Monday, February 29, 2016

"On Fire": Why Rush FOREVER?


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Last week sometime...

I read an article from one of the women (?) contestants (?) contenders (?)---I'm not sure what they would prefer to be called---from a past season of The Bachelor. It happens from time to time but it's rare that I'll reference the show at all. Not for the reason a lot of people think because I stand firm on the fact that the story of Esther doesn't veer too far off from it:

"Before each young woman was taken to the king’s bed, she was given the prescribed twelve months of beauty treatments—six months with oil of myrrh, followed by six months with special perfumes and ointments. When it was time for her to go to the king’s palace, she was given her choice of whatever clothing or jewelry she wanted to take from the harem. That evening she was taken to the king’s private rooms, and the next morning she was brought to the second harem, where the king’s wives lived. There she would be under the care of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch in charge of the concubines. She would never go to the king again unless he had especially enjoyed her and requested her by name.
 

Esther was the daughter of Abihail, who was Mordecai’s uncle. (Mordecai had adopted his younger cousin Esther.) When it was Esther’s turn to go to the king, she accepted the advice of Hegai, the eunuch in charge of the harem. She asked for nothing except what he suggested, and she was admired by everyone who saw her.
 

Esther was taken to King Xerxes at the royal palace in early winter of the seventh year of his reign. And the king loved Esther more than any of the other young women. He was so delighted with her that he set the royal crown on her head and declared her queen instead of Vashti. To celebrate the occasion, he gave a great banquet in Esther’s honor for all his nobles and officials, declaring a public holiday for the provinces and giving generous gifts to everyone."---Esther 2:12-18(NLT)

In the one book of the Bible where God's name is not mentioned once, things got pretty racy. It doesn't matter how much people may want to put a spin on it. The Bible is not a collection of stories about people who were perfect or did things perfectly. The Bible is a series of testimonies about how God can move through steps...and sometimes even missteps. And in Esther's case, she married a *pagan* king. Nowhere in the Word are we encouraged to do that (2 Corinthians 6:11-18). It was a sacrifice she was willing to make to save the lives of her people. People who, to this day, frown on interfaith/anti-faith unions. Ironically.

No time to get into all of that though...
Just wanted to lay some Scriptural foundation.

So yeah, the folks who talk about how they hate The Bachelor/Bachelorette and then turn around and say they want Esther's story, I am oftentimes confused. Kinda like the women who say they want to be pursued and then say they want a man like Boaz. BOAZ DID NOT PURSUE RUTH. IT WAS EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE (Ruth 3). And why doesn't that bother me? Because I like what GOD said in Genesis 2:22 and that trumps the perspective people have about what King Solomon said in Proverbs 18:22. Besides, you can still "find me" if I'm *brought* to you. One definition of find is "gain". Another definition of find is "feel". Another definition of find is "meet with". It doesn't only mean "to locate, attain, or obtain by search or effort". A wife is a gift. Why would God put a man through the toil if searching for something he would naturally bring to him? Voluntarily?

Again, let me stay focused (LOL)...

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Anyway, I was reading an article by a former...participant on the series (Ali Fedotowsky). The title of the article was this: "'Bachelor' Girls Can't Tell Ben Higgins They're In Love Because They 'Aren't Really in Love Yet'". Apparently Ben is the current suitor on the show. Here's an excerpt of what Ali said:

"You guys probably noticed this episode that the girls had a really hard time telling Ben 'I love you,'" Fedotowsky, the season 6 Bachelorette, wrote on her lifestyle blog. "They just couldn’t get the words out. The reason these girls can’t tell him 'I love you' is because they aren’t really in love yet. Can I be 100 percent certain they aren’t in love? Well no, of course not."

"I can say that EVERY person I’ve ever talked to on the show has told me that they weren’t really in love on the show, they just thought they were in the moment," Fedotowsky wrote. "They were in lust! Heck, even the married couples from the show say that. Ask Jason and Molly or Ashley and JP. I bet they would say that they didn’t really know the person on the show, and they truly fell in love AFTER the show."

Fedotowsky, 31, said that even when the girls utter those three little words, it won't reflect their true feelings. "They’ll say it, but it will feel awkward," she continued. "After the show is over they will even say they loved him, but ask them six months from now and the answer is always the same with every contestant - they’ll say they weren’t REALLY in love. Not yet at least. And this isn’t meant as a dig at the show. The show is amazing and the feelings they express at the time are real!"


Over the years, I've seen the show before. A few times. My resolve is you put a group of women in the house with only one attractive man for several and it's easy to convince yourself he's the one for you just because there are no other options!

And that's what I don't like about it...
It's so caught up in *romance* that no one is really being *realistic*.
The Message Version of Ecclesiastes 7:18 encourages us to *be realistic*.

Yeah. It's really easy to say "Amen!" and close out this blog and move on...
But sit tight with me for a few more minutes, will you?

I remember a few years ago, a young woman who used to follow this blog met a guy and literally six weeks later got engaged. I believe The Bachelor is taped for six weeks (interesting). I got to know her pretty well because she used to write me about her battle with porn, lose self-esteem and feeling isolated and alone. So when she wrote me with "Hey! Just met this guy and we're getting married!", "Congrats!" is not what I could muster. People who know me know that my usual go-to response tends to be  "Oh yeah? Why?" and/or "So, tell me about him."

