Is it time to break up with a friend?

friend

Sometimes I wish BuzzFeed quizzes told me more than what font I am (Futura) or how many Justin Biebers I could take in a fight (14).

While taking on 14 teen pop sensations in skinny jeans during a fight seems overly ambitious (I would probably be more comfortable with 12), sometimes I wish making relevant-to-life decisions was as simple as answering a few questions online in a few clicks. Especially when it comes to ending relationships.

And I’m not just talking about roses are red, violets are blue kind of relationships. I’m talking about the platonic kind: friendships.

Before you do another Facebook purge or delete another contact in your smart phone, take this quiz:

READ THE REST ON CONVERGE MAGAZINE!

Where feet may fail

G:

I’ve been listening to that latest Hillsong song a lot. You know the one. The one that goes on somewhere between 8-12 minutes. And everyone that’s singing is Australian.

OK, it’s the one about oceans and feet failing and being called to step out upon the waters into the great unknown.

I’m a good hour and a half drive from the Atlantic right now, but I feel like you have me ready to jump onto some mighty waves before the ocean reaches optimal summer temperature.

And I’m nervous.

And I’m not ready.

So instead I worry. I worry about taking the wrong step, hopping onto the wrong wave, feet failing. Sinking. Sinking into the great unknown. Where there are probably sharks.

But just like the song says, You are there in the unknown:

You call me out upon the waters

The great unknown

Where feet may fail

And there I find you in the mystery

In oceans deep my faith will stand

My faith is like my arm muscles. They don’t become strong unless I put them to use. My faith isn’t going to get stronger if I’m sitting in the safety of the boat. My faith becomes stronger when I actually listen to the call to get out of the boat and step onto the waters.

You didn’t let Peter drown. I know you won’t let me either.

Your grace abounds in deepest waters

Your sovereign hand will be my guide

Where feet may fail and fear surround me

You’ve never failed

And you won’t stop now

Help me choose not to waste a single hour of my life worrying about the mystery of my life, because it’s not a mystery to you.

My great unknown is your great known.

So lead me. Call me out from the boat and onto the waters. Wherever that may be. Whatever the temperature. (Preferably with Flipper not Jaws.)

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders

Let me walk upon the waters

Wherever you would call me

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander

And my faith will be made stronger

In the presence of my Savior

Your child,

m

Singleness is the new black

G:

Like the president of Russia deeming the Olympic ceremonies open, I deem singleness the new black.

Cue torch:

olympic torch

Because let’s face it: singleness is like glitter at a crafts table.

It’s everywhere.

Now more than ever, people are getting married later in life. Now more than ever, articles about singleness are spreading like the bubonic plague. Now more than ever, singleness isn’t a curse. It’s OK.

And dare I say it, it’s COOL.

Sure, there are a host of reasons why our culture is seeing a plethora of singles: couples are already cohabitating, marriage isn’t viewed as necessary anymore, college grads are crippled by student loans, etc. But there are a host of different reasons You love singleness: we have unprecedented amounts of time to serve You in ways you created us uniquely for right now.

While our culture may view singleness as cool in their own eyes, I see singleness as cool from Your eyes.

I’m sensing a Paul revival a la 1 Corinthians 7:34-35 in light of 7:8:

Singleness: it’s all good.

Your happily single child,

m

WHEN PEOPLE ASK YOU WHY YOU ARE STILL NBSB (NO BOYFRIEND SINCE BIRTH)

backstreet

Which is the same as NBSB (No Backstreet Boys) because you are still waiting for Justin Timberlake to knock on your door and say:

justin

#NSYNCversusBackstreetBoys

Based off J’s #christiangirlproblem: “Seriously, NBSB?! (No Boyfriend Since Birth) (why, is it a mortal sin?)”

Thanks for sharing, J (http://jirahlization.wordpress.com/)!

Conversations that carry a lot of wait

my-life-is-buffering

G:

I feel like you and I have had three very distinct conversations over my lifetime.

There’s the “Hello, can you hear me now?” conversation:

m: “Hey God, it’s me. m.”

[Silence]

m: “Hey God, not sure if you heard me the first time. It’s me, m!”

[Silence]

m: “Are we having a bad connection? Perhaps you’re on the prayer line with another person right now? Maybe I should pray back later?”

[Silence]

m: “OK—just humor me. Send me a sign that I will have a new job by June. Have my favorite song come on the radio. Or a knock on my apartment door. Have my phone ring… now!”

[Silence]

m: “I just realized my phone was on silent. Let’s try this again… and GO!”

[Silence]

And the “Is the neon blinking light not obvious enough” conversation:

m: “So, I’ve been thinking…”

G: “Just wait.”

m: “But I have this great idea!”

G: “Just wait.”

m: “But if I—”

G: “Just wait.”

m: “But how long do I have to wait?!”

G: “Just wait.”

m: “Have you seen the white hairs popping up on my head?! Do I need to start asking for a walker for my birthday? Some orthopedic shoes? Dentures?!”

G: “Just wait.”

m: “GUYS DO NOT MAKE OUT WITH GIRLS WHO HAVE DENTURES!”

