Allow God to Meet Your Needs (Sacred Sex Series Part V)

  
Good morning beautiful people. 

You are loved! 

Today I wanted to chat with you about needs. We, as humans, have needs. Those needs left unmet can lead to soul wounds, despair, discouragement, hurt, unhealthy relationships, or addictions. 

What are our basic needs. Well, other than food and water, we need: 

  • Affection
  • Affirmation
  • Encouragement
  • Family (does not have to be natural) 
  • Sense of Belonging 
  • Unconditional, unselfish, sacrificial (Agape) Love: we were created by love, to be loved, and to love.

God is the primary Source of these things. If we bypass Him to try to get those needs met by others, well it brings problems. God loves purely. There is no bias. 

God is stable, consistent, and will not love you today and withhold love tomorrow. God comes to give and not consume. God comes with a heart of pure unconditional, sacrificial, and lavish love. 

People, substances, and things were never created to replace our need for God. When they replace Him, unhealthy habits, and unhealthy relationships form. It also leads to great disappointment. 

In our culture we have people looking for love in all the wrong places, with all the wrong faces, in an attempt to fill a void only God can fill. 

So how do we deal? The world offers so many opportunities to get needs met in unhealthy ways. God offers healthy ways.

  1. Start with God. 
  2. Seek healthy community 
  3. Set boundaries for weaknesses

God tells us the following in His word. 

  • Mt 6:8…”your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.”
  • Ps 34:10…”…those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.”
  • Ps 24:1…”The earth is the Lord’s, and all it’s fullness,…”
  • Ps 50:10…”…every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.”
  • Gen 18:14…”Is anything too hard for the Lord?”
  • Mt 7:7…”Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
  • Rom 8:32…”He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall he not with Him also freely give us all things?”

The love God has for us is pure, genuine, overflowing, and good. 

He is available 24/7 to provide love, encouragement, hope, joy, peace, and His goodness. He provides affirmation, healing, and affection. 

When we start with God we have a better idea of what genuine love is and what it is not. When we start with God, we leave full and have something to offer others. We enter relationships not out of great need, but to be a blessing. 

Community: 

We were designed to live and thrive in community. Community provides an outlet for family. God’s design was for everyone to have a family. Unfortunately our culture has models of brokeness. Some people are not loved by their natural families. 

God designed the Body of Christ to be a source of family for people. We are still working out the kinks of family in church, yet that was God’s design. 

Pray for God to place you in a family if you do not have one. He excels at divine connections. 

Family provides a safe place for some of those needs. A God given family is a blessing. 

Set Boundaries: 

Where do you turn when there is a need? To food, alcohol, the internet, a person? Knowing your triggers helps to prevent sin. If I know I am feeling down, where do I turn? God or people? 

I have found people are nice, but sometimes they make me feel worse. They offer scripture bandaids that often are not helpful. Or they have zero compassion or offer judgement. Or they blow me off because they are concerned about themselves. So, for the most part, I go to God. My boundary is set with “I will spend time with God, not seek help from people.” 

There are times I will solicite help from people, yet many learning bumps later I have seen and continue to see my best bet is God.

Your boundary may be different. It may be, “When I am hurting or in need, I turn to this person or thing.” You may need to set a boundary of, “I will not seek to connect with anyone before I connect with God.” 

You and I were designed for intimacy (knowing others and being known). We were created to be loved, affirmed, encouraged, and to have affection. Those needs are normal. The way we get those needs met is what leads us on a path of purity or unhealthy living. 

I bless you friends. You are prayed for and deeply loved. 

Love in Christ, 

Erin Lamb 

Advertisements

Unashamed (Sacred Sex Series Part II) 

  
This photo from wordswag is of two ballerinas, male and female dancing. They are wearing white leotards/tights. Just clarifying so no one freaks out. 🙂 

Here is the original (beautiful right?): 

  In the continuation of this series I have been thinking about Genesis 2:25. It reads: 

Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

We know the word naked means without clothing. They were vulnerable. There was nothing they felt they needed to hide or airbrush away. 

Adam and Eve had no insecurities. They did not have body issues or body shame. They did not have lust issues. They did not pick each other apart, “Where are your six pack abs? Maybe a few runs around the Garden might help you out!” 

They were free to be who God created them to be; loved, seen, secure, and known in the boundary of covenant. 

They knew no shame. Carrying shame is not our friend. Repeat with me, “Carrying shame is not my friend.” Awesome, we are on the same page. Carrying shame leads to pain.

What on earth is shame some may ask? Let’s talk about shame. 

