Wednesday, May 27, 2015

"On Fire": Don't Romanticize MIXED SIGNALS


This is probably more of a PSA than anything else. And I pray---oh, how I pray---that it is received because it can spare you so much of the drama and heartache that I used to experience.

Something that I'm embracing now, far more than I used to, is the fact that I really am a child of the Most High (Psalm 82:6). No, not in theory but literally. And because I am that, because I am made in his image to reflect his likeness (Genesis 1:26-28), I need to really pay close and consistent attention to verses in Scripture like (excuse the play on words), it's not cool to be lukewarm (Revelation 3:16), double-mindedness really does speak to instability (James 1:2-8) and we are called to be "the light of the world" (Matthew 5:14). Something that light is defined as being is "something that makes things visible or affords illumination". *Light helps to make things clear*. Or clearer.

OK, so let's look at all of this from a relational perspective...

Some of you may recall that last December, I posted a blog with this title: "Wanna Know What's Next? Ask God to Give Your Love Life a WORD." How many of you actually *made the time* to do this particular exercise? Although my conscience is telling me that it's best to keep my own word to myself, what I will tell you about it is this: *Things got a whole lot clearer once the Holy Spirit (John 14:26-AMP) gave it to me!* I think one of the reasons why is because the word is so strong, so purposeful, so *intentional* that there's no room for lukewarmness, double-mindedness...*mixed signals*---from a man.

Technically, a mixed signal is "A message that is uncertain because multiple interpretations are being conveyed at one time." However, being that the Word tells us that "God is not the author of confusion" (I Corinthians 14:33), it's pretty safe to say that he's also not the author of mixed signals. In fact, I'd venture to also say that a big part of what "guard your heart" (Proverbs 4:23) and "the heart is deceitful" (Jeremiah 17:9) are alluding to is if you get too caught up in the "center of your emotions" (one definition of heart), especially when dealing with the opposite sex, you tend to not see things as they are. You tend to invite multiple interpretations. You tend to focus on how you want things to be while not looking at the total reality of the matter. That's not good, healthy or productive: "It’s best to stay in touch with both sides of an issue. A person who fears God deals responsibly with all of reality, not just a piece of it." (Ecclesiastes 7:18-Message)

And so, since God is not big on "mixed messages", why should we be?

I thought about this even more when I checked out an article that basically took mixed messages even further: "6 Reasons That Prove Mixed Signals Do Not Exist And You’re Just In Denial". Dun, dun, dun, dun (LOL)! Yeah, a wise man once said that we don't see things as they are. We see them as *we* are. And so, if we're willing to put up with mixed signals, if we make our hearts subject to mass confusion, what does that say about us? (I don't have the answer. That's more of a rhetorical question, I guess.)

Here were the reasons:

Actions Speak Louder Than Words: If someone’s words (or text messages) lead you to believe that he or she is into you, but the actions prove otherwise, listen to the actions. Do not let yourself get confused because someone said “Hey gorgeous, I’d love to see you sometime soon” but the person doesn’t actually ever make plans to see you. Actions speak louder than words.

Players Only Love You When They’re Playing. This point sort of speaks for itself. A female or male player might pretend to be interested in you or even pretend to care about you because he or she might have some sort of ulterior motive. If someone is playing you, it can create a false sense of intimacy. Eventually, the true colors will show and it will be around that time when you start complaining about mixed signals.

When You Know, You Know. When someone is really interested in you, you will know. It will be clear. There will not be mixed signals. When this happens, it will feel effortless, natural and easy. The anxiety sustained from wondering and waiting will be nonexistent. You will hear from this person often and you will not feel played.

Inconsistency Is Not Something You Should Deal With. Whether you’re looking for something casual or something more serious, if someone is inconsistent with you and it is bothering you, move on. For example, if someone you’re interested in contacts you on a regular basis and then drops off the face of the earth for a few weeks and then repeats the same cycle, try not to get too frustrated. Simply do not invest any more of your time. In poker terms, fold. “Mixed signals” such as these are not worth your time and effort.

Most People Don’t Want To Put All Of Their Eggs In One Basket. You may be confusing mixed signals with someone who is simply not focused on just you. From time to time, this person’s focus drifts to the other people he or she is seeing – and that’s simply this person’s prerogative.

The Secret Lover Is Not A Thing. If someone is all about you in private, but is reluctant to introduce you to his or her friends or family or take you out in public, there could be trouble in paradise. If someone can’t show any affection whatsoever unless you’re alone, that’s not mixed signals, that’s just a red flag.

