Monday, September 5, 2011
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.
Now that you are getting over Mr. Wonderful (or Mr. Wonder-Where-He-Went) you may want to think about how you will do things differently in your next relationship.
You can be ready for love again and make wiser and healthier choices by becoming a woman of: wisdom, high standards, realistic expectations, integrity, love, and faith. We'll talk about each healthier choice each day this week.
Become a woman of wisdom
Making better choices in relationships begins as you think about the kind of person you want to date and how you’ll date—the world’s way or God’s way.
In Western culture, dating is often recreational and include levels of emotional and physical intimacy (like having sex before marriage) that are contrary to Christian beliefs.
While the word “dating” does not appear in the Bible, it does say that a Christ-follower is to marry a believer. 2 Corinthians 4:16 reads, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”
God’s word does not have an Intro to Dating 101 section, however we know that He desires people to treat each other with honesty, respect and honor. Honoring another person following biblical principles means being more other-centered than self-centered, and intimacy after commitment (the commitment of marriage).
It seems wise to get to know someone first to see if you are compatible before you connect in a dating relationship. Spend time with your friends, his friends or your singles group instead of instant one-on-one time. That way you can prevent heartbreak for both parties if either of you discover you the other person is not for you after all.
We can look at the commands living a holy life and apply them to all our relationships, including dating and marriage. The book of Ephesians lists a few: Be completely humble, be patient, bear with one another (4:2); speak truthfully (4:25); in your anger do not sin (4:26); build up others with your words (4:29); get rid of bitterness (4:31); be kind and compassionate, forgive each other (4:32); and live a life of love (5:2).
Just as natural light dispels the darkness; the light of God’s word reveals truth. Step by step, moment by moment and choice by choice, your heart is illuminated with understanding and “aha!” moments; you finally get it and begin to change how you see yourself, God, and His role in your love life.
Wisdom is essential making changes. Without it we do really dumb things that hurt others or ourselves. Wisdom protects, leads, guides, and gives knowledge and understanding. Wisdom gives us victory!
As you follow the path of wisdom something wonderful happens. You grow up
on the inside. When hard things happen, like a breakup, it can cause us to wise up and become more emotionally and spiritually mature. What does that kind of person look like?
A mature person loves, accepts and respects herself. She learns to put rejection and loss in perspective, and trust the bigger picture of God’s guiding hand. She deals with issues as they come up and doesn't let them accumulate. Garbage needs to be taken out regularly, and emotional garbage needs to be processed and dumped frequently, too. She doesn't hold on to the past but clings tightly to the Savior who is her future and her hope.
A mature person lives in the reality of present, not the fantasy of the past or the future. She doesn’t obsess over a guy who’s dumped her for far too long or imagine herself in a white dress and veil with someone who is clearly not pursing her. A mature person trusts that God really does know best. And she lives what she believes. James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” Know it, do it, change your life.
When you live in the light of God’s truth, you begin to feel stronger and more confident, and you become more equipped to make healthier relationship choices.
What keeps women from making better choices in the men they choose and how they act when they’re with them? Selfishness. Rebellion. Ignorance. Apathy. Many things.
But it’s also important to know that as much as you want to get it right, the evil one wants you to get it wrong. The Christian life is a constant struggle between good and evil, truth and lies. Your enemy wants you to fail. In fact, he is like a thief who only wants to “steal, kill and destroy.” (John 10:10). He wants to steal your joy, kill your dreams and destroy your relationships. But take heart, Jesus came so that you “may have life, and have it to the full.”(same verse).
The enemy lies to you when you hear that you’re not enough (not pretty enough, thin enough or good enough to find a man). He lies when you feel like you’ll never find someone special, that you’ll be alone forever, that no one really cares, or that you will never change. Not true. Don’t buy into the evil one’s lies. He’s been doing it since the Garden of Eden. He deceived Eve and he will try to deceive you.
When you know the truth and stand you can combat the enemy’s lies and find victory in your love life and your entire life.
Jackie M. Johnson is an author and freelance writer in Colorado. Her hope-filled and encouraging books include "Power Prayers for Women," "When Love Ends and the Ice Cream Carton Is Empty" and "Powerful Prayers for Challenging Times." Jackie also writes the Living Single blog on Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk website.