G: “Just wait.”

m: “Okay, listen. Have you seen what happens to me when it’s 6:00 PM and I haven’t had any dinner yet and my blood sugar is low and so is my patience? Hm?”

G: “Have you read any of the Old Testament?”

m: “Touché.”

And then sometimes there’s the “I hear what you’re saying and I’m actually OK with it” conversation:

m: “Sup, G!”

G: “Yo, lil’ m.”

m: “I’ve been thinking. I have a few ideas of what this next year will look like. Writing wise. Job wise. Church wise.”

G: “Don’t make any plans. Mine are better.”

m: “You know what, you are probably right.”

G: “I’m always right. Foresight 20/20.”

m: “Right eye -7.5 and left eye -6.5. Hindsight 20/20.”

G: “Which is why you need me—you are almost legally blind.”

m: (sings) “’Twas blind but now I see!!”

[Silence]

m: “G?”

G: “You’ll sing better when you get to heaven.”

M: “OK, so the plan is to just wait and let you lead me where you want me to go.”

G: “That’s the plan.”

m: “Jeremiah 29:11!”

G: “Thanks, I know– helped Jeremiah write it. Divine inspiration.”

Today, I’m happy with you just telling me to wait.

Your child,

m

Why I’m glad God is not an admissions counselor

admissions

G:

If you were an admissions counselor, I would be automatically denied because I failed to post this letter on my usual time on my usual day.

Reason for denial: can’t make deadlines.

If you were an admissions counselor, I’d call your office and you’d answer:

G: “Hello this is Heaven’s Office of Admissions, this is God. How can I help you?”

m: “Hi. My name is m. I can’t tell you how excited I am to be talking to you right now. I’ve wanted nothing more than to go to Heaven since I was a little kid. I have heavenly paraphernalia plastered all over my room, I’m the owner of at least 5 WWJD bracelets, and I have a Jesus fish on my bumper sticker. I’m a diehard Heaven Christians fan!”

G: “Did you just use ‘Christians’ as a mascot?”

m: “Yes. No. Maybe. Yes.”

G: “When would you be looking to start?”

m: “Well, as much as I know I should want to start any time, I’d be okay with pushing it off until it’s the right time to go.”

G: “We do run on a rolling admissions basis.”

m: “Great!”

G: “For those who qualify.”

m: “Oh.”

G: “What’s your GPA?”

m: “Um…”

G: “Our baseline is a 4.0.”

[Silence]

G: “Hello? Are you still there?”

m: “Yes, sorry. I just stopped breathing for a second.”

G: “Well don’t do that just yet. We haven’t finished the application process yet.”

m: “Do you make exceptions on a case by case basis at all?”

G: “I’m pulling up your transcripts now and I see you got a D in gym class.”

m: “My sneakers didn’t fit right. My big toe was popping out of the top. It affected my kickball skills.”

G: “You failed home economics.”

m: “The oven temperature was clearly off. And you honestly couldn’t even taste the plastic wrapper in the cake. It melted away because of the excessive heat.”

G: “I’m afraid that given your academic history, you wouldn’t be able to handle the demands of this institution.”

m: “But what if I sent you some references?”

G: “Your mother doesn’t count.”

m: “But!”

G: “I’m just checking my e-mail now and I see you sent me your statement of purpose already:

Hell God,

I’m sexting you my statement of porpoises.

m

Sent from my iPhone”

m: “OH NO!”

G: “Oh yes.”

m: “@#$% auto correct!”

G: “You just swore.”

m: “Oh @#$#@%. I just swore on the phone with God. And @#$% I just did it again.”

G: “I’d like to thank you for your call and for your interest, but I’m afraid we can’t accept you at this time. I do wish you the best in your future endeavors.”

m: “But where else is there?”

G: “The only other option is a program far, far south. I hope you like hot weather.”

m: “BUT!”

[click]

Thankfully this is not how you roll. Getting into Heaven is actually easier than getting into Harvard.

Thankfully you are NOT an admissions counselor. And if you were, you would be the worst admissions counselor ever—you let anybody in who believes in your Son.

And you do have unbeatable retention rates.

Your child,

– m

Explore. Dream. Discover.

G:

Well, I’m six days into a new year and a lot of monumental things have taken place:

1)      I finally have a smart phone

2)      I bought an electric blanket since I never turn my heat on

3)      I am now the proud owner of a blender (SMOOTHIESSSSSSSSSS)

My quality of life has exponentially changed.

You know I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions. While it would be a good idea to set a goal of ingesting more leafy greenery into my digestive system, I always become more reflective in a new year than proactive. I think about what was, what may be. But I never really set any fast and hard deadlines or goals for the new year.

I just like to see what happens.

The other day I was looking at the dashboard on my MacBook right next to the Chi Pet widget I forgot to water four years ago:

Screen shot 2014-01-06 at 10.27.02 AM

And I noticed a sticky note with a quote on it I’ve been neglecting to look at as much as my Chi Pet:

Screen shot 2014-01-06 at 10.27.11 AM

There was a reason I liked it four years ago and a reason it still resonates with me today. I don’t want to be idle in the safe harbor of comfort and familiarity. I’ve always wanted to set sail into the unknown and discover what’s waiting there for me. To discover what You have waiting there for me.

