February 5, 2019

The month of February begs the phrase, “love is in the air.” To many, the second month of the year is one marked with romance, appreciation, and love. Before diving head first into the “I love you’s,” let’s talk about expectations. Pastor Brandon defined expectations as, “A strong belief that something will happen or will be the case in the future.” As I sat back and reflected on that definition, I realized as a college student, and as a young woman in general, I have a lot of expectations; I have expectations for school, my career, my friends, my family, my future spouse, and yes, even God. When I pay more attention to what the world tells me I deserve or should look for, I lose sight of God’s reality. In turn, I lose sight of myself and begin looking for the missing parts of me in other people.
During my freshman year of high school, we read the book Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. This book came to my mind as I began reflecting on this sermon. Dickens wrote so clearly on the longing, the yearning, the craving so many of us possess to acquire something more than what we already have. Like Pastor Brandon said, we are starving: starving for affection, affirmation, purpose, and love.
I know a greater part of my teenage years were spent in a mindless pursuit for boys’ attention. I wanted them to tell me I was beautiful, funny, and smart, but above all, I wanted someone to tell me I was worth it. 1 Peter 1:15 says, “You didn’t know any better then. You do now. As obedient children let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, “I am holy; you be holy.”” I didn’t know any better as a naïve teenager in need of Jesus, but as I’ve grown in my faith, I’ve learned trusting in God’s word, remaining pure, and keeping my expectations in line with His, saves my heart a lot of grief. Like any good father, our Heavenly Father gives us guidelines to protect us, not to limit us.
At a young age, I bought into the world’s idea of love. I thought I had to find my “soul mate” my “other half” because I didn’t feel good enough on my own. Ronnie was just Ronnie and was nothing special unless someone told me I was. The best news, however, is none of that is true. God tells us we are whole, and we are His.
1 Corinthians 7:7 Paul writes, “Sometimes I wish everyone were single like me—a simpler life in many ways!” Paul wasn’t saying that marriage was bad, but rather pointing out singleness itself is a gift from God. I am currently in a season of singleness and God has done so much in my life, I know He is preparing me for my purpose. This is a season of growth, perseverance, and wholeness. The things we long for, the things we are searching for in others can only be found in the love and peace of having a relationship with our Creator.

Brandon Lien - February 3, 2019

White Picket Fence

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Ronnie Vadney

Ronnie is a student at Missouri State University pursuing a degree in Global Studies. She is originally from a small town in Southwest Oklahoma and has lived in Springfield for the last two years. She is a reading, dreaming, movie watching, dog loving, Spongebob quoting, poetry creating, fact learning, Jesus loving, coffee drinking, and parallel structure writing fiend. She looks forward to sharing her perspective with you and sharing the love of Jesus Christ wherever she goes!

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