#1 Struggle

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I know I’ve missed a few Thursdays (one was Thanksgiving so give me a break!), but the semester is winding down and I’ve been struggling with one thing in particular recently related to my relationship. It’s something I have dealt with my entire life and definitely affects my close relationships with people more than anything.

It’s no secret that I’m a Negative Nancy.

Now before I get into my main dilemma, I just want to preface that being a pessimistic person is not one of my favorite qualities of myself and I am by no means trying to justify myself in this post. It never has a good outcome when I choose to see the negative side of life, but lately it has been even more difficult for me to handle the emotions that come with my pessimistic personality.

My boyfriend is one of the most positive, easy-going people you will ever meet! I rarely see him down even if the world is slapping him in the face. He has 1000 obligations every day and his life seems so overwhelming and stressful sometimes. He’ll run 50 errands in a day while fitting in classes and work (and time with me) and sometimes a little sleep. Or he gets no sleep and he’s still an angel!

Honestly, his positivity is one of the qualities that I most admire in him. I feel that it has made a huge impact on how our relationship has gone so far, and for the most part it has influenced me to be a generally more relaxed person than I ever have been! I’m definitely grateful for this and wouldn’t want him any other way!

BUT I’m also very envious of this quality because, as I’ve said, I am a glass-half-empty kind of gal. It frustrates me {unfairly} sometimes because I wish I was able to blow things off and let small grievances slip off my back like he does. While sometimes his positivity rubs off on me and makes me feel better when I’m down, other times it just amplifies my frustration…

Look, I like to wallow; it makes me feel better to sit in my negativity for an hour or so, but when my boyfriend tries to make me laugh and feel better and say it’s all fine, I sometimes don’t want any part of it! And I feel bad because I know he’s trying, but it doesn’t always work on me. Sometimes I wish he would wallow with me!

I think the toughest part of it all is not that I get down and he tries to pick me up and I don’t want to be picked up and I’m envious of him being able to be positive through it all…no, the hardest part is that I’m always comparing myself to him and other girls that could have my place in his life, and I wonder how I’m good enough for him.

I look at him being so even-tempered and happy all the time, through every situation, and I feel like my negativity is just bringing him down. I feel like at some point in our lives he’s going to think “I’ve had enough,” and if he thinks it too late we are going to be stuck in a tough marriage…

But I also look at other girls around us that he’s friends with and interacts with and I see their smiles and hear their laughs and see them always wanting to talk to people and grant encouragement and I think, “Why wouldn’t he want them over me?”

Now before I get to the comfort I {try} to glean through all of this, I will point out that this is not an all the time thing! We really have a generally happy and loving relationship with very few conflicts! But lately I feel like I’ve started to get more dependent on him and have shared more small annoyances and complaints because I’m more comfortable sharing that side of me with him. But it’s hard because one of his first comments to me was how appreciative he was of my encouragement and support of the smallest things in his life, and I still absolutely love taking care of him and supporting him in every way possible, but I’m scared he’ll think that I’m completely different from that person he first met.

Anyway, the good news is that I am never going to be perfect. I’m never going to be as positive as him or as easy going. I will definitely try to be better about it, but I’m never going to master it. And that’s okay. Because 1. Jesus died for that very sin of me being pessimistic and not appreciating all of the small joys God has granted me with every day and 2. God doesn’t compare me to my boyfriend or anyone else; God will always seek me and want me no matter if my boyfriend or anyone else does. I just have to recognize it and have comfort in that. And also repent of my pessimism and ask for help!!

(But I hope my boyfriend wants me too!)

1 Samuel 2:2

“There is none holy like the Lord: for there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God.”

Differing Expectations

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“You have to do a sit-down meal.”

“You have to have two bridal showers – one with the girl’s family and one with the guy’s.”

“You have to pay for each bridesmaid’s hair and makeup.”

“You must fly to Florida to ask for her dad’s hand in marriage rather than calling him on the phone.”

These are just a few of the many expectations that have been placed on my boyfriend and I concerning our wedding and marriage. And we really just want to be married! We hate all the formalities and trying to appease everyone when it’s our day.

Part of the struggle is that the expectations listed above have been placed on us by our parents (which goes back to the honoring thing), but there are also plenty of expectations that have been placed on us by society.

It seems that there are so many rules of thumb and formalities that are expected of couples and weddings nowadays that it is hard to start your own trend without guests comparing your plans or complaining about how poorly it was done (when it’s usually just different not bad).

