Raising the Bar (Relationship Series) 

   

This post is for women. Maybe the men will gather something from it, yet it’s written from my heart to women everywhere. Please don’t settle. 

I’m surrounded by men. I chose an occupation that’s mainly male. My family is male dominated. I observe the way men treat women. I listen to the way they talk about women. 

I am not stating men are bad or evil. I do know one principal that’s proven true over the ages…men will (without deep fellowship with God and moral leading) do what they can get away with. It applies to women as well.

I have seen countless women have their lives destroyed by charm that was later revealed to be deception. In the past 10 years over 75% of the associates I’ve known who married have divorced or struggle greatly. So, I hope these tidbits might help someone. 

This isn’t to alarm you. It’s hopefully to provide some insight. 

I asked some of the men I know from work the following questions and here were their candid responses. 

Why do some men only do romantic things while dating? 

A. Why keep doing romantic things? Then she will keep expecting it. I married her, she’s lucky to be with me. You do the romantic things to get a woman…you don’t keep doing them. 

Why if a man has a beautiful, amazing wife or girlfriend will he keep checking out other women? 

A. It’s a guy thing! Men will be men (I hate this phrase by the way). 

If someone was going to kill you or your wife, would you offer to save her? 

A. Why do I have to die? I can get a new wife. Only two men said they would try to save their wives. One wanted to die because he hates being married. Not kidding. 

Why do some men lie? Avoid confrontation? Ignore women instead of dealing with issues.

A. Women don’t want the truth. They can’t handle the truth. And you’re so emotional. We don’t like getting in trouble. Ignoring you we hope you get the hint and go away or leave it alone. It’s a guy thing. 

Why do some men pretend to be someone they are not? 

A. To impress a woman or our guy friends.

What do you add to the relationship?

A. I kill bugs. I take out the trash. I work. I don’t cheat or beat her. 

Notes from them: If they tell you they are not interested, they are not interested. Don’t date or marry them for potential. They are opposed to someone trying to change them. It’s part of the guy code to accept them as they are. For some they admitted being afraid of rejection or failure so they won’t plan dates or go the extra mile. They are sometimes more wounded by rejection than women.

Below are some stories I lumped into categories. Every person is different, I simply lumped stories together based on what I’ve seen or encountered. This isn’t an attempt to sterotype. 

Disclaimer: there are some genuine gentlemen out there. The point isn’t to go around trying to look for dirt, it’s to use wisdom and discernment. 

Mr. Glittering Charmer: 

This guy is charming and wonderful. He says all the right things. Does all the right things. He’s learned what women want to hear. He comes off as someone overwhelmingly wonderful. He’s darn near perfect. Getting you to fall for him fuels his ego.

What can we learn about the charmer? 

1. No one is perfect except God. People come with a few quirks and flaws. 

If someone tells us everything we want to hear all the time, it’s a potential red flag. If they like every single thing we like, it’s a potential red flag. 

2. The Charmer has been told the way into a women’s heart and life is through flattery and charm. His motive is not love, it’s selfish gain and ego.

Stories…

I’ve changed names to protect identities. 

There was Jimmy. Jimmy was on the surface a great guy. He claimed to love God. He liked all the same things Mary loved. He seemed to be a great person. Mary prayed. The more she prayed, the stranger Jimmy behaved. The mask of charm fell off and she began to see Jimmy wasn’t following Jesus at all. He eventually confessed he told women what he thought they wanted to hear to get what he wanted from them. If they liked something, he liked it. He morphed (pretended) to be whoever he thought they wanted so they’d like him. He hurt many women. He used them. Mary was wise to seek God instead of simply going along with Mr. Jimmy Charmer. It prevented her from being used as well. 

There was Beth who had a pursuer who showed up from her past. He presented himself to be an amazing guy with a heart of gold. Gerald ended up marrying Beth. While married he cheated on her with several women and divorced her after getting his citizenship. 

There was Mila and Todd. Todd pursued Mila and presented himself to be an amazing guy. He was always at church and seemed excited about God. After several years of marriage and children, it was found out Todd was having affairs with men, doing drugs, and he left Mila with two kids to raise on her own. Mila became ill and Todd refused to help. He was also verbally abusive to their children.

