"Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place."

You don’t need a man by your side to validate you as a woman. You already are loved and valued. You’re good enough exactly as you are. Do you believe this? Because it’s true. You have limitless worth and value. If you embrace this truth, it will affect every area of life, expecially your relationship with men. You are worthy dying for. Your worth does not come from your body, your mind, your work, what you produce, what you put out, how much money you make. your worth does not come from whether or not you have a man. Your worth does not come from whether or not men notice you. You have inestimable worth that comes from your creator.

You will continue to be tempted in a thousand different ways not to believe this. The temptation will be to go searching for your worth and validity from places other than your creator. Especially from men. But you don’t have to give yourself away to earn a man’s love. You’re better than that. You’re already loved.

When you give too much of yourself away too quickly, when you show too much skin, you’re not being true to yourself. When you dress to show us everything, then in some sense we have all shared in it, or at least been exposed to it. There is a mystery to you, infinite depth and endless complexity. As the woman says in Song of Songs, “My own vineyard is mine to give”. In the ancient Near East, a vineyard was a euphemism for sexuality. She is saying that she doesn’t give herself to just anyone. She is fully in control of herself, and she is not cheap and she is not easy. Your strength is a beautiful thing. And when you live in it, when you carry yourself with the honor and dignity that are yours, it forces the men around you to relate to you on more than just a flesh level.

You are worth dying for.

If you’re dating someone, what kind of man is he? Does he demonstrate that he’s the kind of man who would die for you? What is his posture toward the world? Does he serve, or is he waiting to be served? Does he believe that he’s owed something, that he’s been shortchanged, that he’s gotten the short end of the stick, that life owes him something? Or is he out to see what he can give? Does he see himself as being here to make the world a better place?

These are the big questions that you need to ask yourself.

Take him to a family reunion. Do some sort of service project with him. See how he interacts with people he doesn’t like.

Does he have liquid agape running through his veins?

when a woman is loved well, she opens up like a flower

What does he expect of you? Does he expect you to sleep with him when he hasn’t committed to you forever? Does he want all of you without his having to give all of him?

Can you tell him anything? Is he safe? Can he be trusted?

Can you open up to him, allowing yourself to be vulnerable, knowing that he will protect, not exploit, that vulnerability? Are you opening up like a flower?

- Rob Bell, from “Sex God” <via laurasmile> (via heisjealousforme) (via behappyandgiggle)