Thursday, September 8, 2011

"On Fire": Questions to Ask Yourself *About Yourself* Before a Relationship

"For the commandments, 'You shall not commit adultery,' 'You shall not murder,' 'You shall not steal,' 'You shall not bear false witness,' 'You shall not covet,' and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'"---Romans 13:9(NKJV)

"It's not your job to like me - it's mine."---Byron Katie


I love, love, *LOVE* Aish.com!

While fishing around on there today, I "happened upon" (Proverbs 16:33-AMP) an article that I posted on here under the "Other Stuff I Didn't Write...But Kinda Wish I Did..." section. It's entitled, "10 Questions to Ask Before Getting Married". The subtitle given is: "How to Know You're Ready to Tie the Knot". It's a real winner. And a real ride. *If you're honest*. With yourself and your relationship. If you're currently in one.

Anyway, as I was pondering (Proverbs 4:26) over it, the Comforter (John 14:16-AMP) challenged me to edit it. Just a bit. To fit the needs of the women following this blog. Because, indeed, in the wise words of a man by the name of Robert Half, "Asking the right questions takes as much effort as giving the right answers". And so, the checklist below comes with the title, "10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Entering a Relationship: How to Know You're Ready for One":


#1: Are You a Good Friend to Yourself?

If you have a hard time being by yourself, that's definitely something worth investigating. And, being on social media platforms all day (and night) also qualifies. It's one thing to be sociable. It's another thing to be a people addict. And, an unpopular-yet-accurate truth is that a lot of people can't be by themselves because that would force to them to actually *deal with themselves*. It's easier to be in the "kiddie pool" with acquaintances than to go to the "deep end" with the Lord. Lately, I've become more and more leery of people who, whether blatantly or passive-aggressively, seek applause. As one of my favorite on-air personalities, Stephen Colbert says, "Applause is like putting your ear next to a seashell for which you have stuffed your own ego." That's not intimacy. That's an illusion (Proverbs 28:23). People tend to spend (intimate) time with those they like the most. Words to live by when assessing how much time *you* can (and like to) spend time alone. 


#2: Are You *Emotionally Honest* About Where You Are as an Individual?

There's a book out entitled, "I Quit! Stop Pretending Everything Is Fine and Change Your Life" by Geri Scazzero with Peter Scazzero. What really caught my attention was this:

"If Jesus did not say no for fear of disappointing people, he would not have fulfilled the mission and purpose God gave him. He would have lived up to other people's expectations instead of his own. Exercising a healthy no is essential if we are to fulfill the Father's destiny for our own lives as well. 

It's important to know that both 'yes' and 'no' are loving words. Remember, when I say no, it's not *against* you but *for* me. And while my no may make you sad, it doesn't make me bad. Most importantly, if I say yes when I prefer to say no, I erode my integrity and hurt both of us...we must be able to say no if we are to say a healthy yes. A healthy yes comes from a sincere heart that both desires and is able to do something. It is infused with delight, without strings attached and absent of any resentment."---pg.128-129

A lot of women, because we were created to be helpers (Genesis 2:18), tend to overlook that *support* and *codependency* are not synonymous. Therefore, they often find themselves in relationships and situations that are *none of their business* (I Thessalonians 4:11) because it's not something (or one) that God assigned them to. Where *he* assigns, he *equips*. *Our doing* requires mercy. *His commissions* provide us with grace (I Corinthians 3:10). It's easier to be *gracious* when you're *obedient*. Remember, the Word, which is God (John 1:1), *instructs us* to "Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life." (Proverbs 4:23-AMP). A big part of being emotional healthy is keeping your heart (Jeremiah 17:9) where, and with whom, it belongs.


#3: Have You Learned How to Resolve (and Not Repeat) Your Own Problems?