Following your will for me is setting sail into the unknown. And I know I’d be remiss if I didn’t step out in faith and let your winds catch my sails and take me where You want me.

I want to explore, dream, and discover your plans—your wonderful plans for me.

I want to make that my goal this year. To step out in faith, to free myself from the safe harbor. To take advantage of every opportunity that You present to me. To grow by becoming uncomfortable, stretched, challenged. It’s a lot scarier than green leafy vegetables, but a lot more rewarding.

It’s definitely no coincidence that right next to the quote by Mark Twain on my dashboard is this verse:

Screen shot 2014-01-06 at 10.31.10 AM

I’m excited to see what will happen this year because I know you are going to lead me when I’m looking to you to guide me. I can’t think of anything more exciting than that.

So lead on, Master Navigator. Put on a pirate hat, perhaps a parrot on your shoulder and let’s set sail.

My quality of life is going to exponentially change.

Your child,

m

ON HAVING A HAPPY NEW YEAR

new year

photo: timescity.com

G:

I’m assuming your laugh is a hearty one—one that shakes the clouds, maybe even causes small earthquakes in California (just the ones that make your glass of water wobble, of course).

I’m sure you laughed when my good friend and I were sitting on the couch in my apartment this time last year. We were both 100% sure that 2013 was going to be a great year.

It wasn’t.

2013 was a year marked with heartache from broken relationships, loss of beloved family members, inopportune illness, and chronic stress.

Six months in, my friend and I agreed:

2013 sucked.

A year later we’re sitting on the same seats, on the same couch, having the same conversation about 2014. Except this time there’s hot chocolate. And I got new socks. I’m biting my lip as if to hold back any positive adjectives that want to jump out of my mouth to describe 2014. As if “happy” or “great” or “exciting” are death sentences before the year even begins. RIP 2014—you’ve flat lined before the clock even had a chance to strike midnight on New Year’s Eve.

I’m just about to take out any adjectives whatsoever and remark, “well it will be a year!” when I realize that maybe, just maybe, 2013 wasn’t so bad after all. My friend expresses the thoughts I’m feeling and suddenly clarity occurs like someone finally found the light switch after fumbling around a dark room.

“And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). This past year was full of trials and stress and utter exhaustion, but we learned that through it all You work for the good. Because we love You. Because we turned to You every day for the past twelve months.

In the heartache of broken relationships, there came healing. In the loss of loved ones, there came comfort. In illness, there came health. In chronic stress, there came rest.

Because just like my mom, you have a way of pointing out “character building experiences” (Romans 5:3-5). In these experiences I became closer to You. In these experiences You refined me.

Because what if having a “happy” new year doesn’t mean “happy” in the conventional sense—in the sense of rainbows and butterflies and new jobs with higher salaries and romantic engagements with huge diamond rings that weigh down your left hand and luxurious trips around the world on a cruise line that doesn’t lose power or have someone murdered on it—what if having a “happy” new year meant letting You work your magic of creating good from all things. After all, you are The Heavenly Alchemist, making something of worth out of something unworthy.

As long as I turn to You in all things, You’ll make good from all things. ALL things.

You make happy new years from seemingly sucky new years.

Looking back, maybe you weren’t laughing at all when my friend and I were chatting on my couch. Maybe you were agreeing with us.

I’m 100% sure that 2014 is going to be great year, too.

Your child,

m

15 RESPONSES TO COMMENTS ABOUT YOUR SINGLENESS THIS CHRISTMAS

1. “Are we currently experiencing an earthquake or is that your biological clock ticking?”

really you want to go there lifeinpub

2. “I just know you are going to find someone soon and be married within 6 months!”

delusional lifeinpublishing

3. “So tell me, any new guys in your life? Wink, wink!”

dont ask me about in a relationship

4. “It’s too bad you’re allergic to cats. They make great companions. Especially in large quantities.”

rude don qui qui

5. “Why don’t you just put yourself out there more?”

uncle si im invisible

6. “There are plenty of fish in the sea!”

laughter

7. “God is going to bring him into your life when you least expect it!”

monsters inc girl blink

8. “You’re still single because guys are intimidated by you.”

when someone tells me im too intimidating to date

9. “Guys don’t like girls who can eat more Christmas cookies than them.”

michael scott you are a thief of joy

10. “My coworker’s brother has a sister who has a son who has a friend who just got out on parole…He’s tall!”

no thank you tina fey

11. “You’re just too picky.”

throne of lies

12. “Why don’t you create accounts on eHarmony, Christian Mingle, Plenty of Fish, Match.com, and heck, put up a Craigslist ad ‘Single and Christian on Christmas’ just to cover all your bases?”

aint nobody got time for dat

13. “If all else fails, I heard a rumor that the government might be legalizing marriage of first cousins.”

lucille ball

14. “Enjoy being single while you can!”

christina aguilera preach

15. “Do you know what happened to all the Christmas cookies?”

shirley temple giggle