Don’t Live A Burger King Life

Burger King used the slogan ‘Have it Your Way’ to advertise its business for 40-years until 2014 when it scrapped it for a new slogan ‘Be Your Way’.

As you can see, the words ‘Your Way’ are common to both slogans. Regardless of which slogan resonates with you, the message from Burger King is clear: It Is All About You. While this message may be good for selling burgers, I caution you about using this tagline for the way you choose to lead your life.

When life becomes all about you, your world becomes smaller. As your world becomes smaller, it becomes more difficult to see beyond yourself. When you can’t see beyond yourself, you lose the ability to understand and empathize with other people. The moment you start to lose the ability to understand and empathize is the moment you start to drive a wedge between you and other people. When you drive a wedge between you and other people, you will start to live a separated and isolated life.

If you have to have it all your way in life, then you won’t have much of a life

Consider the words of King Solomon: A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgement (Proverbs 18:1). Another way of saying it is this: If you are only looking out for what you desire, you will end up isolating yourself. And if you isolate yourself, you are not wise.

If you isolate yourself, what will happen when you need help? Who will be there to lift you up when you are down? If you isolate yourself, you are more likely to open yourself to crazy thoughts and believe them. Who will warn you that your ideas are crazy? If you isolate yourself, who will promote you at work? Who will want to work with you? If you isolate yourself, you are more likely to feel lonely and depressed!

If life is all about you, you will end up by yourself in life

I once counselled a man who failed to realize his marriage was not about him. He told me he was perfectly content with how things were going in his marriage. He said he did not understand why his wife was so unhappy at the onset of their marriage.  He said he was shocked when his wife asked for a divorce after five years of marriage.

When I asked him why he did not seek help when they first started having issues, he told me he was happy and so saw no reason why he should have wasted money seeking help. He thought she would come around! He was wrong both about her and the money. She did not come around. And now he is spending more money in alimony and child support payments than he ever imagined! He did not think his attitude would cause him to lose his family!

If you are wise, you will learn from this man and learn from King Solomon. Make life about others and not solely about you. Here is how Jesus puts it: Love Your Neighbor as Yourself.

While it is okay to think of yourself, you shouldn’t forget to think of others

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Seize Today and Rule Tomorrow

I always thought lazy people do not work hard! But then I read this saying from King Solomon (arguably the wisest king that has ever lived): The hand of the diligent will rule, but the lazy man will be put to forced labor – Proverbs 12:24

As I digested it, I could not help but notice the following: It seems that diligent people end up telling people what to do, and lazy people are the one’s that end up doing the work. Moreover, the work that lazy people find themselves doing is not easy but it is laborious (hard).

As I thought about this some more, I came to realize that hard work and laziness are not mutually exclusive. I came to realize that the diligent man is the one who commits to do what he needs to do at the right time to be successful. Conversely, the lazy man is one who does not do what he needs to do at the right time but procrastinates. As a result, the lazy man ends up working harder than what he ever bargained for, and the one who was committed ends up living a life of royalty.

Lazy people end up working harder than the diligent over time

Therefore, we see that timing is important. This is how my mom put it me when I was growing up: If you work hard now, you won’t have to work as hard tomorrow. But if you don’t work hard now, you will have to work much harder than you’d like tomorrow.

If you want to rule in life, you have to seize today. Take an inventory of how you spend your time, energy, and resources. Do you spend your time daydreaming or do you spend it thinking of your dreams? Do you spend your energy people pleasing or do you spend your energy pursuing purpose? Do you spend your resources on frivolous pursuits or do you spend your money on assets that will dividend for your future? Only you know the honest answers to these questions.

Do the right things at the right time, and you will end up having more time to do what you feel is right

Now, consider that this concept is not simply true for finances, but true for every area of our lives. Any area in which you are lazy atrophies and dies, but the area in which you are diligent grows and thrives. Think about relationships. If you don’t work on your relationship today, you will have to work so much harder to save it tomorrow, or work so much harder for much longer at your job just to make the alimony payments. Think about health. If you don’t work on being healthy today, your health will work on your wallet and become a burden to other people tomorrow.

