5 Ways to Score a Great JOB!

JOB
A sweet friend of mine asked me to write about… *drum roll please*… post-college JOB HUNTING! Whether you’re still a student, a newly minted graduate, or if college is far behind in your rear-view mirror, job hunting can be a challenging season of life.

There’s a LOT to be said about job hunting, but I condensed the best advice I’ve ever heard into 5 nuggets of wisdom to keep in mind as you search for a job. (Or,  you can just file this away for the next time you’re on the hunt!)

1.) Still in school? Invest in an INTERNSHIP!

If you are still in college, you can help your future post-college self by investing in an internship NOW.  This is SO important! Whether it’s for an entire semester, a summer, a month, or even a few weeks here and there- find an internship program that will provide experience in your field of study. Even unpaid internships will pay off BIG time after you graduate! Of course, every field of study is different, but in all of my 16 interviews in the 2 months after my college graduation, not a SINGLE prospective employer asked me about my GPA, or how involved I was in my classes. They asked me about my experiences. They wanted to know what sort of hands-on, real-life experiences I’ve had in the field. To every employer I spoke with, EXPERIENCE mattered a whole lot more than my 3.9 GPA.

2.) Apply EVERYWHERE.

I remember talking with a friend who had been a college grad for several months, and he was discouraged that he was still job-hunting.  I asked him, “How many places have you applied?” He replied, “Two or three so far.”  Woahhhh wait a second! Almost 3 months of job hunting, and only 3 applications submitted!? No wonder he hadn’t found the right job yet! The odds of scoring a good job are DRAMATICALLY higher when you are more assertive in your job-hunt strategy. When you don’t have a job, your full-time job is FINDING a full-time job. How many hours a day would you spend at work if you were employed? That’s a good estimate of how many hours a day you should be searching for jobs, filling out applications, attending job fairs, etc. I submitted a little over 60 applications in the 2 1/2 months that I searched for a job straight out of college! The job market for my field was tough to break in to, but by submitting SO many applications and opening so many doors of opportunity, I boosted my chances of nailing the fantastic job I ended up with.

3.) Ask good questions.

Job interviews can be really intimidating.  You go in a brightly lit room, cameras all around, in front of a table of three judges who will decide whether or not you’re ‘Hollywood worthy’…. oh wait. That’s American Idol. Never mind. But hey, the pressure is still SO REAL in a job interview! You’re there to BE judged, but don’t forget that you’re also there TO judge. You’re not only there for the employer to find out if you’re a good fit for them, but you’re also there to find out if the place of employment is a good fit for YOU! So, come in with a few questions prepared, so that when the interviewer asks- “Do you have any questions for me?” (which, 9 times out of 10, they WILL ask you if you have questions), you won’t have that deer-in-the-headlights blank stare. You’ll have a couple of well-versed and thoughtful questions to ask the interviewer, and you’ll take note of his/her response so that you’ll have a better picture of the opportunity.

Here are a few example questions you could consider:

“Could you please tell me a little more about the day-to-day responsibilities of this position?”  

“How would you describe the culture of this company?”

“What do you think are the most important qualities needed for someone to succeed in this role?”

4.) Find Career-Specific Job Fairs.

More than once, I wasted my time at a job fair that was too generic and/or ambiguous. There are recruiters out there who are looking for ANY graduate they can get their hands on to fill many different types of positions, but those positions might not be right for you. I went to a career fair that was advertised as being for college graduates, but in reality, every company representative I spoke with made it clear that employees only needed a high school diploma, and the majority were call-center positions. (Nothing at all against call center positions, but that was one career path I was determined to avoid, and I didn’t want to settle if I didn’t have to.)  If I had done a little more research to find career-specific job fairs, I would have spent my time more effectively and likely would have had the chance to network with other young professionals and recruiters from companies I actually WANTED to meet up with!  So, don’t just jump on board and sign up for a job fair before you do a bit of research to make sure it’s a job fair that fits with your career path.

5.) Chill out.

