Sunday, March 31, 2013

An Ounce of Prevention: "8 Signs That You're Codependent"

http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lr5ci4SCAD1r2rdswo1_500.jpg 

This morning...

I was having a conversation with a young woman who was told by one of her accountability partners that she is *severely codependent*. As we were walking through some of the signs of being in a codependent relationship, I felt that it was important to share some of the signs on here too:

A codependent individual is hyper-vigilant, like a bear protecting its cub. She may also exhibit compulsive behaviors — which can be sexual or come in the form of excessive work, exercise, eating, spending money, anorexia, or nicotine addiction.

Here are eight signs of codependency:


Having difficulty making decisions in a relationship

Having difficulty identifying your own feelings

Having difficulty communicating in a relationship

Valuing the approval of others more that valuing yourself

Lacking trust in yourself and having poor self-esteem

Having fears of abandonment or an obsessive need for approval

Having an unhealthy dependence on relationships, even at your own cost

Having an exaggerated sense of responsibility for the actions of others

If you seek out or maintain — even feed off of — relationships that are not fulfilling or healthy, you could be codependent. But according to Wegscheider-Cruse, once codependency is identified, it can be successfully nipped in the bud — and the individual can recover.

If you *seek* or *maintain* relationships that are not fulfilling or healthy, that is a telling sign of being codependent. That said, two great reads that address these kinds of issues well are Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself (Melody Beattie) and Living Successfully with Screw-Up People (Elizabeth B. Brown). I recommend that second one because honestly, a lot of people are codependent due to some deep-rooted abuse and low self-esteem issues that cause them to attract individuals into their space with the same challenges. The quicker you can get codependency uprooted from your life, the more you can trust who you choose to be in long term relationships with.

tmm,

SRW


Friday, March 29, 2013

BOOK RECOMMENDATION: "Marry Me! Relationships, Falling in Love & Marrying the Right One"

 Picture
A couple of years ago...

A writer contacted me asking if she could use something that I wrote for her book. This week, I got an email that her "book baby" has been born and I wanted to make sure to put it on y'all's radar. I looked through some of the snippets that are featured on Denise's website and I liked this one especially...because it's so...practical:

"Ladies, your challenge is to make sure you don’t 'fall in love' before you find out you actually do not like the man you’ve been seeing.  Attachments can form from the sheer dint of time you spend with someone.  That makes it very, very hard to distinguish between a 'habit attachment' (when you’re used to the person being around and feel so uneasy when they’re not) and genuine love."

Very practical, indeed. The reality check (Ecclesiastes 7:18-Message) that a lot of us can use is making sure we know the difference between having an attachment and making a real, true and lasting spiritual connection.

You can order to book on her site. Pick one up for yourself or cop one for a friend.

tmm,

SRW


Thursday, March 28, 2013

"On Fire": QUOTE OF THE DAY

http://24.media.tumblr.com/e2f26e83efbe3bf84dc6406634bfce5e/tumblr_mf33lfc1yn1qf93kro1_500.jpg 
 
So...

I was reading an article this evening and I really dug one of the points in it because I think most of us have been in a relationship (or is it situation?) where we really were healthier before being in it and yet... (sigh) we remain. More and more I see why "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Exodus 20:3-KJV) is the First Commandment:

"Second, marry someone who brings out the best in you. Lots of people marry someone because they are in awe of them. It’s almost a case of idol worship. Marriage should not be about one person completely serving the other at the expense of him or herself; it should be about you both becoming who you were meant to be. Don’t fall into this trap of putting your beloved up on a pedestal and marrying because 'I’m just so amazed that someone so wonderful could be interested in little ‘ole me!'. That’s not a recipe for a good marriage. That’s a recipe for a lonely marriage."

tmm,

SRW

           

"On Fire": 7 Signs That You Truly Love Yourself

http://www.lovingyourselfuniversity.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Gift.jpg 


"For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'"---Galatians 5:14(NKJV)


Do you sense a bit of a theme right now?

Yeah...it seems that self-love is where the Spirit (John 4:24) has us in this season. That's a part of the reason why the giveaway (which is right under this message) is still up. I'm going to pull it down..."later eventually". There are women who have contacted me to receive one of the necklaces, but honestly, I know there are more who have not had a healthy relationship with a man before and so I'll remove it (and stop purchasing these necklaces) once I feel a...release to do so.

That said, after reading an excerpt of an interview with R&B singer Fantasia earlier this week, I was prompted to pen this checklist. As they were asking her questions regarding her past relationship---one that, if you have followed her journey at all, you know was *severely compromised*---she said something that I found to be quite mature and very healthy: "If I don't love myself, then I can't be in a relationship."

IF I DON'T LOVE MYSELF, THEN I CAN'T BE IN A RELATIONSHIP.

Do you know how much drama could be spared from broken hearts and illicit affairs to STDs and unplanned (and oftentimes unwanted) pregnancies if ALL WOMEN (shoot, all people for that matter) applied that simple "formula" to their lives? So many people go into relationships *needy* for someone to love them, wanting someone else to do what they themselves are ill-equipped to do, when the reality (Ecclesiastes 7:18-Message) is that all solid relationships begin with a deep and profound love for God (and according to the Word, which is God, if you love him you are going to *keep his commandments*---John 15:10, John 1:1) *and then* that you love your neighbor (friend, companion) *as you love yourself* (Mark 12:30-31). In other words, if your love for another is not a reflection of the love that you have God and then for yourself, not only are you are being disobedient to your Creator, but you're actually attempting to build a relationship on a very unhealthy foundation.

LOVE FOR GOD, SELF *AND THEN* OTHERS IS THE HEALTHY FOUNDATION FOR A RELATIONSHIP.

So, in the effort to prevent more casualties of women settling for less than they deserve or what God desires for them to have (and not necessarily in that order-James1:14-17), the Holy Spirit and I (Luke 12:12) have created a list consisting of seven signs that you truly do love yourself:

1) God is a top priority. A part of the reason why Exodus 20:3 and I Corinthians 10:14 tells us to leave idolatry alone is because...well, Romans 1 tells us why. When we are in a place where anyone or thing means more to us than God does (and if we're in relationships that compromise God's standards, then it is indeed an idol for us), really strange things tend to happen. We give our hearts and bodies prematurely (I Corinthians 6:16-20-Message). We talk ourselves out of blaring warning signs. We ignore wise counsel and take on that "It's me and him against the world" mentality (Proverbs 10:12). We exchange sleep overs with "him" for intimate time with God (Psalm 46:5). In a nutshell, we find our flesh running the relationship rather than the Spirit  (Galatians 5:16-17) and one of the biggest dangers with that is the flesh has no healthy concept of love. It is extremely lust-driven and lust is rooted in selfishness and manipulation---in saying and doing *whatever needs to be said and done in order to get what it wants*. Even if it means acting like you're in a "love relationship" when really all you're in is a needy situation. When God is your top priority, he gives you a heads up on your dead-end relationship before you even start it.

2) You do not talk yourself out of your standards. One of my favorite quotes of all time is one that I believe I've shared on here before: "Never grow a wishbone where your backbone ought to be." You know, there are a lot of people who will say that you shouldn't have a list of what you want in a man because God may have something else in mind. Well...yes and no. Here's the Spirit-led resolve that I've come to. If your list lines up with God's standards then *you had better keep that list in mind* because it can keep you out of *so much foolishness*. We all know that fornication and adultery brings forth judgment (Hebrews 13:4, I Corinthians 6:9-10) and so if you're having sex in your relationship, you have talked yourself out of what should be a standard for you. The Word says that we are to worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24) and so if you're in a relationship with someone who doesn't *worship God*, you have talked yourself out of a standard that you should have for you. Philippians 2:3 tells us not to do anything out of selfishness and I Corinthians 13:5(NCV) tells us that "Love is not selfish" and so if you are in a relationship where the guy always puts what he wants (especially if it's at your spiritual expense) over what you need, you have talked yourself out of a standard that you have set for you. This list can go on and on, but the point is this: If you are in a relationship and you don't have peace about something that is going on within it, *spend some time in the Word* to see what it says. Shoot, just a week spent in Ecclesiastes and Proverbs alone can be *quite enlightening for a sistah*. It's a *wealth* of common sense. As a matter of fact, I so dig how the Message Version of Proverbs 18:12-21 starts off with "I am Lady Wisdom, and I live next to Sanity; Knowledge and Discretion live just down the street." Right. Wisdom and sanity walk hand in hand. Which brings me to the next point.

