Archives for category: Dating

What have you done for me lately was the title of Janet Jackson’s hit single from her 1986 album Control.  Unfortunately, for some, this is their life’s mantra:  What have you done for me lately, or more specifically, what have you done for me today?

Our microwave society could create in us an inflated sense of entitlement.  I want it now. No need for please, and forget about a thank you.  If we are not careful, our tunnel vision could occlude our peripheral view and eclipse our hindsight.  Our desire to plug forward could obliterate our memories of the helping hands along the way.  We have to be mindful of our tendency to allow one unkind act to eradicate a multitude (or a single act) of kindness.  We shouldn’t ask: What have you done for me lately?  Instead, we should ask: How have you shown me favor in the past?  When we remember an individual’s previous acts of kindness or service, it could help to soften our heart to his or her current ill-perceived action(s).  Remembering an individual’s past kindness is not an attempt to provide an excuse or justification for perceived (or actual), current misbehavior, but it is a way to provide perspective on the person’s overall character.  I also feel that I should point out that remembering a person’s previous acts of kindness is not an excuse to be mistreated and abused.  Abuse is beyond the scope of this dialogue.

With that said, how do we look past our current hurt and extend kindness?  The answer is grace.  Grace should be an essential component of all our relationships.  In a nutshell, grace is granting favor beyond what is deserved.  None of us are perfect.  None of us are worthy of grace or forgiveness.  But Christ gave His life so that we could have both of these in abundance.  That is an important fact to remember when we have been wronged. 

Extending forgiveness and grace does not mean that we morph into a doormat.  It simply means that we remember how flawed we are and how we too will need forgiveness and an extension of grace.

 Today’s prayers:

  • Jesus, please soften our hearts that we can remember the goodness in our partners (or future partners) even when their actions are less than pleasing.
  • Lord, please grant us a gracious heart that is forgiving and not retaliatory.

Verses:

Ephesians 4:32 (NLT)

Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

Proverbs 17:9 (NLT)

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.

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As a child and even as an adult, I enjoyed indulging in the fantastic world of storybook fairytales.  Typically, I have found that there are five basic elements that make for a good fairytale: the guy, the girl, true love, the villain and some kind of curse.  Most fairytale storylines often follow a similar template, or timeline.  Guy meets girl.  They fall in love.  The villain casts a spell. The couple temporarily separates.  Guy and girl battle the forces of evil.  They kiss.  The spell is broken.  True love prevails.  But that’s just a fairy tale. Right?

If we were to dissect the layers of today’s love stories, they would somewhat parallel the storybook fairytale.  This is probably where I lost some of you.  Just give me a minute, and I promise to reel it back in.

The timeline of a lot of real life love stories is as follows:  Guy meets girl.  Guy and girl fall in love.  The villain casts a spell.  Guy and girl are defeated.  Wait, that’s not how it’s supposed to end.  But for many, that is the story.  For many, they are still caught under a curse.

So how do we define this modern-day “curse”?  The “curse” is anything that prevents us from living our best lives—the lives that God intended.  In order to break the proverbial curse, we have to know and embrace a few basic truths.  We are not our mothers. We are not our fathers.  We are not our pasts. We are not our ancestors. We are not our generation.  We are made in God’s image and rescued, saved and sanctified by the blood of Jesus Christ.  We have been freed from ALL generation curses.  We have been freed from ALL familial patterns, behaviors and/or habits.  Our legacies are our own.  We are not defined, confined or restricted by our environment.  God makes ALL things new.  Each day we are new creature in Christ.  Yesterday is forgotten and forgiven.  But there is a catch.  Unlike the storybook characters who had to battle the forces of evil themselves, we have an ally.  His name is Jesus Christ.  If we trust in Him, He will fight for us, but we have to be willing to go into the battle.  His blood is the metaphorical kiss that will break the spells, curses and bewitchment in our lives.  His love is the one true love, and it will prevail and overflow into all aspects of our lives, including our relationships.  With Jesus, we are not always guaranteed to live happily ever after, but we are promised a happy ever after.