Stop panicking. Stop comparing yourself to friends who might have landed a job faster than you.  Stop allowing your negativity to cloud out opportunity.
STORY TIME: I distinctly remember one night 2 months into my first post-college job hunt, I was sobbing into my then-boyfriend/now-husband’s shoulder. My dramatic blubbering went something like this: “Babe… *sniff*.. I just won’t find a good job. I’ve tried. No one wants me. Maybe I should just apply at Sonic… at least they have really good tater tots…*sniff*”.  Sounds funny now, but back then, I was devastated! And yet, 3 weeks later, I was interviewing with my current workplace and landing a FANTASTIC new job that was better than anything I could have hoped for.  So, stop wasting precious time wondering if you’re hireable, and spend more time developing and emphasizing your hire-worthy skills.  More often than not, it takes time and effort to land a solid job in today’s economy.  You might not score the job of your dreams right off the bat- in fact, that’s unlikely. But that’s okay.  Your happiness in  your job comes primarily from your perspective: a higher title and a heftier paycheck aren’t a guarantee of satisfaction. In the meantime, stay positive, keep an open mind, and most importantly… chill out.

~~~

A job-search can be a tough season, but hang in there! If you have any other tips, advice, or comments about your own past/current job hunts, please let me know- I’d LOVE to hear from you!  Thank you for reading, and happy job-hunting!!!

~K

 

Sweet Sorrows (GUEST POST!)

SweetSorrows
Hey ladies, you’re in for a treat today! Rue is a friend of mine who is currently working on an article for a christian magazine. She also is the voice behind the travel blog “Walker Stalkers”
(Be sure to check it out after reading her post below! https://awalkerstalker.wordpress.com/).
The exciting news today is that YOU have the opportunity to help out, and get YOUR story heard! Want to know how? Keep reading below! 🙂 The rest of this article is written by Rue.

“Hello everyone! It’s so nice to meet you. Thanks again to the lovely Kristin for letting me guest post. I enjoy her thoughts on marriage and relationship and so of course she was the first person I thought of when I started hunting around for a blogger to help me with an article I’m working on. Which leads me to why I’m visiting you all today. I am working on an article for a Christian magazine on some of the ways in which marriage affects friendship, specifically female friendships, though I think these issues are not limited by gender. I have read a lot of articles on how marriage affects family relationships, but in my personal experience, getting married was harder on my friends than my family. As a single woman, I truly loved my engaged friends and wanted to be happy for them but sometimes to tell the honest truth (yikes!) I wasn’t happy at all. I was jealous and angry that they had this special experience I was completely left out of. Patiently waiting is difficult enough but at a certain age, single women start attending a whirlwind of bachelorette parties, bridal showers, weddings and baby showers that can make even the most patient person want to pull her hair out. I remember feeling like I was stuck in this waiting room, watching as one by one my friends disappeared behind a door into some unknown place. I couldn’t go until they called my name and so I just kept sitting in this horrible room waiting to be let out. Though I honestly tried as hard as I could to celebrate my friends, I often felt like my fake smile was fooling no one.

You can imagine then, when I became a fiancée myself, how sensitive I was to the issues my single friends might be facing. I could deeply empathize with their pain, but if I’m being honest again, I wanted to rejoice! I was so joyful over the amazing gift God had given me in my husband and all I wanted was to celebrate with my closest friends the good work the Lord had done. Along the way, we all made mistakes, but overall I think we derived a lot of comfort from Romans 12:15 “Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.” As I have gone on to struggle with fertility issues while many friends have given birth to their beautiful children, this verse has brought me incredible comfort and wisdom. I figured, if my friends and I were facing these issues, other people probably were too and so I started working on this article.

This is where YOU come in. I would love to hear about how your engagement affected your friendships personally or how you experience engagement or marriage as a single person. If you feel comfortable sharing your story, please email me at scaliRM@gmail.com and I will send you some interview questions. If you have other thoughts or very strongly disagree with the premise behind the article I’d love to hear from you too!

I firmly believe female friendships are some of the most valuable and important, both in terms of holiness and happiness. I am hoping this article can give a voice to brides wanting to rejoice with their best friends and women needing a space to mourn with their soul sisters. There is a wealth of information out there on how to support each other after marriage, but the wedding season itself can be a stressful and trying time for everyone. I’d love to hear how you and your besties navigated those experiences.

Thanks for all your help!

An Open Letter to the Fans of “Fifty Shades”

