Thursday, August 31, 2006

Dispelling Discouragement

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

You’re going along minding your own business when someone says something that bothers you about something you’re doing. Did that sentence make sense? Okay, let me try this: You’re sitting at your favorite coffee house, sipping some joe and flipping through a magazine. You notice an acquaintance and decide to invite them to join you. During your conversation you share that you’ve made a celibacy covenant.

The response to your revelation is less than supportive and encouraging. In fact, the person negatively commented on everything from the use of the word covenant to their view of how unlikely you would be to succeed at it. So, how does that make you feel? And how will it affect your commitment to your covenant?

Some diehards may say that it shouldn’t affect you in any way, but as emotional beings it’s hard to determine how things will affect one person or another. What’s important is – ultimately – how you deal with the discouragement and move past it.

It’s very seldom that you will hear (or see) me give any credit to the devil, but God teaches us that He allows the devil to do certain things. Therefore sometimes we must identify why something has occurred before we can move past it. Let’s consider our current example of the coffee shop friend: If you were to allow that experience and discouragement to prevent you from sharing your covenant and testimony with someone else then you could possibly hinder how God wants to spread the word of celibacy until marriage. Or you may miss the opportunity to encourage someone in their own lifestyle. These are just two things, which if you didn’t do them, would make the devil happy.

Say, for instance, the discouragement was a test and God wanted to see how you would handle yourself. What if the discouragement caused you to “slip up” and have intercourse with someone. That could delay you meeting your spouse (if getting married is your desire). Our circumstances can delay or hinder events from occurring in our lives.

Often how we handle a current situation determines whether we are given much more to handle. (The same is true in other situations: For instance, if you aren’t a good steward over the money and material possessions you currently have, it is highly unlikely that you will be blessed with more.)

So, what should you do? The answer to that leads me back to Galatians 6:9, which I quoted at the top of this post. Keep in mind that you have a goal for making the covenant. Your goal is to please God and abide by His word and in doing so you will reap the harvest God has for you.

To assist you in remembering your goal, keep your written covenant (check earlier posts for more about the written covenant) in a location where you can see it on a regular, preferably daily, basis. Secondly, after remembering your goal, keep your purpose in mind and think about why something may happen to thwart that purpose. When you are operating in the will of God (and in this case it’s abiding by His word) circumstances will occur to discourage you and prevent you from continuing on the correct path.

Keep these things in mind to dissipate any discouragement concerning your covenant with God to remain celibate until marriage. Also remember: “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.” Deuteronomy 7:9 (NIV)

"People usually fail when they are on the verge of success. So give as much care to the end as to the beginning." Lao-Tzu

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Having sex can be like a splinter in your finger

That seems like an absurd statement, I know. How in the world can I relate having sex to getting a splinter?

According to, a splinter is “a sharp, slender piece, as of wood, bone, glass, or metal, split or broken off from a main body.” Normally we experience splinters when we run our finger or hand across the object (most often wood) and a piece breaks off under our skin with just a little bit barely sticking out to grab and remove it. It’s the most painful little thing. As a matter of fact, when someone is trying to get a splinter out for someone else, the person with the splinter injury is often flinching because they’re anticipating the pain.

If we thought of having sex outside of marriage as a splinter in our finger it may assist in our ability to withhold until marriage. Think about: For a lot of people having sex outside of marriage – especially if they’re a person who is committed to God as a born-again believer – can be just as painful as that splinter.

Getting a splinter occurs quickly. Normally when we aren’t paying attention or giving any regard for our safety and well being. It gets stuck; we try to get it out and often can’t do it without assistance.

It’s kind of the same with sex. You get caught up in the moment without regard for your spiritual safety and well being. You can get stuck in it; meaning that no matter your personal resolve you continue to have sex again and again. Having sex outside of marriage results in guilt, personal and spiritual condemnation, pain and that doesn’t even take into account the soul ties (if you have questions about soul ties, let me know) that result.