Therefore, sow the seed of diligence today. Do not slack off in any area of life. Seize today and be the very best you can be. Then you will find that life rewards you instead of ripping you off.

Exercise: Think of an area of your life where you know you have slacked off. What are the joys waiting for you tomorrow if you committed yourself to strengthening that area today? Write down what you will do different starting right now. Then like Nike, Just Do It!

If you don’t rule your life today, life will rule you tomorrow

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Get A Grip On Your Emotions

Think of your emotions as people that life sends you. When these emotions get to you, they knock on the door of your house (heart and mind) and offer you feelings. If you open the door to the emotion that life sends you, it will try its best to convince your to take the feelings it holds in its hand.

Feelings are the gifts that emotions offer you.

If you have ever asked yourself ‘Why am I feeling this way?’, the reason is because you opened the door to the emotion that life sent you. If you do not want to feel a certain way, then you have two options: (A) Don’t open the door to the emotions life sends you (B) Get life to send you a different emotion.

Most people work on option A – not opening the door to the emotion life sends. When you hear people say ‘control your emotions’ or ‘manage your emotions’, they are telling you to work on option A.  While it is good advice, a problem with just following this advice is that the allure of emotions can be very strong and powerful. It is very difficult to distract yourself from the emotion  that is pounding on the door of your heart and mind.

Managing emotions takes a lot of time and concerted effort

It is even harder when the emotion life sends you is negative. Negative emotions blind side most of us because we do not know they are coming. All of a sudden, something unexpected happens and we suddenly find negative emotions knocking on our door. Caught unaware, we don’t have the energy or stamina to ward off the emotion. Hence, before we know it, we have invited the emotion into our mind and heart. If these negative emotion root themselves in our heart and minds, it derails our actions, our relationships, and the progress of our life. I prefer option B – getting life to send you a different emotion.

If you want to feel different, get life to send you a different emotion

Consider the scenario where you have been promoted to a new position that is completely foreign to you. You are either excited about the promotion and the opportunity to learn and do something new OR you are completely mortified that you will do a terrible job. The first emotion is joy which leads you to feel excited. The second emotion is fear which leads you to feel dread. So, which emotion is life going to send you? The answer is this: It depends on what you believe about the situation

Your belief system determines which emotion life sends you

If you want to alter your emotional state, you have to alter your belief system. Fear has been broken down into the sentence: False Evidence Appearing Real. If your belief system is controlled and rooted in fear, then that fear will trigger life to send you emotions associated with false evidence appearing real. Understand that the emotions are not the problem, the problem is that fear sends the wrong emotion because it is dealing with false evidence which appears true to you.

To get a grip on your emotion requires that you root fear out of your life

According to the bible, the opposite of fear is love. In fact, it says there is no fear in love, but that perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). Therefore, the only way to root out fear is to introduce love. When your belief system is centered around love, it introduces the right emotions into a situation at the right time to produce the right result.

To get a grip on your emotion, you have to center your belief system around love

This does not mean that you will never feel those emotions you’d rather avoid (anger, sadness etc.). What it does mean is that you will feel them at the right time, for the right things, to the right degree. They won’t root themselves in you, thereby controlling you and becoming your master. They will come to serve you so that you can get through any situation.

When love sends you emotions, those emotions will serve you well

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Think Well And Live Well

Few people think more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week – George Bernard Shaw

There is a difference between thinking and having thoughts. Thinking comes from within, thoughts that enter our heads come from without (influenced by external environment, situations, circumstances). When thoughts come flooding into our mind space, we shouldn’t just take them at face value but rather we should think about them.

If you think about your thoughts, then you should make it a habit to ask yourself – Is this thought adding value to my life or is it taking away value? If the thought does not add value to your life or to other people’s lives, then you should reject it.