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Dear fan of ‘Fifty Shades’,

As you likely already know, the “Fifty Shades” phenomenon is continuing with the second film, “Fifty Shades Darker”, coming soon to a theater near you.
Maybe you already have your tickets? The book trilogy, followed by two on-screen renditions, has been wildly popular- mostly among women.
Even women within the Church
.

Maybe you are proud to be a fan, or maybe you are slightly ashamed of what you are endorsing with your money and your time. Maybe you’ve been following the series since day 1, or maybe you just picked up a book one day out of curiosity, and then got hooked.

Well, either way, you can take a deep breath and relax, because I’m not going to use this post to tell you to pack your bags and head off on a guilt-trip.

I’m not going to announce that you aren’t a true Christian ( because that is between you and God), and I’m not going to question the freedom you have to choose your preferred means of entertainment.

So now we know what I WON’T tell you in this letter.
Let’s move on to what I WILL tell you:

Entertainment is never “JUST” entertainment.

“Chill out, it’s just a movie.”  It’s not that simple. Garbage in, garbage out. When we fill our bodies with unhealthy food, our bodies become less healthy. In the same way, when we fill our minds with unhealthy ideas, our hearts become less healthy.  Our brains are like tofu: tofu absorbs the flavors of whatever surrounds it in the frying pan. Similarly, our brains “absorb” the ideas and concepts we surround ourselves with, whether consciously or subconsciously.  It’s incredibly naive to say it’s “JUST” entertainment, when the reality is that the entertainment choices we make DO affect our mental and emotional health.  Are we mindfully engaging with culture, or are we turning out brains off and simply absorbing whatever ideas are thrown at us?

You might be trading the richness of reality for a shallow fantasy.

I personally know women who are deeply dissatisfied in their relationships, their marriages, their sex lives… all because of inherently flawed expectations. Please hear me out, ladies: Romance novels can be equally as damaging to relationships as pornography addiction. The effects are similar; certain expectations are set, and dissatisfaction ensues.  Maybe you can relate? If you are finding excitement and escape through this series, or any other similar form of entertainment, my heart breaks for you.   In chasing after a shallow fantasy, you are missing out on how incredible reality can be when you turn off your television, put down the graphic novel, and invest in whoever God has put in your life to love and to cherish. It’s natural and normal to want to be loved, desired, cherished, and fulfilled. When you allow God to meet those needs in your heart,  you will feel the freedom leave the “shallow kiddie pool” of cheap entertainment and escapism, to jump into an ocean of grace and lasting satisfaction.

Toxic relationships never deserve to be glorified.

Disclaimer: I’ve never read the entire book series. However, shortly after the first book was released, before all the hype began, I did pick up a friend’s copy and skimmed through a few pages- and quickly put it back down. Even the few pages I skimmed were violently opposed to everything I’d learned about what love truly is.
Love is patient, while Fifty Shades is lustful. Love is kind, while Fifty Shades is aggressive. Love does not envy or boast, while Fifty Shades finds it’s foundation in jealousy and pride. Fifty Shades is a portrayal of self-seeking pleasure disguised as romance. In psychological terms, the story glorifies a toxic narcissist/co-dependent relationship, when the reality of that type of a relationship is anything BUT romantic. I’ve personally witnessed the damaging and traumatic effects of abusive relationships.  I firmly believe that glorifying this level of brokenness, on-screen in front of MILLIONS, is only adding fuel to the fire.

 
So, now what?
You still have your movie tickets, and you still have the trilogy on your bookshelf.

Again, just like my introductory disclaimer, I believe that you have the freedom to choose your entertainment preferences. I’m not naive enough to believe that a single blog post has the power to change your mind, or impact your heart. Only God can do that.

I just want you to hear this: You are far, far too precious and valuable in God’s sight to settle for a cheap fantasy, when you could be pursuing true joy and fulfillment that only comes through Him.  Your mental and emotional health are WORTH asking yourself tough questions about entertainment choices. 

Sure, some people will think it’s weird if you swim against the current and choose to engage  your mind before buying your tickets.

Some people might call you a ‘prude‘.

I used to be so afraid of being called a ‘prude’. But if the word ‘prude’ is short for ‘prudent’, and ‘prudent‘ means “acting with or showing care and thought for the future”, is that really such a bad thing to be?

~K

 

 

 

 

 

24 Lessons I Learned from my Husband

0062In honor of my his 24th birthday, I want to share 24 lessons I’ve learned from my husband. His maturity far surpasses his age; I am so humbled and blessed by the many ways God has been teaching my heart and molding my character through Kevin.

It wasn’t easy to narrow this list down to only 24, so consider this a list of highlights! 🙂

