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

The (Mis)Classification of Menfolk: Why You’ve Been Friend-Zoned


[dropcap style=”font-size: 45px; color: #55cfbb;”]D[/dropcap]ear Fellas,

You absolutely must know why we limit our interactions with you to equal to or less than platonic measures. To be perfectly honest, it may be your fault. Then again, it may not be. This is going to hurt a little, but don’t squirm too much or others will notice.

No point in belaboring the introduction. Let’s get right to it!

 

We may not be dating.

It seems I’m not the only person on a dating sabbatical. If a woman says she’s not dating, let it be. I don’t mind answering “why”, but there’s nothing you’re going to tell me that will change my mind. God knows the time we’ve committed to Him, and if you’re the one, then you’ll wait patiently til the egg timer goes off.

 

We’re just not attracted to you in that way.

Incredibly witty, unattractive men greatly abound in this world. Let’s face it… attraction, subjective as it may be, is still very important to us (but not quite as important as it is to you). Fret not. We won’t tell you that’s the reason. We will keep our fingers crossed that someone will soon swoon for your looks and charm. I’d be remissed to imply that only physical attraction matters here. Sometimes there’s simply no common interest. So you’re big into Hip Hop culture? Cool. That’s not me. No need to hobble down that path…

 

You’ve talked yourself out of a chance.

Within two conversations some of you list everything that everyone has ever rejected you for. You’re too short. Too tall. You have really bad breath in the morning. Something’s wrong with your man meat. T–M-FREAKING-I! We care very little as to why someone else has rejected you, but we care very much that you still care. Women are attracted to confident, not cocky, men. We’re not asking you to brag or impress, but to show that you have a healthy love and respect for yourself. After all, if you make it to hubby status then you must love us as you love yourself. And if you don’t love yourself, well, the converse is true. There’s a time and place for transparency, but the first few conversations is not it.

 

Because when I called you “bro” you took it the wrong way.

If we address you as “bro” that does NOT mean, you don’t have a chance. It simply means we have not yet discerned the type of fella you are. We can’t call you “boo” without sending the wrong message about our intentions. I guess “sir” will do. But if you get upset over a simple “bro” then you will most likely get upset over something else just as minuscule. And let’s be for real– Not every woman wants you, and that’s ok too.

 

You’ve already made it clear that I’m not your type.

Everyone has preferences, and that’s fine. But if you constantly talk about the light-skinned, baby-haired woman who wears a size 6 with triple D cups…. Bro, that’s just not me or 99.999% of the women on this planet. Many of us are attracted to the very thing that will keep us in trouble. Sort out what you want and what you need. But I can’t be the person to help you bridge that gap. Once I’ve assessed that I’m not what you like, I will put you in a zone far from anything that resembles a romantic relationship. THIS is why you all get the pats on the backs during the hugs!! Farbeit from me to ask you to make an exception. Farbeit from you to make me your second, third, or fourth choice.

 

You’re far too aggressive.

I’ll be the first to say I love a manly man. But, sir, you cannot grab and kiss me the first time we meet. You cannot tell me what you want to do to me every time we chat. It’s far too much. Are you trying to conquer me, or get to know me? One will get you far. The other will get you in the SMS-zoned. (SMS zone is beneath the friend zone.) Keep it up, and you’ll land a spot on our Blacklist and receive an automatic SMS reply that reads “This text has been declined by the receiver because you are an @$$!”

 

One final thought… don’t take the friend zone personally. It’s quite alright if a woman doesn’t want to pursue anything more with you, and if you can’t handle that, then you really aren’t ready to date. If you are truly interested and your heart is in the right place concerning her, then you will wait and continue to pursue her until things change. In the meantime, be a great friend and show her that your integrity and charm is worth making her reconsider your (mis)classification.

 

What mistakes have led you to the friend zone of a woman you cared for?
What changes can you make in yourself to prevent this from happening time and time again? Would YOU date YOU?

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future freedom from friend-zoning,

Alana

Image by Paul Goyette via Compfight

Being Saved, Fine Oil Initiative, Uncategorized

Ninety Down: Flies in the Ointment

[dropcap style=”font-size: 45px; color: #55cfbb;”]I[/dropcap] hate flies.

