Candy vs Soul Food Relationships

Anyone who knows me well, also knows the value I put on health, wellness, and disease prevention. I do this through whole food, high nutrition eating and a balanced weekly workout routine. These things are fundamental to who I am and how I function on a day-to-day basis.

A prime example of how seriously I take my physical health and wellness lifestyle is this: In 2018-2019 I lived in Madrid, Spain for almost a year. I would drag a small suitcase through the Metro and city streets, EVERY SING DAY, to and from class, the gym, and home… filled with healthy snacks, my gym clothes and shoes, and my laptop. I didn’t have a car to haul it all in, and working out and eating right are just that important. When I moved back to the US from Spain, I ditched the suitcase, but continued my daily walks, working out at 6 AM without fail, plus gravel and road biking on the weekends. I’ve kept up with this lifestyle from the time I was in middle school and high school, active in sports and learning to appreciate salads and vegetables as a meal, not just a side every once in a while.

For as much as I pursue and put time, energy, and effort into my physical health and wellbeing, I can’t say I have always done the same when it came to pursing romantic relationships.

I had written this post for a group of women, The Higher View, about a month ago, just before getting married, and felt compelled to turn it into a personal blog post, which I am finally doing today… three weeks after getting married.

SO, here goes with the initial post!

I think in light of getting married this week, this post shared by a friend stood out to me and I wanted to pass along the concept. Hoping it brings encouragement to single ladies, or anyone struggling with friendships or other relationships in general!

Candy vs Soul Food in Relationships.

Are we entertaining relationships and people that are producing FRUIT? The good, life producing, healthy and wholesome food that we need to survive? Or are we entertaining the sweet looking, tantalizing, fake candy “food” that does no good for us? The latter may cause more harm in the long run as it brings a sugar rush and high, and then leaves us worn out and burnt out with the drop in levels when it’s all over.

The same friend that posted this [quote] graphic told me something years ago that helped get me where I am today in not chasing fake relationships with guys, but instead to go after the life giving kind.

We were at some restaurant, having our fill of chips, guac, and margaritas. I was bemoaning some guy and she encouraged me to look at his fruit, checking in with God about it. When I did that, it turns out he wasn’t producing any fruit despite me wanting and wishing it.

NOW, years later, I’m about to get married to a man with a generous heart and kind soul. He’s pursing God. He treats strangers with love and looks out for his friends and family. I think of my friend’s wisdom often. And the change happened in myself first in what kind of men I was willing to feed my soul with.

Real “Soul Food” relationships will be filled with Fruit that satisfies as they are connected to the One who gives true life. They won’t leave you crashing and burning. Just like we choose what eat and what we put in our bodies daily- junk or whole foods- which determines the health of our physical bodies, we can choose who to put ourselves around, talk to, and entertain on a daily basis. Are they connected to the Vine and producing fruit? If not, you may want to let them go and pursue healthier people who do.

Don’t neglect your soul and what you are feeding it with via the relationships you have!

Jesus’ says in Mathew 7: 15-20 about knowing a person by their fruits.

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

The fruit of a person is life building or soul crushing. Let’s be wise and as much we pursue bodily health, let’s take care of our souls by what and who we are feeding them with.




Photo Cred: Yuriy Trubitsyn

Nearly every girl I know loves the word. Shiny floors that you can practically see your reflection; displays of glittering chunky gold and silver jewelry; racks of sunglasses that are prefect for summer and make a perfect addition to your collection; textures that run through your fingers like silk, soft cotton, and denim that you can see yourself wearing and the comments your friends will make if you purchased this latest necessity. Let’s not forget, of course, the rows of flats for sundresses and jeans, the click clacking of trying on a new pair of heels, and the strappy sandals that make your feet look slimmer.

Oh, all of that and more rushes to me when I hear the word “shopping.” And it is the and more part that I want to write about today.

Amazingly, I never liked shopping growing up, or ever really. My friends in middle school would meet at the mall on a Friday or Saturday and spend the evening tossing around and trying on new clothes and dresses. I was too self-conscious about my body to ever really enjoy it. In high school, looking for a prom dress was the most disastrous $100 my mother and I would ever spend, the trauma of trying to fit a dress to my oddly proportioned, petite, somewhat athletic, yet still carrying a bit of baby fat body would ever experience. (I do not miss high school prom dress shopping one bit.)

To be honest, to this day I don’t really like shopping. But not because I’m too self aware to enjoy it, I just prefer to be outside, hiking, biking, or doing yoga than to brows aisles of clothes “just for fun.” Fun means so much more than being inside under blinding florescent lights looking at styles I want to buy and can’t afford or wishing I could pull off but never can.

So, it was to my surprise that for one of the first times in my life a few weeks ago, I felt a connection to the 3.5 billion other women who live in the world and care about this thing called shopping. Why had I been missing out, for nearly a quarter of a century, not appreciating this consumerist pastime?! Had I just crossed over to womanhood, as the world knows it?

