Sunday, July 28, 2013

An Ounce of Prevention: "What "Til Death Do Us Part' Looks (and Acts) Like" 


As I was reading an email from someone just now, she shared a video with me. I'm not familiar with this couple yet from what CM said, he was performing artist, he was only 33 (33 is a significant number, wouldn't you say?) and he transitioned from cancer. Last night.

As life would have it, I received the email while penning a piece for a publication on how to create your wedding vows (there really are *no accidents* with God-Proverbs 16:33-AMP) and on the heels of someone else asking me my thoughts on soul mates (for the record, yes, I do believe they exist but you have to be *a really strong spiritual person* to take that kind of responsibility on. Just as David's soul mate Jonathan did-I Samuel 18).

God is definitely trying to make a point here. I'll allow the video to minister for itself but I will say this: If you're not willing to say "Until death parts us" AND MEAN IT to another individual, please wait. Vows to God are serious (Ecclesiastes 5:1-7) and there is a reason why an Ezer Kenegdo translates into "lifesaver" and Ephesians 5 speaks of a man being willing to lay down his life for his beloved. When Will's wife said "I think we had a good and healthy marriage before this but it definitely deepened" as a result of his illness...that'll preach. A lot.

A deep marriage is not for the spiritually immature .

Then again, marital covenant in general isn't.

Not by a long shot.

tmm, SRW

Friday, July 26, 2013

An Ounce of Prevention: "30 Signs That Somebody Isn’t Interested Or Is Half-Heartedly Interested In You"

Y'all know I dig the "Baggage Reclaim" chick. Here's another winner from her site entitled: "30 Signs That Somebody Isn’t Interested Or Is Half-Heartedly Interested In You": Now y'all know that the sex stuff  (not having it) is a given and honestly when someone is divorced, you need to take that to God to (considering what I Corinthians 7:10-11 says) but all of that considered, this is pretty really insightful info right here:

1. They’re not contacting you or are sporadically contacting you.

2. They may not even bother speaking with you and rely predominantly on emails, text messages, and instant messenger.

3. They treat you like an option.

4. They don’t want to put both of their feet in and commit. They’d like you to ‘go with the flow’ even if there is none and not expect beyond that.

5. The relationship doesn’t progress – it goes in fits and starts, stalls, or goes into reverse.

6. They’re keeping you a secret.

7. They tend to be around/call you up when they want something (read: they’re a user). It might be money, attention, an ego stroke, sex, an armchair psychologist, but if you think back to all the times when you’ve heard from them, you may notice that it was a preamble to something.

8. They leave it to the last minute/short notice to make plans. They may not even bother to make last minute plans – they might just show up late at night expecting you to be around.

9. They create drama in the hope that you’ll take the hint that they’re not interested and end it so that they can be let off the hook

10. When you’re broken up with them, they get in touch, often in a lazy manner just to ensure that you still jump to their beat. In fact, take the fact that you’re not in a relationship with them as a major sign of disinterest. Don’t make the mistake of thinking they got in touch because they want to get back together.

11. They’ll make a lot of noise when you attempt to move on with someone else and then when you ‘reciprocate’ they’re nowhere to be seen.

12. They send text messages, emails, or leave voice mails and when you no doubt eagerly respond, they either take ages to or don’t bother at all.

13. They don’t break up with their wife/girlfriend. But they still expect to be with you.

14. They don’t get that divorce finalized. In fact, they may even pretend they’ve started proceedings!

15. They keep blaming timing, the No. 5 bus, work, their ex, their commitment issues, or whatever the excuse de jour is for why they can’t be or do something. In fact, they keep making excuses.

16. They’re sporadic in their efforts and you can often pin bursts of efforts to when you either told them to beat it or they felt in danger of losing you.

17. They keep changing their mind about their interest in you. Flip-flapper alert!

18. They talk incessantly about themselves while not really taking an interest in you. OR…they deflect conversations away from details about themselves and try to focus on you.

19. They tell you that they love you but they’re not in love with you, that they’re not ready for a relationship, they’re not the right person for you, that they’re a ‘bad person’, ‘out of your league’, that you’re ‘too good for them’ and other such things that basically say I have limited interest in you.

