I started this 40-day journey today on a book that I picked up at a thrift store called The Love Dare. Its concept is ‘dare to love’ and it is a book on how to love more in your marriage. I am completely single (Hello eligible bachelors (insert wink face) however, I still felt compelled to pick up this book. My good friend and I were chatting recently and I might have mentioned, I am ready to get married and she said: “Well what are you doing to prepare yourself as a good wife?” In my mind, I immediately thought oh man, well that is a hard question. I am so used to being a bachelorette and having Kettle Valley Chips and Vegan Ice-Cream for dinner might be hard to give up. Not really. Maybe. Anyways I picked up this book because my friend says I need to prepare myself as a good wife and I thought a book on marriage, how perfect!
I’m only on day 1.
The first part of this dare is fairly simple. Although love is communicated in a number of ways, our words often reflect the conditions of our hearts. For the next day, resolve to demonstrate patience and to say nothing negative to your spouse at all. If the temptation arises, choose not to say anything. It’s better to hold your tongue than to say something you’ll regret.
As I read the dare I thought, great, a spouse, well I don’t even own a dog. However, I’ve already been dared so I can’t refuse this challenge so I am going to use the person I know best. Myself. I am going to say nothing negative to myself at all for the entire day. Although if I talk to myself people might think I’m crazy so I’m not thinking one negative thought about myself at all, the entire day. How easy. I love myself.
Now here is where I’d like to say that I completed this dare wonderfully and I totally love myself but that would be a lie. During the day I work at a beautiful landscape nursery in the gorgeous Okanagan. It is basically like being in the Garden of Eden all day and you don’t really talk to anyone, so I am already used to spending a lot of time in solitude talking to myself and to God. On a good day, I usually spend the whole day singing to the flowers and the trees. Well, I wrote a new song today but in the midst of getting there I cried twice and laughed so hard down in my gut. This was such a hard challenge in this season of my life as I came to the realization I constantly doubted myself in my mind, lacking faith, down talking myself and over-thinking. The way I was speaking to myself in my mind was so annoying at times.
“Why are you not married and have children? You’re 29. This was not your plan to be watering flowers; you should be walking these flowers down the aisle or have tossed that bouquet years ago. You are the older sister.” I think this is where I threw a little pity party for myself amongst the Japanese maples and then realized I was crying when I saw my boss walk by, then immediately straightened myself up as she was going to probably think I’m not enjoying this job that I am honestly so thankful for and love.
I would never say this to anyone else? Why was I speaking so negatively to myself? The inner monologue continued and dialogue with God began “Why, why?” And Him silently hearing my heart I knew that something was going on, my character was being cultivated through this season of my life. I stopped crying out Why? And shifted it to what are you trying to teach my God? I kept being directed to the verse
“For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:16
And then to
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
Then I started chanting, to myself, love, love, peace, joy, Jesus, love, joy, peace, Jesus. And the Holy Spirit in me rose up and I felt a sudden peace. This is where I received that deep giggle in my gut.
I started saying, “You are powerful, you are strong, you are made in the image of God” again in my mind. And “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me”
Whatever season of life you’re in LOVE yourself and lean on the Lord for wisdom and understanding.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:7-8
To all the singleton’s out there. Take yourself on a date. Give yourself a pedicure. Treat yourself to a new book. Do what makes you happy and enjoy the nights stretched out hogging your queen-sized bed. The single life is actually quite great when you throw the pressures of where society thinks you should be and your own pre-disposed plan of how life should be out the window and just live the life God has given you. Your mate is coming so be ready. Love yourself. Be interdependent. And that will attract exactly the right person who will one day walk beside you. Have faith, patience, always hope and know you are not alone in this real struggle.
To all, you married folk. You’re on the other side. Kudos’s and Hi-5! Remember your relationship with yourself! Love yourself. You must love yourself and not expect all the love to come from your spouse. Take care of your body, eat healthy and try that muay Thai class you’ve always wanted to try. Maybe try it together because now you’ll never go alone.
Our thoughts are a powerful energetic force and they can create and change our lives and the lives around us in extraordinary ways. Think positively inwardly, outwardly, know you have the mind of Christ, study what God’s thoughts are of you and witness the Kingdom of God expand and grow within you. When the negative, upsetting thoughts come, use awareness and uproot them immediately or else they may make you become bitter. Keep your mind wide open to nothing other than God’s love and truth. He loves me as I am, even when I’m a mess in the garden.
Hillary Ross currently lives in Kelowna and is an artist, writer/poet and singer-songwriter for Syren + The Waves. She loves Jesus, people, travelling, chocolate, coffee, riding her bike, summer and deep conversation.
Website : www.syrenandthewaves.bandcamp.com