The Single Christian Girl and The Celebrity Crush

My first celebrity crush was Jonathan Taylor Thomas.

Randy, the middle child from Home Improvement, held my heart, and his face decorated my bedroom walls. The death of Mufasa in The Lion King hit me especially hard because JTT captured the depth of Simba’s despair beautifully.  I owned all of his other movies on VHS.

I wrote Jonathan (we were on a first name basis in my imagination) a letter telling him of my love for him and my admiration for his great talent as an actor. I even sprayed it with perfume before I learned from Elle Woods that was the cool thing to do. I can only assume the letter got lost in the mail because I never received a response.

I wish I could say that JTT was my last celebrity crush and that I quickly grew out of occupying my thoughts with such fairy tales. But Cinderella ruined me, and since the princes of the world seem to be mostly taken, dreaming about a hot celebrity rescuing me from obscurity seems to be the next best thing.

In my vast experience, I’ve learned that you can separate the celebrity crushes of single Christian ladies into 3 major categories.

Celebrities (duh)

These are your run of the mill celebrities. My 29-year-old-grown-up-girl crush is Theo James. Google him if you aren’t already picturing his perfectly chiseled jaw and brown eyes that peer directly into your soul.

This fantasy always has to be coupled with the flirt to convert tactic. We know we’re not supposed to marry non-believers, so Jesus needs to win his heart before you do. In my mind, it works out beautifully.

“No, Theo. It would never work. I never intended for you to fall in love with my free spirit and hilarious personally that I hide from the rest of the world (cuz let’s be honest–I didn’t win you with my looks), but Jesus is the most important person in my life. I could never be with someone who doesn’t feel the same way.”

Theo walks away crushed. He finds me six months later and declares he found Jesus through the pain of my rejection. I get a hot husband. Theo gets eternal life. Jesus gets a celebrity on His team. It’s a win for everyone involved.

Christian Celebrities

When I went to my first Passion Conference in 2006, I walked away dreaming about 2 things–speaking on that stage one day and marrying Chris Tomlin.

Neither happened. Chris Tomlin has been happily married for awhile now, and I still live in (mostly) happy obscurity.

As a general rule, the Christian celebrity usually falls into the category of worship leader or member of a Contemporary Christian Music band. There are the Christian athletes too, but my current Christian celebrity crush is comedian John Crist.

I know nothing about him except that he makes me laugh. At this point, the only things I haven’t crossed off the list of characteristics I’d want in my future husband (that I made in 7th grade) are believer and funny.

I mean all I want is a man who loves Jesus and has a great sense of humor, but it’s actually kinda hard to find a single Christian guy who doesn’t take things a little too seriously and won’t find it offensive when I send him a video depicting Hitler getting angry learning about the FastPass Plus situation at Walt Disney World which I still happen to find hilarious. I digress…

I imagine Sarah and John’s love story goes something like this–I go to one of John’s shows, we meet almost accidentally, everything that comes out of my mouth is hilarious and natural, he falls instantly for my charming wit and because of this unexplainable glow that comes from me.

It’s not the glow that indicates I need to powder my nose. It’s a glow that says, “This girl has a journaling Bible where she draws beautiful artwork while communing with God over coffee every morning before she goes to work at a non-profit helping to feed orphans.” This is the glow I imagine is needed to win over a Christian celebrity.

That’s how it plays out in my head, but I don’t have that glow. I laugh when people add funny subtitles to a clip from a movie about WWII.

While the Christian Celebrity Crush fantasy might seem more likely to come true because flirting to convert is not a factor, they still don’t know you exist making flirting a challenge period. So there’s still that hurdle.

Tim Tebow

The rules for the Christian celebrity apply here, but this blue-eyed-Jesus-loving-gift-from-God deserves his own category. Every single Christian girl has dreamed about saving this man from his singleness. If you haven’t, you’re lying.