What would happen if you rejected every thought that adds no value to you or anybody else’s life? I bet you’d feel better about yourself. I bet you wouldn’t go through life being depressed. I bet you would have a different view about the people in your life.

Now, consider what would happen if you focus and meditate on every thought that adds value to your life and other people’s lives. I bet you’d be more likely to give your time, energy, and resources to a worthy cause. I bet you’d probably start that business you have been thinking about for the longest time. I bet you’d be filled with purpose and passion.

Those who think respond to situations, but those who give themselves over to thoughts react to situations.

Dr. Myles Munroe famously said there are 3 kinds of people: Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened. If you are a thinker, you are a person that makes things happen. If you’re not a thinker, you will simply watch things happen to you and then probably wonder what happened. See, by positioning yourself as a thinker, you are positioning your life for victory. But if you simply entertain every single thought, you will position yourself as a victim.

This is why the bible tells us to take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). Therefore, you shouldn’t just allow thoughts to roam freely around in your head dictating how you feel and what you do. In fact, the bible tells us to take our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ.

In other words, it says to capture the thought and ask yourself: Is this thought from God or does it come from a place of love? If the answer is no, then it is time to throw it away. If the answer is yes, then it is time to entertain it. Therefore, for you to master your thoughts, you have to know and believe what God says and then choose to debunk those things that have nothing to do with God’s thoughts and words.

Your thoughts are meant to be a slave to you. You are not meant to be a slave to your thoughts.

If you allow God to influence what you belief, your thought-life will be set apart. Since your thoughts influence your actions, you will find that your actions are God-inspired actions. If your actions, are God-inspired, you will experience victory in your life.

Don’t let thoughts run your life any longer! Take them captive and replace the ungodly thoughts with what God has to say. Lay down your ego and pride, and submit yourself completely to God’s words. Then watch it change your life!

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Don’t Just Rush Into Marriage

Chemisty_and_Commonalities_Trap_Blog_Photo_2_1024x1024Bear with me for a second and imagine that you are about to buy a used car. Before signing on the dotted line, you would request the diagnostics on the car. You’d take the car for ride to see how it drives — paying attention to its feel, listening for any weird sounds, and checking all the features to ensure that everything works right. You might even get an experienced mechanic to examine the car and give you their professional opinion.

You go through all this trouble because you don’t want to buy an unreliable car that becomes a money pit! You know it is a substantial investment and you want to know exactly what you are getting. You want to make sure you are getting your money’s worth.

While buying a used car can be a risky investment, the investment risk is small compared to the risk we take when choosing which relationships we should invest in.

If you invest in a bad car, outside of your pride, the only thing that takes a hit is your financial standing. If you invest in a bad relationship, especially if it turns out to be a marriage relationship, your entire future may be in jeopardy. Yet, too many of us treat the decision of whom to enter into a relationship with as something that is trivial, compared to the due diligence we give to deciding whether to buy a car.

Our lack of due diligence is NOT due to a lack of concern. Rather, any concern we have is often overwhelmed by the emotional tidal wave that accompanies the prospect of getting what we desire — the desire to be in a committed relationship. While this emotional wave produces butterflies and feelings of happiness, it can blind us to glaring red flags. It can cause us to overlook and excuse away foundational problems that require fixing.

Choosing to ignore foundational problems when choosing whether to commit to a relationship is like choosing to ignore a used car’s check engine light and instead choosing to focus on how pretty the paint job looks on the car.

If you are going to give yourself the best chance of making the best decision relationship decision, there are 3 things you must do while dating.

Talk About the Ugly Stuff

No one is perfect! Everyone has issues! If you are not talking about the ugly stuff, the ugly stuff will talk to you when it shows up later in your marriage.

Analogous to diagnosing a car to see what is wrong before you buy it, you need to look at what is wrong and understand what you have to deal with in your relationship.

You want to go into your marriage with your eyes wide open

If you do not know for sure what you are dealing with, then it is likely that many things will surprise and disappoint you. You will feel as if your partner was dishonest with you and sold you on a lie. And you are more likely to want to bail out when in the truth comes out in those early days.

