Soooooooooo it’s been awhile since I’ve spilled my thoughts onto these digital pages so let me commence to spillin’…..
Over the past few months, I ‘ve been gearing up for the website relaunch of my non-profit event The Opposite Sex Revealed. (I’m excited to official be able to say non-profit). At its core, The Opposite Sex Revealed (The OSR for short) is an annual panel forum hosted in Wilson NC that allows guests to dress up, enjoy positive and fruitful conversation while getting their deepest questions answered about and BY the opposite sex!
Naturally, all of this relationship and marriage talk has me in the mindset of — dun dun dunnnnnn love! Seeing as how my last relationship ended going on six months ago (it ended on pretty awesome terms, complete with mutual understanding and all — I’m blessed ya’ll #unicornbreakup) I again found myself single, back in a space where I began to observe the dating world around me.
One thing I’ve found (that didn’t change during the year and some change I was in a relationship) was the fact that COMPARISON and IDOLATRY have nearly saturated the entire sphere of love and marriage. What I mean by that is this: think about how dating must’ve been in the early 1900s compared to today. Today we can get a date with a swipe, we screen physical attributes before even meeting the person, and with our ability to travel, can carry on a relationship with someone a million miles away! If we feel they don’t fit in our life — on to the next. Before dating as we know it came into existence, there were no computers, cell phones, apps, access to world travel, and most people didn’t move from within 50 miles of their hometown. Many people (especially African Americans) didn’t go to college; let alone own a car so chances are you found your future spouse in the supermarket downtown or crossing the street.
Let me pause to say that I don’t advocate we shun everything technological and move to the Amish Country, but what I AM saying is, perhaps we should take into account that many of the elderly couples we see married 30, 50, even 70s years didn’t have access to the countless dating options we have today; thus they were put in a situation where the dating pool was simple and the lessons in love were hard.
I think this is one reason why there were more long lasting marriages “back in the day”. Yes, I’m aware, some people just married for security. Yes, I’m aware that some just married to keep their families together. Yes, I’m aware that many marriages of old were arranged. Yes I’m aware that some people just got married to the first person they dated because they felt “stuck”. I’m not talking about those.
I’m talking about the simple courtships that blossomed into fortified “ride or die” marriages through faith and the mindset to love through the tough times. Without the distraction of a million potentials crossing their eye gates every 3 nanoseconds, they were more likely to stick with the 80/20 rule and work through the minor issues and flaws that fell in that 20%.
Now-a-days, singles seem to fall into two categories:
GROUP A- They are afraid of commitment and often break up over minor flaws for fear of making the wrong choice. With so many potential mates out in the world, they are frequently going back-and-forth on whether or not they are dating the right person. They DO value marriage (or at least long-term companionship) but are often looking for a unicorn ….so they stay single as they float from person to person, refusing to FEEL like they’ve “settled”.
GROUP B- They have no current desire to commit or get married. They can be found consistently playing the field and have no problem changing from person to person until the time “feels right”. They often believe love is flawed and have no real faith or hope in it anyway, so they just see where life takes them.
The clash of these two groups in cahoots with the “many options” we have and the idolizing of #marriagegoals without the willingness to put in the work has made for ONE BIG DISASTEROUS POOL OF BROKEN HEARTS AND COUNTLESS SINGLES!
This afternoon, as I’m perusing Facebook looking for great content to repost, I come across an article from Bolde.com titled “I Finally Figured Out Why So Many Toxic Men Were Drawn To Me”.
I wasn’t a fan of the profanity, but the points were spot on!
1. I WAS TOO NICE.
2. I GAVE THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT.
3. I WAS THEIR HOPE OF CHANGE.
4. I WAS A FIXER.
5. I AM TOO EMPATHETIC.
6. I HAD GIVEN UP ON LOVE.
7. I DIDN’T HAVE HEALTHY BOUNDARIES.
8. I WAS A GOOD LISTENER.
9. I WAS TOO LAID-BACK AND EASYGOING.
10. I DIDN’T VALUE MYSELF.
11. I STAYED IN SITUATIONS LONGER THAN NECESSARY.
I won’t take time going through the details, but I will say that this article speaks to my mindset in my late teens – early twenties! EVERY LAST POINT! I don’t know what’s wilder — the fact that there is someone out here who could put a “name” to my mindset, or the fact that someone just described my little dating life to a tee — either way, this is good!
