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Whole Heart: A Love Without Walls

Your love
It comes with no conditions
You give us Your whole heart
My hope
Is in the blood of Jesus
I know who I am
Because of who You are
- Whole Heart by Passion 

Ya'll, I cannot stop playing this song... It's the opening track to Passion's new album titled Whole Heart, and I'm obsessed. 

Just a quick overview of Passion: it's a conference for young adults, ages 18-24, hosted in Atlanta featuring all the big-name Christian speakers and worship leaders. It's a movement really, of young adults passionate about making Jesus the center of everything. Unfortunately I haven't been able to go the last few years; but I attended my senior year of high school and freshman year of college, and to this day I remember how the teaching and worship experience changed my life. 

Each year the Passion worship band releases an album of the songs played at the conference, and the first few lines of the first track (Whole Heart) have been constantly running through my head lately.

Your love
It comes with no conditions
You give us Your whole heart

Once again, I am reminded of how the love of God is so unlike human love. 

Goodbye 2017

You didn't think I'd skip out on an end-of-year blog post, did you?

I don’t know about anyone else, but this was one of those years that flew by; and yet I can still remember every messy and beautiful moment.

I remember where I was (literally and figuratively) a year ago, writing a post (linked here) in my favorite coffee shop in the world in Tulsa, Oklahoma, greeting 2017 with hope and anticipation. I had little dreams of writing more and big dreams of becoming a better version of myself. A year ago there was a lot of grief over who I had become, but out of that place came a deeper thankfulness and understanding of the Lord’s grace and mercy.

This past year held so many adventures for me.

Get Your Hopes Up

"Don't get your hopes up."

I've begun preparing for the post-graduation realm by looking at jobs and preparing my resume, and while for the most part I have no idea what I'm doing, there are a few opportunities that can't help but stir excitement and passion in my spirit. But the more I get stuck in my head, the more overwhelming and intimidating the future appears; and I subconsciously prepare for the worst by whispering this phrase...

"Don't get your hopes up."

The other day, I was thinking about some friends of mine and how I wish they would commit to coming to church or lifegroup with me so that they could have just one encounter with Jesus that would begin to change their lives. I found myself discouraged and disappointed, thinking... 

"Don't get your hopes up." 

Sometimes I am lonely. I know the Lord is for me, and in Him I have all that I need. He has purposes and plans and dreams for me beyond what I can picture, yet I wonder if I will ever stop experiencing seasons of loneliness that settle around me like a thick, heavy cloud. In an attempt to ease my anxiety, I repeat over and over...

"Don't get your hopes up." 

I pray this doesn't sound like you; but if it does, you're not alone. And even if you never purposefully tell yourself this phrase, how many times do you subdue hope under the cover of realism? 

Something the Lord began to challenge was my belief in every part of His character, which meant believing He is the God of all hope (Romans 15:3). If I believe that He is a God of love and grace and mercy, peace, kindness, joy, forgiveness... then I must also believe that He is a God of hope, and that His desire is that we should practice and grow in this trait as much as the others. 

T-Swift And The Problem With Hardened Hearts

I think the most cringe-worthy moment of 2017 was the moment I heard Taylor Swift's new song "Look What You Made Me Do." 

Okay, so hear me out. Tswift is my girllll, and her songs were the anthem to my teen angst; so I'm not going to sit here and bash her as a person or her new sound or how she's not the same, etc. Music artists change their sound/style all the time, and there's not much you can really do about it. Am I a "Teardrops On My Guitar" over "Blank Space" kind-of-girl? Yes, but irrelevant.

My concern here is for this twenty-seven year old girl's heart and the message she projects to people all over the world. 

Taylor Swift is probably one of the most (if not the most) well-known name in pop culture. This girl has had some crap happen to her, and she's done some crap to other people. Regardless of what's true or how I feel about her personally, her song gave me actual anxiety just by listening to the lyrics. She openly claims to write music from personal experience, so we know these words come from her heart. 

Here are some of the most concerning lyrics to me:

Single & Fulfilled: A Paradox

I never want to feel bad about being single.

That goes for whatever age I am… whether I’m twenty going on twenty-one or forty going on forty-one.

I say that because I think there’s an unhealthy stigma associated with singleness. If you’re single, it’s just a waiting game until you can achieve the nirvana that is a relationship. If you’re single, there’s a reason you’re single. If you’re single, don’t worry… you just haven’t found the “one” yet. If you’re single, please carry around this unnecessary pressure because you aren't getting any younger amiright?

I was raised to avoid dating in high school, because I believe the purpose of dating is for marriage. Naturally I wasn’t ready to get married in high school, so it probably wasn’t a good idea to date then. And I’m truly thankful for that mindset because personally it sure saved me a lot of heartache. I was waiting til college (because that’s where true adulthood lies…).

So I entered college as a freshman, prepared to meet my future husband and date and then get married after graduation. Freshman year came and went, and wow that pesky future husband hadn’t shown up yet. Sophomore year… still forever alone. And here I am, a junior in college, and the horizon for dating is quite empty.

I went into college with an expectation of finally getting a relationship. I had been a good Christian girl, sort-of patiently awaiting my time. And when that expectation wasn’t met, I found disappointment, frustration, and a good portion of self-doubt.