They’re filthy, disgusting, annoying, and aggressive. Maybe it’s just where I live, but the flies in the burbs of Richmond will roll up on you, light up a cig, and blow the smoke in your face without thinking twice. And these nasty creatures–I’m not sure why God created them– were gathering at my back door.

Over 30 of these minuscule beasts were pressed against the glass panes buzzing “Give us us free.” They must’ve known I was coming for them because they hid in the blinds and soared around my apartment whenever I approached. And for an hour or so, the children and I took turns until every single fly revisited that window and disappeared into the swirling suction of my lavender vacuum cleaner hose.

Like any person with common sense, I looked for the source of the problem. There were no maggots in the trash can. (Thank goodness!) No gaps in the door. No gaps in the windows. I was at a loss…

…Until last week when I cleaned out the old clothes and toys from my daughter’s room. A foot to the left of her bed on the ceiling is a vent. Directly below the vent on the carpet– dead flies.

Nasty, filthy, stinking flies crept in unaware through an area that I had not considered because it was out of my reach. And because of my ignorance, a small swarm of flith-laden creatures had defiled our living spaces. (I thank God for the makers of Lysol and Clorox Anywhere Spray.)

And the old phrase, incomplete as it may seem, came to me…. “A fly in the ointment.”

Flies are attracted to anything with fragrance. They buzz around looking for the juiciest piece of fruit, hottest piece of chicken, or your finely-fragranced body butter. If we are diligent, we cover our wares and swat the flies away. But if we turn our backs for a moment, they contaminate, and something that was good just moments before ultimately gets tossed into the garbage.

And so it is with us, when we take on the lifestyle of a Christ-follower. We. Smell. Good. And the enemy knows he cannot get us to turn back to our life of sin, so he sends in the flies.

He sends in the annoying, the nit-picky, the continual harassment from people and circumstances. There’s a buzzing of my bank account on low, the texts from the guy who won’t kick rocks like I’ve asked him so many times, the forwarded emails with Tweety bird at the end!!! They all aggravate me to the point where I meditate on the wrong things, leaving my fragrance uncovered. Then the flies settle in making whatever beauty and grace I had completely distasteful and repulsive.

Aggravated. Frustrated. Exhausted.

 

[quote]Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour . (Ecclesiastes 10:1)[/quote]

 

A few flies have crept in over the past ninety days… By God’s grace I’ve found the sources and closed some of them. I’m cleaning out the remnants of disappointment and bitterness as I type. And I’ve managed to hide myself enough to discourage them from landing anywhere near me and mine. I’m guarding my heart and my mouth to no end.

So the bank account matter… I trust Him. The texts… Google Spam works wonders. The Tweety Bird forwards… Headed to the trash before they even seen my inbox. I’ve closed the vents.

Because what good is it for me to have suffered what I’ve suffered and lost what I’ve lost and gained what I’ve gained all unto God’s glory yet I bear a bad attitude and lack discretion? Why would I allow my precious relationship with Christ to become anything but by allowing small, nagging situations to enter and remain unchecked. We all have those rough days and weeks, but we cannot continually allow these matters to settle in our heart because they take away from the beautiful fragrance that God places on his people.

After all, flies aren’t the only ones attracted to us. So are the lost and the hurting. Who will embrace them if we don’t? And what hurting person ever seeks comfort from one who bears a bad attitude?

What negativity has been buzzing around you lately?
How can you be free close the vents even in situations where you have little control? 

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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, 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, 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. 

Being Single, Dating & Relationships, The Best Of CTheLily, Uncategorized

Dying, He Saved Me

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I don’t think it’s strange that the anniversary of my first blog post is on Good Friday, the day they crucified Your son. I was so discouraged this time last year and needed an outlet. For some reason Good Friday has always been full of sorrow and grief in my personal life. But, Lord, to write this… to tell THIS story almost seems You’re asking too much.

 

I don’t understand it, but I will obey. Because when I consider where I was two years ago today and four years ago today, I can’t help but thank You for keeping me.

 

Four years ago April 6, I made the choice to end my marriage. I knew things weren’t right. I wasn’t even emotional about it because I’d done so much crying before. Divorce was the only option because I didn’t want hate him. Even now, I know I made the right choice, but the journey from that place to where I am now has been…

 

Indescribable… but I will obey.