1.) Confidence is a daily decision, not something you stumble across on a good day.

Kevin’s personal confidence is an inspiration to me- he’s my role model when it comes to cultivating boldness in the context of humility and grace.

2.) It’s okay to laugh at my own mistakes.

I laugh a lot more now, and I’m still learning not to take myself TOO seriously. As I grow in confidence (see item 1 above), I will feel less insecure about my silly little mistakes, and more prone to find the humor in them.

3.) Gentleness takes a LOT of strength.

Kevin treats me with a gentleness and tenderness that surpasses all of my hopes and expectations. His strength of character enables him to love me so well.

4.) How to structure a budget.

I’ve always been careful with finances, but Kevin has taught me more that I ever thought I would learn about financial concepts, budgeting, investing, biblical stewardship, and more. And, shockingly, even as a right-brained person, I feel really good about how much I’ve learned!

5.) How to disagree agreeably.

It doesn’t happen often, but we’ve had our moments of disagreement. We’ve even debated. But we’ve never ‘fought’. An argument shouldn’t feel like a ‘battle’, it should feel like two people who are fighting alongside each other to reach a peaceful resolution. Kevin displays nothing but respect and grace as we work through our issues. Before I dated Kevin, I had experienced the intense fear of angry outbursts, broken things, and verbal abuse, so I began to believe that arguments were a thing to be feared.  God used Kevin to help ‘rewire’ my perspective: he has taught me that healthy relationships do “fight”, but in a healthy way- as a team, and never as opponents.

6.) Failure and success are a matter of perspective.

This is something I am still learning, but Kevin provides me with a powerful and constant example of how important perspective truly is.  Failure isn’t something to be feared, yet neither is accomplishment something to be worshiped. The lessons learned along the way are the stepping stones to meaningful success.

7.) Organization is often much more effective than just ‘winging it’.

I’d still consider myself a spontaneous person, but all my closest friends have noticed a definite increase in my organizational skills. I have my husband to thank for that! Now I can enjoy the best of both worlds. Who knew that an increase in organization would be so helpful?! 😉

8.) Love covers a multitude of sins.

This is something I was always taught growing up, but never has it been more deeply poignant truth than in the context of marriage. Kevin’s love keeps no record of my wrongs, and he provides a constant example of how to reflect God’s grace when I fall short.

9.) The best moments together don’t cost a penny.

I’ve always known this in my head, but Kevin brought this reality to my heart. I treasure the simple moments now, more than ever before. Sure, the occasional date-night-splurge is lovely, but the quality of our time has nothing to do with the quantity of money we spend.

10.) You must be lavish in your forgiveness so that you can be unconditional in your love.

Those  who are forgiven much, love much. It’s a biblical truth, and a concept proven true, time and time again, by my gracious and forgiving spouse.

11.) Communication is so much more than words.

I’m a ‘words person’. Yet, there are so many situations where words are cheap, and words fall so short of the full breadth of effective communication.
This is a lesson I’m still learning!

12.) The world is complex, but joy is simple.

Life doesn’t slow down, and it doesn’t get easier.
But joy is simple, and it’s always worth pursuing.

13.) Shared values should always be discussed, never assumed.

We grew up in very similar ways, and we discussed our values and goals throughout our dating relationship to make sure we were on the same page with the ‘essentials’. However, this kind of communication should NOT stop after marriage! It’s so important to continue to have deep and meaningful conversation, and make the time to discuss our values and ask tough questions. Don’t just assume you’re on the same page- take the time to listen to one another often!

14.) Laughter truly IS the best medicine.

My husband’s sense of humor brightens my life, and even makes me physically FEEL better even if I’m sick or upset.  We’re talking about the laugh-til-you-cry, smile-til-your-face-hurts, giggle-til-you-snort type of laughter! No one makes me laugh like he does.

15.) Tangible goals matter.

I didn’t often write down my goals before Kevin encouraged me to do so. I was afraid to write them all down in detail, making them REAL and concrete, because I was afraid I’d fail.  (See #6!)

16.) Seek to understand before seeking to be understood.

I like to get my point across. I like to feel understood. But this often comes at the cost of loving communication; truly taking the time to LISTEN first and speak LAST. It’s always worthwhile to make the effort to understand someone’s viewpoints and allow them to use their own voice, instead of assuming that you already know where they are coming from. Kevin is the best ‘listener’ in our relationship, and I’m trying to be more like him in this area.

17.) You are a “professional” when you call yourself a professional.

In your life and in your career, other people will take me seriously when I learn to take myself seriously. There isn’t a magical moment when I cross the line between ‘regular person’ and ‘professional person’; professionalism isn’t a ‘line’. It’s a direction.