There was David and Victoria. David was a super charmer who made people believe he was awesome. The more Victoria got to know him, the more the facade began to fade. David was a ragaholic, verbally abusive, unkind, jealous, and hateful. He also began stalking Victoria once she broke things off. He hacked into her email and followed her around. 

Tidbits continued…

3. Pray about any potential mate. Seriously pray and ask God to show you who they really are. People can hide crazy. They can’t hide it from God. Once the heart is involved the brain can get clouded. Just because a person goes to church or claims God doesn’t mean they are truly a genuine person. 

4. Just because someone presents themselves one way doesn’t mean that’s who they are. 

5. Get to know family and friends of a potential mate. People who have known them a long time and can attest to their character.  Pay attention. Who can vouch for their walk with God? 

Date them long enough to see if there is fruit of God’s Spirit. Let your friends and family meet them. What do the people closest to you have to say?  

Do they have Christian community? If not that’s a huge red flag! 

Mr. Looking for Any Woman: 

This guy may seem sincere in his desire to tie the knot. He starts looking for someone to meet his checklist of a wife. He may attempt to move the relationship fairly quickly or use terms of endearment quickly. 

He may say things like, “You’re perfect for me!” Or “You’re everything I want or need.” 

The issue with Mr. Any Women is it’s not about loving you or getting to know who you are. It’s about filling a void and checking you off a list. You will spend lots of time listening to him talk about himself or how you can benefit him. 

Why is this a problem? If you’re content to have a relationship without friendship or love, it’s cool. If you actually want to be with someone who cares about you, not just what you represent, then it’s problematic. Getting married is not like buying a car. It’s a merging of two lives and families. A wife is not a thing to be acquired, she’s a person to be loved.

Stories…

Names changed to protect identities.

There was George. George decided it was time to find a wife. All his friends were getting married so he needed to as well. He decided the best way was to try to get to know several single female friends he had, take them on dates. He was also getting to know another woman. One of the puzzle pieces had to fit right? 

The problem is George was treating women like things instead of people. He chose to pick women who were friends with each other. He told them all how amazing they were. He failed to see that humans are not things. He was looking out for himself. 

There was Jeff who believed he was a great catch because he was doctor. He too was looking for any woman to be his wife. She only needed to be pretty, a Christian, and be willing to give up her life, dreams, ambitions to support his. He didn’t seek to know the women he dated. He talked about himself. He didn’t care what the lady had to say. He needed a role filled. 

What do we learn from Mr. Any Woman…

1. A good relationship is built on two people getting to know each other. If he’s only talking about himself or bringing up how you can bless him, red flag! 

Love is not selfish or one sided. 

2. A relationship is a merging of two lives, not one person being consumed so the other can live. 

Mr. Shady or Nonchalant 

This guy has a way of stringing women along. He has no intention of going the extra mile or loving well. He will give you the bare minimum to keep you hanging onto the fantasy that there’s actually a relationship. His behavior is shadier than a rainforest. If confronted on his behavior, he will quickly blame you. You’re emotional or needy. 

What you need to learn from Mr. Shady or Nonchalant…

1. Love treats you well and does not leave you guessing. If a man is interested and serious, his actions will reflect it. 

2. This guy will continue treating you the way you let him. 

3. It’s not healthy to tolerate poor treatment.

Mr. Fear or Control

This guy is either afraid of commitment, intimacy, rejection, or you thinking he likes you when he doesn’t or is unsure. He may be deeply insecure which is the root of fear or control. 

He may come close and then run away. He may do things that make no sense. He may act like he wants to date you then run for the hills. Fear causes flakiness or fleeing. He may invite people to every meeting with you to avoid intimacy. There is wisdom in meetings if you don’t know someone well. Yet if they never can meet you for even a coffee in a public place or at the church bookstore, it’s something to question. If you’re not stalking him, and he wants to get to know you…a public meeting place is not unreasonable. He also may be married or in another relationship.