The Juggling Act

I can barely juggle one ball, but I’m an expert at juggling my crushes. At any one point I can be daydreaming about Theo and then jump to John because Theo would never work out because he’s not a Christian.

But I’ll never meet John, so let’s dream about this guy who actually knows I exist (well kinda, but we’ve at least been in the same room before). Oh wait–daydreaming about someone I could talk to in real life has the dangerous possibility of real rejection. Oh hey there, Theo, you’re looking lovely today and safe.

Yeah I went there.

The truth is I’m afraid. As a 29-year-old who has never had any man show real interest in her, I’m afraid that there’s something wrong with me. I am afraid that the only way I’ll know what it’s like to have a man choose me is if I imagine it in my head.

So I hold on to these silly daydreams because it’s easier than trusting God with a real dream that means so much to me.

God’s patience astounds me because He knows that I am loved and chosen and wanted. He knows I know these things too, but sometimes they don’t feel true. Maybe because I daydream about guys I’ll never meet instead of reminding myself of the truth.

But God reminds me. In the midst of my sad juggling act, He gently whispers, “My love is the only thing you need to hold onto. Even when you drop it, I’ll never let go of you. You’re mine because I chose you at your worst and gave up everything to love you. I also know you better than you know yourself, but even you know that if you actually met any of those guys, you wouldn’t be able to form 2 coherent sentences.”

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Marriage is Not My Dream Anymore: An Open Letter to My Future Husband

Hi.

This is not actually the first time I’ve written to you. I started a journal of letters for you when I was in Junior High because at a True Love Waits weekend or something, a well meaning worker in my youth group said it would be a good idea. I wrote in it periodically through High School too. I found it a few years ago, laughed a lot, and promptly threw it away. You’re welcome.

But I’ll be 29 in less than a month, and this past year has been one of the hardest in my life. I’ve imagined that it would have been easier with you. More nights than I care to admit, I’ve sat alone in my room with tears streaming down my face longing for someone to hold me. And I’m not a crier or a hugger.

I say I’m not a crier, but truthfully, my superpower is just making my tears invisible. I can’t count all the times I’ve been out with a group of people wishing that someone would look past the facade I’m hiding behind and actually see me. Then in a classic rom-com way, that someone would pull me in tight and give me a safe place to make my tears visible.

But God being rich in mercy and grace has walked me through this season without your arms to hold me. I’m not even sure if your arms or the rest of you exist. But I know God exists, and He has provided comfort over the past year through His Word and friends and my roommate’s French Bulldog who is my writing and snuggle buddy. (If you are real and want to surprise me one day with my own French Bulldog, I wouldn’t hate it.)

God’s timing usually only seems perfect looking back, so when we’re still looking forward and waiting, we have to trust. He hasn’t given me you yet, but He’s given me more of Himself.

And without you by my side, He’s taught me a great deal about love and marriage–mainly because He’s graciously shown me how selfish I am.

I’ve dreamed about you almost my whole life, but my dreams for marriage have been just that–my dreams.

I didn’t think I was still silly enough to believe that marriage will make me happy, but over the past year, God cut to the core of my desire for marriage. He’s shown me I’m still seeking my own happiness in my dream to be married–I’ve just tried to dress it up a bit.

I want to travel the world with someone.

I don’t want to keep chasing my dreams alone. I need someone to encourage me.

Finances overwhelm me. I want someone who can handle all that boring stuff.

I just want to have fun with my best friend forever.

I want to have a man who will be my spiritual leader and partner as we stand up against the forces of evil in this world. (Sometimes I try to be super spiritual to trick God into giving me what I want. Hasn’t worked yet.)

I don’t want to be alone.

And by “dress it up a bit”, I mean my desires are basically a three-year-old who decides she wants to dress herself for the first time and ends up looking ridiculous, and God just smiles and says, “That’s cute, Sarah.”

Then He walked me through some painful places and showed me what real love looks and feels like. And sometimes real love–the kind that lasts and changes people–doesn’t feel that good. Love is a choice and usually not the easy one because it’s always the unselfish one.