18.) Silence really IS golden.

I used to feel the need to fill every silence, but over the course of my friendship with Kevin (and now in our marriage), I’ve learned that silence isn’t something to be feared. It’s healthy and beautiful to be able to enjoy the silence together, and not feel the least bit awkward or insecure about it.

19.) Over-thinking is toxic.

My habit of “over-thinking” isn’t something I am proud of.  I even occasionally find myself over-think about over-thinking! Kevin has taught me that although it is always important to be thoughtful, to analyze carefully, and to consider the effects of a decision, there is such a thing as ‘analysis paralysis’. Overthinking can freeze up your ability to make a decisive action, cause you to make mountains out of mole hills, and ignite unfounded negativity when your imagination runs wild in the wrong direction.
Thinking is good, but over-thinking is almost always NOT good.

20.) Words without action are meaningless.

Kevin’s integrity really stands in stark contrast to so many other people I’ve observed. I’ve always put such an emphasis on the importance of words, but I realize now more than ever how cheap words can be.  It’s NOT okay to speak out against something while secretly indulging in it behind closed doors. It’s NOT okay to use your voice to portray yourself as a ‘super-spiritual Christian’ if your actions don’t glorify God when no one else is watching. If your actions don’t match your verbal sermons, then all of your words are worthless.

21.) You are the average of your 5 closest friends.

People are like tofu- we absorb the ‘flavor’ of whatever (or whoever) we are surrounded by. We should be friendly to EVERYONE, but reserve our closest friendships for people who will build us up and challenge us to grow- NOT people who will drag us down and damage our  reputations.

22.) Wisdom is much more than knowledge.

I like to know things. I like to be ‘right’. I like to ‘win’ the debate.  But Kevin has reminded me and gently encouraged me with the truth that wisdom is SO much more than what you know. It’s how you apply what you know. One applied truth is more beneficial than 100 truths that you keep inside your head without allowing them to transform your actions.

23.) True romance makes Hollywood look completely lame.

Puppy love”  looks like a little plastic kiddie pool next to the vast ocean of true romance. Our love has grown in such a richness and depth, and I praise God for that. The flutter of infatuation, though it was exciting in its season, seems so empty and shallow to me now. Hollywood romance is glamorous, but true romance goes so far beyond the moments when it’s ‘easy’ to love. It’s the simple, not-so-glamorous-moments that display the depth of an ever-maturing love:  Moments when Kevin finishes my share of the chores, even when he is exhausted, just because he wants to serve me.  Moments when he takes the time to pray with me every night before we fall asleep. Moments when he shows up with flowers and ice cream when I’ve had a particularly trying day. Moments when he makes the effort to write me letters and notes of encouragement, even when he isn’t a ‘words person’.  Moments when we work through disagreements with respect, when we are quick to listen and slow to speak.  Moments when we recognize that, regardless of our emotions in the moment, our commitment to one another is unwavering against the backdrop of an ever-changing life.

24.) God’s timing is ALWAYS better than ours.

More often than I like to admit, I am stubborn enough to believe that my ideas are the BEST ideas, and my timing is the BEST timing. But, time and time again, God shows me that His timing is always best, and he has used my relationship with Kevin to prove this truth in my life, time and time again.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To anyone who read all the way to the end, thank you SO much for reading! I would love to hear about some of the lessons you’ve learned/are learning through your spouse- it’s always so helpful to take a moment to reflect on the ways we’ve helped one another to grow.

And to my sweet husband, Happy Birthday, my love!  
Here’s to 365 more days of lessons learned, jokes told, adventures embarked, music made, confidence built, struggles shared, songs sung, and dreams chased. Together.

 

 

 

 

10 Relationship RED FLAGS!

red-flags
Newsflash: Dating relationships aren’t always butterflies and roses. *gasp!*

No relationship is ‘perfect, but a relationship can and SHOULD be healthy.  Sure, everyone hits bumps along the road, but if you ignore these RED FLAGS, you might find yourself veering off the road and over a cliff!

When someone shows you who they are, believe them” -Maya Angalou
Keep your eyes wide open. Are you settling for a toxic relationship?

How many of these red flags do you recognize?

1.) Your values don’t align

No one agrees on ‘everything’. Two individuals are bound to have individual perspectives. But what are your essential values? What are his/her essential values? You might not see eye-to-eye on every topic, but if your overarching values and beliefs are in conflict, that is a serious issue.  (For example, if you feel convicted to wait until after marriage to have sex, but your partner expects sex in the relationship, there will be a constant struggle. The struggle will end in compromise, bitterness, and/or a breakup.)

