Tag Archives: self-control

Jabber Mouth Princess

“I’m going to be true to myself,” Jackie claimed as her approach to dating. If she had feelings for a guy, she let him know. If she wanted to talk to a guy, she called him. If she was scared she might lose a guy, she’d cling to him and ask for some reassurance. If she liked a guy, she threw herself into a relationship head first, whether he was open to it or not. There was no mystery, or chance for a guy to lead the relationship. She made the moves and made sure not even a day went by that he didn’t hear how she felt. A lot of people might wonder what’s wrong with this bold approach. There is a time to share feelings and have defining conversations for the direction of a relationship. But there is also a time to be patient and silent.

A girl sometimes talks just for the sake of talking. If a moment becomes too quiet, she gets nervous and feels the need to tell a story, or rant on about meaningless nothings, “This one time, at band camp….” This inevitably makes her look as insecure and nervous as she is feeling. Many guys have something important they could share, but they choose not to when a girl goes on and on … and on. “So like, today was just the best day! I was driving… to like, work or something, and this BABY BIRD flopped into the road in front of me. Luckily, I was at a red light or like, I might have squished that poor, helpless creature. And then, like, how would the momma bird feel?? How would I feel?? Oh my gosh! So then, anyway, I went shopping after work and bought this pretty pink shirt and these leggings. I was totally about to buy some new socks with puppies on them, and some new shoes, but then I remembered I needed to go to the post office for some stamps. I was talking to my best friend on the phone and she said her boyfriend’s mom’s boyfriend bought a new Porsche. He modified it so it cost, like, more than my whole wardrobe. It’s a pretty metallic color with flames and chrome wheels. I’m going to get a Porsche someday. I think they are so pretty, don’t you?” On and on… it’s meaningless, but it beats the silence, right?

I cannot stress enough how vital it is to get comfortable with silence. I know some women like to talk. They use more than ten times the amount of words men do… each day. That does not mean every moment and every day should be filled with mindless banter.  There is a time for everything, including silence. How will we ever hear those few important sentences other people need to speak if we do not give them the opportunity?

We all know that girl who jabbers a million miles an hour. It doesn’t go well for her on a date. She goes home thinking she met her future husband and feels great that she shared so much of her heart. He, on the other hand, was ready for the date to end right after they sat down for dinner. She told him about her best friend from middle school, her popularity in high school, that she was on the honor role, how her dog Skip died, about all nine of her boyfriends and why it didn’t work out… with each of them, her favorite pastime, what she likes to eat while watching TV, and the names and personalities of all seven of her cats. She connected. He didn’t.

There needs to be some mystery. The most exciting part of getting to know someone is discovering their personality through questions and interactions. If a girl tells everything about herself, without even taking a breath, the date loses its mystery and the girl just comes off as a boring braggart. We don’t need to chase after or pursue anyone.

Joann pursued Tony. She is gorgeous and outgoing, but doesn’t have a lot of self-respect. She eventually snagged him. Soon, his disinterest and boredom became evident. Predictably, he began to look elsewhere. He wanted to pursue someone with mystery who would take some effort to finally win. No matter how beautiful she looked, it wasn’t enough to keep her man occupied. Men are made with a desire to win a battle, and fight for a woman. It’s not our job to pursue. It is hard to keep that kind of relationship. Of course, that is not always the case. I realize there are some special circumstances. But let me be clear, those circumstances should be the minority, not the majority of relationship beginnings.

There are a few exceptions to the rule. When a guy is outrageously shy, it is okay to throw a few extra hints his way, perhaps a sky message that reads: “I like you, shy guy, when you ask me out I will say yes.”

Another case that might need some encouragement: sometimes we give ‘hands-off’ messages to guys. I started to develop some interest for a friend of mine. Throughout our friendship he saw guy after guy pursue me without luck. We would even talk about the other situations and how awkward it was for me. Their desperation to win me, a stranger, was unnerving. He admitted to me that he didn’t want to ever pursue me because he was afraid I might categorize him with those others. I did like him though. As our friendship blossomed but never progressed, the time did come when I shared my heart with him.

