what’s wrong with me?!?

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I was having a conversation with one of my sister-friends, and I was talking about how someone I met had so much potential, but then he just fell off the radar. I was disappointed because I liked a lot of the qualities he had and we had several things in common. For the life of me though, I couldn’t figure out why I was having to guess whether he was interested. His actions and his words were polar opposites!

So in our girl’s talk I continued with, “I can’t help but think, what’s wrong with me?!? But I know there isn’t anything THAT wrong, I’m not crazy. I have a lot to offer!”

After we talked a little about it and got off the phone, I had to encourage myself just a little more, and I did so in four steps!

Step 1: 

There is nothing wrong with you because you’re single!!!

Singleness is not a curse!

The longer we think of singleness as being a curse, the longer we will focus on a desire that God has chosen not to fulfill yet. God tells us, He knows the plans He has for us (Jeremiah 29:11), just because we don’t know every step of His plan does not mean that our desires have gone unnoticed.

Step 2:

“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.”

Are y’all ready? I’m calling this step the “Ruby Principle”

Just because someone takes a ruby to the pawn shop because they needed something the ruby wasn’t providing at that moment, doesn’t mean the ruby is any less valuable.

It means the person who owned the ruby didn’t see the long-term value in what they had. They needed something quick. They couldn’t see the value of the gem because they were focused on what it didn’t give them at that very moment.

Your worth will not diminish simply because someone doesn’t see it. 

Step 3:

What is your purpose?

We are each on this journey to fulfill the purpose (or as I tell the kids at church, the job) that God has given us. That should be our number one priority. In that process, we are going to impact lives, save souls for Christ, show love to those who are feeling unloved, and be Christ’s hands and feet! Some of us have put our whole lives on hold waiting to “do” life with a mate. When that wasn’t God’s intention for us. He never said, “Women, you can’t live up to your purpose without a husband.” Or “Men, you’ll definitely need your helpmate to fulfill your calling, so don’t even try until you find her.”

Are you occupying yourself in the Lord?

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭7:32-34 says, “An unmarried man is concerned about the Lordʼs affairs—how he can please the Lord… An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lordʼs affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit.”

I don’t know about you, but my purpose has me really busy right now… that’s not including my girls and what they have going on, do I really even have the time to entertain someone?

Step 4:

Scripture. 

Reading God’s promises to us. His word that never changes. 

If you think you’ve never gotten a sweet note from an admirer, you’re wrong, the Bible is the sweetest letter you’ll ever read. And although it was transcribed by people, it is from God himself, and unlike man, God will never let you down. 

Here are some scriptures I went to for encouragement:

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter‬ ‭3:8-9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭37:3-6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord…” ‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11-14‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Just to name a few. 

God knows what He’s doing. For those who desire to be married, singleness is a situation where trusting Him and His plan are of the utmost importance. Especially considering “desperate times call for desperate measures.” You’re not desperate because you’re single, that leads to acting in ways that you normally wouldn’t to get attention, or get someone to stay. This goes back to the “Ruby Principle.” It just takes being reminded some times, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!

Be strong. Be focused and as always,

Be encouraged.

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How I Knew He Wasn’t “The One”

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For some women, dating is this awkward period of time where we are constantly questioning whether the man we are presented with is “the one.” I’ve experienced this myself with practically every man I’ve dated. The routine is the same:

1. Meet

2. Ask if he’s single

3. Begin talking on a consistent basis

4. Find qualities you like about him

5. Find out if he has a desire to be married

6. Then exclusive dating

7. If everything has run pretty smooth up until now, you ask yourself and God, “Is he the one?”

8. Either God responds immediately saying “No,” or things begin to fall apart between the two of you OR God doesn’t respond right away, and you take matters into your own hands.

It seems to go this way every time, without actually thinking about it. It just happens.

Well I am here to help you out a little bit.

Three times I knew he wasn’t the one.

One: We had been dating for a good length of time. Longer than I had dated anyone up to that point. We were sexually active. God was really trying to do a work in me, but I wasn’t yielding my whole life to Him, so it wasn’t coming to pass. I knew the battle I was facing, and I explained it to “the one.” I told him we needed to be celibate because God is not pleased with us. Even though  what we’re doing in life is flourishing, He wants so much more from me. He argued that removing the sex from our relationship would change our dynamic. I argued that sex was a bonus, and if it’s that important to him, and he knows he wants to be with me then we needed to get married. He wasn’t ready. He understood my points, he even respected my reasoning, but he didn’t agree that we needed to be celibate.