20. They sleep with other people while sleeping with you.

21. They only have a sexual interest in you.

22. It takes them weeks or even months to call you up after a date or taking your number.

23. You’re hanging out like friends. You may even be friends with benefits.

24. They disappear for periods of time.

25. They’re more interested in having things their way, on their terms, being right, and having the power.

26. They treat you without love, care, trust, and respect. Even if you don’t love one another yet, it shouldn’t stop them from being a respectful person with integrity that cares about their actions and those around them.

27. They treat everyone from the old lady down the street, to the postman, the dog and whoever else has no romantic expectations of them with decency, but when it comes to you, they behave like an clown.

28. They’re either Future Avoiders being afraid to talk about the future or make plans or they’re Future Fakers, faking a future so they can get what they want in the present because they know they won’t be around in the future, because they’re not genuinely interested.

29. They are controlling, manipulative, jealous and possessive. These are not signs that they’re actually interested in you – they are signs that they want to control you. This is not the same as love or as a result of love. People who are like this are the type that won’t want to have a balanced, respectful relationship and may not even really want you but they won’t want anyone else to have you either.

30. They’re so ‘busy’ they have no time for the relationship. Nobody is that busy and when someone is genuinely interested they find the time.

Good stuff to keep in mind.



"On Fire": What Has THE PAST Taught You? In the Present. For the Future.

"Yes, in the past you lived the way the world lives, following the ruler of the evil powers that are above the earth. That same spirit is now working in those who refuse to obey God. In the past all of us lived like them, trying to please our sinful selves and doing all the things our bodies and minds wanted. We should have suffered God’s anger because we were sinful by nature. We were the same as all other people. But God’s mercy is great, and he loved us very much."---Ephesians 2:2-4(NCV)

It is a woman by the name of Katherine Anne Porter who once said "The past is never where you think you left it."  Now bookmark that as I do a bit of my own "baggage unpacking".

OK. So.

As some of you know (and others have made a point to point out-LOL), I'm not in social media. It's not necessarily that I'm against it but I will say this: being without it saves me a lot more time throughout the day. Plus, it has a few other perks that perhaps I'll pen on at another time.

Anyway, being without a FB, Linked In or Twitter account thankfully keeps me from doing a lot of "running into my past", especially when it comes to the men within it. It's not that I fear my past, it's just that it's not necessary to my present to chase it down (or be chased down) if you know what I mean. That's why I found it to be, let's just call it "oddly fascinating", that a couple of nights ago I felt the urge to go on Google and look up what a lot of my past sexual partners (cause honestly, on this side of wisdom, I'm not sure if they deserve a higher title than that) are up to.

It really was something to behold...

One heads up a dental office on the East Coast.

One heads up a law firm for entertainers and athletes.

One heads up a division of Johnson & Johnson.

One is the head coach at a prestigious school in New York.

One heads up a graphic design company.

One heads up a banking division in Florida.

One heads up a department at his church.

Shoot, that's 7 (out of 14). That's enough to illustrate the point that I'm seeking to make.

So as I was looking at their professional profiles, a few things came to mind:

1) I can tell that I'm really over them because there was nothing in me that wanted to reach out.

2) I was genuinely happy for and on some levels even proud of them and their accomplishments.

3) I saw the pattern of who I was attracted to: leaders.

It was insightful because after I spoke to one of my spiritual brothers about it yesterday, he said "And you have a prophecy gift in which you speak into the lives of leaders now. Interesting." Hmph. Indeed. That brings a whole new meaning to "What the devil meant for evil, God meant for good." (LOL) Yet there was something else about the revelation that caused me to pause a bit.

The guy who's a lawyer now also happens to be my "third baby's daddy" (because as most of you know, I have abortion in my past as well). I remember the first time that I saw his well over 6'5" Godiva chocolate frame. It was at a party in college and I found him to be fine. And some more fine. And then still some more fine.

