Things We Learn About Being Single on Tax Day.

The older I get the more I realize the government is stupid.

However, I would also like to run for public office one day so can we say hypocritical?

I think it’s because I’m an idealist and like every young American, I expect the government to be perfect and then it does something just super dumb and you sit there wondering if they have an even basic understanding of modern economic theory…

But I digress.

Bringing it back, yesterday was Tax Day!

#winning

via Pinterest.

via Pinterest.

Or not if you had to pay in and then I’m sorry for your loss.

I’m sort of like an ostrich when it comes to taxes. My head is in the sand. Don’t tell me what I’m paying, I don’t want to know.

However, I hit up ye ol’ google machine yesterday which solves a lot of the world’s problems and I typed in a fated string of text, “difference in tax rates among married and single people.”

Don’t do it friends.

Don’t do it.

In the wise words of Bon Jovi, it was indeed a “shot to the heart.”

Because as far as salt in a wound goes, this is a big one. Right behind how no one ever buys me jewelry.

Basically, single people pay more. And the government is doing this intentionally to encourage marriage. To which I want to say to the government, “would you get off my back?! I’m TRYING ok?!?!?!”

But am I really trying?

Uh oh. I’m about to drop bombs.

I’m not really trying. Not at all.

I’m reading this great book by Mark Batterson called Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge it’s a follow up to his book The Circle Maker which I highly recommend ESPECIALLY if you’re in a season of not knowing what the heck to do with your life. Which has been most of my 20’s so far … so basically if you’re in your 20’s you should buy it.

Anyway, in Draw the Circle Mark talks over and over again about how we need to “work like it depends on us, but we also need to pray like it depends on God.” In most areas of my life I would say I’m pretty good at the working part and need to do more in the prayer area part, but when it comes to a future spouse I’m zero for two. I don’t do anything (big issue) and I don’t pray about it (arguably bigger issue).

Let’s sideline the praying about it deal because you people are like toddlers and I can only hold your attention for about 100 more words (true story – it’s science).

But we, as single christian women, DON’T DO ANYTHING.

UPS isn’t going to drop off a guy at your house. They just won’t. And not only because the packaging is expensive and it’s really hard to ship live things but, apparently, if you’re trying to ship a person there is some nonsense about them needing “air” because they could “suffocate.” I don’t know – the government made it up.

Anyway, you, (and by you I mean we) have to get off our butts, stop watching Netflix on Friday nights and get out into the world!

I feel like a mother wood duck about to push my little ducklings out of the nest.

wood duck

We can’t complain about being single, but also refuse to go out on dates.

We’ve got to put forth a little bit of effort ladies. Like signing up for one of those dumb dating sites I’ve talk about before. Yeah, they’re stupid, but people get married because of match.com all of the time! Or sign up for the Bachelor! Just kidding, don’t do that. Volunteer! Be nice to random men who have fantastic socks (sign of a winner – just FYI). Go outside! Or my favorite, join singles BSF! Because we all KNOW the people who sign up for BSF are NOT 100% there to study the bible.

“Oh, I’m just here to learn about God and his word!”

“Yes – and I’m here for the amazing coffee.”

No.

Anyway, you can do it! You’re powerful, confident, capable and beautiful. And in case you need to hear this too – you’re good at relationships.

Fly my little wood ducks! Fly!

Sabbath.

I hardcore failed this morning.

I was at a party last night and therefore didn’t get out of bed until 10:25 am.

Church starts at 10:30.

I was going to try to make it, until suddenly, shortly after I had looked in the mirror, realized church probably wasn’t going to happen.

Side note, when you have short hair, it is possible for them to stick straight up.

New discovery.

To spare the good people of the world my #IWokeUpLikeThis face, because lets be honest, it makes children cry and there are a lot of children at my church, I made myself coffee and oatmeal and sunk down to … rest.

FullSizeRender

I guess rest is the best word to describe what I’m doing right now, and it feels awesome, but it also feels like I don’t deserve it.

