Thursday, October 31, 2013

An Ounce of Prevention: 'Characteristics to AVOID. Characteristics to EMBRACE.'


That's a good quote right there. I would personally add these items to the list:

1) Avoid women who don't forgive or are bitter. (Matthew 6:14-15, Ephesians 7:26)

2) Avoid women who don't know how to listen. (Proverbs 28:9-Message)

3) Avoid women who jump from relationship to relationship. (Proverbs 4:23)

4) Avoid women whose top ambition in life is to get a man. (Psalm 20:4)

5) Avoid women who have issues with submission. (Colossians 3:18)

6) Avoid women who are fearful and not of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)

7) Avoid women who lack common sense. (Psalm 119:65-72, Proverbs 2:6-8 & 3:21-26)

8) Avoid women who are double-minded. (They're unstable-James 1:2-8)

9) Avoid women who are spiritually-dwarfed. (2 Timothy 3:1-7-AMP)

10) Avoid women women who lead with their sexuality over their spirituality.
(Proverbs 5)

11) Avoid women who are selfish. (Philippians 2:3)

12) Avoid women who are liars. (Especially to themselves-John 8:44)

13) Avoid women who believe in fairy tales. (Ecclesiastes 7:18-Message)

14) Avoid women who are more lip-service than action. (I John 3:18)

15) Avoid women who covet other women. (It is a commandment, after all-Exodus 20:17)

16) Avoid women who stir up drama and/or are childish. 
(Proverbs 10:12, I Corinthians 13:11)

17) Avoid women who don't put forth the effort to love their enemies and make amends with those they've hurt/harmed. (Matthew 5:43-47, Matthew 23-24)

18) Avoid women who do not walk in faith. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

19) Avoid women who are modern-day Pharisees. (Matthew 5:20)

20) Avoid women who don't put God first. (Mark 12:30-31)

Yeah. Send that out to the single men that you know (LOL). And is it a tall order? Indeed. Yet it's all scriptural and a big part of the reason why James 1:4(NKJV) tells us this:

"But let patience [which would be love, which would be God-I Corinthians 13:4, I John 4:8&16] have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."

God is not interested in a man being our savior, our father, our "Prince Charming" (Proverbs 31:30), our spoiler, our stumbling block, our "Jon" (so many people want to get married just to have sex-not good). God wants *the right man* to become our covenant partner. Period.

Praise the Lord that he gives us time to become the kind of women who, for our own husband, we will be a suitable fit! (Acts 1:7-Message, Ecclesiastes 3:11, Genesis 2:18-AMP)

So now knowing all of the things that we need to work on *not* being, here's a cool list that I found on the website Good Girl Gone Wise about what we should be striving to become:

As women of God, we are to reflect Christ to the world in the way he chose us to – through our redeemed femininity. And that can be lived out in lives of married and single women alike. Take Proverbs 31 for example.

A woman of God, wholly feminine and fully redeemed:

She is trustworthy - “The heart of her husband trusts in her” (v. 11)    

She builds others up - “She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life” (v. 12)

She is a hard worker - “She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.” (v. 13-14)

She maintains the right priorities - “She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” (v. 27)

She is kind, compassionate and self-giving – “She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.” (v. 20)

She nurtures those in her sphere of influence - “She rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household, and portions for her maidens.” (v. 15)

She makes wise decisions - “She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard… She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.” (v. 16, 18)

She has a positive attitude -  ”she smiles at the future.” (v. 25)

She exhibits godly character -“strength and dignity are her clothing (v. 25)

She shares God’s wisdom and ways with others  - “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” (v. 26)

She values God’s design for women and the institution of marriage – and it shows in all her actions - “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” (v.28-29)

She follows hard after God - “a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” (v. 30)

Pride (Proverbs 16:18) and ignorance (Hosea 4:6) are tricky (if we let them be). They can have us out here thinking that God is withholding something good from us (Psalm 84:11) when actually what he is doing is *preparing us*. Marriage is serious and he takes it seriously. It requires more than just *wanting it*. We need to be *ready for it*.

So take some time to ponder (Proverbs 4:26) what you could stand to "avoid" more and what you should "embrace"---better. Your husband will thank you for it!



Tuesday, October 29, 2013

An Ounce of Prevention: 'The Search for a Real Man' is one of my favorite websites...

After all, contrary to a lot of Christians overlooking the blaring fact, *Christ was a Jew* (Matthew 27:11) after all.  That said, I peeped this article today: "The Search for a Real Man" and I really liked it. It's a straight copy and paste below:

It is the nature of being single. Countless hours are spent discussing the love of your life who, for all practical purposes, refuses to actually exist.

Still, I was perplexed when one of my friends dreamily described the kind of guy she was seeking.

“I want a Man,” she sighed. You could hear the capital M.

“Um, yeah… we all do.”

My grandmother says it all the time. ‘Just catch a mensch,’ (the Yiddish word for man). As if all it takes is putting a worm on a hook.

“No. I mean that I want a real man. A Manly Man.”

Now I was lost.

“You know!” she continued as if it was obvious. “A guy with a little bit of hair on his chest.”

First of all… ew.

Second of all, I studied biology in college. Since when is a Y chromosome not enough to qualify a male as a Man? What quantifiable and objective measures are there to measure Manliness? At what point is one qualified to write “I am a Man” on his resume?

In my quest to identify a Manly Man, I have discovered quite a number of different types of males:

The Tough Man: Mel is a Jew known by all as ‘Dragonman.’ He owns a shooting range, has 10+ tattoos, and custom-makes motorcycles. Oh, and he created a military museum.

The Chivalrous Man: Raymond is an embodiment of a character from a Jane Austenesque classic. A regular dandy, Ray wears a bowler hat that is tipped for every woman he passes. Not in a weird way. It just fits.

The Providing Man: Dr. A is an orthopedic surgeon. Dr. A has perfect teeth. His wife has never worked a day in her life. His children seem to be perpetually sparkling with cleanliness. And there is always, always, someone working on his lawn.

There are more types of men: Sensitive, Child-like, Inquisitive, Brilliant, and many others. But none of the above is the quintessential Man.

So who’s an example of a Man, you ask?


