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All posts for the month October, 2012

Conclusion of the 30 Day Singles Challenge

Published October 31, 2012 by lavoniartryon

It has been with the humblest pleasure that I have shared the past 30 days with you all. God has truly blessed me with your insight, transparency, willingness to share and honesty in where you are in this journey and where you desire to go in the Lord. I have connected with some old friends and gained some new ones. My inbox, email and text have been flooded with comments about what God has shown them through this journey. I am simply blessed to be the vessel. Never confuse the channel with the Source- we are simply God’s instruments- He is the full Orchestra, Conductor and sits as our audience of One. Don’t forget that, or allow anyone to convince you that they should receive ANY glory from an act of God. This is all from Him, through Him, and for Him.

God has so much for you embedded in this season, you just need to grab hold of it. Invest this time of undistracted devotion in Him, and watch Him deposit in you greater love, peace, comfort, purpose, understanding and more spiritual and natural gifts than you have room to store. Commit to get everything out of your singleness and determine to come out full, lacking nothing. If marriage is in the plans that He has for you, it will come in His timing and it will be beautiful. Do the work so that you are prepared and ready when that time comes. Choose not to be a married person, looking back at your single season wishing you would have done some of the things that you had more freedom to do then.

I end this Challenge with the final words of my book, NOT Another Singles Book’©2011 But-I-FLY Ministries, (if you have yet to get your copy, please email me at notanothersinglesbook@gmail.com or go to the Facebook Fanpage by the same name and purchase your copy there):

“I believe that God does everything for His glory. So He will join your life with your husband or wife when He has gotten the maximum amount of glory out of your

Single life. Take this to mean your Single life is bringing more glory to God’s name than your married life would be at this moment. What an honor! Treat it as such. If you are still Single and living for God, it just means that the Lover of your soul wants more time alone with you.”

Be blessed, I love you.

God has instructed me to turn this challenge into my 3rd book, ‘The 30 Day Singles Challenge: An Intense and Intentional Discovery of yourself in this Ordained Season’ ©2012 But-I-FLY Ministries. This book will be offered as a COMPLETELY FREE eBook download for you to share with your friends, families, church and ministries- we simply ask that you respect copyright laws and credit But-I-FLY Ministries and LaVonia R. Tryon as the author in your duplication. As Philipians 2:1-2 states- ‘Therefore if you have received any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any common sharing in the Spirit , if any tenderness and compassion- THEN make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. That’s what this Journey is about- sharing as the body as one mind and spirit in discovering the richness of this season as we encourage ourselves and others.’

 

THIS JOURNEY INCLUDES YOU! We want to feature your comments, testimonies and insight in this publication. Please respond to this post via comment, inbox or email us to give your permission for us to include you in this Movement. Please include how you would like to be referenced- i.e. LaVonia T., a 31 yo Houston Counselor, Jessica C., a 23 yo SFA Senior. We will then take specific quotes from your comments on certain days and embed those as ‘pop-outs’ in the book.

This isn’t over…if you got behind on some of the days and still want to catch up, these notes will be here until November 30 for you to still include your comments and insight to be included in the final edition. At that time, they will be removed for editing and then reposted as the final book in January 2013 for your free download.

Remember God loves you and is jealous over you. Don’t take your time alone with Him lightly. I love you.

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DAY 30: Characteristics of a Godly Relationship

Published October 30, 2012 by lavoniartryon

Memory Verse: But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God,” Ruth 1:16

Psalm 4

Challenge: Which of the seven characteristics are the hardest for you to accept, wait for, and/or do? Why and how do you remedy it?

To wrap up this challenge, I believe it fitting to discuss courtship, since many if not all participating in this 30 days desire for our Single Season to end in marriage. This is an honorable desire and will be honored when and if God’s Will aligns with it. Let’s discuss what to look for when it does come. I remained reading a book by a Christian couple and they stated that the purpose of courtship is to decide if you are to be married. Then they stated that the answer could and often times will be yes. This blew me away, becuase I used to think that the once we got to courtship, all was left was picking the ring, date and dress. But upon consideration it makes sense. Courtship is defined as a period during which a couple develop a romantic relationship with marriage being the goal. By this definition, everyone that courts has marriage as the goal ideally, but reality says that many don’t make it there. What went wrong? I don’t know if I will describe it as what went wrong more than simply receiving an answer that we didn’t prepare for.

Many prayers and petitions that we send to God are  requests for fulfillment of our own will and not an expression of submission to His. We have to understand that as Christians when we pray the answer can and will often be ‘no.’ David was told ‘NO’ about building the temple, Paul was told ‘NO’ about removing the thorn, Are you prepared for that? If you enter into a dating/courting relationship- continue to guard your heart until God gives you His answer.

 

The story of Ruth is often only told in light of her being found by Boaz, but there is so much more we need to know about this relationship. Let’s continue dissecting God’s Word to better understand what we should be looking for, and also how

we should carry ourselves. Take a look at these characteristics and see how you may be able to apply them within your life.

 

Commitment: When Ruth is introduced in this book, the first thing noticed about her is her commitment to both God and to Naomi. She forsook her desires for the Lord’s direction. She gave up her family and entire life as she knew it, to follow God. This is the epitome of commitment. Naomi had nothing to offer her but a life serving the God that Ruth had been introduced to thru her, and that was enough. Christ doesn’t owe us anything; we are saved from hell because of His commitment to love us, not saved to receive the provisions of His hand. He calls for our commitment not because he can provide for us, but simply because He is the Way, and all of our provisions come from staying in His shadow. His favor and His blessings are added promises from Him along the way.

Application: what’s your commitment level? Are you committed to serve God even if and when the answer could be ‘NO’?

 

Character: Ruth’s character preceded her. Before Boaz even spoke a word to her, he inquired about her. Whoever he asked, they spoke highly about her, even though she was a foreigner in a strange land. Because of her commitment, her character was evident in everything that she did. She was gleaning in fields to take on the responsibility that she could have walked away from, like

 

 

her sister-in-law. Ruth’s motive was to care for her mother- in-law, not to be seen or recognized for what she was

doing.

Application: What would people hear about you if they ask someone who has been watching? In courting/dating it is vital to gain insight from others about this person. This does not mean that it will be the dealbreaker, but don’t be so ‘googly-eyed’ to realize that a person can play a role for you and be an entirely different person when you aren’t around.

 

Communication: Ruth was committed to appropriate communication. She was open, honest, accountable, and submissive to her mentor and confidant. Many times we don’t seek accountability because we don’t want to tell everyone all the hard issues we face. I challenge you to fight this perception because it is not biblical. We were created to hold each other accountable, to rebuke, to restore and revive within the Word of God. Ruth gave clear information to her mentor and didn’t hide the details. When asked where she had gleaned, she didn’t just say, “Oh, well down the street.” Give good communication

because you never know what someone can add to the information you have gathered. Again, when dating (or deciding to date), ask around about your potential. You shouldn’t base your sole decision on the information you gather, but how the person is perceived may reveal something about their character.

Application: How are your communication and accountability skills? Pray over areas that you need to communicate more in and use them with your ‘counsel’ that you will be seeking.

 

Counsel: The Bible states that a man is wise who seeks wise counsel. Ruth trusted Naomi’s countenance enough to listen and heed her advice. She recognized her mentor had more experience than she possessed and wanted to learn from her. Don’t seek wise counsel if you aren’t going to use it. Find someone who is in the position you want to be in (strong in character, commitment, communication, and Christ), then commit to sit at their feet and glean from them.

Application: Do you have a mentor? Why or why not? The Bible says that ‘he is wise who seeks wise counsel’. Pray and be lead to mentors-spiritually, financially, vocationally, male/female- etc- it’s favorable to have at least one person from each area of your life pouring into you and guiding you in the ways of the Lord.

Courage: Ruth took a huge risk by going to present herself at the threshing floor. If someone else would have seen her, or mistook her intentions, this could have hurt her witness and brought doubt to her virtue. When we submit to God, we have to risk everything we know to gain all that He will give us. Because she trusted her counsel, she had the courage to know it was sound advice and then act on it. Be cautious of your counsel and know that if God is your Chief Advisor, He will not direct you outside the safety of His plan.

Application: Be strong and courageous for I, Your God is with you-Joshua 1:1-9. What areas of your life do you need God to give you courage to perform and endure?

 

Courtship: Boaz made his intentions clear from the beginning. Ruth didn’t have to guess his feelings or what the next steps would be. He was very clear on the direction of the relationship, and he acted as the head. He protected her virtue. A man ready for courtship will protect your virtue and favor above his own desires. He covers her. As a man you should provide a shelter to your mate, and as a woman you should always feel protected and safe with your mate. He will “fight” for what is his and will contend with anyone or anything that stands between them. Remember love always hopes and protects. If your potential mate is encouraging you to do ungodly stuff, that might not be love, but lust.

Application: what is the difference between courting and dating? Which are you ready for, are you participating in?

 

Use these 7 (number of completion) characteristics to evaluate and model your current and future romantic relationships.  If it doesn’t add up- you are too valuable to add yourself to it.

STAY TUNED FOR TE WRAP-UP OF THIS 30 DAY CHALLENGE TOMORROW!

 

 

DAY 29: Platonic Friends! How many of us have them?

Published October 29, 2012 by lavoniartryon

 

Memory verse: So Jonathan made a pledge of mutual loyalty with David because he loved him as much as he loved himself. 1 Samuel 18:3

 

Psalm 122

 

Task: Think of one opposite gender platonic friend. What boundaries (spoken and unspoken) are in place to make sure the line doesn’t get blurred?

 

We discussed on Day 12 the Potential Cycle- those people that we have allowed the lines of friendship to be blurred and how to resolve it. I think we should discuss how to prevent it, especially if we anticipate a relationship/courtship/ marriage-ship in the not so distant future. Platonic relationships can exist if you want them to, but you have to fight to keep those lines clear.

When or where does the line get blurred? It usually becomes a matter of- I don’t want you as long as no one else does, but when someone does-then we have a situation. I know I have had that friend with whom I was OK with being only a ‘friend’, just as long as there was no one else in the picture I had to share him with. It’s easy to lose perspective of how entangled you can become emotionally with “just a friend” when there is no competition, although it becomes painfully clear when that friend gains a love interest, and it’s not you.

Why is this? I believe that because we failed to set boundaries as we discussed earlier, the line was already blurred. I started dating you, but you were only hanging out with me. This happens when those talks are avoided; when you would rather ignore the signs that one or both of you are starting to feel the pull of strings, than to risk bringing it up and facing rejection or an awkward situation.

We become free to see the person as a pseudo- relationship and even fantasize about the ‘relationship’ being disguised as a friendship. Women rationalize, “I’m not his girlfriend, but no one else is either.” Men may start thinking, “This is safe; I can handle her introducing me as a friend because she doesn’t have another man in her life. I’m the one she calls when she wants to go to the movies, or needs her curtains hung, or when she needs a bug killed in the house. She depends on me and depending on me is pretty close to needing me, so it’s just a matter of time before she realizes that she loves me.” Don’t mock the situation. Many of you won’t admit it, but you have been here too.

If you are in this situation, what boundaries have been placed on your heart? Are you allowing yourself to become emotionally used in this position? Are you emotionally using the other person? Many times we don’t know how deeply we are tied to a person until that string is stretched by another individual.  Your hold on the bond is determined by how you handle this situation: whether you decide to bow out, claiming your designated role as a friend, or if you try to hijack the situation by planting negative seeds about the new person of interest, staking your claim as more than a friend. This situation usually gets ugly pretty fast, and only in movies have I seen the emotionally attached friend win the guy over the new love interest. Not saying it can’t happen, just saying it’s probably a long shot. If you have been together as friends this long, and he hasn’t “found” you, it may be because you’re not what he’s looking for.

Keep the line drawn! You may have to take a step back if you realize you want more than the other person is willing or ready to give. Remember the Bible says to guard your own heart, not give it up to someone else and hope they protect it. We end up getting our feelings hurt because we lie, not only to others, but to ourselves saying we can handle it, but in reality we are doing anything but.

Have random “just friends” tests of your emotions, and anytime you feel that your feelings are changing, or the other person’s actions are more than friendly, speak up. A friend will address it, before it grows to be the elephant in the room. Only a coward would avoid this conversation with someone you call a friend. Remember a friend loves at all times, and it’s not love to know someone you only desire a friendship with is becoming more attached to you, yet you avoid it because you don’t want to hurt their feelings.. It’s better to gently rectify the situation now, than to do it by introducing them to your fiancé. If you are not willing to do this, you might want to reevaluate your own standard of being a friend.

“Flattery will get you everywhere” the saying goes, but I believe it will get your feelings hurt if you are not careful. Flattery is one of those reasons people keep holding on when you have stated that you don’t want a relationship. Yet, you are still entertaining their company, knowing that they want something you can’t or aren’t willing to give.

So where does the hurt come in? It occurs when you allow the flattery to lead yourself on. Yep, that’s said right—when you lead yourself on. A woman leads herself on when the man says he doesn’t want a relationship, but she continues to try and woo him. She begins to believe she can somehow do enough, give enough, be enough, or sadly, even sex enough to make him realize that he really wants to be with her. Then she’s hurt because he finds someone else and she finally realizes that she was just a placeholder.

A man leads himself on in the same way. Just because a guy can buy for a woman things she has never had, does not mean she will make him a permanent fixture in her life; it may just mean she will keep him around until either the well runs dry, or she finds something she wants more than his money. Hard lessons; take the advice and learn from someone else’s pain.

Guard your heart, for out of it flows the issues of life. Don’t find yourself caught up in the emotional bond of a relationship with only the commitment level of a friendship. You would do well to realize that kisses aren’t commitments and words are only as good as the action that follow them. Don’t make someone a priority that only chooses you as an option.

When a man or woman tells you that they are too busy with school, work, or life to pursue a relationship right now, it’s usually only a half truth. What they really mean is that they don’t see enough potential to make you a priority.

If your “once in a lifetime” comes into your life, I doubt you will turn them down because you are in graduate school. You will have them hold the flash cards and quiz you. What am I saying? If you meet a potential that you would like to manifest into something permanent, you will do what it takes to make it happen. If the person isn’t willing to do the same, that may be your cue to move on. Don’t waste your life fighting for something that isn’t worth winning.

If a man or woman is looking over you, then they are either not for you, or it’s not your time.

 

 

DAY 27: God’s Plan is Best

Published October 27, 2012 by lavoniartryon

Memory Verse:  “Now this is what the Lord says, the One who created you Jacob, and the One who formed you Israel. Do not fear, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by your name, YOU ARE MINE. I will be with you when you pass through the waters and when you pass through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire and the flame will not burn you.” Isaiah 43:1-3

Psalm 62

Task: Think of some of the plans that you had for your life that haven’t been actualized. Now counter those with what God has accomplished because that plan hasn’t come. (i.e. I thought I would be married by now, but because I’m NOT I have written ‘NOT Another Singles Book’, working on 3 more and started this Singles Movement)

God’s plan being best. How do we know this? How do we establish this?  Do we even believe this. Our first natural, almost programmed answer is yes, but if we were to honestly evaluate our past decisions and situations, our answer may become a bit blurred.

I recently studied 2 Samuel for a workshop I was ministering. As preparing for this session, I was so encouraged in reading this book. I went back and intensively studied 1 Samuel as well, so that I could have a reference point for 2 Samuel. Following the path of David and his journey from anointment to appointment as King, and then his struggles and triumphs as King of a united Israel, gave me hope and insight into God’s plan for me. As a Single, many times we doubt or question God’s plan for us, and only the strong and/or transparent will admit that. I know I often spent countless nights praying, crying, snotting asking God ‘where did I go wrong?’ ‘’How did I get so off track- did I miss it or Him somewhere?” Only as recent as about 2-3 years ago, did I allow God to change my perspective. I say allow God to change my perspective, because He never gave me that idea in the first place. My friends, family, own insecurities and even sadly, church helped shape the view that as a Single I was missing out on something. I would read books, attend seminars, listen to sermons and they would all be geared towards ‘getting out’ of Singleness, but very few about what to do while in it. So in reading 2 Samuel I was encouraged through David’s life to further embrace His timing and his calling in this season.

2 Samuel opens with Saul being dead and David taking his rightful place on the throne. I want to briefly reference 1 Samuel. David was anointed around the age of 15-16 as King. 1 Samuel 16 is the story of David’s anointing and we know that story. Verse 1: How long will you mourn for Saul when I have rejected him. Isn’t this a word for Singles? We mourn past relationships, things we could have done differently, should have done differently, and spend so much valuable time wasted on what ‘could have been’, when God has another manifestation waiting for you. We will miss David in the fields, if we continue to focus on Saul in the palace. Although Saul still had the postion of King, he no longer had the anointment of King. That’ll PREACH!! How many times do we allow a relationship ‘Saul’ to sit on the throne of our hearts, when God’s spirit has left from it. Saul stayed in his position for at least 10-15 years after God’s spirit left. How long will you hold on to a past or current (ouch!) relationship and YOU KNOW God’s spirit is no longer blessing it?

It is so vital to understand when we are discussing God’s plan for our lives. We often think we know how our lives should pan out what we should do and how it needs to be done. But many times God has a different plan. We just have to take our eyes off of ours to see His.

So How do we get to God’s Plan:

  1. Seeking God’s Plan-

So in 2 Samuel David is King. If you know anything about David, he was a man after God’s heart. He sought God about every decision that he made- He not only sought God but He listened and then acted. How do we measure up to this standard? I believe we will often ask God for forgiveness instead of asking for permission. We will ask Him as Balaam did in Numbers 22, already knowing what we want Him to say. But God is looking for some people that will seek Him as Jeremiah says in 29:12 You will call to me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart. I will be found by you.’ God is waiting for you to seek Him first, and all these things will be added to you Matthew 6:33- but it’s so hard to seek Him and not worry about the things that we want added to us.

God’s plan will take time to seek. For some it may come quickly- God told Noah to build the Ark, Moses to lead the people out of Egypt, Joshua to walk around the walls of Jericho. Divine guidance only comes to prepared hearts. You have to spend the time with God asking for His plan and will for your life. He wants to fulfill it.

  1. Seeing/Hearing God’s Plan

As David sought the Lord, you must do the same. Habakkuk 2: 2-4 talks about climbing up to the watchtower to see what God would say. How do you see what God says? God will reveal Himself to you in vision. Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. It’s hard to see God at work when you are going through the situation, but if you can just take your eyes off self- vision will come. Go back to the top and read Isaiah 4:1-3 He created you Jacob, but He formed you Israel. What does this mean? That where you start is not where you will finish. Jacob was a trickster, but Israel is God’s chosen nation. Jacob was created in his mother’s womb, Israel was formed through the shaping of God’s hands.  Meaning, the situations that you are going through aren’t meant to break you, but are forming you into God’s perfect image of you. Don’t get so focused on how you THINK He will bring it to pass, that you miss how He does bring it to past.

God told David that He would bless his life and the life of his descendants but He did not tell him that he would face His own son trying to take his throne, civil war, adultery and murder with Bathsheba, etc- when this happened, I’m sure David was doubting God and the promise that he had received. He had to understand that God does not have to operate in Chronos (our timing) but that He exists in Chiros (God’s timing)-so His timing is always perfect, even when ours is off.

  1. Letting Go of our Plan to Receive His

In order to receive God’s plan, we have to let Go of our own. Can you let go of your plan and where you thought you should be? When all your friends are getting married and you aren’t? Do you rejoice outwardly with them, but inwardly envy them? Envy tells God that we don’t like the plan that He has for our life and we want another one. This is an insult to the author and perfector (finisher) of our faith. As Mary stated ‘I am your servant, do as you wish’- may this be our hearts cry as well!  In chapter 6 of 2 Samuel, we see what seemed like a ruthless act by God. They are transporting the ark of the covenant back home and they sought to bring it back on a cart pulled by oxen. The instructions to transport the ark were given in Numbers 4, it was only to be carried by Levites and touched by Aaronic priests. David being a king, knew this yet he decided to take the easy route and it cost a man his life. Deciding to follow our own plans instead of waiting for God’s to manifest will cause us a dead Uzzah, a rebellious Ishmael and crushed foot and close encounter with death (Balaam).

Pride comes before a fall. In Chapter 11, David was supposed to be at war, but yet he was home chillen on the roof. What does this say? He was not where He was ordained to be. Whenever we don’t take the time to seek out God’s plan, or we seek it but refuse to follow it, we will always end up seeing things we shouldn’t, doing things we normally wouldn’t, and trying to cover up what we can’t. What does this translate into singleness? Dating, marrying the wrong person because we aren’t in the lane God has called us to be in. Casual dating, and ending up with emotional soul ties, or premarital sex and intimacy soul ties. But even in our disobedience, God can’t lie, so he has stated that ALL things work out for the good.

God is building character in you right now. He is preparing you for what He has in your future. What you go through now, will give you the strength you need to face what is coming.

DAY 26: Emotions Make You ‘LIE’ Some

Published October 26, 2012 by lavoniartryon

Memory Verse: For the heart is exceedingly wicked and deceitful, who can know it Jeremiah 17:9

Psalm 146

Task: Be intentional about defining emotions today and the root cause. When you feel anger, fear, anxiety, happy, love- then determine what the stimulating cause is and group those two together. (example: I was happy because I found $20 in the dryer this morning) Share a couple of them below.

H-town (if you are actually from H-Town you will remember the group and possibly the song) a local RnB group made a entitled emotions make you cry sometimes. The lyrics take you through the stages of life and how different scenarios cause different emotions, but the ultimate point is that ‘emotions make you fall in love’. Destiny’s Child comes out with a song a couple years later about emotions. There is also a Mariah Carey and Conya Doss song by the same title. So apparently emotions are something that we need to discuss, since they are such an important determining part of relationships. Right?

Emotions defined by Webster-a conscious mental reaction (as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object (or person) and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body. For example, fear may cause you to sweat and your heart beat to increase, or anger may make you sweat or cause your head to ache. By this definition, emotions are a secondary response and never the initial cause. This is important to understand for today’s challenge.

Emotions aren’t and can’t be used as an initial cause, but so many times in this life we allow them to determine our actions and reactions. We never take the time to get to the root of the cause and deal with that to determine why we are feeling a certain emotion, we just take the emotion and run with it. I think this is a surface reason why God instructs and allows us to ‘Be angry, yet sin not’ Ephesians 4:26. God understands that we are fickle humans that are controlled by our emotions, instead of controlling them.

Understanding your emotions and determining the root cause of them is a key concept taught in psychology and being a Certified Counselor, it is something that I often will instruct my clients/students to tap into. ‘Ok, you are angry-but why? You are sad-when did you start feeling this way?’ If we can get to the answer of these questions we can determine what to do with those emotions as well as understand if they are even valid emotions. To determine if an emotion is valid, you take the root stimulating cause, and determine if the emotional feeling coincides as a logical response to the cause. But who has the time to do that?! It’s so much easier to allow our emotions to rule us and go with the first response that ‘feels right’ with the emotion.

But be careful, because emotions make you lie sometimes. Have you ever found yourself starting to ‘feel something’ about a person after you have spent an extended amount of time with them? Or if you are like me, you have allowed someone else to plant the seed in your head of a ‘perfect bond’ between you and another person and then you find yourself thinking about this person more and ‘feeling something’ that you didn’t initially feel. This is typically a simulated emotion, and has no validity in its determining cause. If you would take the time to step back from the situation and truly evaluate it, you would realize that these ‘emotions’ aren’t real and you could move on.

What about the emotions of sadness, longing, devastation that comes from a broken relationship, as we discussed yesterday? I believe that these emotions are valid, but you have to determine how long you will dwell on them, learn from them and move on- or if you are going to allow them to control you and poison your current state and possibly your future relationships. The last serious relationship that tore my heart out, the emotions I felt at the time I truly believed were valid. But the fact that I still feel some of them 2 years later, is not! If I were to research the root cause, it would be determined that I feel the sadness when I ‘happen’ to cross his facebook page, or I frequent a spot that was coined ‘our spot’ or I read an old letter or email that I just so happened to find (but never threw away). This is an example of emotions controlling us, and if we are to live free in this season, this can’t be the case.

Then we get to love. H-town says that emotions make you fall in love. I don’t believe this, or wait maybe I do. Falling is accidental and something that we can’t control once it starts. If we are lead by our emotions, then this is a true statement. But I have determined to not ‘fall in love’ anymore. I have now taken control of my emotions and I realize that I can decide to love and when I do I will consciously leap into love. Someone asked me to describe what it felt like to be in love and all I could come up with were actions. My conclusion: love is not butterflies; it’s the choice of a commitment that drives you to perform actions that in turn induce those butterflies in the one who has captured your affections. As a result, this causes you to feel the same “flutterings” in response.

Love has to be decided and calculated. Read 1 Corinthians 13. There is NO WAY that we can express love in that way off of our fickle, ever changing emotions. ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son’ that had to be a decision on God’s part. He didn’t on a whim, just say ‘JESUS, COME HERE! SO THIS IS WHAT WE ARE GOING TO DO TODAY!!’ Come on, now! If we continue to allow our emotions to control us, we have reduced ourselves to mere babies that hit people because they make us mad, or pre-teens that don’t speak to each other because they didn’t smile at us when getting on the bus, or teenagers that don’t like a person because our best friend of the week doesn’t like them. Give yourself more credit. You have to be more mature than that.

Mariah says something powerful- ‘I don’t know if you are real, but I like the way I feel inside’. IF this is all you are after ‘a feeling’, then by all means skip today’s (and tomorrow’s) challenge and join us again on the next. But if you are determined to take back control of your emotions and not allow someone or something to ‘make you feel’ anything that you haven’t decided to feel-then as Captain Planet says ‘THE POWER IS YOURS!’

Will you control your emotions or still allow them to control you today?

Day 25: I Never Danced with My father

Published October 26, 2012 by lavoniartryon

 

Memory verse: When my mother and father forsake me then the Lord shall take me up Psalm 27:10

Psalm 27

Task: Briefly describe the relationship with your father and how you believe it has affected your romantic relationships, as far as you know. If your father is in your life in any way call, text, email or tweet him just to tell him you care.

Daddy’s lil girl. Every young lady longs to be one, but the reality of over 50% of African American children being born out of wedlock and raised by a single mother, or even the grandparents- this is a far-fetched dream for many of us. I was the dreamer. For over half of my life, my father was a stranger to me, for the first half I knew his name and face, but not much else. You see at the ripe, impressionable age of 15 my father told me never to call him again, then changed the number and moved to Virginia just in case I didn’t get the message. With the recent passing of my father, God showed me that I was still holding on to some areas that I never knew I had. Because I now realize how it affected every relationship I was ever in, and how it would have affected my next relationship until I had dealt with it, I think it’s important to share within this challenge. There may be a man or woman dealing with Daddy issues that needs to hear from someone how to gain the courage to face and fix it.

Man or woman, no matter how much we may try to downplay or minimize the role, we all need to feel the love of a father. This is not meant to slight the love of a mother because her love is incomparable, but I believe that the father’s role in our lives may in some ways have a more direct impact on how we grow up to have other relationships.

A father is the first person that chooses you in your life. There is never a doubt of the maternity of a baby because a mother physically carries it—it can’t be denied because she gave birth. But the father has the unique choice to acknowledge that the child is his, verbally and by action, before a test is given. I believe this is what gives the dynamics of the relationship with the father a different perspective. Whether you have ever thought of it this way or not, if your father is in your life, was in your life, or has ever acknowledged you without proof, then this is the first earthly example you have of a man choosing you because he wanted you, not because he couldn’t deny you.

This is vital in the foundation of how you view relationships, whether you are male or female. As a female, a standard (even if you are unaware) has been set for the way you will relate with men and how they should treat you. As a male, it plants the seed of responsibility and leadership in your female relationships. Because you chose her, you love and accept her out of free will, not obligation.

So what happens if you didn’t have an earthly father to choose you? I believe it manifests in different ways in different people, but I wholeheartedly believe that it will manifest somehow. In a man, maybe it rises up when they find it a bit easier to deny their own child or how they negatively treat the women in their lives. On the other hand, they may choose to use it as an example of what not to do. He may become the protector of his mother, treating every woman the way she should be treated because he refuses to be like his father. For a woman, it may subconsciously affect her trust in men or cause her to be bitter towards men without realizing the cause. She may seek to find the acknowledgement and acceptance she never received from her father, in any man she can find to fill the void.

Up until recently, I would tell people that I never had a father in my life. But that’s a lie. I did have a father until about the age of 15. He wasn’t much in the way that I now know what fatherhood is, but he was mine. Because I was his only daughter, I thought that made me special, and for a while I believed without a doubt that I was. So the devastation was all the more real when the one man that was supposed to love and cherish and protect me, the only man that couldn’t have a hidden agenda in loving me because his own blood ran through my veins, told me he didn’t want me anymore.

Because of his rejection, I never had a man that made sure any other man who sought my affections was worthy of my attention. I didn’t know there should be a standard. I didn’t know that I shouldn’t and didn’t have to waste time kissing all these frogs, because one day my prince would come. How can someone learn unless there is someone willing to teach. What I didn’t know DID hurt me. The love and affection I should have gotten from my daddy, I desperately sought in men. And when they couldn’t live up to that role or fulfill the hole I had, I would move on to the next one. I didn’t understand why they couldn’t be what I needed them to be, so once I drained them, I would move on to my next victim, I mean relationship.

It was and still is a long process, but God is healing my wound, because I need to be whole for my purpose. He can’t allow that rejection to interfere with His Son’s acceptance. I’ve completely forgiven my father, because I’ve been completely forgiven by My Father. If you have Daddy issues, I encourage you to seek to resolve them and not give them the power of controlling any more relationships in your future.

I now know a Father’s love.


Day 24: If I Ain’t Got You…dealing with ‘the one that got away

Published October 24, 2012 by lavoniartryon

Memory verse: They came out from us because they were not of us. If they had been of us that would have stuck it out with us. 1 John 2:19

Psalm 91

Task: Write a letter to the ex that you find yourself still hanging on to. Express everything that you have been too afraid, doubtful, too whatever to express. Then pray over it and DESTROY IT. Setting someone free truly sets you free

Everyone has one. That ex that you feel like is the one that got away. That person that you truly thought you would spend the rest of your life with, yet something went wrong and you are no longer together. I have two such exes in my past. One was an on-again off-again long distance boyfriend in undergrad and the other more recent was about 2 years ago.

The most recent one shook me to my core. If I could have picked what I wanted for my husband out of a catalogue he would have surely stepped off the pages. That’s how perfect I thought he was. He was sweet, caring, protective, honest, covered me spiritually and emotionally and he not only respected my vow of celibacy, HE HAD HIS OWN. He had vowed not to kiss another person’s wife, so he wasn’t kissing again until the alter. I was in bliss, but he only had one flaw- he.left.me. And when he left, he took a piece of something vital inside of me. How do I know? Because breathing hurt. Even crying hurt, nothing helped…BUT GOD.

I share this because this is a very real situation, dealing with that one that you thought was gonna be a permanent fixture, but apparently only applied for a temporary position. I never want anyone to think because I have gotten to a certain point of satisfaction in my singleness that I don’t relate with just about every scenario that you can think of on this journey. Yet, I’ve survived-so you can too.

Dealing with a breakup is hard. Especially if it’s one that you didn’t want, and you realize there is nothing that you can do to fix it. The hardest part about letting go is…LETTING GO. I was so afraid to give that relationship to God because I was afraid that He wouldn’t give it back to me and it was my will for me. But as Jeremiah 29:11 comforted me in that time, it still comforts me. He knows the plans he has for, and they are for my  good and not for harm. This breakup did not BREAK me. It taught me that I still needed to learn balance. I needed to truly realize that the only man I can’t live without is Jesus. A Godly man/woman can’t replace your God. You may desire an earthly spouse, but you only need an Eternal Savior. Sometimes this is a hard pill to swallow- realizing that it is a desire, but that it hasn’t been actualized yet.

You have to realize that a person can have all the qualities that you may think you want, but still not be the one that God has for you. Remember that we can’t know the thoughts of God, but we can be assured that we serve a ‘nevertheless’ God. If God tells you, he/she is not the one—even if by what you see they fit your criteria—will you still be able to reject them? We would all like to say yes, but if we are honest, how many exes do we have that we knew God didn’t want us to be with in the first place? You have to decide if you want God’s created best or only your imagined best. Or, does the answer depend on which comes first? If you are tired of waiting, and haven’t done your homework to commit to wait, this will be a hard question to answer honestly. I can almost guarantee that your top pick will come before God’s, if for no other reason but to test how much more you will trust God and wait for His provision.

God still has a plan for you, but you have to let go of your past to get to your future. This reminds me of the passage of the anointing of David in 1 Samuel 16. The passage opens up with the Lord confronting Samuel about his continuous mourning over Saul’s rejection. God asks, “How long will you mourn over Saul when I have rejected him? Fill your horn with oil and go… for I have chosen another king.” These two verses are so important and speak to holding on to something that God Himself has rejected. Samuel was so focused on mourning who God had said was no longer for him that he had to be persuaded to go find the one that God was bestowing favor on.

The thought of holding on to something even a moment longer than God’s Spirit is resting on it, seems ludicrous to even write but in our lives we do it all too often. We sit and re- read letters, and hold on to old pictures and movie stubs in a shoebox that we pull out when we are feeling lonely, which is stupid because it only intensifies our loneliness.

I can imagine Samuel remembering all the “good ole times” with Saul and weeping. I have always heard that hindsight is 20/20, but I think in relationships, sometimes the rearview mirror is a bit cloudy. I know when I was afraid of being alone, (because I didn’t understand the difference between it and loneliness) I would think back to old relationships and remember all the good times, while conveniently forgetting or sometimes even reworking the details of the bad times.

I bet if you go back in your relationship rolodex, you have had a couple of “Samuel” moments as well. Vow to break that cycle. There was a reason he was rejected—don’t forget that. Do what it takes to let go of past relationships. In regards to old relationships, when God closes a door, if we allow, He will paint over it so we can’t find it even when (not if) we try. Allow God to fill your horn with oil and be on your way. Your “David” is waiting for you while you’re wasting valuable time on a rejected “Saul.”

Realize that no one who can or will leave you is tied to your destiny. If a person is ordained to be in your future, they will be there, even if they temporarily leave. So if they decide to leave you now, just know that they will be swinging the door the other way at some point if ordained.

It’s ok to mourn a past relationship, but don’t allow that to blind you from learning what God always meant to teach you in it, and then moving on. Christ needs you whole to complete His vision and your spouse needs you whole to complement theirs’. Don’t keep the two real relationships in your life waiting while you hold on to something that has been rejected.

FILL YOUR HORN WITH OIL AND GO.

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