I don’t think it was until I hit 22 that I began to really think about relationships and dating in a more serious way. Don’t get me wrong, I desire companionship and a relationship. However, it didn’t hit me how important finding the right mate was until I began to get heavily involved in ministry. I’ll never forget a saying I heard during a ministry conference.
Ministry is messy because sin is messy. Get over it, get a mop and start helping people CLEAN UP!” -Jud Wilhite
Ministry has become a gold plated opportunity for so many people. They jump into it thinking that their name will rise in fame and forget that it’s one of the hardest places to operate in. Ministry is built in relationships with people and helping them see the light and hope that is based in God. Every person has a different situation and it involves real work. You can’t deal with everyone the same way and you learn how to become a person for all people at all times.
After doing all of that, you can’t just rest in the arms of any person. You need someone who understands what it means to serve. However, it goes past just that. You need someone who understands your heart and will also serve as a protector of that very heart. When you’re in ministry, many people are looking for you to fail. You need someone who will have your back. Ministry can be draining at times.
I remember something Pastor Chris Hill from The Potter’s House of Denver (one of my favorite pastors). He said that a true friend will have your back even they don’t agree. Your companion that God has for you will have your back because they love you. They not only love the God in you but they love the “you” that God has made you to be. Not that many people know the REAL US. You have to have someone who loves the “unprofessional” you. The one who can deal with your “isms” and the parts of you that even you don’t like at times.
The crazy part is that God has that person for us. I posted a very casual video on my Facebook Profile about this. (Click here to watch video). This is why I love God. He is thinking of us at every turn and knows what we need. Life can get so hard at times and it’s nice to have someone who has your back. However, if God has not revealed who that person is to you, know that you must continue to work on yourself and on the things God has called you to do.
In that time, know that because you’re single, the enemy will send all sorts of types of people your way. The moment I decided to get serious about God and His plan for me, all sorts of fake Boaz type men started to come my way. They seemed to fit everything but they were missing one important ingredient: A pure heart with pure intentions for me and for the things of God.
Let’s also note that not every man or woman after God’s heart is for you. They are for someone else so please leave them alone. We can not be leaders who serial date every Christian we meet. If you decide to be a serial dating leader, your entire church will be filled with your ex’s. We must also know that our time of singleness allows us to preserve ourself for our mate. It allows us to develop who we are. You can’t develop who you are when you’re going out with different people every other month.
So here are some things we all must work on as a young single leader involved in ministry:
1. Separation & Friendships
We must learn how to separate our love life and place it on a beautiful shelf until God reveals to us that it’s time to open it. For many of us, our hearts have been hurt so many times because we’ve allowed too many hands to hold our hearts. Let’s preserve our heart. Don’t feel the need to have to be tied to someone every second. Devote and dive into ministry head on. Until you’re married, you can devote 100% of your attention to God’s people and spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Enjoy your friendships. Too many people jump into romance without realizing the beauty of friendships. Enjoy hanging out with other young people in ministry. Enjoy young adult groups and hangouts in the town. At the same time, watch who you “chill” with. As leaders, many are attracted to the position that we hold because flesh is attracted to power. Some people are looking to relax with you for reasons that are not beneficial to your development. It can seem like a lonely road but please know that you are never alone. We must stop spreading this thought that just because ministry can seem lonely that it is lonely. As people who study the Word, we should be the FIRST to know that God is with us. Many leaders suffer from isolation and it is the cause of what I call “leadership death”. Don’t isolate yourself on purpose because you think that it is the “leader” thing to do. Always have people in your circle that you can lean on. Just remember: Don’t lean on someone just because it feels good (aka opposite sex attraction). Samson thought Delilah was a pretty piece of work too! The anointing & call on your life isn’t worth a few sleepovers with Tyrone or Tyra.
God’s time is not like our time. He operates on heaven’s time. We must have the patience to wait for the promise. God never forgets His promises. Our lack of patience will show us the very need for it. The more you feed on being single, desperation will creep in because it will have your heart thinking that you need someone when you’re not even ready.