My boyfriend really wants to have communion at our wedding. He also wants several hymns and scriptures read and a short message by our officiant/pastor. I think this is all a great idea, and I have given him free reign of planning the whole service! Unfortunately, my mom has never experienced communion at a wedding (which it is rare!), but just because it has “never” been seen before doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it. Taking communion would also lengthen the service and there is definitely an expectation now that weddings be no longer than, like, 30 minutes, so that’s stressful too.

We are still attempting to navigate these expectations and understand which are important to follow and keep in trend with and which ones we can adamantly go against and confidently plan our wedding the way we want. It’s definitely tough to discern sometimes especially with the ideas coming from parents we love and respect.

Ultimately, our ceremony and reception are to please God first and us second, and that will be our two goals in everything we plan.

Romans 12:1

“So then, my friends, because of God’s great mercy to us I appeal to you: Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you should offer.”

Have any of you ever felt like unfulfillable expectations have been placed on you? Have any of you gone against the grain of what a “normal” wedding is to be like?

Sacrificing like Christ

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There is one thing that I have been especially struggling with off and on in regard to my relationship and our possible future plans.

Sometimes I buy into the lie that I am sacrificing “more” than my boyfriend. The worst part of that, too, is that I am quantifying our sacrifices and comparing them; it is very unhealthy. It never leaves to positive, loving thoughts.

If we were to get married next summer like we are wanting to, I am giving up my last semester at school with my friends. By marrying him, I am submitting to the fact that the rest of my life we are going to have to move wherever he gets a job and that I will just have to accept it. That includes where he is going to grad school as well.

I had peace about all of this for a while though. I’ve never had a clear direction for my life whereas my boyfriend has, so I am very happy to go where he needs to go and support him in that way and hopefully find my purpose through that. I want to support him and love him as best I can and sacrificing in those ways is one way I can show him love.

There was a situation that occurred the other day that sunk me into the spiraling pit of doubt though once again (it was exaggerated by hormones, mind you). My boyfriend offhandedly mentioned how his family is planning to take a trip out west when he graduates which is awesome! But for some reason it made me think about how my parents used to say that we could go somewhere cool as my college graduation gift too, but if I’m married, will we still do that?

There’s another thing I might have to sacrifice…

Now, my boyfriend made a good point that there’s a great possibility that my parents will still take me/us on a trip or that it wouldn’t have happened whether I was in a relationship or not simply based on the timing of my graduation, but when I have one painful thought, many more come to mind.

It is definitely something I am going to have to keep fighting until we get married and even after we are married, but I’m hoping God will continue to provide me with peace and reveal truth in those tough moments.

Last night at Bible study I mentioned some of this as my prayer request: that I would learn to sacrificially love those that I’m close to and not quantify or compare those sacrifices (because my boyfriend definitely sacrifices a lot for me too; I just get caught up in mine). My friend prayed for me and she said, “Help her to be more like Christ in sacrificial love. Jesus sacrificed so much for us, so help us to reflect Jesus’ character in the way we sacrificially love one another.”

This is so true and convicted me so much! I am committing to my boyfriend in marriage (hopefully) and making a covenant with him like God made with us, his people. Jesus sacrificed so much for us, so I can definitely sacrifice earthly things for him, his kingdom, and the people he has put in my life, especially my husband.

Hebrews 13:16

“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
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The Future is Scary

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It’s been amazing the amount of peace God has given me through the process of thinking towards the future with my boyfriend. Unfortunately, doubt, worry, and fear still creep in sometimes.

I really have no idea how we are going to work things out financially. Between the wedding and then moving expenses and then surviving while we are there on whatever my part-time salary ends up being those first few months combined with his stipend (which we have no idea how much that will be!)…It’s all so unknown and unsure.

We could get a large stipend or a decent one. I could get a well-paying job or just an okay one. We could be living in an expensive city or an affordable one. We could be 15 hours from home or 3.

I’m not super scared of being away from home because I have loved college and have only gotten homesick a few times, but I still can’t fathom what it will be like to start a whole new life in a new city and state as a working adult, taking care of myself and my husband.

My boyfriend thinks it’s an irrational and unnecessary concern, but I do worry about the prospect of cooking…I know we will both cook and learn as we go, and we might have to live meagerly for a while anyway, but I don’t want to feel adequate in that way when I am supposed to be providing for us. I’m not worried about the cleaning or shopping or budgeting. Just cooking. (Crazy, I know!)

I think it’s also just the thought that, like, a year from now I am going to possibly be living in an apartment in a completely different city solely with my husband, working part-time and taking my last four classes…it seems so strange to imagine! I don’t feel unprepared; I just feel scared about the unknown.

