Being Saved, Being Single, Uncategorized

How to Shamelessly Catch a Guy at Church

[dropcap style=”font-size: 50px; color: #9b9b9b;”] L[/dropcap]ast year I wrote about the ploys women use to catch a guy’s attention at the gym. Sad to say, but this happens in church as well. What better place is there to secure the right guy for you? He knows God, is humble, and possibly in ministry… right?

Hmmm…

And before you all start pointing any fingers, let me just say there isn’t ONE single man that is a member of the church I attend… maybe there is one, but he’s far too young for me. Now before you start picking apart my words and finding a loophole, let’s get to the steps.

  1. Find the right church. Now we know single, Black men are few and far between in some of our churches so you’ve got to scope out the best location. Smaller country churches with lots of married couples and a few singles sprinkled throughout are best. You might as well forget the mega-churches. Those brothers have already been scoped out, and the competition will be far too stiff.
  2. Don’t overdress. Save the bright red dress for date night, honey. Demure and attractive is best. Wear “get-em-girl” dress if you must, but then you might intimidate the heck out of your future boo.
  3. Your hair and make-up MUST be perfect. A low bun just won’t do, ladies. Whatever style you choose, be sure it accentuates your best features and glistens under the bright church lights. Make sure your lip gloss is popping, and don’t forget the waterproof mascara for when the Spirit moves you.
  4. Sit within gazing distance. You want to be where you can see him seeing you. Avoid direct eye contact, and DO NOT SIT BESIDE HIM! I saw a lady do this once. She sat her self right next to a fella and kept standing up and poking her ample bottom in his face. We’d like to think the guy continued to sit there, right? Not this guy! He got up and mooooooved!!! I cheered for him in my thoughts…
  5. You better praise Him. After all, what decent brother wants a woman who doesn’t enter in during praise and worship? I’m not saying you gotta shout and holler (please don’t), but you need to clap your hands to the beat, sing, and dance a little. Show that you don’t mind getting down for Jesus. When the Spirit gets moving and you feel a tear coming, remember to dab (not wipe) your make-up.
  6. When it’s time to greet your neighbor, head his way but completely avoid him. Hug at least one person from each of the following groups: a female close to your age, a small child, and an elderly person. And, honey, you better griiiiiinnn like there’s no tomorrow.  Whatever you do, don’t make eye contact with him. I mean your eyes need to dance around him like he isn’t there at all. He will work harder to make himself more visible later.
  7. After service is over meander at your seat, but look busy. Take your time putting away your notebooks, pens, and highlighters. Say goodbye to your closest neighbors and offer your business card (or two) to one of the married couples in the church. Gracefully head to the door. He will find his way to you even if it’s not until you reach the parking lot.
  8. If he doesn’t speak, fret not thyself. You’ve made your presence known, honey! Rest assured he’ll ask around…. more specifically to the married couple that to whom you passed the business cards. Well, played, lady. Well played.

So I’m not completely serious about this. In no way do I recommend that any woman should take these steps seriously, but if you’re willing to try, who am I to stop you? There’s nothing here that’s wrong in and of itself. But should you be so bold, make sure you find your want to the “Contact Me” tab above and share your story.

On a serious note, kingdom women who desire companionship must demonstrate self-respect. Leave all the desperation, loneliness, and attention-seeking at home in your prayer closet. On a more serious note, don’t go to church looking for a boo. Seek God, and He’ll send the right one in the right time. Yeah, I know it sucks… Ugh.

[quote]I’ve learned that any man that you attract by your own efforts will fall short of what you truly desire.
Every. Single. Time. God knows what we truly desire and need.[/quote]

 

In the meantime, ain’t nothing wrong with being a little coy…

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

 

Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

Being Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships, For the Brothers, Uncategorized

Letter to the Married Brother

[dropcap style=”font-size: 50px; color: #9b9b9b;”] D [/dropcap]ear Sir,

 

Need I remind you of the nights you prayed for the warm body that shares your bed?

Need I remind you of the countless dates with women who could not hold your heart or even a worthwhile conversation?

Need I remind you that Christian couples are divorcing everyday and there are consequences called child support alimony?

Yet you risk it all through emails, texts, and private messages. No, the  content may not be inappropriate but it is questionable. And the question to ask yourself is this…

 [quote]If your wife saw this, how would she feel? Your pastor? Your children?

Is this something you’d be proud of IF and WHEN it is revealed?[/quote]

Let me remind you that the Lord sees the intent of our hearts, and though you may be lonely…

Though you may feel neglected…

Though you may be searching…

You are still married, and I am not your wife.

