Thursday, September 9, 2010

Best Pickup line in the church "God told me your were the one."

If a member of the opposite sex offers you that statement, I encourage you to thank them and promptly run in the opposite direction.

Somewhere, someone who was very in tune to with the Lords voice and the prompting of the Holy Spirit did in fact hear the voice of God say, “she is the one” but in our over zealous, over spiritualized church today, horny youth are running around declaring to the most attractive person they can find, “God told me you are the one.”

Do I disagree that God works this way? No. One of my most respected college professors has a story similar to this. He was speaking at a worship/prayer service in his younger days and his now wife was the young woman playing piano during the prayer portion of the service. He was running around the room ministering in prayer to people and his wife sensed the Lord tell her “I have brought him to you.” She opened her eyes and good old professor Filby was standing in front of her. He asked if he could pray for her and she said yes. They ended up spending time chatting after the service and they are happily married today. I don’t know for sure, but I doubt she told him what she had heard that day. My guess is it came a while down the road after she KNEW it was indeed the Lord.

What’s different about their story? Well I would venture that she really heard from God and 90% of the young people running around in church, bible college and even out in the world haven’t. They think they have and they want to hear from God on the subject, but their own eagerness for a relationship has gotten in the way of their ability to truly hear the voice of God.

I’m guilty of it. I can convince myself of a lot. In college I found myself sharing my desire to pursue a couple young ladies because I thought God was opening the door. In reality my own lust, selfishness and lack of intimacy in my own relationship with the Lord is what was driving those conversations. By Gods infinite grace, none of the girls were interested and I thank him for that daily.

Through my experience and what I observe in the church today I’ve come to discover a few things. First, most people in the church today are lacking true intimacy in their relationship with the Lord. Not that I have it figured out by any means, but that certainly was my problem in college and has continued to be in the area of relationships to this day. Until we understand what a true relationship with the Lord is we will continue to mistake our own longings and our own desires as the voice of God.

Our priorities are all out of whack. I spoke with some of the local Bible College students the other day about where our focus lies in the church. We might say we’re joining the college group or attending the bible college to “sit at the Lords feet” but I’d venture to say that is not priority number one for most people. Merely sitting in the campus coffee shop supports this. Many have good intentions and indeed desire that relationship with their heavenly Father but it seems so few understand the meaning true intimacy. Myself included.

Secondly, we are too concerned with having a fanciful, fairytale love story that we again over think and over spiritualize, acting on impulse rather than Gods divine providence. We hear the story of the young pastor who on graduation day declared to his now wife, “God told me you are the one,” and we want that so we try to make it happen. I heard recently that one young lady from the local bible College had three young men offer her that in a weeks time. Props to her because she didn’t buy any of it. In fact she shared with these young men, “surely God must be confused then because I keep hearing that.” I can only imagine the defeat and anguish these young men felt but if they didn’t learn their lesson I’m sure they can find another unsuspecting young women to prey on with better results.

A friend of mine recently shared from the female world that many of her friends are much more concerned with the love story than the relationship. “Oh wouldn’t it just be SO amazing if it worked out?” She offered that at this point in her life, she just wants to meet a godly man and is less concerned with how that happens.

I share her sentiment; at 24 I’m just looking for a relationship. I could care less if the story is fanciful and exciting. I certainly haven’t always been there and my own eagerness for a God written love story has allowed me to convince myself that I’m hearing from the Lord when clearly I have not. The lack of fruit from any of those attempts at relationships is evidence of this.

Read the bible. Every word of it is God inspired and there are plenty of not so exciting stories in there. Just because it’s a love story doesn’t mean its going to be a fairytale. In fact that opens up another can of worms regarding our idea of a fairytale love story. Books, TV and Hollywood have painted a picture of what ever after really means and we compare Gods design of a love story to that. Seldom do they look the same. Ruth and Boaz ring a bell? A very romantic story but a threshing floor and a pile of grain somehow doesn’t measure up to a weekend trip to Tahiti as seen on The Bachelor.