 

Two years ago, another promised that he loved me. I didn’t believe him. He was one of those guys that just played games. He wanted to do right, but his arrogance and jacked up experiences with women wouldn’t let him. Yet he pressed and pushed his way into my soul. And because I was lonely, I let him.

 

I remember going to church and hoping that the pastor would preach something profound and powerful enough to keep me from dating this guy again. We’d been at it before. I didn’t want to go back down that path, but I was still entangled. And that damned loneliness…

 

His tall and statuesque frame intrigued me. Straight lust… might as well call it what it is. His face… ehhh. Not particularly my type of guy, but all the other ladies loved him. So surely I should be glad he wanted me. By the world’s standards he was a good man, but something just wasn’t right for me.

 

Lord, I didn’t know my worth. I couldn’t comprehend that Your love for me exceeded what he could ever offer. He made me feel good. I can understand how David felt with Bathsheba. I think all of us have chosen someone or something over You at some point. The fact that I had grown so much, yet I still turned my back on You frightens me. I could mess up again… but I trust Your grace to cover me.

 

That night… he didn’t call. We’d made plans. He asked me to move with him. I’d said no, but he insisted that I must love him. He insisted that he loved me. I could’ve made it work with him. I certainly wouldn’t have had any concern for money. Do you remember my prayer that morning? I asked if he were the one for me. And if not, then show me.

 

You told me to get dressed. And I did. I got in the car and drove. You led me to drive and…

 

There it was.

 

His bright blue, tricked-out Chevy Malibu. At a hotel. I couldn’t have missed it if I tried.

 

I had a choice. To take the Jasmine Sullivan route, or to be patient and wait for answers. Either way it would be crazy. But I knew I had to stay. Because this would be the LAST time he’d force his way into my life. He needed to see that I was done. I prayed that whatever woman he was with had already left because I couldn’t handle a two against one battle. I was already weak.

 

So I called… cleverly left a message that I was headed to the gym which was conveniently located right next to the hotel where he’d lodged. And like roaches scatter in the light, he came scurrying out.

 

He saw my frustration. Saw my pain. Dropped his head. He refused to respond to my questions. Instead of listening to those raging voices in my head, I drove away.

 

I died that day. I was crucified by my own choices. My soul was cast down. I could not hope in You because I had turned my back on You.

 

And, Lord, I couldn’t hear You, feel You, discern You. My faith took a fatal blow and my spirit man had been all but torn asunder. Satan’s minion had taken his sharpest sword and nearly sliced my soul in two. His demons tormented me and consulted me to plunge from my bedroom window to the ground below.

 

I searched for You. You were there, but I couldn’t find you.

 

And, therein lies the problem with sin. I didn’t consider that when I got up from the bed of sin that Your presence had departed from my life. It didn’t occur to me that my faith had been so damaged that I wouldn’t be able to approach Your throne.

 

I watched the window for a good 20 minutes, even looked down. Lord, it must’ve been you that said “It won’t do the job.” I’d just end up with a broken bone or two… definitely not comparable to the death I felt inside. So I got back in the car and drove…

 

It was Sunday and usually I wouldn’t miss church, but the night before I had been tormented. Even more so now…

 

I was consumed with grief, self-hate, anger. You led me there, and Your people consoled me. They loved me and dried my tears. Oh, God! I remember how so many ran to my rescue. Some said it would be ok…I knew that wasn’t true. Lord, I knew that if I didn’t get this right in my life, I’d be condemned to hell here on earth and in the afterlife. Yet, I was thankful for their kindness and consolation.

 

I made it back home in pieces and rested. I did not eat for days. I read my Bible and listened to one song over and over. My soul, God, was thirsty for You. I could only fight to regain my peace in hopes that my faith would be restored. I needed to be in Your presence.

 

Your Word came. It was heavy and hard to receive. It discouraged me emotionally, but my spirit cleaved to it. Anyone who knows You understands that a rebuke from the Lord is like a feast compared to never hearing Your word at all. Just the fact that You spoke… I thank You.

 

How unsightly I must have been… to have known You and chosen something lesser that only intended to destroy me.

I’m sorry. 

To have given myself to someone so undeserving. He didn’t even know You.

I’m sorry.

To presume that he could offer me a portion of what Your presence provides.

I’m sorry.

 

But looking back, Lord. I understand now that the rebuke you sent gave me a choice. The scripture says that You will not put on us more than we can bear. But I had put this on myself, and it was certainly more than I could carry. You gave me a choice, at that point, to face my brokenness and transform my own suffering into Your suffering. One would work a brighter future for me, while the other would render me helpless and hopeless.

 

…For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.

 

I chose Your suffering. Because if I suffer with You, I’ll reign with You. That’s Your promise, and You’ve never lied.

 

And, so today, Good Friday, April 6, 2012, I can confidently say that I stood against each of his three advances since that time. I can say that I’m no longer on life support, but I’m living and loving. I can say that 2011 was the last year that April 6 would destroy me because I’ve discovered Your resurrection power. No longer am I entangled or even enticed by these lusts… My heart belongs to You.

 

I cannot imagine surviving this life without You. So many, Lord, are heart-broken and tormented daily. They cannot hear Your voice. And, it is my prayer that as I share my shame, someone who identifies with my pain will turn to You because You are surely there with them. Some have stories much worse than my own, and some feel there is no forgiveness for what they’ve done. I pray that they would come to know the truth!

 

With great joy and victory, I thank You! No longer am I heartbroken, sad, or lonely. You’ve filled my heart with promises, and my faith and peace in You grow everyday. I ask, Lord, that You do the same for my brothers and sisters, and for those who don’t yet know You.

 

Let this story, as unpleasant as it may be, bring glory to Your name because You are faithful…. You saved me. Thank You!

 

In Jesus’ name,

 

Amen

 

Dating & Relationships, Family, Uncategorized

The Art of Submission: Anecdotal Evidence

Last Sunday, I left you hanging…

On purpose.

I know it’s a cold thing to do, but there was a method behind my apparent madness. The teacher in me wanted you to draw your own conclusions before I placed further ideas into your head. It is my sincere hope that you, my cyber sister friend, have considered my last few points regarding your relationship. I hope that you’ve asked yourself if your significant other is really loving you the way God intended, if he is handling business as the leader of your home, and if he is one to whom you can submit.