My friend Gabby wrote the most beautiful post on rest the other day and she basically said even though God commands us to rest, we often fight against it because we either don’t trust God will provide, or don’t believe we deserve it.

I think about the first one a lot. I worry ALL. THE. TIME. The worst part is I know it’s a sin. I know we’re not supposed to worry, but I can’t help myself. It’s sort of like it’s the sin that I was born with, my personality is predisposed to worry.

And it sucks.

But I don’t think about the last one, the “I don’t deserve it” one, but as soon as she put it on paper I immediately thought, “yup, I totally believe that.”

I’m pretty Type A, and by pretty Type A, I actually mean psycho crazy all the way Type A. If a day goes by without me achieving anything it’s a waste. So resting is REALLY hard, if not impossible. I’m also studying for a test, applying to grad school, working and honestly failing at making this blog a real thing. So basically, there is always something in the back of my mind going, “why are you reading? You should be doing XYZ instead!”

Because at some point when I was younger, I decided if I didn’t do XYZ, if I didn’t perform, if I didn’t accomplish, I didn’t matter.

So resting is hard, because when you rest, you don’t do anything.

You just rest.

You take a nap.

You read a book, and not even an impressive book, but something kind of stupid. (and by stupid, I mean awesome, because I pounded this book called Rose Daughter yesterday and it was great).

You go see a movie.

I’ve been going to see a therapist lately and it’s kind of great.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had to do this. Like I said before, I worry, but sometimes it gets really bad and becomes full-blown anxiety.

One of the things I’m learning, is my anxiety is really bad when I’m not taking care of myself. My therapist and I were talking the other day and she asked me what I was doing to “fill my bucket.”

I couldn’t tell her anything.

It was actually pretty sad.

So this weekend I’ve been filling my bucket. I had brunch with friends, I just read all day, I skipped church to write, and I saw the new Cinderella movie by myself because I just really wanted to see it (glorious by the way, so, so amazingly good).

And I think it’s all working.

I’m feeling rested and I’m feeling at peace.

I’m feeling like it’s ok to not have to achieve all the time.

It’s ok to take it slow and to not have to do everything.

God’s going to provide.

Happy Sabbath friends.

Engaged Christian Girl

No, not me. My wonderful frequent Guest Blogger … Miss Casey soon-not-to-be Nordman!

On January 16th, on the Guthrie Endless Bridge in Minneapolis, fully exposed to the cold of a Minnesota winter, at approximately 7:53 pm, a handsome, hilarious, brilliant, blue-eyed masterpiece of a man got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I said yes because, on top of all those dazzling qualities, he’s also my favorite human.

I know I’ve lost some of you. Some are in the middle of an eye roll so violent you may require an ophthalmologist’s attention. Some are already checking the freezer for Ben and Jerry’s. Some are plotting ways to send me hate mail for writing a post about being engaged on the Single Christian Girls blog. This is supposed to be a safe place!

First, let the record show I was asked to write this post, so we can all just calm down. Second, let it comfort you that you’re not alone. Third, if you’ve read any of my previous posts, you know I am not far removed from SCG life. I have some things to say, and I promise not one of them is, “SUCK IT, I WIN!” I also intend to keep the gushing to a minimum, but look at this man! Gushing is inevitable.

Casey and her Man!

The day I am writing this post marks one month and one day of being engaged to the hottest software engineer/drummer you’ll ever meet, and I absolutely love wedding planning. I love spreadsheets. I love color coding. I love binders. Understandably, this is not everyone’s experience. Not everyone is a Type A poster child who spent twenty minutes at Target deciding between two planners. Not everyone is excited to plan a wedding because people go out of their way to confirm appointments with brides. I get that. But for me, wedding planning is pretty much the most fun I can have while still having to think about money. It also helps that my fiancé has Olympic status in the following events: calming me down, listening to my rants, and making things fun. (I know, the gushing. I’ll try to stifle ever so slightly.)

