Thursday, May 26, 2011

Spread The Wealth

I love relationships. I love discussing relationship issues, scenarios, boy meets girl kinda talks. I would not say I am a relationship guru by any sort but I have been in enough to know what works for me and what doesn't work for a lot of people. And of course being single, you have a lot of time to ponder various relationship topics. I try to refrain from the regular Cosmo or Glamour magazine relationship articles because most are so far from my idea of a God honoring relationship anyway. And of course there are not a lot of Christian single relationship magazines or resources out that are even worth looking at.

So what's a girl to do?

Luckily, in the past couple of years, I have run across some amazing resources for single Christian woman and their journey through life. For a while, I felt kinda guilty for having this wealth of knowledge that I deem credible and not share it with other women in my position. My hesitation always stemmed from the fact that very rarely do single Christian chicks talk about men and relationships. Almost like its taboo and no one wants to feel like they are obsessing or idolizing relationships or the fact that they are still single. You don't want to be that girl that is always talking about the fact that she doesn't have a man.

Lately, I have been feeling like it's time to have those open conversations that I am sure many of my single friends are dying to have simply because I am. I am blessed to have a couple of girlfriends (one single and one married) that I am free to discuss my relationship thoughts, rants, psycho obsessions, etc with and they give great advice. I am thankful that I have that outlet but many don't. If my single girlfriends are keeping all this questions and emotions bottled up and not really equipping themselves to navigate through this single season, we end up with a host of girls that unprepared to be godly girlfriends let alone godly wives.

My fear is that so many of my friends or women I know by association will enter relationships and marriages for the wrong reason. I know because I have seen it too many times. Most were just lonely and settled for whomever presented them with the offer. Some trick men into marrying them, some just wanted the wedding and didn't want to work at the marriage, some were incomplete and broken and figured a husband would make them whole. The Bible says the ultimate mystery is who 1 + 1 equals 1. It's not a mystery because 1/2 a person and 1/2 of another person certainly wont make 1 whole person. Marriage is a huge commitment and should not be entered into lightly.

"But Jesus said, 'Not everyone is mature enough to live a married life. It requires a certain aptitude and grace. Marriage isn't for everyone. Some, from birth seemingly, never give marriage a thought. Others never get asked—or accepted. And some decide not to get married for kingdom reasons. But if you're capable of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it.'"---Matthew 19:11-12 (Message)

That's where I come in. Well, actually this is where God comes in. I've been pondering a way to share all these thoughts, ideas, and resources with other girls in my circle but felt rather ill equipped. How am I going to talk with my friends about how to prepare to be a godly wife when I am single? Like really single. It wasn't until the day our church had its corporate baptisms that God spoke me and said "prepare my single daughters." I took that as a sign that He was really saying "Stop dragging your feet and share what I have already given you."

Time to get to work.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Buffet Style God

I had an interesting conversation with a friend today about various temptations that people face, namely sexual temptation. I am human just like the next girl and I am not immune to temptation so of course the topic of sex is one of those things that come up with me from time to time. Sex is every where so there really is no escaping it. I don't watch TV very often and when I do find the time to watch TV, I usually stick with The Food Network or HGTV. I'm not one of those head in the sand Christians but I do know where to draw the line so I am not having to deal with temptations that can certainly be avoided.

In chatting with my friend, the topic of sin came up and I asked his thoughts on pre-martial sex. We had this conversation before but I realize he never really said whether he is for or against it.

Turns out he is on the fence about it. Aren't most people when it comes to something that we enjoy?

I wasn't disappointed in his response because lately, I have been on the fence about it too. Not on the fence about whether it is right or wrong because it is wrong. More on the fence about why its wrong. I know the Bible says its wrong but in my head, I was allowing my own fleshly rationalization to take over. I asked God to seriously do work on my thoughts because I couldn't do it on my own.

And He did. With this very conversation.

I asked my friend is it OK to pick and choose what sins we choose to refrain from and what we choose to indulge in. Christians today tend to treat the Bible like a buffet. They pick out what suits them and leave the rest. We won't commit murder or steal but we will have sex. Sex is OK, its acceptable, its the norm, it feels good.

Does God pick and choose what He will forgive us for since we pick and chose what parts of the Bible we will obey and what we wont? Did Jesus die on the cross to redeem us from most of our sins, but not the really bad ones? Yeah, I didn't think so either.

I choose to abstain from sex until I am married because I know the consequences of doing so. Also because the Bible says so. I figured if I am going to say I follow Christ, I might as well go at it whole heartedly and not half way. My life is its own testimony of the amazing power of God so if He can rescue me from my own pit of despair, surely I can honor Him and His commandments because not doing that is what got me in trouble in the first place.

