Ways to Kill the Lonely Bug

Now that you’lonelyve decided to walk away from the dead-end relationship and into the future of freedom that God has destined for you, what will you do with your time to make sure you stay free? It can be very tempting to go back to the bad relationship you got delivered from or to find another one equally as bad when the thought of being alone hits or when the lonely bug bites. The truth is, you’re never alone, but I know it can sure feel like it, especially on a Friday night when you’re all dressed up with no where to go or no one to take you. The key to overcoming those trying times is to develop a strategy for success. As in any situation, if you fail to plan you plan to fail, so here are a few ways to kill that nasty lonely bug and keep it from infesting your life.

1. Volunteer your time and talents at your local church. Effective church work and growth requires many many many people putting their hands to the plow. Your hands are no exception. Tending to God’s business will cause Him to tend to yours, and that’s just what you want in your future relationships–God’s direct involvement. It will also keep you focused on what matters most, which is advancing the kingdom and bringing glory to His name. You will be offering back to Him the gifts that He’s given you and at the same time being a blessing to someone else. Everybody wins: you, your church, and those who are touched by the work you do. How do you win? You win because you get to do something meaningful and rewarding with your time, and you get to focus your attention on something other than the lack of a physical man in your life.

2. Join a gym and get that body into shape. Once you get past the initial pain of beginning a workout regiment, it can become a healthy addiction. It can take up a lot of your time (if you’re consistent, and it’s good for you. Looking good and feeling great are two plusses in the anti-loneliness equation. Plus, all that new confidence that comes with building a better, stronger body will ooze out of your pores. Your future husband will enjoy it too! I’m just sayin’

3. Go back to school or take a class to learn a new skill.¬†If going back to school is something you’ve thought about before, now is the time to do it. Not only will it take your mind off being single with the work involved, it will help to improve you. More knowledge, more pride from an awesome accomplishment, more money in some cases, and more to talk about with any potential dates that may come your way.

I could name so many others like study your Bible, spend quality time with your loved ones, join a service organization or anything that you’ve always wanted to do but never took the time to do because you were busy maintaining a dead-end relationship. The point is, this is your time to be the woman God wants you to be. Become the good thing that your future husband will find and want to marry. Remember that life is not about getting married. Rather, the key to living a good life is living in the will and peace of God. That’s easier to do if you know the will of God and that His peace surpasses all understanding. He wants you to be at peace, no matter what your relationship status is. So while you wait on God to move on your behalf, develop your strategy to successfully navigate your single journey by filling your life with good things, and exterminate those pesky lonely bugs for good.

Based on chapter 7 of “Wait on God: What Every Single Woman Should Know to Receive God’s Best!” To purchase a copy visit http://www.BrianaGWhitaker.com, Amazon.com, or the iBooks store.

Discover Your Sweetie’s Personality Style

high dMy husband and I get along great. We rarely argue and we laugh a lot together, but there are times when I just don’t get him. Truth be told, there are times when he does things that drive me absolutely nuts, and I oftentimes return the favor. For example, I don’t get why he jokes around so much when I’m being serious, and he doesn’t get why I ask him the same questions over and over again until I get a satisfactory answer. Talk about things that make you go hmmm… Well now I have an idea why, and it involves our differing personalities.

Recently I had a very eye opening experience at a professional conference that gave me a better understanding on not only my husband, but also on some other very important people in my life (ie. mother and best friend.) I learned what makes them tick. You might be saying that this is something I should already know, having been around them for years, but sometimes the tendencies of others near and dear to us have a way of remaining a mystery after years of time spent together and eluding even the most perceptive of people. The light bulb clicked on for me when I learned the four personality styles according to the DISC profile–a personal assessment tool used to improve work productivity, teamwork, and communication. And since February is the time set aside to celebrate love and relationships, I thought I’d share them in these next series of posts to help you better relate with your mate or anybody else with whom you just can’t seem to communicate.

The first personality style is the High D personality, which I will refer to as simply the High D. This person is dominant, direct, demanding, decisive, determined, and a doer. The High D tends to be high in energy, busy and productive, strong-willed and persistent. Basically, these people take charge, and if they don’t get what they want they get mad. Their blind spot, or personality flaw is that they can be quite bossy (as if you couldn’t tell). Know anybody like this? I sure do, and since I am the total opposite of this, I found myself wondering why the High D in my life was this way. You may be wondering this also, but here are a few strategies to help you deal with the High D in your life.