But if you know what you are facing, you can make a quality decision. You can place boundaries on your relationship to prevent the ugly from coming out. You will be better prepared for the ugly when it does come out.

Example: When Jack told Lori that he struggles with porn from time to time, they spoke about it and decided that he needed to install covenant eyes while they seek out help for him.

When you know what is not right before hand, you can make a plan to deal with it.

Be Honest About What You Can Handle

When buying a used car, there comes a point when you have to make a decision about whether you can handle the maintenance cost! The same is true of relationships. There is maintenance work required for any relationship not to break down. You have to decide whether you can handle it.

If you know that you cannot afford the maintenance on your relationship, it is better not to commit to the relationship.

There are two key questions to consider when thinking of relationship maintenance: (1) Is the problem causing the maintenance a chronic issue? (2) Do you have the spiritual strength, mental energy, and emotional capital to deal with the problem?

If you know you do not want to continue spending emotional capital to fix an unending issue, then be honest with yourself and end the relationship before it gets really serious. You don’t want to put yourself in a situation where you get bitter because things don’t get better.

Example: When Samantha realized she could not handle Blake’s addiction, she decided to call it quits though she cared for him deeply.

Allow Someone You Trust to Evaluate Your Relationship

When in the throes of emotional energy in a relationship, we tend to magnify the positives and minimize the negatives. I can’t illustrate this point any better than my friend did a few weeks ago. He said to me “When I first got married, I wondered why I did not marry her sooner. Now I wonder why I married her at all.”

Before you commit to marriage, do yourself a favor and invite a wise objective person to speak into your life. Be sure to tell them the good, the bad, and the ugly. Also, be honest with yourself and let them know what you can handle and what you can’t handle. Then open your heart to receive what this person has to say and truly consider it.

This is like inviting an expert mechanic to see if this car you want to buy is a right for you.

Example: Kim and Tyler went to a counsellor with an open mind to get his take on their relationship. After four sessions, they realized they still had a lot of work today. So, they decided to put their engagement on hold and work through the resources the counsellor gave them. Because they put in the work, they now have a successful marriage.

It is better to wait and get it right, than rush in and get it wrong

Do not awaken love until the time is right — King Solomon

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A Love Letter On The Real Meaning of Love

41hRKhTijSLI thought I knew what I believed. After listening to His words, I was not sure anymore. Though I tried to dismiss His teaching, I just couldn’t. And then there were the miracles He continued to perform.

Unable to take it any longer, I decided to visit Him under the cover of night. I knew I was taking a big risk by visiting Him but I did it anyway. I simply needed answers to my questions! The risk was worth the reward! Though He spoke many things that I did not understand that night, there was a particular statement He made that struck me. It was His statement about love. He said: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes Him will not perish but have everlasting life.

I thought more about His words as I walked home that night.

For God so loved the world: The word world stuck with me. Why did God love the world? What did the world do to deserve such love? Shouldn’t He punish the world? As these thoughts ran through my head, I had an epiphany. Love is not a reward but a gift. It is based solely on the heart of the giver and not the performance of the receiver. While a reward can be earned, a gift by definition cannot be earned…it can only be received. I realized that if someone has to deserve my love, then it is not love at all. I could not escape this truth: My ability to love depends solely on the condition of my heart.

That He gave His only begotten Son: This made me realize that love takes action. Love just doesn’t talk about meeting a need, it does something to meet the need. Furthermore, love positions itself to give rather than receive. And it is not just looking to give just anything, it is looking to give its very best. This is what God did concerning His Son — He gave the word His best. Therefore, I should give my best if I truly have love in my heart. Love gives its very best to meet the needs of those who are not deserving.

This really made me think about how I love those in my care. Do I treat them differently depending on their behavior? Do I always give my best no matter what?