The Bible is real. It's God's word, His written truth for us to take as the absolute truth. Sure there are plenty of things that we may not agree with like not having sex before marriage but it pleases Him for us to still honor Him and His commands. Being a follower of Christ doesn't mean life will be easy and there are certainly lots of things that we would rather still do before we came to Him for forgiveness. But at the end of the day, we were forgiven for ALL of our sins because our God is not a buffet style, I will take this but leave that kinda God. We shouldn't be that way either.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Father of Lies

For the past week or so, I have had The Arrows first album on constant rotation, namely their song, In The Words of Satan. Someone posted this on video on FB last year and I thought it was rather catchy and so true but after seeing it again a week ago, it seems to really resound in my spirit and mind. Probably because I was once (sometimes still is) in that weird place where you buy into the lies of the world and the pleasures of sin.

But Satan is the father of lies. His goal is to pervert the plans that God has for us so that we are always far from Him.

I love this video, as graphic as some parts are. The lyrics are so true and this is probably one of the best arguements on why Satan is in fact a deceiver.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

16 going on 30

As I approach the ripe old age of 30, my view on life is starting the change. I keep feeling like a change of pace is needed. A new direction, a new endeavour, a new challenge is in the work. Maybe a new season is approaching. I'm feeling like I need to be surrounded by a new breed of people, places and experiences. I certainly can't keep doing life the way I do now and expect to grow. Not knocking where I am but life is about growing, maturing, and preparing for whatever the next phase of our lives.

As I look back on my almost 30 years, I think about how my view on life and way of thinking have drastically changed since I was at my peak...16 year old. I wasn't one of those kids that thought I had life figured out at 16 but I thought I knew more than most people.

Yeah, I was wrong.

I figured I would make a list of things that I wish I had known at 16 that I now know a few weeks shy of 30.

1. High school is only a stepping stone for the real world. It really won't be the only happy time in life.

2. You will out grow and lose friends you have been with since high school and before. You will also make new amazing friends later.

3. Sex before marriage is wrong. Period.

4. Relationships or the lack thereof should not define your self worth.

5. Dream big and don't let circumstances dictate how far you can succeed.

6. Be intentional about cultivating a good relationship with your mother and grandmother even when you think they are the meanest people in the world.

7. It's okay to be sad but don't try to hold it all in. The problems of today don't all go away tomorrow.

8. Cherish your great grandmother. She really wont live forever like you think.

9. Keep that passion that I had for church into adulthood and develop an actual relationship with God. You will need it.

10. People close to you will disappoint and hurt you but always find the good people.

11. There will come a time where being single isn't the end of the world. Learn to enjoy your own space and freedom now and it wont be hard later.

12. Develop a good understanding of money, budgeting, and saving now. Money really doesn't grow on trees.

13. Be courageous and don't be afraid to speak up for what you believe in even if it isn't popular among your peers.

14. You will never reach a point in life where you have everything all figured out.

15. Focus on things that matter in the world. If you benefit the most, it's probably not worth it.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Pink Shampoo and Park Benches

I am still having dreams about a certain someone. Yes. Still. It's to the point where I can almost expect to dream about him at least once a week or two. I am trying to keep a record of what happens in the dreams so at some point, maybe I can make sense of it all.

This latest dream took place sometime last week. It was weird because it included the guy I have "noticed" and my ex. In the dream, I was in the townhouse I lived in for a few years back in Mississippi. Some faceless friends, the guy I noticed (I will call him Jim) and I were hanging out watching movies. Whatever movie was playing ended and people got up to get more snacks and to put in a new movie. For some reason, I asked Jim if he wanted to stay and watch Citizen Kane. Totally random because I have never watched Citizen Kane myself. Jim eagerly agreed (as if he had been wanting me to ask him to stay longer) but left to run to the store.

Jim returned to find me in the up stairs bathroom freshening up my makeup (another odd thing because I don't wear makeup often). He was carrying a shower caddy like college kids use. In the caddy was a grey bottle with a pink label with black writing that said "Shampoo." There was another one maked conditioner and deodorant too. Weird I know. Jim kept looking at me for approval just to kinda like he needed me to tell him he did a good job. I turned my head and when I turned back around to look at him...

...I was on a park bench...staring at my ex wearing a navy blue suit. He looked like he was dressed for work, white shirt and tie and all even though that's not what he wears to work in real life. I kept staring at him trying to figure out why we were on the park bench in the middle of a park. His lips were moving and he was smiling like we were in the middle of an interesting conversation. I saw myself blinking and rubbing my eyes trying to take myself back to that upstairs bathroom with Jim.

It didn't work. It was me and the ex, laughing and talking like old times. I could even feel the warmth from the sun on my cheek. Weird.