 

Unless there is a defined purpose for a relationship AND that relationship is public, there is no need for us to communicate continually. I need not be welcomed into your life. I don’t need to answer all your questions. No “just because”, “goodnight” or “good morning” emails should cross my networking threshold.

Where is your integrity, man of God? Have you yet to learn that no one can satisfy your soul but God Himself?

Just as you seek to be comforted and entertained, the enemy seeks to destroy YOU. He doesn’t care about your job, your family, or your ministry. He wants your soul. And he will bring you a Delilah when you’re at your lowest point.

 

You’ve found yourself at a stand still and wondered why your prayers are not being answered, yet you do not serve God or your wife with fidelity. How could He bless you when you don’t protect the blessings you already have?

 

If you’ve got to send that message early in the morning or late at night…

If you delete every exchange of conversation…

If you’ve never expressed the objective of the conversation without identifying who you are (and being married is part of that)…

You’re wrong. And I forgive you for trying to use me to soothe your own insecurities.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your marriage,

 

Alana

 

Being Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

Precautionary Dating Tale #3: They Just Keep Leaving

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] H [/dropcap]ow many times have you met someone and started a continual stream of great conversations only to have the communication come to a screeching halt? Then pick back up again… Then stop. Again.

It happens more than we care to admit, and it happens with men and women who identify themselves as Christ-followers.

And it’s WRONG! Any action that causes one to feel deserted or abandoned is one that is displeasing to God.

I remember sitting with my old pastor and telling him about this man he sent to date me. Everything was going along fine until we had a disagreement about something, and the brother disappeared for 3 days. What really made me angry was that this guy and I had shared things that were deal-breakers, and disappearing acts are numero uno for me. So having known this, he made a conscious decision to break a date, not call, and completely disappear. He had a good reason of course. There’s always– and by always, I mean never– a good reason to abandon someone that you’ve made a part of your life. I’m not quite sure why he was upset about my ending the relationship, but I digress.

My pastor looked at me puzzled and asked for clarification. The more I explained what took place (which was a very simple story) the more confused he became. He offered me no solace except to say he was sorry, and that really was good enough. Two years later I can confidently say that in THAT particular situation I was NOT at fault for the brother’s choice to abandon, but something I did made him think he could get away with it. (Even though the pastor sent him, I didn’t have to date him.)

Fast-forward a year and some change, and I’m enjoying a long-distance friendship with a very kind fella. Things start to get busy at work, and I find myself overwhelmed with everything! So our conversations were limited in time and frequency, but they didn’t stop altogether. I started to lose interest, and so made myself even more unavailable. His reaction was… ummm… which made me like him even less. I shared my feelings with him, and though I didn’t expect him to receive it well, I didn’t expect him to throw a hissy fit and delete me from Facebook. (Pardon me while I snicker…) This person was the assistant pastor of a church and behaved like a big baby. He was so used to women abandoning him that he thought he’d jump the gun and abandon me. Even though I would’ve liked to just up and disappear on him, I knew that God would not be pleased which is why I openly shared that he wasn’t right for me.

I was wrong in both situations. I began to write two lists, one for the role of the abandonee and one for the abandon-er, but I find that the core issues are essentially the same. So let’s see what we can glean from these matters:

  1. Abandonment stems from and creates emotional instability. Many of us grew up in single-parent homes or homes where one parent was present but only in the physical sense. We’ve come to think that abandonment is a normal and acceptable part of life, and we become predatory daters, self-seeking and totally un-Christlike. Rest assured that if you are up and disappearing on folk you are hurting them because YOU are hurt. Take a seat and allow God to deal with your heart before you rack up too many more broken hearts.
  2. You are your brother’s and sister’s keeper. Whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap. It is our duty to guard and protect one another’s souls, not to bring harm. God is love, but He’s also a judge. Be ye careful…
  3. You will leave every romantic relationship but one, so learn to do it the right way. It’s not easy to tell someone that you’re no longer interested, but you owe them and yourself the respect to do so. Check out How to Break Up and Stay That Way for some helpful guidelines.
  4. One who makes promises early on is more than likely unable to keep them. Don’t bother believing or accepting the well-meaning lies. “You’re the one for me… I just know it.” Oop. We don’t know these things until a measure of time has passed and we’ve seen the character of the person. People will sell you a lie thinking they’re telling the truth. Protect your heart and be spirit led.
  5. Don’t tell everything on your heart. In the first scenario I alluded to the fact that I did something to make this brother think he could play games with my emotions. I told him entirely too much about my feelings towards him. He used my feelings as leverage to attempt to manipulate me. When I broke things off, he said to me “But I thought you said I was everything you asked God for.” If that ain’t a big ol’ slap in the face…
  6. Slow your roll! We move entirely too fast. It’s ok to change to subject or make yourself busy so you can slow things down. Talking everyday all day is a guaranteed way to tell too much too soon.
  7. Sometimes a “gentle” rebuke is needed. In the second scenario I was irate about the way the buddy boy carried himself. I called him up and laid him out. I’m not inclined to telling people off, but his actions warranted it. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we can’t be so easily hurt and defensive. He apologized for his actions, and we were able to restore our friendship… minimally.
  8. When they walk, let them. They’ve made their choice. All that “let’s make it work” talk is reserved for marriage. You don’t “make” things work with someone you’re just dating. Why is that so hard for people to understand?
  9. Sometimes you’ll have to give a gentle push. Some people don’t know how to take a break-up. After saying the words, you’ll have to prove to them you mean business. Egos are big in these cases. Worry not about bruising them.
  10. If you’re going to be by yourself, then BE BY YOURSELF! A few weeks ago a young lady sent a tweet to someone asking for advice. Her boyfriend never answered the phone when she called. The person responded by saying “Sounds like you don’t really have a boyfriend. Let him go.” My last relationship was just like this. Being lonely in a relationship is far worse than being lonely outside of one. (But here’s a tip… loneliness eventually goes away if you learn to enjoy your own company.)
In the greater scheme of things, God will allow you to be abandoned continually until you learn to better handle yourself in dating situations. He will permit for you what you permit for yourself. Accepting the same type of mess from people will cause further damage to your already broken heart, and will ultimately push your goal of being happily married further down the line.
People will leave your life, and that’s ok. Let them go and rest assured that when you trust in God, you will NOT be disappointed!

Do you have a “precautionary dating tale” to share? I’d love to hear about it… anonymously of course! Tell me your story, and join CTheLily Newsletter so you’re updating to its posting. And of course,  only share your identity if you wish!  Here’s the link!

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,
Alana

 

Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Being Single, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

Manage Your Expectations: Unwritten Dating Rules for Summer 2012

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] A [/dropcap]nother summer is upon us, and I certainly have grown since last year. You? Last year, we talked about lowering your expectations (in a sarcastic way of course), but this year we’ll just manage them.

We expect far too much or far too little from folks without allowing them to be who they are. No one needs to change to please you or even answer for who they are. We simply must observe what is and make an informed decision.

I’ve managed to remove most negative influences, both male and female from my circle, and though I’m not dating at this point, I figured I could offer some dating rules for summer 2012 for those of you who are. Actually I just wanted to give you a few snickers and “smizes” as my Twitter friends say.

So here are the top 9 (maybe you have 1 more) Unwritten Dating Rules for Summer 2012…

  1. Don’t you dare sext! A quick glance through folks’ Twitpics will reveal that the person on the other end is not quite as trustworthy as you think. And mistakes do happen. You don’t want to be a casualty.
  2. Auto-correct is of the devil. Who stores all those dirty words? Oh, that’s right… You do! Take a second to double-check before hitting “send.”
  3. God speaks through Swype. It’s funny… whenever I add  a new contact to my phone, a word other than their name pops up. For example, if I swype “John” the word “scum” may pop up. Hear ye the voice of the Lord!
  4. You don’t have to give everyone your number. GChat, FB chat, Twitter DM’s are sufficient for the first few questions. Once you give them your number, you’re locked in to the “keep” or “delete” struggle and ultimately the “Who is this?’ conversation once you do delete them.
  5. Twitter and FB should not be primary sources for acquisition of dating advice. Even those super churchy folk that always tweet about relationships can be wrong. I’ve learned some things here and there, but when it comes down to it, submission to the Holy Spirit trumps all.
  6. Ignore the overly-confident folks that are in relationships. While some of them got it right, others just got lucky, but the masses are settling. Don’t let them make you feel bad no matter how hard they try.
  7. At the introductory conversation, ask no more than 2 or 3 questions. If they don’t reciprocate, then back off. Choose simple questions that aren’t too personal. The first few conversations should be light and pressure-free.
  8. Dating is not necessary for an enjoyable summer. Some of us live in areas where suitable datees are few and far between. Others of us have different priorities. Romance is great, but having money is too. Find new ways to spend your time and energy.
  9. Don’t hate on the friend zone. It’s hilarious to me how much people hate “just being friends”, but I feel strongly that the best relationships have a firm foundation of friendship. If a man or woman won’t first be your friend, they won’t stick around to build anything significant. Furthermore, you REALLY get to know the person instead of being blinded by your lusts and desires. I mean, you can have a relationship with them inside your head and no one will know… whatever suits you. Disagree with me? That’s cool… get your own blog. (Really, you can just comment below and tell me why you think this is wrong. I’m interested in hearing why.)
  10. Ummm… I’m tapped dry. What would your number 10 be?