I believe that God does not unlock the next level to us until we are ready. However, many of us take hold to what seems like the next level without God’s permission. The issue is when we jump into relationships that seem like “heaven” without God’s approval. We will end up hurting more than helping our own heart. I’m learning that I’m not ready for someone right now because I’m too jumpy. I love relationships. I love to encourage people and love on people. However, I need to love on myself and encourage myself first. Many leaders don’t pour into themselves as much as they pour into others. There are leaders who are walking zombies due to the lack of self-care. If God hasn’t revealed the person yet, guess what? It’s not time. So just chill. Get a reality check and swallow it. Be okay with it and don’t try to jump ahead of God (remember, be patient!)
4. Social Media Discretion
I get it. We’re all human. However, as leaders many people look up to us. Know that your relationship isn’t for social media until the proper time. When God does reveal to you the person, have discretion. I’ve seen too many leaders jump into a relationship, blast it all over social media and then 5 months later that significant other is no longer to be found on their account. The sad thing is that another 5 months later, it’s someone else with the same captions. We have to be careful what we broadcast out there to the world. I’m not promoting anything about my personal life until God has confirmed to me that my companion is the one and that I’m entering into the serious stages of our relationship.
5. Watch from afar & Let the Holy Spirit Lead
My father always taught me to watch someone from afar. You need to see how they operate without you bringing attention to them. You know how kids act differently when they know their parents are watching? Men and women do the same thing especially when someone may have interest in them. Let’s be honest, when someone you like is noticing you, you most likely act at least 30% differently than you would around your friends or close family members. I love people from afar before even coming close. The people that are in my closest circle captured my heart from afar FIRST. I saw their heart for others and how they gave without any selfish motives. I saw their heart for the things of God and how they treasured the spirit of God. I also saw how real they were and transparent. We clicked. The same goes for when it comes to our romantic relationships. Once God has confirmed it in your spirit, don’t act crazy. Just go with the flow and let the Holy Spirit lead you. He will tell you how to act and what to do. When it’s time, the Holy Spirit will begin to put it on your heart to do certain things for that person. Just watch the love grow from there.
Stop trying to live in a sinking mansion. The grand things in life have ripped us apart as a society. We have ran after things with a hope of loving things that are rotten. We have made diamond encrusted poison apples our diet and the next generation will pay for our selfish desires.
I’ve realized that some people are sleeping beauties in a wicked world. However, they desire to sleep because the dream that they are in is completely “divine”. You’re with that woman or man that you’ve always fantasized about in your head. They have the body you have longed to touch. They have that smile that makes you smile right back.
The only problem is……….they aren’t apart of your future. They are just pieces of your past that the enemy has updated to make you think that what you’re with is better than what you left. It may seem better but in reality, it’s just an updated version of the world you were trying to leave behind.
That’s why you have to stop fantasizing and start having faith. I hear so many people tell their friends and coworkers about who they fantasize to be with. However, the only way you will really know if they were made for you is if God approved them.
But no…many of us know that God won’t approve them because we already know what’s wrong. We just decide to settle. Except we don’t call it settling because we THEN validate why we are with them in the first place. We start with the outside achievements of a person. They are beautiful, their body is well-made, and we brag about what they do career wise.
However, Jezebel was ambitious and I’m sure so was Delilah. I’m sure even Judas had that little No Shave November going on. If he was on Instagram, I’m sure even Judas would have gotten a few likes for his beard. The devil himself is ambitious and has “goals”. Achievements in life are great but the enemy works too so I’m still trying to figure out how that is enough for you to settle. Then there is the “inward” parts of the person that we validate as well. They are kind, compassionate, and so forth. They may be. However, the most important part is a person’s spirit and many of us already know that.
Again, we just skip that part though because we think we can FIX that. However, you can’t fix spirit. Only the person who possesses that spirit can fix it. You can’t wait around and waste time with someone that has a spirit of complacency. We tolerate more than we should because we believe that we only QUALIFY for what we see to be around us [Tweet This].
