Dating Wisdom…Date Well

Are-You-Dating-A-Godly-WomanI hope sharing this with you will help you Date Well or apply this to your marriage…I have been married before and divorced. Going through this journey has led me to know what I want and don’t want in a relationship.

I was married to a man who lied over and over. Without writing a book. He was not the man I thought I married but I saw a lot of “Red Flags”. He will say #FamilyFirst but his Sex addiction was first. He told me his biggest fear was losing me but his biggest fear is people finding out the truth about him. He is good at superficial relationships at work and virtual relationships but when it comes to true loving relationships I was never first nor was others.

So when I would see him put all this on social media…his family is first, God is first, he loves me (his wife), writes me the best love story in cards he would give me but never followed by actions. I knew this was not the love God had planned for me nor the man he wanted me to spend the rest of my life with. It was time to call it quits on that relationship. I was with him for five years and after years of marriage counseling and coaches. He was never honest and continued the same behaviors. It came to the point that this relationship was toxic, not growing and bringing the worst out in me. I was losing myself and turning into someone I didn’t like. I had to get out and take care of me.

Even after I left, I found out more lies. When it came down to it…what was wrong in our relationship it was his character. I didn’t trust or respect him anymore. It was all hard to bare but with God, HIS love, family and friends I have been able to build my life back.

I want to DATE WELL the next time. So I have already began evaluating myself and know that even if I am not dating or married to someone today. I know what I want for myself and in a healthy Christian relationship.

Colossians 3:12-17 is great scripture to guide you/me through dating and being with the man/woman God has planned for you.

“Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another… and over all these things put on love, which binds them together in perfect unity.”Colossians 3:12–17 (NIV)

Is this person kind, and growing in kindness? How do they treat their friends? Their family? How do they treat “everyday” people who they don’t need to impress: restaurant servers, cashiers, janitors, telemarketers? These are telling indicators of kindness.

How do they handle anger? Are they able to express anger appropriately? Can they talk about frustrations, or do they stuff feelings, or seethe? Does their room have punch holes in the wall? Do they know the difference between healthy and unhealthy anger?

How do they handle conflict? Colossians 3 calls us to let the peace of Christ rule. Do they need to be right, even if it’s at the expense of the relationship? It’s possible to be right about an issue but still handle it in the wrong way. Conflict is guaranteed to come up in your relationship, so date someone who knows how to apologize.

Is this person aware of (and patient with) weakness? Colossians 3:13 doesn’t say “fix one another with all your wonderful suggestions”; it says “bear with one another’s weakness.” We all have sin pressure points and weaknesses that rub against others. No matter how long we are married or how great our communication skills are, we will never outwit, outsmart, or outmaneuver sin. This calls for patience and grace with ourselves and one another.

Is this someone I can work alongside? If marriage could be summarized in two words, I might suggest “life together.” Once all the initial euphoria subsides, the question is whether this is someone alongside whom you can do the regular tasks of life: can you complete your schoolwork? Can you still be a good friend to others? Is this someone with whom you can enjoy a healthy “normal”: doing laundry, planning your year, working at your job?

Are they trustworthy? Are they faithful to do what they say, to keep a confidence? Is their yes ‘yes’, and their no ‘no’?
Does this person show sexual integrity? And are they faithful with their (and your) sexuality? Dating is a terrible time to test sexual compatibility, since great sex has so little to do with biology and so much to do with established intimacy in other areas: something increased by trust and time.

Dating is, however, a key time to test sexual integrity, since critical factors in long-term sexual health and satisfaction have to do with how well we steward and express our sexuality.

Do they say thank you? Do they practice thankfulness in small and big ways? Colossians speaks about habits of gratitude. Date someone who thanks God and others.

Do they know who they are and whose they are? Colossians 3:12 starts out by saying “As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved… put on compassion…” Knowing that our identity is found in being unconditionally loved by God is the foundation for healthy love relationships with people. No person, no matter how wonderful, can fill the deep need we have to find our identity in being loved. This is a God-shaped hole in our hearts, and we need to be people and date people who let God fill the God-shaped hole.

