I was recently invited to be on a panel for a church event that was focused on relationships between Christian men and women (i.e dating, courting, so forth). It was me (a recently divorced mom, 3 single males (pastors, one of them a single father), and a married couple. So we got to have a variety of perspectives in the room. It was soooooo good!!!
The questions were pertaining to dating, and how Christians should date, what are some red flags in a courtship and the main discussion was practicing and remaining celibate until marriage.
Now when I was invited to do this, I was completely honored. (Especially because of my cause). It is my mission to motivate young girls (and women) to take care of themselves so that they can have a positive self-esteem, and learn their worth through Jesus Christ. *If you do not know my story I wrote about it in my blog post called “Ready to Forgive?” (I wont go into my story), but I will say that I was in an unhealthy relationship for years, and on top of that I did NOT put GOD FIRST, and it caused great heartbreak and confusion! When you allow people in your life that does not have the same focus as you, it can cause detrimental effects in your life. I believe in the quote “you are who you hang with”. Eventually something is going to have to give, either you get tired of being strong for both of you, or you lower your standards in order to try and be equally yoked with that person. Either way you are not being true to yourself, and therefore it can cause you to live a life of mediocracy.
Anyway so I was honored to be able to have the opportunity to share my story and help someone! Anyone! so that they are not blinded by dissilloutions, in having and maintaining standards for themselves. And number 1 is to seek GODS GUIDANCE. Once you have the wisdom to know that it is HIM that you should be seeking in order for Him to guide your life, you will start making wiser choices in relationships.
I cannot sit here and quote everything that was said during this event. But I would like to you know that it was very interesting.
I wrote the questions that were asked, and how I did/would have answered them.
Hope you enjoy!!!
His and Hers Views Questions and Answers and Introduction:
Hello my name is Keisha and I am a recently divorced single mom of 3 beautiful kids. I participated in an unhealthy relationship for a total of about 15 yrs. Even though there were RED FLAGS from the beginning, as the relationship started with no foundation, and continued with no foundation, and DEFINITELY WITHOUT GOD IN THE FOREFRONT! And that was exactly the problem.
I tried and tried everything in my power to try and make our relationship work, but I finally had ENOUGH! It was during this time in my life (I was so broken and confused that I felt like I was backed up against a wall). This is when I made the choice to seek GOD!
*ALTHOUGH I HAVE BEEN A BELIEVER FOR 15 YRS. (AS IT WAS MY EX HUSBANDS MOM WHO PLANTED THE SEED OF THE WORD TO ME), I KNEW ABOUT GOD, KNEW THAT HE DIED ON THE CROSS FOR MY SINS, BUT I DID NOT HAVE AN ACTIVE RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM. He took me to a verse that literally saved my life (HEBREWS 12:1) “THEREFORE SINCE WE ARE SURROUNDED BY SUCH A GREAT CLOUD OF WITNESSES, LET US THROW OFF EVERYTHING THAT HINDERS AND THE SIN THAT SO EASILY ENTANGLES. AND LET US RUN WITH PERSERVERANCE THE RACE MARKED OUT FOR US FIXING OUR EYES ON JESUS THE PIONEER AND PERFECTER OF FAITH”
I heard HIM!!! I heard HIM talking to me, and HE was telling me that HE has a purpose for my life, and that in order for the purpose to be filled I needed to do some cleaning up! I believe that Jesus SAVED MY LIFE, HE has given me another opportunity to live the abundant life that HE has set out for me.
There is another piece to the story, not only did HE want me out of that relationship but HE wanted me to share my testimony so that I could encourage other women to value themselves so that they don’t settle for anyone.
It was very difficult at first. As no one wants to talk about their divorce, and re-live the pain that goes with that, but as I spend time with the Lord, HE has given me courage and speaks to me about what HE is needing me to do. *You see when you are spending time with HIM and diligently seeking HIM, HIS voice becomes clear and you start to gain wisdom and understanding under HIS WILL.
So as I was felt embarrassed to tell my story, Jesus brought me to Philippians 1:20
“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ASHMED but I will still have sufficient courage, so that now as always Christ will be exhaulted in my body”.
HE SAID IT LOUD AND CLEAR! SHARE YOUR TESTIMONY
(HE has also put it in my heart to start a blog, and start writing and reading again…as this is something that I used to do, but because life happens I stopped), He is walking me through starting an organization that HE told me to name ABUNDANTLY AUTHENTIC and this is geared towards mom and daughters to educate, empower, and practice having a positive self-esteem.
I know that I am divorced and have 3 kids, so I am not the ideal representative for a celibate person, (or some people might be like “what does she need to be celibate for, she already been there done that), but celibacy is more than just abstaining from sex, if I could sum it up in 1 phrase it would be “Investing in yourself”
- Has practicing abstinence and celibacy been a result due to enduring unhealthy relationships?