The sad part is that this doesn’t just apply to relationships but life in general. As my father says, “The manifestation of blessings in your life only rises to the level of your confession through faith and action”. So you will receive whatsoever you speak and act on. Settling is not a choice, it’s a lifestyle set in place by consistent habits [Tweet This].
If you start settling for one thing without correcting it, it will not work on your behalf. I’m speaking from personal experience. Recently, I’ve found myself settling. Yeah, I’m not proud about it. I believe the reason why I was sinking into that lifestyle of settling was because my faith was become complacent due to what I SAW in the natural and not by faith. Then I realized something. There is nothing I can do. I mean there are tons of things I can do OUTSIDE of God’s will. I can get married in a few months if I wanted to but it would be horrible and internally I would know that it wasn’t right. I’ve been through too many experiences of pain and hurt to settle for a mediocre relationship at this point.
I need God to build my house. For so long, we settle for either trailer park headaches, suburban disasters, or sinking mansions. I need God to build my house. Any house not built by God always seems to have more problems than we expect. However, we have to stop trying to live in homes we know aren’t meant for long term use. I used to be in relationships like a rental. I stay for a few months then I pack up my bags and move somewhere else. However, there was no stability. There was no consistency. I was a nomad.
I remember the word “nomad” from elementary school in social studies. Based upon Dictionary.com’s meaning, it is defined as the following.
“a member of a people or tribe that has no permanent abode but moves about from place toplace, usually seasonally and often following a traditional route or circuit according to thestate of the pasturage or food supply.”
Look at some of the words in this definition. It reminds me of my past relationships. Do you move seasonally, from one person to another? Based upon the definition, a nomad moves according to past or traditional routes based upon the nourishment that they need. Every person desires to be nourished. We all want to be loved but if you’re a nomadic lover, you will always travel the same way trying to be fulfilled [Tweet This]. You need God to build your house.
I don’t want the unneeded stress from a man that I can’t “vibe” with. If I just finished reading an amazing passage in the bible, I want to be able to talk about it with you. If the Holy Spirit is speaking to my heart, I need to be able to discuss it with you. By the way, the Holy Spirit should be speaking to that person as well. If we end up being married and the children are sick, can you pray with me? If something happens to us financially, will you tell me that we need to have faith and believe God to make a way? When I get weak, will your strength and wisdom cover me? I need to know and the ONLY way I can be sure is if God builds my house.
My house is custom made for me. It fits all the things that God knows that I need and not just what I want. I need someone who can put up with my stubbornness and how I can be very headstrong at times. I need someone who can deal with my bubbly personality that is very passionate for many things. I need someone who can handle how I can be indecisive at times and how I obsess over minor details (just a little).
God build our house so that we can have the right mate. If you are married, pray that God continues to build your home so that your relationship will be blessed. It’s not just about you though. A God-given relationship brings blessings to your children (if you desire to have them). I want my children to see someone that loves God with their entire heart. No, they don’t have to be perfect. Abraham wasn’t perfect. Job wasn’t perfect. Joseph (Jesus’ natural father) wasn’t perfect. Yet, they loved God. However, there is one last thing to point out when it comes to a Godly mate.
Just because they are saved and you guys have that “vibe” going on does not mean they are meant for you. There is 1 for you so the rest have to be your friends or acquaintances. Do you know how many people are in the world? There are so many churches. If I desired a man that loved God with all of their heart, loved Stevie Wonder, was tall, and had big goals. BAM. I’m sure there would be at least 10 men from all over the world that fit that description. How do you know which one is for YOU? They could all treat you like a Queen. They could all do all the things you’ve always desired.
Now what? Here comes doubt though.
“Well how come I’ve never met those 10 men or women”
Probably because if you did meet them, you would try to flirt with every one of them thinking that one of them was “destined” to be your husband. Let’s be honest. You need someone for you and sometimes we don’t even know ourselves. That’s the real truth. We THINK we know ourselves but only God knows who we are.