1. Remain cool and calm and avoid power struggles. This may be difficult to do (especially if you’re a High D yourself), but trust me, going at it tit for tat will not work out in your favor with this one. It would be to your advantage to try an alternate route to get your point across like agreeing to disagree or restating your point to sound less confrontational.

2. Be consistent and fair. The key word is consistency. If you’re not consistent with them or fail to keep your word, prepare to be dismissed. Now that I think about it, I’ve heard my High D person complain about the inconsistent folk in her life on several occasions. I guess because they’re so consistent themselves, it’s kind of difficult to deal with those who aren’t.

3. Be direct and to the point. Don’t go beating around the bush with them. They won’t waste time beating around the bush with you. If you have something to say, say it. They are too dominant to be intimidated by your opinion. They might actually appreciate your use of backbone.

4. Remember that their secret fuel is getting results. Score! If you can keep this in mind, it will make your life and relationship much easier. All the High D wants to know is that results are being achieved and progress is being made. Do that and they’re happy. Don’t do that and they’re pissed, to put it nicely. ūüėČ

Now I don’t want anyone thinking that I am dissing the High D’s out there. I actually admire some of these character traits and wish I had more of them myself like the ability to be more direct and decisive. (If you’ve ever gone to a restaurant with me you’d know why). It’s also very cool that High D’s make great leaders who lead from the front. Having said that, here’s a word of caution for men who are married to High D women: you are still the man of the house who is responsible for leading the family. Deep down inside, your woman wants you to take charge. Again, it is very important to her that she see the results of your leadership. If she doesn’t¬†see any results, she very well may try to take over. I’m not saying that she should take over, I’m just saying that her personality may cause her to try to in the absence of a stronger leader. If you’re a High D woman married to a non-High D man, realize that your man may resent your bossiness and make the necessary adjustments to get the love you want and still show love and respect to him in return.

If your personality type is High D, feel free to let me know if I’ve nailed it or not. I welcome your feedback. Tomorrow I will share the High I personality with you, so stay tuned.

3 Reasons Women Like to Be in Control

I like to be in conwoman-in-controltrol just as much as the next woman. Blame it on my upbringing. I grew up an only child and always liked having my way. Or blame it on the fact that I married in my 30’s after doing things my way for so long. Blame it on my unregenerated flesh that fights every day to have its way. No matter what is to blame though, I have to admit that trying to be in control in my relationship has put me in uncomfortable positions a few times because well, that’s not my position according to God’s plan for marriage.

I know, I know. Not everyone agrees that a woman should submit to her husband. Besides, we have the ability and intelligence to make our own decisions. But I have to qualify any further comments by saying that the guidelines by which I order my life (the Word of God) say otherwise.

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” Ephesians. 5:22

In my almost four year marriage I’ve learned that the need for control is counterproductive to my relationship. I don’t know about you, but I need my marriage to be productive in every way, which is why I’m willing to work on me and allow the Holy Spirit to do His thing in my life. Here are the reasons I think women (myself included) like to be in control and why we should let that attitude go in our marriages.

1. We believe that if we want something done right we’ve got to do it ourselves. Sometimes women lack confidence in others, especially when their track record has proven to be sub-par. I’ve seen many powerful and influential women who instead of delegating responsibility to others in a task, will take on all of the responsibility themselves or micromanage the entire process to ensure that it’s done the right way–or their way. I’m guilty of this too. In my ten years of being in a leadership position in my church I’ve discovered the error of my ways. Hoarding all the responsibility is a sign of distrust. We are saying, although unintentionally, that “I don’t trust that you will get the job done correctly, so I will do it instead.” Well, my sister, in a relationship, that can communicate a message that you may not want to communicate: ¬†“I don’t need you.” A man needs to feel needed or he will search for a place where he is needed and valued. I ask you, if you never give your man an opportunity to rise to the occasion and be the leader he has been called to be in your home, how can you not expect him to fall into mediocrity? If you do his job because you think he is doing it incorrectly, what is he supposed to do? My guess is that the both of you will begin to resent the other. To combat this we need to raise our expectations.

This makes me think about the teaching profession. According to educational theory, a teacher’s high expectations for students increases achievement. On the other hand a teacher’s low expectations decreases achievement. I believe the same is true with men. If you raise your expectations for your husband to be the leader of your family, he will work hard to fill that role. However, if you have low expectations and always do everything for him or tell him what to think and what to do all the time, he will never take the initiative to think or act for himself. What’s the point, if you always shut him down? Will he do everything perfectly? No. But neither do you. Allow him to lead and even make mistakes in the process. He will learn what to do differently the next time. I am not saying that we as wives don’t have a voice in our marriage because we most certainly do. But again, there is a right and a wrong way to handle these situations. Here’s what Candace Cameron Bure has to say about the issue.