Yes, the biblical one. He was an accomplished guy. Not only did he lead an entire people out of slavery and get the 10 commandments (twice, no less), but God frequently touched base with him.

But you know the coolest thing about Moses? He was Manly.

Mankind was created with the faculty of thought. With a sense of right and wrong. With the power to go beyond animalistic desires and drives. Only a Man has the strength to follow his moral compass and greater beliefs to travel past the boundaries of self-serving instincts.

This is what makes a human. This is what makes a Man.

There was this one time when Moses walked out of his grand palace and witnessed something horrific. An Egyptian taskmaster was mercilessly beating one of his Hebrew brethren to within an inch of his life.

Moses looked to the right. He looked to the left. And he saw no man.

He proceeded to kill the cruel Egyptian and bury his body in the sand.

And Lady Justice cheered.

Jewish Sages explain that numerous people were indeed standing to the right and left of Moses. Many people watched in horror. But no one was man enough to stand up for what was right.

Knowing the difference between right and wrong is one thing, but having the courage to stand alone in the face of adversity… that takes strength. That takes a Man with a capital M.

So you want to find a Manly Man? A real Man?

Find the kid who calls out a bully in school. Find the guy who picks up that piece of trash that has been passed 100 times. Find the father who sacrifices a few extra dollars in order to read to his children at night. Find the person who forgives easily.

Find a guy who is able to hear an opinion opposite his own and remain calm and collected.

You want a Man?

You keep your chest hair; I’ll take a mensch.

Some good food for thought right there...



Sunday, October 27, 2013

An Ounce of Prevention: 'Signs That You've Got Some Serious Baggage'


As I was doing some research on something for someone, article entitled "5 Signs You're Carrying Emotional Baggage" was one that *could not* be avoided:

1. You're projecting. Those with baggage can oftentimes be riddled with self-doubt. What makes this self-doubt even worse is that, as you see the worst in yourself, you also begin assuming the same of others. If, for example, you're on a first date and feeling wary and quick to judge, you might automatically assume that your date is judging you just as harshly. This, in turn, could make you defensive. Way to kill the buzz before you've even shared your first toast, right? If you're experiencing negative feelings about the person you're with, ask yourself where these feeling are coming from. Could it be that you're making unfounded assumptions?

(For the record on this next one, "infidelity" is really a word for adultery and that doesn't happen in dating but in marriage. Just wanted to clarify that for all of the people who "play house" rather than actually live it: vows, paperwork and all.)

2. You're paranoid. We don't blame you for being a bit suspicious about infidelity, especially if you've been burned in the past. But in order for a relationship to work, you have to trust each other. If you don't fully trust him—or even if you do, and are just being cautious—your paranoia can manifest itself in some extremely unattractive ways: clinginess, neediness, breaches in privacy... (No, we don't condone e-snooping of any kind.) No man (or woman, for that matter) wants to feel as if he's under constant surveillance, especially if he did absolutely nothing to betray your trust. So keep your suspicions in check, unless he's done something that's actually worth worrying about.

3. You're comparing him to lovers past. This goes beyond simple paranoia. It's more subtle and insidious. If you see him smile in a certain way—or utter a certain phrase—and you immediately think of your abusive ex-boyfriend, or that immature idiot you rebounded with, or that unfortunate one-night stand, you're letting your past drag you unnecessarily down. Do you consistently find yourself souring on new dating prospects simply because of unfortunate similarities? It's important to remind yourself that he is not your ex. Try thinking, instead, of all the amazing qualities he has that your ex most certainly did not.

4. You're throwing up walls. We've written in the past about the secrets healthy couples shouldn't keep. This is because, in order to fully commit to each other, you should also know each other pretty darn well. Holding back on emotions, or reliving painful events from the past in ways that affect your present, can keep a relationship stagnant. So ask yourself: what have you been keeping fom him, and why? Chances are, he can tell you're hiding something, and we're sure he'd rather hear about it than be stonewalled.

5. You're holding back from commitment. OK. So commitment-phobes are everywhere, and some of them aren't carrying an ounce of baggage. But in many cases, the fear of tying oneself down can be indicative of a deeper problem. If you're not giving any of your relationships half a chance, it's time to do some soul-searching. There's nothing wrong with being single, but is it what you really want? And if it's not, what's making you hesitate when you come across the possibility of love? If all else fails, consider talking to a therapist or a love/dating coach about burning that persnickety baggage.

Of course, *that* was written by a woman and so I thought it could do a lot of us some good to see this issue from a man's point of view. Yeah. The truth hurts sometimes (LOL). Here's the list from "8 Signs Your Girlfriend Has Emotional Baggage":

1. She has a number of pre-conceived notions

If your girlfriend has fixed notions about some aspects of the relationship, then it could mean that she has some emotional baggage. There may be something that is an absolute no-no for her. For instance, she may insist that you always be the one to say sorry, irrespective of whose fault it is. Also, she may get ticked off by things that might seem completely normal to others. This simply goes on to show that in her previous relationships, she has faced a lot of emotional trauma and thus has several pre-conceived notions of how a relationship should and should not be.

2. She displays extreme emotions

A woman who has emotional baggage may display extreme emotions. One aspect of this is that she may keep all her feelings and emotions bottled up. Any attempt at having a heartfelt conversation with her might end in a disaster. Another aspect of this could be that she is extremely unpredictable about her emotional outbursts. You may see a number of mood swings. This is a sign that your girlfriend has a lot of unresolved emotional conflicts or issues in her past.

3. She is scared of being dependent on someone
Women who have a lot of emotional baggage tend to avoid being dependent on their boyfriends. This could include emotional dependency, financial dependency, and more. They are too scared of getting used to having someone in their life as it could cause them extreme hurt if the person left them in the future. So, to avoid such heartbreaks, they stay away from having any type of dependency on their boyfriends.

4. She has compulsive habits

If your girlfriend has a number of compulsive habits, then it could be a sign of emotional baggage. Such habits may include excessive eating, smoking, drinking, or more. It could be a sign that she is trying to compensate for some unchecked emotion by indulging in compulsive habits.

