Only a few months after I started blogging, which has been over a year now, I found a wonderful blog called The Hidden Fountain. There in cyberspace I "met" the author behind the posts who goes by the name Galant. I have faithfully read his thoughts as he shares what God is teaching him, where he is struggling and how he is growing. Although he is a complete stranger to me I have been encouraged time and time again through what I have read. I would encourage you to read his blog when you get a chance for I am sure you will find there a hidden fountain of a life centered on Christ.
So, a few weeks ago Galant posted an invitation to his readers for an interview game. I thought, hey, why not? Then I saw what types of questions he was giving other people and I wondered what I had got myself into. These were not your normal "what do you like questions." They were deep and I was up for the challenge. I signed up.
Thank you, Galant, for the interview. It was a pleasure to answer the questions. It caused me to think about who I am and who I want to be in Christ.
Now I post the questions and my responses. I will warn you that this is the longest post in the history of the blogging world. Read through it- some of you might learn something new about me! (Bold= Galant's questions)
If I may I'm going to throw 6 at you. Let me know if you feel any of these are inappropriate.
1 – You’re a reader, and a writer. Your heart lies firmly surrounded by friends and family but foremost before the throne of the Lord. The love fostered there now spills out through the Spirit to the other people you meet and you desire to reach out to those around the world. These things I believe I know about you, but, since I don’t know all the details of your life, the little things that make up your world – if you’ll allow me the liberty, I’d like to pull you out from that world of yours right now and place you into another. Let’s say it’s completely unfamiliar territory.Describe the setting. Who might someone there learn Jaclyn to be? How might you be? How might you feel? Also, feeling free to bring them in on this one, how might your friends/family describe you in these circumstances? If at all, how do you think you would differ or surprise them?
Since I am having a hard time dreaming up a new setting, I will just use a general circumstance I have experienced before as a springboard for sharing who I am and how I might act in an unfamiliar environment.
I am in a foreign country. It really does not matter where or with whom, but everything around me is strange. There I encounter strange food, a strange language and strange people. More than likely my brother, Ben, is there with me. You see, he is one of my best friends, and so we do everything together. We are a pair, a team and love being together. I keep him serious when he needs to be and he reminds me to have fun! You name a memory and it will probably involve both of us.
I am an observer. The first few moments in a new place I do a lot of surveying. I may be quiet because I am listening and watching everything. Some take my initial quietness to mean I am shy, but this is definitely not the case. The more comfortable I am in a place the more talkative, open and playful I become. I am always eager to meet new people, often introducing myself before being introduced. (I am sure that comes from being the daughter of a pastor!) In a new setting I feel excited, curious and expectant. Oh… and more than not I carry my camera with me to catch those “Kodak” moments.
I love to smile at people. That may sound funny, and I really did not think about it until writing out my answer, but it is so true of me. I want my joy and love for Christ to be communicated and so I see smiling as a small way of displaying that joy. I also try my best to give people full eye contact- which was a struggle for me when I was first challenged in my teen years by my mom to practice looking people in the eye. Now, though, I love looking people in the eye, for you can learn much about a person from their eyes.
I am an introvert. Although I love being with people they drain me after a while. I am not an introvert in the definition of “shy, withdrawn and quiet.” I am an introvert in the sense that after long periods of time with people I feel emotionally, physically, socially and mentally wiped out. I need time alone to refocus and get my energy back! When I do not get time alone with God you can tell because I easily become impatient, irritable and frustrated.
I love to eat new food. If I am served something, I eat it without reservation- at least once. I will always try something. When in a foreign country I know that what I am being served probably cost someone a great deal. Even if I am full or the food is disgusting I will eat. I see food as a connecting point of conversation in every culture. Food can be used to bridge gaps between people that may eventually lead to a conversation about spiritual things.
I am not a morning person. I love the morning air, sunshine and sunrises, but my body does not wake up quickly. I am fairly quiet in the morning, wanting to get my tasks done and press through until afternoon when I become alive. When in an unfamiliar place, though, I tend to be more alert and ready to experience new things because I do not want to miss something! My best hours are after 4PM. I feel so alive and ready to face the world’s problems!
I love asking people questions. My mom has told me that since I was young I have asked questions about everything. I love to learn, analyze problems, discuss theology, find out strange things about people, learn new languages and hear testimonies. When I am in an unfamiliar place I ask even more questions.
