Saturday, October 29, 2011

Week 10: Man's Rejection is God's Protection

Scripture to reflect upon: Hebrews 13:5
Be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

When I first got saved back in 1998, my heart still carried a deep desire to be married. Dating in the Christian world can be just as frustrating and confusing as dating in the world, I soon discovered. I found myself longing for one guy after the other. Those needs, those desires, those patterns never changed within me.

I found myself in a dating nightmare all over again, only this time with men of God, which made matters seem so much worse. I brought this up to the woman who led me to Christ, and she had this saying that I still use to this day for a variety of issues:

“Man’s rejection is God’s protection.”

Because God’s Word promises He will never leave or forsake you, you can be confident that every time He closes a door in your relationships that He has your best interest at heart. When you can focus on this small concept and really let it sink into your spirit, your dating frustrations will soon come to an end. You can be rest assured that if the person you were dating seemed so perfect for you yet it ended, God has something better in mind for you.

Being content with what you have is a critical key in allowing God to move in your life. I didn’t grasp that right off the bat. I grappled with this idea for years, which is why I ended back out in the world thinking I knew better than God. I couldn’t be content, so I ventured out on my own. I ended up in worse relationships I had ever been in prior to that. I ended up marrying a crack addict/alcoholic/thief/adulterer/abuser. Because I could not be content with where God had me at the moment, I took matters into my own hands and made it 99 times worse!

I talk about surrender a lot when it comes to dating, and that includes surrendering to being content with what you have right now. Look around you: it’s not all that bad. Your hope lies in one simple truth: God hasn’t gone anywhere. He knows your heart’s desire and is eager to make your dreams come true. But why would He give you something amazing if you can’t even be happy right where you are?

ACTION PLAN: Start a daily gratitude journal dedicated to God. Name the journal, “Thank You, God!” Try to fill one page each day. You have so much to be thankful for even if you don’t realize it. Stop feeling sorry for yourself for what you don’t have, and start being grateful for what you do have.

GO FURTHER: Surrender it all to God. One thing I did to allow God complete control of my love life was to surrender myself to the idea that if God wanted me to be single for the rest of my life that I would be okay with that. I knew I couldn’t be trusted in making wise decisions when it came to men, so I said, “God, you know better than I do. I only want what You want for my life.” Once I felt utterly content being single, and living solely for God’s will in my life, it was only a few short months later when I met Jared.

FACT: Man’s rejection is God’s protection.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

No Post

I am at a weekend retreat on becoming a Proverbs 31 Woman. So there will be no post today. If you are so inclined, feel free to read Proverbs 31, both for men and women, and try to determine what that means, or could mean for your future relationships.

Monday, October 17, 2011

5 Ways to Impress Her without Breaking the Bank

They say talk is cheap, but what about dating? In this day and age it can cost $30 just to pick up your date. Whatever you do, resist the urge to tell her to meet you at the corner bus stop. There are easier ways to impress that new twinkle in your eye without breaking the bank.
  1. Think Outside of the Restaurant: Dinner is always a nice date, but it can be expensive even if you’re considering the new options of “$20 for 2, including an appetizer.” Sorry, pal, that will make you appear cheap. Instead, why not impress her with a homemade picnic. Pack some simple foods like pasta salad, Italian bread and some fancy cheese, along with a $5 bottle of wine (she’ll never know if you remember to take that red price tag off!).
  2. Freebies: Museums and art galleries are a fun way to get to know the tastes of your future love interest, but they can be incredibly costly. Search for deals online, or go their websites for “free days.” Some galleries and museums are actually free. They may not be enormous and fancy, but they are still…free!
  3. Judge the Book by the Cover: Take that sweetie to a local book store and play this simple game: Tell her to go pick out her three favorite books, and you do the same. Hurry up, though, because you are going to buy her a nice chocolately dessert at the café. (Women can’t resist chocolate, even on dates!) When she meets you back at the café with her books, ask her questions about why she enjoyed them so much. You’ve just shown two things: 1. you care about what she cares about; 2. you can listen. Those two things will take you far.
  4. Show the Know: Listen up! No, really…listen up. Pay close attention to what she’s saying: what her likes and dislikes are before your first date. Try to base your date around her interests, even if they’re not interesting to you. You may learn a thing or two, and that’s highly impressive!
  5. Don’t Be Cheap: Whatever you do, don’t show her that you’re cheap. You may be trying to cut corners, but please, Man, don’t ask her to chip in for the date! Instead, be a class act and pay for everything. Yes, I mean everything. If she offers, refuse! You might as well get used to it, because if you’re looking for a long-term relationship she will find unique ways to get what she wants.

Nothing will ever really be cheap, but you can always impress for less just by being a stand-up guy. These five tips are great suggestions on cutting corners in today’s economy, but the reality is women want a good guy who pays attention, is romantic, and cares. Anything after that is like chocolate icing on a chocolate cake (you’re the chocolate cake, by the way).

All rights reserved. Tristine Fleming

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Week 9: So Much Better

Scripture to practice: Romans 12:3
“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought...”

I liked this verse so much, that I used it yesterday for Relationship Revival, but today, for my savvy singles, I’m going to approach this in a different light. (If you want to see how I used it yesterday, feel free to check out that blog. You’ll gain some valuable insight about the need to always be right and how it can negatively affect your relationships.)

For you, my friend, let’s just consider this idea that you are so much better “than that.” Let me first start out by bringing to light that there are reasons to think that way, specifically when it concerns to a few specific issues:
  • If someone is trying to force you into sexual relations, either verbally or physically
  • If someone is verbally or physically abusing you
  • If the person you are dating attacks your faith or your commitment to “save yourself”
  • If they are merely playing you and dating a dozen other people
  • If they are not serious about being serious

So those are things that I would most definitely agree with you on, if you said—and you should—I’m so much better than that!

But there are times we tend to think way too highly of ourselves, so much so that we say, “I’m better than that,” when it comes to someone who doesn't live up to your standards. When you consider yourself to be “above” others, that is when the problem will lurk about and destroy any real chances of happiness. I’ve said it before a million times: sometimes you are your own worse enemy. And when you put yourself on a pedestal, and demand all your requirements to be met, you will be single for quite some time.

When I first met Jared, he didn’t meet a lot of my internalized requirements I didn’t even realize I had. He didn’t like football, he was into opera and theatre, he was a liberal, he was a Mormon, and he was eleven years younger than I was. He was also a bit “odd,” as my friends put it. He was awkward and gawky…a bit geeky, even. I typically went for the guys who were incredibly confident, carried themselves with pride, and were more of the manly-man type who would never consider washing a dish, more or less change a poopy diaper.