Making the moves can be an intimidating and nerve-racking process. It is never fun to risk rejection. So if we are clearly telling people we don’t want to date and we don’t want a boyfriend, the right, respectful guys will step down and either be a friend or move on. If an interest is formed for one of these respectful men, a hint or two might be needed to encourage them in the pursuit. In this case, a conversation might even be best. The conversation, though it can be scary, should be easy-going and honest, “Hey, we’ve had ____ many months to get to know each other. I just want you to know I appreciate _____ and _____ (character qualities) about you. I have developed stronger feelings for you. But you do with that knowledge whatever you see fit. I cherish your friendship, so just let me know if there’s something there for you or if we should just keep being friends.” If this conversation is going to happen, breathe. Don’t get worked up over what needs to be said or what needs to happen. We can only share what’s happening on our side. Feelings have to be reciprocated in order for a relationship to ensue. We have no control over that, so there is no point in stressing. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, there is always going to be someone better suited.

These are not common situations. Guys have an innate desire to pursue. When they step into their God-given leadership roles they become more alive as men. Their masculinity is strengthened when we allow them to make the moves and do the wooing. The more we scream out equality on the playing field, the lazier our guys become. “Don’t wait for him to call you. You call him.” Just as we need to learn silence in order to give our guys a chance to share deep stories, or ask personal question, we also need to learn patience when it comes to first moves. We have to be careful about making hasty decisions or running ahead to take the lead. The most loving approach we can take in new encounters and relationships is to be open and friendly; not brash and outspoken. This isn’t a competition or a burping contest. We have an innate desire to be pursued. We don’t need to prove our worth or independence in order to impress guys. When we understand our security is found in Christ, we will learn how to respond to the right guy’s pursuit. There is no need to blare a loud horn to get a guy’s attention.

Some women are shy, so this approach is easier for them. And then there are some of us who are go-getters and major competitors.  It is hard to practice patience and self-control. We know what we want and we’re ready to get it. The downfall of this trait is a hasty decision. Backpedaling is hard to do when we’re already going down a hill. It is important to learn patience. Every man is a leader, or meant to be. Some have had their leadership squashed by so many women that it takes them a bit more time to pursue. They do have it within them. We can be a part of a great lesson for these guys if we just learn some patience in their pursuit. Just like talking, he’ll make the move, if we just step back and give him the floor.


Eye On The Prize

We can’t live our lives based on a preemptive thought that marriage or boyfriends are in the near future. These and similar tracks only lead to discontentment in the present. There is nothing more depressing than living each day hoping for something else: a different life, different job, different self. By that, I don’t mean we can’t repent of sin and walk away from certain situations. We can always dream and ponder the next step. I live my life in complete wonder each day. I am amazed by God’s handiwork and His guidance. I’m amazed that He allows me to live at all, let alone in some of the most exotic places in the world.  It is so easy for us to get caught up in media and spendy, trendy fads. We’re always looking for something bigger and better. We lose sight of the small and priceless moments God has slipped into each moment of our lives. “My eyesight must be getting bad,” some may think, “because I’ve lost focus on the little things.” To those, life may be about the BIG things: the extraordinary moments, the accolades, the success, the money, the toys, the popularity, and the recognition. All of those big moments are meaningless without the small ones, without the contentment found in Christ and living for Him. We can never be satisfied by the amount of material wealth or human affection. True happiness, contentment, fulfillment, and security come from one place and one alone. He is the Author and Creator. He wrote this story we’re living in and He created the props. How can we spend so much time basking in the presence of the props when our Author has a story to tell through us? No matter how petty the simple tasks of day-to-day life seem and no matter how lonely we may be for a love story to transpire right now, nothing is worth the pain unless the Writer has penned it into the chapter. An example of this worthwhile pain is purity and taking a stand for our wholeness. It’s painful at times. I know from experience. Sometimes I get so impatient that I put hypothetical goggles on and start looking for “Mr. Right.” My standards get foggy, my self-control falters, my words and actions gain a note of flirtation, and every guy looks like Mr. Right. It’s painful to wait sometimes, but there is no comparison with the heart-wrenching consequences of sin. A guy can spill flattery from his lips that sounds or tastes sweet as honey, but the effects should do nothing more than make us nauseous. Relationships may start off hot and spicy, but often end with indigestion and reflux regret. Wisdom tells us to hold off no matter how attractive he is or how much our hearts flutter around him. We must work toward a genuine friendship with self-control intact. It is important to make sure his character is worthy of our admiration. Equally so, his goals are God-focused and his heart is strongly connected to the Lord’s. The idea of settling should repel us.