5. She does not let you into her past

If your girlfriend is extremely secretive about her past, then it could mean that she has a lot of emotional baggage. Such women do not let others into their past and any discussion or inquiry about their previous relationships would yield no results. They either try to avoid the question, or start avoiding you.

6. She seems scared of making a commitment

Women who carry emotional baggage are usually commitment-phobic. This is usually because they have had such bad relationship experiences in the past that they feel scared to associate themselves with another man. If you feel that the woman you wish to date or are dating has not let you in completely, is holding back, or is constantly building walls around her, then it could mean that she has emotional baggage.

7. She has trust issues
If your girlfriend is carrying emotional baggage, then it would not be easy for her to trust you completely. You may find her being over-possessive or highly insecure. In extreme cases, she may keep on checking your phone or your e-mails to ensure that you are not cheating on her. Such behavior is often indicative of the fact that she has had boyfriends in the past who were not loyal to the relationship.

8. She has no social past
Women who have a lot of emotional baggage usually end up having no long-term friends and a hard-to-trace social past. This shows that in order to forget the trauma that she suffered in her previous relationships, she has had to cut old ties, make new friends, and change her social circle. Such a social pattern in an indication that your girlfriend is trying to forget something bad that happened in her past.

Of all of the things that a husband is to be---example, guide, provider, protector---nowhere in the Word does it say that they are supposed to be *a therapist*. So if you see yourself in either list, *now would be the time* to seek some wise counsel (Proverbs 1:5).

Amen? Amen.



An Ounce of Prevention: '10 Types of Emotionally Stunted Men to Avoid'


A wise man once said "Never chase love, affection or attention. If it isn't given freely by the other person, it isn't worth having." And that said, I found a piece published a few years back entitled "10 Types of Emotionally Stunted Men to Avoid" to be a really good confirmation of that quote. You can't make a hard, broken and damaged soul healthy. Only God *and their willingness to let him* can do that.

And yes, on this side of wisdom, I have realized (and experienced) that if a man is emotionally stunted, until he "handles that", he basically *is* emotionally unavailable.

Anyway, here's the list:

1. The Addict: Oy. Where to begin. Here's the important thing to remember: The Addict will ALWAYS be looking for a high. ALWAYS. Even if he is sober from drugs/alcohol/gambling/food, if he hasn't done "the work," he may get hooked on you.

The woman he wants: Someone who gets him high. He's looking for a feeling. Maybe it's the married woman, his crush from high school he never thought he would get, or the ex he dumped years ago. It's all about the thrill for him. And once that thrill wears off ... he's jonesing for the next.

What he really needs: To work through his co-dependency issues and learn how to cope with life on his own before involving anyone else.

2. The Mama's Boy: The most important relationship a guy can have is with his mother. That's why it's bad news if that relationship has gone wrong in some way. The Mama's Boy compares all women to his mother. Whether he hates her or is obsessed with her, he is blind to the fact that he is replaying his relationship with his mom with every woman he gets involved with.

The woman he wants: Someone who is exactly like his mother or exactly the opposite, depending on the nature of the dysfunction. If his mom was coddling and overprotective, he may want you to change his diaper and wipe his nose. If his mother abandoned him, he may be looking for a clingy lady. If his mother expected him to be "the man of the family," he may be looking for a woman who is helpless and needs taking care of. You get the picture.

What he really needs: To realize that you are NOT his mother. And, more importantly, to understand the relationship dynamic with his mother. If he has issues to work out with her, he needs to do it before he invites another woman into his life.

3. The Flounderer: He's unhappy in his career, either because he hasn't advanced as much as he thought he would have or it's not what he wants to be doing, period.

The woman he wants: Someone to motivate him and stroke his ego all the time because he's not getting that kind of love in the workplace.

What he really needs: To go after what he wants hard and on his own initiative instead of whining to you about it all the time.

4. The Insecure Narcissist: Initially, this gentleman comes off as exceedingly confident -- he thinks he's the best at his job, takes good care of his appearance, and is often the life of the party. But he also cannot take a joke at his expense, overstates how successful he is, and is never happy for anyone who's doing "better" than him -- including the woman he's with.

The woman he wants: Someone who won't ever challenge him or give him grief, even as a joke. If she does, he'll find her insecurities and go at them with a hacksaw, so she's brought down to his level, making him feel better about himself in comparison.

What he really needs: To stop pretending like he's God's gift to the world and be OK being vulnerable, and realize that he's not fooling anyone with that act anyway.

5. The Career Obsessive: Here's the thing about dudes: They are not all that great at multi-tasking, but The Career Obsessive is the worst of the lot. His sole goal in life is to rise to the top and it's not until he gets there that he'll actually be emotionally available.

The woman he wants: Someone who understands that being successful is the most important thing in the world -- so long as SHE is not more successful than him -- and will reward his hard work in the office with sexual favors at home whenever he's got a spare moment. The opposite of The Hero [see No. 6 below], he wants someone who does not need him emotionally at all.

What he really needs: To realize that a fulfilling life is all about balance and an amazing career doesn't keep you warm at night.

6. The Hero: He loves to date a basket case, a woman who's got many issues for him to help her overcome -- but that's only so he can avoid dealing with his own. Once she's more stable, the skeletons in his emotional closet emerge and he has to find someone new to save instead.

The woman he wants: A woman who "needs" him and makes him feel strong, capable, manly, and, most of all, NOT CRAZY in comparison.

What he really needs: To find a therapist who can hold up a mirror and show him that his own problems should take top priority.

7. The Tragic Tom: Tragedy has befallen him and he hasn't been able to recover. While being sympathetic to this guy's plight is understandable, trying to save him is a waste of time.

The woman he wants: A woman who will see his gooey marshmallow center underneath that hardened edge and will exhaust herself trying to save him from himself.

What he really needs: To gain perspective and to learn, on his own, that bad things happen to everyone in some form and the best you can do is move forward in your life with lessons learned.

8. The Commitment Phobe: This guy pretends to be happy on his own, living large as a bachelor, just like his hero George Clooney, but he's actually just terrified of letting a woman get to know the real him.

The woman he wants: Someone who will never expect their relationship to evolve past the casually dating stage, who will never expect to meet his parents or even necessarily his friends, and won't want to talk about pesky things like feeeeelings.