I love children. I have been affectionately titled by a close friend a “child magnet.” I seem to connect with children. If there are children in the room I tend to gravitate towards them. Don’t get me wrong, I love adults and adult conversation, but children are so special to me. I do not mind blowing bubbles, crawling on the floor, soothing a crying baby, playing silly games or even changing diapers. Children teach and remind me so much of what I need to be. They are incredibly formidable so I take encounters with children as an opportunity to show them as much as they can understand, at their respective age, about Jesus.
Poor leadership irritates me. In an unfamiliar place, specifically in a church setting, when the designated leader is not leading adequately (by my standards) I can get impatient and frustrated. I know that some of this comes from my sinful, perfectionist tendencies and the other part from being raised as a pastors’ daughter. Many people say that leadership oozes from our family, but I know that unless it is bridled it can cause me to become prideful. I have to work hard to curb the feelings in my flesh and remember that God is the ultimate leader over all of man’s faults. Besides, I am not perfect and in my areas of leadership I do not lead perfectly. God has taught me a lot about following Him and giving grace to those who fail as He has given grace to me. I try to be a mode of positive influence with leaders that would otherwise irritate me, doing what I can to help them lead to the best of their ability. Also, having the spiritual gift of teaching, I can get irritated with lack of teaching skills. When a teacher is misquoting Scripture or not thoroughly explaining a concept I get fidgety and mentally evaluate what I would do differently. I have a tendency to criticize sermons or lectures. God is always quick to remind me to use my gift where I can (like with children) and to remember I do not know everything.
Now, if my family was with me in the foreign country, I know that they would be able to see through any fakeness that I would have. The wonderful thing about family, or at least mine, is that they know you inside and out. They know how I act when I am tired, upset, impatient, joyful and passionate. And they still love me.
At home with my family they see all the good, bad and ugly. They know I love good table manners (and correct ill ones). They know it bothers me when messes are left all over. They know I cry easily while watching chick flicks. They know that when I say I am going to bed, I am really just retreating to read.
Recently, I have surprised my family in unfamiliar settings by being more comical. I give full credit for my humor to Ben! He has taught me everything I know about being funny. Hahaha. Anyway… I am not sure what else to say about this question! I hope I answered it they way you wanted!
2 – You love missions. Which well-known, missionary/Christian figure do you most closely compare yourself or aspire to and why?
Ahhh, such a tough question if I am forced to only choose one! :-) For missionaries, two people immediately came to mind when I read this question: Amy Carmichael and Hudson Taylor; another Christian figure I see as a role model is Sarah Edwards. Amy Carmichael and Hudson Taylor were so passionate about making Christ known to the nations that I long to be like them in their levels of dedication and sacrifice. They so believed that God was better than anything and they spent their lives sharing the message of Jesus with the world. I admire Sarah Edwards (wife of Jonathan Edwards) for her personality as a wife, mother of many children and her love for our Savior. She was an example of Biblical womanhood to the depth of the description! The impact of her life, from general acquaintances to the legacy of their children, spreads far and wide.
3 – Family and marriage are two big things that are talked about, admired and exalted in Christian circles throughout the world. There are conferences, ministries and more books than anyone would care to count. However, a life of undivided devotion without marriage, though spoken of by both Christ and Paul, often seems little spoken of or understood in churches. How would you defend and describe that call to those who might not understand it?
A life of undivided devotion without marriage is a wonderful calling. Those that are called to remain single for their entire life need to be encouraged and respected for their willingness to follow God in what He has asked them to do.
By definition, Biblical celibacy is when a person is completely content and fulfilled by not being married, using their life in complete devotion to further the kingdom of God. Committing to life-long singleness is NOT a result of failure in romantic relationships like, “I asked 10 girls and they all said no so I must be called to singleness.” A person that is called to singleness never has a serious desire to be married, at all, ever. They may doubt the calling or feel pressure from others, but there is not an overwhelming desire to marry.
Celibacy needs to be taken seriously, by both those who feel called to it and their supporters, as something that is used to deliberately serve God. People need to understand that celibacy is not just an escape from marital responsibilities. God designed the gift of singleness with the purpose of having followers who are undyingly devoted to serving Him. The gift of celibacy is not a gift that operates independent of a life committed to ministry. Really, there is no other purpose for celibacy than that. God loves marriage and wants to see people united together to serve Him. Yet, there are things that a married couple with children cannot do to serve Him because of the variety of responsibilities they carry.
I get concerned when I meet people who claim they have been called to be single but they have dated off and on and are not pursuing service to God in any fashion. They are big kids, pursuing money and popularity, not wanting to “settle down” so claiming that maybe they have the gift. They end up wasting their lives on temporary things, being discontent and running from God. This is not “the gift.”