The Cross is the classic Christian go-to to demonstrate such sacrificial love–and I’m not disagreeing. The Cross always needs to be made bigger in our minds, but lately I’ve been thinking about the relationship between Jesus and Judas. Jesus loved that man for 3 years knowing full well betrayal and deceit dwelled in Judas’ heart. What does loving someone like that look like in my life?

I’m obviously not comparing you to Judas, but I know we’re both broken humans. I’m going to let you down and you’re going to let me down at some point. What does loving someone in those times look like? I don’t have all the answers, but I know it looks like always choosing to stay.

Marriage can’t be my dream anymore because marriage isn’t about me. Marriage is about God and His gospel and how He can make two broken humans display His love and beauty to the world because by His grace, they always choose to stay.

(Also I think I can add “choose to stay and have fun.” I know marriage is not all fun and games, and it’s going to be hard. Blah blah blah. But I don’t think lifeless and boring marriages attract people to God much. So I plan on laughing a lot, sometimes at inappropriate times, and having fun.)

I do hope you exist. I still hold onto the reasons I listed earlier for marriage, and I don’t think they’re inherently bad because now they stem from a new core desire God has placed in my heart over the past year.

God sees me. He sees all the bad and the ugly and chooses to stay. I know am loved. And by His grace, I want to see you. I want to know you–all your good and your bad and your hopes and dreams. I want to love you. I want to always choose to stay so that together we can understand more deeply God’s great love for us. (And I want to have fun.)

I know I probably didn’t learn as much as I think I did this past year about marriage. I’m a slow learner, and God is a patient teacher. I hope He continues to show you how much He loves you in personal and unique ways. I hope I get to know your name soon.

Love,
Sarah

AKA-The best thing to ever happen to you outside of your salvation.


PS – I’m not just sitting around twiddling my thumbs waiting for you. I’m chasing dreams. I just got back from Los Angeles because I’m trying to figure out how to write for TV or movies. I went alone, made some new friends and had a great time. You should be proud. I hope you have big dreams too, and I’m excited to help you chase them.13416851_860335675062_5258171142306005754_o PSS – I really am worried sometimes that maybe you don’t exist.

PSSS – I wasn’t joking about the wanting to have a lot of fun thing or the surprising me with a French Bulldog thing.

 

 

Please God, Don’t Let Me Die a Virgin!

In the Friends episode, “The One that Could Have Been,” Fat Monica is sitting at her kitchen table with Chandler upset that her boyfriend ran out on their date because of work. In her frustration, she blurts out, “Chandler, I’m going to die a virgin!” As if such a fate was actually worse than death.

Monica’s disappointment and embarrassment about being a thirty-year-old virgin reflects how our society views those who are sexually abstinent in adulthood whether by choice or lack of opportunity.

I can’t speak for society, but I can speak for myself. I laughed at that scene not because I thought it was funny, but because I identified with Monica. In fact, I exclaimed, “Me too!”

Now sex in and of itself would be a horrible reason to get married. So let me be clear, that is not the only reason I would like to be married one day.

I know marriage is more than sex and that marriage is beautiful and hard and all that. I know it doesn’t complete me. I know marriage will not make me happier. I get it.

But sometimes I fall prey to the belief that in our society, it would be easier to be married and Christian than single and Christian.

If I were a married Christian lady, nobody would think twice about me staying faithful to my husband. If I did sleep around, the world would actually look down on me.

Case in point: In that same Friends episode, Rachel has the opportunity to cheat on her husband with Joey Tribbiani, the Soap Opera star, but she doesn’t. She feels overwhelmed with guilt for even entertaining the idea because cheating on her husband would make her a horrible person.

However, as a single Christian lady, I still believe the only man I should sleep with is my husband. God just hasn’t revealed the identity of that lucky man yet. The world thinks I’m crazy for wanting to be faithful to a man who may very well not even exist.