Take some time to check out the full article: http://www.bolde.com/finally-figured-out-many-toxic-men-drawn/
Ephesians 5 verse 21-33 is a popular piece of scripture that’s almost ALWAYS used in Christian counseling or when giving advice to individuals getting serious about dating for marriage.
Wives submit yourselves to your husbands.
The majority of us tend to stop at there at verse 22 but no one really focuses on what follows in verses 23-25:
“For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her.” (NLT version)
This talks about SACRIFICE. Jesus gave His life up for the church.
So yes, a woman should submit herself to her husband BUT he should be making sacrifices for her.
How can a woman be expected to submit to a man that she can’t respect?! The answer is simple. You can’t respect a man who:
Cheats with other women
Doesn’t work and isn’t out looking for a job
Expects his wife to support the family
Abuses his wife
If you’re a guy thinking about marriage or are currently married, you’re not the “man of the house” if you just boss everyone else around! That’s not the way it’s supposed to be! A godly man does SO much more than that! He protects, provides, and sacrifices for his wife and children.
As a man, you only command respect if you:
take care of things concerning your family
do what needs to be done so your family is taken care of
get out and work (even if your wife makes more than you)
are a good parent
put your family first
Anything else will get a…….
Ladies catch a lot of flack for their struggle to submit to their husbands (yes I’ll acknowledge by the time we get into relationships we’re used to doing things our way) but rarely are men challenged to adopt a lifestyle that truly reflects a lifestyle worthy of submission.
So if you’re a woman dating a man who constantly cheats on you or abuses you in any way — you need to get out NOW! It’s not going to get better. Marrying him will only bring it out.
If you’re a woman dating a man who is always bouncing from job-to-job because he simply doesn’t want to work or if you’re married to a man who ups and quits his job out of nowhere — get help now! True, women can do these things but shouldn’t be expected to keep the house, raise the kids, AND take care of things outside the house. If you’re a woman who insists on doing that then fine. But just know it shouldn’t be EXPECTED of you if you want your relationship to mirror what God calls it to be. There needs to be balance! A man is not living up to what a true man is if he expects YOU to be the only one holding a steady job and providing for the family as a woman. No ma’am. I’m not knocking him if he makes LESS money than you — that’s doable — at least he’s showing that he’s willing to work to support his family. But if you’re dating or thinking about marrying a man who just simply refuses to do anything but spend money — GET OUT NOW! If you’re already married GET COUNSELING NOW!!!
If you’re a woman dating or married to a man who expects you to change the tires, mow the lawn, drive the broken down car when he drives the new one, fix the leaky faucet, pay for the meals, pick HIM up and take him to work because he doesn’t feel like driving — GET HELP NOW! This behavior is not worthy of respect. Yeah if you’re married it’s not as easy, but with prayer and ACTION it’s possible for your husband to see where he needs to step up.
If you don’t, then you just signed yourself up for a lifetime of unnecessary stress that you as a wife shouldn’t have to take on.
Please know that this is not to slander men or badmouth them but it’s just something I noticed I thought needed to be addressed.
Today’s dating/marriage culture is 50/50 which comes from a selfish, faithless mindset. It says, “you have to meet me 50/50 one hundred percent of the time because I have to look out for me and be ready to go the moment you deviate from that.”
That’s fear. That’s lack of faith. Love is the epitome of faith. Two imperfect people CHOOSING to love one another through minor faults and quirks because they’re worth it.
If you’re a Christian (a follower of Christ and His teachings, believing that He is the Son of the Living God) you should understand that this is worldly thinking. (See Romans 12:2) As Christians what and WHO we believe by faith won’t make “logical” sense to someone who hasn’t renewed their mind with the faith of God. This is why many out here find themselves bouncing from relationship to relationship; never really committing their heart, in fear of not being able to wholeheartedly trust anyone other than themselves. I admit, I’ve had struggles with that over the years career and relationship wise. I felt that if I — JOCELYN — couldn’t handle something on my own, it wasn’t worth going with that flow. I thought that if I could organize, plan, and execute EVERYTHING in my life EXACTLY the way I thought it should go (despite not having peace about things and having the Holy Spirit nearly rip my sleeve off trying to drag me in the other way) then it wasn’t right for me.
