Being Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships

Shall I Have Pleasure…?

Sometimes God waits entirely too long to fulfill His promises.

Sometimes it seems He just forgets and sits our prayer requests on the back burner with the heat off while other people’s requests are bubbling over with answers and blessings.

And sometimes you are 99 with crusty, dusty eggs and only memories of how your husband used to fondle you. Then here comes this BIG God with His BIG promises declaring, once again, that you’re going to have a baby. Sarah laughed in her heart and said “Shall I have pleasure seeing as I’m old, and my dear husband over there is older than me?” Yes, Mama Sarah. I understand why you laughed.

Sarah used her physical limitations to indict God. She was basically saying “Look, God. You waited too long. I stopped believing when my girly parts stopped working. I still love you, and I’ll still serve you, but there’s no point in believing Your promise any more.” Does your faith and willingness to believe have an expiration date or contingency clause like Sarah’s?

I’ve been praying that God would send one of my co-workers her mate. I won’t hash out any details about her, but I will say this. It’s clear that long ago she stopped believing for an answer to that prayer. If the greatest prophet walking on earth today told her that God was going to send her mate, she’d scoff and say “Shall I have the pleasure?” She has decided to no longer believe the promise for whatever reason, and her lack of faith hinders her expectation of something good.

I didn’t think I’d have pleasure because of my former nature. You may think you’re too old, too big, too skinny, too– whatever crazy things us women come up with to judge ourselves. God is moved by faith, not emotion or rational arguments. When God makes a promise, He’s able and willing to perform it. Don’t disqualify yourself with unbelief! Don’t frustrate your own destiny with doubtfulness and negativity! God’s Word is true!

Should you have the pleasure of a Godly mate?

Should you have the pleasure of bearing healthy, beautiful children?

Should you have the pleasure of divine health and fulfillment?

Should you have the pleasure of a bottomless bank account?

Should you have the pleasure of eating as much chocolate as you want never gaining a pound?

Yes, and amen.

May we submit our shortcomings and limitations to the Lordship of Christ and allow His grace to superabound in our lives. May we hold dear to the promises He’s made always trusting in His timing. I pray this post stirred up your faith to believe that you shall have pleasure.

Read and meditate on the following Scriptures to remind yourself of God’s goodness. You WILL have pleasure!

Isaiah 34: 16
Numbers 23: 19
Psalm 16:11
Psalm 84:11
Hebrews 12:2

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

 

Image courtesy of bee.creativesolutions at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Being Single, Dating & Relationships

Chipped Polish & Panty Lines

Sometimes I sit and think of creative titles for posts when I really have nothing to write at the time. THIS is one of those posts. In the back of my mind I felt like I needed to address why my nails are seldom polished and why thongs ain’t really the move at this point in my life. Some ladies are top notch all the time. I might be top notch a good two to three days out of the week. Because life.

So today, the substance of the post came to me at church.. At the risk of ticking people off… a risk I’m willing to take… I’m going to deconstruct (read: rant about) one of THE most annoying things that a man can do to a woman.

Criticize her.

I went to church this morning for a prayer service. I woke up with intercession on my mind, but the kids delayed me so I arrived 30 minutes after I had planned. Happens.

My hair was in a ponytail, and I was wearing light make-up. I was wide awake, but hardly feeling social enough to grin the way people are expected when they enter the house of the Lord. I don’t know if it was my serious demeanor (felt more “focused” to me), or the mannish nature of the speaker of the hour… but dear God… he rubbed me the wrooooooooong way.

His rebuke for the attendees’ untimeliness lingered into a story about a woman who often came to church unkempt. He felt it was a disservice to allow her to continue looking slovenly, so he told boldly told her “Men don’t like that. You need to do your hair. Paint your nails. Put on some make-up.  ”

Now had any other person in the church told this story, I might have shouted in agreement. A woman should always look clean and well put together. But in this case, at this time, from this person, my only thought was “Sir, you are no prize yourself.”

To be perfectly clear, I have little issue with what the man said. The problem for me is how he said it, and the fact that he felt it was ok to retell it. Whatever happened to speaking the truth in love? Why does everything have to be a rebuke? Why the heck do you think I’m going to say “amen” to this foolishness? You don’t understand what that woman has going on in her life, and chances are, you don’t want to because making rash statements as the ones you made validates your masculinity. *coughs “lame”*

Every woman wants to look and feel beautiful. I’m no different.

There’s a woman deep inside of me that longs to have every hair in place from sun up to sun down. She wants to apply her mascara confidently, knowing that it won’t spread under her eyes and leave her looking like a sleepy raccoon by noon. She longs to smell like her $90 bottle of perfume until the time she takes her evening bath with oils of frankincense and myrrh. There’s a woman in me that wants to have her nails perpetually sparkling with OPI’s Hawaiian Orchid. She even hopes to wear light silky panties that are invisible beneath her slacks and curvy mom jeans.

That woman can dream.

