Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Relationship Status Part 1: Checklist Mentality

Relationship Status: Part One; Checklist Mentality.

Disclaimer for this entire series: The purpose of this series is to talk and open discussion about something that I think a lot of people in the HRM (Hebrew Roots Movement) are scared to talk about to an extent: Relationships. That being said, I am a 19 year old girl who has never been in a romantic relationship. Anything that I write in this series will be from either my personal experience/ opinions, things I've observed from seeing other people's relationships, or something I've read in the bible. Sorry if you don't agree with me all the time, as everyone isn't going to agree on everything 100% of the time. That being said, I hope you get something out of this series, and that it helps you in some way.

So, I've never been in a relationship. However, being a single person in the world of dating, I can tell you a few things. The first of those things, is that an overwhelming amount of people want to get married, most of them are young, and most of them think that turning 25 without being married qualifies you as an “old maid” and that getting married at 30 is a little late in the game. First and foremost, chill. Its not. I promise. (Authors note: by no means am I against getting married young. My mom got married when she was 18, and her and my dad are going on 28 years of marriage. I also see myself getting married probably in the next 5 ish years possibly, so don't get all up in arms yet. You'll probably want that for later.)

Second of all, and the reason that I am writing this blog post, is that the way many people go about trying to find their future spouse is fundamentally flawed. As a group, we need to stop treating every person of the opposite gender that we meet as a potential future spouse. Seriously. First of all ( and I speak from experience here) after just meeting a guy, I want to be friends. Please do not start screening me for marriage, its creepy, we can tell, and its seriously not the right way to go about things. It also employs something that I like to call “the checklist mentality”. Now, I will agree that there should be some things that you will not budge on whilst thinking of your future spouse (I have like 3, maybe 4), however, whatever courtship/dating/whatever the heck else book told you to write a cohesive checklist on all of the things you need your spouse to be, should probably be burned. Let me tell you why.

Some standards simply cannot be met. There is no perfect person. Maybe the person that God intended for you to marry is metaphorically standing right in front of you, but you'd never know because they don't meet that one qualification that literally no human can meet. However, with the checklist mentality, not only are you comparing people to the idealized version of what you think a spouse should be, you are also comparing them mercilessly to each other, and you are training your brain to do this subconsciously. Imagine this for a minute; you find a person who checks off most of the things on your list. You marry them. A while down the road, you meet another person who seemingly checks off more items on that list. Have you married the wrong person? Should you leave the person who has 80% of the list to go after the 20% that they are “missing”? Absolutely not, but by comparing people to an unattainable figure in your head, and comparing them to each other, this is exactly what you are training yourself to do. I'd even wager to say that you won't even completely know what you want or need in a person until that person shows up in your life; there may be qualities you never even thought of before that you now find that you'd never be able to live without. Therefore, the checklist becomes obsolete.

As a friend of mine once said, “this is not a cattle issue.” We are people, and should not be being measured up against any other person. When I get married, I don't want my husband to have married me because I checked off more things on his list than some other girl, I want him to have married me because he recognizes that God put us in each others lives for a reason, and because he loves me and wants to spend the rest of his life with me. I don't want him to be embarrassed of my shortcomings or feel shame on my behalf, nor do I want to feel like I'm never quite good enough. I want him to be able to point me out and say with pride “That's the woman I married.” despite what level of crazy he'll have to endure for the rest of his life (sucker).

So what do I suggest? Well, modern dating probably isn't the best thing to do, but (don't shoot me here) neither is courtship (I'll explain in a later post). Probably some sort of combination of the two, but for starters, how about you just try being friends with people? And then, after you get to know some people, if someone stands out to you, maybe you should, oh I don't know, -gasp- say something to them? I've seen a lot of people dancing around relationship lane, and a lot of people want to be in a relationship, but are chronically single. Sorry to say that I'm mainly looking at the dudes here, but as the leader in any kind of potential relationship, if you say nothing, nothing will happen. Shocking, right? Now, I'm not saying to straight up propose, but get to know them, probably pray a bit, and tell them you're interested. Take it from there, we're all adults here, right? (right? Maybe? I have no clue of my demographic?)

But hey, that's just me, a 19 year old girl who's never had a boyfriend and sucks at reading signals. But please, put away the checklist, and above all else, make sure you take it to God. Remember that a chord of three strands is not easily broken, and a couple closer to God is closer to each other.

A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” - Ecclesiastes 4:12

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love."1 John 4:7-8

Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Time to Decide

As I blew all of the cat hair off of my keyboard today, I decided to forgo working on all of the other blog posts and poems I have in the works at the moment, and write about something that has really been at the front of my mind recently. Its something I've felt strongly about for a while, and something that I feel like some people might really need to hear.

I think that most of the young adults my age are a very “all or nothing” people, especially when it comes to terms of faith. I've seen it go to the extremes in both directions, and have also been considered an “extremist” by some of my friends and acquaintances. Something that a lot of people don't know is that I myself only really made the conscious decision about my faith and to start being serious about it probably about a year and a half ago.