Let me explain.

I walked into this one store that has a red and white logo and nearly every important thing to humanity inside. You know… Target! I ran in quickly to buy a card for a friends wedding, or birthday. I can’t even remember the event because after picking up the card, I meandered to the clothes section.

Instead of being overwhelmed with all the options and colors, I could barely pull myself away from the dresses, shirts, pants, shorts, more shirts, more dresses and more pants all waiting just for me. I took multiple trips back and fourth from the clothes to the dressing room and back again. And I’m sure that the sweet lady who gave me a new card with a number each time I walked in and out of the dressing room with armfuls of clothes, secretly hated the pile that built up of discarded options that someone (probably she) would have to put back in it’s home at the end of the day.

I tried to help out by putting one or two things that I remembered where I got them back on the rack, but let’s be real, I was too enamored with this thing called shopping to be of much use. I probably put those shirts on some pants rack somewhere.

I don’t remember how long I spent in Target that morning. But I ended up walking out of the store empty handed, save for the card I had run in to purchase originally.

I wanted sooo many things! Too many things. I wanted the leopard shoes that wouldn’t go with anything in my closet. And the dresses to add to my collection of dresses I rarely wear anymore. I wanted boots and purses and new workout clothes…

But I walked away from it all; even though I could have used the pretty, plastic card in my wallet with my name on it to make all those things I wanted, mine.

I don’t know if it was my conscience or what, but a thought hit me at the end of the clothing frenzy I found myself that morning: I have to be a good steward of what God has given me, with both time and money. In the end, I couldn’t justify purchasing new “stuff” when I didn’t have the money to actually pay for it, when I had been struggling for months already to pay off that pretty, plastic card with my name on it. I couldn’t justify buying all this stuff for myself when so many people live with so little and don’t have a choice. I couldn’t justify claiming these new things as mine when the point wasn’t for an event or purpose other than to satisfy my desire of compliments and wanting.

So I walked away.

I also realized that morning, that I will never get back the time that I spent at Target trying clothes on.

To me, there are more important things to do with my money and time than buy more stuff for myself. (That’s not to say I will never buy anything ever!) However, I realized that day in Target that I turned a corner with shopping. It is with purpose and intentionality that I will shop in the future, not out of a rush of simply wanting things.

So I encourage you to think about what is in your shopping cart or basket the next time you meander into a store, being honest with what you find yourself reaching for, and think about spending that time and money on things (friendships, family, talents, and dreams) that are truly important. Maybe it’s time to turn a corner and walk away.

Have you ever seen Confessions of a Shopaholic?

Funny clip of shopping at it’s finest.

pink down arrows

April: Sexual Assault Awareness Month

vNE8214NS9GOvXOy7DCu_DSC_0266Photo Cred: Jason Long

I wrote this post for the blog I manage Know Your Value by Wonderfully Made ministry. I wanted to publish it to my personal blog as well, since this is such a prevalent issue in our society and we all need to be made aware of how far reaching it is.

During spring I can’t help but to think of new life. The grey, snowy, icy, and often dismal cold melts away to tulips popping up in different colors, fragrant jasmine and honeysuckle, with birds and bunnies everywhere. Spring brings a sense of freedom where I no longer stand stiff in a bunchy winter coat, but can swing my arms unhindered. It is a time of change and life, but especially with Easter and the sense of freedom in Christ that cycles in each spring.

Freedom in Christ is a powerful idea, and maybe an overly used cliché for the Christian today. But as April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, freedom in Christ is one truth that women can cling to, bringing hope to those who have experienced this trauma. Sexual Assault is a real issue. It is an issue that might carry the sting of judgments, feelings of shame, and broken hearts. This is an especially big topic for women in high school and college, as 44% of victims are under the age of 18 and 80% of victims are under the age of 30, according to RAINN Network. Women and girls who experience sexual assault are prone to abuse alcohol and drugs and suffer from depression.

This topic is not often talked about, which is why it is important for Wonderfully Made to address the seriousness of sexual assault. We want to see women living free in Christ! We want to stand behind girls to find counselors, get mentors, and the necessary support for sexual assault. Resources for you to connect with if you need to can range from seeing a counselor at your college campus, Rape Crisis Center, National Sexual Assault Hotline, and specifically for college students At Wonderfully Made, we want to add the importance of freedom to the depths of your core and the bottom of your heart through Christ as the healer and redeemer.

If you have friends who have experienced sexual trauma, abuse, or assault, we want to encourage you to be their friend. Listen to their stories. And know that each story is important. God does not dismiss those who have been oppressed and healing can take time. If you yourself have experienced sexual assault- Know Your Value as being “fearfully and wonderfully made” and a Daughter of the King. Seek the help you need and trust that “the time of the Lord’s favor has come.” We are praying for your healing and freedom this spring.

We invite you to watch Ciara’s story of healing.