I offer, and I’m as guilty as the next, that our own eagerness and desire for a relationship, coupled with our lack of true intimacy with the Lord, has allowed the devil to find his way into places he shouldn’t and never was meant to be. The church tells us “You’ll just know.” And we, enamored by lust and emotion, mistake our own longing as the voice of God. How incredibly sad that we can take sin and convince ourselves that it is the voice of God.

That proves that we are lacking in our own personal relationships with the Lord. So start there. Dive into the word. Ask God to open your eyes and heart in new and truthful ways. You might offer that you study the bible day in and day out and are not seeing any fruit. Are you doing homework when you open the Bible or are you taking time to spend one on one with your savior learning to hear His voice. Either way, it takes time.

Then when that voice comes along, test it. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 says “Test everything and hold on to what is good.” If it truly is the voice of the Lord, He’s not going to let her get away. God will lovingly lead you as you submit to His will and His voice, and help you as you learn to lovingly lead the woman He has for you.

Women Have Power, Real Power

Athletic competition is a magnificent thing. The court or field is a battleground where physical strength, mental preparation and weeks, months or years of practice is tested. The Olympic games are the stage for the best of the best, both men and women, to display their strength for the world to see.

Funny thing. Men still compete with men. Women still compete with woman. Our society, even the church, is obsessed with the idea of equality and egalitarianism and yet we segregate our athletic competition. Do we really want equality?

Women would argue, “You can’t expect women to compete at the same level as men. It just wouldn’t be fair. Our genetic make up is different.”

You are right. God made us different right down to our genetic make up. I think we can see this in athletic competition better than any other place in all of creation. To expect a woman to power clean the same 580 lbs (current men’s world record) is absurd. She got close with 412 lbs (current women’s world record). The men’s high jump world record stands at 8 feet 0.46 inches while the women’s is at 6ft 10.28 inches and I could give stats all day. Somewhere out there yes, I’m sure a woman has “beaten” men in some display of physical or athletic strength but by and large, men excel in these displays over women because we are different by design.

Our genetic make up, the way our bodies are made, suggests that we are different. We can accept it in athletic competition, in fact we even expect it, but in relationships, the business world and every other area, we demand equality.

Before you quit reading or start writing your own rebuttal, hear me out. God made us different, and that is ok. Do I believe women are capable of leading bible studies, churches and fortune 500 companies? Absolutely, and probably better than I ever could! Can they “wear the pants,” be the leader and primary breadwinner etc etc in a marriage? Yep, and many are. But do I believe that is how God designed it? No. Does that mean you have to stop doing those things? No. Especially because the guy you’re with probably won’t start doing those things.

God made us differently. That is all I’m trying to say. We are wired differently, we give and receive love differently and when we (men and women) can figure this out AND ACCEPT IT, only then will we begin to love and serve as Christ has called us.

It’s sad because that is really where it should start. Out of our love for Christ, we will sacrificially love and serve in relationships but we don’t. Until we get what we want and are treated fairly, we won’t bend or break. Somewhere, someone has got to give in. It SHOULD be men. We are called to lead, sacrificially, even to the point of laying down our life for women (Ephesians 5:25). Nowhere in scripture does it place such a high calling on women, that they give up their life for a man. We are called to lead even to the point of death.

We are ALL called to love sacrificially even when we are not receiving it, “as to the lord.” (Eph 5:22 for women, 5:25 for men).

Ok, lets take God out of the very picture He created. We are caught in a vicious cycle that until someone steps out and breaks it, will continue to go round and round. I love sharing about a trip to Chicago I made my freshman year of college that fits this to a tee.

It was a disaster from the word go. Plans fell through and it ended up being me and four women (your saying “and your complaining?!”). We made it to Chicago, crammed 6 people into a studio apartment down town and several of us spent the night on the hard wood floor. It snowed nearly two feet overnight and the next morning I went into survival mode. I borrowed a shovel from a neighbor and proceeded to unearth the wrong vehicle. I finally found the right one two blocks away and dug it out. The rest of the day was a clash of personalities, frustrated meals, bad directions and getting lost. You couldn’t have paid me to drive around Chicago in broad daylight, much less in two feet of snow.