Mr. Control wants you to obey him, blindly follow him, and may see being a leader as what he says goes. 

What can we learn from Mr. Fear…

1. If you’re not giving him a reason to run away, it’s his insecurity or fear. 

I read there’s a natural pull away that men do to access how they feel. Yet if he’s always hot then cold, or cold then there’s probably an issue. 

2. Only God’s love casts out fear. 

Stories…

There was Jane. James expressed interest for her yet refused to call her his girlfriend. He knew she wanted marriage, but he was afraid of comittment. He continued to date her without any comittment. 

There was Paul. Paul used women for his physical pleasure. Anytime the relationship seemed to move towards being serious he ran. His motive was sex. Paul hurt many women but his mantra was “Say whatever you need to say and do whatever you need to do to get what you want.” He went to church like everyone else and led many women into his bedroom. 

There was John who micromanaged and controlled his wife and family. He was in charge. He was the man of the house. His wife was the sidekick that supported his mission. It was his way or the high way.

Tidbits…..

3. Fear is actually selfish. Control is selfish. It’s caring more about protecting oneself than others. 

It’s challenging not to take it personally yet I tell my girls, how a person treats you is a reflection of their heart. 

4. Fear and control are fruits of insecurity and a lack of God’s love. 

5. Pray for Mr. Fear or Control to encounter God’s love. 

You don’t have to date him or be a pawn in his game. Yet Mr. Fear and all others need revelations of God’s love. 

Final Notes:

No matter who the guy is who’s pursuing your heart, may you submit him to God. Your heart is not a toy. You are of infinite worth. God wants to give you His best. 

Love, 

Erin 

  

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From God’s Hand or Yours

  
I rarely post things I sense from God  online. Yet hope this helps someone. Certainly pray over it, weigh it, test it, hold up against Scripture and the character of God. I am simply expressing what I sense, it’s not a thus says the Lord. 

Hey singles, engaged or soon to be…or those with single friends/family.

I had this vision this morning and impressions and wanted to share with you. 

I saw these people in the dark sifting through gift boxes. Lifting them up and shaking them. “Is this it? Is this the one? I need to find my box!!! Where’s my box?” 

Across the stream they can see married couples walking around holding hands, being loving and there’s a sense of…”What they have is so great, what about me?” 

I see the Lord lift a veil off the side with married people. Showing what’s beneath the surface. There are some happy couples still. And there are many with shackles on them. Above them I can see the words, “Torment, abuse, unhappiness, struggling, pain, regret, unequally yoked, shame…” 

The Lord points to them and says, “These are the ones who didn’t wait on Me. They made their choice independent of My provision. They may seem happy on the outside but there’s great struggle and pain on the inside. Don’t look at what you see with your natural eyes and allow desperation to make choices for you. I am Your Father. I love you. I want the BEST for you.” 

I can see Him with gifts in His hands, ones He’s custom made. Inside each box a person that He prepared for those digging through a box bin. 

I hear Him say, “Do you want what’s in My hand or what’s in that bin?” 

I saw many leave with random boxes from the bin because they didn’t want to seek what was in God’s hands. They had someone but they didn’t have the tremendous blessing of a custom made gift from God. And He can make more than one, so it’s not a one person for each person. It’s a “What is God blessing?” versus “What can be found independent of Him?” And every person gets to choose. 

Sensed the Lord saying, “Seek Me and trust Me with Your desires. I will never give less than My best. I’m longing to prepare you and the gift I have for you so you’re a blessing to each other. Seek Me. Seek Me. I don’t half do anything. You may choose however you wish. Simply know when I give a gift it’s beyond exceptional. It will draw you closer to My heart as you see what it’s like to love like Me and be loved by someone who’s in tune with Me. Iron sharpening iron. What you need and what you want. Don’t let others pressure you into settling for less than My most excellent best. I know you, and I love you. I know you, and I want to give My best to you. It’s up to you to choose what’s in My hand, or what you can choose from your own hand.” 