I wasn’t sure if Jared was my “type.” I thought myself to be above all those things. I saw myself on a different—higher—level than him, and because of that, I had a hard time believing anything would really come out of it.

Imagine if I had acted on that attitude. I wouldn’t know that there could be a love like this, and I surely wouldn’t have my amazing son. Imagine how much I would have missed out if I declined his offer of a date and instead just misjudged him! My life wouldn’t be any different than it was ten years ago, and I wouldn’t be here writing this blog today in hopes of providing you valuable tidbits on how to overcome yourself!

Love of a good woman change Jared. That lanky boy turned into a confident man. Those so-called “unmanly” traits turned out to be the biggest blessings of my life! He cooks, he does laundry, he cleans, he’s incredibly involved in raising our son, and he’s an amazing man of God. I thought myself better than him, but in reality, he was better than me. But now we balance each other out. We stand on equal solid ground.

ACTION PLAN: Most people will not meet all the subconscious requirements you have made, but if you don’t find out what qualities they do have, you could be missing out on a lifetime of love. You are better than being mistreated, but you are not better than most other people despite what you think. The second portion of that scripture says, “But rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

GO FURTHER: I suggest you take the second part of this scripture to heart and apply it to your everyday life. When you stop acting like you are better than everyone else, you never know who will suddenly feel confident enough to finally approach you. Jared was intimidated by me because of that very fact. He didn’t actually ask me out. He had been telling people how he felt about me and one day when a group of us were all together, they asked me out for him. Someone, right now—someone wonderful—may be anxiously wishing he were good enough in your eyes to ask you out.

FACT: Imagine how many missed opportunities have already gone by because you may have seen yourself so much better than one of those gawky, geeky guys or girls who are really princes or princesses in disguise.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Week 8: No Jesus, No Love

Scripture to reflect upon: Psalm 55:22
Pile your troubles on God’s shoulders—He’ll carry your load, He’ll help you out.

Being single isn’t easy. You can experience amazing joy at the prospect of a hopeful relationship, only to be snared by the piercing pain that it wasn’t meant to be.

I know. I’ve been there. The countless relationships I had to “endure” led me here today. I say “endure” because I went through a lot of terrible, abusive relationships. I can’t tell you how many nights I laid awake crying, either because I ached to be loved, or because I ached over the love I thought I had.

I walked for many years amongst the dead. I lived nearly my whole adult life as a zombie, dragging from one dead-end relationship to another. With each new zombiefied relationship I entered, I carried extra resentments, boatfuls of bitterness and a truckload of anger. How could any relationship survive with that? It couldn’t.

I also carried a ton of guilt and shame, and with that, I made the horrific choices of one stinky guy after another. I was punishing myself.

A lot of people who suffer from Dating Whiplash end up thinking that God is somehow punishing them for something they’ve done wrong—and they know exactly what it is they’ve done wrong to deserve this treatment. God isn’t the culprit. You are. I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: you are your own worst enemy; you are your biggest obstacle to overcome. That new person you’re dating…well, they shouldn’t have to “endure” you either.

Dating has its ups and downs—mostly downs. You get your hopes up and then you’re shot down in flames. You think about a hundred different times, “I think this is The One,” only to find out it was The Hundredth One this month you thought that about.

This doesn’t have to be so complicated, but for some reason you’re not listening. You come to this site week after week hoping for some insight, but you don’t like what you hear. You’re not going to stop sleeping around, or giving yourself away, or try to be a person of noble character. You’re just sitting back waiting for the world to twirl around you and change for you. Have you applied one thing I wrote in seven weeks? Have you done the homework? Have you talked to God? Have you surrendered it all to Him?

If you say yes, but nothing’s working…you’re lying. Oh, don’t get mad at me. I’m just speaking the truth you don’t want to hear. You KNOW how I know, because I’ve said it a thousand times: I’ve been there. See where you’re sitting right now. I was sitting there, too.

Scroll down. Look around my blogs. Notice something? I’m married to an amazing guy. I have a beautiful son. I have an incredible, blessed life. I have these things because everything I’ve told you….I did! God did!! We did together.

ACTION PLAN: Pile your troubles on God—He wants them! He will take care of them. Carry them for you. Have a heart-to-heart with God and try being real now. Put aside your “religious” ideas of how to approach God, and lay it on the line! Commit yourself to Jesus and watch your life transform. All the stuff you’ve been trying to do yourself can’t be done by yourself. If you want to save yourself for the right person, if you want to release your past sins/life, if you want to live a better life or be a better person—a person of noble and virtuous character, if you want to know true love…cry out to Jesus and ask Him to save you. God is not a bumper sticker slogan. He’s the Creator and Ruler of heaven and earth. One day, bowing down to Him will not be an option. Why not just do it now and be free for the rest of your days? It requires nothing on your part except asking for redemption, salvation, and the love Jesus DIED to give you!

GO FURTHER: Stop blaming the past, other people, or God. If you’re coming here week after week, discouraged to find out that you need Jesus in order to find real happiness and true love that will last a lifetime, don’t blame me that you won’t do it and therefore nothing’s working. Bits and pieces won’t work. You either want to find your true love, or you want to find the next best thing. True love means Jesus, and surrendering it all to Him, allowing Him to work through you, heal you, and complete you, preparing you for the person He has lined up for you. The next best thing will land you right where you are again: hopeless and aching.

Jesus doesn’t make life perfect, but He will deliver you from addictions, sin and past heartaches. Life won’t be a bed of roses, but it’s better than the alternative. The pain will become easier to deal with, and the losses you experience in the dating realm will somehow make much more sense when you grasp that God has bigger and better things lined up for you, and He’s using every single dating disaster to prepare you for the Real One. If THAT doesn’t give you hope, nothing will!

FACT: No Jesus=No Love. Know Jesus=Know Love.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Week 7: Hard to Find

Scripture to reflect upon for Singles Saturday: Proverbs 31:10-11 (The Message)
“A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds. Her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it”

Before I dig into this, I want to first ask a series of questions to the women, and then the men. I think you’ll find your own answers a bit interesting, and possibly even shocking.