We don’t realize how each situation can mold our future. Each relationship affects us. Our hearts are continually shaped until the day we die. It is important to allow our hearts to be molded and changed through experiences. We are constantly becoming stronger and wiser people.

There’s nothing like hope. Hope is something that keeps us holding on in the midst of our hardest trials, in our deepest pits, in some of the most hurtful surroundings. Christ in me, the hope of the world. In all of life, no success story or super power can match that crucial piece of truth. Why would I worry about anything with the hope of the world wrapped snuggly in my heart? Contentment comes when we consider the truest meaning of life. It isn’t about who we marry, where we live, what career we choose. It’s about serving and glorifying God with every fiber of our beings.

“The Holy Spirit comes to bring glory to Christ and to bring results.” -Beth Moore

Meet Me In My Dreams

“I had a dream about you.”

Usually, this disconcerting line starts a very unhealthy conversation. I didn’t think anything bad would follow because the guy sharing was a respectable, older friend. “Want to know my dream?” Well, actually I didn’t and my insides screamed as much. But I was naïve and didn’t want to embarrass my friend, “Ok… I guess.” “You were wrapped in a white sarong, walking down the beach. When you saw me, you smiled so big my heart felt like it would burst. You walked toward me, hair flowing beautifully in the wind. When you reached me, YOU KISSED ME. We walked into the sunset holding hands.” Okay, Married Man, that will happen when pigs fly and elephants talk. Why on earth was he sharing this with me? I was speechless. And that gave him just the boost he needed to continue. “If I was twenty years younger, I would marry you in a heartbeat.” I’m sure he thought he was building my confidence. However, it had the opposite effect on me. I was appalled that my older friend would tell me such a gruesome dream. I wasn’t a home-wrecker. I didn’t want a time machine to warp him into his twenties. And I sure didn’t want to kiss him! That was a bad day for me.

“The tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.” (James 3:6)

There are no neutral “heartfelt talks”, phrases, or words; all are hurdling in one of two directions. It is crucial for us to realize we are either speaking words of life or words of death over someone. It is up to us whether we are speaking out of selfless love for someone or selfish ambition. It is partially due to situations like the one above that have kept me in check. I am cautious when sharing my heart with people, especially members of the opposite sex. I continually allow this question to roll through my head, “Is this conversation beneficial for him?” Relationships are important and it’s essential for us to interact with one another in the most loving and edifying way. Like anything else, we learn through training. Christ petitions us to grow in love, joy, peace, patience, long-suffering, and self-control. All of these characteristics are integrated into every aspect of our lives. It is hard to know what an edifying relationship looks like in our world today. We all have trial and error moments. I’ve definitely had my fair share of them. That is why I am so adamant in this stance of day-to-day awareness. Self-control has been cast aside with morals, abstinence, and life-long commitment. Here’s what we can’t do; we cannot blame society for our behavior. Yes, it influences the decisions we make. But we are making personal decisions every day that affect the rest of our lives. We must live with consequences of bad choices and learn from them. We also grow through right choices. Each right decision we make in life brings us that much closer to God’s heart. He calls us to live righteously, to follow His Son’s example. Then the love of the Father will flow freely through us. Since all of life is about relationships, our success lies in how we progress from this point forward. Mistakes will occur, but it is for a desperate love of God that we not allow mistakes to become patterns. A garden can be beautiful, laden with flowers and ivy, trees and fruit. But when a weed takes up root, it quickly spreads and suffocates all the life from the garden. God cares about every part of our lives, especially relationships. And if we give Him the chance, He will teach us what real, lasting relationships look like. Take for example the awesome love expressed when He gave up His perfect Son in the most excruciatingly painful death. This was done for us, for our sins. What perfect love is this that He lay down His life for us? Now that is a love I want to mimic. Not the counterfeit version being practiced today that leaves hearts shattered throughout the earth in utter ruin. I am determined to imitate my life after His.