Why wasn’t he the one?

As Believers, we ought to strive to walk like Christ walked (see 1 John 2:6.) Christ was without sin. And we were deliberately sinning. I could appreciate that he respected my decision, but he didn’t agree. So if things got steamy, he wouldn’t stop and say “we shouldn’t be doing this.” Or if I said “Stop, we shouldn’t be doing this,” he wouldn’t be upset. He wasn’t willing to set up those necessary boundaries to prevent falling into temptation, but he also wasn’t willing to marry and have the approval of God to keep doing what we were doing.

Two: Handsome, “Man of God,” (I said that in quotes because that’s how he introduced himself to me.) We hadn’t known each other too long, but we hit it off. The conversation was great, we had similar interests, and we could literally talk about God on a regular basis without it being odd or “preachy.” Then temptations became known, and took over. We fell. Afterwards we said it wouldn’t happen again because it should have never happened. We individually went into our prayer closets, asked for forgiveness and set boundaries so that it couldn’t happen again. While hanging out a little too late, temptation came on the scene again. I said, “No” he said, “C’mon!” In my mind I justified it, and we fell again. As time went on that became our relationship, until he moved away.

Why wasn’t he the one?

Regardless of the fact that he moved, he wasn’t honest about his intentions with me. In a conversation I had later down the line, it was apparent that his intentions weren’t to properly court me, propose and then marry me. His intentions were to sleep with me, and leave. But he lured me in with his “Man of God” persona. For some of us who are struggling to wait on God in this pool of single-emotionally available-working-heterosexual men who love God, that feels extremely shallow, we become anxious and jump at the first opportunity that presents itself, instead of waiting for God’s green light to proceed. Then the next thing we’re cooking for and taking care of him as though he’s our husband because we want him to stay. When we never received confirmation that God wants us to be where we are. Philippians 4:6 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (NIV). He knows the desires of your heart. He sees your obedience, if both of those areas are in check, He’s got you covered (see Psalm 84:11.)

Three: Dating lead to sex (again, yes I know – I’ll talk about underlying issues later.) God grabs a hold of me and says, “Come back to Me!” So I told  “the one”, “Look, I have work to do, and I can’t get it done while sinning. We need to stop.” He’s upset and wondering why. I told him how I felt. “I love you,” and proceeded to tell him that I not only cared about him while he’s here, but also his salvation was very important to me. We’re not pleasing God in what we’re doing, and I know this hurts, but I have to step away.

Why wasn’t he the one?

In all that I was saying relating to his salvation, my salvation, our individual relationships with God. His only rebuttal was that’s not what he wanted. It’s like he wasn’t even understanding what I was telling him. All of that “God stuff” wasn’t as important as his desires. The bible tells us the man is the spiritual covering/ head of his household (see 1 Corinthians 11:3.) I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a husband who is not willing to acknowledge that God’s will should come before our desires.

It is awfully hard to expect someone to act in a way that you don’t act yourself, and for that I cannot fault any of these men that were not for me, but like the popular quote, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” If you both have a strong desire to please God in your life and relationship, you will both be diligent about ensuring it gets accomplished. Had I waited on God instead of jumping because the response wasn’t coming quick enough for me, these men would have naturally shown themselves to me, and I would have backed away knowing he’s not what God had planned for my life. I know it’s hard waiting. But that’s where faith comes in. Faith in knowing that God hears you, He sees you, and He knows His daughter’s desires. And by doing His will, your thoughts will align with His thoughts and you will find peace in knowing He has you in His hands. He will carry you. He will see you through the difficult times just like He did with David, Moses, Abraham and so many more!

Be encouraged.

To the woman with low self-esteem: How much are you worth?

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I am so glad this illustration does NOT depict our worth!! I’d rather be poor than defined by these things for the rest of my life.

This low self-esteemed girl used to be me though. I would put my value in ALL of the wrong things. I still struggle some times, but I am on the road to recovery and it feels great.

Once I thought my value was determined in how desirable I was. So I made sure my clothes were tight, cleavage out, dresses short, and boundaries/morals were non-existent. All of the valuable girls were like that, I wanted to be one of them!
So… That didn’t work.
Instead, I got one night stands with guys I would never hear from again. Random hands slapping my butt or groping my breast as they walked by. I even left a club in an ambulance because my drink was drugged. I had no idea who did it, or why. But I woke up in the hospital confused.