But this woman– she’s cooking and cleaning, wiping boogers, scrubbing tubs, baking cookies, and fighting battles. If a chip in my nail polish indicates a lack of womanliness, I’m certain you haven’t looked deep enough. Take your shallow, non-discerning behind elsewhere. (Having said that, chipped polish is worse than no polish at all, so I seldom wear any at all.)

And if my panty lines (believe me, they drive me nuts too) aren’t as enticing as the jiggle that only reveals itself with meager undergarments, I have one thing to say to you. “EYES UP, MISTER!” These hindparts need medium to full coverage because I’m more than blessed– if you catch my drift.

Bottom line, ladies and gents… A woman or man should look good, but don’t let the superficial block you from seeing the true nature of that person. Before you know it, some fella is going to scoop that lady up, pay for my hair appointments and mani-pedis, and hire a maid to do all her cleaning just so she doesn’t chip my polish while a superficial suitor will end up with an attractive mate who is less than interested in meeting his or her needs.

I don’t need to preach any further, do I? Good, because I’m out of breath. *wipes sweat from brow & drops white hanky*

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

Alana

Image source:  towardsthesunset via Compfight

Being Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

The Case for Courtship

Had to be the summer of ’93… I was eleven years old and promptly budding all over with my big ol’ glasses and bigger gapped teeth. The boys in my neighborhood were starting puberty too, so while they were finally aware that girls didn’t have cooties, they still threw rocks and vile words at us whenever we walked by. I forget her name, but she’s my cousin’s cousin, and she lived in a bright teal green house one block  south from where I lived. This house was so darn fluorescent, you’d have to look at the ground  until you made it to the porch. I’m sure by now the chemicals in that paint have turned the house into a primordial soup. Ain’t no way it’s still standing.

On one particular day– let’s call her Tia– we ran to Tia’s house because the boys were launching rocks and water balloons at us. We sat in the sweltering sunroom and chatted about the usual eleven-year old topics. Then the phone rang. Tia froze and a look of trepidation crossed her face. Tia’s granny answered the call and all I heard was “Who is this? You calling for who? What you wanna talk to her for? Tia ain’t coatin’ no boys!” And she slammed the phone.

My heart started racing. Tia… age ten… got a phone call…. from a boy. And Tia’s grandma answer the phone. Ultimate fail, Tia. Granny stormed into the sun room and went off! She kept shouting over and over…

TIA, YOU AIN’T COATIN’ NO BOYS! YA HEAR ME?! YOU AIN’T COATIN’ NO BOYS!

Granny then proceeded to beat Tia’s hein poss (that’s hind parts in Granny speak) mercilessly while Tia retorted that the phone call was for homework. Granny wasn’t buying it, and since I was in the line of fire I ran home past the rock-throwing boys and past Tia’s wails and past Granny’s shouts because, yes, I could hear them up the block. Tia won’t coatin’ no boys.

I had to be all of 26 and married with two kids before I figured out what the heck coatin’ was, and even then, I only learned that the word was courting. After several failed attempts at coatin’ and “there-has-to-be-a-better way” cathartic cries, I get it! At least I think I get what it’s supposed to be in comparison to dating. Let’s give these meager bones some flesh, shall we?

In courtship, commitment precedes intimacy. That means before you start having those deep conversations about past hurts and future hopes and dreams, a decision has been made between the two parties to only develop a relationship with each other and Christ. In this way the couple can determine the purpose and timing for the marriage as God ordained. Why so much so soon? Because you only court a person that you would marry based on what God has shown you. Ideally, God will have already given the holy head nod for you to proceed into a courtship, but two people who are equally yoked and interested in each other may choose to enter a courtship with Godly counsel. Still a courtship is only as good as the people who are in it. Having said that, the standard is high and most bottom-dwellers won’t even pretend to take this on because it immediately exposes who you are. Easy peas-y… we weeded out the bad and the unprepared just that fast.

I’ve conjured up a few comparisons to give you a better idea of the benefits of courtship…

While dating says “I don’t know where this is going because I can’t see into the future”
courtship says “Let’s build our future together.”

While dating says “You don’t own me” courtship says “I’m here to serve you.”

While dating uproots the blooming flower to keep and hold until it dies,
courtship leaves the flower planted and watches it bloom.

While dating says “Let’s be together forever for tonight,”
courtship says “Let’s pace and plan our interactions so we can make this thing last.”

While dating demands trust without test,
courtship provides a safe place for testing and allows trust to develop over time.

While dating says “I’m a gift to you” courtship says “You’re a gift to me.”

While dating invites you to a person’s genitals but keeps you away from their phone,
courtship assigns value correctly and appropriately.

 

Dating works for some, but for the vast majority of us, this reckless approach to relationship-building has rendered us broken-hearted and underwhelmed. Players, predators, and commitment-phobes dwell in the nether regions of dating, and that is no place for a child of God. There HAS to be a better way, and I believe courting is it. I don’t know many men who would ascribe to this method, but that tells me I need some new friends because I am certain that this is God’s path to marriage for me.