But there’s a way to avoid this, which we’ve already talked about: making a covenant with God to stay celibate until marriage. Regardless of whether you’re tempted, making the covenant will help to quicken your spirit and remind you of your commitment. The covenant is also your help and assistant to avoid sexual situations.

So, the next time things get hot and heavy with a love interest remember the painful splinter in your finger.

“It’s never too late – in fiction or in life – to revise.” – Nancy Thayer

Friday, August 11, 2006

Skipped a step!

Sorry I'm late. By the time I finished writing my post Blogger was performing maintenance.

Not too long ago, I gave you ideas on what to do for a date instead of spending time alone in a dark, quiet place where the potential for intimacy is great. It dawned on me; however, that we haven’t talked about obtaining the date. You know… asking someone to go on a date with you.

For some of you this may be simple: you probably go up to the person you’re interested in spending time with and just ask them on a date. It sounds simple, but let me add a little twist to it. First of all, if the person (notice I don’t say girl… sometimes I think it’s okay for a girl to ask a guy, but I’m sure that’s an entirely different subject) you’re asking to spend some time with is a platonic friend then I don’t think anything “extra” is necessary. BUT when the person is a love interest then that’s when you need to take it to God as well as use some good ole fashioned discernment.

When you happen upon a person who you believe you’d like to spend some quality time with try saying a quick prayer before you approach them. Something like “Lord, lead and guide me and let Your will be done with my interaction with this person.” You’ve just allowed God to be apart of it and He’ll reveal stuff to you about the person that may not be appealing in a potential mate. He may also let you know right away “NOPE, leave that person alone.” You won’t know why and your “flesh” may resist, but listen to that still small voice or that slight urging down in your gut --that’s usually the Holy Spirit trying to guide you.

It may seem a little odd to do this when just going out on a date, but you’ll be surprised at how much time you’ll save yourself. I’m sure you’re aware of the type of drama that can occur when you incorporate another individual into your life. This is just one small, but powerful way to avoid that.

Moving into marriage…
If you’re currently seeing someone who you aren’t sure is your spouse, you should immediately seek the Lord. Ask the Lord straight up if that’s the person who you should marry. He may speak to you at that moment, use someone else to speak to you, give you confirmation through the written word like a book, etc. You should never get into a marital relationship without asking God.

The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed. –Carl Jung

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

He Doesn’t Lie

This is a small portion of a conversation that I had with a close friend some time ago. I came across the hard copy, which was originally published in my church newsletter, and thought it appropriate to share with you because of where you are in this stage of your life.

Before I go on, let me assure you that all of my posts won’t be “deep.” I just try to write what I feel in my heart that the Lord wants me to share with you. Tomorrow, for my scheduled post, hopefully we can get back to a little fun.

For now, consider this:

The Question: If the world was to end and you had not received (insert your heart’s desire), would you still love the Lord?

The Answer: If the world ends and I haven’t received my heart’s desire then He lied!

The Response: Has He ever lied?

I hope this blesses you like it blessed me. Keep in mind, when you’re down, discouraged and disgusted… when it seems like you’ll never get an answer… when all hope seems lost then pull out that mustard seed of faith and remember, “God is not a man that He should lie.” – Numbers 23:!9.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Drawing a blank… hmmm?

I sat down at my computer today with the intention of writing something enlightening, encouraging and inspiring… unfortunately, nothing came to mind. Ha! I can only laugh because that’s often the plight of a writer.

I’ve been a writer for 11 years and I’ve stared at a many blank screens. I remember sitting in the newsroom at my first reporting job and staring at the screen hoping and praying to get a little inspiration. I’ve sat in my home office, at the computer lab at college, in my office as an associate editor for a magazine and stared at screens. Eventually something comes to mind, but I can’t say that’s going to happen today.

As you sit and read wondering if I’m going to come to my point or if any of it will have anything to doing with being single and celibate; I’m sitting here wondering what my point will be and if it will have to do with being single and celibate! I’ve come to discover in my almost 38 years of living that there’s often a correlation between one thing and another.

