True love and Justin Bieber

Sometimes I like to listen to the Top Songs on Spotify to try and stay relevant with the kids and to find my new jam. And one day, lo and behold, a song came on and I began to sway a bit at my desk, getting excited. Could this be it? Then I looked down.

Oh no. Oh, please no. Its Justin Bieber.

As I reached to change the song, on sheer principle, I stopped myself. I….I, oh double no, really liked this song.

Beyond the fact that I enjoyed the stripped down feeling of the music and vocals, the words themselves really arrested me. Its called “Love Yourself,” and its a song about Justin leaving someone because she thought only about herself in their relationship. She tried to change him into another person, what she thought he should be, and eventually, seeing how everyone around him, and eventually he himself, were so unhappy with her, he ended it. But this song’s message was more than just a “Forget You” type of song, where it calls the other person names and wishes them the absolute worst.

Instead, Justin seems to have realized something important from his time of pain: when we don’t love ourselves, it comes out in how we deal with other people. Someone as broken as this girl actually needs to learn how love herself. She needs to learn that she can’t project her own insecurities on others and demand that they fill that hole in her life, or that others are not just an object to make her feel better about herself, by making them her project and changing them into what she thinks is best.

Having been involved with people like this, I know this to be true: I (and Justin) may have been ready for a relationship, but the other person wasn’t. If they can’t love themselves, then they can’t love you. Signs of not loving themselves can come in many ways: putting the other person and themselves down, trying to change them, constantly seeking the other person as their fulfillment, being very possessive, and the list goes on. It doesn’t mean they are incapable of love, but it means that fundamentally, they haven’t learned to love and find worth in the one person who needs it the most in their lives: themselves. And maybe your role in their life is to be just their friend, until they are ready to start a real relationship, that has respect and real love. Either way, do not try and fill that lacking in their life, because you can’t.

So, crank up the Biebs and let them love themselves.

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Stop flirting with Jesus

Many of us might have heard the words “I have a date night with Jesus tonight.” I myself have used this phrasing to talk about setting aside some special time to pray. But, I have a bone to pick with this saying and the mindset that might accompany it..

Now, to begin, special time for special people, I think its very important. BUT, dating someone is very different from committing to someone. When you first start dating, you aren’t sure about where your relationship with the other person is going to go, what your future together is going to look like. You are a bit starry-eyed and don’t make the most prudent decisions. The first part of falling in love is all emotion and, by necessity, not a real commitment.

And this is where my dislike for ‘dates with Jesus’ comes in. God deserves more than uncertain dates and fleeting hormones. He deserves lasting love, just like you desire. Serious couples date to strengthen their relationship and to take time to appreciate each other more. They do not go on dates to replace a real relationship and the commitment to support each other in everyday struggles. And that is what I fear: that people will JUST go on dates with Jesus, that they will contain Him there in that hour or two, instead of allowing Him to enter into the whole of their lives. The God of the universe cannot be contained in an hour once or twice month, when our entire lives are about a soul constantly reaching and touching Infinite Love. He wants to pervade every part of our life. When you try and put a limit on God, you are only limiting yourself. You are limiting the heights to which you can reach, the people you can help, the journeys you could take. You are limiting the peace, love, joy, and graces that could fill your soul when you have a relationship with God. Honestly, i can’t even begin to enumerate what amazing things will happen when you really let God in.

Don’t just date Jesus. Go on dates with Him, but don’t just date. Have a full and real relationship with Him.