Deep in the recesses of my mind I have a mental image of a tall man wearing a fine Italian cut suit and a long wool coat. He’s got one of those 007 hats tipped over his left eye, and as he approaches me he whips off his coat, throws it over my head, and shouts “You’re mine, girl!” Yes, ladies and gentleman. This is how I imagined coatin’ as a kid. Listen… even THIS is better than dating for me. If you wanna toss your coat over my head just make sure it smells good, and you put some bass in your voice.

My last plea for courtship….

Imagine how much easier it would be to open up if you knew that person was only interested in and committed to you. Imagine how freeing it would be to know that the purpose of your relationship was to seek God’s plan for you as a couple rather than to “just see what happens.” Imagine what it’s like to walk a path that’s already been laid out for you with red carpet. Imagine what it’s like to part ways with someone but still have full respect for them because they treated you with the utmost Christlike love and respect.

Come throw your coat on me, Boo.  Alana is ready for coatin’.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

 

Photo credit: Audringje via Compfight

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

I can’t believe that actually worked! I know the title is TERRIBLY questionable, but I’ll reduce myself to cheap ploys to get you read this because it’s relevant and true for ALL Christian singles. The decision to marry (and whom to marry) is the second-most life impacting decision a believer will ever make. Serving Christ, of course, is first. If you don’t know Jesus then get to know Him because marrying won’t matter if you’re going to spend eternity in hellfire anyway.

Before I jump into my points, I’d like to say that I DO want to be happily married, and I believe it will happen for me soon. I refuse to become preoccupied with I’m working overtime to maintain a Godly perspective on this thing so I don’t lose my everloving mind when my mister shows up. Everything written below is based in Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 7.

Here’s why singles shouldn’t be so eager to marry.

Marriage is designed to make you holy. Happiness is a bonus.

I blame Disney for making us women think we’re was supposed to walk on rose petals and be lifted into the Heavens every day of our married lives. Good Christian men are being abused because women are demanding they comply with our girlish fantasies. Women are suffering because Christian men believe they’re rare and entitled to do as they please. If you find yourself with one of these types, RUN! They’re not prepared to serve in marriage, and you’ll do all the hard work.  Just speaking from personal experience though… take it or leave it.

Marriage is temporal, but has eternal implications. 

We spend a good portion of our adult lives seeking to validate ourselves through relationships HOPING to get married when we really should be focusing on eternal things. Colossians 3:2 says that we should keep our eyes on things above, and marriage ain’t up there. Furthermore who you choose to marry will get you closer to Heaven or keep you further away from it. You cannot join yourself to someone who does not honor Christ in their singleness and think your salvation will be easily maintained. So if you make the temporal decision to marry, make it with eternity in mind.

 

The only real purpose for marriage is because it’s in God’s will for you.

It’s not just because you want to have sex, or to have more money, or for him to take out the trash, or for her  to cook your dinner. Marriage stems out of purpose and calling, not purpose and calling out of marriage. Some of us are still single because we think we need that ONE to start a business. The only ONE you need is the Lord. I will say this regarding the need for marriage… if you have a strong desire for sex and have difficulty controlling it, I– I mean, you– might need to get married. Don’t let your loins be your guide. BE CELIBATE! But every so often look up to the Heavens and remind the Lord that He gave you those desires, so He’s gonna have to help you out in the marriage department. If you can control those passions, there’s nothing wrong with marrying, but the better life for you will be to remain single. Paul said this in 1 Corinthians 7.

Once married you are bound to the other person’s needs and desires.

But at least you get sanctified sex, right? Dr. Tony Evans says this: “Marriage is slavery with sex. Singleness is celibacy with freedom.” If your selfish behind thinks you can marry for some sex but don’t think you’ll have to die to self a few times before you even get to the bed… HMPH. Thinking that marriage will make your life better is a trap. If you choose a God-fearing person it MIGHT make your life better, but never put your faith in people. Trust God. Even the strongest Christian will disappoint you sometimes. We’re human!

Marriage adds trouble to your life. 

I swear I’m not making this up. Satan has an agenda against Christian marriages, and he will come after yours. That’s not a reason to not get married, but we must understand that troubles come with the benefits. If you don’t believe me, call up one of your married friends. Don’t ask them outright what marriage is like. Just listen to them talk. It will spill. If your friends are anything like mine, it’ll gush out, make your skin crawl, and you’ll run home to your empty bed and embrace your pillows like the blessings they really are. Might I also add that serving the Lord is about a thousand times easier than serving a person? Selah.

 

I hope that you have a more BIBLICAL perspective on this matter of (in)significance. Bottom line, folks… Marriage is incredibly important if it’s in God’s plan for you but amounts to a hill of beans if it isn’t. As long as you seek Him first, you will fulfill your purpose and you will be satisfied in your soul.

