Only because God told me to lol, over the next couple weeks I’m going to share a few things I’ve learned and observed with respect to those of us that are single. I’m aiming this toward single ladies primarily but I’m looking forward to some great discussion from our male readers as well!
Lamentations 3:40- Let us examine and probe our ways, And let us return to the LORD.
I’ve always prided myself on being a woman who, despite any bad experiences I’ve had with men, doesn’t blame all men and become bitter. My philosophy has always been that while I can definitely take those experiences and be more cautious or identify if those same patterns show up in someone else, I can’t blame and mistreat the next person for what the last person did. All that being said though, I’ve become pretty uninterested in dating at the moment. I’m not bashing men by any means and my philosophy is still my truth, but my attitude toward dating specifically is a separate issue.
Unfortunately most people feel that the people they encounter are not dating material but I just say perhaps they aren’t good dating material YET. It certainly doesn’t mean they won’t progress and grow to be a great companion (we’ve allllll had our immature days and hopefully we are all still striving to be better), but I do tend to agree that many people you run into are similar, and not in a good way. I’ve made the mistake of thinking title, type of goals and aspirations, or even relationship with God would mean that the man could not be so mature in those areas and immature and deceitful in the area of dating but I’ve learned there’s no guarantee that’s true. Such was the case with my last encounter with a man earlier this year. We did not make it anywhere near dating but I mistakenly thought sincere interest was present. I thought because I was determined to uphold God’s standards, because I am chasing after God and endeavoring to carry out His purpose for me that the interest he was showing was sincere. To make matters worse, there was never any real clarity that arose from the ashes, just enough general conversation to ward off complete transparency and honesty. As a result unfortunately, I spent a tremendous chunk of 2014 wondering, questioning, and praying to fight off bitterness and truly forgive. It was confusing and alarming to me because even during the years in my past when I was sexually active, there were very few times I felt that level of pain and disappointment. Therefore that tells me that when these type of situations happen, it’s not the other person’s actions we should mull back and forth over, it’s our own we should consider.
Isn’t this what Lamentations says? We are not examining and probing the other person’s actions, we are examining our own. What factors made me trust? What things did I wrongly read into? What negative signs did I ignore? What did I miscommunicate? I think that when we are hurt or we want answers, we would rather seek them from the one that hurt us rather than following scripture. Scripture clearly tells us to examine ourselves and return to the Lord. Not return with an accuser in tow or with blame but just you and your examinations of yourself. In my case, I had to ask myself did I really show myself to be different or was there something I allowed that made me appear no different from anyone else? At the time I mistakenly used my badge of celibacy as a differentiating factor without ensuring all of my other actions were just as virtuous. Upon doing this I realized that there had been some glaring signs present. Because I did nothing more than blush and giggle at inappropriate things said and did not really let my virtue shine through, I can see how I did not portray the correct image of who I have become and the way I want to be treated. This all taught me a couple of valuable lessons: I am not ready to date and that I have some more work to do to be suitable dating material for the type of man I would like to be interested in me. My virtue cannot be contingent on the other person’s actions, it must be deeply rooted, displayed consistently, and demand respect even in small areas like conversation. If I find I’m drawing the opposite of what I desire, then I have to evaluate what about me is drawing that type of person to me.
I encourage you to examine YOU. Take your mind off what he (or men, she) did and be honest with yourself about your contributions when a situation turns sour. In my case, I didn’t even think about the things I just mentioned until after the fact because I was naive about just how deeply I needed to examine me. Many times that thing that’s eating at you about the other person is something that’s actually rooted in you. I was devastated that at this point in life I didn’t recognize that a man wasn’t really interested in me. But the root lied with me because I accepted his inappropriate forms of showing interest. I also realized that while I was unwavering in the area of celibacy, I still had work to do in areas that come way before that point such as conversation, respect, etc. Once you’ve examined yourself, do as the scripture says and return to God. Don’t lash out at the other person, take everything you’ve learned and present it in prayer to God. Allow Him to fill the holes that you’ve discovered are there. Ask Him to strengthen you and show you other areas that could use improvement. Remember, if you want to draw someone with good intentions, your integrity must be INTENTIONAL. I’d be lying if I said the situation I experienced this year didn’t largely contribute to my current attitude toward dating. Nonetheless, I can’t change someone else or force sincerity, but there’s an endless number of things I can partner with God on to improve about myself and in turn, change my perspective.
Ladies can you relate to this situation? Men have you had similar experiences from your side? Let’s talk!