I was not happy. The girls were having fun but thought I was a pill and I probably was, but that didn’t change how I felt. Somewhere by the end of the day as we were driving out of town trying to make our way to one of the girls homes, no one really knew where we were or where we were going. You could have cut the tension in the car with a knife. As I drove down the freeway barely able to stay on the road due to the setting sun and the snow still blowing horizontally across the road, a small, loving voice with the most sincerity I have ever heard chimed from the back seat, “Seth, thank you for taking such good care of us today.”

At that moment every feeling of dread, anger, frustration and anything else that was weighing on my mind disappeared. I would have driven all night, changed a flat tire in the sub zero temps or done ANYTHING for ANYONE of those girls (even the ones I was still upset with) because that one girl showed me respect and appreciation. She had power. She new it and how to use it.

Ladies if you can learn to speak and love as my friend did, you will hold the power of the atom bomb in your hand. A man will swim oceans, scale buildings and climb mountains when he has the sincere love of a woman behind him.

As guys, we should recognize this. We should lead sacrificially, “as Christ laid down his life for the church” and we will ultimately find that we’ll receive this kind of love and respect from women. We’ve got to start doing that.

To the egalitarianists and people that want equality, we are different. Physically and emotionally and nothing you or I say is going to change that. Our world doesn’t want to accept God or the bible but really, it lays it out for us. 1 Peter 3:7 cautions husbands to love their wives as they may be weaker (physically/emotionally) than you, BUT they are your EQUAL heir in Gods gracious gift of life.

When we, the church, the bride of Christ, actually open up the bible and begin to understand not only WHAT it says but WHY it says it, only then will we come to a true understanding of our heavenly father and how He has designed us to love and be loved.

Monday, September 6, 2010

"Just Friends" Part 2 No room for doubt

“Loyalty in relationships does not start when you say ‘I do’ or even commit to dating". -Shelly Lynch

There is much wisdom in that statement. I’ve had several girls tell me over the years, “I don’t have to submit until we’re married.” Ok if you want to get technical about that verse, yeah it says “Wives submit to your husbands.” But if you’re not practicing submission while your dating or courting someone, how are they suppose to know how you’ll act in a marriage? Would you date a guy that says “I’ll start loving you after we get married?”

The same goes for practicing loyalty. I hear women say all the time, “I’m very loyal when I’m in a relationship” but what does that really mean? To some that means they don’t cheat on the person. To others that means they’re committed but they still have their own group of friends which can include any number of guy/girls and even ex boyfriend/girlfriends. To others, and the idea I’m encouraging, it means you go out of your way to let the other person know that they are your one and only.

I think that is loyalty at its core but the problem then becomes, when does it start? In my original note entitle “We’re just friends, you should trust me” I talked about practicing loyalty now by limiting the time you spend alone with members of the opposite sex if there is no romantic interest. I talked about the value of having relationships of the opposite sex but also the difficulty that comes in reevaluating those friendships once one or both of the parties enter a relationship or get married. Naturally, if you are in fact loyal, those relationships with guy or girl “friends” need to change. They don’t have to end necessarily, but your primary concern should become your significant other. If they aren’t ok with that prior friendship, it’s got to go.

Some of you think that thought is absurd. “He can’t demand I not have a particular friend” or “She’s just jealous.” My opinion? Yeah, she is jealous. And if she is, it’s probably because your doing something that is not helping her feel secure in your love. People react so quickly and assume the worst, particularly regarding this topic. I wish people would take the time to 1) communicate, that would eliminate most of the problems and 2) be willing to lay aside their own selfishness for the betterment of the relationship.

I think if we could learn to do that, you’d find that you ultimately do yourself a favor by laying the friendship in question down. You’re going huh? I’m losing a friend and he/she is getting their way? How is that doing me a favor?