Shame:

a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.

synonyms:

humiliation, mortification, chagrin, ignominy, embarrassment, indignity, discomfort, guilt, remorse, contrition, compunction. 

Lets’s look at Genesis 3:6-13, when shame entered the equation. 

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”

So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”

Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”
And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The aftermath of the first sin was as follows: 

  • Feel uncovered/vulnerable
  • Cover up yourself/your vulnerability 
  • Fear 
  • Hide from God 
  • Blame 

After the fall, Adam and Eve realized they had no clothes-they realized their vulnerability and sin. They decided they would fix the problem by covering up their vulnerability and then hide from God. They, for the first time, knew sin. 

Adam blamed Eve. Eve goes on to blame the serpent and well it just spirals downward. Oh, the dreaded curses of the Fall. 

Before you check out because Adam and Eve’s sins brought pain, death, turmoil, shame, and heartache into humanity know Jesus was already a part of God’s plan to redeem humanity. Praise pause. 

God knew before creating humanity  we would mess up. I will maybe touch on that in another post. He also knew Adam was hiding. Interesting! 

Sin leads to hiding. Sin, untouched by the forgiveness of God, leads to shame-unless our sense of right and wrong is perverted/seared/numbed. 

Women and shame: 

Sometimes the shame comes not from the sins we have committed, but from the sins committed against us. I have prayed for and peer counseled women who have been sexually abused, sexually harassed, or verbally abused. They grew to hate their bodies, their sexuality, or sex altogether. Some were used by men for sex. Some gave themselves away. Some struggled with their desires, thought life. Why? Sin leads to shame. 

Women especially are judged by their physical appearance and sex appeal. I have heard men state, “Women are only good for one thing.” There are too many stats on rape, sexual abuse, pornography, the sexist images of women, and the exploitation of women to talk about it here. 

Just know God created women to be loved. He says, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made.” God likes who He created and woman was not just created simply to meet a physicial need for man. God gave woman a brain, a heart, and she was created in the image of God to be loved by God and by man. Love is not about taking or self gratification. Love is about giving. Agape love is not selfish. 

Men and shame:

Sexual and physical abuse hurts men too. I have not counseled men, so I have less experience in this area. I do know men are judged by how “manly” they can be. I hear them talk about this “man card.” So there is intense pressure to be validated by other men and I have seen men shame or humiliate other men who where not “masculine” enough. If you add in sexual abuse, especially by a another man that can lead to deep rooted shame. There can also be fear of not being man enough. 

I have heard men say they felt shame for their high desires for physical intimacy. Some run like the wind from any pretty woman. Others have secret lives of images they view on a screen or an inner world that lacks purity (some women do too).

Some struggle with same sex attraction (both genders) and feel deep fear and shame. 

Some do not know the difference between lust and God given attraction to the opposite sex. 

God’s plan (love, intimacy, covenant): 

Sex was God’s idea. His intention was physical intimacy inside the boundaries of commited love between a man and woman. Why? So they could be vulnerable, protected, loved, known, cared for, and unashamed. 

God is all about love and connection. He is relational. He also established the first family through procreation. 

When someone loves  unconditionally, truly loves, you can let your defenses down and be vulnerable. You are free to be who you are. Just as in the Garden, Adam and Eve were vulnerable and without shame (fear, hiding, humiliation, embarrassment). 

Every human being was created for intimacy (to be known and loved). Our world focuses so much on the physical aspect of intimacy. Yet God sees beyond the physical. 

We were created to be loved, respected, known, secure, and cared for. To God intimacy is about connection and not just pleasure. God created physical intimacy to connect two souls, bodies, spirits. It was designed for more than procreation and pleasure. 

He said, “I will give man and woman a way to be loved and known on a deep level. Two become one.” This does not mean you morph into one person. It means the connection joins two people. 

Those in Christ are joined with Him. We become one with the Lord. This does not mean God becomes us or we become God. It does not mean we lose our identity either. It means we are connected through an eternal covenant of love through faith; heart to heart, spirit to Spirit. 

Shame seeks to pervert love and destroy intimacy. The cycle of shame is filled with hiding, fear, feeling bad, sin-then hiding, fear, feeling bad, more sin…you get the picture. We were not designed for shame. We were made for agape love. We were not created to try to measure up to some magazine or movie standard. We were not created to be abused or treated like a disposable object. We were not created to hide or pretend, or blame or seek to cover ourselves. We were created for relationship with God then others. 