Don't get me wrong, God has pretty much always been real to me; growing up, having gone to Sunday school at an Assembly's of God every Sunday, kind of cemented the idea of God in my head at a very young age. Then, when I was in middle school, my family took a step in a different direction, and made a decision to search out our faith in a completely biblical manner; while still believing as Jesus as our Messiah, we started observing the Sabbath, celebrating the biblical feasts, following Torah, and trying to learn and study even more. This was strange to me at first; no one I knew of besides my mom, dad, and sister believed anything like we did. However, it also made an unusual amount of sense to me. I've always been the kind of person who questioned things, so much so that I'm sure when I was a child, my parents got an unnatural aversion to the word “why” because of the number of times I would say it in a day. This questioning spirit of mine actually became something of a compelling force to cause me to make some very important decisions later on in life.

That's kind of why I'm writing this. I feel like a lot of people have never actually made a conscious decision about what they believe. I'm not talking about an altar call when you are five, or being baptized at the ripe old age of eight (guilty). I'm talking about an actual adult decision. Not whether or not you are going to go to college, what career you are going to pursue, not who or when you are going to get married, not when you are going to move out of mom and dad's house, I'm talking about the single most important decision in your life. What do you believe? Not what do your parents believe, or what their convictions are. You, as and adult. You can't live under the umbrella of your parent's or family's faith forever, that's not how it works. Ask questions, and seek out biblical answers. Search for the truth. Tap into your child- like curiosity. But the bottom line is this; make a decision, and start being serious.

I guess I'll leave you with this: a call to action. Seek out the truth. Start asking questions. Read your bible. Make a decision and make it real. Start getting serious. Find an answer to this question: what do you believe?  

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Waiting on Life

My whole life, I've been waiting. Waiting to become an adult, waiting to graduate high school, waiting to leave home, waiting on someone else, waiting for my life to begin, waiting to change the world.

A piece of advice from someone who's tired of it; Stop waiting.

Here's the thing about the real world; its not going to wait for you. The world will keep on turning, injustice will keep on happening, God will keep on calling your name, but here we sit, waiting for the flashing neon sign telling us that its time. But now is the time. You don't have to start building an orphanage in some third world country in order to start changing the world; you don't have to worry about changing the whole world all at once. That feat is both daunting and impossible. But you can change other people's worlds. It doesn't even have to be anything that you perceive as big; giving the homeless man on the end of your street a hot meal, helping an old lady with her groceries, making finger puppets to send to an orphanage in India, living your life as you are supposed to live it and glorifying God. So why wait? Start now.

I have no experience,” “What can I do?”

These are thoughts that I've had at more than a few times during the course of my life. But then I realized something; there is something that God put in you that the rest of the world needs. The way you are and every aspect of your personality was designed specifically for a purpose. Otherwise, it wouldn't be there. Your God-given talents are what you can do for people; making music, creating art, construction skills, ability to teach others, even just the ability and will to learn. Literally, anything that you are good at (or anything you aren't good at, for that matter) is something that God put in you, and something that someone else needs; no experience needed.

I'm too young to make a difference.”

I've thought this before as well, but let me tell you something, dear friend; there is no time like the present. Lets take a look at someone we all know; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Regardless of each of our backgrounds in music, we all know the great and powerful symphonies that Mozart had written, and what a powerful influence he was on the rest of the world.

Mozart wrote his first symphony at 8 years old.

You can cry “child prodigy” all you like, but this is what I see: I see a person who took the gift that God gave them, put it into action at an early age, got people to look past his first name being “Wolfgang”, and became one of the most well known composers in the world. Now, not all of us are destined to become famous (in fact very few people ever will), but my point is that Mozart wasn't waiting around for anything. He saw what he could do and the gift that he was given, and he did something with it, and has reached billions of people around the world. You can't let your age stop you from doing what God has planned for you to do. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter, start a group (FCA, prayers at the flagpole, ect.) at your school, sign up for a mentoring or tutoring program, do what you can with what you have, and God will direct your path.

I'm afraid.”

We've all fought our battles with fear, and doing big things is absolutely one of those battles. However, we as believers in Yeshua know that we do not need to be afraid.

Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

We do not need to be afraid; we know that if we trust in our Father, he will guide us and protect us. I will also go as far to tell you that if you are afraid in doing something, a lot of times (not always, but a lot of times) it means you are doing the right thing. Doing something so big that you know you can't do it without God's help is always a bit nerve racking, but that is exactly how I want to live my life. So laugh in the face of fear. Something bigger than that has got your back.

For those of you waiting on another person, whether it be that guy who won't text you back, or the girl that never returns your calls, or just waiting for someone else to do something, let me tell you right now, its not worth it.
Sure, they seem like the best thing in the world right now, but if they're blind to your true worth, let them be swallowed in your wake. If they were actually worth your time, they would see the value in it and they would make time for you, instead of keeping you waiting. Don't be anyone's second choice. If you really think about it, if you are distracted because you are waiting on someone else, you could miss out on other friendships, relationships, and opportunities that you should be investing your time in. Once again, take it from someone who got tired of it; instead of waiting on someone else, do it yourself. Stop waiting and move on.