3) You walk, daily, with three of the gifts that God has given you: power, love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Oh, and you also don't walk in what he didn't give you: fear. So many women that I talk to have one main thing as the motivating factor in so much that they do: *fear*. They are in the relationship that they're in because they *fear* they will be alone. They work in the career path that they do because they *fear* that they can't live out their dreams. They don't step out and try some new things because they *fear* what everyone else is going to think. God didn't give you a reason to fear. As a matter of fact, I John 4:18 tells us that fear involves torment and that perfect love (which would be God) casts fear out. If you *really believe* (Mark 9:23) that, then you will embrace that God gave you power (the ability to do or act), love (I Corinthians 13:4-8) and a sound (healthy, secure and competent) mind. If you sense that you're lacking in any of these areas---especially the "sound" mind part---there is nothing wrong with seeking some counsel on that. No relationship is healthy when both people are not operating from a "2 Timothy 1:7" place and head and heart space.

4) You watch your mouth. OK, this might seem like I'm referencing gossip, however, I'm sure most of us know that doing that is...problematic (Proverbs 18:21). Actually, I'm going a bit deeper. There is nothing worse than "humble pride". You know the kind: people who *think* they are humble yet they are actually some of the most arrogant and manipulative people around. There is not nearly enough time to break this down but as it relates to their particular point, here's my point. Do you know someone who is given a complement and they respond with some kind of self-deprecating statement? Like you might say "Oh, you look so cute today" and they come back with "I'm so fat. I need to lose weight." And then you say "No you don't, you look great" and then they say "I really need to do something with my hair." Before you notice, you've been talking to them for 10 minutes about how great they are and you haven't even noticed that they "baited you in" to keep flattering them. And not only that, but they haven't even found it in them to affirm you at all. A person who loves themselves one, knows how to receive a compliment (a simple "thank you" will suffice). A person who loves themselves knows that they were fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) AND individually crafted (Psalm 33:15) and not by them, but by God who is perfect in all of his ways (Deuteronomy 32:4). Therefore, they know that it is a pure insult to speak down about themselves because it's basically like telling God "When you made me, you messed up a bit over here." I don't know about you, but to me, it doesn't get any more arrogant than that.

5) You can go out by yourself. Women who always need to be around someone are the very individuals who have the full potential for getting on their husband's nerves someday. Why? Because there's a pretty good chance that they will always want to be up under them. My Baba (my mother's husband) said something that was pretty on point a few days ago: "Shellie, when a man is home all of the time, he is either depressed or has nothing to do. We are made to go out and provide. We need the time and space in order to do it." I ran that by another husband in my life and as he nodded his head up and down in agreement as he casually said, "A lot of husbands in the Bible were gone a lot. That's probably why the divorce rate was lower." (LOL) Here's the main point, though. If you can't go to the mall, movies or dinner alone now, that is an indication that somewhere within you, there is a hesitancy to be alone and enjoy your own space and solitude and here's the thing about *that*: Even in a marriage, there are going to be times when you'll need to be by yourself and OK with what---when your husband may be out of town on business (or you're out of town on business) or there's a family emergency and one of you has to tend to it or your husband wants to take a trip with some of his friends. If you are not someone who enjoys your own company *now*, you'll be the main gal who is texting and calling him all day looking for him to "keep you company" and that can make you a really...draining person to be around. I have many spiritual brothers in my world who share a lot of things with me in confidence about their relationships and one thing that comes up a lot is "I wish she would get a life of her own and quit always trying to do everything that I do all of the time." It's not just "boyfriends" who say this, either. A woman who can spend time alone with herself now and enjoys doing so, has a pretty big chance of not being this kind of woman who men complain about.

6) You know your own "love languages" *and* you personally tend to them on a regular basis. If you don't know what your top two love languages are, you can take a test here. For me, they are Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch. I don't wait for someone to "love me in this way". I do these things even now. I'm pretty sure that you've noticed that I am a "quote hound" and I have quotes posted up all over my home (and on T-shirts and I keep cards that people dear to me send). As far as physical touch (um, yeah-LOL), I tend to make it a point to pamper myself. I give myself facials and pedicures. I'm getting back into enjoying bubble baths. Tending to my natural hair is a pleasure as I experiment with different products. I make it a point to take myself out to get lip glosses and "smell goods". My bed sheets feel luxurious. Bottom line, I honor my skin by making sure that what touches it honors it too. If your love language is Acts of Service, what do you do for yourself on a daily/weekly/monthly basis? If it's Quality Time, do you have quiet time set aside to watch a movie or read a book? If it's Gifts...shoot, there's absolutely nothing wrong with *budgeting out* money to purchase a new dress or some cute pumps. A woman who loves herself is fluent in her love languages as a single woman so that she can properly "translate" to a man how she feels most (and best) loved once she's in a relationship with him.

7) You are willing to wait on what's *best* rather than what's "good enough". It's a toxic epidemic, how many people I counsel who are in the relational ruts that they are simply because they got into a relationship that they rationalized was "good enough". I mean, I've said it before. The Woman in the Garden of Eden saw the fruit at the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil to be "good" (Genesis 3:6-7) and we all know how that played out (it killed her-Romans 6:23). Take it from someone who is just starting to really get some "good marks" in this life class. When you really embrace that "Love is patient", when you really trust that what God does can't be added or taken away (Ecclesiastes 3:14), when you truly believe that God can do exceedingly above all that you could ask or think (Ephesians 3:20-21), then you find yourself loving God, yourself *and* "him" enough to WAIT until the relationship that God has for you is best and right. BEST. AND. RIGHT. And sometimes, it requires quite a bit of time for everything to come together beautifully (Ecclesiastes 3:11). However, when you learn to embrace that you're made up of spirit *and then* flesh (I Corinthians 2:13-15), then you start to embrace life in "spirit time" and so days, weeks and months (flesh time-2 Peter 3:8) don't matter quite as much. You start to see things in spirit time: when things are in God's will (I John 5:14-15). When things will help to fulfill your purpose (Psalm 20:4). When it will make God as happy as it makes you. As I've come to love myself more, I get that I really am a child of the Most High (Psalm 82:6) and a member of the royal priesthood (I Peter 2:9) and that the right man will see me as a "special pearl" in which he is willing to pay a high price (the "tag" is between him and God) in order to have me as his *lifesaver* (Genesis 2:18). And until he does, "single" is exactly what I need to be. However, when you *really love yourself*, that's not a concession prize...it's simply more time to enjoy this season.

So with all of this said, if you see that you have some more self-loving to do, hit a sistah up (missnosipho@gmail.com) and I'll place an order for some more necklaces.

Hmph. Better to have a "love and beloved" necklace as a single woman than a wedding ring that feels more like a heavy weight than a pretty piece of jewelry as a wife.

tmm,

SRW

Saturday, March 23, 2013

"On Fire": The "Love and Be.Loved." GIVEAWAY

 http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lqgnktidOR1qj09jho1_500.jpg



"My beloved put his hand by the latch of the door, and my heart yearned for him."---Song of Solomon 5:4(NKJV)


Yes...yes.

There seems to be all kinds of giveaways all up and through here right now (FYI: if you scroll down to look, you won't find most of them. I tend to pull them off once I have enough participants). This morning is no different and again, the invitation goes out to a *very special kind of woman*.