I’m praying and have been for God ordained marriages. For born again believers to exemplify what marriage is like from heaven’s perspective. Heavenly Unions set up by God that bring about great Kingdom purposes. Where both people are blessed and grow spiritually together. Healthy marriages that bring God tremendous glory. Both people richly blessed! 

As an unmarried person I can say there’s tons of pressure to get married or be in a relationship. People in Christian circles try to set you up, there’s this “What’s wrong with you?” If you’re unmarried. Sometimes it’s just annoying for me to hear, “I just want you to be happy.” If I get any happier people are going to think I do drugs. God is my joy! 😜 He’s everything. If I ever marry, it won’t be out of desperation or for someone to meet my needs. It will be out of love and a desire to be a blessing to someone else and build the Kingdom of God together… 

If I ever marry I would want that person to choose me out of love not desperation or to get their physical or emotional needs met. “oh I’m on a deadline, Erin might fit the bill…lets go! She will meet my needs, let’s get married!” That’s not love, it’s selfishness. 

My friend Janice told me once when I thought I was in love with this guy…”If he were sick and dying, would you sit by his bedside? Would you clean up after him? Willing to wipe his butt. If he could do nothing for you and was paralyzed, would you forsake all others to care for him? Could you imagine your children growing up like him? If he needed a kidney, would you give him yours?” 

Our society focuses on the wedding, sex, children, status of marriage…God focuses on agape (pure, sacrificial, unconditional) love. Which must come first from Him. 

So my prayer for every person I know who wants to be married, it’s God’s design for marriage so Christians are known for the best marriages and have the lowest divorce rates… 

Feel free to pass on to any singles you know! Whether single or married, may we all seek first the Kingdom of God! He’s worth it all! 😍👑👏🏼🙌🏼

God has the best plan. He doesn’t force His will on us. He does provide input for those who seek Him. 

Love, 

Erin 

Overcoming Disappointment (Relationship Series) 

  
The Lord is near to the heartbroken,~Psalm 34:18a. 

Today I wanted to chat with you about disappointment. Since we are human there’s a chance we’ve been disappointed or will disappoint someone. We are not perfect only God is perfect. 

We also live in a world that is filled with wickedness and sin. One of the most damaging sins is selfishness. It destroys so many relationships. Couple it with insecurity and you have a perfect storm. 

There are people that state since God loves us, He’s approving of all our misdeeds. This is untrue. We can grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). 

God loves us as we are. He doesn’t approve of everything we do. Look at these verses from Genesis 6. 

The Lord saw that the wickedness (depravity) of man was great on the earth, and that every imagination or intent of the thoughts of his heart were only evil continually. The Lord regretted that He had made mankind on the earth, and He was [deeply] grieved in His heart,~Genesis 6:5-6. 

So if you’re suffering from disappointment in relationships, God understands how you feel. 

Before we blame the other party, let’s talk a bit more about disappointment. 

Disappointment is linked to expectation. 

  • If perfection is expected in a relationship it leads to major disappointment. God is the only one who does not fail. We can place all confidence in Him. People come with flaws and some with major baggage. Grace empowers us to love and receive love. We are not perfect, therefore we cannot demand it from others. 

Our brokenness attracts others who are broken. 

  • For a long time I attracted people who were super critical, judgmental, and harsh. It’s the opposite of my natural bend. Yet I attracted them and was affected by their behavior. I found because of someone in my family who wounded me deeply through the same behaviors I was attracting the same type of person to deepen that wound. The wound in my soul from childhood needed healed. Since the wound has been healed, I no longer attract people who are critical, harsh, or judgmental. If I do cross paths with them, I’m not affected by their behavior. It rolls right off. 
  • So if you’re attracting toxic behaviors from people, there may be a wound on your soul. Ask God to highlight anything in you that’s attracting the same situations. He will answer. 
  • The same goes for attracting abusers, cheaters, bad friends. 

Pay attention to what you tolerate. 

  • I’ve been the most disappointed by people who say “I love you,” and their actions are so far from love. I learned I was tolerating things I shouldn’t. As soon as I stopped tolerating certain things the person either walked away or changed. If the bar is set low, there can be no complaints when people behave poorly. Love others, love yourself. 

Stop settling!!! 