Today’s prayer for our relationships is:

  • Ask Jesus for deliverance from any perceived “curses”: generations/familial “curses”, which may include a history of divorce/separation, anger, selfishness, strife and any other vice that could prevent us from living our best lives.
  • Ask Jesus for the courage, wisdom and faith to know that both you and your significant other are both God’s masterpiece and deserving of love and honor/respect

In Numbers 23, Balak, king of Moab, had commanded Balaam, the prophet, to curse the Israelites, whom God had blessed.  Balaam’s response to Balak, from over thousands of years ago, is still valid today.  He replied to the king saying: “Listen, I received a command to bless; God has blessed, and I cannot reverse it (Numbers 23:20, NLT)!”

What God has blessed, no man can curse.  Pray a blessing over your life and your marriage (or future marriage) today.

I remember a time, not too long ago, when social pressures and influences were produced almost exclusively by print and visual media.  Today, the individual, social media page has upped the ante on social pressures and has skewed our perception of reality.  Rather than limiting our acts of voyeurism to celebrities and figureheads, we have now included our neighbors, most of whom often depict fictitious or grossly exaggerated lifestyles on these various social media outlets.  If we are not careful we could start to use these fabricated personas as the litmus for our lives.  We could begin to measure our failures and successes based on other people’s experiences.  We often do this in our relationships.  But what we fail to realize is that the posted relationship status updates that we wish for or compare our partners (or future spouse) to is often a mirage—smoke and mirrors.

Today’s prayer for our relationships is: God, please do not let us hold the people in our lives to unrealistic expectations.  Buried in this prayer is an inherent heart check.  We need to ask ourselves, when it comes to relationships, do we have a covetous spirit?  In other words, are we always looking to others for what we wish we had? If so, we have to realize that we cannot have someone’s relationship, or their relationship status for that matter.  It’s theirs.  God did not call us to run the Jones’ race, but our own.  This does not mean that we cannot pray for improvement in our lives and in our relationships.  It simply means that we should not base our desires solely on someone else’s experiences.  Also note that only God can change people.  So if we truly want our partner to change, we should pray that God grants us the grace to accept him (or her) as is until God gives him (or her) the courage, will and/or desire to change.

Summary of Today’s prayer:

  • Pray that we do not place unrealistic expectations on the people in our lives.
  • Pray that God removes any spirit of jealousy from our hearts.
  • Pray that we have the grace to love our partners for who, what and how they are.
  • Pray that God grants our significant others (or future significant other) the courage, will and/or desire to walk into the destiny that He has created for their lives.

During a New Year’s Eve countdown, I once heard Dick Clark say, “Music is the soundtrack to our lives.”  I have never forgotten that quote.  It has resonated with me over the years, as I am a huge music fan.  There are always a few songs that parallel, reflect or embody the tone of the season I am in.  These so-called soundtrack songs are not always gospel or worship music, but this one in particular is.  The name of the song is “Jesus at the Center,” by Israel Houghton.  I love the lyrics, which start off with, “Jesus at the center of it all (Repeat x1).  From beginning to the end it will always be-It’s always been you Jesus. Jesus.  Nothing else matters.  Nothing in this world will do.  Jesus you’re the center, and everything revolves around you.”

How true are those lyrics? Jesus is the center of IT ALL.  This morning, I challenge you to pray that Jesus be the center of your life.  Invite Him into your heart, your home and your relationship.  Spend some time today with Jesus.  As you start this 30-day marriage prayer challenge, start off by asking Jesus to take the reigns of your life.  If Jesus is the center of it all, we have to start with Him.