Wedding planning is easy for me. It’s fun for me. What isn’t easy? What isn’t fun?

Engagement. Engagement is neither easy nor fun for a grand majority of the time.

I was prepared for physical temptations to increase. That doesn’t make it simple to deny them, but at least I knew what we were in for.  A light at the end of the proverbial tunnel makes not thinking about sex one iota easier and about 10,000,000 iotas more difficult. But, again, that’s the one I was ready for.

Engagement is the most emotionally taxing time I have experienced. Incandescent happiness is there, of course. The sheer joy of knowing I’m going to marry the best man I know is definitely present: the recognition of his presence in my life, much less his choosing me, as one of my highest blessings from God. But then it’s time for him to leave on a Saturday night. We’ve spent some time out for drinks and in watching Parks and Rec. We’ve spent some time on wedding stuff. It doesn’t feel like he should leave. It feels ridiculous that he should leave. Why? Because we’re a unit, dagnabbit. We just made 80 decisions for our wedding DJ’s must play and never play lists (should you be at our reception, please note there will be no Black Eyed Peas). We just discussed when we should look for apartments and rehashed my unwillingness to move to St. Paul. Ever. We had another conversation about paying off our student debt. And now he has to go back to where he lives right now, completely separate. It feels stupid, and it makes me sad and confused.

(If there happen to be men who read this, it’s okay that you don’t understand. Just be nice to your fiancée when you have one. If you’re a woman reading this who doesn’t understand, teach me your ways.)

The point I have reached, through several conversations, is this: It’s okay that I love my fiancé and want to spend time with him. We’d have other problems if I didn’t. It’s okay to feel tension between having to act as a married unit at times and not getting to act as one in all respects. This tension draws me to consider the fact that this is the current state of the Church. We’re redeemed, but not restored. We’re waiting for what the Bible describes as a wedding, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb – unity with Christ, everything made new! What’s more, God has appointed this time for a purpose. The Church has work to do. My fiancé and I have work to do. Actual planning, yes, and growth in love for and knowledge of God and each other. We’re going to learn things during engagement we couldn’t learn any other way.

Let me be clear here: this perspective does not automatically make it easier. It needs to affect my heart, though, and, however slowly, that change of heart will affect my emotional reactions.

I could’ve written a lot of things about engagement, like how life doesn’t stop like you thought it should (the day after I got a ring on my finger, my front passenger tire exploded on 35W), or like how expensive weddings are no matter how big of a cheapskate the bride is. But this is the most important word I have for you, SCG: Engagement isn’t the end-all be-all. It’s really hard. Marriage will solve two of these problems and create 53 of its own. I haven’t arrived. I’ve barely begun. But I get to walk through engagement and marriage with Jesus and my favorite human, and the only thing I can expect for certain is immeasurably more than I could imagine.

Donald Miller’s Scary Close

Reading this right now, and it is hands down, the BEST book I have ever read on relationships. EVER. Throw away all of your stupid single books, this is it. Just read this now and am freaking out a bit:

I was afraid of change. On the dock I was warm and dry and in control. I knew once I jumped I’d be fine, I’d enjoy swimming around. But it was still a change. I thought about Betsy, likely about to land in DC. I knew in my heart I’d be happier with her. I knew she’d take me places that were healthier, more fun, more challenging than I’d ever been. I thought also about how content and comfortable I was being single, how much control I had in my life, how I could go out and get applause anytime I wanted and then retreat to the green room of my life, eating Oreos and waiting for my next performance.

To Tinder or Not To Tinder: Part 2

To Tinder or Not to Tinder, that is the question:

Whether tis nobler in the mind to swipe left

Or to swipe right and open up a whole can of worms …

Claire Shakespeare

Tinder part 2

A really long time ago I wrote about how I was trying Tinder and that I’d eventually give you a follow up. Well, since then, a few things have happened. I deleted tinder, then I got it again and then I deleted it, again.

Long story short: it got really creepy really fast.

So I got Hinge instead.

Which is basically just like Tinder and only slightly less creepy.

