Monday, January 23, 2012
Today's blog is the weekly entry from fast.pray, a group of singles and those who care for them who fast and pray at lunchtime each Monday:
We're back at it tomorrow, praying and fasting for God to change us, change men, and change the marital status of everyone on the list who is wanting that change!
Sometimes it’s hard to admit we are weak and need community — but learning to let others “get under” our burdens can be the path to life and strength.
One of the hardest weekends in my season of singleness was about three years ago. I can’t remember what I did Friday night, but I spent Saturday morning as usual: I straightened up my townhouse and then ran errands. For some reason, this particular Saturday I felt incredibly lonely. Maybe it was scurrying around town alone (again!) to take care of the basics of life. Or maybe my house just felt particularly empty. Who knows? But that afternoon, as I lay on my bed to read a book, I ended up sobbing my eyes out, longing be married, to have a partner. In between sobs I checked email on my blackberry about two dozen times, hoping for that magical note from someone signaling an end to this season — you know, someone saying they had a blind date to fix me up with, or some guy from the past emailing me out of the blue … anything that would give me a little hope. A Saturday afternoon rescue.
Sunday at church I found a seat — alone — in the back. A guy I had chatted with a few months before, but who had blown me off when I included him in my evite list to a Christmas party, sat two rows ahead of me. A wave of rejection and awkwardness swept over me. There was no way I wanted to bump into him at the “meet and greet” time after the service. Couple that with the usual loneliness of Sundays (ironically, I often felt the most alone at church), and I had to fight hard to keep the tears at bay. By now the service had started; I thought, “I don’t want to cry in front of everyone.” I saw some girlfriends walking in late, and I knew I needed my friends. So I grabbed all my stuff and ran over to sit with them.
After the service I broke down again, but this time in the company of friends. What a difference! So often it’s tempting to keep our walls up, our tears private, and our upper lip as stiff as possible. But that’s not what God intends. He means for us to share one another’s pain, to bear one another’s burdens. He calls us to pray for one another, to find healing in the context of community. He knows we need others to pull us to the Cross.
So my challenge on this snowy Sunday is for all of us to be willing to be weak and to admit that we need one another — to choose to share our lives, and our pain, rather than try to go it alone. We need to be willing to be open and vulnerable with trusted friends, even though at times it’s easier to put on the mask of strength. This can be as simple as being honest about our struggles and asking for prayer, or asking a family to save a seat for you on Sunday mornings so you don’t have to sit alone. God made us for community, and if you don’t have one, pray for God to provide and look around — he means for us to share our lives.
Have you hugged a single lately?
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
What a powerful verse found in Philippians 4:13! What a challenge to truly believe it ... and live it out! What dropped in my mind this morning is the fact that the subject of this sentence is I. Not God. I. Hmmm ... now there is food for thought. I am the doer, God is the one who empowers me to do all things.
Today I just want all readers to ponder what that means to you in this phase of your life. Whether that means getting out of debt, finding a mate, losing a certain amount of weight, kicking that bad habit, cleaning the garage or getting along with the pesky co-worker.
God takes care of the birds ... he feeds them ... by empowering them to seek, fly and snatch their food. They do the work - God provides the power and means.
What can YOU do through Christ who strengthens you? Please leave your thoughts.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
How our culture misunderstands compatibility by Timothy Keller.
We believe that many singles are "stuck" because they fear making the wrong choice in a mate. Here's an article issued in Relevant Magazine that confirms that your fears are correct:
In generations past, there was far less talk about “compatibility” and finding the ideal soul-mate. Today we are looking for someone who accepts us as we are and fulfills our desires, and this creates an unrealistic set of expectations that frustrates both the searchers and the searched for.
In John Tierney’s classic humor article “Picky, Picky, Picky” he tries nobly to get us to laugh at the impossible situation our culture has put us in. He recounts many of the reasons his single friends told him they had given up on their recent relationships:
“She mispronounced ‘Goethe.’”
“How could I take him seriously after seeing The Road Less Traveled on his bookshelf?”
“If she would just lose seven pounds.”
“Sure, he’s a partner, but it’s not a big firm. And he wears those short black socks.”
“Well, it started out great ... beautiful face, great body, nice smile. Everything was going fine—until she turned around.” He paused ominously and shook his head. ”... She had dirty elbows.”
In other words, some people in our culture want too much out of a marriage partner. They do not see marriage as two flawed people coming together to create a space of stability, love and consolation, a “haven in a heartless world,” as Christopher Lasch describes it. Rather, they are looking for someone who will accept them as they are, complement their abilities and fulfill their sexual and emotional desires. This will indeed require a woman who is “a novelist/astronaut with a background in fashion modeling,” and the equivalent in a man. A marriage based not on self-denial but on self-fulfillment will require a low- or no-maintenance partner who meets your needs while making almost no claims on you. Simply put—today people are asking far too much in the marriage partner.