13 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
14 I thank you, High God––you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration––what a creation!
15 You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
16 Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day
(Psalms 139:13-16 Message)
And THAT’S why I’m going to let God build my house. We can’t afford to be in homes that are never increasing in value. It will deplete your resources and your energy. I’m no longer going to worry about when it will be built and how it will be built. That’s not my business. As I end my thoughts, let’s look at Proverbs 16.
32 An undisciplined, self–willed life is puny;
an obedient, God–willed life is spacious.
33 Fear–of– God is a school in skilled living––
first you learn humility, then you experience glory.
1 Mortals make elaborate plans,
but God has the last word.
2 Humans are satisfied with whatever looks good;
God probes for what is good.
3 Put God in charge of your work,
then what you’ve planned will take place.
4 God made everything with a place and purpose;
even the wicked are included––but for judgment.
5 God can’t stomach arrogance or pretense;
believe me, he’ll put those upstarts in their place.
6 Guilt is banished through love and truth;
Fear–of– God deflects evil.
7 When God approves of your life,
even your enemies will end up shaking your hand.
8 Far better to be right and poor
than to be wrong and rich.
9 We plan the way we want to live,
but only God makes us able to live it
(Proverbs 16:1-9 Message)
I would like to share a story of faith when it comes to picking a mate. This is a story of my parents and how they believed for a home. This was just one example of their faith. However, it just shows how having someone who God has picked for you is amazing.
I remember when I moved as a middle school youth to an affluent neighborhood. The home we moved to wasn’t placed on the market. Matter of fact, they weren’t even showing it on those private listing sites. You had to be invited and we weren’t even in those types of circles to get an invitation. Yet, I remember as a child when we were looking to move to a neighboring state. We were looking at apartments. My parents were believing God for a home but because of our daily schedule, we needed to still be closer to our daily destinations. So they were believing God to find a temporary living space until they could find their home. I’ll never forget when this realtor for the apartment complexes we were looking at, told us to wait for a moment. My parents were telling her that the spaces were nice but it wasn’t what they were looking for exactly. They wouldn’t settle.
The lady walked away from us and I heard her tell someone on the other side of the conversation that we were a very nicely dressed family looking for a beautiful space to live. I looked up at my mom, almost annoyed because I thought she was trying to say that blacks couldn’t dress as nice as we did. I was a child that always played defense (including in opinions and arguments). However, my mother and father waited patiently until she got off of the phone. She told us to follow her because we were traveling to another destination. We drove into this neighborhood and then up this skinny hill that led to this older style built estate with a side guest house. A few months later we moved in. I remember living in a bedroom with my brother that had a closet I had put my clothes in since I was learning how to talk. My 7th grade year, I was now living in a suite with a separate living room for myself. It wasn’t a dream. It was a reality. Do you know why we received it? (Don’t worry, I’m getting somewhere)
We didn’t get to live in that home because we looked like a nice family and because the lady saw something in us special. No. The reason goes back several years before that moment in time. It goes back to the reason why you can’t be idiotic when picking a mate. My parents are faith people, without a doubt. They are some of the most passionate and on fire for God people I have ever met. When they believe God for something, they go into crazy prayer and action mode. My parents were sleeping on a tiny bed as a couple with my brother and I coming very close behind their day of marriage. I was born one year after they were married. My brother was born the following year within the same month (We’re both April babies). If people could only see the one bathroom the entire house shared every morning that had the shower/bathtub. My parents drove this put put car to work everyday. They did not match where God would end up taking them but they kept on having faith. They weren’t praying for money as a goal. They were praying that their desires to bless others and live an abundant life would come to fruition. My parents have always been givers, even when they did not have. If you give to others, God will give to you[Tweet This]. Even when they were sleeping on that small bed, they had this piece of paper that they had taped to the wall. They knew that how they were living was only temporary. That had faith that better things were ahead. As they prayed each night and talked about what God would do, they kept on working. God started up opening doors to increase their salary. They were obtaining positions that some may say they did not qualify for. However, God isn’t interested in what man qualifies you for. God was blessing them because they had faith and were acting accordingly.