In the desire (or is it quest?) for a covenant partner, a lot of times women don't realize that they are not looking for someone to *complement their life* but *fix their problems*. Not only is that manipulative and potentially unrealistic (Ecclesiastes 7:18-Message), but it's also extremely unfair. One of the admirable things about the Proverbs 31 woman is that she was *proactive* in the matters of life. Proverbs 18:22 speaks to a man finding a woman and favor coming into his life as a direct result. Favor. Not baggage. The more work you put into fixing your problems now, the more of a blessing you can be to a man's life. Later.


#4: Do You Take Care of Your Own Physical, Financial, Spiritual and Professional Needs?

Some people have financial debt. Even more people have character (Colossians 3:12-17) debt. On some levels, we all do, because flesh is apart of us (Galatians 5:16-17) and we all have fallen short of Adonai's glory (Romans 3:23). Debt speaks to liabilities. One definition of "liability" is "something disadvantageous". No one on this earth, other than Adam and the Woman *while in the Garden of Eden* (Genesis 2:18-25), gets married as perfect people; however staying on top of your needs keeps you from becoming subconsciously *needy*, which keeps you a leg up from having "Savor Syndrome" with your covenant partner. Only Christ is your Savior. The best a man can ever be is your husband. Adonai made it that way. By design. Honor it.


#5: Is Your Life One Worthy of Being Admired and Respected? 

This explanation is pretty short-n-sweet. If you died today and your worst enemy (and people who believe they don't have any are probably in the most trouble, because *all believers* should have a few-James 4:4) was legally in charge of your epitaph, what's the best thing they could say about you? And mean it.


#6:  Do You Live a Responsible Life?

I love (and appreciate and receive) that one definition of "responsible" is "having a capacity for moral decisions". The New Century Version of  Galatians 6:5 states, "Each person must be responsible for himself." Each person must have a capacity for making moral decisions. *On their own*.

Something that I've been *making it a point* to say is "I've been almost five years abstinent from sex" (1/9) BUT "I've been almost two years *truly abstinent*" (October-don't know the *exact day* because I was initially peeved when I made the decision to stop masturbating!-LOL). I Timothy 5:22 says, "Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure." Whether it's on the body of another in lust or oneself in lust, *it's not purity*.  When two people get married, they *share in one another's triumphs and burdens* (Galatians 6:1-4). In order to assist someone else in making moral decisions, it is advised to be *very clear* and *very honest* about where you are on the moral compass. The blind (and those in denial) often get other people lost. Or more lost.


#7: Do You Believe in Yourself?

Mark 9:23 tells us that all things are possible to them that believe. To have a belief in something is to be confident in it. To have faith in it. To (check it) *accept* it.

The older I get, the more my "look" is leveling off. I consider myself to be a pretty creative person and so my running joke with the musical men in my family is "My hair is your studio." Change isn't a bad thing. But *consistent radical change* is something you might want to self-assess. Earlier this morning, I read a quote by the late actress by Bette Davis which said, “People often become actresses because of something they dislike about themselves. They pretend they are someone else.” Hmph. Reminds me of another quote by Oscar Wilde: "A man's face is his autobiography. A woman's face is her work of fiction." A lot of times, people are so consumed with changing the *vessel* because they are discontented with the *soul*. And they still end up being unhappy because "You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body." C.S. Lewis said that.

King David praised the Lord because he recognized that he was fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). *Just as El Elyon, the Most High, made him*. The way you look, the spiritual gifts that you have (Romans 11:29), the talents you are developing to execute those gifts...your personality, your skills, your ability to love and to give to others...how much do *you* believe in them? If you don't, how can you expect someone else to? *Why* would you expect someone else to? An ex once told me that people come into our lives to *confirm* more so than *reveal*. That's pretty much the best thing he did for me in that entire relationship. All things work together (Romans 8:28).


#8: Are You Trustworthy?