After falling into the pattern with him that I did with so many others both before and after him---being friends, not defining the future of the relationship and then having sex for months, if not years following---I remember a conversation that we had after my (well shoot, our) abortion: "Shellie, you never gave me the chance to see you as a [potential] girlfriend. You pretty much gave me the impression that you didn't want more than what we had." And what we had was a sexual relationship that continued for so long that I finally had to make a clean break because if I hadn't, we might have still been caught up in that hamster wheel to this day!

Anyway, I didn't totally agree with him at the time that he said all of that, but as Soren Kierkegaard once said, "The past can only be understood backwards." I get it now.

There was something within my self-esteem that felt like "he" would never want more from or with me than friendship (and sex) and so I put up a wall that he never could really climb. I called it "sparing my feelings" when really it was nothing but "selling myself short".

And the thing is, when I looked at all of the things that the men in my past are currently doing, I realized that I didn't go for bottom-of-the-barrel kinds of dudes. Even in my lowest state, I desired the kinds of men who were going to make a real mark in the world.

Yes, I gravitate towards strong leaders...

My issue was that I was more focused on them than I was on myself.

So why am I sharing all of this? Well because oftentimes we're so either scared to look back on our past or are in complete denial about it that we don't honor that time in our lives as a lesson, tool and/or method to help the present make more sense.

For instance, I was raised in an entertainment environment and so I wouldn't be surprised in the least if I ended up marrying one. A lot of the things that drive women up the wall about them (such as their hours in the studio or time on the road), I don't mind. At all. I appreciate it, actually (also another blog for another time). My past has revealed that to me. And, in seeing that basically all of the men in my past are "head uppers" now, that shows me also that I will probably end up with a really strong leader too. It's simply a part of my makeup.

Hmph. That's funny within itself because one of the guys on the list once told me "You need your husband to be taller than you. Your personality is way too strong and your calling is way too big without you having someone who you can literally look up to." I get it. *I get it*.

So do I want to email one of those guys and try and rekindle something with them? No. I'm the gal who actually wants to be with my husband *for the first time* on my wedding night. But did that brief walk down memory lane provide some clarity? Yes. It did.

I better see why I liked the men that I did.

I better see how to handle relationships with men moving forward.

I better see what God is preparing me for.

On this side of self-love, divine wisdom and relational clarity...

It's a man who will serve God, change the world and lead me. In that order. Extraordinarily so.

So what's the moral to the story? Don't be so afraid to look at your past because it can really help you to better understand your present and prepare you for your future.

Sometimes people repeat things because they don't deal with their past.

Sometimes people remain in the same place, even emotionally or spiritually, because they don't deal with their past.

Sometimes people can't heal, fully, because they don't deal with the past...when the reality is that the past is a part of what makes us who we are.

As William Shakespeare once said "The past is prologue." It's not *all* of our story, but it certainly is a significant and relevant part of it.

Don't run from it. *Deal with it*. Trust me, it can make the present a lot...more of a gift if you do.

Hey, Paul did tell us that "all things work together" (Romans 8:28), right? Indeed they do.



Monday, July 22, 2013

An Ounce of Prevention: "10 Ways to Live Below Potential and 6 Ways to Reach It" 

So THIS is interesting...

As I was looking in various translations of Scriptures, one word that I found mentioned only once (in the Amplified) was potential. I guess that makes sense being that potential spokes to possibilities (what *could* happen), John 1:1 tells us that the Word is God and Mark 10:27(NKJV) states "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible."

Yep. There's simply no telling what we could do if we were really setting out to move *with God*; if we made sure that he was truly *in agreement* and *walking alongside* us (Amos 3:3).

That said, as I was praying for the "On Fire" women today "potential" was the word that came to my spirit; too many women are caught up in possibilities rather than seeking the Father (Matthew 7:7-8) for divine wisdom (James 1:5) on what actually should "happen", "be done" and "exist" in there lives.

That's why I found an article entitled "10 Surefire Ways To Live Below Your Full Potential" to be so...timely. I have enclosed excerpts from it below:

Harp on the past instead of focusing on the present. What kind of future do you want to create?  What actions can you take to create this ideal future?  What have you learned from the past that will help you in this journey?  Asking and acting on questions like these will help you to maximize your present moment so you can live your best life going forward.