“My husband is not a dictator. We work together but I don‚Äôt want to dig my heels in and I have no aspirations to be the ruler of my family. We are two equal people but I love my husband and I want him to lead. With big picture issues such as where we live or what schools the kids attend, if he feels strongly about something and I think our family would benefit from it, I am going to share my thoughts. But ultimately, I trust that my husband has our family‚Äôs best interests at heart, so I wouldn‚Äôt fight him on that. And when I feel strongly about something, he agrees with me. It goes both ways.”

2. We are convinced that we are right and our ideas are the best. It is true that men and women think differently, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. So what if he drives a mile further than you would have if you were driving? The important thing is arriving at your destination, right? Don’t get me wrong sometimes our ideas really are good ideas, but that doesn’t mean that your ideas are the only ideas or your way is the only way. And get this, your right way may be the wrong thing to do at that particular time. Sometimes we just have to bite our tongues and wait it out for a more appropriate time to express our grand ideas and opinions. But I find that to be true in situations outside the home too. You wouldn’t challenge your boss about a new initiative as he or she is presenting it to the company, would you? Depending on the type of boss you have, he or she may not take too kindly to insubordination. Your boss might appreciate you giving your helpful feedback in a less challenging way, like in private and given as a suggestion not a mandate. Even if your boss chooses not to accept your ideas at this time, they have been heard. And as the leader he or she knows in which direction the company should go. Should the bosses ideas turn out to be a wash, you don’t have to worry because you are not the one being held accountable for the success or failure of the project. It takes a load of pressure off of me to know that as the wife, God is not holding me accountable to lead my family. That responsibility belongs to my husband. What He is holding me accountable for is to help my family get where we need to go under my husband’s leadership.

3. We are used to being independent and in control. That I.N.D.E.P.E.N.D.E.N.T spirit has run rampant among the female population. At 25 years of age I bought my first house. I owned my own car, and I had job to support myself financially. I didn’t need a man to do those things for me. But that was then and this is now, and nobody forced me down that aisle. I went willingly. So now that I am married I do need and depend on my husband because we are ONE! That is God’s design for marriage. Two people coming together as one. How can we be one if we are divided against each other? If we can’t let down our guards and be vulnerable with our own husbands who can we be vulnerable with? An inability or unwillingness to be vulnerable with your spouse may be a symptom of a deeper issue. But I digress. Independence has no place in a marriage relationship. If it’s independence you want, then stay single. When you are married, your life is not your own anymore. It is shared with another, and every decision you make affects the entire family. If you think about it, when you are saved, your life is not your own anymore. You then belong to God, and every decision you make should be made with His approval first and affects others. As I state in my book “Wait on God” …marriage is just an extension of our relationship with Him.

4. We can be too daggum bossy. I really meant to stop at three reasons, but I just had to throw this one in. Assertiveness in a woman can be a good quality. It can also be a really destructive quality, especially when it means pushing an issue too far with your husband in an effort to be in control and prove how right you think you are. That is a recipe for disaster, disfunction, dis-ease, and displeasure. As children of God, we are called to be preservers of peace and not confusion.

“Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and¬†pursue it.” Psalms 34:14

“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with¬†all men.” Romans 12:18

Instead of pursuing to be in control in your home, pursue to live in peace with your man. If you insist on standing your ground in your home this may happen. To the outside world you look like a woman in control–getting attention for your clever arguments and ideas, putting everybody in their place with lots of don’t-mess-with-me attitude–but inside you are an emotional wreck. And giving out orders to be in control is not worth falling out with your husband or worst, ending up divorced.¬†Life may not be perfect, but your peace through Christ can be.

I want to challenge you to join me in learning to relinquish control and think about these things the next time you are faced with the decision to follow your husband’s lead or your own.

 

 

 

 

Relinquishing Control–A Success Story

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Russell and I at the Salsa Cabana. Our eyes look crazy because the flash blinded us.

Usually I don’t dish about dates with my husband, but since I promised an update on how I handled giving up complete control to be totally surprised, I’ll share. I say totally surprised, but I actually knew that we were going to dinner.¬†I just didn’t know where and what we’d do afterwards. And I say give up complete control, but that’s actually not completely true. Since I didn’t know the dress code for the restaurant, I consulted with my husband to find out what I should wear.

