. I gave Jesus five years to prepare me to love Him forever.

It’s not because I’m unusual (though that’s up for debate); it’s because I’m called. Jesus has drawn me to Himself for such a time as this. For now He is my greatest love, and my greatest love He shall remain… Five years and forever.

Please Refrain From Throwing Popcorn

I received an invitation to the movies from a friend. Since the event was scheduled for Valentine’s Day, he attempted to make light of “Singles Awareness Day” (which is really interesting because, last time I checked, he wasn’t single). But there he was, encouraging us to invade the movie theaters instead of moping around.

Valentine’s Day has never been more than a Hallmark Holiday for me, so it was easy for me to laugh when my friend asked that our group try not to throw popcorn at the many couples who will be out and about on that day. I don’t think that will be a temptation. For me, anyway.

I know that some girls get borderline depressed on Valentine’s Day, but I personally don’t see the big deal. Valentine’s Day is just a day, same as any other. If you’re single, you’re single; if you’re not, you’re not. The same as you were yesterday. And the day before that. Valentine’s Day changes nothing. Yet so many women choose this day to dwell on their relationship status. They’re either mourning because they aren’t in a relationship, lamenting that they’re in a bad relationship, or shaking their head because their significant other doesn’t seem to realize that this is supposed to be the most romantic day of the year.

In other words… It’s Valentine’s Day. Nobody is happy. But you should be, because this day really isn’t any different from any other day of the year. So get up off the couch, stop listening to sappy love songs while eating the chocolate you had to buy for yourself. Get outside and enjoy the fresh air. Take a walk, go shopping, do something productive. And please refrain from throwing popcorn at the couples in the movie theater. There’s really no reason for you to believe they’re any happier than you are.

Matchmaker, matchmaker, please go away!

I was sitting at the lunch table when one of my coworkers voiced, “I know this guy…”

Sometimes I really tire of working at Advancing Native “Marriages.” Strike one. It’s a set-up.

“He’s from Missouri,” my coworker explained.

Strike two. 450 miles from home is far enough, thank you very much.

“He’s a youth pastor, and he needs a wife to straighten him out.”

Strike three, and you’re out! Sorry, slugger, but it appears that baseball is not your sport.

As much as I like the musical Guys and Dolls, I’m not a fan of “marrying the man today and changing his ways tomorrow.” I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work like that. So if you tell me that this potential match needs “straightened out”… See ya. (Oh, and P.S… If the only kind of guy you can come up with needs that much work, please keep your suggestions to yourself.)

People don’t fix people; only God can do that. Even if I was remotely interested in meeting this guy, there is no way I would be able to “straighten him out.” And my guess is that trying to do so would probably result in a pretty miserable relationship.

I’m fully convinced that a woman’s single years are not meant to be spent looking for a man to complete her; they are meant for her to take the time to realize how whole and alive she can be in Jesus. I believe that God gives us these years to learn to depend on Him alone so we can lean on Him throughout the rest of our lives.

I’ll leave it up to God to straighten out my coworker’s young friend. And since He is the only One who can fix the messes we’ve made of our lives, I’ll leave Him to be the only Matchmaker in my love life.

They Lived

Yesterday, I had one of those days. You know, the kind of day where you fume about  stupid stuff and think things like, “I’m not going to get married for the next hundred bajillion years because I don’t even want to deal with this junk.” It took moving 450 miles away from home for me to realize that guy/girl friendships are difficult to come by. I don’t know if that fact makes me want to hug my old guy friends and apologize for all the years I’ve taken them for granted, or slap them in the face and yell at them for making me believe that our relationships were normal. I think what I felt yesterday was a combination of the two. I could have walked right up to one of them and shouted, “Thanks for being amazing, jerk.”

Well, I did what any girl would do in such a situation. I grabbed a bowl of chocolate ice cream and popped Ever After into the VCR. By the time it was over, I felt a whole lot better about the topic of men and marriage. What I love best about that particular version of Cinderella is that the characters have flaws. Prince Henry was selfish, arrogant, didn’t listen very well, and acted like a jerk when he learned the truth (to which he had previously refused to listen). And Danielle weaved a web of horrible lies then tried to keep the pretense going. What makes the story so enchanting is that they manage to overcome their flaws and find a happy ending. I’ve been told that chick-flicks are not good for a girl’s emotional health, but I needed that movie last night. I don’t think it’s bad to hold out for “Prince Henry” – as long as you’re willing to accept that he does have flaws.

The movie comes to a conclusion with this beautiful line: “And while Cinderella and her prince did live happily ever after, the point, gentlemen, is that they lived.” They lived. And while those words were said to convey the idea that Cinderella was more than just a folk tale, I think that line carries a much greater meaning. Take Prince Henry’s line, for example: “You swim alone, climb rocks, rescue servants… Is there anything you don’t do?”

The character of Danielle De Barbarac did not only live “happily ever after,” but “once upon a time.” She embraced the moments and lived the journey. She may be a fictional character, but she’s still a great reminder that we weren’t meant to live for the “happily ever after.” We were made for the “once upon a time.” “Happily ever after” means that the story is over. No more adventures. No more life. One day, I hope I’ll make it to “happily ever after,” but as for today, I simply want to live.

A Time To…

I think the one thing that is most harmful to single women who hope to be married one day is that horrible word called “timing.” We rush into unhealthy relationships because we don’t want to wait, or because we think we are ready, when in truth, we are not. I’ve come to learn that even good things can be bad things when done in the wrong timing.

I recently finished the book Lies Young Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Dannah Gresh. Aside from revealing some hurtful lies in a candid, compassionate manner, this book made me question something I had never really thought about before. Nancy and Dannah surmised that the tree that caused mankind’s downfall was probably meant for good… if Adam and Eve would have waited for God’s timing to enjoy the fruit. But they didn’t wait. And instead of enjoying the blessing that could have been, mankind was faced with a terrible curse. That my friend, is what is happening to us. We’re rushing ahead of God’s timing and turning relationships (which are a good thing) into a bad thing.

Ecclesiastes chapter 3 tells us that there is a time for everything – a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance… and so on. There is a time to be in a relationship and there is a time to embrace singleness. Don’t rush God’s timing. Don’t think that He is wrong. It may just be that He has a blessing beyond imagination waiting just around the corner. One day it will be time to dance with your husband, but until that day, enjoy the freedom of dancing to your own rhythm.

No matter what else may be eluding your grasp, there is one thing that never goes out of season… Now is the time to live.