To sum up, being single in Christ has benefits over being married in Christ. Don’t spend your singleness thinking about, worrying about, talking about, tweeting about marriage. Someone interested might be watching and be scared away by your compulsion. I’d also like to add that folks who put you down because you’re single only do so because they seek validation through romantic relationships. Let one little thing go wrong in their world, and they’ll crumble like silly putty left in the hot summer sun. Marriage is not a step up spiritually. It’s a lateral move assuming you were walking with the Lord beforehand. In most cases, people fall behind spiritually when they get married because they were not rooted in Christ beforehand. Don’t let folks and their foolishness make you feel that you’re less than what God called you to be.

Welp. There’s nothing left to see here. I swept up all the mess I made with that title. As always, questions and comments are welcomed in the space below.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your  future,

 

Alana

Being Saved, Being Single, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

The Implications of Impure Christian Living

I can write volumes on this topic because only recently, after so many years of walking with the Lord, I can see where I lost ground in nearly every aspect of life. This, however, is not a pity post. This is a precautionary “you-might-be-living-foul-too-time-to get-it-right-or-else” post.

Let’s be clear. The enemy wants nothing more than to utterly destroy your life. For some of us, he’ll do so by catastrophic events. But most of us, he’ll dupe into a lackadaisical, que sera sera approach to kingdom living.  We’ll pat ourselves on the back for following rudiments that make us feel good, but won’t tap into the grace that God provides to make and keep us righteous.

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart!
Psalm 24:3-4

 

Living an impure life amounts to more than just sexual affairs. It includes self-gratification, ungodly fantasies, emotional romances, manipulating and deceiving folks into being with you… need I go on? Anything that separates you from the presence of the Lord will  cause the following issues in your life if you don’t repent. We don’t eeem need to talk about hell fire here.

Impure living hinders or delays your opportunity to marry. 

Would you give a car to your child if they kept wrecking their bike? No? Then why should our Heavenly Father give us such a precious gift as one of His own when we we do not obey Him with our own bodies? Marriage is not “satisfaction guaranteed.” It’s an institution by which God makes us more like Him. This point stings a bit, but for every time I disobeyed, I believe I got sent to the back of the waiting line. No shame here… I’m in gooood company.

Impure living prevents you from maturing emotionally and spiritually.

The mark of a mature person is their ability to delay gratification. We walk around in our 30-something bodies acting like 5-year olds. You don’t need sex to live. You don’t need to touch yourself to relieve the pressure. Struggle. Suffer. Go without. Save your soul at the expense of your temporary body!

Many times men don’t “feel” the pain from the aftermath the way women do, but the Bible clearly speaks to the impact that it has. Proverbs 31:3 says “Do not waste your strength on women, on those who ruin kings.” Any woman that you sleep with that is not your wife has the power to RUIN you. Ask Tiger. And Kobe. And Mr. Clinton. Chances are, sir, you don’t have their money so just imagine the damage that  can be done. Sit on that for a minute. No… seriously. Meditate. On. That.

Likewise, ladies, I believe these encounters cause us to lose a little bit of our glory. After the last time I fell flat on my face I quickly repented. That night I had a dream that a dirty, old man chopped off a small length of my hair. What God was saying to me was that because I had sinned in this way I lost a little of the spiritual energy and glory that He’d given me. Can I get it back? Of course! But the cost is waayyyy too high for such an unfulfilling act.

Impure living shuts the windows of Heaven.

Tithe all you want, but God will not bless a disobedient child. His desire is not for you to have the best job, home, car, clothes, etc., at the risk of your soul. He requires obedience and rewards us with His favor, and then the blessings pour in. You can be super smart, super attractive, fashionable, and financially stable but without the blessing of the Lord, you will continue to be dissatisfied in your soul. God will withhold His blessings, and He will isolate you to get you back in line.

“It was good for me that I was afflicted so I might learn your decrees.”

Psalm 119: 71

Impure living blinds us to the enemy’s tactics.

Because I wasn’t living a holy lifestyle I married the wrong person. It was virtually impossible for me to make the right choice because I was so blinded by lust and sin. You CANNOT discern and hear the voice of the Lord when your heart is full of everything but Him. That marriage cost me years of heartache and turmoil and nearly sent me to hell. But God is gracious! He delivered me in every sense of the word. You don’t know what struggle is waiting for you on the other side of that bed. And once we’re in trouble, we run to God but the sin we were in damaged our faith. If you’re in this situation, trust Him anyhow. He can and will deliver you if you’re willing to submit to His will for your life.

Impure living creates permanent bonds to people that we have no business being connected to.

The original purpose for sex is designed to permanently connect you to another person. I won’t get into all the technical issues about the image of God and man/woman/etc. but I will say this… Having sex with someone is, in essence, marrying them. No matter what your mind says, what you agree upon, what your intentions are, you are making a promise to their body and soul to be unified until the parting of death. So how many people are you married to? Without the blood of Jesus and times of fasting and prayer we cannot be victorious in the breaking of these soul ties. I also believe we pick up each others’ internal struggles, i.e. devils. I’ve found myself grappling with things that were never a problem for me before I met and got involved with a certain person. I not only had to battle my issues but his as well and drive those devils out of my life. It’s just not worth the trouble.