This is a TERRIBLE way of viewing ANYTHING…especially relationships and marriage! Every married couple I know who’s been married for more than 10 years have ALL said that a thriving, godly marriage will never always be 50/50 equally split. There will be times (at any given time) where one spouse will end up sacrificing more for the other. While everyone’s innate concept of sacrifice varies depending on our personal experiences — a sacrifice is made. That’s just one of the reasons why communication is important before and after getting married. It’s vitally important to be on the same page regarding how you expect a godly marriage to operate, how you define sacrifice, and how you receive love.
Say your significant other is finishing up school while you’re the only one working full time .. that’s not going to be 50/50. Say one of your parents takes ill or needs help bouncing back from a life upset; you’ll need to be there emotionally for them and may need to visit them for an extended period of time or spot them some money (which will be pulled form your household income) to help them out…..that’s not going to be 50/50.
As a Christian woman, I strive to obtain and enjoy God’s best for my life. Period. Over the years I’ve had to grow and renew my old way of thinking to adopt a mindset that some may view as “traditional” or “unfair”. You call it unfair, I call is wise. I don’t want to enter a marriage ignorantly believing that I can have my best life with my future husband while having everything split 50/50 all of the time. I’m learning now that healthy marriages don’t operate like that. Marriage (shoot courtships/relationships period) requires stepping out of your comfort zone and sacrificing some of your comfort to contribute to the relationship working. If that means sacrificing down time after working during the day so I can make sure my future husband has a listening ear or a meal (even if I pick it up on those busy days. lol) that’s something I’ll be willing to sacrifice. If we’re taking a long trip and it’s evident that I’m frazzled or worn down, I expect my future husband to take the wheel to give me some recovery time. There are SO many things that I’ve learned (and still am learning) about God’s intentions for a love that mirrors His. I’m far from perfect, but I thought I’d share a bit on what I’ve learned and what I’ve seen going on around the country and social media.
Never before have I wanted to see truly see God and His countless attributes, and never before have I experienced Him in such an intimate way.
Many folk question [Elohim] God’s existence DESPITE the fact that there is no other way to explain the function of the very brain they use to come up with these these internal questions. Despite the fact that their body is created to flow in a specific cadence and rhythm. Despite that when there is so much killing around, THEIR family is spared.
There are many things I can’t explain as a Christian [follower of Father God, Christ and His teachings] but those things are beyond our finite minds and to think it’s not is arrogance in the most blasphemous degree. With all of the turmoil mounting in the world: wars, famine, disease, killings, natural disasters; our prayer….our DESIRE…should be to ask God to open the eyes of our hearts. Not so we can unlock “life’s secrets” and rule the world, but so we can DISCERN His will, our purpose, and so we can see His goodness in the midst of what we experience as tragedy. Anything worth having is worth waiting/working for right? If we can apply that to relationships, jobs, and every day matters; WHY is it so hard to apply that to God’s revelation?
It’s easy to write off these recent world events, or job layoff, or family issues as being cruel and question God. But that’s not really going to help anything. Why not apply that same work/wait ethic to EVERY facet of life and when things happen we can’t explain, be willing to WAIT on God and WORK on humbling ourselves and seeking His face so He can reveal to us the understanding comfort that we so desperately seek. In Matthew 7:7-8 ESV Jesus says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” The answer given may not be one we want to hear, but if we press in and truly ask God for direction and wisdom, He will give it to us — if we believe and trust Him.
1 Corinthians 2:6-16
6 Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. 7 But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
10these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
Again, this year has been a doozy.
Never before have I wanted to see truly see God and His countless attributes, and never before have I experienced Him in such an intimate way. He has opened my spiritual eyes in ways I could never imagine and it hasn’t been comfortable, but necessary. I asked questions. I recieved my answers. Now it’s up to me to rest in the knowledge and TRUTH that GOD IS IN CONTROL. Regardless of what we think or how we feel at any given moment, God is in control. It’s up to us to make the CHOICE to go with HIS will and trust that His plans for our lives are to prosper us, to help us fulfill our purpose and make a difference in this world — for His glory!
Watch/listen to the video below and really let it sink in that though this little boy is singing a song, it goes deeper than that! While he can’t physically see, His little spiritual eyes are being opened with every verse. I can’t help but believe that revelation and understanding like none other has saturated his life as he navigates the world.