How can we relate writer’s block with being single and celibate? Ah ha, I’ve got the point! As a writer I sit down with a purpose, a subject or a thought and attempt to bring it to formation, a close, a completeness. As someone who’s single and celibate you also have to realize that there will be a close and completeness… an end to your journey. Fortunately, the “end” to your journey can serve as your beginning to a new life – hopefully marriage. But let’s look at your journey and realize that some good comes from the process.

Not only are you pleasing God during your journey – during your process, but you’re accomplishing something that should be pleasing and satisfying to you. God is well pleased in your decision to remain celibate until marriage. He’s encouraging you, cheering for you and loving you as you walk this path.

Like many articles, stories and pieces that I’ve written as I bring this one to a close, I am satisfied with the journey and the outcome. I pray that this has been at least entertaining and at most inspiring. Most of all I am satisfied that not only have I enjoyed the journey, but I believe God is pleased with the result.

I pray that you enjoy your journey and I know God is pleased with you.

Have a blessed day!

“I have an irrepressible desire to live till I can be assured that the world is a little better for my having lived in it." – Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Share the knowledge

You’ve read my ideas about dating now I’m challenging you to get a little creative and share your ideas with everyone. What creative ideas do you have for “safe” dating? What have you tried? What works and what doesn’t?

Remember, this is not only a blog, but I like to think of it as a forum where we can share ideas, thoughts, opinions, etc. Besides, it makes things a little more interesting if you participate. Take a look at what I wrote earlier this week and then give me your feedback. I can’t wait to hear your ideas and inputs.

Have a thrilling Thursday.

"You must give some time to your fellow men. Even if it's a little thing, do something for others - something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it. " Albert Schweitzer

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The ABCs of Dating

When my husband and I were dating we probably spent way too much time alone at my comfy little townhouse. It wasn’t that we wanted it that way, but I had a young daughter who I made sure went to bed at a decent hour and I didn’t really have anyone to watch her if I wanted to go out more often.

Spending a lot of time at home put us in the position to be too intimate. BUT we didn’t have sex. In fact, if you ask my husband he’ll be the first to tell you that the main reason we didn’t have sex while we were dating was because I wouldn’t allow it to happen. He was very persistent, however, and many times we went too far, but we are proud and happy to report that we didn’t have sex while we were dating.

How’s that possible? One reason is because of the covenant I had made with God. During times when we were kissing and caressing I could fill my covenant ring burning a hole in my finger. It was as if God Himself sat on my finger reminding me of my commitment and helping me to keep it.

It’s especially difficult when you meet a person who you believe will be the person you’ll spend the rest of your life with. How can you have a sincere dating relationship without having sex?

A few things are important: Making the covenant with God. What you do on your dates. And where you go on your dates.

Here are some dating tips that may help:
1) Go with a group. This may seem silly or even common sense, but it works. Go out with a group of friends – coupled up if you like – who have a like-minded spirit. Don’t go out with a couple who is having sex or you’ll be uncomfortable and reminded of sexual activity the entire time. When you hang out with people who have the same beliefs and goals as you it’ll be encouraging.
2) Date during the day. Avoid Friday night or Saturday night dates and even dinner dates. Do lunch and an afternoon activity on Saturdays – skating, bowling, shopping, take a class together, amusement parks… Meet for lunch during the weekday (my husband and I did this while we were dating. It was convenient for us because we worked in the same vicinity).
3) Stop at the door. If you can’t avoid going out at night then make sure you leave each other at the door. Don’t say good-byes in the car either… that’s a little too cozy. Step outside the car, walk to the door and say good-bye with a small hug or kiss on the cheek. Hold each other accountable. There will probably be one person in the relationship that is stronger than the other person so have that person be the “bigger man.”
4) Keep it public. Drive to a location in separate cars to a public place to play pool, grab coffee at a coffee shop, etc. BUT BEWARE: don’t decide to meet up at each other’s home later… if you do then you’ll be in the dark…
5) Avoid the dark. Dark movie theaters, dark and romantic restaurants, midnight picnics in the park, dark living rooms. You get the point.

Friendship is certainly the finest balm for the pangs of disappointed love. – Jane Austin in “Northanger Abbey”