There are obviously exciting things about moving as well and getting married, and I’m sure I will gladly list those off in a future post, but my feelings right now do not reflect that. For now I need encouragement and prayer that everything will work out the way it is supposed to.

Peace: freedom from disturbance, tranquility

2 Thessalonians 3:16

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way.”

Honor Your Mother and Father

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It’s in the Ten Commandments; that means it’s pretty important right?? But when does the statement apply or to what extent are we to honor and obey them?

I could talk about this topic for hours and relate it to many different scenarios and difficulties that I’ve faced in following this command, but since this blog is being turned into one that follows the journey of my boyfriend and I on the way to possible marriage…I will relate it to our current situation of wedding planning.

Ultimately, we know that we need to plan our wedding and reception and all that it entails to be the way the two of us want it to be. The moment we bend to the will of one person, we will begin to allow other opinions to shape our plans as well.

But what about our parents’ opinions?

We had said from the beginning that the only people we truly cared for approval from were our parents, and so far all parents are on board about our marriage. Unfortunately, each have different qualms (mine with the logistics of the wedding and his with the assurance in wanting to marry me), and understandably so. It’s just becoming tricky to discern how important it is that we take certain things into consideration.

Example 1: Both sets of parents would probably prefer us to wait an extra 4 months – 1 year to get married from when we are currently wanting to. They each have their different reasons which we somewhat understand (“you need more time to plan and have bridal showers, etc.” “you need time to get settled in at grad school” “you both need to be independent first”) but are they valid enough to go through with them even if it’s not what we want? Is it wrong to disobey our parents’ wants in this situation?

Example 2: My boyfriend wants several congregational hymns to be sung at our wedding as well as multiple scriptures read, and he would like for us to take communion. Now, I’m on board with a good majority of this (I need to just see how long all of it would end up being, but I think all of it would be nice and special), but my mom said the other day, “You’re not doing communion; that will take too long.” Is it more important to please my mom or do what my boyfriend and I think would be a sweet and meaningful act?

There are countless more examples of comments that all of our parents have made that go against what are our real wishes as of now, and we’ve been struggling to understand how much of their opinions we should take to heart and follow through with. We want to honor them and their wishes for our marriage and future, but we also know what will glorify God most through us and some things we just don’t want to budge on.

It might be a slightly uphill battle for a little while.

Ephesians 6:1

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

Proverbs 19:21

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

Over College

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My college experience for the last two years has been absolutely wonderful! I’ve experienced wild adventures like late-night fast food runs and climbing on top of buildings. I have enjoyed many discounted activities provided by my school (amusement parks, zoos, historic houses, movies, roller skating, ice skating, city sight-seeing). I even went on a camping and canoeing trip this year! I have also become involved as president of one club, member of another, and been inducted into two honors societies.

On top of all the cool opportunities, I have also made so many wonderful friends – 7 of which I am living in a suite with this year! We have played thousands of games together, attended every dance (mostly for food), and leaned on each other through so many fun and hard times!

All of this to say that up until this semester, I loved college more than anything, and it made me so sad to think about leaving. But I also reflect and think, “I’ve kind of done it all.”

Lately, with the prospect of a future with my boyfriend and lots of thoughts and plans swirling, I have been more and more convinced that I am ready to be a working adult and wife and that I have done my time at college.

Is this a bad way to think though?

I am not sure that, was I not in a relationship currently, I would be thinking this way. Would I still be ready to be a working adult? Would I still be done with all the traditions that come with college? Would I still be ready to move on?

Part of me thinks I would; my classes have not been the best this semester, and some days I really feel like I am wasting my money. I am doing an internship right now and I genuinely feel like I learn more through that any of my classes, so I would match rather be working and gaining more experience and knowledge that way.

The other part of me thinks that I would definitely not want to leave the lifestyle. And I still love the college life in that sense, but because I have a man that I want to live the rest of my life with, I no longer want to live with a gaggle of girls. I no longer want to split time between everybody and make time for all the college activities when I want to be with my boyfriend.

So the dilemma is that I need to learn how to not take this last (possible) year here in college for granted, but to look forward to marriage and beyond and know that “suffering” through this lifestyle now will make marriage that much more special.

I think it’s normal the way I’m feeling, but I still feel bad about it somedays because it creates an attitude of “the grass is always greener” which I know isn’t true!