I’ll explain with an example I came up with a while ago. Suppose I have a girlfriend. She’s eager, attractive and outgoing. Naturally that’s a great combination and certainly I’m not the only guy vying for her attention but somehow I’ve managed to win her affection and am the lucky one called “boyfriend.” Because she’s eager and outgoing, chances are she’s got lots of friends and more than likely several guy friends in there too. Suppose she’s of the belief that I should trust her even enough to go have coffee or spend time hanging out with these other guys without becoming jealous or worrying because she’s assured me they’re “just friends.” As in so many relationships today, it’s not a trust issue it’s a preference. I just rather she didn’t spend time alone with guys. I know how guys work so I mention it to her.

“Sweetheart, you are outgoing, attractive, you love people and I love that about you. That’s part of why I was attracted to you to begin with. But because of that, its difficult for me to see you maintain relationships with guys, even though you are just friends. Part of it is because I know how guys work, but mostly, its just another way that I can feel secure in your love. It would mean the world to me if you would choose not to spend time alone with other guys, having coffee and speaking on the phone for great lengths of time. It would help me know without a doubt that I’m your one and only.”

To that she responds as most people would, “well you should just trust me Seth. If I say we’re just friends, we’re just friends.” “I do trust you. It’s not that I don’t, but I would appreciate you not spending your time with other guys. You might not understand why, you might not think it makes any sense, but it would mean the world to me if you would make that sacrifice.”

She has a choice. She may, as is the case with many relationships, truly not understand why this is so difficult for me. After all, she trusts me. Why is this so difficult for Seth to understand? But what she doesn’t realize is at this very moment she has power. She has real power to do something that will in turn motivate me to love her better. She can show me love and bless me so much by respecting my wish. Her sacrifice is amplified all the more because she doesn’t understand why she should do it.

And why does she have power? Because she can make a sacrifice that will bless me so much, removing any foothold or stumbling block that’s between us and out of gratefulness, I will lavish upon her so much more love because I’m so thankful that she made that sacrifice. She has the power to help herself. Maybe she already feels loved. That’s fine, is anyone going to turn down an extra expression of love from their significant other? Heck no!

It takes action on both parts. My girlfriend needs to actually stop spending the time with other guys and I need to go out of my way to express how thankful I am that she has made and is acting on that sacrifice. I don’t think that will be too tough though. Our natural response when we feel loved, is to love. When your cup is filled, you overflow!

I received some interesting responses from that first article and I want to share my findings. By and large the people that agree 100% fit a couple of demographics: they are either happily married or divorced. The first response I received came from a young woman who is divorced after a painful marriage and even now struggles with this topic in her relationship with her boyfriend. Several other divorced women responded in agreement as well as several people that I would put in the happily married category. In either case, they have lived this out and have seen how it either positively or negatively affects the relationship.

I didn’t receive any negative feedback per say, but more so “I agree and disagree.” My assumptions are that these people agree with the aspect of commitment in marriage, but disagree with the notion of reigning back on those relationships now. You know what I find fascinating? Each and every person that I received this type of feedback from falls between the ages of 18 and 30 and is a single, “independent,” Christian woman.

Am I knocking these women? Not in the slightest. It think they are the ones poised for the greatest success in marriage. They often times have the desire, the heart, and the ability to be the best wives. They also have the greatest opportunity for hardship because their “independence” can get the better of them. “I want him to know I don’t need him to take care of me. I’m fine on my own.”

Yes you are. But what if the guy wants to take care of you? That’s part of our ingrained nature as men. Women say all the time, “I want someone to lead me, to protect me, to love me.” Ok...let us! Yes I’ll be the first to admit that many guys today don’t get this and won’t take the initiative to step out and lead. I think part of that is because they are intimidated.

