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Day 23: If I Ain’t Got You…dealing with “the one that got away” Excerpt: “Through My Eyes Winter 2015”

Published November 27, 2015 by lavoniartryon

 

Got awayEveryone has one. The 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 a few years ago.

Surprisingly, I have been in other relationships since first writing this challenge, yet they don’t make this list. This says two things: 1) I probably shouldn’t have dated them in the first place. 2) I’ve recognized what love should look like, and anything that doesn’t even measure up to the “one that got away” isn’t going to be the “one that stays.” God never gives us less than, in fact, He is a Nevertheless God. If the one that left was amazing, the one that He has planned to stay will make the past ones look like a third grade crush.

The most recent of “the ones”, let’s call him John, 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 remember this experience of getting over “John”, and it wasn’t a fun one. I can distinctly remember dates, phone calls, and interactions with him. I realized I had never felt so valued, or so worthy of love from a man. Sidebar: This is a responsibility that my father would have and should have taken care of, but he wasn’t in my life, so I didn’t get it. You will read more of this particular testimony in this 30 day challenge, and also highlighted in my 1st book). That’s what got me hooked, never receiving the acceptance that I should have been secure in from my father, I longed for it in a relationship. Losing John wasn’t a good experience, but it was a God revelation. The end of this relationship, was the beginning of the realization that I was looking for something in a man, something that no man could ever give me. I was destined to destroy every relationship I was in because I was an incomplete, troubled, insecure (although no one else knew it) woman, that hadn’t learned her value in a relationship or in life. I thought I knew it. I thought I had it all together, but I was so wrong.

I share this because this is a very real situation; dealing with the one that you thought was going to 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 can you.

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…actually letting go. I was so afraid to give that relationship to God because I was knew 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 me, 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 — it requires the washing down with the Word.

Letting go is hard. There is no getting around it, no “easy button” to just make it pass. The only way that you can let go is by intentionally placing that thing on the altar, and deciding to walk away and leave it there. It’s going to take work. It’s going to take time. It’s going to take long days, sleepless nights and some gut-wrenching hard cries if you truly loved this person. Separating from someone that you are attached to can feel like being wounded. As discussed in an earlier Challenge, you will just have to deal with it. Many people mistakenly believe that the only way to get over one person is to get with another one. This is so untrue and so not a good idea. What you will end up doing is transferring your unresolved feelings onto the next poor, unsuspecting soul, if you haven’t dealt with the messy emotions of letting go. You will have to deal with these issues eventually, or these unresolved emotions will taint every “next” relationship that you have in the future. Sorry love, I wish I had a prettier or more butterflies in the wildflowers answer for how to get over a breakup, but I don’t. You will just have to deal with it. You must deal with it.

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, 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? Your knee jerk reaction is to say yes, but if you are honest, how many exes do you have that you knew God didn’t want you to be with, in the first place? Say Ouch. Say Amen. Now, read on. 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 than 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 scripture 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 onto 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 s/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 we try, cause Lord knows we will all try it. 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 move 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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Why I Stopped Running: The Pursuit of being Pursued

Published November 23, 2015 by lavoniartryon

 

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I remember as a little girl growing up on a farm, we had a lot to do. Between feeding the cows, chickens, picking blueberries, and all of the other chores of living in the country, we spent a lot of time outside. I come from a family with what seems like thousands of cousins, and we loved to play outside. We would hide in the barn, go exploring in the trees, ride four-wheelers, pick pecans, climb trees and go fishing. We had so much fun outside, but one game that I remember fondly was Chase. I believe y’all city folk call it Tag. The game was rather simple, you were simply chased until you got caught. If I happened to be playing with my numerous big boy cousins, if they caught you, you better be prepared to be tickled until you couldn’t breathe — then released to be chased again. When we got wise, we invented a base, where you could go and catch your breathe, but you couldn’t stay there the whole time, you had to get back in the game. Oh, how fun this child’s game was.

This child’s game. So, why are we still playing it as adults? (Come on, you know me – there is ALWAYS a message in it). We are still chasing ambitions, jobs, cars, houses, IPhone 15’s and everything else the world tells us that we must have…until we catch it. Then it tickles our fancy for a few moments, and we release it only to chase the next fastest thing running past us. This scenario all too well applies to relationships, which is the reason for this blog. I’ve decided to stop running and stay on base. Here’s why.

I lead a Singles Connect Group at my church (HOPECITY Houston, Tx), which is basically a small group of individuals that are in varying stages of Singleness who get together once a week to discuss topics specific to the season we are in. I can’t tell you how much this group has become my family. We laugh together, cry together, worship together and do life together. Recently we were discussing relationships and the difference between dating and courting. It got me to thinking, which lead to me crying, and then worshipping while crying, then having the Lord download into me, while sobbing. I think you get the picture. What God revealed is what I share with you today.

I have never been pursued. Ever.

Even typing it right now, it stings. Stings is putting it lightly, because having the revelation was gut wrenching. I fought long and hard about posting this, but it really wasn’t my decision. For a reason far above my knowledge scale, Christ has chosen to use my life as a living testimony to Singles specifically, so there was no way that I could sit on the word that He is pushing out of me. I pray this helps you, like it is healing me.

I have physically been asked for my hand in marriage three times, but only said “yes” once. I say physically, because my body was present, but my mind was nowhere near any of those relationships. If you have read my first book (NOT Another Singles Book, 2014 Tate Publishing), you know that I have been in a lot of relationships, but never been “me” in one. I played roles in all of them, so there was no way that the guy wouldn’t propose to me, I was his perfect mate-because I MOLDED myself into her. I wasn’t me, I was whomever he needed or wanted me to be.

Obviously, this didn’t work. So, I decided to just be me. And transparency moment, sometimes the enemy succeeds in convincing me, this isn’t working either. He shouts, “you aren’t worth it, you will never be married, you lead Singles ministry- because you will always be Single, and the most debilitating  one: this is where you serve God’s pleasure the most, He won’t take you out of this season.” I would love to tell you past tense that I “used to listen to him”, but that wouldn’t be completely accurate. I still sometimes, let his shouts drown out God’s whispers. Which is why, despite my feelings and fears, I will stay on base.

How does this relate to Chase? In relationships, I have been chased numerous times. Spiritually stay with me. I have had male potentials chase me, in hopes of catching me. What does being chased look like? It’s several things, but I will share a few telltale signs:

  1. It’s when he calls/text you on a weekday, in the middle of the day, not to just tell you he’s thinking of you, but because there is no commitment in that. You are both at work, so there is no expectation on your part, or pressure on his, to give you more than just a little “tickle” to keep you interested. He is unavailable on the weekends, and evenings when a date could be pursued, or even a decent conversation could be had. There usually isn’t an explanation as to why he didn’t call, when you could have actually seen each other, or if he does have the decency to give one-it’s usually useless.
  2. It’s when he doesn’t ask for a specific date that he has planned. When he is available, with most times no consideration of your time, he texts “what you doing, beautiful? (he has no problem complimenting you, those are free to him, but sometimes everything to you) I’d love to see you tonight. Can I come by?” And what is your answer…”aww…you’re so sweet. I’m just chilling, sure.” It hurts, huh?
  3. It’s when he either doesn’t mind spending money on you, but is always busy. Or when he has plenty of time, but you seem to be cooking, instead of going out or doing anything that would require spending money, or even just an original thought.
  4. This one was probably the hardest for me to realize: it’s when you are unsure of his intentions. On Tuesday, you think he is really interested, but by Friday you are unsure if he is interested in anything other than just the chase, and he is doing just enough to keep you interested enough to keep guessing.

I remember in the game, one of my cousins would lock in on one of us girls, and chase us until we got too tired to run, and just let him catch us. The others would be chasing one of us, but if another passed close to him, he would give up pursuit of one, and go after the other-seemingly ‘easier to catch’ cousin. Relationship chases can fall into either one of these categories. He will chase you until you convince yourself that his tactics are ‘good enough’, that  he is really interested, and you give him more of your attention and time then he deserves. Or the other one, that realizes that there are others that are easier to catch, so he stops pursuit mid-stride and you are left thinking-what happened?

So what happens when he catches you? My cousin, Sherwin used to catch and sit on us so we couldn’t get away and tickle us, until we were gasping for air. He tickled the breath out of us. How many times have you felt like you were suffocating? Like you just can’t catch your breathe, there is no peace or security in it – just temporary satisfaction. The thing about a tickle is that it’s fleeting, once their hands stop moving, the sensation is gone. The same is with these empty pursuits. I was tickled until I realized that I’m no longer ticklish. These tactics no longer work. I’m not interested in losing my breath over another man, whom I don’t intend to lose my last name with. I’m no longer caught in the fancy of being chased, caught, ticked and then released. I deserve to be pursued, and I will settle for nothing else.

Pursuit is the evidence of desire. Those things that we desire, we pursue. We don’t chase until they stop running. We regulate our breathing, tie our shoes and endure the journey of achieving the thing we wish to acquire. You, beautiful Woman of Virtue, are worth the pursuit. You are the marathon that he has been training under the Great Counselor since before the beginning of time. He is running for the only prize — you.

We have taken off the timeline of Base. You stay on that porch, not waiting on an opening to dart back in the game, and trust me you will be tempted to do so. But stay on the porch, until a man, THE MAN, comes to claim you off it.  He won’t be winded, because he hasn’t been chasing anyone else. He only showed up because your Daddy called and told him you were ready. This is what I will pursue, and this is what I’m waiting for. The game may still look fun and exciting, but it’s no longer for me.

Cast off into the Deep End (Excerpt from Through My Eyes Winter 2015)

Published November 10, 2015 by lavoniartryon

THE LIST. Everyone has one, even if you won’t admit it, you have one. Those essentials characteristics that you want your spouse to have. Some of them are very valid points and desires, and I don’t think that there is anything necessarily wrong with having these kind of expectations. For example, I want my husband to have a great relationship with his father because I want to dance with him at our wedding, and it would be nice to call someone Dad after 15 years of rejection by my own. This is a noble desire, and one that I truly want the Lord to fulfill, but I am spiritually mature enough to know that if God does not grant it, it’s because He has a better plan for me, not because He is withholding something from me. Our Heavenly Father gives His children good gifts. If he does not fulfill a desire that is on my list, it’s because it does not coincide with a need that is already on His list for me.

In Luke 5:1-11, Christ calls His first disciples, Simon Peter, James and John as they fish. Jesus tells them, “put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Peter immediately questions Christ (He was always questioning something, huh), and informs Him that they had been fishing all night long and still caught nothing. “But nevertheless,” Peter said that at Christ’s word, he would cast the nets.

I don’t believe that Peter decided to follow Christ’s directions because he believed Him, I believe he initially did it to prove to Jesus that He was wrong. Peter and Zebedee’s sons (James and John) were fishermen by trade so they had been doing this for a while and they knew all the tricks of the trade. They were experts, with two Olympic gold medals in fishing to show for it. They didn’t need no “preacher” telling them how to do their job; but yet, Peter cast the net. Even in Peter’s doubts, there was something about the nature of Jesus that made him do what Christ said, even though he knew it wouldn’t work. And lo and behold, they caught more fish than they could haul in.

How often do we consciously or subconsciously tell God we can pick a better mate for ourselves than He can? We do this by getting into a relationship that God has not ordained nor arranged, but one that we think meets the characteristics of our list, so we jump in. Then, we bring that relationship to God when it isn’t going the way we believe it should go and ask God to fix it. In my spiritual mindset, I hear God saying, “I didn’t give that to you, so I’m the reason it’s falling apart. I won’t fix something I didn’t ordain for you to have in the first place.” So we sit and watch our relationship crumble, and then we blame God for not bending to our will instead of repenting for not submitting to His. This “list” has gotten me into some bad relationships and I have the healed scars to prove it. Even if you don’t think that the path God is taking you on is right, trust that He is right as Psalm 119:68 says “The Lord is good and He does good things”. He knows what He is talking about. He wooed and captured your heart, didn’t He? You can trust Him to take that same care in orchestrating your union.

I’m sure you can understand how this translates into relationships. Many of us have been dating for a while. I have labeled myself as a reformed serial monogamist, because I was always in a relationship, coming out of one, going into another, or had a least three potentials floating around, waiting on their chance. Thanks be to God for deliverance. We often think we know what we want in a mate, those essential characteristics that a spouse has to embody in order for them to be compatible for us. In a way, we are telling Christ that we can pick a better mate for ourselves, when we don’t consult with Him before we pick out the China patterns.

We often ask God to bless our choice, instead of waiting on Him to ordain the meeting. What does this mean? It means that we will find the best man or woman that fits the characteristics on our list (whether it is written or mental), and then ask God to bless that relationship, as opposed to asking God to ordain the meeting of our mate. If we would ask first, we wouldn’t need to come behind asking Him to bless our will, because we waited for His.

Vow to do this with your next relationship and see the difference. Allow God to orchestrate the initial meeting and follow His specific directions throughout the entire relationship, and see how much deeper the relationship is.

Dig in deeper, forget those things that you think you want and allow God to give you what you need. If you hold too tightly to your own agenda, your hand isn’t open for God to give you His Will. Don’t spend any more time as the early disciples did, fishing all night and catching nothing. Use God’s Provisional System to direct you — then and only then, “let down your net” once more to catch the fish that He has waiting for you.

You’ve tried it your way this long. How is that working out for you? Why not try it His way now?

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