What he really needs: To face his insecurities head on, so he can figure out what he's so scared of showing to other people and to get over it.

9. The Eternally Brokenhearted: He hasn't gotten over the chick who broke his heart and he holds what she did against every other woman he dates in subtle ways.

The woman he wants: Someone who reinforces his anger at his ex by committing the same "sins" she did. That way he can punish her for his ex's actions. Unfortunately for both of them, he'll never be able to work through his anger completely with that kind of black-and-white attitude in which he's the sole victim.

What he really needs: To find closure with the woman who "wronged him," but not necessarily through confrontation. Rather, he needs to look at the demise of the relationship objectively so he's forced to acknowledge his role and can move forward in a new relationship with no (or minimal) baggage.

10. The Eeyore: Thanks for noticing him, the dull, pathetic, dude in the corner who is not actually dull and pathetic. He just has the worst attitude of all time. He's always whining about something. Every day is a bad day. Nothing ever works out for him. Everything seems completely impossible to The Eeyore, which makes being around him unbearable.

The woman he wants: His own personal Pooh Bear. That special someone who will be his personal cheerleader and spend all of her time trying to get him to look on the bright side even though he is completely incapable of seeing life that way.

What he really needs: To stop feeling sorry for himself and take responsibility for what happens in his life. The sooner he realizes that life is what you make it, the sooner he'll have some much-needed company in his bed.

Talk about an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure...*for real* up in this piece!

Take heed.



Thursday, October 24, 2013

An Ounce of Prevention: 'How to Know That You HAVEN'T FORGIVEN Someone' 

You know...

It's a really dangerous (and arrogant) place to be in when you feel like you should be forgiven for the sins you've committed/offenses you've caused/hurt and harm you've done but the people who have done that to you are not...*by you*. Scripture tells us so:

"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."---Matthew 6:14-15(NKJV)


That's...loaded. And the reason why I'm sharing this post is because I have spoken to quite a few people this week where it is pretty evident that they have not forgiven someone (or several someones) in their life and the reality is that there is no way to know how to love and be loved, fully, until that transpires.

So in the effort to get some people closer to real and lasting love and further away from unforgivingness, first here's an excerpt from an article entitled "Have You Truly Forgiven? 4 Ways to Know":

Do the Lord's prayer test. Say the Lord's prayer. When you get to the part that says that the Lord should forgive you as you forgive others, mention specifically the name of a person who has hurt you in the past. So let's say John hurt you in the past, you should say "And forgive me my trespasses as I forgive John". If you can mention that person's name without any hurtful feelings, you have truly let go. If the mention of that person's name evokes emotions of hurt and bitterness, it is very likely you have not completely forgiven the person and you need to deal with it immediately.

You never have anything good to say about the person who hurt you. You may have genuine complaints about the person. However when your first instinct is to "bad-mouth" or the slander the person to every single person you meet, you may insist that you have let go and but it is very likely that you haven't. Slandering an ex to everyone you meet is not you "letting out some steam". It is you holding on to a grudge which could destroy your perception of the opposite sex if not dealt with. Unfortunately, I regularly see this on social media as people slander the father of their children for being so-called "dead-beats". He may be a dead-beat indeed but don't forget : that dead-beat's DNA is in your child !

You do not wish the person who hurt you well. In fact, if you are truthful with yourself, you will realize you even wish nothing ever works out for this person. When I was in high school, there was a girl who really made me feel less of a person than I was. She made me feel like rubbish each time I spoke to her. I even went to a counselor one day and cried as I told her of the torment this girl was putting me through. I found myself wishing that nothing would work for her and that something really bad would happen to her. Well something really bad happened. Her father, who had been sick for a while, died in our last year of high school just as we were about to finish. Did this make me feel any better ? Of course not ! I realized the foolishness of holding on to such trivialities when there were more serious things in life. All your wishing that something bad happens to the person who hurt you and whose offense you are holding on to WILL NOT MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER. Take it from me.

You have vowed never to speak to the person again.  I once heard someone say " I will forgive them but I will never ever speak to them again !" Umm, deciding not to speak to someone is one of the hardest and most uncomfortable things to do especially if you live in the same house, go to the same school or work at the same job. It's never a freeing experience.You will constantly run into the person and then what ?  Romans 12:18 : If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. "As much as depends on you" means you have to make every possible effort to forgive and reconcile with the person. You may even take someone who is mature in the faith with on your journey of reconciliation as Jesus commands us to do in the gospels. "As much as depends on you" : if you do your part and the other party refuses to accept your offer of peace, you know you've done your part and all you owe that person now is unconditional love whether they choose to ever speak to you again or not.

And then I also appreciated the pearls of wisdom found in "5 Ways to Tell If You've Forgiven Someone":

When the first thought you have about them is not the injury they caused in your life. You should be able to have normal thoughts about the person occasionally. Remember, you are dropping the right to get even; the grudge you held against them.

Ask yourself: Would you help them if you knew they were in trouble and you had the ability? Most likely this is someone you once cared about…perhaps even loved. You would have assisted them if they needed help. While I’m not suggesting you would subject yourself to abuse or further harm, that you are obligated to help them, or even that you should, but would you in your heart want to see them prosper or see them come to harm?

Can you think positive thoughts about this person? Again, you’ve likely been on positive terms with this person or in a close enough relationship for them to injure you to this extreme. Is there anything good you can come up with about them? If not, have your really forgiven them?

Do you still think of getting even with the person? There may be consequences that need to come for this person and you may have to see them through to protect others, but does your heart want to hurt them? If so, would you call this forgiveness?

When you have stopped looking for them to fail. If you have truly forgiven someone, then just like you would for anyone else, you would want them to succeed or at least do better in life. Forgiveness means you’ve stopped keeping a record of the person’s wrongs.