Get caught up in the details vs. the big picture. By looking at the big picture, it helps you realize what does matter and what doesn’t so that you can then channel your energy accordingly. 

Let yourself be affected by minor issues. Sometimes we may be affected by a hurtful comment or discouraged by a small setback.  While these emotions are justified, often times these events are insignificant in the long run.  One way to check if something is worth mulling over is to ask yourself this question: “Will this matter in one year’s time?  Three years?  5 years?  10 years?  30  years?”  If not, then it’s probably not worth your energy to think about these things.  Concentrate on things that do matter in the long run instead.

Blame others for your plight. The extent to which you can live your dream life depends on the extent to which you take responsibility for your life.  When you blame someone/something for what you’re going through, you deny responsibility.  You give others power over that part of your life. 

Complain. It’s okay to complain once in a while as a way to vent, but doing it too often makes you a magnet for negativity.  Whenever you complain, you give your power away to the universe.  For every second you spend complaining, that’s one second you could have spent creating the life you want.

Think that you cannot do it. Are you someone who likes to do everything yourself?  So do I - but over the years I realize that this prevents me from achieving more.  In trying to do everything, including the nitty-gritty, less important details (see #2), that means you’re not able to do the higher level, important things like your biggest goals and dreams.  Start by delegating, outsourcing or removing the less important tasks and scaling yourself up to do the more important ones.  You’ll notice a big difference in your productivity.

Set small goals. Many people set small goals because they’re afraid to fail.  Actually what they’re really afraid of is to realize that they’ve always had all the power to achieve everything they want and that they have wasted their own time and dreams.  You have all the potential and power in this world to achieve everything you want.  Stop settling for less and set your highest goals today.  You owe it to yourself.

Bottle up unhappiness. Bottling up your emotions is like creating a bomb that will eventually self-implode.  Every time you bury an emotion, you’re weighing yourself down with baggage.  The best way to deal with your emotions, whether happy ones or unhappy ones, is to lay them out on the table and face them.  Don’t hide from your problems.  When you do you’re just hiding from yourself.  I found a great way to clear emotional baggage is to use the brain dumping exercise, where you dump your emotions in a journal for about 10-15 minutes.  Try it - you’ll feel lighter almost immediately.

Think that you cannot do it. Our limitations have little to do with the world, society, people, or anything like that – our limitations have always been within us – our beliefs.  

Procrastinate on your goals. Procrastination is the best way to bury your potential.  Do you want your goals to never come true?  Sure, procrastinate on them. 

This is also a cool read: "6 Simple Tips To Live Up to Your Full Potential".

1. It’s Not a Hate Game

Questioning whether or not you’re living up to your full potential can be nothing short of an excuse to hate yourself. Scanning the web for what you should be doing, planning trips you can’t afford, or worse, following all your supposed friends on Facebook, doesn't help the situation. Comparing yourself to others is about the least effective means of seeking out your potential.

2. Listen Closely

What lights you up inside? Not what lights those around you up, but what gets you excited? Take time to listen within to what you want your life to look like. Instead of wasting time effectively hating yourself for not knowing what you need, listen closely, until you figure it out.

3. Clarify Your Goals

Now that you’ve outlined what makes you happy, figure out how to get there. Set out exactly what you have to do to reach your goals.

4. Set Benchmarks

Not tomorrow, not next week, but today, get started by setting benchmarks to get where you want to get in your life. For example, my goal was to be a full time freelance writer so I set financial goals for each year to outline exactly how much money I needed to make in order to reach my goal. I also set goals for exactly the kind of writing I wanted to be doing. Setting one big goal is helpful, but it’s even more important that you set out to reach shorter goals that are more attainable.  

5. Set a Daily Schedule

How does your daily schedule contribute to meeting your life’s goals? For example, do you wake up late? How early do you go to bed? What aspects of your schedule do not serve your greater good?

6. Mistakes Are Learning Experiences

When you don’t get a job, instead of hating yourself for falling short, what can you learn from the experience? What can you change that will help you reach your goals the next time? Don’t waste energy putting yourself down. The most successful, happy people have made a good deal of mistakes. But the difference is they don’t dwell on them, they learn from them.