The divorce rate in America is often said to be 50 percent.  In the Christian household, it is said to be similar.  The accuracy of those statements is often refuted and seldom validated.   The good news is, those numbers do not matter.  Our God is never moved by statistics or percentages.  He is moved by prayers.  With that said, God laid it on my heart to issue a 30-day marriage prayer challenge.  This challenge is for the married and single alike.  Over the next 30 days, I will challenge you to pray for your current spouse or future spouse.  Regardless of your present relationship status, you will pray blessings over and into your current/future spouse’s life.  Let God set the pace for your current or future relationship.  I encourage you to join me for the next 30 days.  Invite your friends.  If you or your friends find this blog during the middle of the challenge, don’t be afraid to join in.  God is not interested in numbers, He is interested in hearts.  The challenge begins Monday, July 8, 2013 and ends Wednesday, August 7, 2013.  Just watch and see how God moves in your life and in your relationship.

One of my favorite books on relationships that came out a few years ago is, “He’s Just Not That Into You.” While I don’t believe this book is the sole gospel on dating relationships, the author, Greg Behrendt, did hit the nail on the head with a few interesting factoids.  Essentially, a guy might be into you, but he might not be THAT into you.  So what does that mean, and how could you apply that to your life?  Before I answer this question, I must preface it by saying that I am no more an expert than was the author of the above mentioned book, but I do know what God says in His word.  With that said, here goes.

So what does it mean that a guy might be into you, but not THAT into you?  There are so many examples that I could list, but I will narrow it down to a few.  A guy might think that you are the best catch (e.g. smart, beautiful, sexy, funny, successful, great personality, Godly) since Eve (slight humor), but for his own reasons, he is not interested in pursuing you.  The first mistake that many women make is that they internalize the guy’s behavior and interpret his actions as a deficit in their worth.  The truth is, his failure to see your worth is his issue, not yours.  Whether he is intimidated, insecure, lazy, not ready or plainly uninterested, is not your issue, it’s really his.  The follow-up question to this assertion is: Are you willing to continuously audition for a man’s affection?  If he, for WHATEVER reason(s), cannot independently see your worth, are you willing to attempt to perpetually prove yourself worthy?  If you value and respect yourself, your answer should be “no.”  Ephesians 2:10 says that we are God’s masterpiece.  Here is the thing that I have noticed about art: Not every piece of artwork is for everyone.  For example, there are those who like abstraction and those who like realism.   The individuals who are attracted to a particular style of artwork will be drawn to the masterpiece suited to their taste, and they will appreciate its beauty and value more so than someone who does not like that particular style.  If we are all God’s masterpieces we should then know that we are all beautiful, but we might not appeal to everyone’s palate.

The second biblical reference that I would like to draw from to determine whether a guy is “into you” or “not THAT into you” is also found in Ephesians.  Ephesian 5:28 says that a man should love his wife like Christ loves the Church.  If the guy you are with or interested in is not showing you or treating you with Christ-like love, he is just not THAT into you, or better yet, he might not be FOR you.  A guy who is truly into you and FOR you would take the time to respect and honor you in a manner that would be deemed Christ-like.  Being Christ-like in no way implies perfection, but it does dictate a certain moral character and integrity.

The final example that I want to present is a rather important, but often overlooked point.  It is possible that a guy might be not THAT into you RIGHT NOW.  The book of Ecclesiastes says that there is a season for everything.  Life is all about timing.  Everything comes together in God’s perfect timing.

In our society, there is so much pressure placed on women to develop their worth through their relationship status.  However, singleness is not a curse.  In fact, it is a blessing.  It is a time to pursue the passions that God has placed on your heart.  It is a time to discover who you are and who you would like to be.  There is nothing wrong with having a healthy relationship, but we sometimes place so much value on partnership, that we neglect the development of individuality, which is essential for a successful relationship.  It is impossible to have a healthy relationship with someone else if you cannot master a relationship with God and yourself.  During your single days, discover who God is and who you are.  Take yourself and Jesus on dates.  Learn your likes and dislikes.  Oftentimes, we get into relationships and expect others to fulfill our needs when we don’t truly know what our needs are because we’ve never spent enough time alone to figure out who we are and what we want.  Enjoy your time alone.  Enjoy where you are today.  Live in the moment! Everything will fall in place in due season.