1 Thessalonians 5:18

“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Tentative Plans

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Back at the beginning of last semester, I was reviewing my course schedule for the next couple years (my last two years at the time), and noticed how few classes I had remaining to take – especially without a minor. I had been debating a minor in Spanish (considering it would potentially be the most useful), but even with another three-four courses in Spanish, I doubted I would be fluent enough to benefit my future. So I decided that I didn’t need a minor, and as I took away all the extra classes, I found out that I could graduate a whole semester early.

Now this in and of itself was a big decision. I was single at the time, so it was a matter of weighing two things: the cost to stay an extra semester just to take a light load of “fun” classes and giving up a semester with my wonderful friends. After much deliberation, it seemed like graduating early was the most logical choice. And many of my friends began having the same plans as well, so I didn’t feel like I would be missing out on too much.

I explain all of this to say, graduating early was my plan before I met my boyfriend! Fast forward to March though: we meet on a school trip to Richmond, begin texting upon returning to campus (all because of a text of gratitude from me) and here we are 7 months later a happy couple.

So where are we now? What does our future look like?

Ding Ding Ding! Those are the winning questions!

I won’t go into detail now about some of the aspects of our future plans (they deserve posts all of their own), but I will summarize a few ideas and thoughts we have. It has been a mix of excitement and stress the past couple months as we’ve begun discussing future plans of marriage and beyond.

Firstly, my boyfriend is a senior and plans to graduate in May of 2020. After graduation, he is planning to attend grad school to obtain his PhD to become a history professor. He is planning to apply to many different schools, none of which would be closer than a 4-6 hour drive from school and several of which would be plane rides away.

Our first thought, naturally, was to get married right away in December/January after I graduate in 2020. This option is still on the table for sure. After we get married I would move to whatever city he is in and apply for jobs there. However, during a conversation we had this summer about the future, the idea came up about me taking all online classes my final semester, getting married in the summer of 2020, and moving with him to whatever new city in August (still graduating in December). This is the more likely option currently (with some stipulations to be discussed in the future).

It may feel like I’m leaving you hanging (which maybe is a good narrative strategy anyways!), but I promise that everything will be fleshed out in future posts! I don’t want to spend too much time on one particular aspect of our plans yet. All I can say is that these ideas and plans have created a great deal of stress at moments because there are so many steps that we need answers to before we can move to the next step and the one after that, so we don’t feel like we have a ton of solid plans yet. But God is good, and he knows exactly where we are headed and where we will be in three months, six months, a year, and beyond!

Proverbs 16:3,9

“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established…The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

Seeking Holiness

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Hi everyone!

Long time, no talk!

It has been a busy last 6 months-1 year, but up until recently I haven’t felt the calling to blog much. This still may not stick, but I am kind of in an interesting situation right now, and I thought some of you might like to come on the journey of the next year or so in my life with me!

I am currently in a relationship with the most incredible man on Earth. It has been a little over 6 months now, and future plans are starting to be brainstormed. While it is all exciting thinking about graduation, marriage, and beyond, our situation comes with a lot of unique kinks which can make the decisions more stressful than we would like.

Our relationship and thoughts of future plans has required a lot of patience and reliance on God already, and that is not going to end any time soon! Everything that happens from here on out is because it is predestined by God. My boyfriend and I don’t know what our future holds, but God does, so we are trusting him with all that’s in us!

In order to trust God more fully, we have been fasting once a week together and taking that time to spend extra energy in prayer for our future together. I am going to try to post each week during that time and discuss a different aspect of our situation, give updates, and remind you all of the importance of relying on God through all circumstances!

I am not perfect. My boyfriend is not perfect. Our relationship is not perfect. But we are trying to seek holiness and purity through all that we do! Join me on what’s going to be a wild journey!

(And lend some advice along the way if you so choose!!)

The Subconscious

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Ooh. Fancy psychology term. But I’m not a psychology major, so this will have nothing to do with any highfalutin concepts. So no fear, reader!

How many times have you said to yourself or someone else, “No, I’m not upset. I’m fine.” because you really believed you were…and then you lash out unnecessarily at someone or burst into tears when someone tells a story about their pet lizard? It’s happened to me PLENTY!

It amazes me how our subconscious mind can cause outward reactions without us being aware. Sometimes it’s because we’re denying the fact that there even is a problem, and other times it’s because we are repressing the problem. For me, I usually do a good job of just convincing myself that I shouldn’t be upset about xyz or that I’m handling it fine because I’m still “happy” and “social” when I’m really just ignoring the problem.