I’ll be 29 this year, and I can count on one hand the amount of dates I’ve been on in my life. I’ve never been on a date with a man where I’ve enjoyed myself and wanted to continue the relationship. They’ve all been awkward, and then I had to do the whole “I don’t really like you that way. Let’s pretend like we’re going to stay friends, but I’m actually going to avoid you like the plague from here on out because I feel guilty for possibly hurting your feelings” thing.

Let me share with you a list of some situations I’d rather not go through again:

  • Being told by a guy I like he’s not that interested in me
  • Telling a guy I’m not that interested in him
  • Kidney stones

So after one painfully awkward date, I told God I would prefer not to be asked out at all than to be asked out by a man whom I’d have to reject.

God is faithful, and I have not been asked out since August 2012.

I’m telling you this because I need you to know I’m not some super holy person who has resisted so much temptation in an effort to stay faithful to my future husband; I’ve had no opportunity to be unfaithful. (At least not physically–emotionally unfaithful? Well that’s a story for another day.)

I’m just a girl who somedays feels like the biggest loser in the world and who sometimes believes no man will ever find her beautiful or love her. A girl who struggles with loneliness and feeling unwanted.

But those are my feelings; they are not my reality.

My reality is a Father who has beautifully protected me from the pain and destruction of sexual sin thus far in my life, but whose affection is not contingent upon my perfection. I am loved.

My reality is a Savior who loved me at my worst and who continues to recklessly pursue my heart. I am wanted.

My reality is a Great Comforter who guides and guards me as I navigate the trials and joys of this world. I am never alone.

Feelings often take awhile to catch up to God’s truth. They also forget easily. I have to remind my heart daily of the truth, so my feelings can be rooted in God’s Word and not fear.

My fear of being single forever and dying a virgin finds its root in the fear of being an outsider and misunderstood and ridiculed. Ironically enough, God’s Word promises exactly those things for those who follow Christ.

We were never meant to “fit in” in this world; we were meant to change it. And in our weakness and struggles, God shines brightest.

“…I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ might rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, ESV

I’m not implying that the single life is all calamity and hardship. For the most part, I’ve greatly enjoyed my twenties and God has taken me on many adventures that would not have been possible if I was married. Marriage would have provided its own set of hardships.

But singleness does provide a unique opportunity to live counter culturally and proclaim that God’s way is better–even if in my weakness, I still feel a tinge of embarrassment when asked about my abstinence.

Will living a chaste life while single change the world? Maybe not.

But living in obedience to God in every area of my life–big and small–certainly will.

I may very well die a virgin, but please, God, don’t let me die without changing the world.

 

Never Been Kissed: Learning How God Doesn’t Want Me to Wait for my Future Husband*

I’ve been single my whole life. 27 years. Not just single as in I’ve never been married. I’m talking single as in never had a boyfriend—never been kissed kind of single.

Wanted to get that out in the open so you know that when I talk about what God is teaching me through my singleness, it’s not in a “man, I remember when I was single and it sucked, but now that I’m married, I realize God did teach me some things, and I want to impart my wisdom on all you poor souls still stuck in your singleness” kind of way.

I’m still right in the middle of my singleness—whether it’s for a season or a lifetime, I don’t know. But I do know it’s my today. And I also know I’m not stuck–I’m exactly where God wants me to be.

I used to live like singleness was a dungeon that I was stuck inside waiting for my prince to come set me free. I was Rapunzel sitting in my tower waiting for marriage so my life would finally begin.

Then one day a few years ago, God came and crashed my pity party…

Sarah, stop waiting. 

And after I took a moment to get over the fact that God totally ruined my time of wallowing in self pity, I began learning how He doesn’t want me to wait for my future husband.

In middle school I was made fun of a lot for my glasses and eyes, so I never felt beautiful and those feelings of inadequacy burned into one’s heart at a young age have a nasty tendency to scar and linger.