A: Yes it has been. Although I have only been divorced for a few months, but separated for almost 1 year, I am and will be forever grateful that GOD has chosen to give me another chance at life! I believe that HE did not get me out of an unhealthy relationship to jump into another one. When I think about the heartache and the detrimental effects of the relationship that I was in, the main thing is that GOD was not involved, and I don’t want any part of relationship that HE IS NOT THE FOREFRONT IN! IT’S TOO DANGEROUS
Have your relationships been more of a cautionary tale, in regards to abstinence, that let led you to practice it? If so, explain?
- A: I have not been in a relationship since my divorce, so I cannot fully answer this question.
What are some of the benefits to waiting while you date? What are some of the consequences?
- A: I would say that there are A LOT of benefits. You can use this time to (as I stated earlier) to “Invest in yourself”, the number 1 way that you can do this is by developing your relationship with GOD.
- Spend time with HIM
- Get to know Him
- Read HIS word
- Worship Him
He will reveal what HE is needing from you, what His plans is for your life, He will guide you, He will protect you. You need to diligently seek HIM, put HIM first, ask His opinion on EVERY AREA OF YOUR LIFE!
He will start to give you discernment. And will start to let you see your life in a whole new set of lenses, (HIS LENSES), you will start to want to do things that you never wanted to do before (for me it was hiking and camping). He will put things on your heart that will get you out of your comfort zone. He will take out and place people in your life that will expose you to new things. If you really pay attention He will close doors even before they have had the opportunity of really open up. Before you even start to think about (speaking to that old boyfriend “oh it won’t hurt just to say hi”, “oh let me just look on his facebook page”) We need to pay attention to these things because it could plant seeds… looking on that page might bring back old feelings and reminiscing, saying hi, can spark a conversation and might open up doors to invite him to start calling again and the more you guys talk the more those feelings come back, and next thing you know you are in the same situation.
- It allows you to stay FOCUSED. GOD has a master plan and a lot of times we get in our own way. Staying focused with our goals and what we are trying to obtain will make it a lot easier to follow through with practicing being celibate.
- Once you start spending time with HIM and start walking in your purpose for your life, you become a whole different person, you will start to see things differently, and value yourself enough to have standards.
What are some things the opposite sex does (that you wish they’d stop doing) that hinders your ability to exercise celibacy?
A: This is one that I cannot fully answer also. I do not have enough experience yet to give my full opinion.
If you were on a date with a Christian and they said , “I believe intimacy helps to connect with the other person and see if they are the one for me”, what would you do/say? And what does that say about them?
A: If I was on a date with a Christian and they told me this, I would let them know that I do not agree with that statement. I would reinforce (what we probably already talked about), and I would probably inform them on other way that they could get “intimate” without being physical. So that the next person that they get involved with, maybe they will have more ideas on how to respect other people’s space.
Do you believe there is a healthy way of intimacy? If so, how?
A: Yes, I do believe that there is a healthy way of intimacy, I believe that
- Caring for a person’s well being, by staying consistent in their lives and their day to day
- Honoring that person’s boundaries (celibacy, so forth)
- Investing in that person (doing things that they like)
- Being creative in the time that you are spending with that person
- (take a dancing, or cooking class together; go to church together, pick a night to have game night with family or friends, go horseback riding, volunteer together…)
Should Christians date? Is it necessary and why? Do you believe we’re going at it the wrong way? If so describe ways to go about it the right way?
A: I think that it is ok to date. There have to be boundaries that NEEDS to be set. And dating the “worldly way” (meaning going out to dinner and movies “netflix and chilling”, 3 month rule and so forth) that is NOT THE WAY THAT WE SHOULD APPROACH DATING.
- First of all with EVERYTHING THAT WE DO WE NEED TO PUT HIM FIRST, IT SAYS IN THE BIBLE “SEEK ME FIRST IN ALL THINGS”
- We need to date with a purpose, (please do not waste your time or that other person’s time)
- Have standards and stick with them
- Don’t make excuses for people, PAY ATTENTION ( if that person goes shopping excessively and talking about being broke, then it won’t change unless THEY work on it and/ or you won’t change that person) (pay attention to that person’s attitude toward life, be friends first, give yourself time to get to know that person!
I am sure that everyone has their own views on how they feel like they should date, but I am answering these questions as a woman of GOD. I encourage you to take a look a on all of the questions and ponder on them. If you are a single person and are dating, (or not actively dating), you should really see what you want, so that when it is time to set those boundaries you will already have prepared and know what you want!
Alrighty!! That is all for tonight. I pray that you are inspired by this post.
Always remember “Never get too comfortable, always put GOD first”