Wednesday, January 28, 2015

"On Fire": Is 'He' COMPARABLE to You? Or Do You (Just) Have Things in COMMON?

"And the Lord God said, 'It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.'"---Genesis 2:18(NKJV)

It's been a while...

Since I've quoted a piece from Baggage Reclaim (there really are some good pieces on there); however, the one I saw today had some points that I really felt needed to be shared. The title of it is "Don't Conflate (to fuse into one entity; merge) Common Interests with Character and Shared Core Values". Here are some excerpts:

It’s not the biggest leap in the universe to think that because you’ve met somebody who shares similar interests to you that you also share similar values, but in practice, it’s an enormous leap that ignores the fact that a person could have a fundamentally different character and set of desires to you while still working in the same field, or enjoying the same shows, or enjoying the same hobbies and interests...

You could meet somebody who shares all or most of your interests and they may be the opposite of the core values that you represent.

Those interests will ensure that you have a good time together to a point and that you also have something to talk about, but if their values are the opposite of the values you embody or are even working towards, your relationship will not work and you will run out of things to talk about that relate to adding depth and strength to your relationship. You will be with a wine buff, 90s hip-hop loving person who you cannot rely on and who doesn’t want to be and do the things that stack up to a mutually fulfilling relationship.

If they’re not sharing your core values, the ones that speak for your character and also the direction and depth of your life, you’re just play-acting at a relationship and effectively trying to make a pig’s ear into a silk purse. They might make great ‘casual relationship’ (oxymoron alert) partners, friends, colleagues etc, but to commit to a long term romantic relationship with? Um, no.

She is so right.


It's like what I sometimes say in devos, on here and when I'm public speaking: "God did not say that he would give man someone to 'love'. He said he would make someone comparable to him." As followers of the Word and also as women who desire to be married to God's will/best for us, someone who has common interests with us should not outshine their character (based on what the bible defines godly character to be-Colossians 3:12-17) nor should it overshadow our yearning to be with the one who is, as Genesis 2:18 says, is *comparable* to us.

Comparable means "capable of being compared; having features in common with something else to permit or suggest comparison". Comparable means "similar". One definition of compare is "to appear in a similar standing". One Hebrew word used in reference to comparable is "damah". It means "to be like" and to "resemble".

Being that God is Spirit (John 4:24), we're told to "walk in the Spirit" (Galatians 5:16-17) and marriage is defined as being a "faith-based union" (Hebrews 11, 2 Corinthians 5:7), when our Heavenly Father speaks of making us comparable to our spouse, it's not about if we both like pizza and/or action films and/or rainy days. First and foremost, it's about if our spirit natures are in sync (hence us being told to not be unequally yoked with unbelievers-2 Corinthians 6:11-18).

Our spirits need to be alike.
Our spirits need to resemble God (Genesis 1:26-28).
Our spirits, the godly part of us, need to have so much in common with "him" that we seem very similar---to our husbands.
So that our spirits can represent covenant and do kingdom work---together.
In a way that no other two spirits, becoming one, ever could. Or will.

So, as you're finding more and more about "him"...
Don't put "common traits" over *comparable*.

One thing is cool.
But the other? That is oh so very divine!



Sunday, January 25, 2015

"On Fire": Make Sure to Remember What You Are WAITING For

"For since the beginning of the world men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen any God besides You, Who acts for the one who waits for Him."---Isaiah 64:4(NKJV)


Between watching With This Ring last night and penning a piece for a publication on the benefits of waiting over settling, reading an article about a woman who married herself this morning (???) and listening to someone talk about how tired she is of waiting, I took that as a universal/God sign (not necessarily in that order-Daniel 4:2-3) to pen this.

As I was praying for the "On Fire" women recently, it was interesting the story that came to mind: Jacob and Rachel. Only, it wasn't from the angle that it's oftentimes told: Jacob's willingness to work for years due to this love for Rachel (for the record, that is sweet and all, but it's also a really big lesson in sowing and reaping. He and his mother tricked Esau and Isaac, his mother's brother tricked him---be careful what you sow!-Galatians 6:7-8).

For the first time, I thought about it from Rachel's perspective...

Sure, the Word tells us that it years seemed like days for Jacob (Genesis 29:20).



For whatever the reason, the Bible doesn't give us insight into that and honestly, it always a good idea to take culture into account. She was promised to Jacob, by her father Laban. Therefore, even if she was tired of waiting to get married, I'm not so sure she could just "up and marry someone else". Eastern culture tends to take their vows a lot more seriously than (sadly) Western civilization does (Ecclesiastes 5:1-7).

