Dear Abbey: advice on reconciliation, relationships and eating habits
Abbey Bennett answers submitted questions once a month in her "Dear Abbey" column. | Katie Juranek/THE CHIMES
It has been a joy to receive your questions and to see your heart through them. This month there are again questions ranging from food to reconciliation to, of course, relationships. I believe there is a bit of practical advice for everyone here. Once a month, The Chimes will print a variety of worthy questions and answers. Please keep sending your questions — yours may appear next month!
I live off campus and often have to eat lunch and dinner at Biola because of my class schedule. As much as I love Eagles (I don't have a meal plan and don't want to pay for the Caf) my meal options are often very repetitive there, and honestly not that healthy. Do you have any suggestions of healthy but realistic things that I can pack and bring with me?
Dear Hungry Housemate,
You have many options! Since you don’t have a meal plan, I assume you cook at home when you have time. Try cooking a little extra when you do, seal what you don’t eat in a zip-close container and you have lunch for the next day! I love doing this with stir fry, grilled chicken and even tofu. Another good option is to grab a wrap at the Talon and bring a salad from home to accompany it. If this is still too much effort, there are healthy options at Eagles: veggie burrito bowls, tacos on Tuesday, even salads.
Happy healthy meals!
There are four people on campus who legitimately hate me. I do everything I can to avoid them, ignore them, look for pennies to "distract" from making eye contact and overall make my existence less known to them. Nothing works. They are everywhere. We have too many mutual friends and interests to successfully cut each other out of our lives. I don't want to fix these relationships, they need to end. But months later it is painfully apparent that I can't keep going. Please help!
Dear Unusually Uncomfortable,
Without the context of knowing what has happened among you and these other people, it is honestly difficult to answer this question. However, I will give you a couple principles and hopefully they will apply well. First, seek a time when you can talk with them to try to make amends. If you are a Christian and you believe that they are too, you have no choice but to try to “live peaceably” with them, as Paul writes in Romans 12:18. Second, you are right that you cannot continue living like this. Biola is not a large campus so you will keep running into them. If you are unable to speak to them, it will be a tough four years here. Reconciliation does have great rewards, here and for eternity.
What do you think of the phrase, "I think God is telling me to break up with you”? Do you find this is an excuse made by Christians of both genders or a serious calling to people's hearts? Since we’re here at Biola, would it even be theological? Thanks for your time and thoughts.
Dear Heartbroken Hector,
This is a very tough question. I do believe that God can and does speak to his people — we are his children! He wants the best for us, and sometimes we don’t choose what is best because we are only thinking of ourselves. However, if you are truly seeking God when you begin a relationship and he opens all the doors for you, then you should go for it. But, if you either fall into sinful patterns or start putting the other person above God in your life, I believe he may show you that you need to break up. To avoid this: Talk about the Lord, share with one another what he is teaching you and pursue his kingdom more than intimacy with one another in this stage.
Seek HIM first,
It’s that time of year when everyone is getting engaged, but I’m single. How do I support them without feeling bitter when faced with my own singleness?
Only Unengaged One
Dear Only Unengaged One, While I cannot answer this question from personal experience — as I am one of the first of my group of friends to now be engaged — I recruited one of my wonderful bridesmaids to help me answer this one. Our advice to you is to pray continuously for your friends and their future marriages. Invest yourself in their relationship by getting to know your friends’ fiances as well as you can. Remain humble in your advice, acknowledging that you are not in their shoes. This also is a blessed time to pray for your future spouse and prepare yourself to be the best husband/wife you could ever be.
Seek to support,
Recently I have realized that I don’t always make the wisest decisions when it comes to friends. My new year’s resolution was to become a more godly woman. While pursuing that I have realized a lot of my friends live very worldly lives. How do I continue to love them without being judgmental and also not living in the world?
Aspiring for 31
Dear Aspiring for 31, This is a really great question that we all must seek to answer every single day. There are two examples I want to point you towards: Jesus and the Proverbs 31 woman, whom I think you are familiar with already. Jesus loved and served those in the world without ever compromising his godliness and holiness — thus, it is possible to do the same. Do not condone your friends’ behavior by joining them, but do not condemn and heap shame on them either. Encourage them to seek other options that will push them closer to Jesus. To your resolution, read through Proverbs 31 and highlight a couple verses that you want to focus on this month. I have a painting that I see every morning when I wake up that reads, “She is clothed with strength and dignity and laughs at the days to come.” Proverbs 31 is attainable.
Grace upon grace,
When is it appropriate to first kiss in a relationship?
Eager for Endearment
Dear Eager for Endearment, There is no right or wrong way biblically, but I believe there is a best way practically. First, I believe that you should accompany a kiss with “I love you.” If you are not to the point where you can say that, you have no business with this kind of intimacy. Personally, my now fiance — who was also my first boyfriend and first kiss — and I waited until we had been dating for about five months. I do not recommend waiting until you are engaged or at your wedding altar, but that may be what you think is right. Secondly, it is not a bad thing to talk about it before just going for it. This may seem awkward, but it may help avoid a much more awkward moment.
Let wisdom lead you, Abbey