Many women today spend so much time telling the world of their independence that many guys aren’t going to waste their time because they know its going to be a struggle. I’m in that boat. There is nothing more attractive to me than an able, capable woman who has done a great job of setting up a home for herself, is hospitable and able to provide. And I’m still hesitant to express an interest because I’ve seen far too many times these very women, while they claim they want to be lead, cannot let go of that independence once they’ve tasted it. It becomes a control issue. “He’s trying to control me.” No, he’s trying to love you the way you said you wanted to be loved and lead.

The same goes for our relationships. We ask our boyfriend or girlfriend to stop spending time alone with the opposite sex and they think we’re trying to control them. It’s not a control thing it’s a commitment thing. It is being committed to the relationship over the friendship, even enough to saying “Ok, I don’t totally understand why, but I’ll make this sacrifice because you are more important to me.” Whoever figures that out and can bring themselves to act on it is practicing true love, true submission and has power. Real power.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Baby Food Allergies and Sex?

Suppose you’re an infant. Your parents are feeding you all the delectable kinds of baby food on the market to figure out which ones you seem to like the best. They begin to notice you especially like the mashed peas flavor (if one exists). Funny thing however, while you squeal with delight at mealtimes, you break out in a rash and hives not long after.

They take you to the doctor and sure enough, you’re allergic to peas! It’s a common pediatric allergy that you’ll likely grow out of but for now, no more peas. Cool, quick fix. Someday you can once again enjoy the peas after you’ve outgrown the allergy and are able to start eating them again.

But wait, you’re an infant. They can’t communicate with you that mashed peas are bad for you right now and that someday you can enjoy them again. All you know is that all of a sudden, you have to go without your favorite baby food. You fuss and complain because you want something now that will hurt you, when if you just wait a little while longer, you can have all that you like.

Sex is kinda that way. God created it. He made it enjoyable, he wants us to experience it. He made some parameters for us to enjoy it in. It’s called marriage. He knows he made it SO good that once we go there, we are going to want it again and again. Marriage is a place to enjoy lots of sex. There is commitment, (well, there should be) there is security (well, there should be) and in a “Christian” marriage, both parties are loving each other out of a desire to love and serve God (well, they should be). All the (should be's) are geared toward marriages where there is an absence of sex, but thats a different article.

Instead we test the waters. We taste the fruit and man its good! But at 13, 18, or however old you are when you go there, if you’re having sex outside of marriage the commitment is not there. You always have an out and you took part of that person with you. Sadly, marriage today doesn’t even offer that commitment. We get divorced when we’ve lost interest so we move on and its culturally acceptable and even encouraged if your not happy. The idea of investing time and energy in a marriage is a foreign concept.

What if we waited on sex? What if this God that came up with the idea originally was on to something? What if He new that by waiting until we had that commitment, we would save ourselves TONS of heartbreak, confusion and pain along the way? Not to mention drama, disease etc etc etc.

Perhaps you don’t buy this whole God thing. That’s fine. I won’t push it on you but I’ll explain how the bible refers to God. It says we are His children and he is our heavenly father. One verse in particular says “If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask?” (Matt. 7:11)

God love us like your dad loves you (or should have loved you). He wants you to be joyful. That feeling you get when your skipping barefoot through a meadow under a cloudless sky, when you lounging by the pool catching some rays or wherever you are when you’re most happy. That feeling you get when you are completely at peace and most content.

THAT is what a father wants for his child ALL THE TIME. The thing is, dear old dad has lived some life. He knows that the lures of the world and what TV says is cool, could very easily derail us from getting to that point of complete contentment. So he sets up a curfew to protect you girls from boys with bad intentions. He tells you to stay away from drinking and drugs because SO many people fall prey to those lures.

To us, it seems like he’s taking away our mashed pea baby food. He’s taking away the things that we think bring us joy and we think he’s doing it just to be mean. On the contrary, he knows those things could hinder us from getting where WE ultimately want to be, content and joy filled.