Jesus is the only One who can pay for our sins. He is the covering. So, no matter whether we have sinned or been sinned against-we seek a Savior. He is Jesus. All failures, insecurities, abuse, misplaced appetites, affections, desires for affection, all of it can be laid at His feet. Jesus paid it all. He took our shame so we could live unashamed! 

Father God for any person who is struggling tonight with shame, I ask for a washing in Your love and power. If there are things which require repentance and greater freedom, please bring them to light. Align minds with Yours. Lord Your loving light heals anything in the darkness. Only Your Son can cover. Your perfect love casts out fear. No more hiding. May everything be laid before You. You love us so. In Jesus powerful name. Amen. 

Sacred Sex Series Intro

  
This new series is about physical intimacy; sex. It is a spin off of the Relationship Series. 

Run away from sexual immorality [in any form, whether thought or behavior, whether visual or written]. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the one who is sexually immoral sins against his own body,~1 Corinthians 6:18 (Amplified). 

Our culture is super saturated with messages about sex that is leaving us multitudes of the sexually broken and confused. 

Why this series? What can I bring to the table? Well, I am trained in deep inner healing and caring for the wounded soul (mind, will, emotions) and spirit. 

In meeting with people and walking them through the healing process you get to see the aftermath of choosing a way that is outside God’s boundaries. I have seen what sexual sin does to the soul and spirit of a person. 

I’ve watched people I deeply love have their lives turned upside down because they chose their way over God’s. 

I’ve seen the blessings of doing things God’s way, even when people say you are crazy for pursuing purity. 

I’ve seen how God restores, heals, mends the sexually broken. There’s always hope in Jesus. 

If I can prevent one person from wounding their soul or the soul of another, it is worth writing this series. If I can walk one person into freedom, it is worth writing this series. I hope to give you tools to walk in purity, tools for mending the broken or wounded soul/spirit, and courage to stand when your flesh is crying out, “Cave in!” 

I hope to give you information from the word of God and His view on sex. Why on earth did God design us the way He did? 

Part of my ministry is focused on intimacy with God. I hope to dive into God’s orginal design for intimacy between human beings.

God is not timid, bashful, afraid, or ashamed of sex (it was His idea). He is also not out to shame us, harm us, or hurt us. God loves us. God loves what He created. God blesses sex between a natural born man and natural born woman in covenant (life time committed love/relationship). We will talk about covenants later. 

So let’s get started…

I grew up being told not to have sex before marriage. There was little explanation as to why I shouldn’t have sex outside marriage. Maybe people were unaware of the impact sex has on the soul and spirit of a person. 

I watched young boys be told, “Men will be men. We cannot expect purity out of them, but you girls better behave.” I am a logic driven person. So these statements made no sense. Who exactly were these boys going to be practicing being “men” on…someone’s daughter. 

Having sex, btw, does not make a man a man. Being a male is something God gives through the DNA. The chromosomes of men read XY, male. Yes there is growing from being a boy into a man, yet scripture never links manhood to sex. If it did, Jesus would not be considered a man. He did not have sex with anyone. We read of Godly manhood linked to being responsible, full of integrity, humble, dependent on God, compassionate, walking in selfless love, honoring and empowering women, laying your life down, purity, caring for the weak, honesty, etc…Jesus modeled perfect masculinity. 

I watched girls in my middle school, high school, and college be shamed for their choices to engage in sex, while boys were celebrated, “Atta boy! He’s man now.

Women were shamed for desiring physical intimacy and men were celebrated! It sent a message to women, “Desiring physical intimacy makes you dirty, unclean, unholy.” No wonder some Christian women report not enjoying intimacy with their husbands and shame over their desires or past. 

Culture tells men, “Take, take, take from women. Commitment makes you weak. Engage in whatever makes you feel good. She was created for your pleasure. It is all about you. You are the man.” Our culture promotes selfishness which is sin. Love is not selfish. 

I have listened to men around me over the years sexualize women (“women are good for one thing…ha ha, man grunt“), promote manhood as being promiscuous, and view sex as the most important thing in the world. 

I’ve been on the receiving end of sexual harassment, men commenting on my body parts, approaching me in ungodly ways based on their lust or passions. I have been bombarded by images of women idealized based on their bodies or measurements. 

I dress modestly, yet that does not prevent the occasional man from ogling me like a bacon sandwich or following me around to stare at me. When called out on their behavior, I have been told, “Men can not help themselves. We are visual.” So I am blamed for their lack of self control. I wear clothes that completely cover and it still does not help. 