Whew! Get free Wednesday (John 8:31-32)! That's what today is (LOL)! And the author's first point? That's Scriptural: "Little children, let us not love [merely] in theory or in speech but in deed and in truth (in practice and in sincerity)." (I John 3:18-AMP) God is love (I John 4:8&16) and he shows his love to us all of the time. Yes, love is designed to be put into practice. Again:



This includes the oh so famous "state of indecision" that some folks use, basically as a a stall tactic. Just this morning, I read a picture quote that said "You are not just a phase". And you know what? Mature (Matthew 19:11-12-Message) individuals know this about the people they deal with. This means that they are not sitting around "on the fence".

For the record, there is a difference between being "undecided" about someone and being "in prayer" (in order to receive divine wisdom--James 1:5) about the situation. Yep, don't confuse *your impatience* (James 1:4) for being someone's indecision. I'm simply saying, if a man is praying about you and the relationship, on way or another, he convey that. If he's not saying much of anything, his actions are sporadic or inconsistent and you have no clue what is really going on---all of that would be considered receiving mixed signals as a result of his indecisiveness. And you know what? Indecision *is* decision.

OK, and what if a part of you is *still* wanting to romanticize the situation? Look, if he's a believer (and biblically, that should be the only real contender for you--2 Corinthians 6:11-18), he knows how to find out what to do about you. It's also biblical:

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened."---Matthew 7:7-8(NKJV)

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths."---Proverbs 3:5-6(NKJV)

And one of my personal favorites for this particular kind of message:

"A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps."---Proverbs 16:9(NKJV)

Preach King Solomon! A man who is undecided is this kind of man: "The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich." (Proverbs 13:4-NKJV) Once a man seeks, once a man puts his trust in God, once a man makes a plan concerning who you are to be in his life, God helps him to find the right answer, God starts to direct his path and his steps.

Now, I'm not saying that steps will be directed toward you...

I'm saying that steps will be implemented in such a way to where neither one of you will be wasting one another's time. The guy will know what to do next and so will you. Because you both *decided* that you wanted to know what God had in mind. That leaves little to no room for any kind of mixed signals.

As I was penning this, a spiritual brother of mine sent me a list based on something I am praying with him about. There are no accidents (Proverbs 16:33-AMP) and so I wanted to share #20. I discern (Proverbs 2) it's how all of should be so that we can avoid the ever-annoying mixed signals and valleys of indecision:

"Being a woman...isn't about how she has to fight for her place in this world or religion. It's about knowing how amazing she is as the crown of creation...created in the image of God to be the first help mate to man. [A woman] understands who she is in Christ and lives and moves in that. And she's willing to continue to just be in Christ and move in that."---Sharif Iman

And when a woman is in *this lane*...

How can there possibly be any room in her mind/heart/spirit for any mixed signals?




Monday, May 25, 2015

An Ounce of Prevention: CLEAR SIGNS That a Man Wants (and Doesn't Want) to MARRY YOU

"So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her."---Genesis 29:20


Although there are layers upon layers as to why Jacob ended up in the position that he did of serving for Rachel, it's still one of my favorite (biblical) examples that when a man is in love, *he will put forth effort*.

I gave this some more thought when I read "5 Signs HE WON'T Marry You" (click on the link to read all of it):

You Have Been Reduced to Begging
Waiting for the Right Time
He Suggests a “Trial Period”
An Engagement With No Date Set
The Rescheduled Wedding

Case in point: I know one woman who, when she started dating the guy (now almost seven years ago), he showed all kinds of signs and indications that marriage was not in the plans. She didn't want to accept that though and now (sigh) she's been dating him for so long that she's convinced herself that marriage is not necessary (double sigh) so long as they can be together. (Are you "together" if you're not really *together*?)

Something that Bible believers/disciples are to keep in mind is that we're not really supposed to "just date". Our time, emotions and bodies are simply too precious and purpose-filled for that. No, we are supposed to *court*. I really like how this one particular author broke the differences down:

My definition of dating is that it is a modern game where intimacy is practiced before commitment. It often involves romantic talk, holding hands, kissing, making out, and oftentimes sex. Commitment never proceeds intimacy. The word date comes from the word mate. It doesn’t sound good to tell someone you are mating with Mr. X. You prefer to use the word dating. It sounds so much better, but in reality, dating and mating are sometimes the same. I looked up the word date in my encyclopedia and it said, "see Sex and Teenage." Even my encyclopedia agrees with my definition.

Courtship is the time-honored and successful practice of learning about someone enough to know whether or not the two is compatible for marriage. It often involves friendship, discussing each individual’s future plans, knowing the parents if they’re alive, and praying privately for God’s will in the matter. After deciding it is God’s will to get married, the couple prays together and then go to their parents to seek their blessings and finally to the pastor to seek his approval. After engaged the couple still avoids intimacy until marriage. Commitment comes before intimacy.