I make it no secret that the Spirit (John 4:24) and I slow drag from time to time (LOL). Today, it was to a song by a group that I really do miss being on the airwaves because not only are they truly gifted but they also don't violate me with their lyrics. And who would that be? Look right below:


Cause if it's love you seek
I'll give you all the love you need
Just take my hand and I'll lead the way
If you need someone to love

I'll give you love
More than you've ever known
So much love
Love you can call your own
My heart and soul, I'll give to you
I'll be dedicated
I know that we can make it, baby
 
Someone to love
Someone to hold
Someone to kiss
With you, I want to grow old

And why am I so confident in saying that I'm spending time with the Spirit when I'm listening to these kinds of love songs? It's because I'm quite clear on the fact that *this kind of love* ONLY comes from the Maker---of me and my beloved. It reminds me that God has a standard of covenant love (Malachi 2:14) that he wants me to set for my life (Genesis 2:18-25) and that to settle for less is...not of him (James 1:17).

So here's the deal: In my time with him early this morning (Psalm 46:5), the Spirit brought back to my remembrance a necklace that I saw a couple of weeks ago that caught my attention mostly due to the message that was on it:

https://img0.etsystatic.com/001/0/6426665/il_fullxfull.392607204_l3pu.jpg


Something that the Spirit and I were discussing is that there are women who follow this blog who have never really been loved, who want to be loved and also desire to be joined to their beloved. Yet, the way that they have gone about having a "loving relationship" has been completely wrong.

Just yesterday, I was talking to a favorite wife of mine (Hey Rachel!) and we were discussing the fact that while it is not my personal style, I have always enjoyed how she's so avant garde while remaining very modest. Her sense of fashion is cute enough to me. Something that she said in response really stuck out: "It has never been my desire to help a man fall based on how I look. And I never want to give my husband any reason not to trust me." THAT is the sign of not only a spiritually mature woman (Hebrews 5:12-14) but also someone who is deeply loved and in love with her beloved. She doesn't care about attracting *a man*; she wants to please her *beloved* and him alone. I honor that.

And why am I bringing it up as it relates to this particular message? It's because the Spirit said something to me that I found to be quite insightful (Psalm 18:28):

"Shellie, so many of my daughters want a man to love them, but not one of my sons---not one of the guys who serves me above all others. When people enter the kind of covenants that *I put together*, it creates members of the *royal priesthood*. Therefore, more of you need to do just what my Son said: love me with your all and then love you *and then* your neighbor (your friend and companion). If you want to be loved, you need to learn more about having love for me and about self love. A man is not going to teach you that. Only I can and until you master how to love me and love you, I'm not going to put you or 'him' through the utter torment of dealing with your low self-worth, fear and drama. Covenant represents agreement; not succumbing to spiritual immaturity, carnal brokenness and emotional whims. One of the main things that two healthy people, in marital covenant, are to agree upon is that they both are to love me and then one another in a way that instills faith, trust, growth, fruitfulness and great purpose. Some women love me and themselves so poorly that they don't realize that they are not yearning for a husband; they are yearning to know what real and true love is. I have to show them *that* first...and then their beloved will manifest, in human form, what they will already know in the spiritual. He will be a confirmation rather than a revelation of what it means to have a divine love experience." (Matthew 19:6, I Peter 2:9, Mark 12:30-31, Proverbs 21:9&19, I John 4:18, I Corinthians 14:33)

WHEW!!!

And so, those necklaces up top? That is what I'm going to give away. I'm going to go with the number "5" because it biblically symbolizes "grace"...the divine favor and I sense that many of you are needing *just that* in this season.

There's also a reason why I went with brass (because I also saw some nickel ones as well). Research is *so my thing* and I read that because brass is copper and tin put together, it biblically symbolizes the merging of divinity and humanity. For the women who receive these necklaces, I am discerning (Proverbs 2) that they will enter a *new and extreme season* of "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh." (Ezekiel 36:26-NKJV)

A NEW HEART AND A NEW SPIRIT THAT WILL PROVIDE YOU WITH A *NEW UNDERSTANDING* OF WHAT IT MEANS TO LOVE, BE.LOVED AND BE JOINED TO YOUR BELOVED.

So, if you're a woman who knows that you've never been loved right (according to God's standards) or well (good and healthy) in a romantic relationship, shoot me an email to missnosipho@gmail.com and share with me why you feel you have settled and if you think that you know what *real love* is. I'll send you one of these brass necklaces and a little message too.

It's a new season.

Shift into it.

tmm,

SRW

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

An Ounce of Prevention: "18 Things Every Christian Woman Should Know About Christian Men"

http://www.searchquotes.com/sof/images/picture_quotes/31525_20121005_141228_cute_missing_you_quotes_13.jpg

While doing some perusing...

I happened upon (Proverbs 16:33-AMP) this gem...

"18 Things Every Christian Woman Should Know About Christian Men":

I am going to take a little liberty and speak for authentic Christian men around world. If you are a single female, here is what you should know about some of the things that go on in the mind of authentic Christian men as it relates to you. (If you are a married woman, some of these things may help you out too)

1. We love God even though we may not always show it the same manner that you do.

2. We are not afraid of marriage.

3. We are not perfect just because we love God. Learn to deal with our imperfections. We learn to deal with yours. 

4. A positive and happy woman will always be more attractive than a negative and angry one.

5. What goes on between us should stay between us. Your girlfriend and/or family don't need to know everything.

6. Gossip is unattractive.

7. Selfishness is really unattractive.

8. Less clothing does not make you more attractive. We want to see your breasts, but not until we put a ring on your finger.

9. Please go easy on the makeup or learn to apply it properly. We are looking to marry a woman not a clown. 

10. Don't be quick to be jealous of our relationships with our mothers. How we treat her will be a good indication of how we will treat you.

11. Although SOME of us are prophets, NONE of us have the ability to read minds. If something is on your mind please say so. Clues are for Sherlock Holmes.

12. Authentic Christian men genuinely like to help other people. That does not me we care any less about you.

13. We are not like the other people who have hurt you in the past.

14. We aren't as obsessed with your weight as your are.

15. If we comment about exercise or eating habits it is because we care about your health. We want you to be around to spend time with us.

16. The fact that you have children is not stopping us from getting to know you.

17. Whatever we like before marriage (food, sports, video games, etc), we will continue to like after marriage.

18. There are constructive ways to ask us to do things, to informs us and to correct us. Nagging is not one of those ways.

"On Fire": "Let Me Hear Your Voice." (SOS 8:13)

http://www.adorabletab.com/gallery/quotes/adorable-i-love-hearing-your-voice-quotes-lovely-cups-couple-heart.jpg


"You who live in the gardens, my friends are listening for your voice; let me hear it."---Song of Solomon 8:13(NCV)


I just love the Most High (Genesis 14:19)...

Only he knew that this "Song of Solomon" series would end (or at least pause for a while-LOL) on today. TODAY. In America, a day that marks the last day of winter in preparation for tomorrow---the first day of spring.

One definition of spring is "to come into being by growth, as from a seed or germ, bulb, root, etc.; grow, as plants" and that would definitely speak to the springtime season. Oh, but there are other definitions that I am led (Luke 12:12) to share as well. Spring is also defined as "to move or cause to move suddenly upwards or forwards in a single motion "; "to release or be released from a forced position by elastic force" (some of y'all need to take that metaphorically); "to leap or jump over"; "to happen or cause to happen unexpectedly"; "to develop or originate"; "to be descended"; "to come into being or appear suddenly" and "to start or rise suddenly from cover".

Yes, when it comes to physical time and the atmosphere around us, we are approaching spring; months within the year that things will come into being by growth. Oh, but in the spirit realm, a different kind of "spring" will manifest itself for so many women. They will suddenly *move forward* (so many people are stagnant right now). They will *be released from their position*. They will *jump over* certain obstacles (for some, that obstacle will be their own pride and ego). They will notice that some things will *happen unexpectedly*. They will *develop* and *originate* some new ideas (at the cost of *totally relinquishing some of the old ones*-Isaiah 43:19). They will be *descended* (one definition of that word is "to go from generals to particulars"). They will have some things (and people) *come into being* and/or *appear suddenly*. They will *start to rise SUDDENLY from cover*.

And what I adore, what excites me about all of that, is that it connects so well with the last thing that the Shulamite woman's beloved said to her in the Book of the Song of Solomon. He told her that although she lived in the gardens, although she was in "a fertile or delightful spot or region", although some of his friends could hear her voice, he wanted to hear it for himself.

And here's the thing about that. Synonyms for voice aren't just "cry" or "call" or "tongue" or "speech". Other synonyms include "reveal" and "disclose".

For the past several weeks, I have had an urgency in me to get a lot of loose ends tied up as it relates to things that I have promised some of you who have followed this blog and sent in your testimonies and prayer requests (as it relates to my giveaways). I can't explain it, but I am aware that some of you are about to "suddenly shift" into your own springtime and with that, some will hear their own beloved say "Reveal yourself to me", "Disclose who you really are"..."Let me hear your voice." Some men's hearts are awakening (Genesis 2:18-25) and when it comes to their desire for their own beloved, they are voice-activated for only one woman. They simply can't hear anyone else (or anyone else anymore).

Yet, it's not going to be a *physical voice* that resonates. It will be a "still small voice" that is defined as being their *conscience* that will see love, see relationships and see *the purpose of covenant* in a totally different light (Psalm 18:28).

I just read a quote this morning by Rumi that said "Raise your words not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers not thunder." There are so many women who don't know how to let their voice be *properly* heard. They're a "clanging cymbal" (I Corinthians 13:1). They're demanding. They're a nag. That is not the kind of voice that the Shulamite's beloved was asking to hear and now that I've read some of the other definitions of "voice", I get even more why Max Lucado once said that a woman should be so close to God that a man, *her man*, has to go to God in order to "find" her.

A lot of women spend time worrying (or is it panicking?-Matthew 6:25-34) about "not having a man" (Philippians 4:6-7) and that causes their voice to not be properly heard. It's the prayers of a righteous person that has power (James 5:16). If you want a godly man to hear you, you need to pray for him. The Holy Spirit knows how to make your prayers presentable to the Most High (Romans 8:26-27) and the Most High knows how to "translate" them into a "language" that *your husband* (not "a man" but YOUR HUSBAND) can understand. God nor a man wants to hear a woman complaining (Philippians 2:14), oh but when a woman prays for her beloved, when she is strong enough in her spiritual growth to know that spirits connect way before bodies do (I Corinthians 6:16-20-Message), that moves a man...*the right man* to be alert when she is brought to him. When she is presented (Genesis 2:23).

Just this morning, I read an article entitled "18 Things Every Christian Woman Should Know About Christian Men" and there are some really good points on the list. So much, in fact, that I will share them following this message. For now, the two that caught my attention are "A positive and happy woman will always be more attractive than a negative and angry one" and "Selfishness is really unattractive". There are very few women who tell me that they want to get married for the real reason why a man needs a wife and that is to help and serve him (Genesis 2:18). These women's statements are almost always filled with "I want" and "I feel" and "I am" statements. The New Century Version of I Corinthians 13:5 tells us that "Love is not selfish." This means that love---real, godly and lasting love---is not "devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one's own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others". That said, how can you, right now, as the woman that you are, *benefit* your husband rather than thinking of all of the things that you want him to do *for you*?

Honestly, there are a lot of us who should be grateful that God's timing is *his business* (Acts 1:7-Message) and not ours because the fact that we are so self-consumed with what we want, the fact that we do whine and complain so much, that is a clear indication that we're not ready for our voices to be heard by our husbands. Again, if we were, we'd be doing more praying...more than anything. Just because we are not yet joined to our covenant partner (yet-Ecclesiastes 3:11), that doesn't mean that he doesn't need our help and going to the Father on his behalf  (I John 5:14-15) is the best way that we can help him right now. Period.

So, now that we see even more what covenant love is supposed to look like, now that we are entering into a new season, when it comes to being brought closer to your beloved, "Let him hear your voice" through your prayers for his mind, his body and his spirit.

Then watch what happens...

After all, it's a time for renewal.

A time for spring.

A time to plant new seeds of love.

tmm,

SRW

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

"On Fire": "Love Is as Strong as Death." (SOS 8:6-7)

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_Feukw-lGZRI/TJsM0CAGGgI/AAAAAAAAAQw/hPAXXssfMpw/s1600/song+of+solomon.jpg


"I woke you under the apple tree where you were born; there your mother gave birth to you. Put me like a seal on your heart, like a seal on your arm. Love is as strong as death; jealousy is as strong as the grave. Love bursts into flames and burns like a hot fire. Even much water cannot put out the flame of love; floods cannot drown love. If a man offered everything in his house for love, people would totally reject it."---Song of Solomon 8:6-7(NCV)


Hmph.

"Love is as strong as death." And perhaps, that is a big part of the reason why brides and grooms stand at the altar, say their vows (Ecclesiastes 5:1-7, Matthew 19:6) and then end them by saying "Til death do us part." 

It makes me think of something that Paul was divinely inspired (2 Timothy 3:16-17) to write in Romans 8:38-39(NKJV): "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Since *NOTHING* separates us from the love of God then *NOTHING* should separate us from godly love either. In other words, if the love is real, it is meant and built to last. This is a part of the reason why Ecclesiastes 4:11-12(NKJV) tells us "Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him and a threefold cord is not quickly broken."

Many of you know that I pen weekly devotionals (more than once a week-LOL) and they tend to run in themes. I knew that when the Spirit (John 4:24) inspired me to change the layout and that it needed to have the statement "Love Changes Everything" on it, that there was going to be a big and significant shift in how I saw love to be. Of all of the lies that Satan, *the Liar* (John 8:44) has told me, I believe that the greatest one has been that love is not about making *extreme sacrifices* for the sake of this life and the afterlife. You simply cannot read verses like "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16-NKJV) and then turn around and allow the media, the world, the place that is full of lust and pride (I John 2:16) to *lie to you* about how love is supposed to be, how love is supposed to act and that there is a "time limit" on it. Love is forever.

Shoot, I was just watching a commercial for The Client List a few days ago and it said something to the effect of "Love is back". Um, in the trailer, it showed that the main character is a prostitute and not only that but married while sleeping with her husband's brother. Love is back...*where*? Not on that show (LOL). It's sad (and a bit "scary") that we simply use "love" way too loosely without really "counting the cost" (Luke 14:25-33) of what it means to *really and truly* love someone; especially if you are going to *vow before God* that you will do it.

The Shulamite woman's beloved may have been impassioned in his declaration, but that makes it no less true or relevant. Love indeed is as strong as death and actually, since "God is love" (I John 4:8&16), it is *that much stronger*. God is everlasting. This means that love is too (Revelation 21:6).

And so, being that this is the next to the last "Song of Solomon installment", I LOVE that it is winding up in the way that it is. This man said that he loved the Shulamite woman so much that she could put him like a seal on her heart and on her arm. A seal is "an embossed emblem, figure, symbol, word, letter, etc., used as attestation or evidence of authenticity". And, how *awesome is that?* This man said that his patience, his kindness, his endurance (I Corinthians 13:4-8) came with evidence of authenticity. When something is authentic, it is not only "genuine" but "supported by unquestionable evidence".

PLEASE CATCH THAT LADIES...