A part of the reason is because I actually want to know. You can pray more responsibly when you have certain details. Another reason is because I think it's important for people to hear themselves say out loud what they are doing and *why they are doing what they are doing* (or are about to do). She showed me a picture of her husband-to-be and I was even more concerned. He looked A LOT older than her and to top it off, she said that *several people* had said "Don't you want to hold off a bit?"

But she wanted no parts of the "negativity"...
Listen, there's a big difference between *negativity* and *accountability*.

Rushing...
RUSHING.
What is the rush?!?

Rush: to move, act, or progress with speed, impetuosity, or violence; to appear, go, pass, etc., rapidly or suddenly

Impetuous: of, relating to, or characterized by sudden or rash action, emotion, etc.; impulsive

Impulsive: actuated or swayed by emotional or involuntary impulses

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Jeremiah 17:9(NKJV) says this: "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?" One definition of heart is "center of emotions". A part of the reason why we're told to love God with all of our heart (and some other things---Mark 12:30-31) is because without his leading (Proverbs 3:5-6), we can find ourselves doing some pretty impulsive things.

Can you meet someone and weeks later know they are "the one"?
Yeah. But it's not the rule; it's the exception.
And even then *knowing* does not mean you need to hurry up and *marry* them.

As the lead quote says (paraphrased) "Why rush forever?"

I'll give you an example. I know a couple who've been married over 25 years now. They met and got engaged in about eight weeks. But during most of their marriage, they've fought like cats and dogs, their sex life sucks and the wife complains...A LOT. If that's where being "romantically impulsive" is gonna get me, *no thanks*. Pun intended: *I'll wait*. It takes time to really get to know and then cultivate a true friendship (which should be the foundation) in order to transition into a stable, healthy and lasting relationship.

Trying to "hurry up and fall in love"...
Trying to "hurry up and get a title in a relationship"...
Trying to "hurry up and get engaged"...

WHY?

If you really get that divorce is not to be an option because biblically it's taught that it's not one (I will be shouting out "The Role of Marriage in the Kingdom of God" for a while; it's so good and super thorough!), then don't you want to be sure---very sure---that A) you are with the person who is God's best for you; B) you are spiritually mature enough to follow the biblical guidelines and expectations for marriage (Matthew 19:11-12-Message, Hebrews 5:12-14, I Corinthians 13:11); C) that you're making such a serious decision out of *wholeness* (James 1:4) rather than fear (I John 4:18) or lust (I John 2:16, James 1:14-15)? How can you answer these questions in a short amount of time?

Yeah, The Bachelor/Bachelorette is no more "ridiculous" than what a lot of people, even within the Church, put themselves through. So desirous (or is it lust-filled?!?) to be with someone, they are not willing to pray and fast (Matthew 17:20-21), seek wise counsel (Proverbs 12:15), *remain sexually abstinent* (Hebrews 13:4, I Corinthians 6:16-20-Message) and allow a *real friendship* to manifest (John 15:13) before trying to make something...more.

I'm not sure who all this message is for...
But when I sat down to start writing, this is what came out so I know it's for someone.

SLOW DOWN.

Slow your heart down...
Slow your desires down...
Slow your words and actions down.

Real love is lasting.
It ain't going nowhere.

You don't want to in the position where you want something *so badly* that like the women on The Bachelor, you try and force yourself to say something that you don't really mean...because you haven't allowed God to reveal to you what it means. Love is loaded. LOADED (I Corinthians 13:4-8). It deserves more than our desperation or lack of discernment. It is something that should be taken *very seriously. And look, real talk, just because you rush into a marriage, does not mean God gives you a pass on getting out:

"Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil. 

Do not be rash with your mouth and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few. For a dream comes through much activity, and a fool’s voice is known by his many words. 

When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; for He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed---better not to vow than to vow and not pay.
 

Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error. Why should God be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands? For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God."---Ecclesiastes 5:1-7(NKJV)

Ah!

DON'T BE RASH WITH YOUR MOUTH.
IF YOU SAY IT, YOU'D BETTER MEAN IT!

It's OK to be quiet...until you're sure.
And you know what? IT'S OK FOR HIM TO BE QUIET UNTIL HE'S SURE TOO!

Since I did give The Bachelor a bit of a shout out today (LOL), I'll close out with a *real life version* of receiving a rose. This proposal went down last month and it is cute and thorough enough!

Following are two other ones that I liked...

Paul and Hannah just because of their names alone. Paul means "humble" and Hannah means "favor". And yes, they met in church so they're both believers. Just the way the Word intends/instructs.

The other couple is just so familiar and comfortable with one another. An example of what time can do. Her response is so genuine that it's precious!

First up: Alex and Andrew:






Next up (from the day after Valentine's Day): Hannah and Paul:




Next up (from just last week): I think the names and Carlie and Shawn:





If you know you have a problem with waiting, shoot me an email at missnosipho@gmail.com so that I can pray for you.

Why rush...when you can have forever?


Proverbs 12:4,

SRW

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