  • Whether it’s friendship or dating, stop settling. Settling for less than God’s most excellent best is a sure way to end up disappointed! 

Don’t expect reciprocation. 

  • Giving or loving to get something from people is manipulation. It’s a form of control as well. God is the rewarder when we do the right things to bring Him glory.
  • People may never, ever return the love you give them or have given them. So it must be done with a free hand, with no expectation of return from the person you’re serving or loving. 

Understand your love does not change people. 

  • This is a lie women are often told. If you love this person enough they will change or love you back. Wrong. God loves perfectly and people reject Him. I’ve seen beautiful, lovely, kind women still end up dumped or abused or cheated on. The other person must love themselves and change based on what God is doing in their life. 

Don’t seek a fixer upper. Don’t date or befriend someone for potential. 

  • It’s a big fat trap that ties into not settling. I was with someone for a long time based on his potential. Guess what? He never reached his potential. Nope. He’s still (to my knoweldege) in a similar place. 

Don’t mistake ministry or charity for relationship. 

  • If you’re giving, serving and that’s it. It’s ministry or charity. If you attempt to treat a ministry assignment like a friendship you will be disappointed. 
  • Friends encourage, support, are there for you, care about you, want what’s best for you, and bring life. They don’t just take from you. 

Take your time getting to know people.

  • I’m the same all the time. Meaning I’m not putting on a front so people like me. I’m the same at work, at home, in the beginning of the relationship to the end. Not everyone is that way. If you don’t take the time to figure out who the person really is, it leads to major disappointment! 
  • Ask God to show you who the person really is. It’s my favorite prayer! God always answers. 

There was a guy years back who was trying to get to know me and I prayed for God to show me who he really was. I kept having dreams of him hiding behind grey screens, in shady places. I kept praying. I finally got out of him that he was essentially faking relationship with God. I was able to bypass his deceptive schemes through prayer and seeking God. I recommend praying God show me who this person really is for friendships and dating.

Lastly…
I’ve invested quite a bit of my life in relationships. Giving, serving, loving, etc…the circle of people around me I trust truly love me is small. It’s very small. That’s okay. Have I been disappointed, yes greatly. Oh so much. Have I disappointed people, probably. I try to be good to everyone, yet you never know.  Yet the Lord has revealed that no one suffered more than Jesus. He loved and loves perfectly (I do not). Those He came to save betrayed Him greatly, denied Him, wouldn’t stay up to pray with Him, refused to believe Him. So no matter what we do, there may or will be disappointments with fallen humanity. 

We have a choice: offense or forgiveness, isolation or community, woundedness or healing, wisdom or foolishness, staying the same or creating change. 

I’m super encouraged by the story of Joseph. His brothers sold him into slavery and so many people failed him. God did not. God gave Him a position that saved the lives of many. There’s hope in God for a better future. 

People will hurt you, it’s up to you to either stay wounded or let God heal. We all need God’s amazing grace! We all need mercy. Forgiveness and mercy does not mean you are required to be in relationship with that person. It means you release that person or group of people to God. You refuse revenge. You refuse bitterness. You give it all to God. And you pray for them the way you’d want someone to pray for you. 

Part of overcoming disappointments is trusting God with relationships. He does exceedingly and abundantly, above all we could ask or imagine.  

Praying you are blessed beyond measure with outstanding relationships. 

Love, 

Erin 

  

Give Me or Prepare Me? (Relationship Series)

  
I’ve heard so many people cry out, “God send me this amazing person.” Yet I’ve not heard as many pray, “God prepare me for this amazing person. What do they need?”

God is a gift giver and loves to give good gifts to His children. He tells us… 

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of lights [the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens], in whom there is no variation [no rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [for He is perfect and never changes],~James 1:17 (Amplified). 

Are you preparing for what you are asking Him for? Becoming the type of person you’d  want to be with? 

How Does One Prepare? 

1. Putting God First; Seeking Him Above All Things 

If intimacy with God is sought before a mate, there’s a higher probability of maintaining proper focus and healthy identity. 