So from high school on, I believed that I would find love and acceptance by finding my husband. Obviously, when I got married, I would be completely loved and accepted, and it would erase all those hurtful memories of being cast aside and passed over.

Well, I made it all the way through college without even having a boyfriend—a real accomplishment even in the Christian community.

As you can imagine, the fact that no guy was interested enough in me to pursue me even in a dating relationship only validated my insecurities. There has to be something wrong with me. I’m broken, unworthy and obviously undesirable.

So I kept waiting. Waiting for a guy to at least ask me out—then I would feel loved.

Until that night God told me to stop. Sarah, stop waiting to be loved. You are. Let me love you. Let me tell you how beautiful you are. Let me show you you’re wanted.

God began showing me that I’ve spent a lot of time and energy trying to prove myself. But nothing I do can make God love me more or less. He loves me because He is good, not because I am good. As for other people, whether they love me or not is ultimately out of my hands as well.

And as much as I desire to be loved, I’m really terrible at actually being loved—because being loved requires being vulnerable.

And God in His wisdom and grace knows that being single is the best arena for me right now to learn to be loved by Him.

Evidently, I’m a slow learner, but as I press deeper into the heart of God, I’m learning to trust His timing. Maybe one day my dream guy will finally ask me out or maybe that will never happen. Either way, I’m not waiting for that day to be loved and accepted and wanted. I’m already all those things.

Now don’t get me wrong, it is a journey, and some days I’m better at not waiting than others. Even writing this I’m thinking—well, maybe God, I should wait to confess that I’ve made it this far in life without being kissed until after I’m married and an expert kisser and thus seen as desirable by the world’s standards. If I share this struggle with the world now, some people will think I’m still a loser. #thestruggleisreal

On those days that are a struggle and I feel like the I’m the biggest loser and that nobody will ever want me or love me, God reminds me that He does, and He moved heaven and earth to ransom, rescue, and win my heart.

And it’s a real possibility that I am in fact the biggest loser by the world’s standards, but then again, I’m called not to be conformed to the pattern of this world, but to renew my mind with the gospel. I am loved—fully and completely.

*Now before I get kicked out of church and so there is no misunderstanding, God does make it abundantly clear in His Word that He does want us (well commands us) to wait for marriage for sex. Jesus goes so far as to say that if you even look at someone with lustful intentions that you have already committed adultery with that person in your heart. So it starts, as all sins do—as a matter of the heart. It’s not an issue of how far can I go, but rather like Joseph with Potiphar’s wife, we should flee sexual immorality—not just because sexual purity is a beautiful gift to give our future spouse one day, but because sin is serious and dangerous and separates us from the God who sacrificed everything to win our hearts. But I digress—this is a discussion for another day.

I Want to Marry Tim Tebow

…and I don’t think I’m the only girl to have had this thought–and if not Tim Tebow, replace him with the name of some other attractive sports player, actor or musician.

I’m using Tim Tebow for the purpose of this post because much to my embarrassment, the thought “wouldn’t it be great if Tim Tebow was my boyfriend,” has crossed my mind. And he is a Christian–so in my imaginary world of us meeting and falling in love, I don’t have to worry about the whole “unequally yoked” thing. That’s a discussion for another day.

So that everyone is on the same page, let’s be clear:

  1. I don’t know Tim Tebow, and he has no idea of my existence.
  2. It’s safe to assume that I will never meet this man–and IF (that’s the biggest if) I did, I would probably not be able to form complete and coherent sentences. So love at first sight (which I don’t really believe exist, but we’ll save that for another day as well) would definitely be out because I’m sure he’d be trying to run as far away as possible.
  3. It would never work out between us anyways… I could never actually marry a Florida fan. Roll Tide.

Then why would I daydream about dating a complete stranger? I’ll give you the one ridiculous reason that reveals my black heart.

He’s famous. Plain and simple. I want to use him to boost my feeling of self worth. He’s wanted by so many women, so if he noticed me and wanted me, then I’d be special. I’d be better than all the others he didn’t choose.