Example A: For years, I have struggled with having to visit my dad and step family and be in a new, unfamiliar environment for certain periods of time. Especially when I was younger, I would push through the miserable moments when I visited and then come home and act like nothing uncomfortable happened while I was there, but these feelings would only fester in my heart and mind. Subconsciously, I was in a lot of pain and hurt and confusion and frustration and sadness, but I always convinced myself that there was no reason to think about it now; it was in my past. Pushing it away caused more problems than necessary though, and I would either get physically sick or shut down for weeks at a time until I let the emotion out.

Example B: A bomb was dropped on me the other day that my best friend, whom I had been wanting and planning to room with next year, felt that it was better if she stayed with her current roommate. Now, there’s a lot of background and side notes to this situation that I won’t go into right now, but one thing to note is that we will still be in the suite together just not as direct roommates.

Either way, I was pretty upset at first, but in all honesty I was a lot less upset than i expected. I understood her concern and respected it. I wasn’t mad at her by any means, and I kinda put it off as “it’s just like last year all over again; there’s too many other things to be worrying about right now,” but I’m pretty sure I’m much more upset subconsciously than I’m leading on.

I haven’t been treating my best friend’s current roommate completely fairly lately (probably out of jealousy and frustration), and I didn’t sleep barely at all for two nights after the news was given to me. I also have been feeling more lonely and left out at the smallest things. Other than random hormones, the only thing I can figure is that my subconscious angst over this problem is surfacing in other forms.

Well, I could rant all day, but that wouldn’t be helpful to anyone! (Entertaining, but not helpful.) And, I can be completely raw in saying that the advice I’m about to give, I avoided myself at different points in my life, so I can admit that I can be a little hypocritical about this sometimes. But if you are struggling with a similar situation, here are some things that I have found to help!

  1. Always seek God’s help first! He is the ultimate counselor, and praying to Him and reading His word is the best place to find good advice and/or consolation about your problems. Now, He may not solve your problem or give you and answer right then and there, but it is always comforting to me to know that someone out there loves me and wants to listen especially when the problem leads me to feelings of loneliness, or I feel like no one understands.
  2. Human counselors can be bomb! I understand counselors are not for everyone, but they give extremely unbiased advice and encouragement. I used to go to a counselor every other week, and it always helped to verbalize my feelings to someone and receive sound advice to get me through the situation and bring that subconscious to an acknowledged surface to then handle.
  3. Do an activity that you LOVE! For me, playing tennis or doing a puzzle usually challenges my brain enough to let out my emotions and energy physically so that I’m feeling more empowered and centered. This can help to remind you that there’s more to life than the problem or give me a new sense of energy to handle the problem in a mature, respectable way.

Comment below if you’ve ever been in a situation like the ones talked about in this blog! And if you just need some friendly conversation or advice – email me @ alaskawildblog@gmail.com!

Good luck on finals to all college kids!!!

Gaining Approval

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I am not one to really need the approval of others in general, but it’s definitely important for me to have the approval of my loved ones. If my parents or family members don’t approve, I feel bad going through with my choice even if I know it’s a good thing. And this can be doubly difficult considering I have two sets of parents to go through right off the bat.

Let’s look at my most current situation and maybe you can relate.

I am planning on going to Slovakia on a mission trip next summer and I’m so excited!!! But going to a foreign country on mission can raise a whole bunch of questions and concerns from loved ones. I expected my mom and step dad to be a little skeptical of it, but my step dad is very conservative and believes Eastern Europe to be a very safe area of the world right now, so they were surprisingly approving of my decision. (And ultimately they are the most important when it comes to this.)

The next person to approach was my dad. Now he was just in Ecuador (a third world country, mind you) just about a month ago now on mission, and he has a pretty strong faith, so I thought of all people he’d be totally gung-ho about this trip. Boy was I wrong. He felt the opposite of my parents and was very concerned because it’s so close to the Ukraine and blah blah blah. I was so annoyed. He also wanted to know every single detail of the trip down to every day trip we’ll be taking and all the projects. I don’t know all of this information yet though for certain because God will lead us where we need to be once we’re there. I’m hoping to find a way to get his approval soon.

Lastly, I contacted my grandmother. She is not one I normally seek approval from completely, but when I told her about the trip she seemed a little hesitant. And when she ended up staying up for hours worrying about me and my safety there, I begin to feel bad that I’m going and putting these concerns in her mind.

Do any of you ever struggle to gain approval for things that seem like obvious good choices like going on a mission trip?? I guess I just have to trust God on this one and seek His approval only.