2.) People who love you tell you “it’s a bad idea”

Your life choices as an adult are between you and God.  I don’t believe that you should date someone JUST because people tell you to, or break up with someone JUST because people tell you to, but I DO believe that it’s wise to listen to trusted advisors and friends.
If close family and friends (who have your best interests in mind) are showing a pattern of pulling you aside to gently explain why this relationship is damaging, hear them out. They aren’t blinded by infatuation, so chances are they see something you don’t see yet.

3.) You’re “walking on eggshells”

Are you afraid to share your true thoughts and explain your perspectives? Do you worry constantly when he’ll explode next? Are you terrified to say something that might rub her the wrong way? Stop, drop, and roll right out of those flames. Fear consumes joy faster than a wildfire withers up dry grass. If ‘perfect love casts out fear'(1 Jn. 4:18) , and you are experiencing high levels of fear in your relationship, that is a clear sign of the absence of true love.

4.) Lies and/or keeping secrets

Love ‘rejoices with the truth’ (1 Cor. 13:6).  When truth is absent, your relationship will inevitably spiral into a deeply unhealthy perspective of reality.  If you can’t build your relationship on a foundation of honesty and transparency, it’s important to ask yourself: why are you with this person?
Or, if he/she feels the need to lie to you, why would you trust this person?
Can you really trust someone with your heart and your future if you can’t even trust them with their own words?

(Side note- the absence of truth and transparency is also toxic when relating to other people outside of your relationship. Ask yourself: Do you feel the need to hide your relationship from others? This is also a huge red flag. This type of secrecy is toxic, and will cause all sorts of problems down the road. If you feel trapped into hiding the truth, that should raise some tough questions about whether or not this relationship is healthy to begin with.)

5.) Aggressive behavior

I used to think of aggressive behavior in a relationship in terms of ‘extremes’. After all, if I didn’t have a black eye, or wasn’t physically harmed, everything was cool, right? Wrong. If your significant other frequently raises his/her voice, or even damages property/possessions in anger, that’s a huge red flag.  Please please don’t skim over this: You are worth respect, and you should feel cherished and protected, never afraid. When he breaks things, or is abusive with his words, you need to realize that he is only one small step away from taking out that aggression on you in a more physical way.  Aggressive behavior at ANY level should be taken dead-seriously. Anger issues need to be dealt with and processed in a healthy way BEFORE entering into an intimate relationship with another person’s heart.

6.) Authority issues

Take a look at how your significant other views/behaves towards figures of authority. Of course, submission to authority should only take place if the authority isn’t demanding you do something that violates your conscience. But, overall, does this person hold animosity towards people who are in positions of authority in his life? Is he disrespectful towards his elders? Does she have issues with respecting her parents? Does he have a tough time holding a job?  Keep your eyes wide open to these signals.

7.) Unwilling to learn

One of the greatest signs of maturity is teachability. You know the stereotype about teenagers in a ‘rebellious’ phase who think they know it all? Well, there are plenty of adults who sadly have yet to grow out of that phase.  Without a tender heart and a teachable spirit, you’re in for a long and bumpy relational road!  A healthy relationship involves two people who are constantly learning about one another and growing closer to the Lord and to each other. That level of intimacy and growth is extremely difficult when you’re with someone who isn’t teachable.

8.) Addiction issues

Addiction issues are not only harmful to the person with the addiction, but also to those closest to him/her.  Whatever form it takes- drug abuse, alcoholism, pornography, etc.- an addiction will be a constant relational struggle in knowing that your significant other is displaying a pattern of choosing something or someone other than you This pattern is a one-way ticket to shame, betrayal, and unfaithfulness. Of course there is freedom in Christ from these harmful patterns, but the road isn’t easy, painless, or quick.
Is addiction an active struggle in your life, or in the life of your significant other?

9.) Alienation from your friends/family

One of the biggest signs of an emotionally abusive relationship is alienation from the people closest to you.  Is your significant other posing a roadblock to your social health? Do you often feel a sense of guilt after you spend time with anyone other than your boyfriend/girlfriend?

10.) Unsupportive of your dreams

Your dreams matter. Your goals matter. If someone truly loves you, they will find ways to pursue your dreams together in cooperation and compatibility.  Do you find yourself sacrificing everything you are passionate about in order to be in a relationship? If you answer ‘yes’, then chances are, you are in the wrong relationship.