Lust is a spirit and heart condition. It is not the natural wiring of man or woman. Adam did not lust after Eve. Eve did not lust after Adam. They knew love (we will talk about lust later). 

I’ve also seen Christian men run from women they found attractive. “I dont want to sin, run Forrest run!” This behavior has left some Christian women feeling deeply rejected. They are pursued by nonbelievers and avoided by men who claim to love Jesus. “Get away from me Jezebel! You temptress!!!” God told us to live out of love, not fear and suspicion. Every attractive woman is not out to seduce every man and vice versa. We use wisdom, not fear. Also natural sexual attraction is not lust. Lust seeks to take and devour for its own pleasures. 

I’ve been ridiculed for choosing God’s way or agreeing with Him about sex or purity. I have had guys bypass me because I refused sex outside marriage (yes, they claimed to be Christians). I have heard the statements, “Times have changed. That’s old fashioned.” 

God has not changed the boundaries He established because the consequences are the same. He is not double minded. Living outside His boundaries leads to brokeness. 

So, I hope this series gives you honest things to ponder. I hope it inspires you to investigate God’s original design. I hope you ask questions and see God’s viewpoint of sex. It was His idea. 

I hope your heart and mind grow to know God more. Placing God at the center of everything is a sure way to find blessings! I pray healing takes place. 

Until next time, here are some resources for you and I will close us in prayer. 

Moral Revolution Website: Moral Revolution

Moral Revolution Book: Moral Revolution Book

The Wait by DeVon Franklin: The Wait BookThe Wait (Amazon)

You can also find Moral Revolution and DeVon Franklin on Instgram. 

Papa God thank You for Your original design. Thank You for all of creation. You are beyond genius. I pray every person reading this series has an encounter with Your Holy Spirit. I ask all shame, guilt, and condemnation be laid before You. For those struggling with purity, I ask for increased awareness of Your love and sustaining power. 

Purity is more than refraining from sexual activity. It is the status of the heart. Any impure motives in our hearts, I ask they are cleansed. Any selfishness in our hearts, please cleanse. Any unholy images or memories, be cleansed by the power of Jesus. 

Help us to live with Your eyes and heart, viewing people the way You do. Help us to view physical intimacy the way You do. I speak healing and wholeness to each soul. I ask for a cleansing of the heart and mind, in Jesus powerful name. Amen. 

Love in Christ, 

Erin Lamb 

Believe, Know, Listen, & Follow (Intimacy with God)

This is from my book website ithoughtiknewwhatlovewas.com. I posted it this morning. I try not to post the same thing on both sites but felt led to. There are different followers on each site. I hope this encourages you to plunge the depths of God’s heart. He loves you!

IMG_0416.JPG

Photo credit: Son of God movie

John 10:25-30.

Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”

I recommend reading all of John 10. In this passage Jesus refers to Himself as the good Shepherd. Shepherds were overseers of flocks. Sheep are not the brightest animals. They will fall into ditches, see another sheep in a ditch and fall in…they can wonder off and be destroyed because they are not wise. Shepherds protected their sheep. They were invested in keeping them safe. They’d lay at the gate to prevent them from escaping. They spent time with the sheep. They rescued wayward sheep.

Jesus is the good Shepherd. We are like the sheep. He’s responsible to care for us, reveal who He is to us, and we are to know and follow Him. We are not an obligation to God. We are His dearly loved children.

In the verses above Jesus is responding to the questions of the Pharisees about who He is. Is He the Christ? I love His responses. He stated, “You do not believe, therefore you are not my sheep. My sheep know and follow me.

Intimacy with God starts with faith. It starts with belief.

Do you believe God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do?
It is not enough to simply believe there is a God or Jesus is the Son of God. Even the demons believe and tremble. (James 2:19), yet they are not saved. There’s no salvation for them. There is for humanity.

If you’re reading this and you’ve never confessed your sins before God, repented (made a decision to turn from sinning and turn to God), asked God to cleanse you of your sins, placed your faith in Jesus Christ as the appropriation for your sins, and asked Him to be your Lord and Savior, I invite you do so. There’s no salvation apart from Him. There’s no entrance to heaven without going through the Son. We can’t do enough good works to earn holiness or righteousness. Jesus did it for us. We by faith, receive what He’s done and accept His righteousness as our own.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” John 14:6.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith,~Romans 3:23-25a.

If you invited God into your life, I would love to hear from you and provide more information to you.

The second step in intimacy with God is being with Him.