My hope is that you not only take away the importance of celibacy (we get that in church allll the time), but also the importance of living a clean life all the way around. Even if we aren’t shacking up and putting it down, the pornography, masturbation, and emotional affairs still make us impure in the sight of the Lord.

It’s not how far you can go without sinning, but how far you can stay away.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for a pure and blessed future for you and me both,

 

Alana

 

Photo credit: AttributionNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by Akiko Photography

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

If you don’t know by now… seize this blog post!

In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul said “When I became a man, I put away childish things.” Instead of preaching to you what is or isn’t childish, allow me to walk you through the process of dating a 30-something woman…

Get your money together.

If you have to borrow from daddy, mommy, sissy, or Bruh Bruh, then you don’t need to take anybody anywhere. Have a seat in front of USAJobs.com and find yourself one, work a couple months, and then pursue.

Ask her out at least two days in advance.

This last minute willy nilly just won’t do. If she agrees, then ask her what she enjoys doing and eating. I’m not talking super specifics, but get some general information so you don’t take a veggie to the Brazilian steakhouse. No texting or emailing on this one, fellas. You might even want to write it down what she says.

PLAN the date.

Have you ever been in one of those “Where-do-you-want-to-eat-I-don’t-know-where-do-you-want-to-eat” conversations? Avoid the potential friction, and plan ahead. That means days BEFORE you even meet her, choose where you will eat and what you will do. If time permits, pick up a LivingSocial or Group On deal. Their couples activities are unique and have outstanding value. Unless you’re super shy, steer clear of the movies for a first date. The object is to get to know each other, and you can’t really do that in the dark… well, not in the Godly sense! Choosing a place to eat and one other activity, even if it’s just walking through a park, is appropriate.

On the day of your date, give her some basic details about your plan.

You could be Ted Bundy for all we know. To allay those fears give her a call and share some basic details . My daddy used to say “Always let someone know where you’re going, and be discreet.” If you play the wait and see game with some women, they might get up and go. Another point here… telling a woman a few details in advance will help her to prepare AND get her a little excited. She’ll be bragging to her girlfriends before you even go out. Cool points for you, Boo.

When you see me– uhhh, her– COMPLIMENT her.

DO Y’ALL EVEN KNOW WHAT WE GO THROUGH TO PREPARE FOR A DATE? Do you know how many hours we walk around with that wrap on our heads? Do you know we should be writing reports, but are taking beauty naps instead?! Do you know how many applications of powder pink lip gloss it takes to get the look juuuust right? How DARE you not compliment her appearance. I’m not saying you should gush, but come ooooon. You look niiiice. Your hair is pretty. I’m glad to see you. I’m looking forward to this evening. Pick any two of those. And pick up a flower too. If she feels a little icy at the beginning of the date, a genuine compliment will help your cause.

PAY for the date!

If she offers to leave the tip or pay for dessert, do whatever seems right to you, but the bulk of the financial burden is on you. No woman wants to marry a man that can’t afford to date her. Harsh, but oh so real… Hopefully you planned to eat a place you can afford. If not, welp… lesson learned, buddy.

Make some time for conversation.

I’m not a fan of telling life stories or asking a million questions, but choose three things to share about yourself and three things you want to know about her. Don’t checklist them, but have them in the back of your mind and slide them joints right into the regular conversation. Refrain from the following… Why are you still single? Do you think you’ll ever get married? Do you make your kids’ dad pay child support? And don’t you dare talk about yourself the whole evening.

Conclude the evening.

Be a gentleman from beginning to end. Walk her to her car or the door of her home. Thank her for the evening FACE-TO-FACE… not via text after she’s out of your presence. If a hug is appropriate, then share one. If you’ve known each other for months and you want a smackeroo, then kiss her hand, and gauge from there.

 

Your goal is to make sure she leaves your presence feeling valued and appreciated, and if you did that, then more than likely she’ll want to see you again.

Few sidebars… Don’t skip this info here!

  • If you’re looking for sexual entertainment, then leave the good women alone. There are plenty of hoodbo— others– that will gladly do your bidding. Some of us are trying to live holy, and we don’t need your drama. God WILL discipline those who abuse His children and manipulating a woman to sleep with you is abuse!
  • It’s best to keep your hands to yourself. The Bible warns that if you touch a woman, you ignite passion in her. You don’t want to start a fire in a woman you don’t really know, now do you? I know you some of you are nodding yes, but there are real life Jazmine Sullivan’s out there. Get to know her before you ease your hand on the small of her back. (1 Corinthians 7:1)
  • Lastly, make sure you look and smell good. At the very least, wear a polo and some nice jeans. A crisp white Oxford and some nice cologne will work many miracles for men of all statures.

Well, fellas… the rest is up to you. Feel free to let me know if I struck a nerve. I’m certain my inbox will be flooded with “I don’t agree with that part” to which I will reply “Well do you, Boo Boo.” You have been sufficiently warned.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for better dating experiences for me and my girlfriends,

 

Alana

 

 

Being Single, Being Smart, Dating & Relationships

Go Back to the Woodwork from Whence Thou Came

Women know that at least three times a year a phenomenon occurs in which random old friends, text buddies, and former flames show up and demand a little attention… and sometimes two or three will come within a few days’ time. Here in the South we call it “coming out of the woodwork.” Basically folks try to re-enter our lives through subtle means… a “Thinking of You” or TOY text, FB poke, or a trepidacious “Hi” via social media. Should we respond to this seemingly harmless greeting, the ball-and-chain, headache inducing conversations will pick up where they left off oh so many months and years ago. So  smart women everywhere have employed the most powerful strategy for deflecting these games… by IGNORING!

I thought I was smart… I can even be a little braggy about my brainpower, but today, I’ll dismount my high horse. Yesterday I responded to one of those dumb “TOY” texts. I even had this person’s number saved in my phone, but I had clearly forgotten that he existed. He has one of those common names, so I thought I saved a good friend’s name in the wrong number by mistake. After ten minutes of going back and forth thinking I was talking to one person, it eventually hit me that I was talking to Mr. Nasty Man who was a musician and in the seminary and quite possibly one of the most perverted individuals that had ever crossed my path. I. Was. Appalled.

The conversation went a little something like this. I’ve removed the personal details. (And I’m not worried about him seeing this. He’s only interested in my drawls, and since my blog address ain’t on those, we’re all good here.)

 

Me: What’s up with you? 6:09 PM
Him: Lots. Too much to text 6:15 PM
Me: But you don’t like to talk. 6:15 PM
Him: I don’t? 6:16 PM
Him: You must not know who you are talking to. 6:17 PM
Me: Wait. I know who you are now. 6:17 PM
Him: Wow 6:17 PM
Me: (location name) 6:17 PM
Him: Lol 6:17 PM
Me: Horny man 6:17 PM
Him: Not cool 6:18 PM
Me: Well. It’s been a while. 6:18 PM
Him: Now an ordained minister. 6:22 PM
Me: What made you think of me? It’s been months. 6:28 PM
Him: Think of you often…. Just didn’t reach out. 6:29 PM
Me: Gotcha. 6:31 PM
Me: You living right? 6:32 PM
Me: Lololol. 6:42 PM

 

You see what I did there? NO?! Let’s dougie on down to lesson lane.

I sent three clear messages in this short conversation…

Message #1: I am not playing with you. Who are you? What do you want?

 

Message #2: I am not here to be played with. I will be kind, but a snake is a snake is a snake and no ministerial title, sir, will make you less than that. Only the blood!

 

Message #3: I’m doing my best to live holy to the Lord. You? No response. Oh ok. Bye.

 

I believe God allows these things to happen to show us how much we’ve grown… or haven’t. I could’ve been mealy-mouthed and given him the entrance he wanted with fanfare and balloons, but I value purity and righteousness faaarrrr more than a textual romance. Y’all don’t hear me though.

If Jesus will keep me, then I will be kept!!!

And now that he’s crawled back into the woodwork from whence he came, I shall change his name in my phone to “DNR”… Do Not Respond. God bless him but somewhere over there far from me.

Ghandi said it best…

“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.”

 

 

With a little tough love, sincerity, and lots of hope for a foolishness-free future,

 

Alana

 

Photo credit: Creative Commons License Petras Gagilas via Compfight

Being Single, Dating & Relationships, Uncategorized

9 Reasons to Decline a Date

Women can get into soooo much trouble over one little teeny, tiny dinner and movie date followed by a few weeks of texting and scattered phone calls. We just can’t help it. Our romantic desires go into overdrive whenever someone might be “right.” We try so hard to secure a future with the current suitor and never consider that the initial offer might not be worth accepting.

Now that I’m in my right mind and TOTALLY unattached, I can’t make sense of why I said yes to some when I should’ve said nothing and ran for the hills. More often than not, I’ve said no because of me rather than the other person. I’ve realized that some of what is going on inside of me is reason enough to tell an unsuspecting, well-meaning suitor that a date, at this point in time, is not the best idea.

Here are nine instances when you should just say “no”:

 

#9 – You’re feeling lonely, bored, and/or hormonal.

Call up your girlfriends when you need some companionship and entertainment, but dating under these conditions will only render you needy and, therefore, prone to emotional abuse. It’s perfectly acceptable (and preferable) to sit your butt at home by yourself from time to time. Loneliness won’t kill you. It does go away, and eventually you’ll learn to value the time you have to yourself.

#8  – You know he’s feeling lonely.