When celibacy is used the way God designed it to be it becomes one of the most powerful influences in the world. A person that is so passionately in love with God and has a desire only for ministry will change the world. Their eyes are so fixed on Christ and making Him known to people that every amount of their energy, time and money is funneled to serving God since they are not worried with the cares of marriage and family. Many history changing Christians have been people called to be single. They poured their whole lives into serving God and we benefit from their sacrifices!
Finally, it is important to remember that we are ALL single for some period of our life. God has given each of us a time in life to use for undivided devotion without marriage to serve Him. If we waste that time searching for “true love,” being discontent and impatient or pursuing childish things, we are squandering so many opportunities. We have set callings in life: called to be an earthly son/ daughter, called as a child of God, called to be a husband/wife and called home to heaven. The calling of marriage, for a believer, is the only “optional” calling since God does not have all of us marry.
Although I do not feel the call to life-long singleness as a gift, I am not married now, so I need to fulfill the role that God has for me as a single woman to the UMOST of my abilities and gifts. I have NO guarantee that I will ever be married so I do not want to throw away time, energy and money at the prime of my life chasing what will not last. The only thing that lasts in this world is things that are done in the name of Christ.
4 – In bringing up this interview game, you have made mention of propriety in dealing with this whole thing. Such a thing isn’t too common but was a pleasant surprise. If you don’t mind I’m going to take the liberty of running with that subject and bring up the context of guy/girl behaviour. Give three things you hold in high regard when it comes to relating to the opposite sex. What two things do you think guys should be most careful of in relating to girls, and then what two things should girls most be careful of? Finally, what one thing has been the most useful tool for you in balancing your own behaviour in this regard?
Before I dive into this question I want to say that much of how I answer comes from either my idealistic dreams or from lessons I have learned through my own failures. I know that we, as people, all fall short of perfection, thus the reason we needed a Savior in Jesus Christ. I have not met a man or woman who has perfectly accomplished the standards I present. I am honored, though, to walk side by side many godly men and women who are pursuing these characteristics wholeheartedly. I do not claim expertise (for I have lived only a short while myself!) but am answering out of a soul that desires to be like Jesus Christ in all I am.
When relating to men I deeply respect these three things:
1- Visible evidence that he is pursuing a vibrant relationship with God and striving for personal holiness. I greatly admire a man who is willing to share what God is teaching him as well as being vulnerable about his weaknesses and what he is doing to overcome them.
2- I also respect confident leadership in a man. When I see a pastor, husband, father or single man taking leadership in his realm of jurisdiction (where he has authority) it encourages me to be the submissive helpmeet that God created me to be as a woman. When I say confidence I picture a man who knows what he believes and is not afraid to lead others in that way. He has a sense of surety but is not arrogant. He has a teachable spirit and is willing to change course when presented with varying ideas but he is not indecisive. There are several men who lead this way in my life, with their families and churches, and I respect them very much. This type of man makes you want to follow him because he has proved himself to be an honorable man worthy of the role of leader.
3- I hold in high regard relating to a man who has gentle strength. He has the physical strength to fire a gun, cut down trees, change a tire, shovel snow or move furniture. He as the mental strength to resist temptation, think clearly in an emergency, comprehend deep things of God, teach his children to walk in righteousness and is always ready to give an answer for the hope he has in Christ. He has the emotional strength to show his weaknesses, cry when he is sad, be stable when others (especially his wife) are not, throw his burdens on Christ when he is weary, rejoice with those who are rejoicing and mourn when others mourn. He has social strength to be a masculine man in a feminized society, stand alone in a crowd, live a life of simplicity (in a world of materialism), avoid music, movies or media that dishonors Christ, love his wife as Christ loved the church and raise children who are sharp arrows in his full quiver.
In all of these areas of strength he is gentle. He can hold his wife when she cries, cuddle a newborn baby, correct a disobedient child in love, wipe the tears of a new widow and be a father to the fatherless. He is a mighty horse as he carries a warrior to battle and a playful pony when he trots a child around the yard.
Two things guys should be most careful of in relating to girls:
1- When relating to a girl, whether in general friendship or romantic pursuit, young men (specifically single) must remember to act, speak and regard her as he would his own sister. (1 Timothy 5:1-2) He should be careful to not put her at risk emotionally, spiritually, physically or socially. He should seek to protect the women in his life from dangers that would harm her in these areas, in his personal interaction with her and from outside sources. Protection on this scale is a daunting task but must be recovered if we are to see men of valor and women of sobriety.