That whosoever believes Him: That He used whosoever told me that not everybody accepts love. Though I selflessly sacrifice to meet the needs of others does not mean that my love will be accepted! This was a hard pill to swallow. It showed me that love does not expect a reward for its actions. It also showed me that love is not always a bed of roses. It can involve degrees of disappointment and pain. People may question my motivation for choosing to love them. They might even reject it outright. Yet I should love them anyway. No bed of roses at all.

Will not perish but have everlasting life: This part was beautiful for me. It warmed my heart to know that love succeeds in the end. So, though I might go through pain of rejection, the sacrifice will be worth it in the end. Love not only saves but it has a long-lasting effect in the lives of those who receive it.

By the time I got home, I had come up with two definitions for love. First, love is selfless sacrifice to serve and meet the needs of others. Second, love is determined action to lift people up and give them the best life possible according to our capability.

When I got home, I told my wife I loved her. This time I knew what I was saying and purposed in my heart to show her. Now I want you to consider…do you really love? Are you really in love?

My Relationship Lessons

  • Love is not about getting your needs met first, it is first about meeting the needs of your partner
  • When you say ‘I love you’, you should mean ‘I selflessly sacrifice to serve you
  • Love is a not a feeling, love is an action
  • Love is a gift given based on the heat of the giver and not a reward given based on the performance of the receiver
  • Love is a committed expression to others of the love we have received from God

 

Sincerely,

Nicodemus

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A Love Letter to Christian Men Who Desire A Thriving Marriage

couple-hand-in-hand_925x_08866aab-9de4-43bb-b21e-d4418aea3ca3_1024x1024[1]Dear Christian Men,

God, without a doubt, outdid Himself when He made her. Eve, my wife to be left me breathless when I saw her. When I finally caught my breath, the first words out of my mouth were ‘wow…man’. So, I dropped the ‘w’ and called her ‘woman’ as a tribute. I was love drunk and I knew it. So did she.

I remember our early days fondly. They were absolutely wonderful!

But those days did not last. The wonder went by the wayside the day we both decided to disobey God. I will never forget that day. It was the day I rejected responsibility, abdicated spiritual leadership, and threw my wife under the bus — blaming her for my disobedience to God. In that moment, I completely neglected the fact that I had my own free will and chose to eat the fruit.

Why disobey God and eat that fruit you ask? First, the fruit looked really good and appetizing. Second, I knew she desired the fruit too. So, I thought why not! I convinced myself that not only was I going to please my wife, it would also help move us towards our goal of becoming one. I reasoned to myself that God wouldn’t mind us disobeying his word. I reasoned it was better for my wife and I to agree with each other and disagree with God THAN to disagree with each other and agree with God.

The most dangerous excuses are the ones we consider good excuses

What is that popular saying people have today? Ahh yes…“Happy wife, Happy life”. It didn’t quite work that way for me. When I ate the fruit, Eve was happy that I had listened to her. But that happiness quickly faded away. It did not take us long to realize we had opened up Pandora’s box of relationship problems that made our lives miserable.

After experiencing marital heaven in the early days, our new normal seemed like marital hell. Suddenly, we started pointing fingers at each other and started to argue a lot. We no longer fully trusted each other and started to compete with each other. So, instead of getting us closer to each other, eating the fruit ended up separating us.

Disobedience feels good for some time and then proceeds to hurt for a lifetime

I thank God that Eve and I were both committed to each other though. As time passed, we both realized that blaming each other and pointing at each other’s faults was pointless. We had to let go of the past in order to move forward. So we did. We moved forward with a new attitude and mindset.

We came to realize that a marriage is a threesome that involves God (He is the glue). A marriage is not about what you can gain but what you can give. The primary reason behind marriage is not happiness but fulfilling the purpose of God (happiness is a byproduct). The purpose of marriage is to refine and perfect us – therefore any pain of refinement is worth the shine in the end.

With this, we embraced the process of God’s refinement and also decided not to spend a moment longer in the fire than was necessary. In practice, we stopped debating whether to believe God or not. We realized He is infinitely wiser than we would ever be and so submitted to His lordship.