If he only calls at the last minute, you MUST decline. A gentleman who is genuinely interested will make plans in advance because he looks forward to seeing you. Those last minute calls often seem romantic because of their spontaneity, but experience has taught me (and probably you too), that what seemed to be spontaneity really was an afterthought. You don’t have to entertain lonely menfolk. It’s not in your job description as a woman.

 #7 –  He doesn’t match your non-negotiables.

Being open-minded has its merits, but some qualities are requisite for a healthy relationship. If he doesn’t believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and is God and became flesh that he might die for the remission of our sins, then don’t date him, girl. You can’t afford to make that kind of a compromise. I have a few other non-negotiables, but I can’t tell everything on this here blog.

#6 – He’s involved or has recently become uninvolved.

We ALL know that one guy who texts and calls when his relationship gets a little rocky. NOT responding is the best way to address this issue. Even if he DOES break up with his boo to get with you, his integrity is lacking. His heart is unavailable, so no need trifling with things that bite and burn in the end.

#5 – He previously friend-zoned you.

If he’s ever applied zoning regulations to your interactions and you chose to remain as his friend, then let those regulations stand. Be fahn as you wanna be. Let him look, but don’t you dare let him touch. Men who go back and forth between friend and boo are looking for a toy, not someone to share their hearts with.

#4 – His recent track record with women is pure trash.

It’s ok to ask around about someone, but ask the Holy Spirit first. If you’ve noticed his last few interactions with women have been unsavory, no sense in becoming another notch in his belt. Let that joker do his jig elsewhere.

40+290 NotchCreative Commons License bark via Compfight

#3 – He reminds you of an ex.

  • As you carry on conversations with folks, listen for trends. If you’re hearing the same types of negative things over and over again, you might want to take some time away from dating to readjust your standards. If you’re attracting the same type of mess repeatedly, then it’s
  • in you and needs to come out before you can enjoy a successful relationship. Once you’ve made the change inside, you’ll find better quality people attracted to you.

#2 – You’re suffering heartache in other areas of your life.

I’ve watched my parents divorce, been abandoned by one, watched another make a crazy decision, etc., etc., etc., and all of those things have impacted my perceptions and feelings on relationships. Until you come out of the hurt involved with life’s troubles, it’s best to not become seriously involved with another person without God’s direction. Many of these trials are formative and the person you are going into them may be very different from the person you will become when you’re delivered. Financial difficulties also put a strain on us emotionally. The enemy will any sort of stress to cause you to feel anxious. Once you;re anxious, you’ll begin to feel lonely. Once you’re lonely, you’ll compromise for companionship.

#1 – He works with you.

Don’t mess in your nest. Certain areas of your life should be drama free as much as you have control over it. If you must date him, then be discreet and keep yourself in check at work.

 

Bottom line is this… if he is SO fine that you can’t decline respectably and reel your emotions in, then he has been sent from the devil himself. (That’s not to say he IS the devil. He might be, so no sense in testing that theory.) God is not the author of confusion, and He will not bring you a companion until you’ve reached a level of maturity and trust in Him. 

I have declined a handful of dates, not only because my sabbatical has yet to end, but also because I am more cognizant of the issues that linger in me and discerning of those in others. I’ve turned down some of the smartest, finest, wealthiest menfolk for one or many of the reasons above. I will continue to do so until I’m at a place where I KNOW that I want no man or relationship more than I want my God.

No sense in wasting your time, energy or emotions… if a person’s not right for you, keep the door closed. Let God’s peace keep you.

 

This list is by no means exhaustive.
What will keep you from even going out on date #1? 

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

 

Photo credit:  Michelle Brea via Compfight

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

“Mis”-Takes We Make: An Excerpt from Late Nights on the Straight & Narrow

I wanted to share another excerpt from my e-book Late Nights on the Straight & Narrow. This short piece below describes some of the dating “mis”-takes Christians make because of our tendency to be naive.
So he or she wasn’t automatically disqualified. GREAT!!! But if you’re wise, you’ll guard yourself against making some of the same “mis”-takes you’ve made in the past.