So there you go.

Anyway, if you’re like me and have been kicked off of Match.com, are sick of eHarmony, think Christian Mingle is a joke and don’t mind using an app to help you make important life choices, try Hinge. You’ll make worse life decisions and remember – we’re in this together.

Also, to guide you on your journey here are my:

Helpful Hinge Hints for the Single Christian Girl (how’d you like that alliteration?!)

  1. Make sure you enjoy men with aquatic creatures. If you don’t, why are you on a dating website at all? They all fish, and they all take pictures of it. It’s like the man version of a selfie – a fishy.
  2. When in doubt, swipe right. Otherwise your soul mate could be gone forever. That’s probably not real, but just in case.
  3. Don’t ever swipe right to a guy with his shirt off taking a mirror selfie. Why is he doing that? Why? Where did your shirt go? Can you not afford shirts? Why are you taking a selfie, do you not have friends? I’m concerned. Are you cold? Did you take your shirt off, slip into a semi hypothermic state and then in your delirium think it was a good idea to take a picture of yourself before you drifted off into a coma? Are you even alive right now?
  4. Say you love Jesus. Just do it. It’ll weed out some people, but you don’t want to date them in the first place. Trust me. Trust your Mom, she’d probably say the same thing if she 1) knew what Hinge was and 2) was okay with you using Hinge … so there’s that.
  5. It’s ok to not respond to a message. They get creepy. They just do. Even if you swiped right with what you thought was amazing knowledge and foresight, peoples pictures sometimes don’t match their personality.
  6. Use the block option liberally. If they’re creepy and persistent you just block that sucker. Do it.
  7. If his profile makes you laugh, just say yes. I’m fully convinced that finding someone who makes you laugh matters a thousand times more then a good looking picture. When you’re both 105 and in the nursing home with wrinkles upon wrinkles and no teeth, you’ll still be able to make each other laugh as long as you don’t choke on your prune juice.

So best of luck friends. Have fun swiping!

Work, Calling and Faith

Via Pinterest.

Via Pinterest.

Over a month ago a friend asked me how I share my faith in the workplace. That was the gist of her email anyway, and I looked at it for a while, somewhat dumbfounded, and finally said, “Who the heck knows!”

Out loud, at work.

I didn’t respond to her email, but I’m counting this as my response. So, fair warning to all of you, if you send me a message, be careful! It could be used as blog fodder.

My spiritual journey weaves in and out of periods of legalism. I was in spaces that felt incredibly inauthentic. I tried to force myself to fit in and confronted the pain of realizing it wasn’t going to happen. My spiritual journey has led me to a place full of deep questions, many without answers, meaningful relationships, and lots, and lots of vulnerability. I’ve learned that God loves me in spite of what I believe.

Long story short, life is grey, faith is grey. It’s just about Jesus.

So now work, and how to share your faith.

Just don’t pull out a track and you’ll probably be fine.

Just kidding.

But actually, don’t do that.

The best way to share your faith at work is to do the work that God has called you to do and do it well.

Yup.

That’s it.

You could spout the gospel message all day long at your job, but if you do crappy work no one is going to give a rats ass about what you have to say. They’re just going to get annoyed because you suck at your job.

The best book on work that I know of is “Every Good Endeavor” by Timothy Keller. In it, he creates a beautiful picture of God’s purpose for work. At a high level, work is about calling. It’s about doing the job that God created and planned for you to do. It’s about leaning into your talents, strengths and gifts and not wasting them. It’s about making sacred the secular and offering up your 9-to-5, or sometimes 6-to-6 plus weekends to God.

I’m not saying you won’t have the chance to share the Gospel, because you probably will. But the Gospel is best delivered in the midst of a trusting relationship where the person who is bringing the Gospel message has done more than their fair share of listening well. That can take months if not years, especially in Minnesota where stoic Sweds litter the frozen tundra.

Calling isn’t easy.

Not at all.

It’s terrifying. Stepping into who God truly created you to be means giving up complete control.