When someone is trustworthy, it means that they are *deserving* of trust and confidence. It means that they are dependable and reliable. Something that I've been working on in my own life is not taking on more things until I do the things that are already on my plate *in excellence*. I'd rather have a good credit score than another book out. Sometimes, people take on new endeavors to distract them from the obligations at hand. Being a popular person with a total sham of a personal life? Is that someone that your future husband would find to be a blessed addition to his life? Probably not.

On a relational level, there is something really beautiful about how Jonathan said that he loved David as *his own soul*; that a covenant came as the result of that (I Samuel 18:1-3). Your mate should be able to trust you because you love him like you love yourself. You can *say* that you love you all you want. *Your choices are what really make that determination*. Can you be *trusted* to make wise decisions? Can you be *trusted* to responsibly and assertively prioritize? Can you be *trusted* to put God first in *all* things? These are the signs of a person worthy of entrusting one's heart with.


#9: Do You Know What You Want Out of Life?

One day, you're a writer. The next day, you're a dancer. One day, you're called to ministry. The next day, the CEO of a company. One day, you want to live overseas. The next day, you want to move back home.

Sometimes lines from movies will just pop into my head. As I was typing those things out, I heard Ryan Gosling's character in "The Notebook" break in and ask (with just as much enthusiasm), "What do you want?!?" (LOL)

Yeah. What *do you* want?

Some people like to romanticize. Me? I used to be in love with love (well, it was more like sex with manners-LOL), but not really was I caught up in being (or being with) a romantic. Good thing too being that the word carries with it synonyms like "fantasy", "fiction", "charm" (Proverbs 31:30), "HAZARD" and "RISK".

I'm bringing this all up to say that some people spend more time *romanticizing* about their lives than actually *living it*. And yes, with that, comes loads (upon loads) of potential hazards and risks. If you think you might fit this bill, there's a great book out entitled, "The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery". One great point within it is that a life without God (and godly direction-Proverbs 3:4-6) is a life that is filled with illusion (and is delusional). Psalm 34:9(NKJV) "Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him." There is *no want* to those who *respect the Lord* because when you honor what he wants for you, you trust him to withhold *no good thing* from you (Psalm 84:11). Another cool read? "Conversations on Purpose for Women: 10 Appointments That Will Help You Discover God's Plan for Your Life". "Pathway to Purpose: Connecting Your To-Do List, Your Passions and God's Purposes for Your Life" (by the same author, Katie Brazelton) is a good find as well. You have *no idea* how unhappy a lot of wives are *now* because they *thought* they knew what the wanted on their wedding day, but really...didn't. 


#10: Do You Have Peace of Mind About the Kind of Person That You Are?

One of the best ways to have peace of mind is to do *just as* Paul was inspired (2 Timothy 3:16-17) to recommend: "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-8) When anxiety, distress, worry, fear (2 Timothy 1:7), uneasiness of mind...even *tense desire* and *eagerness* come, we have to remember that if we don't stay on top of that, via an *active prayer life* (I Thessalonians 5:17), grave consequences can occur: 

"Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad."---Proverbs 12:25(NKJV)

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life."---Proverbs 13:12(NKJV)

Hope does not disappoint (Romans 5:5) has been a recurring theme with these blogs. You know what just made me smile in reading Proverbs 13:12, though? Psalm 37:4(NKJV) tells us, "Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart." A lot of times when *we* make life selections on our own, due to our anxiety or what *appears to be hope deferred*, we end up getting caught up in "Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil" (Genesis 2:15-17) matters (or is it traps?). But when we allow Adonai, the Giver of Life, to *bring us to our desires*, it is like partaking of the Tree of Life again. It is an *eternal* blessing and experience (Genesis 3:22) because, "I know that whatever God does will last forever; there is nothing to add or subtract from it; and God has done it so that people will fear him." (Ecclesiastes 3:14-NKJV)

Christ knew *exactly* what he was saying when he told us to love our neighbors *as ourselves*.

Love Adonai. LOVE YOURSELF. And *then* seek to love someone else.

It's a great formula for relational success. Every single time.

Lech Lecha, Ladies!

SRW

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