2- A guy also needs to be careful to not interact with a young woman with underlying tones of manipulation. Girls are easily persuaded by affection, emotions and compliments. Just as she must learn to recognize and resist manipulation in a man, he must be aware of the games he is capable of playing in order to shirk responsibility. On the other hand, when relating with girls, the man must also be careful to not fall into the traps of female manipulating strategies. Instead, he must rise above the temptation to let girls be relational or spiritual leaders as well as guard himself against women of ill-repute.
Two things girls should be most careful of in relating to guys:
1- Girls must take care to act with sobriety when relating to men. (Titus 2:5- “Discreet”) The root word of sobriety, obviously, is “sober” and means to have a sound mind, be sane, constant in one's senses, curbing one's desires and impulses, self-controlled and temperate. Godly sobriety goes far beyond the general view of being sober in regards to alcohol for it invades every aspect of a woman’s life. A Christ-honoring, sober young woman will behave in such a way that first, honors Christ, and second, guards her spiritual brothers. Temperance, discretion and sobriety encompass things such as clothing, speech, actions and possessions. A sober girl will be careful in how she dresses, always showing discretion and honoring the men in her life with modest attire. She is sober in speech by not being loud, crude or drawing unwanted attention to herself with obnoxious chatter. Her actions reflect sobriety through gentleness, strong convictions and feminine behavior. Finally, a sober girl will have self-control when acquiring materials and will not be excessive in gathering things she does not need. A girl who is deliberate about being sober will relate to young men with purity, allowing the men to be men and delighting in who she is as a woman.
2- It is important for a girl to protect her emotions when relating to guys. She cannot allow herself to be vulnerable emotionally with men who have not been proven to be respectable and godly. She must learn the boundaries of sharing information with young men, especially in private conversation, and understand what is appropriate in the levels of friendship, courtship and marriage. Girls must be careful to guard their minds, hearts and emotions by always keeping confidence with their mother or an older godly woman who can give wise counsel. As young men approach her either in friendship or romance she must show wisdom and self-control in the emotion she displays. She must see her father as the source of protection, authority and emotional stability until the day he transfers that responsibility the young man she marries.
Finally, the one thing that has been the most useful tool for me in balancing my own behavior with young men (or all men) is to constantly remember to view younger men (single/around my own age and younger) as brothers and older men (significantly older or married men) as fathers. (1Timothy 5:1-2) Having a brother only a few years younger than me has undoubtedly helped keep my behavior with young men in check. I continually evaluate my interaction with Ben as a standard for how I should treat guy friends. My public relationship with Ben also guards me from unwanted attention or affection from single men for they see that my interaction with them is no different than how I relate to my own brother. When I treat single young men as brothers it gives me freedom to be myself, guarantees purity and promotes an environment for genuine friendship to happen.
5 – You mention you’re an avid reader, if you could have every person on the planet read one book that is not a specifically Christian book (or the Bible) what would it be and why?
This is a difficult question for me. If I knew every person on the planet would read the book I recommended I would want the book, somehow, to present the gospel. The first book that comes to mind is called, The Question of God by Armand M. Nicholi Jr. Although it is not a specifically Christian book, it discusses the philosophical dichotomy between C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud. I have two concerns: first, I have not YET read this book, and second, I would fear that some would walk away agreeing with Mr. Freud. For that I would need to trust God would use the information presented in the book to glorify Himself in the lives of those whose hearts were open to Him. (This book is sitting on my bookshelf apart of the “to read soon” list.)
6 – If you could ask me one question in return, what would it be?
From your writings, I have learned that you are a man of integrity, character and honor. You seek to know God and please Him in all you do. In many of your posts and in a question you presented to me you discuss the aspect of life-long singleness. From my reply to question number three you see that I understand the “calling” that some have to not marry.
Yet, there are those who are single, having the desire to someday be married, who seem to delay pursuing marriage as a way to somehow extend childhood. Through general observations and even some friends, I see that many young men in particular, do not want to make the step towards marriage. They are passing from one girl to another, buying big boy toys and spending a vast majority of their money on entertainment. They say things such as, “I am not ready to settle down” or “I am not mature enough for marriage.”
From a single man’s perspective, why would you say that young men have a difficult time entering the commitment of marriage and putting boyish things behind? What has the generation before ours done wrong that has raised boys to be boys instead of boys to be men? Why do men these days find manhood so difficult? What can women do to encourage men to be men?