§  Are you a good woman? What makes you think so?
§  Are you a woman who can be fully trusted? Why?
§  What kind of men have you been dating? How do they treat you? How long does the relationship usually last? How did you meet them?
§  How quickly do you have sex with someone? First date? Second? Third? Or do you abstain?
§  Do you spend time with God, and are you confident in your relationship with Him? (Keeping in mind that merely believing isn’t spending time with God.)
§  Are you saved? Meaning, have you given your life over to Christ?
§  Have you ever told secrets about others? Do you gossip?
§  When in a relationship, do you tell your friends everything that goes on, including your sex life?
§  Do you keep a clean house? Do you cook?
§  If you got married, what would be your main focus? Your husband/family? Your career? Your friends? Your parents? Your pets? Your “things”?
§  Why do you want to get married?
§  What are you looking for in a man? Someone attractive? Someone intelligent? Someone wealthy? Someone who’s sexy or extremely attractive?
§  Would you consider marrying a man who sleeps around a lot?
§  Would you consider marrying a man who cheated on his previous girlfriends?
§  Would you consider marrying a man who left his wife for you?
§  When you go out to the bars—if you go out to the bars—what do you wear? How do you present yourself to men? Are you wholesome and simple? Or are you overdone and letting it all hang out?

Now let me ask you again, after you’ve answered these questions: Are you a good woman worth far more than diamonds?

§  Are you a good man? If so, what makes you think that?
§  Can you be trusted by a woman? Meaning, will you lie to her, cheat on her, or string her along until you can figure things out?
§  Do you keep a clean house? Do you cook?
§  Do you feel a man should provide for his wife and family, or do you believe she should contribute to the household finances?
§  Do you let women pay for dates, or do you pay for everything?
§  What are you looking for in a woman? Do you want someone who sleeps around a lot, and has had many previous relationships before you? Or do you want someone who has been holding out for the right person?
§  Do you believe in the saying, “Why buy the horse when the cow is free?” And do you believe in “taking a test ride” before sealing the deal?
§  Do you want a woman you can be confident in and trust?
§  Do you desire a woman who seeks God first, knowing it makes her a stronger, better woman? Or do you want a woman who will put you first above and before anything else?
§  Who, or what, will be your first priority if and when you get married? Your friends? Your family? Your sports? Being able to still go out and party once a week? Your wife/family?
§  How would you plan on supporting a family? Do you even want a family, or do you only want a wife?
§  What is your idea of a wife? Does she take care of you, or do you take care of her? Will she do all the cooking and cleaning and taking care of all the children’s demands?
§  Can you be trusted to be faithful and loyal to one woman, and one woman only?

Again, I ask you: are you a good man?

So my last few questions are for both men and women: What makes a good woman? If she is so hard to find, why is that if so many women believe they are “good”? Do women believe they are good based on what the world claims is a good woman; or are women basing their goodness on biblical and Godly principles?

Men, did it surprise you to learn that you wanted a good woman who hasn’t been with many men before you? Did it surprise you that you want a good woman that you can take care of and rely on?

Ladies, most men are looking for a good woman worth far more than diamonds. They want a woman they can trust fully, with no regrets whatsoever! If you are currently giving yourself away, time and time again with the same end results, something’s not working!

Men may briefly want the woman who wears a low-cut blouse and knows what she’s doing in bed. But ultimately, a relationship based on those things won’t amount to a hill of beans. You will continually find yourself getting dumped, or doing the dumping.

Listen, the idea of what a woman is supposed to be like, and this notion that men like that kind of woman, is incredibly off! A good guy wants a good woman! They want a woman who collaborates in their beliefs. They want to know that if you are in a relationship with them, that you are committed to them and anything and everything else, besides God, is secondary. That means you won’t have arguments over work schedules, and careers, and who will take care of the kids. It means you’re committed to a family, not “having it all.”

Women, you need to stop believing the lie that having it all is really “having it all.” Quite frankly, having it all means giving up a lot! And I mean…a LOT! Just look around. Look at today’s youth. We are suffering an epidemic of obese children. We are seeing more and more kids beat, rape and murder others without any remorse. We are witnessing kids who don’t have a clue about Jesus or God, and it shows! Kids are becoming angrier and angrier at earlier ages, because they are being neglected by moms (and dads) who are trying to have it all, while having nothing at all.

Before you keep moving about as if none of this matters, you should truly consider what you want and how that’s going to work. Meaning, figure out if you are a good woman worth far more than diamonds…they are hard to come by. Are YOU hard to come by? Or are you just another woman who blends in the crowd? Beautiful, wonderful woman…you need to stand out ABOVE the crowd. What would make YOU different from other women?

And men, you need to figure out if you’re willing to settle for something less than diamonds, or if you are willing to wait for that gem to show up at the right time, knowing full well what it means to be a husband. If you don’t…I suggest you figure that out, because the world has got that all wrong, too!

ACTION PLAN: Change your course…NOW! Be a woman of virtue, ethics and morals! It’s not outdated; it’s not an ancient idea. I am one, and I’m still living. In fact, my husband waited for a woman like me to come along. Yes, I had a past—a crazy, wild, promiscuous past—but I changed my course, and so can you. Your past doesn’t need to define you anymore. You can make a conscious effort right now to be a “good woman” that any man would fight to have! Because, my dear friend, they are incredibly hard to find. (Next week we’re going to literally make an Action Plan to implement into your dating life that you will need to lay out on all of your first dates!)

Men, it’s time you refocused your attention for a good woman. Stop looking for “tail,” and start looking for “traits.” You, too, have to change the course you’re on. You need to be a man who has morals and ethics, and be a man who longs to be a good husband and provider to his wife and family. You may find a woman here and there, but what does it matter if she’s not committed to being committed?

GO FURTHER: I challenge you this week, both men and women, to read Proverbs 31:10-31. Women: make a list of ways you can be more like the Proverbs 31 Woman. Then write a list of ways you feel you can’t be like her. Explain why, and ask yourself if it’s pride that stands in your way, not an inability. Is it because you don’t want to be like that, or you think you can’t, or you think it’s stupid? Do you think it’s achievable?

Men: Make a list of all the things that you like about the Proverbs 31 woman. Pay special attention to the husband’s role. What does he do? How does he act? What is he like? Can you be that kind of husband?

FACT: A good woman is hard to find. If you’re easy to find, something’s not right.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Singles: There's Hope!

Scripture to reflect upon: Jude 20
But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit (emphasis added).

Six years ago I felt so broken and so alone that I was convinced I’d never know love. Today, I am married to one of the most amazing men I’ve ever met and we have an incredibly bright two-year old son. But it took me thirty-eight years, three horrific marriages, and over one hundred broken relationships to find him. Through all the heartache, pain and suffering I endured, I never thought I, of all people, would know this kind of love and happiness. And I am confident that if it can happen for me, it can happen for you, too; and hopefully you won’t have to go through the hell I went through to get there! That is my ultimate goal for you, my single, hopeful friend!