However, seven years is still a long time and based on all of that foolish bickering that she and her sister Leah did later up the pike, I'm led to believe that Rachel truly did care deeply for Jacob. After all, together they made Joseph and Benjamin. Reportedly, Joseph was Jacob's favorite out of all of his kids. A true "love child" indeed (Genesis 37).


Although we don't know exactly what Rachel was thinking, I believe there is something that we all can learn from her. She didn't abandon her post. She didn't run away and marry someone else. I venture to say that since Jacob felt like seven years was only a few days (seven years is a long time, y'all), she wasn't nagging him to death either.

Rachel knew what she was waiting for and so...she waited.

She waited in all of the ways that waiting is defined:

She waited this way: "to remain inactive or in a state of repose, as until something expected happens".

She waited this way: "to be available or in readiness".

She waited this way: "to look forward to eagerly".

She waited this way: "to delay temporarily or be temporarily delayed".

She even waited this way: "to remain neglected for a time".

What this reminds me is...

God never told us that it would be easy to wait.

He did tell us this, though:

"But as it is written: 'Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.' But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God."---I Corinthians 2:9-10(NKJV)

And here's where the connect-the-dots come in. Isaiah 64:4 and so many other verses, speak on the importance of waiting; not on a man or a relationship or a wedding but on the Lord. And just like Rachel did for Jacob, we oftentimes have to wait in all of the ways that she did. And yes, sometimes, although to God "a day is as a thousand years" (2 Peter 3:8), it seems like forever to us.

The thing that we have to keep in mind is this:


It can be easy, even addicting, to lose sight of that, but don't.

Year one...
Year two...
Year five...

It may feel like nothing is happening but if you *tap into your spirit*, you'll see that God's got your back. In ways that you could never dream possible because...well...he's God.

So, are you tired of waiting?
That understandable. And human.

You were made to reflect God's image, though (Genesis 1:26-28).
You are a daughter of the Most High (Psalm 82:6).
You are truly special. Especially to him (I Peter 2:9-10).

Waiting gets a lot easier to bear when you get your mind off of the waiting itself...
And you remember just what it is that you are waiting for. And on.

God first. And he always knows what he's doing.
(Deuteronomy 32:4, 2 Samuel 22:31-&33)

His best for you second. That's always going to top what you have in mind. For yourself.
(James 1:17)

When you settle in the fact that God cannot lie (Titus 1:2) and he said he can do things that will truly blow your mind...

Doesn't that make the waiting...worth it?

Yes. I agree.



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

An Ounce of Prevention: (VIDEO) '"Life is Better With You" Michael Franti and Sara Agah Engagement Video'


I'm always down for a good proposal. Especially when creativity is integrated into it. Putting a credit card down on a diamond? Eh. Finding a unique way to express your love and intentions towards your beloved? #priceless

That said,  per an article that I checked out on Huffington Post last night:

On Tuesday, singer and poet Michael Franti shared the news of his engagement to nurse and jewelry designer Sara Agah on Facebook with a special engagement video he created to his 2013 song "Life Is Better With You."

"I wrote 'Life Is Better With You' three years ago as a song I hoped to be played at our future wedding and made this video for Sara using clips I shot of her on my iPhone over the past three years," Franti wrote on Facebook. "At a surprise dinner I planned in Bali, I played her the song on acoustic guitar and then showed her the video."

He added that she was "quite moved" by the gesture and naturally, she said, "yes!"

Yeah. That's hot. A collage of moments over three years. In video form.

 Yep. Men, *who want to be married to a particular woman*, continue to show us that...

What a man wants, he will put energy, effort and passion into.

Enjoy yet another visual reminder below!



Tuesday, January 20, 2015

An Ounce of Prevention: (VIDEO) 'The (Abortion) Apology' (from Men)

I'll say this...

As a woman who has had four abortions, a woman can heal, a lot quicker, when she's not going through the healing process alone. When the father of the aborted child(ren) is willing to address/process/face the issue with her.

And that is what I appreciate about this video...

There is a real humility and conviction and regret/remorse from these men.

A godly man is not perfect, but he is someone who owns his mistakes.
And then makes amends (Matthew 5:23-24).

Whether you're an abortion survivor or not, let this be a reminder that a prideful man brings pain...

A humble man brings forth restoration.



"On Fire": What Is Your 'Single Woman Standard'?

 Last night...