Today, pray for the Lord to open the eyes of your heart. Ask Him to enlighten you and reveal to you the glory in your struggles, trials, and downfalls. Ask Him to help you hold on and keep your eye on the prize as you endure this unstable society that we live in. Ask Him to remind you of His faithfulness, protection, and guidance.
Discerning the Enemy’s Mass Weapon of Destruction in This Season
Jennifer LeClaire is now sharing her reflections and revelations through Walking in the Spirit. Listen at charismapodcastnetwork.com.
With violence raging on American streets, many are losing hope for a better tomorrow. Indeed, pessimism is gripping the nation on many fronts as the signs of the times manifest in our midst.
For the first time in American history, most Americans believe the next generation will be worse off than them, according to a CNNMoney/E*Trade survey. At the same time, strange viruses are spreading, some even causing death and blindness. There are wars and rumors of wars. The economic signs are driving people to store food and water. And persecution of Christians in America is on the rise.
I could go on and on. The point is, as a nation our hope is under attack.
On a personal level, you may have prodigal children that show no sign of turning back to the Lord despite your fervent intercession. Maybe you’re fighting health issues that look dire. Perhaps your marriage is on the brink of divorce. Maybe you’re battling weight issues you can’t overcome no matter what diet you try, financial issues that keep growing worse or some other issue that looks hopeless.
The enemy attacks our faith with fear for a strategic reason. We find that reason in Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” See, you can’t have faith without hope. Your faith hangs on hope. If you partner with the fearful voices telling you things will never change—or whatever else those fearful voices are saying—you will move from faith to doubt to unbelief and eventually to hopelessness.
Prisoners of Hope
When I was in jail, falsely accused of a crime I did not commit, the situation looked hopeless. Three times I appeared before a judge seeking bail. Three times my plea was rejected—even with an ankle bracelet on home arrest; and even though I was a manager working with a large company; and even though I had a two-year-old baby whose daddy had just abandoned us.
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My attorney, a firm I paid a pretty penny to defend me against the bogus charges, told me the best I could hope for was five years in prison. That was the minimum sentence on the charge. I felt hopeless, but I had a fighting grandma who refused to tolerate injustice. She prayed and she took action. She found an attorney who was willing to stand up to the devil’s plans and pray through to the end.
During the legal battle, I got saved. I heard the voice of the Lord tell me I would be released on the 40th day. I confessed this to anyone who would listen but nobody would believe me. Beyond my grandma, my family didn’t hold out much hope. But it was just like the Lord told me it would be. After 40 days, I was released and fully vindicated.
In that jail, I learned to be a prisoner of hope. Since then, I have faced many situations that seemed hopeless. When I encounter these sorts of trials, I remember what the Lord said in Zechariah 9:12 (NKJV), “Return to the stronghold, You prisoners of hope. Even today I declare That I will restore double to you.”
Expect Double for Your Trouble
That word hope is not like the world’s hope. The world’s hope is a wish. Bible hope is an eager expectation. When you expect something, you watch for it. Think about it for a minute, if you are expecting an important call, you keep your phone right by you, make sure the ringer is on and stop doing anything that would distract you from the ring.
We need to hope in God the same way. We’ve put in a call to Him—we’ve prayed—and He is going to answer us. I don’t know why it takes so long for some situations to turn around. I don’t know why we have to keep praying and believing sometimes for years without any visible results. I do believe our prayers release God’s power into a situation and some problems demand more power to chip away at the mountain than others.
We need to guard the hope in our hearts because, again, our faith hangs on our hope. We have many Bible examples of how hope and faith pay off. Moses hoped in God when it looked like the Egyptian army was going to overtake the Israelites. Nehemiah hoped in God when naysayers tried to stop him from doing what God told him to do. David hoped in God when it looked like Saul was going to kill him. Ruth hoped in God that she could escape her past. Esther hoped in God that He would save the Jews from Haman’s wicked plot.
Whatever we’re going through, we have to hold out hope. Job in the middle of his trial said, “What strength do I have, that I should hope?” (Job 6:11, MEV). Job lost everything he had. He was on the brink of hopelessness. His wife told him to curse God and die. But he held out hope and the Lord kept His promise. Job got double for his trouble (Job 42:10).
Whatever you are going through, put your trust in the Lord. Let hope be the anchor of your soul (Heb. 6:19). Let your praise prophesy to your circumstances. I assure you, what the devil means for evil, God means for good (Gen. 50:20).
Be a prisoner of hope—and believe God for double for your trouble.