I told you–my heart is black. And although my tone has been playful up until now–in hopes that you would continue reading–pining away after a famous stranger is no joke. It’s a serious issue (or let’s call it what is is–a sin) because it takes my gaze off of the One who sacrificed everything to redeem and rescue my heart.

Don’t misread me though–having a crush on someone or loving someone who actually knows you exist is not inherently wrong. But that’s not what I’m talking about here.

I’m talking about spending time dreaming about [insert celebrity stranger of your choice here] falling in love with you to prove to yourself that you are valuable and important. I’m talking about believing you can find your worth in the approval of man. I’m talking about lust. I’m talking about wasting time wishing that the man whom everyone likes will condescend to choose you, and by association, you’ll be liked and adored as well.

Maybe I’m the only one who struggles with this. But searching for our identity and worth and value in any arena apart from Christ leads us down a dangerous path because it leads us away from God–the only place we’ll find lasting joy and understand our true worth.

I don’t have any quick fixes for this problem–it’s a sin, and like any other sin we must go to war with it. We must stop believing the lie that our happiness can be found in any relationship (especially the imaginary ones) we place above pursuing our Savior.

So I pray. I pray that God would captivate my heart with his love and grandeur so that my soul doesn’t foolishly go to empty cisterns to find satisfaction because the Lord is the fountain of living water.

I go to His Word and pray he opens my eyes to beauty found in his promises and the joy found in the gospel.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience–among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved–and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:1-7, ESV, emphasis mine)

I remind my soul that the God who created the universe sent his Son to ransom my soul. To say he condescended to make me his own…well I can’t come up with a metaphor big enough to illustrate the understatement there.

I daily remind my heart that I am loved more deeply than I could ever imagine by the God who holds the universe together–and he will not stand to share the throne of my heart with another because he knows that putting my hope in a man or anything besides him will leave me empty. He is the only one who can satisfy my deepest longings.

Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness in an uninhabited salt land.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is in the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit. (Jeremiah 17:5-8, ESV)

God is Not My Valentine

I’m single, and while February 14 is by no means my favorite day of the year, I don’t hate it. Bitterness doesn’t help anybody.

I recognize that lots of people enjoy Valentine’s Day, and while it’s marketed almost entirely towards couples, it’s a great day to let my friends and family know how much I love them as well.

Am I a little sad that I don’t have a Valentine like a bunch of my friends? Yes I am.

But I feel some well meaning Christians tell us poor singles you shouldn’t be sad because Jesus is your Valentine.

First of all, it’s ok for me to be sad. I’m single. I would like to be married someday, and Valentine’s Day brutally reminds me that I’m still waiting for that day to come.

And like any other day that I’m sad about being single, I tell God. And just like on any other day, he reminds me–I am loved. 

He’s given me the best family and the most thoughtful, kind, amazingly wonderful group of friends in the world.

But most importantly, I’m loved by him.

Not in some cheesy will-you-be-my-valentine kind of way though. Jesus is so much more than just a Valentine and to reduce him to such I believe exponentially downsizes the great love he has for me.

His love is everlasting. He recklessly sought after me and sacrificed everything to win my heart and reconcile me to God. His love goes before me and behind me. Nothing can separate me from this great love–not past shortcomings or future mistakes. This love surrounds me when all is well and holds me when everything falls apart.

This beautifully big and faithful love transcends our wildest imagination and is worth so much more than making me feel better about my singleness on Valentine’s Day.

This love is infinitely beyond that I’ll buy you flowers once a year out of necessity kind of love.

God is love, and He’s by my side through it all. He is constant, sure and extravagant. He’s my comforter. My strength. My shield. My confidence. My hope. My redeemer. My savior. But no, not my Valentine.

PS: God doesn’t want you just to be his Valentine either. He wants all of you and all your love because he knows he is the only one who can satisfy your hearts deepest longings.