Marriage is one of the acceptable idols in our culture and the church. Identity in marital status is seen everywhere. Marriage is seen as validation when God is supposed to be the One who defines who a person is. 

Seeking a spouse to fill a need only God can fill is actually idolatry. He’s the Source of eternal love, identity, security, peace, joy, hope. A spouse is to compliment, not complete or replace God. 

No spouse can be God. He has no equals. He cannot be replaced with a human being. Even married couples are supposed to seek Him first before each other. Meaning personal relationship with God doesn’t end because someone said “I do.”

2. Pursue Soul Healing 

Brokenness attracts brokenness. Marriage does not fix brokenness it amplifies it. If there are issues in the soul (fear, insecurity, depression, lust, selfishness, poor spending habits, addiction, anger, low self esteem), it’s a great time before marriage to allow God to work on those things. 

One of my frequent prayers is, “God purge my soul of anything that isn’t like You! I want nothing in common with darkness.” He has been and is working out His character in my life and healing my soul. 

3. Serve

Say what? Yes I said serve. A child of God is called to be a servant. Leaders are servants. It’s easy to serve someone when there is personal gain. What happens when they have nothing to offer? 

Science has shown that chemicals and hormones play a role in connecting people. These do not last, once they wear off…that’s when many people say they are no longer “in love.” The passion and chemistry that was helped along by hormones has diminished. 

If the mentality is, “This person will make me feel good, help me, support me…” What happens when they can’t? Then there’s discontentment or searching for someone else who can fulfill a need. 

We can always serve. Psychologists have shown the one who gives is the one who eventually grows to love. They are invested. Consumers don’t stay in love for they have nothing invested. Hence the Bible telling us to give, and do nothing out of selfish ambition. Love gives. It’s a good lesson to learn before “I do.” It’s for life. 

I had a lady tell me once she needed a really hot husband who could make her happy. I said, “What if he gets sick and can’t do anything for you,” she responded, “I don’t think I could stay with him.” 

Our culture promotes selfishness. It’s not Christlike. Jesus was and is a servant. 

Selfishness differs from self care. We are to take care of ourselves: rest, eat healthy, take breaks, set boundaries, and fuel our spirit/body/soul good things. 

4. Pray For That Future Person  

Why not? If marriage is your desire, praying for your future spouse is an investment. Everyone needs prayer. There’s a great book on the market called Heavenly Union. Great for already married couples too! Highly recommend. It’s only $6.99 for Kindle. The prayers are scripture prayers. 

Heavenly Union: Decrees for a Heavenly Marriage
5. Save Some Money and Pay Off Debt 

I’m not saying this is a requirement. Just wouldn’t it be nice to go in with something? I read somewhere that the average American wedding was ~30,000. There are some starting their lives together in significant debt: loans, credit cards. 

I admit I have student loans and a house loan. These will take a while to pay off. Yet I’m doing what I can to invest in God’s Kingdom and save. 

Sample budget. 

  • God first: 10%
  • Bills (house, utilities, food/gas…)
  • Offerings: 3 to 5%
  • Blessing others: 5 to 10% 
  • Savings/Retirement: 15 to 20%

I could bump up my savings and not give offerings or bless people, yet that doesn’t fit my core value of generosity. I’ve found that being a blessing to others never leaves me with less than I need. God always sends it back, multiplied! 

There’s overgiving, make sure you’re paying your bills and using wisdom. Yet don’t be afraid to give and save. 

Money causes many arguments in relationships. Learning how to budget and manage it is a good skill to have. I’m still learning too, so much! I don’t like to spend, I like to save and invest. Seeking wisdom on investing so God gets more return. It’s His money, we are stewards. 

Highly recommend Dave Ramsey’s resources. 

Dave Ramsey Financial Freedom Website
Lastly, prayer for you. 

Papa God I ask for all the singles desiring marriage that You would prepare them and their future spouse for each other. I ask for souls to be healed, identies rooted in You, wisdom in choosing a spouse, freedom from choosing out of loneliness/need/fear/lust or selfish reasons. I ask for a deeper revelation of Your great love! In Jesus powerful name. Amen.