Share in the comments section below, and let’s see if we can’t make sense
of what we’re doing before we jump too far too fast.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for a reasonably hot summer,

 

Alana

Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Being Saved, Being Single, Fine Oil Initiative, Uncategorized

Sixty Down: He Keeps Saying “No”!

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A few of you watched my first video which included the announcement of a year of no dating. For those of you who haven’t seen it, here’s the link.

In these sixty days, I can’t say that I’ve been terribly lonely. I can say that I’ve already begun to see myself differently and I’ve learned there’s so much more to life than the happiness that only exists (apparently) in romantic relationships. Like family. And money. And peace. And the abiding presence of God.

I would not have believed this if not for the hell I’ve been through the past two months.

In the effort to not over-share (i.e. embarrass anyone), I’ll just say that I’ve had to stand. And by “stand” I really mean kneel in prayer seeking God’s will and provision for me during this season. I’ve had to call on others to hold me up because, at times, my faith just wasn’t enough.

So instead of telling stories of grief and heartbreak, I’ll share those of minimal disappointment… with a moral and happy ending of course.

Maybe six weeks ago I started looking for a new home. My apartment is lovely, but I miss having a big, spacious kitchen with granite countertops where I can make lavish cakes and dinners to feed my friends and family. But I didn’t find a single house that I liked. The seller pushed and pushed and even put a great deal on the table, but I heard a quiet “no.” So on I went to look at homes elsewhere. Found one, fell in looooooooove, and came darn near close to signing the paperwork. Again, a “no.”

I couldn’t understand why He kept telling me “no” but since God seems to know what He’s doing, I passed on both opportunities. Just two weeks later, I found out a third of my monthly income had been lost to someone else’s mishaps.

What if I had signed that contract? Selah.

I relied heavily on that money. Double selah and a “Lord, forgive me.”

With little money in the bank and no guarantee (from what I could see in the natural) of any more coming in, I was excited to hear about a job opportunity– and when I say opportunity, I mean the job I’ve been wanting for the past two to three years. I knew God was telling me “no” but I wanted to be sure, so I checked in with my mentor. He made it easy for me to write an apologetic email thanking the folks for considering me, yet respectfully declining.

Then…. (oh I’m not finished yet)…

My daughter became ill. I don’t know what kinda bug she picked up but baby girl went from having a mild case of pink eye to having a roaring temperature of 104 degrees. Her body temperature was as high as my bank account was low. God gave us favor with the doctors because with the loss of that aforementioned income went the insurance too. But I had to face a real challenge when I heard the cost of her medication… $84 for the full prescription. There was exactly $60 in my wallet. I purchased half the prescription and a bottle of ibuprofen and walked away with only twelve dollars in my wallet. I cried at the checkout counter, yet God showed me mercy. By the third day, I noticed that the pharmacist had given me 3 full doses instead of two and a half!! God bless that man!!! After a few days of pushing liquids and analgesics down her throat, baby girl recovered.

All this with minimal family support due to other circumstances which I cannot even bear to mention here…

I’ve come to a place where I realize that God’s “no” is not a denial of what I want, but moreso the way in which He protects what He wants for me. Had I signed those papers, I would’ve ended up with a house that He didn’t want for me and unable to pay for it.

What did bother me was that I wasn’t hearing any “yes’s”. Well today I heard more than a few! I can’t share at this point, but I will say this…

[quote]When God says “no”, rest assured that He’s protecting a “yes.” Obey Him! Trust Him! Lean on Him!
He will say yes at some point, and be ready to obey.
If you can’t yield to a “no”, then you won’t go with a “yes”![/quote]

There is nothing in this life that we will lose for Christ’s sake that He will not return and multiply to us. Can you even imagine the house he has for me? The job? The husband? No??!! Neither can I…

And that’s the point…

For the scripture says, Whosoever believes on him shall not be ashamed. Romans 10:11

Sixty-down. Three hundred to go…

Looking back, when did God’s “no’s” protect you?
What’s keeping Him from saying “yes” in your toughest situations?