God works the same way. The bible is a list of parameters, or a map, He’s set up for us to follow so that we can enjoy things the way he designed them to work, which ultimately will bring us the most satisfaction and joy, it just takes time. We might not think that, but put it to the test ☺

To the young people in the church signing up for online dating services and singles groups like it’s the opening day of a Walmart super center: perhaps you’re in your allergy stage. God knows that right now a relationship (mashed peas) won’t be good for you. You think you can handle it so you fuss and complain, kick and scream and he remains silent. Lord knows I have! But if we wait on his timing and grow out of our allergy stage we can receive the completeness of what He has for us and experience true joy.

You don’t buy the God thing. Ok. I’m sorry. The church today certainly hasn’t made it look like the whole Bible thing is any fun. Instead of telling you why the Bible says what it does, the church just condemns you for your actions and behavior. For that I am sorry.

I’m pretty sure if Jesus were around right now, he’d apologize to and ask if He can straighten out any misconceptions you have. If you said no thanks, I think he’d probably smile and say, “Ok. I love you and I’m hear when your ready.”

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Leaving No Room For Doubt

God continues to reveal new and unique things to me almost daily. At 4:30 in the morning, here is what’s on my mind today:

I continue to meet young men and women who express that they get along far better with the opposite sex. “I’ve just always gotten along better with guys” says a young woman. Likewise many young men say they’ve just always had better relationships with young ladies. I understand where they’re coming from because I would put myself in that category as well. I’ve found it easier to have deeper, personal, meaningful conversations with woman than with guys. I find it encouraging, enlightening and in the back of my mind somewhere, I know that I’m giving God the option to make something happen with on of them if he so chooses (as if he needs my help anyway.)

And I think that’s what many of us do. We maintain countless open “friendships” with people of the opposite sex, reasoning that we just happen to get along better with them and there is no interest beyond being friends. In my own life I can attest to that fact and yet while I am just friends with many of these young women, I’m certainly maintaining some of the relationships in the event that God wants to do something through one of them.

My question now is this: why do we maintain so many relationships with members of the opposite sex when, if we seek to honor God and someone in a future relationship, those friendships are going to have to be drastically changed if not severed completely when the time comes?

A mentor of mine in college shared that he had a best friend all through college who was a girl. They were just friends and never dated but had a significant friendship. When this guy began dating his now wife, this relationship became a problem. His wife trusted him, but it put strain on the relationship that he had this “friendship” with another woman. When they got married some years later, my friend had to painfully tell his friend that his wife is the most important and they need to stop maintaining that friendship, to which she was livid. He reasoned, “She is my wife. She is the most important, and I need to go out of my way to ensure she knows that she is the only one for me.”
I call that leaving no room for doubt.

The woman was crushed, angry and said she never cared to see or hear from him again.

I empathize with her in that she lost a good friend because he got married, but my friend was right. His wife is and needs to be his primary concern. What I’m realizing now is that what if we took steps now, before we are in relationships or married, to change our relationships with members of the opposite sex so that when that time does come, it is less drastic of a change for all of us involved.

God is working on me in this way. I recently spent two weeks back in Oregon during which time I met several girl friends for coffee or lunch. It was great. We enjoyed fellowshipping and catching up on life but the truth is, if I had a girlfriend I wouldn’t, and shouldn’t, be spending this one on one time with other girls.

Some of you agree with me and some of you disagree reasoning, they’re just a friend. Your girlfriend should trust you. I agree, but I don’t think it’s an issue of trust. I think it’s a commitment thing and that I should bend over backwards to ensure that my girlfriend/wife knows that she is the only person for me. Especially in this context, if my friend and I feel like we really want to catch up, it’s just as easy for me or her to bring anther friend so it’s not a one on one deal.

Many of you probably think, well that’s fine when you’re married, but if your just dating you shouldn’t have to do that. “I had this friend before I got into a relationship so my boyfriend/girlfriend should understand.”

I recall a conversation in college with a young woman who said verbatim, “_____ has been my best friend all my life and he always will be. My husband is just going to have to deal with it.”