And finally a piece that's pretty short and sweet: "10 Benefits of Forgiveness":

Is there a psychological, even a physical benefit to forgiveness? Studies show that there are. Forgiveness has been associated with all of the following:

1. Lower heart rate and blood pressure

2. Greater relief from stress

3. Decrease in medication use

4. Improved sleep quality and decrease in fatigue

5. Decreased physical complaints such as aches and pains

6. Reduction in depressive symptoms

7. Strengthened spirituality

8. Better conflict management

9. Improved relationships (not just with the offending party but in other relationships as well)

10. Increase in purposeful, altruistic behaviors

So, are you holding on to anger? Is there someone that you are “punishing” by choosing not to forgive? Why not let go of the bitterness and start enjoying all of the above. It takes practice and effort to forgive, but it is well worth it in the long run (spiritually, physically, and psychologically.)

Why lose sleep, spirituality and relationships because you can't fully forgive?

Definitely a lot to think about.

Forgiveness is a choice. Choose wisely.



An Ounce of Prevention: '10 Signs You Don't Love Yourself'


I ain't got nothin' to say on this. It's a straight "copy, paste and ponder" (Proverbs 4:26) piece right here thanks to an article I checked out just a little while ago entitled "10 Signs You Don't Love Yourself":

Many people believe that loving themselves is a selfish act and too narcissistic. In fact, loving yourself is not a selfish act. If you don't respect yourself then how can you respect others? You love your parents, your sweetheart, and your friends but how much you love yourself? You should know that loving yourself will give you an understanding of how to love others sincerely. You certainly can understand others' shortcomings if you can understand your own shortcomings, right? Here are 10 signs you don't love yourself:

1. Letting others to take advantage of you

Consciously or not, most people who socialize with you will always test your boundaries. When you don't have clear boundaries, which ones you accept and which ones you don't, it will allow others to take advantage of you by draining your energy and could be, your wealth as well. The more often you let it happen, the worse you will be exploited by others. Be firm for your own good.

2. Giving more than receiving

Unless you work for a charity, giving too much and receiving less than you deserve indicates that you lack self-esteem. This situation often occurs when you want to be liked and accepted by others so that you constantly give something with the hope of getting lots of praise and they will be attracted to you. In another case, if this happens in your workplace, then it means the company doesn't appreciate you.

3. Not thinking of yourself

Not thinking of yourself seems to be an unselfish attitude, then why it is included in the list? Simple, if you get sick, can you help others? If you don't care for yourself, can you care for others effectively? Take for instance when you're on a plane, the flight attendants will teach the passengers to put your own oxygen mask on first before helping your child to put the oxygen mask on. Help yourself to help others.

4. Not having plans for the future

This is really sad if it happens. You're confused about your future and your life filled with the words "I don't know". When someone asks, what is your ambition? What's your biggest dream? What do you want to be? Your answer is "I don't know". First you must recognize yourself properly, and then dreaming, planning, acting, and celebrating.

5. Not being clear to others about what you want and need

Besides saying "I don't know", people who have this sign will often say "it's up to you". Maybe you think that you don't want to bother others or don't want to hurt their feelings. But if you constantly bury what you want and need, there will be frustration and resentment, and miscommunication with others.

6. Limiting yourself

It means you're preventing yourself to grow. You judge yourself unable to do a job when you've never actually done it or you feel that you don't deserve the one you love. Thoughts like this won't make you a better human being because you live in the comfort zone.

7. Receiving a bad influence from your neighborhood

Neighborhoods typically have a large influence on the development of a person. But a mature person can distinguish between good and bad influences. Receiving a bad influence just the same as not loving yourself because you do something that will hurt yourself in the future.

8. Letting someone else control your life

Basically human beings are independent. They have their own bodies, souls, and minds. Unfortunately, many people choose to live as puppet, controlled by their masters. They always do whatever their masters told, good or bad. Normally, their masters are people who have high status or may be, their loved ones. You know what, actually this is a fear... Fear of losing their jobs or their loved ones. If you are these kind of people, know that you're a modern person, you don't live in the era of slavery, you have a right to control your own life.

9. Not trying to fix your shortcomings

You know that you have shortcomings but you don't try to fix them. Bad habits and behaviors are something you can fix when you're already aware of them. Don't always use excuse like "nobody's perfect". There will always be shortcomings, no matter how hard you try. But it is the purpose of human life, to keep learning. Live from zero to hero and die still as a hero.

10. Hating your weaknesses and ignoring your strengths


People who always spend time to complain and moan about their weaknesses, will fail to see their strengths. Just imagine if Stevie Wonder and Andrea Bocelli who are blind, Nick Vujicic who was born without arms and legs, or Stephen Hawking whose motor nerves are not functioning properly, constantly complain about their disabilities, can they become successful figures? God is righteous, He won't create humans who can't do anything. Humans have their own paths to success. Now everything depends on yourself, have you tried to stop complaining and tried to develop your strengths?

That's some good stuff, y'all!

Love your neighbor...*as yourself*. (Mark 12:30-31)



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

"On Fire": And You're Getting Back with Your Ex Because...What Now?,living,memory,past,photography,quotes-a7feda5961ffea4f29bbb25db67525c5_h.jpg

"Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I declare; Before they spring forth I tell you of them.”---Isaiah 42:9(NKJV)


This morning...

I "happened upon" (Proverbs 16:33-AMP) an article about online dating. I have my own discernment about doing it (it's not "wrong" but people really do need to check their motives about if they are trying to "make things happen" as opposed to really trusting God; especially since in God's perfect plan, the Woman was brought to Adam by God not her own design-Genesis 2:22) but that's not the reason for this post. It was something specifically stated in the blog that caused me to "pause my morning" for just a moment:

"Relationships are increasingly lived out on digital networks as people research a person's Web profiles before dating them, then they chat online, and later have a persistent connection with someone on Facebook even after a relationship ends. That trail of photos, timeline history and chat accessibility with exes has effectively ended the traditional idea of a breakup. The Pew study noted that 31 percent of social network users use websites to check up on someone they used to date."

OK. If you follow this blog pretty regularly, then you probably remember that it wasn't too long ago that I shared that I actually went to see what some of my "past dudes" were up to. Not on social media (because I didn't want to connect with them) but on Google. I felt led to do so in order to get some clarity on something *about myself*; not to rekindle anything *with them*. Personally, when my wedding night comes, I'm not interested in (cough, cough) "regifting myself" (Hebrews 13:4) and so I'm not interested in recycling or even upcycling a guy from the past.