You never marry the right person
The Bible explains why the quest for compatibility seems to be so impossible. As a pastor I have spoken to thousands of couples, some working on marriage-seeking, some working on marriage-sustaining and some working on marriage-saving. I’ve heard them say over and over, “Love shouldn’t be this hard, it should come naturally.” In response I always say something like: “Why believe that? Would someone who wants to play professional baseball say, ‘It shouldn’t be so hard to hit a fastball’? Would someone who wants to write the greatest American novel of her generation say, ‘It shouldn’t be hard to create believable characters and compelling narrative’?” The understandable retort is: “But this is not baseball or literature. This is love. Love should just come naturally if two people are compatible, if they are truly soul-mates. “
The Christian answer to this is that no two people are compatible. Duke University Ethics professor Stanley Hauerwas has famously made this point:
Destructive to marriage is the self-fulfillment ethic that assumes marriage and the family are primarily institutions of personal fulfillment, necessary for us to become "whole" and happy. The assumption is that there is someone just right for us http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifto marry and that if we look closely enough we will find the right person. This moral assumption overlooks a crucial aspect to marriage. It fails to appreciate the fact that we always marry the wrong person.
We never know whom we marry; we just think we do. Or even if we first marry the right person, just give it a while and he or she will change. For marriage, http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifbeing [the enormous thing it is] means we are not the same person after we have entered it. The primary challenge of marriage is learning how to love and care for the stranger to whom you find yourself married.
CLICK HERE to read the article in its entirety.
Find your "wrong" person at Cache' Connections :) Save $100 on a One Year subscription. Use promo code: JAN4995
Monday, January 9, 2012
I'm reading the "Power of Positive Thinking" by Norman Vincent Peale, which was written in the early 1950's. If you haven't read it, I certainly recommend it for everyone. It is a great eye-opener on how to open our minds, stretch our faith and adopt an expectant, positive attitude that will bring positive things back to you.
You are reading this blog because you want a mate. I wonder if the things you say, the way you think and the general attitude and mindset you have are hindering your connection possibilities?
In this book, Peale tells of a woman who came to visit him about a problem. He was a few minutes late for the appointment, and when he met her, it was obvious that she was displeased with him, as her lips were pressed firmly together. She shortly lit into him about being late and then pressed forward by stating, "I have a very important problem to present to you and I want an answer, and I expect an answer... I might as well put it to you bluntly. I want to get married."
Peale replied, "Well, that is a perfectly normal desire and I should like to help you."
"I want to know why I can't get married, " she continued. "Every time I form a friendship with a man, the next thing I know he fades out of the picture and another chance is gone by, and, I am not getting any younger. You conduct a personal-problem clinic to study people and you have had some experience, and I am putting my problem right up to you. Tell me, why can't I get married?"
I couldn't wait to read Peale's response. After paying her a few compliments on her sound mind, a fine personality and nice appearance, he got to the heart of the matter. Peale pointed out how she "took him to task" about being late. "Has it ever occurred to you that your attitude represents a pretty serious fault? I think a husband would have a very difficult time if you checked him up that closely all the time. In fact, you would so dominate him that, even if you did marry, your marital life would be unsatisfactory. Love cannot live under domination."
Then he addressed her sour countenance. "You have a very firm way of pressing your lips together which indicates a domineering attitude. The average male, I might as well tell you, does not like to be dominated, at least so that he knows it." (hee hee) He added, "I think you would be a very attractive person if you got those too-firm lines out of your face. You must have a little softness, a little tenderness, and those lines are too firm to be soft." He then moved on to his opinion about the fit of her dress, her hair style and recommended a touch of perfume. Finally, Peale told her that "the really important thing is to get a new attitude that will change the lines on your face and give you that indefinable quality known as spiritual joy. This I am certain will release charm and loveliness in you." Peale quoted an old professor of his who said that God "runs a beauty parlor."
The woman was smart enough to take his advice, and long story short, they reconnected several years later. She was with her husband and 10 year old son. "What you told me was absolutely true," she said very earnestly. "I was the most frustrated, unhappy individual imaginable when I came to see you, but I put into practice the principles you suggested. I really did, and they worked."
Peale was bold enough to tell the woman what she desperately needed to hear, and she was smart enough to be teachable. Are you teachable, coachable, trainable? Is there someone in your life that might be willing to tell you the hard truth that you might need to hear?
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
The New Year is upon us and at Cache' Connections we are most excited about the launching of our area-wide singles groups that we affectionately call "Cache' Connections Christian Dating Redefined," or CDR for short.
Two such groups will launch this month and many more are on the horizon. Single Christians in the Peoria and Springfield, Illinois areas can be making plans to attend the kick-off events on 1/14 (Peoria) and 1/28 (Springfield). Those who might like to take on a challenge or a chance to show off can apply to be a contestant for the game show. We need two contestants for Peoria and five for Springfield. There will be three teams consisting of one male and one female. Everyone else will be a part of the audience. But fear not! Of course Cache' Connections will provide opportunities for you to meet other singles at the event.
What's in store for the contestants? We can't tell all of our secrets ... but there will be ping pong balls, a hot potato and Tic Tacs involved ... silly games made out of household goods. The team that beats the clock for three rounds will win the grand prize!
For more information on these kick-off events and the CDR singles groups, please check out the Events tab at cacheconnections.com.