Sheep spent their time with the shepherd. They learned his voice, his smell, his mannerisms. It’s impossible to have intimacy (knowing) with someone and you never spend any time. If Sunday morning is the only time you spend with God, well your level of intimacy is not going to be high.

I am not stating you attend worship services all week, lock yourself in a room to pray and read the Bible all day. I am saying we can commune with God every day, as much as we’d like. One of my morning activities is to start the day with worship and thanksgiving. “Good morning God! I love you. Thank you for who you are and all you’ve done. I invite you to be a part of my day. What do you want to do? Who do you want to bless?” And there are days where I’m just listening. What is God doing? What is He saying? It’s not a ritual, it’s relationship.

Intimacy with God involves listening and knowing His voice.

The Bible says God speaks. There are some who teach He doesn’t and that does not align with scripture. God speaks to His children. If you had children and wrote an instruction manual for them, would you then say, “I refuse to speak to you. Go read the book I gave you.” That would seem insane. Yet some teach God only speaks to us through the Bible. God spoke to people in the Bible through dreams, visions, directly, through prophets, even through a donkey. Before you get too excited, let’s lay down some ground rules.

1. When God speaks He will not tell you to sin or violate His already written word.

I had someone tell me once the Holy Spirit told her not to read the Bible ever and only to listen to the voice she was hearing. That’s wrong and violates scripture.

I heard someone say God told them to leave their spouse for someone else. That’s wrong. It violates many scriptures.

Our culture says do whatever feels good for you and if it’s “love” or feels good, God must approve of it. That’s wrong. If there’s no place in scripture where God is condoning a behavior, you can’t condone it either and claim it’s God. There are some verses that seem to contradict each other which is why God gave His Holy Spirit to teach us.

We can’t toss out the Bible and rely on feelings, human wisdom, angelic visitations, or voices we believe are God.

2. All prophecy (speaking God’s word) is to be tested. Meaning the following:

Does it align with God’s word? Example, there are many false prophecies about when the world will end. Well, the Bible states the following:

“No one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows,”~Matthew 24:36.

Does the prophecy fit the character of God?

I’ve had destructive words spoken over me. There was no life in them. God does give warnings. He also provides redemption. Those who repent can find hope and life in Him. Jesus came to save, not destroy. If people are destroyed, it will be because they refused the gift He offered and refused repentance.

Finally intimacy with God involves following Him.

We are called to obey God. It’s not a popular teaching, yet Jesus taught it often. Christianity is not simply praying a prayer, it’s following a person. That person is Jesus. We cannot claim to love God and live a life where we refuse to do what He says. He gives us grace and His Spirit to enable us to do His will. If we cease to obey, we will eventually cease to hear from Him. If He continues to speak, we are held accountable for what we know. So if you feel super disconnected from God, one thing to ask is , “Has He told me to do something I have not done?”

I will continue this series because I truly believe we perish for lack of knowledge of who God is. We are called to know Him, to be loved by Him, to love Him, and enjoy Him. God is not boring, cold, stern, a kill joy, or mean spirited. He is good, holy, exciting, adventurous, overflowing with love and joy. He’s beyond amazing. He’s generous, faithful, merciful, and forgiving. The evil one doesn’t want the world to know who God is and how good He is. Once you know Him, it’s almost impossible to resist Him.

Will you join me on this relentless pursuit of God’s heart? I hope so.

You’re continually in my thoughts, prayers, and you are deeply loved (John 3:16).

Love,

Erin

The Single Reality (Part 10)

To Date or Not to Date, That is The Question?

Today we will tackle the topic of Christian dating? Who’s excited? I hope you are. First let me say that much of what will be sharing is based on my own experiences and experiences of people I know. You have to decide on your own with God what’s best for you.  The Bible doesn’t talk much about courtship in how to (the 10 commandments of dating). Paul did encourage those who were burning with desire to marry instead of simply hook-up. Well, not exactly his words, but you get what I am saying. We are told what not to do, but what about what we are supposed to do.

Here’s my top 10 dating tips:

1. Find out who you are alone first. It’s easy to try find another person to validate or fill a void. However, if you date to heal low self-esteem you will attract another person with low self-esteem and insecurities. Two insecure people makes for a roller coaster relationship. Trust me on this one. Let God heal you; love, respect, and accept yourself, and then add another person.

2. Keep pursuing Jesus! God knows where you are and will most likely align your life with someone headed in the same direction. He brings people together who compliment each other and can help one another. Some of the happiest couples I’ve met have met each other while serving God. Their paths crossed and they built a friendship. Their friendship evolved into a romantic relationship. They weren’t looking; God had their paths cross.