However, different people have different goals and ambitions and so while I'm not telling you that you need to take on my mentality about online dating or having sex with an ex (in marriage), I do want to send out a bit of a PSA.

Lately, something that the Spirit (John 4:24) has been talking a lot to me about is motives; that it's important to really be honest, especially with yourself, about your *real and true motives* for why you say and do the things that you say and do. The reason why is this: "We justify our actions by appearances; God examines our motives." (Proverbs 21:2-Message) Oh and this: "Mixed motives twist life into tangles; pure motives take you straight down the road." (Proverbs 21:8-Message)

That said, as I was pondering (Proverbs 4:26) the fact that over 30 percent of people are online "checking up on" who they used to date (have sex with, whatever), I thought about a few things:

1) I actually don't recall a relationship in the Bible where two people broke up, got back together and then got married (if y'all can name a couple, hit me up on the comments). They kept it fairly simple. They met and got together. And stayed together.

2) Unless you are divorced and looking for your original partner for the purpose *and divine order* of reconciliation (and he's not already married to someone else-I Corinthians 7:9-10), what exactly would be the point in going back to an ex? Is it that you've "forgotten" the reason why the two of you broke up in the first place (which hopefully this blog will bring back to your remembrance) or is it that you don't see any other possibilities in sight (2 Corinthians 5:7, Jude 1:2-Message) and so you're going back to what you know?

3) If you're reaching out to the ex, have you ever stopped to ask yourself why they haven't been looking for you? Something that seems to be a bit of a trend with a lot of the women that I talk to is that a part of the reason why they're not with their ex (or exes) anymore is because they didn't feel cherished enough, invested in enough, appreciated enough, cared for enough...*valued enough*. OK, so the way to remedy that is to *initiate* contact again? If a guy didn't take good enough care of you the first time and he really has changed, wouldn't he show that, first, by *reaching out to you himself now*?

4) If you want the best that God has for you, remember what James 1:17(NKJV) says: "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. " Even simple prepositions can make a really big impact if you let them. FROM means "used to indicate the original location, situation, etc". FROM also means "in a period of time starting at". So if for some reason, you are going back to a past guy, *the original situation*, shouldn't it first start with God telling you to do that? And honestly, I don't know of a lot of people who ask God if they should go back to their past nor does biblical history give us a ton of examples when he tells people to. There's Moses---who went back to deliver the Israelites but (catch it) didn't actually make it into the Promised Land (Joshua did-Numbers 27). And there's Naomi who actually went back home after her husband died (Ruth 1). And let me just say this: If your ex feels like "home", then please make sure it's not a home full of dysfunctional. There are a lot of abused children living at home with their abusers.

5) And finally, if you keep looking back at the past (and we all know what happened to Lot's wife when she did that!-Genesis 19:26), can you really remain focused on what God has that is *new* for you? Remember the guy that I referenced in the previous blog? People who were aware of the journey have asked me if he "came back" would I be with him. Well, first peep that they asked about him *coming to me* not me *looking for him*. Also, we never were involved physically; just spiritually and so there would be no "regifting" (not even rekissing) going on (LOL). And finally, for him to come back, let me tell you...that means God *did do* a new thing in his heart because "he" knows the kind of love that I deserve and the standards that God and I require. But would I be with the "version" who hurt me? Absolutely not. One definition of new is "unfamiliar or strange" and "him" or not, I actually welcome an "eyes have not seen, ears have not heard" (I Corinthians 2:9-10) kind of experience now. Since good and perfect gifts come from God and not from me and I like surprise presents, I'm all for welcoming the unfamiliar because that means doing something that I've never done before. Even when it comes to a relationship with a man.

Sometimes, just as the lead verse implies, God *is* in the midst of doing something new, even in matters of the heart, but we're so busy talking about (or is it chasing down?) our *past* that we're not listening (Proverbs 28:9-Message, Isaiah 43:19) to what he's trying to tell us about our *future*. And it's costing us...dearly.

So if you happen to be someone who is considering recycling (LOL), know how it is when the Spirit brings a song to my recollection. It's an oldie but a goodie too!

And before you (re)visit it, let me just say: "A fool for love is not a fool for pain." Love is not foolish because God is love (I John 4:8&16). A fool is just a fool! But when Lisa comes in on the bridge with "If it's not LOVE you've come here for, tell me why you're here knocking at my door?" take a moment to pause and being with an ex about LOVE (in some rare cases, it might be) or something else: lust, loneliness, desperation, fear, low self-esteem, impatience, hopelessness. You get it.

Because if it's anything less than love. It's not going to work. *Again*.

And like a dog returns to his vomit, fools (FOOLS) return to their folly (Proverbs 26:11).

Don't put your own self in harm's way. Please take heed. And one more listen.

Oh and let's throw one more in for good measure. ;-)

tmm, SRW

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"On Fire": Sometimes a Guy Is Not Denying YOU but Your PURPOSE


This is about to set somebody FREE right here!

As a woman and as a doula, one of my favorite verses in Scripture that, to me, speaks to both, is here:

"All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. 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 8:22-25(Message)

A big part of it is because it reminds me that no matter what age you are, what your relational status is, or whether you have (or can have or want to have) children or not, women are here, in part, to *birth* things.

It's a long story and it actually took an entire 3,000+ devotional to break it all down (if you want to read it, shoot me an email to and I'll forward it along to you) but years ago, the Spirit (John 4:24) told me that I would have a son named Perez. At 39, not in a relationship and actually healing from a pretty hard "heart blow", I wasn't sure how that was going to be possible.

Now remember that he said I would *have* a son. Not physically *birth* one. We have to really pay attention to *all* of the words God uses when he speaks to us.

On 07-07 of this year, I got my answer/revelation about Perez (at least this season of Perez) and when I tell you that I learned, live and in living color, what it really means when Isaiah 55:8-11 tells us that our thoughts and ways are not the Lord's and yet *still* his words will not return void...we've really, really (REALLY) got to stop trying to bring God down to our level of reasoning and understanding being that one, he is the MOST HIGH (Genesis 14:19); two, his understanding is infinite (while ours is finite-Psalm 147:5) and three, spiritual matters can only be discerned when we choose to see them...*spiritually* (I Corinthians 2:13-15).