My Relationship Lessons

1. Do not sacrifice permanent joy for temporary gratification

2. God knows what is best for your relationship — trust the boundaries He sets for you

3. You have to let go of the past in order to move forward

4. Your commitment to your partner will determine whether your relationship survives

5. Your commitment to God will determine whether your relationship more than survives. It determines whether your relationship thrives

Sincerely,

Adam

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I Got Over My Father Wound When I Realized My Dad Is Not My Father

We all desire affection, acceptance, attention, affirmation, and appreciation. As little children, our parents get the first opportunity to bestow these “Five A’s” on us. Should our parents fail to take their “Five A” responsibilities seriously, they can leave wounds in us — wounds that if left untreated can hamper the way we view ourselves and hamper our ability to have healthy relationships.

Many of my friends can attest to this, including the three below.

Julie grew up with parents who compared her to her older sister. Because her sister got a lot more praise than her, she felt as if she was not good enough. She felt unaccepted and unloved. As a child, it crushed her confidence in school and she began to seriously doubt her own ability. As an adult, she started looking for love and acceptance wherever she could find it. She found it in the arms of men who made her feel loved and accepted so long as she was sexually intimate with them. Since she was praised for her sexuality, she thought to herself that sex must be the only activity she was good at doing — at least better than her sister who stayed on the straight and narrow path. When I met Julie a few years back, she could not hold down a job, slept with men for money, and suffered from bulimia.

Martial’s mother showed him little affection and attention. She was so numbed by the sudden death of her mother — who had been her rock and was helping her navigate an abusive marriage— that she abandoned Martial. As a child, Martial blamed himself for his mother’s neglect. As an adult, he becomes depressed whenever he is not in a relationship. And should his relationship fail, he finds a way to blame himself. When his ex-wife cheated on him and left him for another man, he blamed himself for not being perfect. He told me ‘Its not her fault, it is mine”.

Felia was raised in a home with a loving dad and an intellectual mom who was cold and exacting. Wanting the approval of her mother, she chose the intellectual route and obtained a doctorate in her field of study. Alas, she still did not get the affirmation she craved from her mom. In her relationship with her husband, she craves affirmation constantly and cannot stand to be told that she has put a single foot wrong. When there is any disagreement, she becomes extremely combative and verbally abusive. She becomes the person she does not want to be. She becomes her mom.

Just like Julie, Martial, and Felia, we cannot choose our parents. We also don’t get to choose whether we receive the “Five A’s” or whether we are left with a wound.

What we can choose though is the degree to which we let the wound affect us. We can choose to get bitter or choose to get better.

While there are myriad of ways to get better — most involving some form of therapy or counselling — the way I got better involved neither. I got better over a very short period by considering these words that Jesus spoke:

Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven — Matthew 23:9

Soaking in these words, I realized that there is a difference between my father and my dad. My father is the One to whom I belong. He is the One in whose image I am made. He is One who determines my identity. My dad on the other hand is simply a care-giver. He is a steward. His stewardship is meant to last about 18 years or less, after which his job is done. But my father is different. His job is never done . He never leaves me nor forsake me.

I realized that my father did not wound me. It was dad who wounded me. Thus I realized I did not really have a father wound. I realized I was expecting my dad to give me only that which my father could give. By placing my “Five A’s” expectation on my dad, I was making him equal to my father, and in essence telling my father that I did not need him. In other words, I was idolizing my dad and dishonoring my father!

I also realized that the only way my dad could possibly come close to giving my the “Five A’s” is if he gets it from his father, who also happens to my father. I realized I was suffering because I had not cut out the middle-man.

Once I fully grasped the gravity of this revelation, my anger and pain at not receiving affection and affirmation from my dad was gone. I did not need them from my dad, I needed to get them from my father. So I shifted my focus from my imperfect dad and placed then squarely on my perfect father. I allowed him to speak in my heart and mind. As I got to know my father more, I found his words to be true:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest — Matthew 11:28

You don’t have to suffer from your daddy and mommy wounds. You too can go to your perfect father and have give you the very thing you crave. He is waiting.