Love, real love---godly love, God-ordained love (which means the acceptance of being brought to the man he has for you rather than the one that you want for yourself-Genesis 2:23) is rooted in something that is supported by *unquestionable evidence*. Just like you don't have to "question" God's love for you, the man that he has in store to be your "Ish" (Hebrew for "man" and "husband" simultaneously), you will not have to wonder if he loves you either. There will be *unquestionable evidence*. Yes, there will be proof. There will be things that will establish it to be true. There will be real and significant *facts*.

This is pivotal because it prevents us from making things up in our minds that simply aren't rooted and grounded in reality (Ecclesiastes 7:18-Message). Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that the heart is deceitful, wickedly so, and so these verses in Song of Solomon beckon us to not look for what "we want to see" but what the *facts* are. First, what the facts are about godly love (as the Love Chapter clearly outlines for us), then what the facts are about God's expectations of marriage (Genesis 2:24-25, Malachi 2:15, Matthew 19:1-12-Message, I Corinthians 7:1-16, Ephesians 5:21-33, I Peter 3:1-7) *and then* what the facts are about how ready we are to take on such a powerful relationship and if the "object of our affection" feels the same way. If a man loves you, if he is God's best for you, there will be *unquestionable evidence* sent by God and then the man to support that. There will be not just "feelings" but *actually facts*.

And when that happens, love will be like a fire. Passion? Sure. But I discern (Proverbs 2) that it's also a love that is a lot like a refiner's fire (Malachi 3:2). When something seeks to refine, it *purifies*. If you are in a relationship where you are not be purified, you are not in a relationship that is God's best for your life. It is good and perfect gifts that come from the Most High (Genesis 14:19, James 1:17) and marital covenant is indeed...*a gift*.

When we love God enough to be patient enough to allow him to make us whole and complete (James 1:4), when we love God enough to be patient enough to allow him to do the same for our beloveds, then we are able to encounter the human form of God's love. A love that's flame cannot be put out because as Jeremiah 31:3 tells us "LOVE IS EVERLASTING". God doesn't fall "in and out" of love with us and when love is rooted in truth, biblical truth, we do not "fall out of love" with who God has brought us to love either. It's impossible for love to be seasonal. Again, *love is forever*.

You see how "he" said that floods could not even drown out his love? No matter what trial came their way, their love could withstand it. I LOVE that too.

A lot of us have settled. Most of us have, actually and honestly, we can't read things like this and not THANK GOD that we didn't end up with some of the people who *we thought* would be God's best for us.

You deserve to have a love that is strong as death.

Until death parts you from that person.

*Wait for it*: "We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy." (Romans 8:25--Message)

tmm,

SRW

Sunday, March 10, 2013

"On Fire": 10 Signs That You Have a Dating Pattern (That You Need to Break)

http://cdnimg.visualizeus.com/thumbs/1d/01/black,,,white,creative,quotes,typography,inspiration,poster-1d0182af5e7406d9ffc5ce779da7d511_h.jpg 

“What we call chaos is just patterns we haven’t recognized. What we call random is just patterns we can't decipher.”---Chuck Palahniuk

OK...

So recently, I was having a conversation with a woman on a plane. She was going on and on about how crazy men are and how they don't see how wonderful she is. We all have growing to do and two things I am (still) working on in this season in my life is 1) allowing people to finish their sentences (even when they are run-on sentences-LOL) because when you interrupt individuals it's basically like saying "Actually, what I have to say is so much more important than what you are saying" and "Love is not rude" (I Corinthians 13:5-NCV) and 2) I am learning more and more that a lot of times people don't want help finding resolves. They simply want to be coddled through their dramas and there are a myriad of ways to "cast pearls" (Matthew 7:6). In other words, the Bible says that those who heed counsel are wise (Proverbs 12:15) but you tend to appreciate it more when you *seek it out* (Matthew 7:7-8) rather than when it's forced upon you.

So, for about 20 minutes, I just let her...vent. 

Finally, I asked the simple question that oh so many of us do not want to hear: "So, have *you* done anything wrong?" She looked at me with a blank expression on her face for a moment and then proceeded to go into a new rant, er vent (LOL) about the fact that her "wrong" consists of being too good for men who don't really appreciate her. Uh-huh. Well, I'll speak for my own life's journey and say "Growth happens a lot quicker when you take personal accountability rather than placing so much blame on others."

So in the honor of time springing forward this weekend, the Spirit (John 4:24, John 14:26-AMP) and I spent some time this evening on patterns. More specifically on this definition of the word: "a combination of qualities, acts, tendencies, etc., forming a consistent or characteristic arrangement". Why? Well, since we are preparing to enter into a season of renewal (springtime), the hope (Romans 5:5) is that many of us can approach our relationships in a new and *far more productive* kind of way. 

You know what they say: "To get what you've always had, do what you've always done." Do you see all of the "you create your own pattern" insights in that sentence?

Let's hit it...

10 Signs That You Have a Dating Pattern (That You Need to Break)

1) You don't pray for wisdom about if it's the right time or season to be in a relationship. OK, so how is it that you can get into a relationship with a guy who you sleep with after a few months (or dates), who has no real relationship with THE GODHEAD (so that would be God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit) and who shows no real interest in creating a future with you? I'll tell you one crucial way: You didn't start out the relationship by praying about if you even needed to start one with "him" in the first place. Honestly, a lot of women could spare themselves a lot of tears and bitterness (Hebrews 12:14-17) if, upon the first signs of being interested in a man, they did just what James 1:5 tells us to do: seek godly wisdom. And here's the telling thing about wisdom y'all. Look at how it's defined: "knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight". Knowledge of what is *true and right*. Discernment (Proverbs 2). Insight. If a guy is not living his life according to what *God says is true and right* (and the Word tells us what those things are-John 1:1), he's not right for you. Yep. It's just that simple. Don't let "fine" trip you up. Lucifer was perfect in beauty. He's Satan now. (Just sayin'-Ezekiel 28:12)

2) You don't spend time being single (not dating, no sex) when a relationship ends. I was talking to someone not too long ago and in the course of one conversation, she was telling me how "in love" she was with one man yet because the relationship did work out, she was about to start dating someone else. OK, chicks like that need an "I'm a pattern maker" T-shirt. When you don't give yourself enough time, not just to heal (Psalm 147:3) from a past relationship but to really assess why it ended (and the part that you played in it), you are a likely candidate to look up six months from now and be in a similar predicament with the next dude. I say this to young people when I speak at functions all of time, but it bears repeating to the older folks as well: "Serial dating doesn't prepare you for marriage, but for divorce." I'm not saying that you shouldn't have LIGHT and CASUAL dinners and hangouts. But if every guy is a "I'm going to see if he's 'the one'"..."OK, now I'm going to see if he's 'the one'", I don't care what lie the world tells you; they do everything based on lust and pride (I John 2:16), remember? You don't need to "try guys on" like they're a pair of shoes. God already knows who your husband is. When you realize that your boyfriend is not him, take some time getting healed and whole from that revelation first. Spend a season not dating and definitely not having any sex (I Corinthians 6:16-20-Message).

3) Your relationships run in "circles" rather than lines. I just love the Sabbath day (Exodus 20:8-11, Luke 6:5). It brings insights that don't come any other time of the week (perhaps that's why it's *the only day* that is declared to be "blessed and hallowed"). Today, I was thinking about how *very few biblical characters* were ever called to go back to something they left. As a matter of fact, the only one who comes to mind is Moses and that was *to bring other people out*. Where I'm going with that is this: Every healthy relationship will show signs of forward movement---of progress. This isn't just when it comes to romantic unions, but friendships and business partnerships as well. If you are in a relationship with someone and it's in the same space this year as last year, you are in the pattern of creating "circles" rather than straight lines. Remember, a hamster may put forth a lot of effort running in his wheel. He's not getting anywhere though.