Who knows how many women's life partners are waiting on them to reach their full potential as single women because they are currently living out their full potential as men.

Just something to think about.

Tap in. Beyond mere possibilities. It's there. In you.



Thursday, July 18, 2013

"On Fire": What Kind of RATIONALIZATIONS Are You Making in Your Relationship?

*Too many women make "relational rationalizations"...*

This was the conclusion that God brought me to as I was doing some praying for a few women I know who are honestly in some of the most dysfunctional kind of situations that I've heard of in recent years; yet they keep trying to find reasons and ways to stay in them due to rationalizations like:

He's not spiritually mature, but I can help to get him there.

He doesn't have a lot of money right now, but I'm lending him some to help get him off of his feet.

He's divorced and his ex-wife is still single, but I'm dating him because they were never meant to be. (I Corinthians 7:10-11 ain't nothin' to play around with y'all!)

He spends the night over at my house but we don't engage in *actual intercourse*.

He's not really the kind of man I'm looking for, but he's nice to me.

He's not as attentive as I would like, but we can't have everything we want in a relationship, right?

He has a long way to go, but I'm just the woman to get him there. (There *where* exactly?)

And here's the thing: Have you ever looked up the definition of rationalize before?

Rationalize: to ascribe (one's acts, opinions, etc.) to causes that superficially seem reasonable and valid but that actually are unrelated to the true, possibly unconscious and often less creditable or agreeable causes; to make rational or conformable to reason; to treat or explain in a rational or rationalistic manner

There are a lot of folks in some really jacked up relationships, not due to love (love doesn't jack us up---I Corinthians 13:4-8, I John 4:8&16), but due to the fact that they have rationalized their way into them. They make *the superficial* seem reasonable and valid; they attempt to conform untruths to reason; they try to explain the straight-up foolishness that's going on in a rational manner.

I thought about this on a deeper level when I read an article entitled "Six Signs You’re Settling for Second Best". Here are a couple of the red flags that were mentioned:

You see your relationship as a rescue operation. You know you're in danger of settling the moment you make a "to-do" list of things you'd like to help your partner improve upon: lose weight, stop smoking, be more outgoing, find a better job, and so forth. The best person for you will not feel like a fixer-upper.

You pointedly decide to overlook your partner's flaws. Some settlers skip over rehabilitation and go straight to resignation. But denial is not the basis for a healthy, lasting union. If you've told yourself a problematic relationship is "as good as it gets," snap out of it!

You routinely make excuses for your partner to others. Listen carefully to what you tell friends and family members about the person you're dating. It's a red flag if you find yourself rationalizing his/her shortcomings: "He's overcome a lot...She's going through a rough patch...He didn't have good role models." When you've found the one who is right for you, the statements will sound more like this: "He is so creative! She really understands me! We have so much in common!" You know better than anyone what you dream of in a life partner. Don't be stingy with yourself. Hold out for the very best.

A healthy love relationship is not about going on rescue operations, overlooking flaws and making excuses for another individual. It's about two people being spiritually committed to God first, their purpose second as they prayerfully discover ways that they can cause one another to grow in the Lord and fulfill their purpose.

Yes, a godly relationship will *never* cause a person to compromise their relationship with God (this would include his standards) nor will it be a stumbling block when it comes to another person's purpose.

So, if you are in a relationship where your human trinity (mind, body, spirit) is not elevating OR you are the reason why someone else is not improving and you know (that you know that you know) this is the case but you are remaining in the relationship (or is it trap?) anyway, I would encourage you to do some *serious* praying for some divine wisdom (James 1:5). Just because he's a nice guy, just because you're not (technically) having sex with him, just because the situation is going "OK", that doesn't mean you're not settling and there's a pretty good chance that you're rationalizing why you should stay. Or why the relationship should stay the way that it is.

Check the Garden of Eden transcripts (LOL).

A helpmate *helps* to make a godly man better.

She does not rationalize why being with less than God's best is right.