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I know I am Not Getting Married On My Wedding Day

couple-hand-in-hand_925x_08866aab-9de4-43bb-b21e-d4418aea3ca3_1024x1024[1]I know it’s going to be beautiful. I know it’s going to be emotional. And I know it’s going to be memorable. Though many things will happen that day, I know one thing that won’t happen. I know that I won’t be married!

When I met my soon to be wife, we started the process of getting close to one another. After we got close to one another, we decided that we should be joined (wedded) together.

When we become wedded together in a few weeks, we will then begin the process of becoming one.

Aha moment: Marriage is a process, not an event. The wedding (joining together) event kickstarts the marriage (oneness) process.

I did not really consider that I wasn’t getting married on my wedding day until I paid close attention to a very popular saying during weddings.

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” – Genesis 2:24

If you read carefully, you will see that it talks of the joining (wedding) and then speaks of the oneness (marriage). It says that “they shall become”. The “shall” in the passage points to something that will happen in the future. Not something that has already happened.

This is how I know that the word ‘shall’ is not being used to denote spiritual oneness, which happens instantly. First, Genesis 2:24 is used in reference to Adam and Even before the fall. This means they were already spiritually one with God and spiritually yoked to one another. Spiritual separation happened only after the fall. Second, the passage specifies that it is talking about the flesh (the part we use to interact with the world).

In its more robust definition, one flesh refers to oneness in mind and body. It is this oneness of mind and body that the devil tested in the garden of Eden. As it so happened, Adam and Eve were not quite one yet in the flesh, and had not surrendered their flesh quite yet to the leadership of the spirit.

With this in mind, I started to view the process of getting married as being similar to the nuclear fusion process. It takes considerable binding energy (work) for the two individual atoms to come together — releasing surplus energy in the process. Likewise, for my wife and I to become fully one, I know we need to focus our energy on overcoming our “self-ish” tendencies. In the process, a lot of heat will be released as we do away with those things that add no value to our union — things such as our selfishness and our desire to be right.

Aha moment: The marriage process is designed to help us get rid of those undesirable traits in our lives.

I know that I will forever be changed through the process of marriage. Though I will still be present, I will have changed. I will be a different man. I will have become refined. A better man. So I embrace the process of marriage, knowing that the benefit in the end is worth the work. I choose to do the work. I will not settle for being joined to my wife in wedlock without becoming married to her. No! I will continue to press in and pursue a greater degree of closeness.

Aha moment: If we work on our marriage, our marriages will work.

After two atoms fuse together, the struggle is over. Maybe this is the reason so many unions struggle and fail. Maybe it is because the two have not fused into one in marriage.

I do not want to experience the same heartache. And I do not want a relationship that just survives. I want a marriage that thrives. Therefore, I choose to get married after my wedding.

What about you? Are you settling on a wedding or are you working on your marriage?

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A Love Letter to Single Christian Women Who Desire to Be Married

Dear Single Christian Woman,

If there was ever a woman who did not have any hope of getting married, it was me. My first husband was dead. I did not have a penny to my name. And I was going to a land where people from my country, especially the women, were not welcomed.

If you are wondering why our women were not welcomed, let me take you back in time:

A few hundred years back, women from my country, Moab, were sent to the men of Israel to seduce them with sex and idolatry. Although hidden through fancy words, the women basically propositioned the men with this: I will only allow you to sleep with me if you turn and worship my idol.

This proposition was part of a strategy executed by the King of Moab to keep Israel weak because he was afraid Moab would be conquered. See, the King had been advised that if the men turned away from God, God would not protect them.

The strategy worked!! Many men slept with our women and those men were slain. Since that episode, Israel has looked at people from Moab with much suspicion, especially the women.

With such history, I was sure that no man in Israel would be interested in a me, a newly converted Moabite. I mean, what was I going to say to any man I met?