The problem I faced from the age of twelve (yes, that’s when I started dating, believe it or not!) to thirty-seven was plain and simply…me! I was my biggest problem. I was my biggest obstacle that I needed to overcome. For too many years it was so easy to just keep blaming the world, blaming men, and blaming society, when in fact there wasn’t anyone truly to blame other than myself.

I spent the majority of my life calling guys: jerks, scum, dirt bags, idiots, and various other vicious names. I think I learned this early on from my mother. If she wasn’t saying it (and she was), she was projecting it all over the place. Men sucked. They never stayed. They always left. They always cheated. They always lied. They always…

My father left us when I was five. He left my mother for a woman he had already started another family with several years prior to the time of his leaving. My mother often left me home alone at nights as a young girl so she could go out and meet men. It wasn’t too long before she met my first step-father, and it wasn’t much longer after they got married when he began to beat her, and then eventually molested me when I was eleven. Regardless of it all, there were glimmers of hope that they would divorce, but then she would just end up getting back together with him, and the abuse cycle carried on for several more years. As a young girl, I just didn’t understand why she would put up with that, and it angered me to no end.

See, now right here we can stop this story and have a nice little pity party for me. It was my daddy who left me, and my mommy who taught me how to be abused. Sure. We could do that, because to some extent it’s partly true, but eventually…there is no one else but you who can be responsible for you and the choices you make. When you look in the mirror who looks back at you? Who makes the choices you make? Who decides who comes and goes in your life? Who is in control of you?

The horror stories of my dating, relationships, and married life are too many to mention here today, but let’s just recap my mother’s life and you’ve got it all figured out.

I didn’t see myself as worthy of love. I could tell you that I quite honestly believed no one loved me at all my entire life. That may not be true, but it’s not a lie to tell you that’s exactly how I felt for thirty-seven years.

I got saved a few months before I turned thirty. One of the reasons I gave my life to Christ was the mere idea of being loved by someone, even if it meant someone I couldn’t see or touch. Just the idea of being loved…that was enough for me. I wanted to know that, and God was faithful in making me feel a love I’d never known before. But eventually here on earth, we want to know physical love. So I returned to my old relationship patterns: looking for exactly the wrong kind of guys who would prove to me that they were all jerks, scum, etc. I was still saved, and I was still living for God, but even the Christian guys I was picking were no better than the “worldly” men I had dated before getting saved.

The truth was: Jesus loved me, but I didn’t. I didn't know how, or where to even begin.

If you’re like me, you’re a tough woman. (Unless, of course, you’re a man. Don’t worry, there’s something for you, too!) You are strong, independent, and you don’t put up with anything from anyone…unless it’s a guy you’re crazy about, that is. Unless, unless, unless. See, we have all these rules about our life: who comes, who goes, who says what, and what we will deal with and what we won’t...unless it’s a guy. And most people are amazed to learn about the type of men you date and how they mistreat you. They can't imagine such an amazing woman of your caliber ending up with such a loser like so-and-so. And sometimes, neither can you!

And men, you may be one of those “good guys” who keeps getting burned because the women you fall for are the ones who always end up with that loser so-and-so. They date you in the in-between, end up dumping you to go back to Loserville, and you’re wondering why they would ever choose someone like that over someone like you. Well, read on and be enlightened.

For the longest time I couldn’t tell you what the problem was. I just knew that I was basically dating the same guy over and over and over and over again. They never got better, they only got worse! So when 99 out of 100 men are like that, it’s all too easy to blame all men. But that’s 99 out of 100 men YOU choose to be with. And sure, we’ll quietly admit that we may be difficult to live with, but that’s not even scratching the surface. We don’t want to scratch too hard or too long, otherwise the scab comes off and we begin to bleed, and no one likes a bleeder.

I wonder how many women consider the relationship patterns in their life and begin to do some self-evaluation, and come up with the solution that maybe they’re the problem. (Big gasps!!) But a lot of women don’t want to do this. You don’t want to go there. That’s claiming that maybe something’s wrong with you, and you don’t want to believe that. Who does? I didn’t. I wanted to believe it was them—that was easy, although painful, but not nearly as painful as admitting I may be the problem. I just saw myself as this wonderful, fun, loving woman who just always happened to stumble upon rotten eggs. Why was I being so mistreated? Why did men always leave me? Why did they always cheat on me? Why did they always lie to me? Hmmm… All men must be bad, I remember hearing that somewhere early on in life. In fact, I recall a lot of people telling me that, and showing me that, too.

It’s something I believed from day one, and every time I heard it or said it to someone or even to myself, I was making it true for my life. By believing all men were bad, those were the kind of men I attracted. I may as well have had a big neon sign over my head blinking: “ABUSE ME! MISTREAT ME! I KNOW YOU’LL DO IT ANYWAY. I DON’T TRUST THE LOT OF YOU! SO HAVE AT IT!!” And if that visual is amusing to you, it’s not so far off. We may not have the blinking sign over our head, but we surely carry that idea with us everywhere we go and it hovers over us. That “idea” presents itself to the exact guy you can’t stand to be with, but somehow find yourself in a relationship with over and over again.

The good guys? Well, they don’t exist, so you won’t even see one if he knocks your big blinking sign down with a baseball bat, crashing it to the ground. You’ll pretend he’s not real, because in your mind, he’s not. You bought the lie and wear it very well. So you casually pick up the pieces of your shattered sign, glue it back together and hang it back over your head: Come and get me!

But there’s another side to all of this, and it goes along with the scripture I posted. How do you see yourself? How do you treat yourself? Are you always saying, “I always meet jerks,” or “I must not be good enough for good guys”? Oh, but you have that rough and tough exterior when a guy mistreats you, “I’m too good for this crap!” Don’t you? But somewhere deep down inside, in the core of who you are, you don’t fully believe that because you end up putting up with that crap anyway, again and again. “I’m leaving him for good this time!” Yeah, sure you are.

If you are subconsciously sabotaging the men of the world, what do you think you are doing to yourself? What are the lies you are telling yourself? What are the lies that the world is spewing that you don’t believe on the surface, but carry inside of you? You’re not thin enough to be loved. You’re not tall enough to be attractive. You’re not smart enough (or dumb enough) to find that kind of guy. You’re not. You’re not. You’re not. Or, you’re too fat. You’re too old. You’re too this, or too that. What’s your story?

Build yourself up…but don’t stop there. Have faith and pray. Start believing that you are worthy of love and good things. Pray to God and ask Him to show you your worth. Have faith in the goodness of people, even if you don't see it all the time.

ACTION PLAN: The world will treat you the way you treat yourself. So this week, take a good look at how the world treats you. That will give you an indication of how you may be treating yourself. Be kind to yourself. Speak good things into your life, even if you don’t believe it at first. Stop buying into the lie that all men (or women) are only one way, and instead start believing that there are good people in the world, but you just have to see them first and recognize their worth, too.

GO FURTHER: Stop looking for the time being. Give yourself some time to start focusing on you and recognizing your relationship patterns. Journal about the kind of people you’ve been in the habit of dating. How did they treat you? Were they usually the same kind of person? What’s the recurring story in all of your relationships? If you were to look past the exterior of who you are (the façade), how would you describe yourself (be completely honest and don’t try to say/write things you think you should!)? What is loveable about you? What are your good qualities? What are your bad qualities, and how can you change them? Does your relationship with God play a role in your decisions about relationships? Do you ask God for His guidance? Do you know your worth to God? How do you think God feels about you; how do you think He would describe you? Remember…He loves you unconditionally. If you didn’t know that, then have an honest talk with Jesus. Ask Him to show you His unending, unfailing love to you. If you journaled these things, physically present it to God and ask Him to help you with those things. Invite Jesus into your life and let the healing begin.

Until next week…remember, I love you. Jesus loves you. You are worthy of love!

If you don't program yourself, life will program you! - Les Brown

Week 1: Ugh Lug Luggage

Scripture to reflect upon for Singles Saturday: Leviticus 19: 17, 18
“Do not hate your brother in your heart…Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”

So now that you’ve taken responsibility for your own part in some of your failed relationships, it’s time to move forward in a much more positive way. This next step isn’t always easy, but it is essential for honest freedom and renewal. It's time to let go of that ugh lug luggage that's been wearing you down!

Once I got to the point when I realized I was a major part of the problem in my relationships, it was a bit freeing. But there was also a part of me that wanted to continually bang my head against the wall for being so dense and dull minded.

I never claimed that the past men in my life were entirely blameless for what they did, but I did take a lot of the burden off of them. I didn’t need to confront them, or call them up and apologize. That would have only opened a whole new door of abuse for them to tap into. Instead, I sat with God and handed it all over to Him. That meant forgiving people whom I believed weren’t worthy of such a thing. But God does.

Forgiving others isn’t really even about them anymore. It’s about you. And it’s about you and God. It’s about being free of all that extra baggage you carry around that weighs you down and wears you out.

Someone very close to me has carried an incredibly heavy burden of unforgiveness as a yoke around her neck for over eleven years. She refuses to forgive, but she also hasn’t accepted any responsibility for her actions or her role in the failed marriage. They have been divorced now for eleven years and she still continually brings his name up in a derogatory manner. She still brings up very specific incidents, and has even in fact distorted the truth of some very beautiful moments to better suit her hatred towards him. He has moved on. He is happily remarried and living an incredibly successful life. She remains so stagnant and so bitter that she barely lives life at all anymore. She drinks heavily, rehashing relationships gone bad from even as far back as forty years ago! She still mourns them, and still bitterly bites at their heels. Forty years! And now she lives alone…achingly alone.

Her story isn’t exclusive. I have another dear friend of mine who is living nearly the same exact way! Although I love her, I can’t bear to talk to her very much anymore. Her bitterness and resentments have crossed the line to self-absorbent self-pity and misery. How can you continue listening to the same sad, sorry stories for years and years that your life becomes insignificant to them? Nothing else matters but their bitterness.

That is what unforgiveness does. When you hang onto past angers, past situations, and past hurts, you become lost in them. You will never heal and you will never move on. You will never find the right person, because you will always be seeking out the same exact person who hurt you in hopes of righting a wrong. “I’ll make it better this time. This time I’ll change him. This time I’ll fix it. This time will be different.”

These two incredibly wonderful women have chosen to remain angry with people who have moved on. They not only hate the men who hurt them, but in doing so, they end up hating themselves, too.

There is most certainly a time for release and anger. Absolutely! But make sure it's not destructive to you and others. I spent about two years being aggressively angry after my last marriage failed. I made a lot of enemies in the process, lost a few friends along the way, and even lost an amazing high-paying job because I  couldn't focus on anything but my anger. I lashed out at anyone who crossed my path. I decided to cut myself off from the world and be angry there, where it was safer for everyone. I drank, I broke things, I cried, I screamed until my throat bled. I eventually even gave up everything I owned and moved far away from him.

Although it was necessary to feel what I felt and to release it somehow, I could have released my anger sooner (and in a much healthier way), but I had no idea how to do that. I was too lost in the anger and pain. I hated myself during that period. I hated who I became. Hated who I had been. And eventually just hated me in the process. That’s the prize of being the winner in the blame game. Congratulations, you win! And by winning, you end up being the real loser. But had I not escaped my hate by taking responsibility and forgiving myself and others, I would still be wallowing and rotting away like my two dear friends. They haven't yet given it up. They are still cut off from the world, thinking it's safer there when it's not...not anymore. But it's so easy to get stuck there.

Imagine if Dorothy never went back to Kansas and instead just stayed in Oz. She would have never learned her lesson. She ached to get home, and so should we. Although Oz was nice, she was still running from her demons that needed to be faced. The witch would have continued to hunt her down, but Dorothy fought to get back where she belonged.

If you don’t fix this problem, you will never be healthy enough to find love. If bitterness and resentment is eating away at your soul, you are drawing the wrong kind of people in your life. If you don’t love yourself, no one else can or will either. And if you don’t love yourself, how in the world do you think you can love others? You may not even think you don’t love yourself. But what do most of your thoughts consist of: Anger? Bitterness? The past? Past hurts? Is your past slipping too close into the present and possibly the future? Are you so angry that you just say, “I’m done!” but try to continue anyway?

ACTION PLAN: Ask God for forgiveness for the choices you've made. He is faithful to forgive. Then tell yourself that you are forgiven; that you forgive you for the choices you’ve made. Tell yourself that it’s okay now, because things are going to be different. You are going to be different. You are going to make better choices. You are going to be healed and healthy.

GO FURTHER: Forgive others. Tell God, out loud, who you forgive and why. Tell God you are ready to move on from your past and you accept His healing. You never need to look back, because you can be renewed and freed by forgiving yourself and forgiving those who hurt you.

Now consider your past (and those in it) as literal baggage. Pack it all up (cry if you need to), zip up the suitcase, and wheel it straight to God’s feet. Got that image in your head? Good. Now do it. You don’t need to carry the past around anymore because God took it for you. He will happily discard it. Let God embrace you and feel His comforting arms around you as you are released from past pains and heartaches. (And from this point on, if you are hurt by someone, make your load easy and pack less pain.)

Pray for those you have forgiven. Ask God to heal them, too. Ask God to reveal how they hurt others, and then ask God to renew them, too.

FACT: Jesus said: “Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us” (Luke 11:4). God forgives you, so you can forgive yourself, also. Forgiveness isn’t about “them,” it’s about you. It’s about setting you free to love again.

Week 2: Expect Nothing

Scripture to reflect upon for Singles Saturday: Psalm 17:3 (The Message)
Go ahead, examine me from inside out, surprise me in the middle of the night—You’ll find I’m just what I say I am. My words don’t run loose.

How many of you often find yourself saying this to your friends: “He (or she) was so nice in the beginning. I just don’t know what happened…”? I bet a lot of you have said this more than twice throughout your pursuit of a relationship.

Now ask yourself how many people may have actually said that about you! You’re probably thinking, “No way! I am who I am.”

Well, that may be true, but we are usually never who we are when we first start dating someone…unless you date without expectations. Only then will everything change for the better!

When I first met my husband Jared, I wasn’t quite sure what I thought of him. I was tossed between being attracted to him and being repulsed by him. (Sorry, sweetie…not that you didn’t already know this story.) Because we worked closely together for fourteen hour days, we had become friends. When he eventually did ask me out, I accepted but had no expectations that anything would transform out of it. The way I looked at it, he was a nice guy who I enjoyed talking to; if nothing came out of it I had a nice time with a good friend. Simple enough. Simplify your dating life like this.

The truth of the matter is, because I had no expectations about where it could or would go, I didn’t need to go out of my way to try and impress him, or hide things from him. I also didn't expect anything from him. I didn't put any high standards on the date. To be quite honest, I just didn’t care if something came out of it or not. This was an absolute first for me.

I have always tried to be outgoing, witty, clever, or cute, but most of the time I just hid the best parts about who I was so I wouldn’t be looked over so quickly. You know what I’m talking about. The things you believe: your faith, your politics, your past, your hopeful future. You don’t want to scare them off, right? Well, what if the person you are with is serious about you and truly wants to know those very things about you? Will you lie or hide behind some excuse or persona, only for the truth to be revealed after you’re married and they end up asking you, “Who the heck are you!?”

This is where a lot of relationships fail. We try so hard to be something we are not in hopes that it will make the other person like us, that we end being nothing like we really are. We eventually then become an absolute stranger after a few months into the relationship. You begin to ask yourself, “Where did this person come from? I don’t remember him/her being like this, or liking that, or disliking this.” You could go years into a relationship and say, “I never knew that about you…” And you begin to wonder who you’ve been with all those years.

Jared tells our story differently. He had really liked me, more than friends, for quite some time but was never brave enough to ask me out. So when we went on our first date, he had already known some details about who I really was, which fascinated him and placed a desire in him to know more. He was not afraid to ask me about my political or spiritual beliefs. He wasn’t afraid to ask me about my past marriages and relationships. And guess what? He wasn’t scared off by my honesty, either!

Jared needed to see the real me almost immediately. I really liked him after that first date, but I wasn’t going to pretend to be something I wasn’t in hopes of stringing him along. When the real me appeared, that’s usually when most guys disappeared! But Jared knew up front who I was and what I was all about. He, too, had no expectations, especially about hoping I’d be perfect. Jared loved me specifically for my flaws, because it made me real and unique.

The problem most singles have these days is this dreamy idea of the other person, and it usually involves them being perfect (whether you admit that or not, it’s true). No problems. No past. No drama. No conflicting ideals or principles. The fact of the matter is we all have those things! We will never ever ever agree 100% on every little thing. And if you are open and honest right off the bat about who you are, where you’re going, what you believe, and what your dreams are, you will know instantly if this person is good for you or not because they won’t be scared off by it…at all! And if that’s the case, then ask your date the same things you want to know. All too often we think we shouldn't know so much during those first few dates, but I believe (and have been proven correctly) that you absolute must!

Why start out a new relationship—even if it’s your first date—under false pretenses? Why begin something pretending to be someone you’re not just to impress the other person? When you do that, you will almost certainly end up three months later telling all your friends, “He (she) was so awesome in the beginning…” All the while, you, too, had started to be real and let your guard down a little and before they knew it, you had changed, too.

Expect nothing on a first date. This leaves so much room for you to be real, to be honest and to be confident. When you have no expectations, you release yourself from the heavy burden of trying too hard, or needing the other person to be something they may not be, either. Stop expecting people to be who you want them to be, because you just may find out that you like them just the way they are. I know I did with Jared.

ACTION PLAN: It’s important that YOU know who you are before you can begin telling others who you are, too. This is the perfect time to get to know you! Try thinking about it like this: what would you like to know up front about your future date/partner? Now ask yourself those very questions. Be prepared to openly and honestly express who you are because anything less is really a lie that you are trying to sell to the other person. Don’t be afraid of who you are, either! Be proud and confident. Know why you believe the things you believe, and make sure they are not cookie cutter answers, or words or phrases that the rest of the world uses. Be unique and stand above the crowd. I promise you this: your date will either absolutely hate you, or be completely enamored with you. And if the date doesn’t work out, then so be it! It’s better to know up front whether they can handle the real you or not.

Think back to previous "first dates." What were some of the things you did to impress your date that were out of character for you? Did you ever lie about your beliefs in hopes they would like you better? Were you ever ashamed of who you are, or your past, or what you believed in because you thought they wouldn't like you?

Now consider this: what kind of expectations have you previously put on your dates? Make a commitment to expect nothing, good or bad, and you will see immediate results.

GO FURTHER: This may sound a bit out of the ordinary, but give it a try and see how it goes. Sit down with your best friend and ask them what made them want to be friends with you. Then tell them that you want to practice being yourself on dates by using them as a sounding board. Tell them who you really are without hesitation, and find unique ways to ask them who they are.

After you’ve revealed an honest piece of yourself to your date, don’t ask them, “So did that just turn you off? You want to take me home now, right?” That shows a sign of weakness in who you are. It says to them that you need their approval to be who you are, and you don’t! Don’t ask for acceptance. They will either give it to you, or not.

FACT: Expect nothing...except God.

Week 3: I'm Too Sexy for my Shirt

Scripture to reflect upon for Singles Saturday: John 5:39-40 (The Message)
“You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want.”