4) You show no real signs of spiritual maturity or emotional growth. We all have a friend who seems like she's 5-10 years younger than she really is and it's because she's not spiritually maturing or emotionally growing. Just tonight, I was telling a "spiritual big sister" of mine that there are some things that I'm not going to say "I'm too old for" anymore; I choose to phrase it as "I'm over it". My age has nothing to do with it. My learning the value of maturity and embracing seasons as they come (and go!-Hebrews 5:12-14, Ecclesiastes 3) does. So, there are some things that I tolerated in my 20s that, quite frankly, due to some past abuse that stunted my "growth", I was more like 14-15 (emotionally) while it was transpiring. My wounds have turned into scars now and I'm simply not that woman anymore. If you are someone who is still acting the same way, talking about the same things and (overly) sensitive about the same issues...if you are a woman who lives in a time capsule (or is it a time warp?), there's a pretty good chance that you're going to be attracted to the same kinds of guys from your past *because you still spiritually and emotionally live in the past*. It's a hard question to get an answer on but if you want to know if you've matured, ask some of your family members and friends. And then deal with the responses that you receive accordingly. Even if you don't like them (Proverbs 27:6), it could save your life (and your future marriage).

5) Fear and/or desperation are your reasons for entering into a relationship in the first place. OK, this one can be brief. Most of us know that I John 4:18 not only tells us that "perfect love casts out fear" but that "fear involves torment". Torment is not just "mental suffering" but "a source of much trouble, worry, or annoyance". If someone asks you "So why are you dating *him*, again?" (or *him again*) and your reply is something along the lines of "I'm tired of being alone" or "I'm sick of everyone else being in a relationship" or "I'm scared that he might be my last shot", that's not *love* talking, that's *fear* getting geared up to torment you. Love yourself (Mark 12:30-31) enough not to let it.

6) You complain about the same problems with each guy. If you don't want to listen to yourself, ask your closest friends to be your ears. Have you been saying the same thing(s) about the past three guys that you've dated? He's not a true Christian. He's not attentive enough. He has no intentions of marrying me. Um, yeah. That's also a blaring sign that you are in a pattern. Sometimes our pride (Proverbs 16:18) and ignorance (Hosea 4:6) have us so focused on (or is it obsessed with?) the fact that "he did us wrong" that we don't even stop to realize that he's no different than the dude before him and the guy before that. If you keep dating men who you find yourself hung up on for years without any real commitment in sight, that is not the guy's problem; that is the kind of guy that you settle for and so that would be something within *yourself* that needs addressing.

7) Each guy provides the same reasons for why the relationship needed to come to an end. OK, on the heels of that is this point. When I went through a season of apologizing to the men that I had sex with (because that is an offense against our God, them and their future spouses---oh, there are so many different ways to covet and steal-Exodus 20:15&17), I asked them what I could work on to be a better person to be in a relationship with in the future. Some of it, I didn't want to hear but I must admit that there were a couple of things that they all said I had an issue with and none of them knew each other. You know what they say: "If one person says something about you, so what? If 20 do, yeah...you might want to look into 'that'." That said, there is one chick that I know and guys say that she has a problem with having crushes on friends. She doesn't think so. She thinks that's a "misinterpretation". To me (and to the guys), it sounds like she has a pattern of liking guys with the same profession, the same imaging and the same set of issues (mostly not being interested in her). If she embraced that, she would stop fantasizing so much about those kinds of men. It's kind of like a crop circle. You have to step away to get a full perspective. Other people looking into your life from the "outside in" oftentimes see a very different picture than you do from the "inside out".

8) You are more focused on instant gratification rather than reaching long-term goals. I'm pretty sure that a big part of this is because I'm getting closer and closer to 40 with every passing day but something that I'm finding to be darn near heart-wrenching are women who are so needy for a relationship that they end up seriously delaying marriage and sometimes sacrificing children because they *waste time* in dead-end relationships. There's someone I know who, oh about four years ago now, when she first told me about a particular guy and I was like "He's *so not the one for you", she was like "Whatever Shellie." She's now in well into her 40s, he is not her husband and the biological clock is not really ticking so much as the alarm is going off. Time is so important and it needs to be respected. Don't be so earnest to want a *boyfriend now* that you make poor choices that make it hard to have a *husband later*. Years worth of time with someone, even when they are not the one for you, is still...*years of time*---time that you won't ever get back, either. If your *true heart's desire* is to be married then Psalm 37:4 tells you how to get to that. "Delighting in the Lord" is not "bible talk" for "go and find yourself a boyfriend real quick to bide your time." Instant gratification and lust are twins and they mean you absolutely no good.

9) The relationship doesn't challenge you. There are a lot of women out here who want men to "worship them" not *challenge them*. One of the most endearing things that my last (and final) boyfriend ever said to me was "Shellie, I'm not going to apologize for expecting you to be a better person." He would push me to grow up in so many ways and on this side of wisdom, I'm really thankful for it. A healthy relationship is going to cause you to think about how you can, not so much change the core of who you are, but improve yourself. If you aren't being challenged in this way, if "he" is not encouraging you to be a better disciple (John 8:31-32), to further develop your career, to "think outside of the box" on matters that you seem to be stuck on---if he's not telling you about yourself so that you can better yourself, you are in a pattern of being in a relationship that keeps you stagnant as a person and still water, no matter how deep it may be, over time, if it doesn't flow...stinks.

10) You're bored. By that, I mean this: Doing something just to be doing something may keep you busy but it's definitely not being productive. Satan does not want us to fulfill our purpose (Psalm 20:4) and so if that means getting into a relationship just to pass time (again, time that you won't get back), he'll do just that. A word that the Spirit recently brought to my spirit when it came to the kind of marriage that I should be focused on preparing for is "potent"; that my marriage needs (and is going) to be powerful and mighty. Being that I'm a doula, I spend a lot of time focusing on the reproductive system. When women are trying to conceive, one thing that they need to do is find out when they are ovulating and have sex with their partner every other day of that week. Why every *other* day and not every day? Because the man needs time for his sperm to build up some *potency*. If you desire marriage, a part of being single is about storing up all of the wisdom, all of the knowledge, all of the insight---all of the "customized love" that our beloveds will need from us for the rest of our lives with them. Expending resources on someone who is not God's best for you not only makes things "less potent" but also tends to yes, *bore you*. And when you're bored, you'll do all kinds of stuff (have sex, create drama, etc.) just to keep some excitement going. *Your husband* has plenty---mind, body and spirit---to keep you occupied because you are his "suitable fit" (Genesis 2:18). Don't allow jadedness, weariness (Galatians 6:9) or even indifference to cause you to get in or remain in a relationship that you know does not have your best interest at heart. A pattern of boredom is pretty dreary, don't you think?

Time is changing. So are the seasons. If you saw yourself in any of these patterns, the good news is this: You can break them.

For the sake of your future husband and your marriage, *please do*.

As you "spring forward", leave the *remnants* behind.

tmm,

SRW

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

An Ounce of Prevention: "7 Signs of a Desperate Dater"

http://biblegodquotes.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/bible-god-quotes-91.jpg 

This is a straight copy and paste on this one:

We’ve all seen it before. The crazy, overeager smile. That “please love me” tone. Desperation isn’t pretty, and if you’re the one feeling slightly under pressure it can be hard to know the difference between reasonable pro-activity and sad, demeaning behavior. We’ve cooked up this short guide to help you keep yourself in check.

Desperate Daters are ALWAYS Available.

You really liked him. The first date was terrific and he hasn’t called in four days, so you’re a little bit worried that he isn’t as enthusiastic as you are. Holy smokes! The phone rings, it’s him and he says, “What are you doing right now? Wanna grab some dinner?”

“YES. YES. YES. COME PICK ME UP!”

That’s what you’re thinking, but what does it say about you that a 6:20 pm phone call is plenty of notice for a 6:30 pm dinner date. “Well,” you might say, “I’m an adult, and not into games, so why should I pretend to be busy?” And you’re right, dating isn’t a game – it’s a dance. You’re teaching this new person how you like to dance by the treatment you accept. If you want to be completely honest with the caller you could say, “I don’t accept dinner dates 10 minutes before dinner,” but the kinder, less aggressive way to teach this person that you have too much of a life to be available at the drop of a hat is to say, “I’m busy tonight, but let’s set something up for this weekend.”