As a couple, they would pray and fast. They loved on each other and showed my brother & I how to pray. Even when I was little, we were taught how to pray and spend time with the Holy Spirit. We weren’t a religious family. We just realized how important it was to have a relationship. Growing up, it’s amazing what a “power” couple truly is. It isn’t the Jay-Z and Beyoncé lifestyle nor the pictures that show a couple wearing red bottom shoes flashing money. It’s a lifestyle of faith. A power couple is a couple that walks by faith powered by God’s will for their life [Tweet This].
They walked by faith even when everything around them seemed to scream poverty. They never said that they were poor. They would always walk around saying that God would provide. I remember when my mother was taking care of my brother & I, and my father had a small paying job. It was household where my father had two children and a wife to support with a low income job. Yet somehow, my mother was a budget wiz. They would pray over their bills and show their faith by being good stewards over their funds. God would provide every time. That’s a power couple. Now when I look back on the hard times my parents went through, seeing God bless them makes me see what it means to have someone who truly fits you. Everyone seems to be that “perfect” mate but God sees into the future and He knows who will be the one to stick it out during the hard times. He knows who will cover you when the other ones you thought you were “perfect” wouldn’t even cover you. I’m not saying that the bad times are amazing for you. However, what I’m saying is that a God-given mate will truly make that “through thick or thin” doable because God is within them.
Trust God. He’s got you. Stay focused on your path and what God has you doing for the Kingdom. In due time, your house will be built and it will be the most beautiful home.
God build our house.
The first topic I want to cover is the “haters” arena. I think many people are so quick to call someone a “hater”,when that person has a different opinion on your way of life and how you do things. Many times,we forget that not all critics are haters but simply people who love us and are actually providing us with wisdom. It’s easy to become defensive. I used to be and still am in many ways defensive. It is something I am still working on. My biggest problem growing up was my mouth. It still is. My father still thinks I need to change to the lawyer track because growing up-I was the talker who was always trying to create an argument. The argument was always caused because of how defensive I would become when my father would try to correct me. I had a huge problem receiving correction. I think that this is the issue many have and immediately label someone as a hater when in actuality,that person is trying to provide you with wisdom.
I work and converse with children,teenagers,and young adults all the time and it is a struggle many times. However,this issue isn’t just with this generation but with ages across the entire board. People have a problem receiving correction. We are so stuck in OUR WAY and how I DO THIS OR THAT, that when wisdom comes along-we can’t handle it.
I turn to the Bible for wisdom. In the bible, it speaks about wisdom and what those who are “wise” do. When I bump into people who aren’t religious-they sometimes get irritated when I turn to the Bible for advice. However, even if you aren’t a Christian, the bible has some great advice for everybody-no matter what you believe. That’s why I love the Bible. So Proverbs 11:12 says this: He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour:but a man of understanding holdeth his peace.
Now I’m not saying that everyone is on your side. We know for a fact that we have more people who are against us than for us. However, focusing on those who display unkindness towards you is a waste of time.point.blank.period.
“Haters are my motivation”
I ABSOLUTELY DESPISE THIS SAYING. I don’t care how you explain it to me. I take a saying for how it is. Never let those who dislike you be a reason for why you put forth action. If ANYTHING should be your motivation-let it be love. By even giving place to those who dislike you-is a waste of time & energy. I once heard that if you have “x” amount of so many haters,you should be trying to bump it up even more. Your goal should be to spread love to as many people as you can. While you’re busy thinking about people who dislike you, there is somebody out there waiting for you to show them what the power of love can do.
“If you have haters,that means you doing something right”
No. It does not. Everyone has so called “haters” and everybody isn’t doing right-so obviously someone is doing something wrong. In today’s society people are quick to call their enemy every name in the book. I think that we should focus on loving our enemies. Loving them doesn’t mean befriending them. However, don’t pay them any mind. Don’t let them be your motivation. Don’t let them influence you in any decision you make. Be careful who you call your haters.
Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth,and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: