On Trying To Follow My Own Advice

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Hypocrite- Greek: hypokrites

1) An interpreter

2) An actor, a stage player

3) A disguiser, concealer, pretender

I have always found the greek definition of hypocrite interesting. If you were a talented performer on stage in Jesus’ day, people would say, “Isn’t he a good hypocrite?” A hypocrite is someone who acts like something that he is not.

As seen in the above definition, a hypocrite was also the greek word for an interpreter. This is an intriguing definition. An interpreter says words, but they are not his own words. They sound like his words, but they are actually someone else’s.

Hypocrite is a loaded word. If I tell you that I am a hypocrite then you might see a picture of me, little redheaded songwriter, walking around with a three foot plank sticking out of my eye. Ouch.

Or you will see me as a televangelist with enormous redheaded bangs and a ridiculous amount of makeup, crying profusely and asking for forgiveness because I spent $400,000 on a lear jet when the money was supposed to go to orphans.

So, it’s a bit drastic to say that I’m a hypocrite.

Instead, let’s put it this way:

Sometimes, I need to follow my own advice. 

Let me tell you about my experience this year: I started writing a blog on singleness for fun. It’s not even because it’s the topic I know most about, or even am most interested in. I actually am very passionate about things like community development and taking care of the poor, and sometimes I would rather write about that because I’ve studied it more. (Plus, it’s embarrassing to check out eighteen books at the library on dating. I feel like a much better person when I am checking out Henri Nowen and Thomas Merton books.)

But I knew a lot of people that had frustrations with being single and knew they would probably be more willing to read about that in a blog. And it was on my mind a lot as well. So I started writing about it. Suddenly people were listening to me. People were asking me for advice. (People also started calling me the Sexy Celibate in public which was slightly embarrassing.)

All of the sudden, I had to consistently write good posts about, of all things, love. 

My confession, dear readers, is that I have only seriously dated three guys in my life. Some people have that many boyfriends in two weeks. Do I even deserve this blog?

And guess what else? I hate going on dates. Especially online dating first dates or dates with people I don’t know. I really hate small talk and I really hate getting my hopes up and I really hate hurting people, so I would basically rather have my teeth drilled. (I do, however, like the free food.)

But wait, there’s more! I am super, uber, ridiculously bad at flirting. One of my best friends had to give me lessons on it the other day. She showed me how to touch a guys arm and make eye contact. Because my whole life, I have defaulted to practically ignoring someone that I am attracted to so they won’t think I like them. I don’t understand why I do that. I think I got into the habit in middle school and never stopped.

The results have been staggeringly successful, if you count three guys in a whole lot of years as successful.

Another friend challenged me to straight out ask a guy on a date. I said “I am going to destroy you” with a voice like Darth Vader and fire shooting out from my eyes. I don’t know why that came out of my mouth.

Obviously, I have a teensy bit of fear there when it comes to putting myself out there.

Therefore, it is pretty ironic that I am writing a blog and a book about love. Sometimes, because I am such a novice at all of this, it is hard for me to follow all of my own expert advice.

For example, in my post Signs, Signs, Everywhere the Signs, I talk about how being too dependent on signs is not a  good way to go about making decisions when it comes to love.

After I wrote that post, I was interested in someone for a season and looked for signs harder than a near sighted truck driver.

I got my signs. Really good, story worthy signs. It turns out that that those signs weren’t the best way to determine my fate with this person. Just like I said. 

Whoops.

In Throw Away Your List, I talked about how you shouldn’t settle, but you should also be willing to give people a chance.

Then I was on match.com for a while and skipped over certain people. Like the guy who says he’s looking for someone who is good and the kitchen. Or the guy with the picture of him with his arm around his ex girlfriend. Or the middle aged guy with no shirt on holding a beer. (No I am not joking. That was a real match.) Maybe those guys didn’t really deserve my views. But I also didn’t really look at the perfectly nice guys who I simply doubted I would be attracted to.

Oh no! Am one of those shallow people I talked about in my post?

Then, in What Single People Wish Married People Knew, I talked about how frustrated I get when I hear the sentence “If you let go, he will come.” I often replied “if Kevin Costner comes here and builds a baseball field, then and only then will I let go and he will come. Until that happens, I am sticking to holding on with a death grip.”

Now, I have this little problem. My thoughts and motivation wander too much towards getting married. If I’m not careful, it steals away my joy and hypnotizes me into a state where I forget all of the people around me who need love.

Guess what? I need to let go. The very advice that I was angry about getting is what I need the most.

I shouldn’t be too hard on myself, though. Even if I don’t have a ton of experience dating, I do have a lot of experience being single. (Well, maybe it’s better defined as angst than experience. Two hundred seventy pages worth of angst, in fact. I am hoping I will get healthier so that my next book can be called Angsty No More. Except that sounds like a really horrible romance novel. )

Another good reason that it is okay for me write this blog is that I am a very observant person. I am good at putting my observations into words. I am good at pulling the wisdom out of my own life and the lives of people I love and putting it into a neat little package so people can learn. Even if I’m not dating enough to really live all of that wisdom out. (I’m trying people! I’m trying!)