Hey handsome, I am from Moab. I am new here. My mother in-law and I came here after my husband died and also because we heard there was food. I know you don’t think highly of Moabites, but I am different. I turned away from my idols and converted to your religion right before coming. So, know that you don’t have to worry about me worshipping idols. And since I am being honest, I want to tell you one more thing. I am broke and have to beg just to get by in life. That’s it. How would you like to take me out on a date?

With the odds stacked against me, I put the idea of marriage far away from my thinking, though I secretly desired it. Instead I focused all my attention on providing for my mother in-law and I. This I did by going from field to field, day after day, picking up any leftovers the ground keepers were kind enough to leave behind.

Though I was first largely left to myself in these fields, people started to warm towards me as they saw my industry, tested my character, and learned of my story. Then I happened upon a field owned by a man called Boaz. I collected more grain in his field than I had collected in other fields. I was grateful for his kindness but thought no more of it.

Thankfully my mother in-law was more discerning than me. She explained to me that it was unusual to come home with such large amounts of grain. She explained that Boaz must have taken an interest in me. I doubted her and said: Of all the women he could have, why would he be interested in me?  And if indeed he has taken an interest in me, then why hasn’t he pursued that interest? Why hasn’t he at least mentioned something to me?

My mother in-law simply laughed. She explained that there are men who can hardly speak to women because of shyness or for fear of being rejected. She said: You know how successful and well-respected Boaz is in the community. I am sure many women have been interested in him, and I am sure he has been interested in some of them. But I bet those women waited for him to approach them and pursue his interest in them. But you know his demeanor. He is quiet and unassuming. After waiting for a long time, these ladies either lost interest, felt rejected or simply thought of him as not being serious. They might have even thought he was not interested in marriage.

Undiscerning women! They waited for him to act in line with cultural norms and tradition, but he never did. Don’t be like the other women. He has shown interest in you. Now you have to leave no doubt in his mind that you are interested. He is the kind of man who does not take hints well. If you like him, you have to pursue the interest he has shown in you.

Scared and fighting against my own fear of rejection, I followed my mother in-law’s advice. I showed him that I was available and told him what I desired. Instead of finding my actions appalling, he found it appealing. My honesty and openness gave him the boldness and confidence to pursue what he also desired. Marriage.

I later found out that he had secretly enquired about me and thought the world of me. If I had not listened to my mother in-law’s advice; if I had not decided to do something out of my comfort zone, I am pretty sure I would still be single today.

If you are a woman who desires to be married, there is hope. If I could end up married with the odds stacked against me, then you can too. There is no predefined process to follow, so get rid of any picture you may have conjured in your heart about how it is going to happen. Whether he pursues you or you pursue him is inconsequential. The only thing that matters is that you are both interested in each other and that you are honest and open about your feelings and intentions.

Take a chance. Take a leap of faith. Don’t let religious traditions and cultural norms get in your way. In fact, feel free to break all the rules so long as you are not breaking any of God’s laws and principles. Remember, even Jesus broke many man-made religious rules without breaking God’s laws and principles.

Here are My 5 Love Lessons

  • Don’t allow the things you can’t do anything about stop you from pursuing your desire to married. When the right man comes along, he won’t care about things such as whether you were previously married, have kids, how old you are, etc.
  • Not every man is comfortable pursuing a woman. If you are interested in him, you may have to make the first bold and sure move.
  • There is no full-proof process to follow to get into a relationship and get married. The most important thing is to make sure that you choose wisely.
  • If you desired to be married, make sure you put your very best foot forward. And remember this if things don’t work out: There is no such thing as rejection, there is only redirection.
  • Sometimes you have to break with culture and traditions to get what you desire. Don’t let that stop you as long as you are not breaking God’s commandments.

With Love,

Ruth

P.S: You can read my love story and how I got married in the Book of Ruth in the bible

This blog post was shared with permission from www.relationshipminibooks.com

 

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