~~~

Author Stephen Chbosky put it so well when he said:
“we accept the love we think we deserve.”

If you are finding yourself feeling uncomfortable reading this list, if you resonate with any of these red flags, please resist the temptation to brush it all under the rug and move forward without asking yourself some tough questions.

Letting go of a toxic dating relationship is NEVER easy, but it is ALWAYS worth it.

If you have any other red flags to share, or need someone to talk to, please comment below or send me a message and I would be so happy to hear from you! God bless you always.

6 Ways to Keep CHRIST in Christmas

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I hear it so often- “Keep ‘Christ’ in Christmas!”, but what does that even mean?  Does it mean you should get offended when someone wishes you “Happy Holidays!” instead of “Merry Christmas”? (hint: NO. Please don’t be ‘that person’.).  Does it mean there is a certain number of church-related events you have to attend? Do you have to stand on a street corner and preach?
(Another hint: Nope, and nope.)

So, what does it mean to ‘keep Christ in Christmas’?

Well, since there are 6 days left until Christmas,
here are 6 ideas how we can “keep CHRIST in Christmas” this year:

C: Choose joy

Happiness comes and goes- that much is obvious, right? Perhaps this holiday season is difficult for you to experience ‘happiness‘, but JOY is about so much more than the circumstances around us- it’s the expectation of good that is yet to come.
Joy is not a denial of difficulties, it’s a perspective of peace.
Choose peace, now and always.

H: Help someone else

Is there a cause that’s on your heart to support?  A neighbor who could use a little extra care? It’s not difficult to look around and find someone who is in need. Do something good for someone, without expecting anything in return, and you’ll be amazed at how much more blessed it is to give than to receive.
Your ‘Christmas-spirit level’ will go through the ROOF!

R: Remember the Story

The nativity story isn’t just a fun little skit for the kids in church- it’s the defining moment of human history, and it’s worth remembering.  Don’t let this season slip away without spending some time reflecting upon God’s gift of Grace through Jesus. Don’t let yourself become numb to the beauty just because you’ve heard it before.

I: Invest in eternal treasure

The stuff under the tree is just stuff. It can be fun and exciting to give and receive gifts, but remember that the only gifts of true value don’t come from the mall. Fads, trends, and gadgets come and go- it’s all so transient and temporary.  God’s grace and His love are forever- invest in reflecting that love to others, and you’ll never need a gift receipt! Those treasures are eternal; they will never break, never disappoint, never need a warranty.

S: Strive towards simplicity

Ready for a counter-cultural truth? Here it is: It’s okay to slow down. It’s okay to buy less and love more.  It’s okay to rush less and enjoy more.  If Jesus himself needed time to rest while on earth, it’s definitely wise for us to follow in His example.  Focus on the relationships and memories that mean the most to you, and try not to spread yourself so thin across commitments until you have nothing left to give. Don’t get caught up in the hype of the ‘glitz and glamour’ side of the holidays- “more” won’t bring you lasting joy.  If the Creator of the universe could simplify his majesty down to our human level, be born in a BARN, and live an entirely glamour-free life, I think the least we could do is follow His footsteps in exercising contentment and pursuing simplicity.

T: Tell someone about the Hope you have

The world around you could certainly use a little more hope. Not just the empty- “Oh, I hope stuff improves for you” type of hope, but the Hope offered through salvation in Jesus.  This hope generates faith, instills joy, inspires us to act out of love, and anchors our souls during the most difficult days. It’s a hope worth sharing- at Christmas time and every other time of year!

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” (Hebrews 6:19)

If you’ve made it this far, thank you so much for reading!  If there are any special traditions or ideas you and your family have to glorify Jesus during this time of year (or ANY time of year!), please comment below or send me a message- I’d love to hear from you!

God bless you always, and Merry Christmas!
~K

 

 

7 Day Challenge: Praying for your Husband

14991142_10154175785956925_4210561193698037335_oPrayer is an amazing thing!
Sometimes I take it for granted, and I forget what an incredible privilege it really is that we can TALK to the God who created the universe, and know that He hears us.