“Wear something semi-formal with comfortable shoes,” he suggested.

“Comfortable shoes? ¬†You mean like teacher shoes that I would wear to work?” I inquired. Teacher shoes are the flat orthopedic-like shoes that are comfortable for hours of standing and walking.

“I can’t be cute with a dress and teacher shoes!” Every dress I pulled out of the closet was shut down as an option because they were either too dressy or not dressy enough. So I told him to pick. While I was in the shower he took it upon himself to choose what he thought was the perfect outfit for me. ¬†When I saw it I regretted putting him in charge of that decision. He chose a brown and green combination that included a skirt from a suit, a button down cotton shirt and casual knee boots. It was sweet of him, but I refused to wear it because it wasn’t my style. Who am I kidding? I thought it was ugly. I wanted to feel and look good on my birthday, so I had to take control back just a little.

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The lovely view of downtown Columbia from Al’s Upstairs italian restaurant.

After I picked an outfit, we drove to Columbia (an hour away from home). During the drive we shared the things about each other that we are thankful for (my suggestion). We were supposed to do this on Thanksgiving Day but the food, sleep, football games, and black Friday shopping took over. It was off the cuff too. We were supposed to write them down each day in November, but we both forgot to do it. Despite the impromptu nature of it, I still felt special. I should say that I had to navigate this trip even though I didn’t know the name of the destination since my husband’s sense of direction is not something I’m thankful for. He only told me the address, but I got us near enough to the vicinity to find it. We arrived at this small but elegant italian restaurant with a beautiful 2nd-floor view of downtown Columbia. It’s called Al’s Upstairs. ¬†The atmosphere of this place was very intimate and romantic–dimmed lights, candles, soft music, and of course that¬†killer view.

“How did you find this place?” I asked.

“A man never reveals his secrets,” he said, but I persisted. I told him I kind of thought he was going to take me to the last restaurant we had gone to because he knew I liked it.

“That wouldn’t be original,” he explained. Good answer.

“So how’d you¬†find out about it?” I asked again. It turns out he asked around and a coworker recommended this place. I’m glad he listened. Next we ordered our food and while we waited we continued our thankful qualities list. A few laughs later, our food arrived. It was delicious! The service was equally pleasing too. So far I was delightfully surprised with my birthday celebration. I wanted to know what was next. Again, he had to tell me something because he needed me to give him directions. We were going salsa dancing–something we had only done once while we were dating but was loads of fun.

Although I had to literally pull him to the dance floor, we got in a few good dance moves–the salsa, merengue, bachata, and the best latin dance of all, the wobble. My shoe choice ended up being perfect for dancing. We laughed some more, acted silly, and just enjoyed each other’s company into the early morning. A birthday well spent.

It turns out my husband had put a lot of thought into planning a fun birthday date that we both enjoyed, without my help. What I learned is that he actually knows me better than I give him credit for and that I can trust his judgement when it comes to gift giving while I relax and enjoy the ride (or give directions on the way). ūüôā

Relinquishing Control this Holiday Season

I canA man with a gift. be somewhat of a control freak at times, especially when it comes to receiving gifts. It may be because I like to buy gifts for people that I know they will love, so I ask them what they want. Maybe it’s because I also want to love the gifts I receive, so I tell people what I want. It could be that growing up an only child has caused me to expect exactly what I want and be disappointed if I don’t get it. Perhaps I have a Janet Jackson complex and just like the idea of controlling the situation. This is true with surprise parties also. ¬†If there is a party being planned for me, I¬†like to know all the details. Surprises just leave me feeling vulnerable because I don’t know what I should wear to said party or who will be there. It’s ridiculous, I know. So this year I am going to work on changing that.

Usually I give the people closest to me a list of items that I’d like to have for my birthday and Christmas. You know, to make their shopping easier. (Who am I fooling?) Or I just opt for cash so I can go buy what I like. But I’ve put away that list in favor of actually being surprised for a change. I’m going to go with the flow, and appreciate whatever gifts I receive. My first test will be in two days when I will celebrate my 34th birthday. My husband has asked me several times what I want (he’s used to my ways, and I think he secretly likes it so he won’t have to think too hard about making plans), but all I have said is “It’s up to you, sweetie. Whatever you do, I’m sure I’ll love.” And I know I will, as long as he puts real effort into it. (Here I go again putting conditions on it) As you can see, it hasn’t been easy to just let him plan on his own. I have asked him on at least two occasions about his plans for my birthday, whether or not he has made plans, and what I should wear. ¬†He refused to tell me, but I’m glad. How else will the cycle of control be broken? In the meantime I have two days (feels more like 22 days) to wait¬†and see what surprises are in store for me. I’ll let you know how it goes. ūüôā