There is something to be said about patience. In reality, the only thing we really need to be waiting on is God.

Patience, as I've told myself numerous times while waiting in line at Chipotle, is a virtue. It is clearly shown many times throughout the bible that patience is important, but look closely. Patience toward what? Are we waiting on another person, situation, opportunity, or anything else? Rarely. In most cases in the bible, it's either giving us a lesson on self control, or it tells us to wait upon the Lord.

Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;do not fret when people succeed in their ways,when they carry out their wicked schemes.”
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.”
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!”

Psalm 37:7

Wait for the Lord;
Psalm 27:14

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
Isaiah 30:18

Patience is a great thing to have, but there comes a point when you need to stop being patient and start being real. It's been said before, and I'll say it again; you can't steer a parked car. Neither can God steer you, if if you are not moving. How can a door be opened if no one hears a knock? When was the last time something wonderful happened to you while you were sat on your couch, doing nothing but waiting for something to happen? My guess would be never.

So start moving. It doesn't matter if you don't know what direction you should be going in, just start in a direction, and God will guide you to the path that you are supposed to take. Your life won't begin until you take a step.
So go ahead. Stop waiting, and do something.

"But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works"
James 2:18

"But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves."
James 1:22

"And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you."
Luke 11:9

Monday, February 1, 2016

I Was Afraid

    I've pretty much always been fighting a battle with fear and anxiety. For a long time, I just thought that it was a part of who I was, and I had started to try and accept that. I was wrong. I recently decided that with the help of God, I was no longer going to let fear and anxiety rule my life. I'm still working on it, as I wrote this more than a few months ago, and have been afraid to post it since then, but by the grace of God, I have begun to sever my ties with fear. So join me, as we laugh in the face of what we've been holding so dear, but whats been holding us so far away from what and Who really matters. I hope you enjoy it!

By Rebecca Zachry

I was afraid.
I was afraid to go out and do something
but I was afraid that standing still was not enough.
I was afraid to love, and to be loved
but I was afraid to be alone.
I was afraid to move on
because what if it was to soon,
what if I moved on too far and too fast
but what if moving on was the fear I was supposed to face?
I was afraid of caring, and caring too much
and the inevitability of being crushed.
I was afraid to change,
but I was afraid of the monotony that I was stewing in.
I was afraid to let go
and I was afraid to hold on.
I was afraid to think, to reason, to trust.
I was afraid that I wasn't enough.
I was afraid of death
but I was also afraid of living.
I was afraid of the pain
but I was afraid of not feeling.
I was afraid to speak out,
because what if I was heard?
What if someone was listening?
But I was afraid of being silent
and afraid losing my voice.

I was afraid to let my guard down
so I built my walls high.
I was afraid of letting anyone see me at my weakest,
and to let anyone see me cry.
I was afraid of the inevitable,
so much so that I couldn't focus on the present.
I was afraid of the dark,
and what could be living there.
I was afraid of being transparent,
of letting anyone see me as I really am.
I was afraid to let anyone in.
I was afraid of fear.
I was afraid of my own pulse, thundering though my ears
because it meant I was alive,
it meant I had to do something.
It meant that I couldn't just simply vegetate,
waiting for someone else to do something
waiting for something to change on its own
waiting for someone to save me.
It meant that I had to do it myself, or not at all.

But I was afraid.
I was being suffocated.
I was paralyzed.
Because I was afraid.
I was afraid and tired of being afraid.
Yea, though I walked through the shadow of the valley of death,
the spirit of fear was still standing over me,
griping me like a vice.
I was not strong or courageous.
Fear was my enemy,
but also the toxic friend whom I needed the least,
but was always there.
It had become nearly symbiotic,
my relationship with fear.
My relationship with this parasite.
I did not know how to be unafraid,
but I was cutting my ties with fear.

Little by little,
I found that I could praise.
I hadn't found courage, but perhaps I had found its source.
I found that I could pray.
I hadn't cast out fear completely, but I had found the one who could.
I found that I could trust.
I hadn't been able to control my life, but I was gaining an understanding as to why.
I found that I could love.
I hadn't completely grasped the concept, but now it was slightly less elusive.
I found that I could be loved.
I hadn't seen before that there were people around me who cared.
I found peace.
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?
I found my constant.
You who fear him, trust in the Lord-- He is their help and shield.
I became more strong and courageous,
because my Father in heaven goes with me,
He will never leave me nor forsake me.
I found that I could move again.
I could be His hands and feet.
I found my voice,
and I found that some people did want to hear.
I found that I could look forward to the future,
and not behold its mysteries in sheer terror as I had done before,
because God knows what plans He has for me,
plans for good things, to give me hope, and a future.
I found I was not afraid to show people how God truly made me,
I was not afraid to be real, to be transparent.
I had found hope.
I had found peace.


"The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?" Psalm 118:6

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me"  Psalm 23:4

"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”  Deuteronomy 31:6

"You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD! He is their help and their shield."  Psalm 115:11

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."   Joshua 1:9

For God did not give us a spirit of fear. He gave us a spirit of power and of love and of a good mind." 2 Timothy 1:7