 

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your (and my) future,

 

Alana

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Being Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships, Fine Oil Initiative, Uncategorized

Precautionary Dating Tale #2: Beware the Predatory Dater

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I’m sixty-something days into my dating sabbatical, and I am far from bored. Truth be told, I didn’t do a lot of dating before so I really haven’t felt the impact THAT much except for Sundays after church. (That’s designated boo time in my mind…) Just the same, men have approached me… one really good, and others who are not even worthy of a telephone conversation.

But what I’ve learned (besides the fact that I need not give everyone my number) is that some people are predators when it comes to dating. They have marked a target on my fat bottom, seemingly sizeable bank account, or apparent niceness. These men have set an objective outside of getting to know me, and they’ve told me what they want as if it were honorable to tell the truth about something so shameful.

Women do the same… and in my humble opinion, worse. Lonely ladies everywhere list the attributes they expect a man to have just to take her on a date. These women are predators… not the type worthy of a true gentleman’s time. Don’t entertain her no matter how gorgeous she may be. (What are you gonna do? Whip out your Superman cape and save her from her delusion? Not gonna happen…)

I knew a guy… Biblically-speaking. (Don’t judge me.) This was years ago… but this fella was tall, a beautiful shade of dark brown and muscle-y. Ladies, if you could see a picture of this man, you’d blush. Think tall Greek God wrapped in Godiva’s finest. We played that “friends with benefits” game, and honestly speaking, it worked for some time. We had great conversation and great “conversation”… so great that God himself had to deliver me from the soul tie I had with this guy. Few things are more dangerous than good sex…

But this fella was a predator. And I was easy prey… down on myself, emotionally unstable, disappointed at life, and eager to please anyone who showed me attention. Make no mistake about my position on this. The prey is JUST as wrong as the predator. He wasn’t all bad, and I wasn’t all good. But when I decided to end the sexual nature of our relationship, he had a fit of rage then hunted out new prey.

Years have passed, and I’m no longer the lovesick woman who will settle. So when men with the same qualities as the aforementioned Adonis-like playboy approach me, I lace up my Asic’s and run like–

So how can you spot a predatory dater and avoid the trouble? They might look something like this…

  • The predatory dater is in a rush. Broad statement. Apply liberally.
  • The predatory dater misconstrues your kindness. You say “Hi” and they say “OMG! Why are you sweating me?”
  • The predatory dater is super-sensitive and/or self-absorbed. This person thinks every tweet is subliminal and about him or her. One missed “Good morning” text or late response sends them into a cavalcade of emotion. He or she often feels the need to correct you just to make themselves feel important.
  • The predatory dater will spend a maximum of 3 weeks trying to determine if he or she can get what they want out of you. After that, you won’t hear much at all until their other options are unavailable.
  • The predatory dater says things like “We’ll see what happens. I don’t know what the future holds. Let’s keep this private for now.” These statements often come when plans are being made for a date, future phone call, progression of relationship, etc. Ambiguity and duality are BIG warning signs. You will not regret walking away from a person who says these things.
  • The predatory dater will use you for one or two things at the most. We know the typical things. For men, sex. For women, attention or money. A woman will entertain a man PURELY to gratify her need for attention and have nary a thought about giving said man a real chance. I know because I’ve done it before. But outside of that, people use others for a myriad of reasons. You may meet the predator’s needs for one or two things, but everything else they’ll get from another source.
  • The predatory dater leaves something to be desired. You might really like some qualities in the person, but after talking to him or her, you feel icky inside. You’re picking up on their insecurities that they’ve attempted to project on you. I have a friend who really has been demoted to an “why-are-you-calling-me” acquaintance. He’s a nice guy at the core, but his self-esteem is sooooooooo stinking low that he feels the need to “fix” me whenever we talk. When he and I would hang out, I could never get him to leave. So imagine a person who wants to be around you only to make you feel bad so they can feel better? Ugh! Nice guy… missing a few… gotta go.
  • The predatory dater puts you in a box. Your interactions must fit his or her schedule and be carried out in a specific manner. Say what you want at your own risk!
  • The predatory dater is an expert at seduction. In order to effectively seduce someone you have to persuade them by presenting an ideal that is better than his or her own. To seduce a man or woman of God, the predator has to have a little bit of godliness and a little bit of freakiness. Without the godliness, we wouldn’t give the person a second look. Without freakiness, we probably wouldn’t keep on looking… Think Samson and Delilah.

Proverbs 22:3 says The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.

My pastor often teaches that a person should be qualified before you give them your time. How I wish I had learned this YEARS AGO!  But now that I know, and now that I’ve shared it with you… He who has ears to hear let him hear.