For me, long story short, Perez means "breakthrough" (it's also a derivative of Peter and as biblical characters go, Peter and I are pretty tight-LOL) and one definition of son is "a male descendant" and one definition of descendant is "disciple" (which is what I prefer to call myself over Christian, actually-John 8:31-32). So, piecing all of this together, God was telling me *years ago* that through me, spiritually, I would help others to birth breakthroughs towards discipleship. In some ways, especially when it comes to men.

A trip, right? (Don't limit God!)

So on 07-07, I changed the "face" of my devotionals and they are now called "The Perez Movement". Interestingly enough, years ago, I was also introduced to the fact that butterflies (among many other things) symbolize survivors of sexual abuse. I am one and so I used to collect them...a lot. Well, the picture on my devotional is a butterfly coming out of its cocoon because in order to have breakthroughs, you must transform. One way or another, you have to come out of your, well, *shell*. That's why I was in total awe when the Spirit led me to this verse last year:

“Set up signposts to mark your trip home. Get a good map. Study the road conditions. The road out is the road back. Come back, dear virgin Israel, come back to your hometowns. How long will you flit here and there, indecisive? How long before you make up your fickle mind? God will create a new thing in this land: A transformed woman will embrace the transforming God!”---Jeremiah 31:21-22(Message)

That's a hot verse, fa 'sho!

OK, but let me get to why this message has the title that it does...

A couple of years ago, I experienced a heartbreak like no other. I still love the guy and love covers (Proverbs 10:12) so I'm not going to go into grave detail. But I will say that there was, and in some ways still is, a strong spiritual connection and during that part of the journey, he and I had conversations about Perez. When he told me that he would rather be (cough, cough) let's just say in the limelight, I thought my dream of Perez had died.

But how can a dream die when it was God's vision to begin with?!?

I would *never* pick a name like Perez on my own. So I didn't need to release him on my own, either.

Then one day, the Lord started speaking to me, A LOT, about my purpose. From this blog, to 10...Again to marriage counseling to breaking up engagements (yeah, I'm big on *the right people* being together as opposed to just *two people being together*) to doualing---my entire purpose centers around something the Spirit told me that I was years ago. I have learned that some titles are to remain private but it speaks to establishing and celebrating *true* marital covenant. And for people even to get "breakthroughs" about what *that* means.

So as I'm still on the mend (I'm not a believer that you can hop from dude to dude and call it "being in love" with several of them; that's actually called "being in love with 'love'" that usually isn't love at all), the Spirit recently said to me something that caused me to almost fall right out of my bed:

"So your purpose is to prepare people for and celebrate marital covenant and all that covenant entails as far as you know, 'he' doesn't even see marriage as a priority in his life. In this season, Shellie, how was that going to work? He doesn't complement your purpose. Therefore, he won't be able to provide for or lead in or support it in the way that you require and even deserve. He's not denying 'you'. He told you that he loved you. He's denying your purpose and you can't do anything about that. Only a heart change could change that."


Sometimes, we as women are so focused (or is it consumed or is it obsessed?) with trying to be in a relationship or become someone's "girlfriend" or my personal preference WIFE (why do *grown women* need to spend years being someone's *girlfriend*), that we overlook the fact that even though *a part* of the reason why we're on this earth, if we desire marriage and God sees it fitting into his plan for our lives (Matthew 19:1-12-Message and I Corinthians 7), is to be a helpmate (Genesis 2:18), that's not *all* of who we are.

However, if you don't spend a concerted amount of time discovering your purpose in life, there's a good chance that you'll put "some guy" ahead of the very reason why you were put here on this earth and even though you could still end up married, you might also end up...well, miserable. I actually know a lot of miserable wives who are married to men who do not support their purpose, which I personally believe is a big part of what a husband's need to "dwell with his wife according to understanding" is all about (I Peter 3:7). That said, I also know a lot of wives who are currently sending their husbands through hell, literally, because they are trying to get a man to make them happy when really, he can't do for them what living a purposeful life can. And I've said before that one of my favorite quotes about hell is by Tryon Edwards: "Hell is truth seen too late."

Now is the time, as single woman, to discover the *truth* about your purpose in life.

Yet if you don't make knowing your real and true purpose (YOUR PURPOSE) a top (TOP) priority, you'll walk around thinking that no one wants you or the guy who you desire is rejecting you without looking deeper. Sure, there are simply times when you like someone who doesn't like you. And really, that's OK because if they don't desire you then they're not the right one (or it's not the right time). Yet other times, it's not so much about who you are but what you are here to do on this earth that is simply not a good match for them.

This is a big part of the reason why I personally believe that "not being yoked with unbelievers" (2 Corinthians 6:11-17) is in the Word (John 1:1). It's not that people of interfaith marriages "can't" work. I mean, the Bible is chocked full of them: Moses and Zipporah, Boaz and Ruth, King Xerses and Esther...the list goes on. But in the Word, you will notice that other than Esther, *the men were believers* and since women are to submit to men (whether they choose to accept that or not-LOL-Ephesians 5:22, Colossians 3:18), it makes sense that Moses converted Zipporah and Boaz converted Ruth, right?

Yet when a woman is trying to grow in her purpose and calling in life (Romans 11:29) and the man in her world does not have the spiritual insight to do what the Spirit told me couples should do for one another, PROPEL her, then there are going to be some real challenges at best and serious problems at worse.

Yes, you are to bring divine favor (Proverbs 18:22) to your husband.

And yes, he is to propel you: "to drive, or cause to move, forward or onward". Especially when it comes to your purpose.

And again, if you really don't know what you're on this earth to do, it's going to be hard to look past someone's looks, personality or even all of the "I love yous" to really and truly see if they are your God-ordained "purpose propeller". Or not. You know, someone who has the spirit and the ambition and the desire and praying power and the commitment to drive cause you to move forward and onward throughout the rest of your days. (Matthew 19:6)

So, whether you're going through a heartbreak...

Or you're feeling super lonely and rejected...

Or you're simply wondering "Where is he?!?" in a yelling voice (LOL)...

I want to encourage you to take all of this to heart.

*Chill out*.