Rearranging Relationships; Respectfully

“If one doesn’t respect oneself one can have neither love nor respect for others.” – Ayn Rand

We think about ourselves all the time, whether the thoughts are positive or negative. And let’s face it; we care for our bodies though we may claim to hate them. We force ourselves to work out. Some withhold food from their bellies in order to lose weight fast. Others gorge and purge. And even some scrape knives down both arms in punishment for bad choices. We do a lot of things to our bodies, some beneficial some not so beneficial. We chase after guys who clearly have no interest. We flaunt and flirt just to catch their eyes. We do atrocious things when there is a lack of self-respect. How is this behavior helping us? How do we live with such compromises?

“If I just show some skin, I’ll get his attention.” Sure. We’ll get plenty of interest, just like a piece of meat held above a pack of hungry wolves. If any of them get close enough, that bite may be an injurious one. If we have to compromise our modesty in order to get some guy’s attention, desperation glistens on the skin we’re showing. If we do not respect our own bodies how can we expect others to?

I spent the majority of my teen years looking for, if not demanding respect from guys. However, I wouldn’t show respect until a guy earned it. Is that fair? Not in the least. It took a lot of Scripture and a lot of God softening my heart before I concluded guys do not need to earn my respect. I need to respect them because of who God created them to be. Some guys may be living outside of God’s intended purpose. They deserve respectful disassociation. We must respect ourselves enough to stay away from those guys.

We can look at our routine behavior toward our brothers, fathers, and guy friends. Do we ever make comments-even witty and humorous remarks-directly attacking their roles, their intelligence, jobs, or lifestyles? It is especially important to realize, guys were created by God to be leaders. Men were created to protect, provide, and honor. We want to be a part of God’s perfect plan of uplifting others. Disrespect poisons relationships. We must change the way we speak, treat, and interact with men. It is a gradual change. When God reveals something this significant to us, we must be willing and open to change. But it doesn’t just happen overnight, in most cases. Often, we try to change, but fall short. We make a mistake, cringe because we should know better, and then try to make right the situation. The training continues and we notice every word that comes out disrespectfully from our lips. We reevaluate and try to do better next time. As this whole process takes place, we retrain ourselves to use our words differently and be more cautious. As we grow and as we understand patterns in our lives, we are more prepared for future situations that may be similar.

It’s a tragedy when women demean their husbands, boyfriends, brothers or fathers. That behavior fosters insecurity and anger in our male companions. When we belittle them or make them feel stupid, especially in front of people, we are slicing into their very core. It hits the very place they are most insecure about: their adequacy in leadership.

If we learn to respect all guys, we will have a much better perspective on relationships. They deserve our respect from start to finish. If we treat every guy like the valuable brothers they are, we will benefit their lives, not hinder them. When a dating relationship proves unworthy of marriage, the goal is always to leave the other person better than when we first met them.  Their values have been strengthened and personhood uplifted.  Relationships are exciting, especially when we have proper focus in them. When we realize our purpose is to build up and make men stronger for the future, all of our relationships will have a selfless flare to them. We will respect guys for the men they are becoming. We will respect their future wives by not leaving a scar on their hearts. And we will respect ourselves enough to keep our hearts protected in the hands of God.

The Seduction Slip N’ Slide

From the moment she walks in the room she commands attention. Every eye is on her. There is a way about her. The batting of her eyes, the mischievous smile, the toying giggle, and that welcoming body language; we all know we’ve seen or behaved in this manner. One of my friends has a gorgeous outer appearance. She’s had a lot of cosmetic work done and lives for attention. She is a lot of fun to be around, has the most generous attitude, and would do anything for her friends. That is, until a man-any man-walks in the room. Her entire aura changes. Her laugh gets obnoxiously loud, her posture more inviting, and she bats her teasing eyes in the guy’s direction. I can’t really single her out as abnormal. It happens all the time. Our emotional state says so much about what we truly value in life. Relationships seem to be the basis of our planet’s attention. And there is nothing wrong with that. After all, we were created for relationship. However, our contorted views of relationships are getting us in trouble. We feed off media’s perceptions of relationships and follow the world’s way of doing things. And yet, it is we who should be leading the example of relationships. The world cries out for something real, but doesn’t know how to practice the self-control in order to wait for it.