Are you a predatory dater?
What are you looking for in others that you haven’t found in yourself?
Have you been someone’s prey?
What changes will you make to change your dating experience?

 

Dating Precaution #2: If you feel like dirt after a simple text or phone conversation, you’ve been targeted as prey. Play possum.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Being Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships, For the Brothers, Uncategorized

So You Want a Ruth?

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I have to giggle when single men claim to be Boaz’s waiting on their Ruth’s. The sentiment is sweet and heart-warming. You’re on the search for love, but is a Ruth truly what you desire?

Last week some young, preacher-like fella was retweeted into my Twitter timeline proclaiming that he was a Boaz and demanding God to send his Ruth. This guy couldn’t have been more than 25 and quite immature which was made evident by the fact that he demanded anything of God at all. I thought, “Dude, you’re not even close to being a Boaz. What would you do with a Ruth?” I replied to his tweet inquiring as to whether he really wanted a woman who’d suffered loss, carried emotional baggage, and didn’t fit in with the crowd. His reply… “Well, maybe not a Ruth.”

In Scripture you find that Ruth was a woman from a foreign land who married an Israelite. Her husband, father-in-law, and brother-in-law died in her home country, a place known for abominable sins. She returned to Judah with her mother-in-law, Naomi, and took care of her until God sent her kinsman-redeemer, Boaz. You know the rest of the story. (Just in case you don’t, you can find it here.)

While I originally intended to write this post for women, it seems I’m going to delve into the qualities that make a man a Boaz and offer you fellas some other options as far as women of God go. While Ruth’s are incredibly valuable and significant to the kingdom, this type of woman may not be right for you. More importantly, you may not be a Boaz.

Let’s break this down…

  • Boaz was a wealthy businessman. Don’t get upset with meeeee! It’s true!! Several men have approached me claiming to be my Boaz, yet I live better than they do. To be a Boaz, you must have reached a place beyond financial stability. If you’re still living with mama’nem, you cannot call yourself a Boaz… You may have some of the other qualities, but until you’re financially stable, should you really be looking for a wife at all?
  • Boaz was a man of authority and influence. He owned and managed fields, workers, threshing floors, and everything in between. He was a man of authority and influence because he built a name and reputation for himself. Not because he had a big ego– Sorry, Bey! What kind of leader are you? Are you humble or cocky and arroagant? Do people fear you or respect you? Do you take care of the needs of your workers? Or are you insensitive, cold, and demanding?
  • Boaz was compassionate. Woe to us who see a need and refuse to meet it when it is in our power to do so! If you’re not willing to give and provide for the woman in whom you have interest, you are far from ready for a Ruth. If you’re courting a woman, or even dating in some cases, to what extent will you give her help when she needs it? If her car breaks down, will you run to her rescue? If a family member gets sick, will you just pray with her and hope for the best, or actually make yourself available for emotional support? Compassion for another will cause you to give of yourself even when you may have to sacrifice.
  • Boaz was humble. I’ve never really understood why Ruth uncovered his feet or what that even means outside the literal sense, but Boaz says something to her that really strikes me as profound. “You have not gone after young men, neither poor nor rich.” Boaz was aware that Ruth could have easily found another mate. She was obviously very attractive or he would not have had to warn the young men not to touch her. Though he was well-suited to be  a husband, he respected her right to choose and was thankful that he was the one she chose.
  • Boaz was diligent. Once he was aware that Ruth was interested, he “made haste” to resolve the matter. He exercised wisdom in dealing with his shrewd family member, but secured Ruth as his wife. I wonder what Boaz might have gone through before the account of this story. There’s no record of his having a family prior to Ruth, but whatever challenges he had as a man prepared him to recognize the value in Ruth.

Are you prepared to do this for a woman who has suffered loss and needs protection and covering? Nothing wrong with saying “no” because you have to know where you stand on the matter. Perhaps a Mary would suit you better… sweet, mild-mannered, chaste. But are you a Joseph— Discerning, discreet, and self-sacrificing?

Or a Sarah who was submissive and had no problem calling her husband “lord”? But you’ve got to be the man who has no problem displaying affection for his wife.

Or an Esther who is mentally stimulating, beautiful, and brave? But are you sensitive enough to hear her heart on important matters?

Unless you’re seasoned, have been through some challenges, and find beauty in rare things, you probably don’t want a Ruth. And there’s nothing wrong with that… What type of woman is it that will suit you best?

Better yet… find what type of man you are.

 

Identify your areas of growth, and begin building up yourself so that when your bride comes…
whoever she may be…
you, man of God, are ready to meet her needs and cover her as God has ordained.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

 

Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Being Saved, Being Single, Fine Oil Initiative, Uncategorized

The “M”-Word

This is quite possibly the biggest trap for folk who are trying to live right.