  1. “Mis”-taking spiritual gifts and natural gifts or callings for maturity. I have made this error more than any other. We must take our time to discern if a person is operating a spiritual gift out of intimacy with the Lord or simply talent and ability. What’s slightly more confounding is that the presence of God will come in through a soiled preacher because the Word itself has power. Just because the message is good, doesn’t mean the messenger is. If you’re very spiritual but weak emotionally, the enemy will continually set this trap for you.
  2. Failure to notice his or her fixed availability. I was in an ongoing email conversation with a fella for a few days, but I failed to acknowledge that he only emailed me really early in the morning or really late at night. This is a sign that a person is involved and attempting to make you a side piece without your knowing. If you’re put on a schedule, then you’ve been “mis”-taken for someone silly and unintelligent. Most single folks will openly tell you that they’re single. If someone skirts around the issue, beware!
  3. Believing that he or she really is a “private” person. What kind of person would keep your fine, smart self a secret? None other than one who plays the field and hopes to God that you dare not write “Hey boo!” on his or her Facebook wall. There’s a gaping chasm between being hush-hush and being discreet. You really can’t confuse the two. If you feel like a dirty, little secret, you probably are.
  4. Being too available. Set apart some time to talk to your potential, but don’t open your schedule completely to the person. Even when you do chat, measure out your time. End the conversation when it becomes dry, a more pressing need arises, or an hour is approaching…. whichever comes first.
  5. Waiting too long to pray “Thy will be done.” We want so badly to hope that whoever is present is the one because waiting becomes tiresome. But as soon as we’re hooked into conversations about the future, soul ties begin to form and it becomes harder to break away. Before going too far, ask the Lord to remove him or her if their intentions towards you are ungodly. I call this a “right-mind” prayer, and it has saved me LOTS of heartache.
  6. We’re carried away by whims. Or Biblically speaking, drawn away by our own lusts…. Be deliberate about the choices you make. If you decide to go on the date, make sure it serves a purpose other than relieving boredom. It’s far too easy to get swept away by emotion, but make every choice as if the Lord will have you answer for it. Just remember that nobody’s perfect… not even you!

 

This is just a small portion of what the Lord gave me to write. If you’ve read all the dating advice and books, but you’re still left wanting, Late Nights on the Straight and Narrow is for YOU! I’m brutally honest about my own faults, yet I speak to those deep heart issues that manifest themselves in our poor choices. You are not alone in this quest. Let God’s love speak to you from this text.

To purchase a copy of my e-book, simply make a donation of $5 or more via the PayPal option on the right column. I’ll email you a copy ASAP.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

 

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

In school I was a beast… neeeever failed a test. Really I never earned a grade below a B. I’d do my little nerd duties, i.e., pay attention in class, take good notes, tutor my friends, study if I didn’t know it, but for the most part high school was a breeze. I never had to conquer academic failure.

Until I took the driving test… Listen. This is the first time I’m telling this story. And I’m not talking about the actual “driving” test. I’m talking about the multiple choice test you take that cuts you off after you get 3 or so questions wrong. Yeah, I failed it. My little cocky behind read through the book a few times but didn’t learn a THANG! My heart was so heavy that I didn’t test again for another year. I was ashamed. Embarrassed. Humiliated at my little secret. Please don’t tease me. That question about which way to turn the wheels when you’re parked on a hill is confusing. You probably got it wrong too.

That silly, little failure held me down for quite some time. But since high school graduation, I’ve had to grapple with real life struggles and their corresponding failures. While I was busy learning stoichiometry and projectile motion in science classes, I wasn’t learning the velocity (speed and direction) at which I should run when those freaky college football players approached. And while I analyzed poetry and prose for imagery, tone, and literary devices, I wasn’t learning how to communicate my thoughts with respect and kindness for others. And while I sat in my advanced math classes, I wasn’t learning how to manage my money.

Honestly I’d forgotten about the driving test scenario but forgetting and recovering are two totally different things. I discovered a few months back that some of my fellow nerds had the same challenge… *does shouting dance for not being the only book nerd without a learner’s permit at 15* What a joy to find I am not alone!

Wouldn’t it be grand to have life, REAL life, measured on the same scale as those silly objective tests we had in school? No? For me, absolutely. Because, here I am, divorced. Single mom of two. Trying haaard to live for Christ. With a new job. In a new place. Just had a car accident. Money tighter than ever. Looking for a church fam. Praying for new friends.

I. Am. Failing.

I laid on my face a few mornings ago and cried out to God specifically about my struggles. Then I got up to wash my face, and He spoke. (Oh, I love how He lets you get the frustration out, but I’ve learned He woke speak on the matter until we’re settled in our faith to BELIEVE Him. I had to quiet my emotions so I could hear.)

If you can learn to endure failure, you will pass the test.

This was after a gentle reminder about Peter– the brother we judge so harshly for denying Christ. Yet I’m not so sure I could stand in a test like that. But somehow after Peter screwed up he got himself together and was promoted while everyone else remained a disciple (Mark 16:7).

It’s not easy to always do the right thing. Sometimes the right thing isn’t cut and dry. Other times we walk into trouble eyes wide open. But after the fact, what we thought we’d try or might have been okay has left it’s sinful, burdening residue on us. And we feel like trash. Peter had to have felt like premium garbage when the cock crowed. But he didn’t join Judas on the tree…

So I’m learning, not so much the answers to the test, but strategies to pass it. I’ll test a concept here and there, and should I fail, I keep going. Because life doesn’t end after the paycheck runs out. And the week you put on an extra pound, you don’t become unattractive. And should you slide down that slippery slope of sexual desire, God doesn’t change His mind on whether He’ll give you a mate.

I’d like to hear from my readers.
Was there a time or situation in which you kept failing, but eventually came out on top?
Or maybe there’s something you’re struggling with now, but you’ve found a few ways to avoid failure.
How do you overcome after suffering the consequences of a bad choice?

 

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana