Saturday, October 27, 2018

Survival of the Fittest: The Trouble With Typecasting

Image source: Facebook

Last week, I saw this picture on Facebook and couldn’t help but laugh. For the past few years, it’s been a running joke in my family that I have a “type.” I used to be in denial about it, but now, I’m honest with myself. I do gravitate towards men of a certain height and build, and most of the men I find attractive have similar features. While I don’t think there’s any harm in looking (and liking what you see), I am careful not to get caught up in the trap of typecasting.

In television and film, typecasting is defined as “to cast (an actor or actress) in a part calling for the same characteristics as those possessed by the performer; to cast (an actor or actress) repeatedly in the same type of role” (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary). In relationships, typecasting happens when we allow the same type of woman or man to “audition” for the role of significant other. 

For example, let’s say I meet a guy. We’ll call him “Joe.” Joe seems to check off all my boxes as far as looks are concerned, and after talking for a bit, it seems we like a lot of the same things...and Joe loves Jesus! So far, so good. We go on a few dates to get to know each other, and soon, Joe’s true colors show. Turns out, he’s not the man I thought he was, and he ends up breaking my heart. So ladies, why is it that when we finally get over the “Joe” in our lives, when we’re finally ready to put ourselves out there again, we somehow end up attracting (and attracted to) someone who looks, talks, and acts like “Joe”? That’s typecasting. 

I’ve seen it happen too many times to count: Friends going from one guy to the next, not realizing that all the men they’ve loved are basically the same person. I want to avoid that at all costs, so I keep reminding myself of what I mentioned in a previous post. “Marriage isn’t based on feelings, it’s based on fit.” I don’t know about you, but I want my marriage to last, to serve as an example of how well love works when you do it God’s way. If it fits, it survives. That’s why they call it survival of the FITTEST! “Joe” can look good all day long (Fellas, “Jessica” can, too. Don’t flex. Y’all have types just like we do.). He/she may fit your type description, but are they fit to help you carry the calling on your life? Looks won’t lighten your load!

If God repeatedly allows the “Joes” or “Jessicas” in your life to break your heart, it’s because his/her heart (and others like it) is not the heart that’s meant to love you. God may send someone into your life who is the complete opposite of your “type” in every way, not only in looks, but in the “type” of job they have, the “type” of money they make, the “type” of degree they have (or none at all). That person could end up being the best fit for you, but you’ll never know if you keep wasting your time on people who don’t align with your purpose. I’m not saying you should settle for someone you’re not attracted to, but challenge yourself to broaden your horizons and look beyond your type. You may be surprised by what you find...or who finds you. 😉

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Relationships: Taking A Hands-Off Approach

Last week on his Instagram, gospel artist Will McMillan (get his album My Story here) posed a seemingly simple question to his followers. “If you’re single, what’s the reason? Honest answers only.” Answers ranged from silly to serious, but they got me thinking. My first response was, “I’m single because I know what’s for me will pursue me in God’s timing.” I thought about it a little longer, and then I expounded on my answer, adding, “I’m single because I believe in love in a generation that is fueled by sex. I’m single because I can’t afford to settle. I know that the person I choose will impact my purpose. My alignment will affect my assignment. I’m single because I’m waiting on God...but maybe He’s waiting on me. I’m not sure yet.” Those were my honest answers, or so I thought...until McMillan answered his own question. 

A few days after his original post, McMillan took to his Instagram stories to share the reason why he’s single. In reference to his past relationships, one of which was a failed engagement, he said something that really convicted me: “Anything in our hands is bound to fail.”

Source: GfyCat

Let me explain. I’ve always been very vocal about the fact that I’ve never been in a relationship, about how I’m waiting for the right one. When I answered that simple question the other day, I answered it truthfully...but those were the fluffy truths. If the FULL truth be told, a huge reason why I’m single is because I put potential relationships in my own hands and God allowed them to fail...before they even started. I got so caught up in the idea of relationships with certain people that I tried to make them happen in my own timing. Even if the relationship might’ve been a good thing, God didn’t let it last long enough for me to find out. He blocked me every time I attempted to force a premature thing because while I was telling Him I’d take it slow, my heart was saying, “I want it NOW.” I was so busy jumping through hoops to be seen, heard, and understood that I didn’t stop to hear Him saying, "Don't touch!" Honestly, my desire to be in a relationship was beginning to take His place. 

McMillan quoted my favorite scripture, Matthew 6:33, in his discussion, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things will be added unto you.” Suddenly, I got it: God stopped those potential relationships in their tracks because He knew I wasn’t ready. He knew that before He sent me “the one,” I needed to realize that He is number one. I needed to know that a spouse is an addition. When they come into the picture, they should be adding onto a life that is already great because God is in it. I’m so grateful for every “no”...even the ones that didn’t—and still don’t—make sense.

This word is for me, but I hope it helps you, too: When your relationship with God is where it’s supposed to be, He’ll decide when to add the right person into the equation...and you won’t have to add anything to who you are to prove that you’re enough for them. You’ll just BE, and God will put it together—in His timing, not yours. If God’s hand is in it, you won’t have to put your hands on it. All you have to do is trust that He knows what He’s doing.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Avoiding Buyer's Remorse: Dating In and On Purpose

If you’ve ever been house hunting, you know that the housing market changes every day. Properties come and go, and if you like a particular house, you need to put in an offer quickly...and even then, it’s not guaranteed to be yours until the seller accepts. The same applies to relationships, and this is where problems can arise. If we’re honest with ourselves, some of us are staking claim on “houses” that are not meant to be ours. The truth is, consciously or subconsciously, we’ve chosen to ignore the signs.