Where’s the value in that?

Ok, so another phase in my life I was sure my worth came from a man. Of course if I were taken, I was valuable because he would keep me safe. He would love me, provide for me, he would genuinely care about me.
I found out that wasn’t it either.
Instead of feeling all of those things, I felt neglected, played, lied to, not to mention cheated on by every guy I dated. One didn’t like to work, one I have no idea if he actually worked he lied so much, one was a drug dealer/ hustler (we never went anywhere – for good reason I’m sure), and one worked too much (or that’s what he told me he was doing).

*Sigh*
So my value doesn’t come from my body or sexuality, nor does it come from a male’s attention. WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?!?

My value comes from being a daughter of the Most High! A daughter of the King. God almighty Himself, and ONLY Him!

I cannot put my value in my job. Companies close, positions get removed, pink slips are handed out. If you lose your job, you then have a sense that you’ve lost yourself. And that’s a far cry from the truth!

I cannot put my value in my children. Although I love and adore them to the moon and beyond, they will grow up. They will leave the house. They will make mistakes. If I base my worth in their presence or success when they leave the nest I’ll be miserable! Or if they take the scenic route in life I’ll feel I’ve done something wrong.

I cannot place my worth in my looks. Let’s face it, we all get older. I’m pretty sure in 40 years I am not going to look like I do now. If I put my worth in looks, I’ll have a severe mid-life crisis when gravity takes hold of everything for the worse.

But I can ONLY place my worth in the most consistent being: God!

He will NEVER leave nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5, and several others)
He wants what is best for me
(Jeremiah 29:11)
He answers me when I cry out to Him
(Psalms 118:5)

Let’s be honest; friends and family get busy, they’re dealing with their own things and don’t necessarily have time or energy to sit and listen as we vent to them. But God always has His ears open, waiting to hear your voice. You just have to start talking!

He is so good! I am relieved that I have found my worth in Him and Him ALONE! No more sacrificing my body for some guy who gave me a glance, but could care less about my heart. No more feeling useless after a break up. No more feeling inadequate because I don’t look like the girls in magazines.
No more hating myself because I’m not perfect!

We were ALL bought at the price of our Savior’s blood. We are WORTH the blood of an only child. We are WORTH taking lashes for our iniquities, and none of His own! We are WORTH IT! We are VALUABLE! Don’t let anyone, or anything take that away from you!

If you first identify and find comfort in your worth, you WILL NOT be shaken by ANYTHING that comes your way. You will press on knowing God has a strong calling on your life and He will deliver what He has promised.

In case you haven’t heard it in a while,
God LOVES YOU!!!
You’re beautiful.
And you’re WORTH IT! (Whatever IT may be!)

You’re worth that promotion, that ring… Don’t let anyone deter you from obtaining your God-given blessings or make you feel as though you’re not worthy of greatness!

Be encouraged!

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9 NIV

Remove the LUST glasses

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As women, we easily become victim to our emotions, especially when we’re not thinking clearly. I’m pretty sure I even cried on Toy Story 3 when Andy leaves for college.
 
Yes, I cried over a cartoon movie – don’t judge me.
 
That is why it is of the utmost importance to keep our eyes open AT ALL TIMES! – Especially when courting (I will post on the difference of dating and courting very soon).
 
Let me start by sharing a few things about myself:
I’ve been in three different relationships where marriage was a serious topic. One of which was with my daughters’ father. 
We had pre-marital sex (obviously) and I just knew I was in love! Although things didn’t always line up: He’d step outside to talk on the phone all hours of the night, he’d say he was going to be home “in a minute” but would leave me waiting up for him until 4 or 5 in the morning. Yet, I stayed. Because I loved him. He had me wrapped around his finger (and sometimes had his hands wrapped around my neck). It was a physically and mentally abusive relationship. But I stayed. Why? Because I thought he loved me too. EVERY TIME we would argue, he would start kissing me and EVERY TIME it would lead to sex. Our problems were never solved, just covered by physical attraction. That wasn’t love, but lust. 
Another relationship: we had instant chemistry even without sex. I thought I climbed Mount Everest because I waited a month to have sex with him (I was being a lady this time). But things didn’t add up with him either. He would say he loved me, and how he wanted to marry me, but would never let me meet his parents. I thought I loved him too. After all it was perfect how we met through a friend… I was 23, he was 25 and we both wanted to be married within a year. God sent, right? WRONG. Sadly, he was controlling. Wanted to know my every move. He would even call my friend to make sure I was where I said I was! But the sex was good. So I stayed. Once again, lust fooled me.
And then: the man of my dreams comes along. This time I had been celibate for 8 months prior to meeting him, and didn’t sleep with him for 3 months (I was REALLY a lady now!) Only 3 years later, after ring shopping, meeting family members and kids, various trips away, he decided he wasn’t ready for that commitment. WHAT?!? But it took all of that for me to see: Although he is an amazing person, he’s not the one for me. I loved him as a person, a friend. But what I was in love with was his stability, his ability and potential. Once all of that was no longer on the table, my feelings changed INSTANTLY! Once again, fooled by lust! Only this time it wasn’t only physical lust, but lust of how he looked on paper.
 