I do not believe for one minute that that is the attitude God intends for us to take into marriage or a dating relationship period. I see no level of respect or submission in that statement. Should your husband empathize with your situation? To some extent. But, like my friend I mentioned above, had he not invested in that relationship with the young woman, he would have spared himself and her, a great deal of pain when he had to sever the relationship for the betterment of his marriage.

So where does this place us? Do we start cutting ties with all our friends of the opposite sex reasoning, “well, it’s got to happen now or when I get in a relationship.” That’s not what I’m encouraging however I do encourage people to rethink how much time and energy they are putting into their relationships with members of the opposite sex.

If you’re a woman, do you find yourself spending significant time hanging out with guys one on one, even if you both say there is no level of interest? Guys are you constantly calling to chat and encourage your sister in Christ, with good intentions, but instead are creating a situation that ultimately will be harder to walk away from when you get into a relationship down the road?

You might argue that, “Well I hope that he/she would understand and want to be a part of those friendships.” That’s not a bad thought and it’s not out of the realm of possibility. But that needs to happen over time and only IF the other person is ok with it. Chances are ladies, if you’ve got some “best guy friend” that your boyfriend says he’s ok with, more than likely it’s weighing heavily on him whether he says it or not. Guys, you think you can go out to coffee with that busty blond or chat with her online and your girlfriend will be ok with it? Think again. She probably says she is and she probably trusts you, but deep inside, she would much rather you didn’t because she wants to feel COMPLETELY secure in your love.

Another sticky one is people remaining close friends with people they’ve dated in the past. Sure it’s a cool thing that they were able to date and then decide, you know what, this isn’t for us, and step out without completely ruining the friendship but folks, that relationship is ALWAYS going to be a struggle down the road for your significant other. Especially if you became physically involved (sexually) which unfortunately is the case in so many relationship today, both in and outside of the church.

You can argue however much you like about trust and “Well they need to allow me to have my friends” but the truth of the matter is, when you’re married, that person is your priority and leaving no room for them to doubt even ever so slightly, that they are number one and that they are secure in your love, is your number one priority.

Might I offer that you begin taking steps now to change those relationships with members of the opposite sex so that there is a less drastic change down the road when that boy or girlfriend comes along. Don’t spend quite so much time talking on the phone to that particular friend, deepening a friendship that is not going to be maintained at that level after you meet someone and fall in love. Opt not to spend time one on one with your friends of the opposite sex because you develop a pattern that is going to need to be broken when you get into a relationship.

I am NOT saying that you shouldn’t have friends of the opposite sex. I think building relationships with both men and women is part of fellowship and the community that God calls us to. I simply encourage all of us to shy away from spending time one on one with our friends of the opposite sex as this builds ties and deepens the bond between friends that will cause problems in a relationship down the road if we try to maintain that bond or fail to set that friendship aside for the good of our own relationship.

Start now on positioning yourself for that relationship with the person that God has for you someday. Then you won’t have to do what my friend did and all of a sudden painfully break off a friendship with someone that has meant a great deal to you. Ladies, do you feel that you get along better with guys than girls? Strive to find godly women within your church or community that can enlighten and encourage you as only women can do. Regardless of what you think, a guy can never meet your needs for friendship and fellowship like a woman can…we just don’t understand you that well.

Guys, build relationships with other men. That’s a huge part of why our society, even in the church, is where it’s at today because boys today go looking for affirmation and acceptance from women. While it makes you feel warm and fuzzy, there is a lack of true biblical manhood in today’s Christian culture because we guys aren’t seeking out godly men and learning from them.

Build relationships with members of the same sex because no matter what we think, guys and girls have needs that we can’t meet for each other because God made us different. Spend less time focusing on relationships of the opposite sex and more time cultivate deep meaningful relationships with members of the same sex who can instruct you on being a godly young man or young woman. If you want to spend time with your friends, always enlist a third party so it gives no indication of being a date. Even if you guys are just friends, everyone can attest to the fact that people talk and someone is going to make mention that they saw the two of you out.
But that’s a whole different topic for another time. ☺