Is this a person with whom I can grow in my faith?

Colossians 3:16 says we are to let the message of Christ dwell richly among us as we teach and admonish one another. So ask: Is this someone with whom God’s Word has a place between us, and with whom I can share God’s wisdom and encouragement?

Colossians 3 is your guide to good relationships and marriages. Great marriages are made of the same stuff that great dating relationships and great friendships are made of. This means, of course, that the popular advice on “getting a girl” and “finding a guy” which focuses on fine tuning your appearance and social etiquette really doesn’t get to the heart of the matter. Being smaller, bigger, more ripped, bustier, more confident (or whatever it is you feel you need to make yourself more attractive) has little or no correlation to actual dating success, which is about figuring out whether you could really live life with this person. Ultimately, we marry someone to live with them, not to go to parties or look good in Instagram vacation shots.

Dating well, then, means dating someone who is becoming a person you trust and respect, and with whom you can partner lifelong to live for God. And it means discovering more about yourself so you can become such a person yourself. It has nothing to do with someone’s résumé, BMI, GPA, 401(k), or their hotness score; it has everything to do with discovering one another’s character, even as you’re developing your own. Character is everything.

Remember Colossians 3 and its profoundly good news for dating: the better we are at relationships in general, the better our dating, and ultimately our marriages, will be. It’s the stuff we already know and appreciate about others. Our friends, co workers, etc. we have the tools to find great friends and we need to put those tools into practice when dating.

Be kind, be generous, and LOVE. Find a woman/man with Character!

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The #1 Discipleship Mistake We Make by Shawn Lovejoy

I thought I would share this post from our pastor, Shawn Lovejoy, at Mountain Lake Church. He provides a vital insight into the disciple-making process.
It is a reminder and a wake up call, for me as well, to never give up on people that don’t live up to our expectations. We should never give up on them too quickly.
Blessings,
Cheri

mistakeI’ve discussed previously the #1 evangelistic mistake most of us make: We try to close the deal too early.

We’re not patient enough to walk with people long enough to let the Holy Spirit fully do His work in drawing people to Himself.

However, the most common discipleship mistake I see us often make is closely related. The #1 discipleship mistake we make is this:

We give up on people too quickly.

When someone around us drops the ball several times, we assume they don’t “get it” and they probably never will; we decide they’ll never change.

We move on.

We bail on the relationship.

We give up on people too quickly!

I think we often forget discipleship is a lifelong process.

I think we often forget the first disciples didn’t “get it,” even after being with Jesus 24-7 for more than three years.

I think we often forget, years after following Jesus, the apostle Peter still struggled with racism (Acts 10) and the apostle Paul still struggled with pride (2 Cor. 12).

If these guys struggled to become like Jesus, do you think people in our family will? People in our church? You bet. Can God still change them and help them become more like Jesus? You bet.

So the next time someone lets you down or drops the ball or doesn’t meet your expectations, don’t let the enemy fool you into giving up on them too quickly.

Why? Because Jesus hasn’t given up on you.

Boom!

Shawn Lovejoy

Making Healthy Friendships

Even if you don’t feel up to having the responsibility of friendships, they are a necessity. Recently I started attending a women’s Bible Study group and we meet every week. They are an amazing group of women and it’s important to me in 2013 to make them a priority. Hebrews 10:25 (NLT) says “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”

If you haven’t asked a friend out to breakfast, lunch or just to grab coffee, don’t put it off any longer. Pick up your phone and call/text your friend and set that date.
Next week, I will be having breakfast with a friend of mine I haven’t seen in a while. It is time to make all of my friendships a priority in my life and find balance.

Proverbs 27:17 (NLT) “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”

And no, we don’t need to be social butterflies and burn ourselves out with too many commitments. Keep in mind; it is important to set healthy boundaries, even with your time. I pray for you to find both healthy friendships and healthy boundaries.

Please post your comments about making healthy friendships, or about problems you have had, or currently going through.

Also, if you would like me to pray for you, please post here to let me know.

Love and Blessings,

Cheri