How could I let that happen to me not once, but THREE times?!?
 
I was letting my flesh, my hormones, my SELF tell me how I felt. 
 
I LOVE science, so let’s get science-y for a moment: We know that sex releases oxytocin in your brain. It makes you feel good, loved, all of that mushy stuff. Once that’s released that act (sex or the idea of it) triggers something in us to say “oh yea I like that!” So we relate sex to feeling good, loved and happy. Why is it so hard for an abused woman to leave her abuser? Oxytocin. Her brain is telling her, if you leave, you’re not going to have that feeling anymore. Although getting hit hurts, your brain chooses not to remember that, but remember the good times.
THAT IS SO DANGEROUS!
 
Ladies, it’s time to take the lust glasses OFF!
 
What if I’m in a sexual relationship?
You can still take them off. If you’re serious about walking in your purpose and trusting in God for everything, be celibate. 
Oh, your “man” doesn’t believe in “church”? 
     You’re unequally yoked, and the Bible speaks against that (2 Corinthians 6:14-15). It’s time to part ways honey. 
•Your “man” doesn’t want to lose that part of the relationship? 
     Sex shouldn’t be a foundation of your relationship anyway. If he’s that concerned about losing it, yet not ready to marry you, then you don’t have much of a relationship to begin with. 
•Your “man” knows premarital sex is wrong, according to the Bible, but he’s not ready to get right with The Lord yet? 
     Then he’s also not ready to lead you, as his wife, or a family closer to God. LET HIM GO!
 
Sex is a wonderful thing. After all it creates life! But it should be enjoyed under a covenant made before God (Him saying “Baby I’m gonna marry you” as he’s undressing you DOES NOT COUNT!) You were bought at the price of our Savior’s life. Don’t sell yourself short to someone who cannot MAN up and marry you! 
 
“But we don’t have enough money for a ring.” Who ever said you HAD to have a ring?
Society did.
And we don’t live by the rules of society anyway (Romans 12:2). 
“Getting married is expensive.” A marriage license which makes you legally married is no more than $60 in a majority of states. If you can’t afford that, then there are several other reasons you shouldn’t be getting married (We’ll talk about finances in another post).
 
The way that I see it, (now, because I clearly didn’t understand this years ago) – Why create an unnecessary soul tie with a random (a man you either don’t intend on marrying, or doesn’t intend on marrying you). Each time you have sex with someone that’s exactly what you’re doing. In order for you to be a wife that benefits her husband you need to be cleansed of any past hurt from previous relationships. Otherwise you’ll take that into your marriage and your husband will already be at a disadvantage because of your scars. The more partners you’ve had, the longer AND harder it’s going to be take to break those ties.
 
I read a quote that said,
“The person God has for you will NOT try to have sex with you before you’re married.”
How can you trust someone to lead you closer to God, if he cannot exhibit self-control?
 
I feel that being physically attracted to your future husband is very important, but just because you’re physically attracted doesn’t mean you have to act on it, and neither should he. 
 
How can you prevent being fooled by the lust glasses? 
Don’t put them on.
 
Give yourself the peace of mind in knowing you made a sound decision based on truth, rather than making a decision based off of a chemical being released in your brain that is KNOWN for causing people to make irrational decisions. 
 
I can honestly say when God introduces me to my husband I don’t even want us to kiss until we’re married (sounds so old school, I know) BUT, I know myself. I know what causes me to think irrationally. I know my limits. And if I am going to fall in love with a man that God has for me for  what REALLY matters, I won’t need to label him a good kisser before we say I do. 
 
Take the lust glasses OFF! Set boundaries, make them known and don’t lower your standards. Instead, wear the truth which is found in the Word. 
 
Be encouraged.