My friend Lee just started working for this company called “Branded by J. Otto.” As a future (hopefully) entrepreneur, I’m obsessed with people who start their own businesses. Branded by J. Otto’s CEO and founder, Jessie, felt called to start a business that allowed people to show up at decisive moments in their friends lives. She wanted to create something that was an alternative to sending flowers or an edible arrangement. What she came up with was at its essence, a clothing company that has a greater purpose.

Hop on Branded by J. Otto's our website www.brandedbyjotto.com and shop by theme. The themes are printed on the outside of the garment and represent life events we all have in common. Scripture has been carefully matched with the appropriate theme and is printed on the inside of the garment.

Hop on Branded by J. Otto’s our website http://www.brandedbyjotto.com and shop by theme. The themes are printed on the outside of the garment and represent life events we all have in common. Scripture has been carefully matched with the appropriate theme and is printed on the inside of the garment.

Branded by J. Otto is just at the beginning of its journey, but I’m assuming that we’re finding Jessie somewhere in the middle of God’s plan for her.

Would you help me support Branded by J. Otto and its new employees live out their calling? I’m donating and would love if you would join with me in partnering with them.

Check out their Kickstarter page here.

For more on the Story of Branded by J. Otto watch the video below.

Raise Your Hand If You Were Single Over Christmas!

Google recently reported that the most common search between Thanksgiving and Christmas behind “how much should I spend on an engagement ring,” is “why am I still single.”

Just kidding, that’s not a thing, but my Google search statistics are up which means people had to explain to that one extended family member for the 6th Christmas in a row why a great person like them is still single, just as you overhear one of your cousins, who’s 4 years younger than you, announce that she’s pregnant for the 2nd time!

How exciting.

What joy.

What bliss.

Merry fricken Christmas.

Via Pinterest

Via Pinterest

Next thing you know, you’re waste deep in eggnog singing a version of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” that sounds so pitiful it’s making angels weep and terrifying all of your cousins under age 8.

This is all hypothetical of course.

Humor me if you will, I am about to defend your overly zealous family member who is inordinately concerned with your relationships status.

Why?

Because I will be that person. Heck, I am that person.

What can I say? I love love.

Your relatives and I just want you to be happy.

What your relatives might not tell you, but what I will remind you of, is that your relationship status doesn’t determine your value.

My favorite book is “You are Special” by Max Lucado. It’s a children’s book so don’t judge.

I’m barely literate people, let’s be real.

Anyway, it’s about these little wooden people called Wemmicks who spend their days sticking stars and dots on one another.

Why they can’t find more economically productive things to do is beyond me.

I digress.

Basically these little Wemmicks slap stars on other Wemmicks that they think are awesome and slap dots on the suckers they think are losers. Punchinello, our main character, is a Wemmick with a lot of dots. He’s not very good at being a wooden person. His paint is chipped, he stutters, he’s kind of clumsy and he probably doesn’t have a little wooden girlfriend.

Without ruining the whole story, one day he figures out that the only person’s opinion who matters is the opinion of the carpenter who made him, and he thinks Punchinello is pretty special.

Then, some of the dots stop sticking.

Intentionally or unintentionally people can make us feel like our worth and value depends on our relationship status. When that happens, we’re giving them power to give us dots (or even stars).

People don’t have that power, only God does. Only God’s opinion matters and he thinks you’re pretty special.

Think about that for a second.

You, right now, this second, are special.

You could be in a vegetative coma for the rest of your life and God would still think that you have an incalculable amount of worth and value.

Welcome back to all of the overachievers and perfectionists who just passed out.

You are special.

Without even trying.

Just because God made you.

If you want to read more about your worth and value as a single person, check out Shauna Niequist post called “You Are Significant With or Without A Significant Other.

It’s the bomb.com and I want her to be my best friend.

Shauna, if you read this, send me an email in my contact me section and we can get this friendship started.

I also promise I haven’t stalked you …

Sort of.