So many “good, Christian girls” marry in hopes to actually be able to submit to a man of God only to realize he’s not half a man and has even less of God. And so we don’t know what to do because we think that in order to please God we must please our unplease-able husbands. But I laugh at the enemy… There is a solution to your problem.
At the risk of bearing too much of my past, I’d like to revisit my previous points and support them with anecdotal evidence, some of my own and some of someone else’s.
  1. He’s your husband, not God.  Yes, we must honor, love, and obey, but there must always be a place that you preserve for you and your God alone. Elevating anyone, children included, above the place of the Almighty will open you to heartache and disappointment. I remember being torn between my relationship with God and my relationship with my ex-husband. It seemed I couldn’t maintain my walk with Christ as long as I was trying to please the other. I would imagine Adam felt the same ambivalence when he watched his beloved taste the forbidden fruit. Imagine what he must have thought in that moment. She knows this is wrong. She knows this will separate her from God. So will it separate her from me too? But I LOVE her. Icannot live without her… But God loved me first, and I love Him! God or Woman? Woman or God? So he ate the fruit. He chose Woman over God, and as a result all of mankind fell. What if Adam had not eaten the fruit? Would God have allowed him to redeem the woman he loved so much keeping our heritage in Eden intact?Could God redeem your spouse as a response to your faithfulness to Him?Absolutely! Could things fall into place should you decide to focus solely on the other person? It’s possible, but not likely. I wish you well either way.
  2. If he doesn’t demonstrate Christ-like love for you, be careful about submitting. It could cost you more than you’re willing, or even able, to pay. The Bible says that a man must love his wife as he loves himself. So if he hates himself……………. Oh ok. A self-loathing person is bitter, self-destructive, angry, manipulative, and unforgiving. If these devices are demonstrated in your husband’s interactions with you, do what you can to keep order in the home, but anything that is detrimental to you and the family or feels out of sorts, you MUST stand your ground. I’ve known women who had unfaithful spouses that felt obligated to sleep with their husbands. Don’t lay yourself down under a man that you know (or even with legitimate reason, think) is being unfaithful to you. Don’t leave bills unpaid that could affect you in the long run because he’s “got it under control.” Do what you know is right to do when it’s time to do it. You’ll have pay later. I had to pay later when I could’ve stepped up and handled things when I knew he wouldn’t.
  3. If his life is out of order, he cannot be your head. Don’t allow someone who lacks self-control to control you.Two big points here… It seems this would be common sense, but how many of us chase behind brothers who lack any restraint in their personal lives? The purpose of a relationship is to build something. You cannot build with a person who chases thrills, emotional highs, or any other high for that matter… Strangely enough, folks who lack self-control attempt to control everything around them. Don’t be that kind of victim.I wish a brotha would ask to see my grocery store receipt to calculate my drivetime home. I have a Chemistry degree, and I know how to use it.
  4. Submission is mutual. He needs to submit to you as well. I laugh when I hear stories of young grooms demanding their brides to do as they say because the bride must submit. Submission,in its finest form, is mutual. He should think enough of you to discuss matters before making a decision. I can’t think of one woman in her right mind who wants to be the man and take full responsibility for a family, but I also can’t think of one who wants all the decisions made for her without consideration for her needs. The pendulum swings both ways, folks… both ways. Menfolk would do well to allow us to take the lead from time to time.
  5. If he is not submitted to God and your pastor, don’t expect him to submit to you. The strongest, wisest, most prosperous men on this planet answer to someone somewhere. If your boo-bah-dee-boo-boo claims to love God but won’t submit to a pastor, don’t expect him to submit to you. The concept of respecting authority eludes some people. So not only do these misguided fellas lose jobs and underperform at work, but they also fail to walkin the proper authority as the man, husband, and father. Men at their best when they are accountable to other men.
  6. You don’t have to agree or even take his advice for yourself. I looooove to wear make-up. Love love love! I don’t wear a lot, nor do I wear anything crazy, but I do like to highlight my features. Well, when I wasmarried it was strongly suggested that I stop wearing make-up. In fact, it became a source of tension between us, particularly if I was going out to the store without him though he neeever wanted to go along. That’s another matter altogether. But the tension remained until I made it clear that I wasn’t going to stop wearing it. Before long, he’d just stare at me while I put it on… in awe of my beauty of course. He learned to respect something small that mattered to me. See– *pulls out church lady glasses*—folks have the tendency to project their own insecurities on others. There is no need for me to feel unattractive because you have an issue. If I love you, make-up won’t make me cheat. If I don’t love you, nothing short of God’s hand will stop me. Ladies, you can comply if you so choose, but make sure you choose to do so for the right reasons.
  7. If he’s not pleased with you now, then he won’t be pleased with you after you do everything he claims he wants you to do. That’s not your issue…it’s his! Bigger boobs, longer hair, more/less make-up never changed an unfaithful heart. Ladies, some things we just cannot compete with. Some things we should not have to compete with. If he truly loves you, then he will learn over time to keep his eyes only for you. Don’t expect this to be an overnight process, but cover yourself in prayer as you fight the battle against insecurity and low self-esteem. But in the meantime, you don’t have to do,wear, or behave as some fantasy woman who has no emotion or need. You don’t have to bare it all like women on television. We don’t have to be overly outspoken to be heard, or wearing a nappy fro to be appropriately Black. (Oh gosh… did I type that? Yeah, I did. Team relaxer, baby!)  But let me qualify this… Some of us DO need to lose weight. Some of us DO need to grow our hair out. Some of us DO need to find out what it means to be feminine. Some of us DO need to learn how to cook and clean a house.
I think I’ve picked enough on the fellas, don’t you agree? I mean all the good menfolk are screeeeaming at me wondering why I’m talking about these bad dudes when there are bad women out there too. Don’t worry… that’s the next topic. So I’ll see you same time next week?? *raises eyebrows looking for your agreeable smile* I look forward to it.
I look forward to reading your comments. As always please tweet, post, share, email, SUBSCRIBE! Let me know you’re out there! I’ve made it to the other side of the planet a few times now, so send me a cyberwave if you please! Until next time…
With love, sincerity, and hope for the future, 
Alana
Photo Credit: By SidewaysSarah on Flickr