We know premarital sex is wrong.

We know extramarital sex is wrong.

We know it in our hearts and our heads, but our flesh has difficulty complying with the ordinances from upper management. So we compromise and satisfy the desire of the flesh– alone.

You figure out the m-word yet? No? Well, I’ll keep writing. It will come to you.

When you’re by yourself on a Friday night after a long week at work, you’ll start feeling a little tingly down under. You may even send that late night text. No response. No resolution. Ah yes! I’ll do it myself!

For years, I was bound. I won’t be graphic, but I will say that every time I became stressed about money, angry with someone close to me, bored… it was my vice. I’ve never been one for drinking, never done any type of drug… but this thing here had me defeated. More than anything, I wanted God to make me pure again, and every day I’ve come closer to that goal.

Now many of you may not feel m-ing is wrong or bad, but if you feel that way you probably haven’t agreed with much of anything I’ve written thus far. I don’t mind your disagreeing. Thanks for reading anyway…

For those of us who feel the Holy Spirit’s conviction let me express to you why the the “m”-word is a problem in your daily walk.

  • You are polluting your body, mind, emotions, and spirit. The original word in Latin literally means “to pollute oneself.” One day somebody’s going to want to drink from your cistern (if you’re not already married). And no matter how deep or shallow the well, no one wants to drink dirty water.
  • It doesn’t satisfy the need for a connection. This “quick fix” is like putting a bandage over a huge gaping wound. Your need for the s-word is more than just physical whether you choose to believe that or not.
  • It creates soul ties with a person who ain’t even present. You’re thinking about Mademoiselle X or Monsieur Y and releasing all those love-inducing hormones for a person who isn’t even in your space. What happens when you see them again and you’re feeling all amorous, and they’re just dapping you up like a homey? Hop on down that bunny trail… you can find the ending yourself.
  • If you’re married, you may be defrauding your partner and you definitely are if the p-word is involved. You know those sites that are so easily accessible? They have NO PLACE in the life of a Christ-follower. The two together have destroyed many marriages. I’ll write more about this another time.
  • Long term addictions to this particular problem are usually associated with rejection. David’s father, Jesse, rejected him at a young age and ever since David had issues with women. I’ve also read (no citation for this particular point… sorry) that children who grow up with fighting-arguing-cussing parents use this particular thing as a form of stress relief. What are we doing to our children?!

So how does one break free from this vicious cycle,
assuming one WANTS to break free? 

 

 

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future of PURITY,

Alana

 

Photo credit: Some rights reserved by ninasaurusrex

 

Being Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships, For the Brothers, Uncategorized

Letter to the One Who Didn’t Show Up

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Dear Sir,

I won’t rehash the details of why things didn’t work, but a relationship involves two people. I never have a problem with my own company until someone who has promised to be there doesn’t show up. And for me, showing up is half the battle.

We all have stresses in our lives. We must prioritize. And I’ve learned that we make time for things and people that matter. So to tell me you love me, to say that I matter, to call me “baby”– I don’t understand those things. Because you didn’t show up.

And the opportunities we had… even when you were in my presence… You. Were. Not. Present. Your thoughts were on something else and that prevented us from having a real conversation. So to tell me you miss me when you weren’t present—I don’t understand that. Because you didn’t show up.

 

I’ve learned that people who don’t discern my worth have no right to be in my space. My gifts and talents are just as remarkable as yours even though you lacked interest in them. When I make it to my next  level I won’t look back and recount all those “I miss you” texts and calls. I promise I’ll forget.

 

Should you wonder if your texts are an annoyance to me… They are, but my Google Voice spam folder solves that issue.

Should you wonder if I think about you often? Not since last Wednesday.

Should you wonder if I’m seeing someone else? I’ll let you wonder.

 

What you failed to understand is that I hope in God, and because you disappointed me I know this relationship can’t be from my Father. What loving father would consult his daughter to stay with someone who makes her an afterthought?

 

This experience grew me up. My character is stronger, and my faith in this area has grown. I don’t have to and won’t have to make exceptions for a man who is truly for me. No longer will I be understanding of things that make no sense. No longer will I consider a man a potential Boaz who has less than I do. No longer will I let someone think that because I’m a good, Christian woman, I must be nice, forgiving, and neglect my own desires.

 

But I thank you. This break-up was easy compared to the others. When I see you, it won’t bother me. I’ll smile and say hello as always. Your secret is still safe with me. Far be it from me to uncover another’s secret when I have so many of my own.