God took me directly to this scripture today for a reason. What are you missing? What is it that you overlook in hopes of finding the right person? Well, sometimes you overlook the very thing you are searching for: love. You may be asking yourself how that’s possible, but I can honestly tell you that some of your old patterns include the type of people you choose and don’t choose. (Men, I’ll be relaying my experiences from a woman’s point of view, but you may be doing this same thing with women.)

We have bought into the lie the world tells us that good guys are boring. (Hey, I’ll take boring over abuse—ANY DAY!) Bad boys are really bad boys who will treat you badly. There’s nothing alluring about that. There’s nothing attractive or sexy about it. Unless you need and desire drama and chaos, bad guys will bring you nothing but heartache and trouble you never asked for.

Bad boys are usually the hot, gorgeous guys standing across the room oozing sex appeal. These guys usually have one thing in mind, and it’s far from a relationship. These hot sexy guys know they are good looking and can get anything they want from women and take full advantage of it. These are the guys who will tell you, “I’m not looking for anything serious,” but you think you can change their mind. They are the kind of guys who tell you they love you, but end up leaving you when the next best thing comes along. They are always looking for the next pretty face, because they are the ones who get bored easily. They may not be boring—far from it, because drama, the chase, the hunt, the lust is always seemingly exciting—but they get bored quickly! They think too highly of themselves to settle down. They think they deserve better than you because they are just way too good looking to just choose one girl, so they create immense chaos in a lot of women’s lives with games and mixed signals.

I recently told you that I was tossed about how I felt about Jared. He lacked that certain something I had always looked for in a guy…oh yeah! he wasn’t a bad boy. He was a nice, polite, considerate, sensitive guy. Everything I always overlooked in men. He was the type of guy I always turned into a “friend.” You know the one, “He’s so nice and he treats me so good, but I just don’t feel that way about him.” The problem with this scenario is that you just don’t feel that way about you! You just don’t want to be tied down to someone who’s nice and comfortable. You prefer the battle, the chase and the chaos. But why?

Let me tell you the absolute truth: the good guys—the ones that the world convinces you are boring—are willing to offer you the very things you’re looking for! The good guys are the ones who will go out of their way to treat you like a lady. These guys will adore you and love you honestly, completely and faithfully! They will not stray, because it’s in their DNA. Listen, you keep saying there aren’t any good guys out there, well I’m telling you that’s a lie. But you keep buying into it. All your friends keep saying it, and you, yourself, just can’t stop telling the world that there are no good guys out there. Hogwash!! He’s probably standing right in front of you and you don’t even know it. You are too busy looking for something in someone who will never be willing or able to give you what you want, and this poor guy who is sweet, romantic and sensitive is wondering why in the world you even consider the losers you seem to date. He sees the worth in you that you don’t even see in yourself. That’s how genuine he is!

I nearly canceled my first date with Jared. I just didn’t “feel” it, and all my friends kept saying, “He’s kind of odd, isn’t he?” And of course when our friends start filling our head with things like that, we almost immediately want nothing to do with someone based solely on their opinion. Because we had also developed a friendship, I had a hard time imagining being with him romantically. Of course they thought he was odd…he wasn’t like other guys. He was a gentleman, and in this day and age, that’s considered “odd.”

I’m glad I didn’t cancel that date. I’m glad I went into it with no expectations. I’m glad once I got there I allowed myself to enjoy his company and was open to all the lovely romantic gestures (opening the door, letting me walk in before him, buying me dinner, giving me cab money to get home). He truly put together quite a first date that wasn’t incredibly impressive in terms of what we did, but he showed me that he had been listening to me for months. My likes and dislikes.  He thought of everything, because he was thoughtful. Does that make him boring or odd? Why does the world want to convince us of that, and why do we believe it?

I soon discovered that Jared was hysterically funny, and I loved that I could just be myself around him without worrying that I’d scare him off. See, hot sexy guys aren’t into being silly, that’s beneath them, so we tend to not let our own hair down around those guys for fear they will find us ridiculous instead of adorable. But when the nice guy comes around, he’s probably already seen you for who you are and admires all those silly things most bad boys would be turned off by. In fact, it’s probably those very traits that most men left you for that the good guys are drawn to and will cherish about you forever.

Dating Jared, I also realized some things about me, too. Finding the love I’ve always wanted made me realize that I enjoyed the drama-free life. I didn’t need the chase in order to feel worthy. I didn’t have to fight for Jared’s attention. I didn’t feel the need to have drama in my life in order to believe my life was exciting. I discovered that I didn’t need to raise my voice in order to be heard. I found out that my flaws are enduring, and a life without arguing was comfortable and relaxing. I never walked on eggshells with Jared. He never gave me any reason to believe I had to.

ACTION PLAN: You need to change your perception about good guys. It’s time to stop believing the lie that good guys are not your “type.” If you are looking for an honest, secure, loving relationship, you HAVE to consider a good guy. He may not look the way you expect, or behave the way you want him to behave. He may not even carry himself like those hot sexy guys do…but there’s a reason for that: he’s not cocky or arrogant, he’s honest and sincere. Get over your expectations of what your perfect person is supposed to look like or act like, and allow yourself to be open to new types.

Be open to the “odd” guys, don’t stick yourself in a box, and don’t listen to your naysayer friends, because just like my friends with Jared, they were regretful they never looked his way. Those very naysayers eventually used our relationship as a guiding point for what they hoped to find in a man. And maybe you haven’t seen my husband, but he’s pretty hot and sexy! But when we first met, he didn’t look like that. He was a bit shy and dorky, I won’t lie. But a good woman can make a shy, dorky man into an incredible hunk overnight! When we started dating, he became so confident and happy that he carried himself that way, and suddenly all the girls at work were going ga-ga over him. But you know what? He didn’t let that get to his head, because he remained true to the core of who he is.

GO FURTHER: Have you overlooked a good person because you just didn’t “feel” it? Why not give that person a chance. Get over all of the obstacles in your mind. Get over how they “look” and stop being shallow about those types of “qualities”. Imagine had I done that with Jared! I wouldn’t know this kind of happiness and love, and I wouldn’t have our son, and this amazing, wonderful life. Quality is on the inside, not on the outside.

FACT: Bad boys, or hot sexy guys, will only bring you heartache and trouble. Good guys are far from boring. They are the key to your happiness.

Week 4: Save Yourself

Scripture to reflect upon for Singles Saturday: Hebrews 13:4 (The Message)
Honor marriage, and guard the sacredness of sexual intimacy between wife and husband. God draws a firm line against casual and illicit sex.