A little about me: I’m in my twenties and I’ve never been on a date. I’m a hopeless romantic and a millennial, but I don’t believe in dating casually. There’s nothing “casual” about choosing a spouse. When we say “I do,” purposes are intertwined and individual assignments merge to become a two-person project. Since I want my first marriage to be my only marriage, I’d rather date intentionally. I want to choose right(eously) the first time.

Image source: Room Sketcher

If you watch HGTV’s “House Hunters,” you know that buyers tour three homes before they decide which one they’d like to live in. They weigh the pros and cons of each (because no house is perfect), and while they may have to compromise on a few things, by the end of the show, they choose the one that best suits their needs. There’s a difference between suitable and compatible. When we’re “house hunting,” we have to look at the whole floor plan because the exterior can be misleading. It wouldn’t do us any good to choose something that looks good on the outside if we find out later that the inside needs to be gutted. Inspections are important because the choice has to be practical! We do ourselves a great disservice when we ignore the “little” issues behind the walls, because before we know it, they become big problems. Before we settle on who we think is “the one,” we need to check the electrical wiring and the insulation! Find what drives them, what makes them tick, and why they react to certain things the way they do. Before you sign on the dotted line, get familiar with their foundation! 

2 Corinthians 6:14 tells us, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness” (NIV)? Too often, Christians take that scripture at face value, but the truth is, being equally yoked goes far beyond practicing the same religion. We serve the same God, but are we working towards similar goals? Are we headed in the same direction? One of the most important aspects of marriage is being able to help your spouse cultivate their God-given vision. We can’t do that if we’re busy taking pictures with a “property” that doesn’t belong to us. Even if your foundation feels solid, it means nothing if the person you’re building with is not built for you.

Marriage isn’t based on feelings; it’s based on fit. The institution of marriage was designed by God to carry out a specific assignment in His Kingdom. Before you build, look in the nooks and crannies and make sure the partnership makes sense. Building the “right” foundation with the wrong person won’t be fulfilling for either of you because the foundation has to meet both of your needs. Your alignment affects your assignment! Be honest with yourself and seek God to make sure your purposes fit.

The bottom line is this: Before you go house hunting, inspect your own house. Examine the inner workings of your heart and make sure your foundation is solid on its own before you put yourself on the market. Hear from God in every step of the process. Tell Him your wants and needs, but never lose sight of the fact that at the end of the day, He knows what’s best for you. Follow His lead, and you won’t be “on the market” for long. 😉

Thursday, October 4, 2018

The Wait: How to Avoid A 'Crushing' Blow

Yesterday was #NationalBoyfriendDay, but since I didn't get a chance to post, I figured I'd celebrate today instead. I couldn't ask for a better guy. He pursues me intentionally, and he makes me feel like I'm the most valuable, most beautiful woman in the world. This man is my biggest supporter. He prays with me and for me, encouraging me to go after the vision that God has given me. I do the same for him. We've been together for a while now, but we wanted to make sure this thing was real before we made it official. I'm so honored to be pursuing purpose with him. Here he is...

Image source: Getty

Sanctified, fine, and INVISIBLE. 😂 Had you going for a minute there, didn't I? I jokingly post the picture above every year to commemorate this Instagram-made "holiday." That introduction was just practice, but if I was seeing someone, I wouldn't post it. Privacy is priority in relationships. 😉

Anyway, while I'm waiting, I want to talk about something that makes the weight of the wait a lot heavier than it has to be: unrequited love. If I've learned anything during the wait, the most important lesson has been that it's not always patient. Sometimes it's frustrating, especially if you have a crush. When I say "crush" in the adult sense, I'm not talking about the puppy love grade school stuff. I mean, obviously there should be an element of innocence there if you're both abstaining, but in this context, a "crush" is someone you're interested in who you see potential with, but currently, they're just a friend. Those italics are intentional.

Image source: Emoji Request

Over time, I've learned that even in the adult waiting game, it is possible to still be crushed by a crush...because at this point, waiting isn't a game anymore. In adulthood, the "game" is played for keeps, and I would hate for you to end up like the emoji above. Sis, let me let you in on a little secret. Brothers, y'all lean in too, even though you already know the truth of what I'm about to say. Listen carefully: Ladies, a man's business is not your business until he makes it your business.

Trust me, when you like someone, social media is not your friend. We as women are emotional creatures, and let's be honest: If your potential guy (who loves Jesus, is fine AND single) suddenly posts a picture with a girl, the first place your mind is going to go is girlfriend. Don't jump to conclusions, though. Whether he's seeing the girl in the picture or not, making assumptions could set you up to get played. Here's the thing: You can't get mad about what you think you see when you're not even in the picture. If you're not an important factor in that man's life, you can't control who he may or may not be entertaining, because frankly, it's none of your business. There's no need to trip, because you can rest in this: What's for you will PURSUE YOU! Even if the friendship is in italics, it's the man's job to show you how he feels. After all, you're the catch. He should count it a blessing to have you! It's simple: If a man wants you in his world, he'll let you in. Until then, don't try to RSVP to a party you weren't invited to. Just play your position until he makes his intentions clear. Your heart will thank you later.