If you choose to answer this call and say, “Sure, I’m free. Let’s go to dinner,” it isn’t the end of the world. For the caller, however, it is impossible not to take note of your availability. You’re starting to establish the pattern of desperation.

Desperate Daters Are Clingy.

It’s a basic human behavior. The things that we believe to be abundant get less attention. The things we believe to be scarce and valuable get lots of attention. It makes lots of sense in the jungle, but focusing your attention like a laser beam on a potential relationship partner can spell doom.

Desperate daters are scared that they are going to be dumped. They believe there are few good candidates out there, and if they lose this person…they will be crushed!

So they hold on tightly. They ask a lot of prying questions, “What did you do last night? Who was there?” They stay as close as possible under the assumption that being nearby can prevent their prize from escaping. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.

Southern Rockers 38 Special had it just right, “Hold on loosely, but don’t let go. If you cling too tightly, you’re gonna lose control.”

Desperate Daters Need Constant Relationship Status Updates.


It’s not uncommon for a 5-year-old to climb into the car for a long trip and ask the driver 15 minutes later, “Are we there yet? How many more miles?” There are many grown men and women who act the same way with their romantic relationships. These relationship conversations (we like the term “State of the Union” conversations) can come over and over as the desperate partner seeks for some handle they can use to sooth their fear of being abandoned. “What are we? What are we doing? Are we insert next life hurdle here?”

Not sure of what’s going on, some will play along, trying to give the fearful partner a sense of comfort and ease. It sometimes works – for awhile. More often the desperate party’s constant need for reassurance leaves the exhausted partner heading for the door.

Desperate Daters Fish for Compliments.

Desperate daters need outside encouragement at every turn. They are so desperate to feel good about themselves that they become masters of creating compliments out of thin air. Self-deprecation is the most common tool.

DD: “Wow. I feel so fat.”
You: “What are you talking about? You look great.”
DD: “Oh REALLY! Thanks so much.

For the less subtle set there’s the direct question, “What do you think of my jeans?”… “Do you like my hair?”… “Am I as pretty as Angelina Jolie?”

Or the move where he/she walks in the room strikes a pose and says, “Well?” — confident that you’re not going to say, “You look ridiculous,” and waiting for you to shower praise and affection all over them.

This brand of desperation is simply exhausting. Lest you think you can say enough kind things to eventually create a self-assured person, beware. True desperation is a tough hole to patch.

Desperate Daters Drop Their Friends.

If you NEED a relationship, then nothing is going to stand in the way, right? Certainly not the friends who love you and will probably forgive you for dumping them. So goes the logic of the desperate mind.

The problem is that dating a person who puts their entire life on hold for you…is creepy. “I know I usually go to Las Vegas with my friends for March Madness but I just want to be with you.” It can be a lot of pressure being the center of someone’s universe, and you start to wonder about key traits – like loyalty and dependability – that can have a big impact on whether you choose to pursue a long term relationship someone.

Desperate Daters Drop Their Standards.
Books have been written on the topic of “settling.” What is settling? When to settle? And a quick perusal of the eHarmony Advice community shows volumes of thought and debate on the topic.

Clearly, it is possible to want too much from a date or a mate. Downshifting from some overblown list of traits and accomplishments is a wise decision. But we all have an internal sense of what we can attract in the marketplace of life. Dry spells come and go, but life has taught us the kinds of people we can successfully date. Water seeks its own level.

In addition, most people have spent some time thinking about the traits that are important to them — honesty, stability, curiosity, good work ethic, respectful, etc. These traits become the short list of what you MUST HAVE from a partner to be with them.

The desperate dater is too driven by fear to pay attention to this inner voice. They start to toss these requirements overboard one by one. They believe that their best years are behind them, and that the only way to be in a relationship is to settle for less. Much less.
 
Desperate Daters Rationalize Bad Treatment.
Continuing with our theme of song lyrics, here’s one from Nashville songstress Pam Tillis called, Cleopatra, The Queen of Denial.

“I knew he didn’t have any money
Yeah that’s why he couldn’t buy me a ring
Oh and just because he bought himself a brand new pickup truck
Really didn’t prove anything
And he never had to say he loved me
I could see it every time he smiled
Just call me Cleopatra everybody, ’cause I’m the Queen of Denial”

When you are desperate for love you’ll take a lot of gruff. In fact, you often don’t even notice the poor treatment because acknowledging that you’re being treated badly is the first step down the road to walking away.

If you’ve ever made excuses to your friends for the way your significant other treats you, it’s time to take a long hard look at your relationship and priorities. Are you so desperate to be with a person that you’ll allow them to treat you like an old shoe?

So in conclusion, if we imagine a person who is the opposite of the one described above we have someone who is:

    Not always available — has a busy life and can make time with a little notice.
    Not Clingy — comfortable with some space in the relationship.
    Comfortable without constant relationship updates – likes to let things progress naturally.
    Secure without artificial compliments.
    Going to continue to make their friends an important priority.
    Continuing to maintain reasonable standards for their dates.
    Not going to tolerate poor treatment in a relationship.

The irony is that while the person we’ve just described seems like a harder person to date – higher standards, more rules, less available – they are infinitely more likely to end up in a great relationship than the poor desperate soul who is willing to do double-backflips just to be with someone.

Good stuff!

SRW

 

"On Fire": QUOTE OF THE DAY

http://16quotes.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Finding-Love-quote1.jpg







I really like this because...

Sometimes I listen to people and I'm like "You don't know what you want. You date like someone who wants to be a girlfriend not like a woman who wants to be a wife. A woman who wants to be a wife doesn't hop from man to man to man. They wait for God to bring them to *the man*."

Anyway, this article from one of my favorite websites conveys this point (relatively speaking) quite well:

"Part of the reason why so many people encounter issues with dating is down to a lack of honesty, as in, we can be very contradictory about our needs, expectations and desires and we don’t all date for the same reasons. While plenty date with a genuine view to finding a long-term partner, many date with the view to enjoying the fringe benefits of dating without the ‘hassle’ of emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally contributing and eventually committing. Sometimes their attitude is, “If they’re that special, my reticence about being emotionally available and committing will disappear”.

There’s nothing wrong with not wanting a relationship. None of us are under obligation to commit and if all we want to do is get jiggy, have a chat, an ego stroke and a sense of someone being there, there are people out there who will take on this role because it’s all that they want too. The problem isn’t in not wanting a relationship; it’s expecting to subjugate people who want something different to your terms.

If you’ve been treated in this way you have to be careful of doing the same to others. That’s your litmus test: if somebody came to you with this proposition, would you be happy with it?"


tmm,

SRW

Sunday, March 3, 2013

"On Fire": "My Love, You Are Full of Delights" (SOS 7:1-9)

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7149/6630215101_3517ab59ce.jpg

"Your feet are beautiful in sandals,you daughter of a prince. Your round thighs are like jewels shaped by an artist. Your navel is like a round drinking cup always filled with wine. Your stomach is like a pile of wheat surrounded with lilies. Your breasts are like two fawns,like twins of a gazelle. Your neck is like an ivory tower. Your eyes are like the pools in Heshbon near the gate of Bath Rabbim. Your nose is like the mountain of Lebanon that looks down on Damascus. Your head is like Mount Carmel, and your hair is like purple cloth;the king is captured in its folds. You are beautiful and pleasant; my love, you are full of delights. You are tall like a palm tree, and your breasts are like its bunches of fruit. I said, 'I will climb up the palm tree and take hold of its fruit.' Let your breasts be like bunches of grapes, the smell of your breath like apples, and your mouth like the best wine."---Song of Solomon 7:1-9(NCV)

Boy...