Do you honor marriage, or are you standing in agreement with the world that marriage doesn’t work? I’m going to break this down into two segments: marriage and sex. First let’s look at the institute of marriage.

I hear a lot of people say—and I was guilty of this myself—“Why get married, it never lasts.” I will confess to you three reasons why my three marriages didn’t work:
1. I knew before I got married that they were not right for me.
2. All three times, those relationships had one or more breakups prior to the marriage. A sure sign it was not meant to be!
3. I was more worried about what other people thought if I called the wedding off.

Now let me give you one more reason why the majority of marriages don’t last: most people get into marriage with the idea that they can easily get out of it. Marriage doesn’t work because we tend to go into it with an already defeated attitude. Marriage will never work that way. Ever! If you are anti-marriage, then I suggest you also become anti-dating and become celibate, too.

Not a lot of people, Christians alike, believe or live scripturally when it comes to sex before marriage. It’s very rare that you’ll hear me say this, but for one second, let’s just take God out of the picture. Sex before marriage, even if you believe that there’s nothing “naturally” wrong with it, has many harmful consequences that last a lifetime:
  • As a woman, you could get pregnant even using birth control, and this is where most women need to make a life-altering decision of whether or not to keep the baby. A high percentage of women have abortions every year for the main reason of not being “inconvenienced” in their lifestyle or careers with an unwanted child. And if you know you don’t want a baby at all right now, especially out of wedlock, I suggest you don’t have sex. Period! I could explain the long-term (even lifetime) affects of having an abortion, but that’s a deeper topic than I care to delve into today. For men, they feel trapped, and either leave or try to do the honorable thing by getting married, and most of those marriages won’t work either.
  • More than likely, down the road, if not almost immediately afterwards, you will regret your decision to have been sexual with a particular person.
  • You may contract a sexual disease. Need I say more?
  • If you are using sex as a means to get someone to like you, and they end up leaving you or using you merely for sex, you have done two things: you have debased yourself and your reputation, and you will eventually feel so hurt and betrayed that the baggage will become a burden that you carry throughout future relationships. You will begin to see the opposite sex as merely users, and your trust in others will diminish.
  • Sex is an act of emotion, not purely physical. This is especially true for women. Women were created to be emotional, compassionate, and loving. Even if we try to be “care”less about sex, it will seep into our soul, our spirit, and eventually our heart. We cannot escape sex as an emotional act, which is why it was intended for marriage.
  • Every time you have sex with someone outside of marriage, you are giving a piece of yourself away for free. That means you also lose a part of you. You will eventually become broken, and nobody wants a broken person as a spouse, right!?
  • Men don’t want women who have been around the block, around the town, or around the country! Men may try to push you to have sex with them by using the words, “I love you,” but trust me when I tell you that they hope to marry a woman who has been with no one else before them! They see these women as "good girls," and serious men are looking for good girls. If a man is solely looking for a girl who can “do the splits,” he’s not a serious contender for marriage.

Many of you may be thinking, “This is hogwash. I’m human, and I have needs. I could never save myself for marriage.” Let me remind you that God gave you a spirit of love, power and self-control (2 Peter 1:7). It can be done, and I’m living proof of that.

I lived an incredibly wild lifestyle, and I regretfully admit that it was a lifestyle of promiscuity. It's shameful how many sexual relationships I’ve had. Everything I just stated above is true, and if you’ve been living a sexual life outside of marriage, you know it to be true, too. To say I lived most of that time in my life depressed is an understatement. I can’t tell you how many times I was betrayed, abandoned, or mistreated by those I “gave myself” to. I’ve also suffered awful consequences to my behaviors that will haunt me for the rest of my life. So after my last marriage failed, I made a commitment not only to God, but to myself (to honor me), I decided I would be celibate until I was in a Godly marriage, even if that meant it never happened.

I dated here and there; I even dated a man who was sweet, thoughtful and kind. I was very up front with these men. I made it clear from the beginning that I was not going to have sex at any time during our relationship, because I was saving myself for the man God had for me.

I can’t tell you what a great tool this is to see what kind of person you are dating almost right off the bat! Most men will just leave right away—and that’s great, because then you know exactly what they had in mind for you: nothing good! Other men will try to break you down with words, dinners, sensual kisses, etc. But if you stand firm, again, you’ll know their true motivation for being with you. If they can’t take it because they “have needs,” then they are not worth your time or energy. And that right there will be your first sign that they are not the right one for you!

On the other hand, a good person with sincere motives to be in a lifetime commitment will honor your request to also see if you are right for them. There are other ways to be intimate, and I don’t mean “sex with your clothes on”! Jared and I would just quietly lie next to each other, not facing each other, and just enjoy that peaceful comfort. And actually, it was during that time when God entered our relationship and made His presence known. And that’s when we knew that we were meant for each other. We knew God had connected us for a lifetime.

God moved in my life when I stopped moving. When I made the commitment to myself and to God that I would honor sex in the manner it was designed for, God wasn’t going to let me suffer long years. You don’t have to tell the world, “I have needs,” and act upon them. God knows your needs. He designed you, sexual organs and all. But God also wants to know if you will honor Him, honor His Word, and honor marriage, which means honoring sex, too, and ultimately if you will honor yourself.

ACTION PLAN: There is NOTHING wrong with saving yourself for marriage. In fact, you will be thankful that you do. It will save you so much heartache and trouble. Take the time today to talk to God about what you want and don’t want in a relationship. This will get the process in motion. I can guarantee that the top things you’re looking for doesn’t involve hot, passionate sex. If I know your heart (and I don’t need to, because God does!), you are sincerely looking for someone with great qualities and a good character. Sex is just the bonus prize.

With that being said, pray 2 Peter 1:7 over your life, that God gave you power and self-control! Ask God to help you make this kind of decision that may seem difficult at first, but will be such a blessing in the long run. When you make a commitment of this kind, God knows you’re not messing around. He will take you seriously, especially if you are following the last 4 weeks’ advice and suggestions. God will honor you! 1 Samuel 2:30, the LORD declares: Those who honor me I will honor

GO FURTHER: Separate yourself from the rest of the singles out there who are all too willing to throw themselves away with useless acts of sex. Stand out above the rest of the world by making a commitment to save yourself for marriage! You know who will honestly honor you? The person you’ve been searching for all this time! And I promise that you will feel so much better about yourself; and ultimately, when that right person comes along, you are going to be so happy you saved yourself for them…and so will they!

It’s time to decide what’s more important to you: sex, or finding the right person for you for a lifetime commitment?

FACT: Sex is temporary, but marriage is forever!