 

I’m keeping the bracelet but the heart charm is gone. I never cared too much for hearts anyway. I know folks say when you break up to get rid of everything they gave you. But I liked the bracelet, and I believe in keeping the spoils of war. Do what you will with the items I gave you.

 

The last thing you said to me was that you were sorry you “couldn’t” be the one. Was it a matter of ability or will? But inevitably, you’re right. You can’t because you made the wrong choices. But I forgive you, and I know you’ll figure it out. And what’s more… I’m praying for you because when I said I cared about your soul, brother in Christ, I meant it.

 

But as long as the romance in my head is better than what you have to offer, I’m going to keep on walking until someone who is right for me shows up.

 

Alana

 

 

Photo credit: LicenseAttribution Some rights reserved by Romtomtom

 

Being Single, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

Precautionary Dating Tale #1: Don’t Date Him Girl

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Oh, how I wish I could post his picture…

Gray suit jacket, deep purple shirt, bright tie. He wore dark shades, and his massive square jaw was proportionately propped on his massive fist. Yes, in the picture the brother posed with the chin shelf. Who does that anymore?

Alas I cannot post this picture for obvious reasons, and for one other very funny reason. I’ll share that in a bit.

So this fella and I dated for a bit in 2010. I’d met him several months before, but he always snarled and gritted his teeth at me. He never, ever smiled. Ever. Didn’t matter to me… I wasn’t interested anyway. I was just trying to be kind.

Then one Sunday he started paying me more attention. And after a while he gave me a business card. I tucked it away knowing he didn’t really do for a living what the card said. VistaPrint makes everyone a professional for a small shipping and handling fee.

But in no way was I interested. But in every way, I was lonely. And someone I hold dear suggested that I go out with him, just for a dinner. So we went on our first date…

When I say I could not cast my gaze upon this brother, I mean I couldn’t look at him without being angry with myself for even being there. Not only was I NOT attracted to his exterior, but his interior was a poor match to my own. Yet, we continued to talk and text, and eventually I got a little attached.

I didn’t love him or anything, but I did like him. So when things started going sour, I was ticked. In short, the brother was bitter about a divorce that took place many years ago. And he was mad at his pastor. And his brother. And his mother. I couldn’t understand how he could be angry with so many people, including me, especially when I’d only been around for 2 months.

And as quickly as it began, it ended. And. I. Was. Hot.

For real, dude?? Are you kidding me?
I’m ten times better looking than you & a hundred times smarter, and you stand ME up?
No, sir. I don’t even want to know why. That’s quite alright. We’re done here.
Now you can be mad at me for a legitimate reason.

I didn’t really say any of that. What I said was probably many times worse because it was an unemotional “Don’t call me anymore”. For some reason, this guy thought I was hooked on him. He thought he could do or say anything to me and I’d be ok with it. And this was without the exchange of cookies, meaning no sex was involved.

Unattractive, unintelligent, and arrogant… What was I thinking?

What I know now that I didn’t know in 2010 was to never force or feign interest for the sake of loneliness or to please someone else. Keeping an open mind is one thing, but going against your gut is another. When you can’t even cast your gaze in his or her direction… gon’ head on somewhere else, honey! Some woman somewhere will think he’s a dime.

Alana’s log. Star-date April 4, 2012…

Driving in my car, I picked up my giant foam cup filled with a sweetened strongly caffeinated beverage. And on my lap drops a photo with heat-curled edges. A giant of a man with a strong, serious gaze and nary a hint of cosmopolitan charm glared back at me through his purple-y tinted shades. What the heck was I thinking?

When I say I hollered, I mean I laughed and screamed at the top of my lungs! What I didn’t tell you was that months after we parted ways I was still praying that God would bring us back together. It was rough, and God, in His infinite wisdom and kindness graciously ignored my request.

I choked a little on my drink that day. Once I caught my breath, I picked up the photo, ripped it in half, then in thirds, and tossed those six squares out  of the window onto the grassy shoulder along South Laburnum.

I thanked God and laughed. The Father is hilarious!

You remember when you wanted him? Yeah, you were crying and snotting then…
You still want him? He’s been sending you all those texts lately.
Go ahead and reply. I’ll send him back to you. No???
Oh ok. I didn’t think so.
I didn’t make him for you anyway. 

 

And again– God, I thank you.

Dating precaution #1: Beware, ladies and gents, of dating those that are not appealing to us lest we fall into a place of grief and desperation over someone who was never made for us in the first place.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for the future,

 

Alana

 

 

Photo credit: Source unknown.