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”-1 John 5:14

There’s so much about prayer that I don’t know, but I do know that it is God’s will that I love and honor my husband.
(Romans 12:10: “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”)

As a wife, I can’t think of a more powerful way for me to love and respect my husband than to pray for him daily! Beyond just the usual/generic, “Lord, please help him to have a good day today” prayers,  I’m challenging myself to really PRAY for my husband much more intentionally and specifically, and I hope you will do this challenge along with me! You can pray these prayers with your husband, or by yourself- whichever you feel would make the most sense to you both as a couple.

Of course there are many more topics we can pray over our husbands, but I hope that this 7-day challenge will be a good place to start. 🙂

Let’s do this together!

Day 1: Wisdom

Your husband needs wisdom and direction from the Lord, and it’s important to pray for guidance. Making big life decisions (even alongside the partnership of a wife) is a daunting task. Of course it’s a team effort, but your husband likely feels the primary weight of responsibility to provide and protect. A husband can only walk in wisdom if he is first being led by Christ. Pray that the Holy Spirit will move in his life, and that your husband will make decisions that are rooted in truth and the pursuit of righteousness.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”-James 1:5

Day 2: Encouragement

Ask the Lord to encourage your husband’s heart and mind, and remind him of the hope he has in Christ.  Pray that your husband will experience encouragement today in the way that speaks to him best; and then put that prayer into action! Just a few ideas to choose from: leave him a note if he enjoys written encouragement, ask him if you can help him with a household project, encourage him to cultivate strong friendships with other men who will build him up (I strongly support Kevin’s ‘nights out with the guys’!), surprise him with a small gift to show him you were thinking of him, or let him know something about his character that you most admire. It’s exciting to learn new ways to encourage your spouse! Pray for encouragement, and then put those prayers into action today.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…” -1 Thes. 5:11

Day 3: Strength

My husband’s true strength goes way beyond opening a stubborn jar for me, or the way he can sweep me off my feet and twirl me around when we dance. The deepest and most admirable strength a husband can possesses is his strength of character.  This level of strength doesn’t just ‘happen’ randomly; it is cultivated through a reliance upon God’s sovereignty and perfect strength.  Pray that your husband will be inspired to seek out ways to allow the joy of the Lord to be his strength.

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD”- Zec. 4:6

Day 4: Perseverance

Have you ever heard this saying? “The years are short, but the days are long.”  Can you relate?A single day can feel like a very very long time, especially when trials and struggles enter the scene. Is your husband facing difficulty at work, a spiritual battle, or a tough situation? Just like every human being ever, your husband faces temptations to cave in to the pressures of life. James 1:2-4: Consider it pure joy…whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  Pray for God to strengthen your husband’s faith, develop his perseverance, and help him maintain a mature perspective on the trials of life.

Day 5: Peace

Peace is defined as ‘freedom from disturbance’; calmness, restfulness, harmony, and well-being. Mmmm… that sounds pretty great, huh?
Pray for your husband to experience a deep sense of peace today. When there are ‘storms’ in life, that his heart will be calm. When he is exhausted, that he will experience rest. When there’s chaos around him, that he will experience God’s peace that surpasses all understanding.
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” -Phil 4:7

Day 6: Joy

I was taught that the word ‘Joy’ is actually an acronym. J.O.Y.: Jesus, Others, and Yourself. Jesus first, Yourself last, and Others in between.
Joy is about so much more than the circumstances around us- it’s the expectation of good that is yet to come. Joy is not a denial of difficulties, it’s a perspective of peace. There is a hope that stems from knowing that we are called to rejoice in the Lord because he is working ALL things for our good and His glory. Spend some time in prayer that your husband will experience JOY- today and every day.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him”- Rom 15:13

Day 7: Gratitude

It’s no secret- I adore my husband. My love for him grows daily, and I’m not sure if my heart is big enough to hold my admiration for him. In that context, it’s crazy to think how God loves Kevin more than I ever could! But it’s essential for me to remember that before Kevin ever belonged to me, he belonged to the Lord first. God placed him into my life as a precious gift, and that something I need to THANK him for!
Gratitude places the attention on the giver of a gift, rather than only on the gift itself.
I often find myself saying ‘Thank You’ to my husband.
But I shouldn’t just thank the gift. I should also thank the giver of the gift.
Marriage is such a precious gift. It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it to live a life of gratitude alongside the spouse God blessed you with.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post today- I hope you’ll enjoy taking on this challenge with me!  Prayer is an amazing thing, and being married is an amazing thing- so a prayer challenge + marriage theme = DOUBLE AMAZING! 😉

God bless you always!