How Long is Too Long to Date? Part 1

dating-tips-1You’ve heard people say it before and you’ve probably said it yourself a time or two. “What are they waiting on to get married?” It happens. ¬†You see a couple who have been together for a while who look happy and are in a reasonably good position to be married (ie. age, maturity, and resources) you can’t help but to wonder,¬†why the delay. ¬†Truthfully, it’s really none of our business when the nuptials will occur, but it does lead one, (particularly me) to ask, what is a reasonable amount of time for a Christian to spend dating before the I-do’s are exchanged? I’ve heard of people dating for five and ten years before, and I always find it hard to wrap my head around spending that amount of time with someone without a solid commitment. ¬†Again, I’m talking about two Christian people whose lives are committed to serving Christ and want to do things His way. Even the most devout believer will have to deal with their flesh wanting to rebel at some point when things are dragged on for too long (unless you live on opposite ends of the planet) or are not physically attracted to each other (in which case, why be in the relationship?) ¬†Sure, they can overcome those temptations, but is it wise for them to put themselves through that pressure when there’s really no need to? ¬†I realized this when I was planning my wedding and deciding on a date. I had chosen a date already, but was asked to push the date back a few months to accommodate some of my guests. I wanted them to be there, but I wanted to please God more. I knew that the longer I waited the harder “waiting” would be. ¬†So I decided not to take that chance since there really was no need to. I do not have any definitive answers to the question posed in my title, but what I want to explore here in this series of posts are a few of the reasons some couples decide to extend the dating experience maybe a little longer then necessary, which I call dating myths, and debunk them with some good Biblical wisdom and real-life experience.

Myth #1: I don’t have enough money to get married.

This may also be stated as “I have to achieve a certain level of success financially before I get married.” ¬†Granted, having a surplus of money is very helpful when it comes to starting a life together, but it is not a prerequisite to a successful marriage. ¬†I know because I consider my marriage to be a success, and there was no nest egg set aside for either of us. We have been climbing the ladder of success and financial prosperity together. ¬†We did have to deal with this particular myth though. ¬†My then boyfriend, Russell, thought he needed to have more money before he proposed to me, but he admitted to me that every time he tried to save money toward our future life together, something would “come up”. And I’d venture to say that things would continue to “come up” just to delay things even longer. ¬†Preparation is important, but I don’t believe that you will ever be 100% prepared for all the responsibilities of marriage, especially if you’ve never been married. ¬†More importantly, when your goal is to do things God’s way, your adversary the devil, whose job it is to steal, kill, and destroy, will do everything he can to steal your peace, kill your faith, and destroy your holy testimony (John 10:10). Want to know how God proved this myth to be false for us? ¬†Well, once Russell moved in faith and proposed to me, the favor started pouring in. ¬†We were able to plan an entire wedding, reception, and honeymoon in four short months with no financial burden because everything was paid for in full with money left over. That’s right. God’s promise was applied to our wedding plans. “The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it” (Proverbs 10:22 KJV) And He will do the same for you if you step out on faith and refuse to let your savings be your excuse.

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Let me know your thoughts, and be on the lookout for dating myth # 2 in my next post.

Raise a Standard

Raise a standardstandard

Raise a standard that guards

Raise a standard that guides

Raise a standard that protects

From unecessary heartache

Raise a standard that substantiates your true worth

A standard for your time

A standard for your life

A standard for your love

Raise a standard.

Keep your head and your sights high

As one who hopes

And one who believes

One that seeks to please the Lord

To be an example

Raise a standard

Not an endless list of shallow wishes

Or false pretenses

But purposeful, God inspired standards

That all can recognize

That no one can circumvent

A standard that shields

A standard that dignifies

A standard that anchors

A standard that personifies righteousness and true holiness

Raise a standard

A standard that eliminates the dead weight

And a standard that keeps the path of your feet straight.

Raise a standard

Not just in word

But in deed

A standard that one worthy will meet

The worthy one

The one that appreciates virtue

That has standards too

Raise a standard in everything

Know that the journey will feel like eternity,

But the wait will be worth it

So raise a standard

A standard in your home

A standard in your relationships

A standard in your walk

And let your standards be non-negotiable

For settling is effortless

But standing‚ÄĒpriceless.

I’m just sayin’.

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