3. Leave the house. Some people like the online dating sites. I have no opinion on them. Pray and decide what’s best for you. I know people who have met their spouse online and they are happy. Some people have had no luck. With that said, if you never leave the house, you’re probably not going to meet anyone. I am not advocating making yourself super busy to meet someone. I am advocating living! Find things you like to do and do them. Join a gym, take a class, join a group, get going. I’ve found angels don’t deliver people to your doorstep, though I’ve never asked so who knows. I doubt though that God will FedEx your spouse to you. 🙂

4. Find out about that person’s walk with Jesus. Many people go to church who do not know Jesus. They know of Him, but they have no deep relationship with Him. Where are you in your walk with God? Do you want someone to spur you on, challenge you to grow stronger in your faith, pray and interceed for you, someone who loves like Jesus? Those qualities come from abiding in Christ. If the person you’re interested in isn’t passionate about Jesus, then why would you want to hitch your life to them?

5. Build a friendship, wait for romance and too much intimacy. Movies make it romantic and glamorous to fall in love in 20 seconds and live happily ever after. Well, that works in the movies, it does not always work in real life. People immediately want to kiss, hold hands, share their soul and deepest thoughts. There is nothing wrong with those activities. However, if friendship (platonic) is not the first thing built, then your foundation is not as solid. Friendship is what will hold your relationship together when the romance has subsided. The sooner you introduce physical or emotional intimacy, the more difficult it is to get out of the relationship if it isn’t right. It also makes it more difficult to see the flaws in the other person, things you may need to address before your heart is entangled. God created us to link up and join with people forming strong bonds. Intimacy fortifies (strengthens) those bonds. Once they are formed, it’s not easy to walk away. Also, if someone cannot be a good friend to you, do you want to have a romantic relationship with them?

6. Trust your gut. Sometimes we know someone is not right for us, but we continue on in a relationship just to be in one. Well, if we know it isn’t right we are wasting another persons time and our time. I dated someone who on paper looked great, but something in my gut said, “Red Flag. Abort…He’s not the right person for you.” I prayed and asked God to show me who this guy really was. Glad I asked. There were several deal breakers, and I saved myself from future heartache.

7. Set boundaries, have accountability. We are not immune to temptation. So plan ahead for it. Don’t simply go with flow and think you’ll able to make the right choice. In the moment you may not be able to. It’s better to prepare ahead of time and tell the other person what your boundaries are, than to fall into temptation or sin. It’s good to have a trustworthy friend you can confide in and seek counsel from as well. Someone who won’t go blabbing your business to everyone.

8. Please don’t date if you don’t want to get married. A non-Christian can get away with this. Most Christian singles date to find a mate. So, if you know you aren’t ready, don’t want to, or don’t see yourself marrying the person interested in you, don’t date. I’ve made this mistake before. I dated people with no intention of ever marrying them or anyone. I was more interested in traveling, following passions and dreams, etc…I had no desire at all to be married, yet I was dating people. I told them I wasn’t interested in marriage at the time, and I think some thought I’d change my mind or something. Then things just got awkward and people were disappointed when they realized I meant what I said. I liked the people I was spending time with and the friendship was good. However, I did not want to be married and we are to be good stewards of people’s hearts. I was doing a horrible job.

9. Dont just get to know the person, get to know their friends and family. A person who cannot sustain any healthy friendships with other Christians is a big red flag. There needs to be someone who knows the person and can vouch for them. It’s easy to hide crazy. However, people are more themselves around their closest friends and family. If they cannot build a healthy relationship with someone who they are not romantically involved with, then be concerned.

10. Take your time. Everything in our society is fast paced. People are always in a hurry. However, when it comes to your future, you have the right to take your time. Marriage is supposed to be until death. That’s a long time. Imagine 50 years with someone you can’t stand. People also put their best foot forward the first year or two they know you. I’m not saying you need to date for 5 years then get married. I am saying that people are out to impress when they first meet you. It takes time to know who they really are. Ask questions. Find out how they handle stress, money, life…get to know the person. Goes back to numbers 5, 6, and 9.

Lastly, God said that He does exceedingly and abundantly above all we could ask or imagine. Don’t settle for so-so, or okay, or good enough if you want exceptional. Exceptional doesn’t mean perfect, but it means perfect for you. The person who compliments you. The person who’s an amazing person to you. The person who’s inner beauty is more radiant than their outer beauty. A person you could imagine growing old and sharing everything with… You’re worth it!!!!