We sure are inching closer and closer to the end of Song of Solomon, aren't we? There's actually only one chapter after 7 (so make sure to read all of the SOS posts leading up to this one) and y'all know how I am about signs and wonders (Daniel 4:2-3). After seeing romantic love in this kind of light (Psalm 18:28), I get (as it relates to this particular study) why "all things would work together" (Romans 8:28) and there would be 8 chapters in this Book of the Bible. Biblically, "8" symbolizes "new beginnings" and so it's like the Spirit (John 4:24) is saying "OK, so you have some more of the knowledge that you need. Now it's time for a lot of you to push 'reset' on your marital expectations."

That's why I'm so excited about these particular verses. It's mostly for two reasons.

One, do you see all of that *specific and descriptive* praise that the Shulamite woman is getting from her beloved? He's so into her that he's describing her feet and even her nose! I also like that he digs that she's tall and that when it comes to her breasts, he says that they are like bunches of grapes. And why does that stand out to me? Well, on the tall tip it's because I know a lot of women who are simply not satisfied with their stature. They either think they are too tall or too short. Looka here: for the right man, *your man*, your height will be...*just right*. And as far as "the size of your fruit". Well, grapes tend to be pretty small and personally, I don't know ANY MEN (godly men especially) who dig breast implants. Dudes with lust/porn issues (I John 2:16) might, but most of the guys I come into contact with like *the real thing* and if that comes in a "A" cup, so be it. As I was telling someone not too long ago, if we *all* had done this "sex thing" well and right (Hebrews 13:4), women wouldn't have so many self-image issues anyway because the first time a man would have ever seen a pair of breasts (or any other part of a woman), it would have been on his wife and so he would have been *thrilled* regardless of the size. My point: If you are dating a man who is already dropping hints about you drastically changing your appearance, that's a red flag. Short or tall, "lemons", "cantaloupes" or "watermelons" (or yes "grapes")...you will be just enough for "him".

Now, this doesn't mean that he shouldn't say and do things that will support you to become a *healthier* you. Proverbs 27:6(NKJV) states "Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful" and Proverbs 27:17(NKJV) tells us "As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend." It's sad how few people make "marrying my best friend" a top priority, but they should and if you do, you are not always going to be told what you want to hear. If you're eating too much fried or fattening food, if you could stand to do some exercising or take off a few pounds---it's not a sign of not being loved if that's brought to your attention so long as it's *truth spoken in love* (Ephesians 4:15) and gentleness (Galatians 5:22-23) is a part of the delivery.

What I am saying is that I am never going to have type 3c hair and I'm always going to have full breasts and be 5'6". I have made more and more peace with not fixing my overbite (my husband will dig it; the Spirit already told me that-LOL) and my lips are full. That's just the way it is. MY MAN will *love* that. But if I put on 30 pounds for no reason (other than laziness), then yes, that needs to be brought to my attention, even if "he" is the one to do it. Love celebrates and encourages longevity---mind, body and spirit and we know this because "God is love" (I John 4:8&16). If you don't want to be encouraged to be a better you, *in every way*, then you don't really want to be in a *real love relationship*.

Oh, and let me say one more thing about the praise that the Shulamite woman received. King Solomon was a writer and it would appear that the Shepherd boy was a bit of a poet too. However, *not all men are big on words*. That's a big part of the reason why "flesh and blood did not reveal" (Matthew 16:17) to best-selling author Gary Chapman the five love languages. That was *so* the Holy Spirit (John 14:26-AMP)! Indeed, one of the most manipulative and detrimental things that you can do in a relationship is try and make someone be someone they are not. That's a big part of the reason why *the time of singleness* (Ecclesiastes 3) is so important. You can figure out what your (top) love languages are and just how vital it is to you to be in a relationship with someone who is able to not only speak them, but speak them fluently.

For instance, I like jewelry but I'm not big on precious gemstones. I'd prefer a Hallmark card or handwritten letter any day. HOWEVER, I have a married girlfriend who is not big on words on paper *at all* (LOL). She'd rather her husband buy her some high-end jewelry or do some chores around the house. And here's the thing about that. We are two women who desire love. Yet we are two women who want it shown in different ways (Psalm 33:15). One of the greatest dangers with allowing the media to tell us how romantic love should be is that we allow it to set the tone and be the blueprint for it...for us. Suddenly, you see someone get a dozen roses delivered to work on a Lifetime movie and now you want your man to do the same thing even though you're *allergic to roses*. My point is this: Sometimes, we don't know how we want to be loved and then have the nerve to resent (or nag to death) someone else for not figuring it out. This would be the season to start *figuring it out*.

You might want a man who simply sits on the couch and watches movies with you (Quality Time). You might want a man who is willing to help you clean up your house (Acts of Service). You may really desire someone who holds your hand while walking around in the mall (Physical Touch). Whatever it is, don't allow Hollywood (which I call "the modern day Babylon") and all of its lies and confusion (I Corinthians 14:33) tell you how *your man* should show his love for you. God made your future husband *and* you. He's the One to impart the most relevant amount of wisdom (James 1:5) about what makes you  "tick" and what...doesn't. Yeah. That's something to think about. Amazing how God won't allow some relationships to work and we're so focused on not getting our way when he's like "Girl, he's not going to meet your needs. *I live with him*. I would know. Acknowledge me a little more often and I would tell you." (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Oh, but there's one more thing about these set of verses that I adore.

The Shulamite woman's beloved told her that she was "full of delights". Now what how *that* plays out:

Delight: a high degree of pleasure or enjoyment; joy; rapture

Rapture: ecstatic joy or delight; joyful ecstasy

Ecstasy: rapturous delight; an overpowering emotion or exaltation; a state of sudden, intense feeling; the frenzy of poetic inspiration; mental transport or rapture from the contemplation of divine things; sometimes a temporary loss of consciousness: often associated with orgasm, religious mysticism, and the use of certain drugs

To "him", the Shulamite woman is full of pleasure. She's full of ecstatic joy. And yes, she has the ability to rapture him away from the contemplation of divine things and put him into a state of orgasm.

It's another class for another time, but there is a *huge misconception* that just because a man ejaculates, that he has had an orgasm. That's simply not true. "Release" is a result of sexual pleasure but an orgasm is a culmination of when the mind, body and spirit are in sync within the experience. And when a person truly experiences one, it is defined as being the most intense point of the sexual experience. It's extreme. It's strong. It's deep. It's great. It's a gift from God (which is why we are not to abuse it).

That's why I really like this declaration that he made about the Shulamite woman because to experience a "rapture from divine things", maybe it's just from how I see it (Psalm 18:28), but that reminds me that *true love* has God as its foundation. So, when two people, in a covenant experience, are enjoying one another, there is a moment when they are not so much taken away from God but through sex, they enter into a state of no longer *contemplating* divine matters but *better understanding* them; hence I Corinthians 6:16(Message) starting off with this line: "There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact." This man's woman was full of delights, which ultimately included being full of spiritual mysteries. Every time he laid with her, something else, for him, would unfold. Sex with her was a *revelation*.

And doesn't that give us *even more insight* into why fornication is so wrong? There are certain things that should only be divulged in marital intimacy and the Most High (Genesis 14:19), in his infinite wisdom and understanding, declared that sex would be one of the ways that these "secrets" would be told. And a secret is defined as being something that is *only meant for* the initiated and privileged; in the context of this message, the one who made a vow to both God and you (Ecclesiastes 5:1-7) to love and care for you for the rest of your days.

When a man says, "You are full of delights", there is not to be "just any man" to make this kind of statement about you. *Just your husband*.

As we get closer and closer to the end of this message, that's definitely something to "pray and ponder" (Proverbs 4:26) about. This is the time to not "share our delights", but to *store them up*.

So that one day, someday, we will be FULL OF THEM. Just for "him".

tmm,

SRW