Speaking Love

Have you ever had to communicate with someone from a foreign country and realized that speaking two different languages can be frustrating? Or maybe you open a book written in another language, and you feel completely lost?

 Sometimes relationship issues can feel the same way. It is very possible for two well-meaning people, who truly love each other, to feel unfulfilled in their relationship because they have not yet learned each other’s love language.

 This can be true in not only romantic relationships, but also familial relationships and friendships alike!

 Dr. Gary Chapman, a happily married man of 45 years and a marriage counselor of 35, has written a book called, The Five Love Languages. This book addresses relationship issues by highlighting the five primary ways people receive love. When you learn your partner’s (or anyone’s!) love language, many relationship issues will be resolved, or better yet, avoided.

 Follow this link to a cute video that helps us understand the different love languages, as described by Dr. Gary Chapman: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQsBwRrbS78

 What are the Five Love Languages, and which one are you?

 1. Words of Affirmation – You feel loved when you are praised for your accomplishments, you enjoy getting complements, and you thrive on encouragement when you are emotionally down.

 2. Acts of Service – You feel loved when you wake up to a fresh pot of coffee, the trash has already been taken out, and your car’s gas tank is full.

 3. Receiving Gifts – You feel loved when you are taken out for dinner, given a new dress, or find your favorite cereal in the cupboard. 

 4. Physical Touch – You feel loved when your partner slips their hand in yours while you’re walking into the store, when you're given a massage before bed because it was a stressful day, and you'd rather sit on the same side of the booth at a restaurant because you just like to be close.

 5. Quality Time – You feel loved when your partner turns their cell-phone off and gives you their full attention, when they say no to yet another guys’ night and spends the evening with you instead, and when they decide to make your favorite activity their main priority.

 Knowing the way you and your partner, friend, sister, or dad receive love can bring new life and understanding to your relationship. If you have been trying to show someone you love them by giving them gifts when what they really need is words of affirmation, then it's as if you are speaking French to someone who only speaks German. My hope is for this blog to be your translator in resolving your relationship issues. So toss the tissues and bring an end to your relationship issues!

 For more information on Dr. Chapman and the Five Love Languages, go to http://www.5lovelanguages.com

Emily Gay is a graduate of Oral Roberts University, and has her Masters of Fine Arts in Acting from Regent University. She is a happy newlywed to her rock star husband, Isaac Gay (isaacgay.com). Emily and Isaac act and teach for the Children's Theater of Charlotte.

Dream Big

As a little girl, I would lie on my yellow sunflower quilted bed and listen to the Chiffons sing “One Fine Day” through my red Discman, as the afternoon sunlight would stream through my window. I would dream about falling in love (what I would wear, what the weather would be, you know, the necessities). Of course, my prince charming would fall in love with me while my hair was in a ponytail and I was doing some impressive feat . . . like hitting a home run during a pickup game of baseball with the neighborhood boys. As all the boys would follow the ball with their eyes, my prince would look straight at me and know that I was his one true love.

 The music in my red Discman would change to “Do You Believe in Magic” by The Lovin’ Spoonful, and I would run the bases as my prince would fall deeper and deeper in love with me. Obviously, this was all in slow motion. After I would slide into home base, the boys would hoist me onto their shoulders and cheer “Hip, hip, hooray!” for me as if I was the 12-year-old girl Barry Bonds. The boys would slowly lower me onto my feet again, and the love of my life would stand there with a big bouquet of blush peonies (I guess there was a florist next to the park?).

The music would change to Steve Tyrell singing “The Way You Look Tonight,” and the scene would change to a magical fairytale wedding within the bounds of my imagination, which really had no bounds.  As I continued with my slightly ridiculous afternoon daydream, a slight smile would creep onto my face as the strings swelled throughout the song. Suddenly, I would be in a long, princess-cut wedding dress (10 foot train) with my fifteen best friends preceding me in the most extravagant bridesmaids dresses (of which the color changed on a consistent basis). I would recite my clever yet romantic vows and say, “I do” to the tall, dark, and handsome man of my daydream . . . with a BIG rock on my finger, of course. My daydream would conclude with everyone I’ve ever known and loved cheering us out the tall church doors as rice and confetti were thrown into the air, and we would be seen kissing through the back window of our long black limo right as the song ended on the tonic.

This all may sound ridiculous to you, but don’t tell me you didn’t do SOMETHING of the type when you were twelve years old! Maybe it contained trophies instead of diamond rings, or a professional uniform instead of a wedding dress.