While talking to one of my favorite people on the planet about a funny T-shirt that she ordered from a pop culture clothing website that had me be like "What's the name again?", I found myself liking a couple of them myself. One that I think some of y'all may want to purchase and rock is right here:


Although I'm personally not big on a man having to basically kill himself in order to get a woman's attention (wives are gifts from God not man-obtained acquisitions-Genesis 2:22), I do like one particular definition of earn: DESERVE.

One definition of deserve is "to merit, be qualified for, or have a claim to (reward, assistance, punishment, etc.) because of actions, qualities, or situation". A lot of single women who desire to be married never even think about the fact that a man should be *qualified* to be with them. And being that marriage is a faith-based union that *God created* (Genesis 2:18-25, Matthew 19:1-12-Message), the qualifications need to be based, not on the woman's standards but the Lord's.

The guy's actions need to prove that he's qualified.
The guy's qualities (character-Colossians 3:12-17) need to prove that he's qualified.
The guy's "state of affairs" and "combination of circumstances" (situation) need to prove that he's qualified.

Not just to marry you...
But to even date (preferably court) you as well.

And that's why I like that shirt so much. It's a reminder that being single isn't about being lonely. Being single is about becoming a qualified woman.
A woman who God deems is in the position for all that he has in mind for her.

And if that includes a husband, she will be so healthy and whole that she'll know that "he" needs to...

Be qualified to have her...
Be in the position to deserve her...
Be able and willing to earn her.

That said...

There is a quote that I read a few night ago by an actress:

"I know now that there are men out there who are, for me, the whole package, who are supportive of my successes because they know I will be just as supportive of theirs. I'm less tolerant of foolishness now; I know that it's important I not tie myself up with the wrong person, because then I will miss the right person coming along."---Ginnifer Goodwin

There are two reasons why I really like it.

One, it shows that she seems to have a strong sense of self. She's not looking for a man to make her feel complete or to validate her worth or to fill some void. She desires someone who will support successes that she has established before he ever came into her life. When you look at your life, *what successes have you accomplished*? ("How To Be Successful In Life: 13 Tips From The World’s Most Successful People" is a great article.)

Secondly, I like that her coming to that place has made her less tolerant of settling. Yes, when you know your worth and value, you are far less prone to "cast your pearls before swine" (Matthew 7:6). You know you are worthy of a man who will pay a great price to be with you (Matthew 13:45-46).

And why will he be willing to do make such a big investment? It's due to another stellar quote that I recently read:

“A single candle can fight against any darkness and light up a room. Its glow can be seen for miles in the gloom of dusk. A single candle can comfort our spirit in a storm as its flame tangos with the shadows and flickers with resilient hopes. A single candle can show us the way simply by standing by our side. A single candle can inspire nostalgia and warm our very souls. So too… can a single person. Burn brightly today."---Jason Versey

Matthew 5:14 commissions us to be the light of the world.

Where are you striving to be light in your part of the world?

2 Corinthians 13:11(NKJV) says "Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you."

Who would consider you to be a source of comfort? 
(Rather than you always looking for someone to comfort you?)

A single person can inspire others.

One definition of inspire is influence and James 2:1-4(Message) says "My dear friends, don’t let public opinion influence how you live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith."

We are not here to influence people to live contrary to the Word of God but to develop a closer relationship with him.

How are you inspiring and influencing others? Through your work and your actions?

There is a someone I was talking to who is currently in a troubled marriage and what he said was quite jarring---and memorable: "Shellie, I could hire a maid and a prostitute to do what my wife does. Nothing about her is exceptional." Yep. Ouches all the way around. Yet, the main purpose of this blog is to prepare us, *beforehand*, for marriage. And what he says has some merit.

We should not be seeking to only "get married" or "be a wife". Millions of women are able to fit that criteria. No, your future husband should see you as being *exceptional*, heads-and-shoulders above the rest---absolutely amazing.

Marriage doesn't make a woman that way.

Embracing singleness and making the most of that time so that you can become whole and complete does.

So, if you're thinking about purchasing an "Earn me" T-shirt, there's no point in false advertising, right? As you're thinking about what you want in a man, also think about what your single woman standard should be. One definition of standard is "approved model". It's important to use this time to get you and your future husband's Heavenly Father's approval.

That said...

Take some time out this week and ponder (Proverbs 4:26) over how you want to be a light in the world, who you're called to comfort and how you wish to inspire others---*even now*.

The more you focus on being an amazing single woman...
The closer you'll get to a really good man. The one who truly deserves you.