*Commitment should come before intimacy*.

Well said. And not just physical intimacy but emotional intimacy as well. Shoot, even spiritual intimacy for that matter because a lot of women ended up falling *way too fast* and *way too hard* for a guy simply because they are sharing of themselves---mind, body and/or spirit---than he's deserving of at the time they are doing it.

That's why some women can never be physical with a dude and still end up utterly devastated when things don't work out. There's a difference between *disappointed* and *devastated*. One of the main differences is the first speaks to having boundaries and guarding one's heart (Proverbs 4:23); the second...doesn't. I've learned this lesson firsthand.

And so of the main indicators that a guy is considering you for marriage is dating is not the focus; *courting is*. And he will put forth effort to show you the difference between the two.

Hmph. I remember one guy telling me "I'm dating you. I'm dating a lot of women." First up, I thought "That was pretty arrogant to say" because I actually didn't consider us as "dating" but secondly, he does have a point. Dating doesn't usually have a lot of serious, real or lasting intention and so that's why a lot of women can find themselves "dating a guy" forever with them being unfulfilled and the guy being, well, just fine.

And then there's the article "3 Ways to Tell If He's Marriage Material Before You Even Meet Him" (you know, how to check him out via social media first...if that's your thing):

Positivity. You want a guy who describes what he wants, rather than what he doesn't want. According to Battista, if his online profile is filled with negatives, e.g., "I'm not interested in women who consider themselves high-maintenance" or "Women who work more than 50 hours a week need not apply," this should be a red flag. "This is an indication that he may be dating in reaction to what didn't work in his last relationship," says Battista. On the other hand, if a man is describing what he wants and how the two of you could create a partnership together, the signs are pointing to the possibility that he's open and ready.

Variety. It really is the spice of life. Battista says that rather than age, a glimpse into a guy's lifestyle is the true measure of his maturity. If the majority of his profile pictures are of him partying with his friends or showing off his abs on the beach, it's a good indication of his lifestyle. "Consider what this says about his values and how he spends his time," cautions Battista. What you should be looking for is a guy with varied interests, who is ready to put time into a relationship as well.

Establishment. Whatever his job is, consider where he is in his career. "Men who say things like 'I'm building my law practice' or 'Shifting into photography after a long career as a graphic designer' may intimate that the professional piece of his life isn't settled," Battista claims. For most men to be ready for a serious relationship, they need to feel settled in their career so they have time for something else.

Good points. Even in the Garden of Eden, Adam had an established purpose/job FIRST (Genesis 1-2). Sadly, a lot of women feel it is there job, during the dating process, to *convince a man* that either he wants to get married or wants to marry them. *It's not*. When he's complete as a person (James 1:4) and spiritually mature (Matthew 19:11-12), he doesn't need to be convinced; only compelled and not by you but the Father.

Which brings me to yet another article "Signs He's Never Going to Marry You (And Why You Should Thank Him)":

He's Evasive About the Future
He Wants to Be More Successful, More Financially Secure
He "Doesn't Know"
He Can Only Talk about Weddings or Marriage While Being Sarcastic, Ironic or Snarky

I'm going to share all of #3:

When my friend quit her job, moved to her boyfriend's city, moved in together and started looking at rings, she thought he was The One. So when months later she asked, "Do you want to marry me?" she was unprepared for his response of, "I don't know." If after living together, starting her life and career over, he still "didn't know," then deep down he did. If you feel confident you are with the man you want to marry and asking him elicits a half-hearted, non-committal answer -- realize what's really going on. No one should take marriage lightly, but at some point, you must lay all your cards on the table. What other information does he think he needs to know? When in doubt, direct questions often give you the right answer even if when it is "I don't know." It may not be what you want to hear, but it's the truth. (And my friend broke up with her boyfriend, moved back to her city, had a rough breakup year and then met her current husband).

"I don't know" is not "someday".
"I don't know" is "I haven't really given it much thought and I'm not pressed to.

You deserve a man who *knows*.

So, in honor of the men who have shown clear signs that they wanted to marry their beloved, I decided to share a few marriage proposal videos. Just to keep anyone who is tempted to become cynical about finding real love and getting married from doing so (I Corinthians 10:13).

"Marriage material men" are out there.
Just stop ignoring the signs of the ones who aren't...well...*them*.

This first one "bucks the world's system" for sure BUT check it out:

And then I really like Tyson and Haley's proposal and then the video of him seeing her in her wedding dress. (Peep how the socks match the shoes. They are too cute!)

Don't settle. WHY SETTLE?

Just wait on God and the man who will give you...the right signs.




This a great "men need accountability while dating" quote: