Keep your head, heels, and standards high

Originally posted on Seasons of Faith April, 11, 2016

One of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday morning is with a room full of my closest girlfriends at one of Minne's many brunch spots, catching up over over-sized pancakes and bottomless mimosas.  To be honest, our brunch game has become as strong and consistent as Kris Jenkin's three pointers, and at this point we should be getting paid for the kind of detailed Yelp reviews we could produce. Conversation flows easily from work updates to boys to Kate Spade flash sales and then usually back to boys. The collection of funny, often ridiculous, dating stories we've shared over the years could (and should) be recorded and sold in bookstores across the world, reminding women everywhere that no two men are alike, and to embrace the good, the bad, and the downright weird encounters we've endured with the opposite sex. 

Dating is a topic I've typically strayed from within my blog. To say I am an expert in the area, would be quite a stretch. However, recently I've become so frustrated with the current state of dating, that I couldn't help but address a few things.

Dating is most definitely not for the faint of heart, and to those of you who have successfully navigated your way to alter, I salute you. I have so many wonderful examples of relationships in which to strive after, and I am grateful to the many friends who have shared their wisdom with me as I wander awkwardly through this season of life.

However, to those of you navigating this life as a single person along with me, a word please...

Where my ladies at?

To the many amazing women in my life: first of all, if I was a dude, I would totally date any one of you. When it comes to the women I have picked to surround myself with as friends, I don't settle in the least. You are each special, unique, beautiful inside and out. Classy, generous, compassionate, women of propriety and honesty; these are just of a few characteristics you each possess. So please stop selling yourself short, recognize your worth, and expect the kind of respect from men you deserve. 

I've been in a few situations lately, where I've allowed my perception of myself to be distorted by the opinions of a guy. Whether through words or actions, I have found myself doubting who I am, questioning my worth, because of something he did (or didn't) say. Sweet friends, our worth is not dependent on the love of anyone, with the exception of the One who has already demonstrated His perfect love for us- Jesus. So if you are feeling broken or hurt, instead of seeking the love of an imperfect man, find comfort in the truth that you are already so fully loved, so richly complete in Him. 

Miss Tinderstood.

At the risk of dating myself (no pun intended...), can I just tell you how OVERRR technology I have become recently?! The number of available dating apps has most likely exceeded the number of actual available users. Tinder, Bumble, and my new personal fave, Collide, the new Christian version of the "swipe right, swipe left" method of finding your match, has the majority of our single population glued to their phones.  Now don't get me wrong, I have a number of friends who have been successful in dating this way, and I don't discredit that love can be fostered out of the most unlikely beginnings. However, I worry that these apps that seemingly make it easier to connect, are actually ruining our sociability and relational depth outside of the screen.  I get that walking up to a guy or girl and finding the courage to make the first move can be intimidating, so the idea of talking with someone on a platform like Tinder, seems like a great way to remove the risk of rejection. Yet, in trying to avoid uncomfortable confrontation, we end up losing deeper connections and any motivation to take risks in relationships.  I can think of at least twenty country songs that associate risk with love, and I'm not about to disagree with the likes of legends. Ladies, how can we expect a guy to intentionally pursuit us, when we make ourselves so available to them.  Why should he endure a somewhat awkward phone call to see what your up to, when he can just as easily check your snap story to see where you're are, who you're with, and what you had for breakfast. Where's the mystery in that? And to be honest, I'm almost certain he couldn't care less.  Keep em guessing....but just a little, which brings me to my next point.

All Fun and Games...

Until someone gets hurt. A glutton for punishment, I seem to always find myself in pursuit of the guy with that bad boy complex. I'm usually pretty accurate at reading people (which is good since I get paid to do it 40 hours a week), so when I come across a guy who manages to surprise me, I can't keep my intrigue and curiosity from taking over. Tread lightly here, friends.  More often then not, you'll end up tangled up in some never-ending mind game, rooted in indecision or an inability to commit.  I like to think that beneath every bad boy, is a strong, confident, caring man who, with a little more time to find his way, will one day make a very special woman especially happy.  Until then, don't be that woman. 

Turning tables.

The point of this post is NOT to bad mouth the entire male species. In fact, quite the opposite.  The majority of men I know or have dated have been respectful, genuine, and sweet to the core. You can read this again from the beginning, switching out he for she, guy for girl, and make this just as applicable to men.  This is a charge to everyone living in a world that sells cheap, meaningless relationships, to step up and fight for the kind of love worth believing in.  If you take away anything from today's ramblings, may it be this:

Know your worth and acknowledge worth in others.

Step up and take a risk.  Get uncomfortable, get weird (while staying within socially acceptable parameters). 

Forget the game and pursue with integrity, honesty, and respect. 

And finally, remember that we are each living out our own story, perfectly and intricately designed by a Creator who, regardless of marital status, has big plans in store. 

Plus, I love you like XO. 

-S

Stephanie Zillmer