I wish I could figure out what these weird series of dreams mean or why they keep happening. Seriously...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

God Sized Dreams

God has an amazing way of using our weakness to empower us. Just like 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” This past Wednesday at Fusion, Pastor J talked about going to God with huge God size prayers. Prayers, visions and desire that will seriously take a move of God to accomplish. Desires that if God didn't come through, they would not happen. He inspired us by telling us a story about a vision he got late last year. God told him to give away $10,000. Only problem was, he didn't have $10,000 to give away and it would be close to impossible to save up that money any time soon. He and his wife prayed and diligently sought God, knowing that if He didn't make a miracle happen, that $10,000 wasn't going to happen. Some weeks later, they received a check in the mail from his wife's former job. It was stock that they had purchased about 6 years earlier that they had forgotten about. The amount of the check: $10,000.

God sized desire with God sized faith.

I sometimes feel like I am the most ill equipped person to certain things, even when I know I am more than capable of doing them. Yeah, that's me getting in my own way, not always wanting the spot light on me because of the potential for criticism if it's not done in excellence. I know where my strengths lie and I also know where my many weaknesses lie. I can recall a few times where I called on God to do what I thought was impossible. Something that would seriously take a move of God to do. Jumbo sized faith for it to come to pass. And it did. Every time.

So why don't I have those God sized prayers on a regular basis? Why do I put limits on what He can do when nothing is impossible for God? Why am I not have those soul stirring, pulling at the hem of His garment, totally faith dreams and visions for the Kingdom?

I am learning to take the cap off the jar I try to put God's power in so that it makes sense in my own mind. He works in the supernatural and can do things that will leave my brain like mush if I try to rationalize it. He wants us to dream big so that He can show us how infinite He is. He wants us to have jumbo sized desires so that He can get the glory in the end. We need big dreamers for the Kingdom of God because the world we live in needs to see something radical before they realize that He is real.

Time to think outside the box. Time to get out of our own way. Time to knock the dust off those dreams and visions we once thought were impossible. We need to cry out in faith for God to come through and pull off the impossible. I am sure God is anxious to show Himself to us. We just need to ask for it in total faith.

We need to fan the flames of desire for an encounter with Him. We need to be passionate about things of God and His Kingdom. We need our souls stirred up, our faith reaffirmed, our hearts set ablaze so that we can strive for the impossible for us and the possible for Him.

"Set a fire down in my soul that I can't contain and I can't control. I want more of you God. I want more of you God."

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Idol of Marriage

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33. Words to live by.

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about idols and single Christian women who desire to be married. Don't know why because most days, I really don't think much about getting married. I try my best to live out the whole Matthew 6:33 thing. I know me well enough to know that if I put too much focus on relationships, marriage or even my present single state, those thoughts will take off like an unmanned trained, guaranteed destruction.

In this day and age, being a single Christian woman is kinda tough. We are bombarded with various how to guides on how to stay pure, stay focused on God, being the best you, enjoying your single life, preparing to be a wife, not settling for anything less than God's best, yada yada yada. We listen to the sermons, we pray, we fast, we serve, we do missions work, we tithe, we flee from sin, we stay pure. And we wait.

And wait. And wait some more. Before you know it, all of your single friends are now married women. Except you. You wonder if you didn't pray enough, was I not diligent enough in seeking God, was I not pretty enough, smart enough. You start to doubt yourself, start to wonder if God has forgotten about you. You hold on to some glimmer of faith whenever a man compliments you, that maybe he is the one. Before you know it, you are consumed with the idea of being in a relationship that will lead to that happily ever after. You dress to impress the opposite sex more, you become more availble by forgoing things you used to enjoy, you compromise for the sake of affection. Anything that will bring you closer to those wedding bells that you know you rightly deserve.

You worship the idol of marriage.

Having that marriage covenant becomes more important that the most important covenant, our covenant with our Savior. It saddens me when I see women I know compromise get so engrossed in finding the one that they don't allow God to prepare them to be the one worth finding. They have become impatient and feel like they have to take matters into their own hands when it comes to finding a husband.

God created the universe so I am pretty sure he doesn't need my help finding me a husband.

Exodus 20:3 says that we should have no other gods before Him. Even the idol of marriage.

One of my favorite bloggers, Shellie R. Warren penned a heart felt "Letter to My Single Daughters from God. My favorite portion of the letter says:

Again, don’t concern yourself about the time. I am timeless. Concern yourself instead with remaining in my hands so that I can perfect you to be all that he needs--- so that when it’s the right moment, there will be no fear, no hesitation, no question that you are indeed the one that he is meant to live out the rest of his days on the earth with. Far too many women are not praised on their wedding day by their husbands in the way I would’ve liked because they did not allow me the opportunity to complete them to be what was required, and the man was not discerning enough to know the true purpose that his companion was meant to serve in his life.

Wait for His best. Don't settle. Don't compromise. Keep the Kingdom first. God will take care of the happily ever after. He doesn't need our help.