But now the question is, do you still dream? Or did it stop when you were twelve? My dreams as a twenty-something haven’t changed much, except now they include more of a heart for the homeless and broken instead of just for myself. These days, when I sit at my desk and have time of “visioneering,” I dream of providing an intensely loving, explosively fun, and dynamically influential atmosphere for kiddos whom I want to be taught of Jesus and the dreams that He has for them.

What are your dreams? 

Have you forgotten how to dream? 

I wish I could hold your sweet face in my hands and emphatically say, “It’s not too late!” Pick up an old journal, open your Notes app, or maybe even call a friend who knows you and your vision for life. Remember what it feels like to dream!

Here’s the catch: you can’t necessarily just wait for your dreams to come true. If only we all had fairy godmothers who could change our entire life at the words, “Bibbidi, Bobbidi, Boo!” Instead, you may need to look at your dream and figure out what your next step is to making it happen. Show God (and maybe even yourself!) that you believe in your dream enough to be proactive. There's a heart rate-rising word for you. Pray for bravery and send out your resume. Pick up the phone and dial that number. Wake up early to powerwalk so eventually you can run that 5K! 

Determine your next step, and DO it!

I know that it’s scary to dream. What if we’re disappointed? What if our dreams are unrealistic? Key word being "our," because you're not the only one dreaming here.

Thankfully, Jeremiah 32:27 says, “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?”

Obviously, sometimes the road to our dreams may look different than our expectations. Don’t be discouraged if your life looks different than how you had planned. Reminisce on what God HAS fulfilled in your life, and you may just see little snippets of your dreams coming true.

“Now to Him Who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or dream, according to the power at work within us," Ephesians 3:20.

What a relief it is to know that God can do more than what I can dream. And I can dream pretty big.

Oh Darling, Let's Be Adventurers

If you are a female between the ages of 13 and 65, you probably have or have considered getting a Pinterest account (no judgement to boy Pinteresters! You know who you are.). Or if you have ever even browsed on Pinterest for more than two minutes (and let’s be honest – you can’t stop after two minutes) you have probably seen this picture. “Oh darling, let’s be adventurers.”

This picture is appealing for 4 reasons:

One, the picture is aesthetically breath-taking. The world is a beautiful place, and every person’s natural instincts find Creation beautiful. Sure, maybe you’re not the type who likes sleeping on a hammock in the middle of the Ozark Mountains (or maybe you are!), but one can find the outdoors beautiful from afar even if she prefers reading about Europe from her cozy Ikea chair with a Starbucks in hand. . . Two, every woman loves to be called Darling. Or Sweetheart, Babe, or Beautiful. We adore to be adored! Am I right or am I right? . . . Three, we desire to join in something big. We want to be part of a “let’s.” Wouldn’t you rather win with a team than by yourself? Hoorays, chest bumps, and high fives wouldn’t nearly be the same alone. We were made to be part of community; it’s worthwhile even when it’s challenging. . . Four, just the word “adventure” gives me butterflies. Chacos, NorthFace, and a 10 hour plane ride? I’m there. But, there is so much more to being an adventurer than seeing Mount Everest or the Great Wall of China. Which leads me to my point:

There are too many young women in the world who coast through life without even glimpsing at the adventure that God has planned for them. I just made a gutsy statement. I don’t know each individual young woman in this world or even in my own city. But I know this for certain: If we young women were a people who passionately pursued all that God has for us, this world would literally be different. If we refused to let fashion dictate our beauty, there would be a completely different scale of personal value. Don’t misunderstand me – I love shopping and I love fashion. But fashion is not beauty, purity is not a disadvantage, and the number of Instagram likes on your latest picture does not determined how loved you are.

You may feel adventurous when you go a little too far with your boyfriend or when you take that first shot that you’re offered at a party this weekend. Because it is inevitable that someone will pressure you to go too far, and it is undeniable that you will be pestered to try things you shouldn’t. The good news is this: you (and me) choosing to go too far or try “cool” things does not alter God’s adventures for our lives. The moment you choose Him over everything else, He forgives and forgets all that your (and my) past involves. But let me tell you something: the most adventurous people in the world are those who choose the pursuit of Christ. He will take you places that others wish they could go. He will show you sights that you would prefer if you only knew. Don’t waste another day. Join me. Oh darling, let’s be adventurers.