A relationship is not just about two people being together but two purposes growing together.

And take it from me, when you really get why God put you here on this earth and you truly understand that no one can do what you do quite like you do it (Psalm 33:15, I Corinthians 12:11), you'll find yourself so in love with, so engrossed in, so connected to your purpose that if "he" can't encourage and support it, "he" is not someone you really want to be with anyway.

Hmph. Funny how that all works out. Funny how you find yourself not feeling "rejected" but *thankful* that if he can't propel you, he needs to...move out of you and your purpose's way!

And you actually end up *denying "him"* (look up the definitions of "deny" sometime).

You can only walk together in agreement (Amos 3:3), right? *Exactly*.



Sunday, October 20, 2013

"On Fire": Do You Tend to Choose the RIGHT Man or the WRONG Men? (Hint: You Choose the Right Man Once!)

I don't know...

Maybe it's because it's getting colder outside and the Lord wants to make sure that a lot of women don't end up snuggling under the wrong, um, sources in order to stay warm but there seems to be a real influx of ladies talking about destructive relational patterns that they are in as of late.

And by pattern, I mean literally that: Finding themselves in the same kind of emotional or relational situations...over and over and over again.

And so, I wanted to share one of my favorite clips from Sex & the City. I'm sure a part of it is because I, at one time, could relate to exactly where Carrie was. I'm sure another part of it is that a big part of my ministry is rooted in the name "Perez" which actually means "breakthrough" and after (re)watching the clip, you'll see why it's paramount.

Yet another part of it is due to the fact that if you happen to be on the devotional list that I pen, then you know that just last week, I referenced one of the best books that I have ever (EVER) read: Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren't. I don't care what kind of situation you're in, if you haven't read the book before, it's an absolute must-have and a real page turner. You see, a lot of women wonder why they end up with men who are not "safe" (free from hurt, injury, danger, or risk; involving little or no risk of mishap, error, etc.; dependable or trustworthy) and honestly, it's because they themselves are not safe.

Take Carrie (in this episode), for example. There were all kinds of red flags.

1) She had just broken up with someone. (You need time to see why something ended before beginning something else.)

2) Her friends recommended that she see a therapist because she was obsessing over the break-up.

3) She thought she was smarter than the therapist and ignored one very telling point in the therapy session: She dated game players and the one thing that all of them had in common was her. This meant that on some level, she also was a game player.

4) She (sigh) picked up a guy at a therapist's office. Again: SHE PICKED UP A GUY AT A THERAPIST'S OFFICE. Brings a whole new meaning to "damaged goods". (At least let the dude get healthier first.)

5) She saw his looks and charm and nothing else. Uh-huh. According to the Bible, one of the most destructive men in biblical history was also quite attractive, Saul (I Samuel 9:2-Oh, and let's not forget Lucifer for that matter!-Ezekiel 28:12) and Proverbs 31:30 says that "charm is deceitful" which is why women who are waiting for their "Prince Charming" doesn't move me.

6) She didn't dig deeper before getting into bed with him. And let me stop here. If you have sex with someone you are not married to, you're not much better than she is. If you want to know the *real character* of a man, it's revealed in the fact that he loves you enough to wait until after he's promised God that he'll take care of you: mind, body and spirit. All three, not just one. For the rest of your life.

7) She was cocky (or is it delusional?) enough to assume that *everyone else* had problems; that nothing was wrong with her.

Oh but then came this part. And let me preface it by saying that I tried to find the non-HBO version and couldn't, so all the super-sensitive-to-cuss-words folks, please overlook the two of them in this case. The breakthrough makes it work while:

"I pick the wrong men."

Wrong: not in accordance with what is morally right or good; deviating from truth or fact; erroneous; not correct in action, judgment, opinion, method, etc., as a person; in error; not proper or usual; not in accordance with requirements or recommended practice; out of order; awry; amiss

You know, it's in humility (Luke 14:11) and confession (James 5:16) that we grow and so if your relationship record is less-than-stellar, while it might be "easier" to blame it all on the guy(s), stop and take a moment and think if, like Carrie, you too have the habit of choosing the wrong men.

Who is not morally right (MORALLY RIGHT) for you.

Who is not good (beneficial) for you.

Who is not correct in his actions towards you.

Who is not proper for you.

Who is not in accordance with God's requirements for you.

Who is out of order (are there other things that you really need to be focusing on right now because God does things in a *decent order*-I Corinthians 14:40) for you.

Who has some things within his character (Colossians 3:12-17) that are amiss or awry.

Just as I shared with a woman over the weekend, if you put your head into the tiger's mouth, he's probably going to bite you. And being bitten is more your fault than the tiger's because putting yourself *in the wrong place* was *your choice*.

When you opt to choose (CHOOSE) the right men, look at how "right" is defined:

Right: in accordance with what is good, proper, or just; in conformity with fact, reason, truth, or some standard or principle; correct; correct in judgment, opinion, or action; fitting or appropriate; suitable; most convenient, desirable, or favorable

Choosing the right man means choosing someone who is in accordance with what is good (according to God's standards). Choosing the right man is choosing someone who conforms with the Word's facts, reasons and truths. He has standards and lives his life based on principle. Choosing the right man means choosing someone who uses good judgment in his words and in his actions. Choosing the right man means choosing someone who is appropriate and suitable for you (especially as it relates to your calling and your purpose). Choosing the right man means choosing someone who is (and on some levels, I like this one most) is most convenient, desirable and favorable.

The *right* man will be "suitable or agreeable to the needs or purpose; well-suited with respect to facility or ease in use; favorable, easy, or comfortable for use". (Convenient)

The *right* man will be "worth having or wanting; pleasing, excellent, or fine" and  (by God) "advisable; recommendable". (Desirable)

The *right* man will be "characterized by approval or support; positive" and "creating or winning favor; pleasing". (Favorable)

And something else about the right man? He will be *singular* not plural.

So if you're tired of the pattern that you've been in or are in, take out some time to really ponder (Proverbs 4:26) if when it comes to *your choices*, do you gravitate towards what's right or what's wrong?

You have more power than you probably give yourself credit for.

To make what's wrong...right.

*Please* choose wisely.