Friday, July 18, 2014

Stop the Madness: Who Is Actually Killing Chivalry?

I was on Twitter the other day, and kept seeing tweets that looked like this:

"Every girl deserves this.."

"Every girl should have this kind of guy.."

I am totally for dreaming about the kind of guy you'd want to be with. That's healthy and I sure did my share. But when we start to demand that guys be chivalrous, the situation becomes completely unfair. We, as women, cannot expect guys to be Jesus-loving gentlemen if we aren't first willing to be Christ-centered.

We sure can make it easier for men to be gentlemen if we're willing to meet the same high standards we expect from them.

Here are a few of the things I do to empower myself as a lady and Jacob as a gentleman:

1. Call him out
My pastor, Chris Tomlinson, says that inside every man is either a prince or a punk. It's up to us to speak to the prince, not the punk. I think this applies across the board. Often times, we waste so many words on negativity that people just stop listening. It hasn't always been easy for me, as I'm sure it hasn't been for you, but it is my heart's desire every day to speak life into my guy and others around me because they're worth it. Remember that your guy has the weight of your world on his shoulders too. Let him know he's doing great job and that he's strong. Don't just refrain from the negative. Strive for the positive.

2. Enjoy his company
After you've been together for a long time, the tendency is to get comfortable in your relationship and stop enjoying each other's company. It doesn't have to be like that. There was some point in time where you actually enjoyed spending time together; some point when he was your favorite person in the world. Remember to choose that.

3. Pray for him 
This is a biggie. I never realized how powerful prayer is as spiritual warfare until I started praying for Jacob. Satan doesn't like people that follow God. He launches full-scale attacks on those who love the Lord, and let me tell you, Jacob loves the Lord. I've seen him fight some heavy spiritual battles, and in those moments, it's up to me to fight with him. As women, we are called to be ezer kenegdo, or "help meet". That Hebrew phrase means we're to fight with them. Yes, men are created to carry more emotional, spiritual, and physical weight than we are, but that doesn't mean we can't help them carry it out.

4. Modesty
Don't write me off just yet. I'm not going to advocate for swapping out all of your shorts for capris and committing to turtlenecks forever. I live in Florida, guys. It gets hot here. Like, drive your car with oven mitts, hot. What I am saying though, is that there's a much better way to show people that you're confident in your own skin. God created you so beautiful and so special. You were custom made for a purpose. Do you understand that? You. Are. Beautiful. By wearing clothes that cover a little more and are super cute, by the way, we create an image that perfectly embodies that. Don't sell your incredible self short. You are worth too much for that. The kind of guy you're looking for will be thankful for it.

5. Gratitude
After all is said and done, be thankful for what he does do for you. He opened the door for you? Say "Thank you". Tried (and possibly failed) to surprise you by doing something extra thoughtful? Be thankful. Tell him you so appreciated the gesture and that he is wonderful for thinking of you. You'll both be encouraged to continue the behavior and strengthen the positive communication.

And that's it.

Do you know what happens when I strive to treat both Jacob and myself with the respect and love that Jesus would require? I get my prince. He..

Opens doors for me.
Takes me out on dates.
Texts me to say "Good Morning" and "Goodnight".
Fixes things in my house without me having to ask.
Tells me he loves me and that I'm beautiful and his favorite.
Prays with and for me.
Stands up for me every day.

Too often, we demand chivalrous men but expect punks. We cry when they put us down but are shocked when they shut us out over our negative comments. That's not fair.

If you want a punk, treat him like one.

If you want a prince, treat him like one.

It's that simple.

Like what you're reading? Follow me on Twitter @Smashley355

Friday, July 11, 2014

Better In Time

Me: Circa de 1999. Outfit complete with leggings and some unbeatable white sneaks. 

At the end of June, I celebrated my 20th birthday. Just typing feels so strange because there is a certain finality that comes with the change of a decade.

Turning 10 means that you're no longer a little kid. You're still clueless, but for the first time you're really aware of how much you don't know. 

Turning 20 means adulthood. Well, sort of. If you're doing the college thing, you are most likely half way through and halfway independent, which means you're expected to kind of know what you're doing. *insert scoffing from college students everywhere*

Turning 30 is the editing phase. You're much more established and are building on the lessons (or in some cultures known as "epic fails") you learned in your 20's. You definitely don't have it all figured out yet, but the fact that you're out of college and are (hopefully) pleasantly surprised by your career path should be a good indicator that you're headed in the right direction.

I'm definitely in the middle of cluelessness and understanding. Though I feel like I've always been much older, mentally, I'm still scared that the choices I'll make over the next 10 years won't be the right ones. Have you ever felt that before? Like the entire weight of your future rests on the decisions you're making right now?

Well, instead of embarking on some incredible resolution for my 20's as I seek to impress you with my nonexistent leg up on life, I've decided to go in a different direction. Throughout these next few years, I want to go back; a 10-year-long #ThrowbackThursday, if you will.

Rather than focusing on what I need to become, I want to return to some of the things I experienced and loved as a kid (8-18) in an effort to relearn much of what God has been teaching me up to this point in my life. After all, how long can a building last without a solid foundation?

Not that I don't have a good base for my life. I mean, I'm built on the rock of Christ, my Love, my Life, my Everything.

I do, however, think that there's things I've missed along the way, like:

Parents' advice.

Teachers' teachings.

Whispers of God.

I'd like to try and reclaim some of that before I'm too set to go back. I want to be filled with the childlike faith I used to have so that I can obey God's callings with reckless abandon.

I never want to be too grown up to listen to my Father and trust that He has my best interests at heart.

Like what you're reading? Follow me on Twitter at @smashley355 and tell me about your best lessons you've learned/are learning in your 20's. I'd love to hear your story!