It is bedtime, a young girl is snuggled up in her warm, comfy bed, her favorite princess pajamas on and her teddy bear wrapped in her arms. It is the anticipated story time with her endearing father. It’s a fairytale story-THE BEST fairytale story! It is exciting, romantic, and everything she’s ever wanted. The Prince is heroic. He’s an amazing warrior with just the right amount of charm and wit. He is fighting for the Princess he loves and adores. As the story goes on, getting more exciting, it just can’t be read fast enough! She is so anxious to hear what happens next that she grabs the book from her daddy’s hands-ripping some pages as she jerks it away. Whoops! Oh well, so she misses a few details, there’s still a whole book and she’s not missing TOO much of the story. The next dilemma presents itself. She can’t read! She is just a child. And her imagination isn’t big enough to recreate the story. The only solution is to give the book back to her daddy, so he can finish the story.

We are like that little girl. God is the father. Not only is he the reader, He is the author of the book. God has written our love stories. We’re seeing them play out before our very eyes. Every time we take our hearts away from God and give them to guys, we are ripping a page or two. Spiritually we’re not able to read the future, and don’t know how the perfect story is supposed to continue. We are unable to replicate His ultimate story with our ‘immediate-results’ mentality. We only see the current dilemmas of insecurity, loneliness, or impatience. If we rush into a relationship with any of these motives, we’re headed for disaster. None of us know the future, but that’s the beauty of TRUSTING God with our hearts and stories. He knows our tomorrow’s. “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed” -Psalm 139:16.

If Pharaoh had listened to Moses in the beginning things would have been easier for him. Every time he said no something tragic took place. He faced terrible consequences every time he shook his head and hardened his heart to Moses and to God. Each time brought its own repercussions. The worst came when Pharaoh lost his only son. I think that happens to us too. He keeps asking for our hearts. When we say no and take control of our “story,” something BAD happens. We face consequences. And they are painful and lasting. God gives us chances, but each time we say “no,” the consequences get worse. Ultimately, our hearts do belong to Him. When we accept Him as Savior, then all we have is His . . .  especially our hearts and bodies. Luke 9: 23-24, ““If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.” He does not say this to dictate our every move, He is offering LIFE through a walk with Him.

Time and time again, our feeble humanity draws us back. When we make compromises the damage is harsh. We were not meant to go from partner to partner in life. A lot of mistrust can be built through broken relationships which is consequentially carried into the next relationship. A guy can make a certain move, triggering an old wound and we may subconsciously react, building up walls, and lashing out all in the name of self-preservation. The human heart can contain so much pain. It is unbearable at first, when the wounds are fresh. But over time, it mends itself and leaves small scars as reminders. But what happens if the wound is reopened continually? Take a physical wound for instance, if you persistently pick at the scab or reopen the wound, it will become infected. It works the same emotionally. We all make mistakes. The true test is if we can turn from those sins and learn from our mistakes. I do have scars. I have made bad choices and caused my heart pain. But I’ve learned from those mistakes and put up road blocks in my wake. The road of sexual immorality is a dangerous, slippery, rocky road with plenty of mudslides. I’m pretty sure God gave me a flat tire before I could ever reach the turn off to that road. I’m thankful I haven’t given my heart to some guy and watched him rip it to shreds. But I have chosen alcohol, flirtation, and lip-locking in past situations so I have had a glimpse of where the road leads. I feel nothing but remorse over those actions. I truly wish I had more self-respect in my adolescence. I pray you take these words to heart. They are not meant to hinder your fun. They are only meant to help steer you on a healthy road of adventure minus the gut-wrenching pain of heart break.

Whether we’re steeped in confidence or drowning in insecurity, these decisions are life changing. And they are affecting the beautiful personalities that make us who we are. Each decision toward impurity slashes deeper into the sweet and wholesome innocence. But each step toward purity brings an innocent glow and an undeniably healthy heart.

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” -Prov. 4:23

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