So if you get down to it, I am not a hypocrite. I am just a human, trying to walk this journey with other humans.

My motivation is not necessarily to be right in all of my posts. It is to tell my truth. It is to help people make better decisions and live better lives. It is to look at my life and sort through what I have done right and what I can do better. Not because I live with lots of regrets, but simply because I want be wiser person. A person that can give sound advice, even if it is sometimes difficult to follow all of that advice.

So how about everyone forgive me, and then help me get this big old stick out of my eye?

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8 thoughts on “On Trying To Follow My Own Advice

  1. Thank you for this post..and for your blog in general. I can relate to so much of what you write! As a chronically single 20-something living in a world of cute couples and adorable families, you help me feel a little less abnormal.

  2. As an Actor who loves his craft I found it interesting when you noted the Greek meaning of Hypocrite. Let me tell ya something, every GOOD actor will do exactly what you say you do. Every good actor will take a character and analyze it and look at the character through their eyes and see the world as they see it in order to better empathize and portray the character. This kind of in depth analysis of a character spills over into real life and before you know it you are seeing people and their situations through a different lens.
    This ability to be observant and even see people through their faults and be able to understand where they are coming from is what makes you a good writer and wonderful at this blog. And consequently in that sense it does make you a hypocrite. And a good one at that!

  3. You’re so right–we all tend to spout off good advice to other people, then realize that our own lives are less than perfect. That’s human nature.
    Anyway, I want to thank you for your candidness in all your posts. Over the past few months, your blog has poured a lot of truth into my life that I’ve really needed. Keep up the good work! 🙂

  4. Kate – just wanted to tell you. I’m gladder than glad to have found your blog a while back. Not having all the answers is the POINT. And I can relate to so much of what you write. I, too, have hardly dated; hate small talk; am clueless when it comes to flirting; and have that inexplicable tendency to ignore the very guys I should be stalking (to use a bit of hyperbole). Thanks for being honest about how hard it is to go about the dating game.

  5. Kate, can you help us with our planks too?!!?! ha, I totally hear you on this post!! There have been times where one minute I am discussing with the Lord my own angst over a situation, over my own singleness, and then not even before that day has ended, He has orchestrated a conversation with a friend or other single sister where the same angst I had/was/am experienceing is what they are going through and I am faced with mentally saying to the Lord “Okay, I get it. Reality just hit and Thank you for reminding me of Your truth. Please help me to speak it and not just speak it but believe it fully too!”
    He onces again assures me of the TRUTH he has already taught me but i may have begun to doubt momentarily.

    Not sure if that made sense… WHat I mean is that God has a way of taking our angst moments and using them to glorify himself as He provides us with opportunity to comfort others with the same comfort he has given us in our moments of angst. And in those moments, we are fully aware of our own planks, despite whether who we are talking with can see them or not.
    Don’t stop leaning on the Lord.

    And…I may be a little old fashioned, but you need not “try” to go on dates with random people. after all, “dating is training grounds for divorce” right? (not sure where the quote is from, but i know im not the original author…just really agree with it). Just keep leaning in on Christ, “For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.”
    (Isaiah 54:5 ESV)
    Perfect is not something we will ever be. but I pray we will never grow tired of leaning on Christ. I pray that in my own weariness, my eyes would remain fixed on Him. Our singleness gives us unique opportunity to know an intimacy with the Lord that married people do not have. May we praise Him for this time, even when or hormones and heart longings and disires have not acquired that automatic response. God can work that in us, we must be willing to ask it of him. easier said then done. A favorite author of mine, Priscilla Shirer, remind me in her book “Resolution for Women” that contentment is a skill to acquire. and it really is! Its daily dying to self, and flesh, and our own ideals of what is good for us; claiming and choosing to seek God’s will above our own. Recognizing that to be content is to deeply trust his sovereignty and enjoy His grace. (lil wisdom gained from a David Platt sermon).

    We are in some pretty adequate and amazing hands 🙂 hands that created the world and hands that orchestrated our days before even a day had been made. Prayin for you, prayin for all of us single ones. For whatever reason, God has seen fit that He is MOST glorified in our lives today by us being single. Lets praise him for it! and keep our eyes fixed on him (Heb 12). Can you see the reason in your own life? 🙂

    Thank you for your posts. I am excited to read this infamous book 🙂 very grateful for your allowing Him to use you as a vessel for His glory.

  6. I first started following your blog when I saw posting of it in a feed on FB, it was the “What Singles wished every married person should know” from then I have been a loyal follower. I am encouraged by your honesty and identify so much with you. As a single woman, at seminary, preparing for pastoral ministry in her early approaching mid 30’s, after reading your blog I’m reminded I’m not the only one out there and its okay to have my crazy days. Don’t feel the pressure to be an expert or to always have a deep insight. Continue to write from your heart and experience. And if you ever find yourself in Toronto, Ontario (Canada) I would love to connect!

  7. I just stumbled across your blog today, and I have to say that I love it. Thank you for being so honest and for saying things that most people won’t say! I’ve just spent some time reading over your older posts and have laughed so many times. =) Can’t wait to read more!

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