Elevation Worship Interview Growthtrac founder Jim Mueller recently chatted with Chris Brown of Elevation Worship, the worship ministry of the
I was in a tough, tough marriage for 19 years, undergoing extensive counseling and attempts to make our relationship healthy and whole. But then my husband served me divorce papers—and five years ago, I found myself single.
When I tried online dating two years after my divorce was finalized, it was not because I thought it would be fun. In fact, the thought of it basically creeped me out. It seemed—I don’t know—desperate, maybe.
And I wasn’t desperate. I had come to a place of being fine on my own. But then I found myself waking up to the reality that I believe God had created me for partnership and companionship, and remarriage was something I desired.
The problem is, I’m shy. And an introvert. My idea of a good time was either a girls’ night out (and by girls’ night out, I mean tea and something chocolate-y with my girls) or a night on my couch with Netflix or a book. I work from home and I don’t go to bars. And I didn’t really know any men who are single. So unless a super cute, forty-something, godly repairman happened to walk through my kitchen one day, I was out of luck.
Unless a super cute, forty-something, godly repairman happened to walk through my kitchen one day, I was out of luck.
My friends suggested I have an open mind and try online dating. I did—and discovered there were some really good men out there. I ended up finding one and marrying him!
So let me answer two questions I’m asked.
It starts with actually being single. Meaning, if you have not signed divorce papers, you are not single (even if you feel as though you are) and you should not be dating.
You should be taking sufficient time to heal by going through DivorceCare. Seeing a counselor. Grieving. Laying low. Resting. Journaling. Going out with your girlfriends. Painting a room in your house. Buying a dog. Serving someone. Taking a class. For at least a year or more.
And then once you’re divorced and once you’ve done some major grieving and healing work, then and only then—for your sake and for your future date’s sake—should you consider dating.
However . . .
But I would say this: Only you know if you are ready. No one can answer this for you.
And I would also say this: You can always try! You can go on one date to test the emotional waters and if it freaks you out, you can choose not to go on a second date. You can regroup and keep living your sweet life for a little while longer until you are ready to venture out again.
All I can really say to that is this: My youth pastor’s wife used to tell me that God doesn’t move parked cars. Yes, God could have brought a cute, godly delivery man to my house—but he didn’t. You don’t just get a college education; you have to pick a college and go. You don’t just get a cup of Starbuck’s coffee popping up on your kitchen counter; you have to drive there and buy one. God gives us a spirit of wisdom and allows us to make our own choices. To me, this simply falls under that same big umbrella.
Is dating a bit scary (especially post-divorce and post-pain)? Yes, of course. But I can attest to the fact that it can also be fun and an adventure (and I don’t tend to be an adventure kind of girl). And it can end in a really wonderful, sweet way.
While we men may not be able to always control our desires, we usually can control our environment. We can remove sexual rituals from our life so that when our lust craves a sexual outlet, none is to be found. A ritual is any seemingly harmless act that precedes acting out sinfully.
I know a man who removed cable television from his home. As a further precaution, he refused to watch television after 10 P.M. unless his wife was present. Another friend who travels extensively refuses to turn on the television in his hotel room. By never turning on the TV, he avoids the ritual of channel surfing. One man who used to sleep with prostitutes told me he takes an inconvenient route to work to keep from driving through a red-light district. I’ve got a friend who said the path to a woman’s bed always starts with him checking out attractive women everywhere he looks. He said he’s learning to look and then quickly turn his eyes away.
Several years ago I signed up with Covenant Eyes, a company that sells a software program that keeps a non-erasable history of everyplace I’ve been on the Internet. It identifies any questionable sites and emails the list to an accountability partner. I’ve discovered I’m as safe on the Internet without accountability as a peg-legged man in a forest fire.
Some guys make up their mind before going to the gym to work out that they won’t check out the hot babes. Or, to work out at a time when fewer people are present. I know men who are players that must avoid flirting with women. They keep work relationships with women on a professional basis and in a social setting they’re friendly but not flirtatious.
These are the kinds of aggressive steps you must take to bridle your lust. As you make your list of rituals and prepare to get rid of them, expect some internal resistance . . . especially if you’ve been acting out.
Your lust may not appear as a fire-breathing dragon; it may seem as harmless as a kitten. It might plead with you to keep one ritual–your favorite. It will promise never to ask for more. It will try to convince you that such actions aren’t necessary. It will whisper in your ear: “It won’t hurt to check out the babes at work. You don’t need accountability on the Internet. There’s nothing wrong with a little playful flirting.”
Anticipate such pleadings and refuse to allow them to dictate your plan of action. Make the list of rituals that feed your lust and ruthlessly get rid of them. Once you’ve done that, talk to a friend and give him permission to ask how you’re doing. These are the kinds of decisions that will keep you from making the same mistake over and over again. They are the kind of actions that protect your present and future. And they are the kind of decisions that please God.
Bill Perkins is a sought-after speaker, former pastor, and prolific author. Read more from Bill at BillPerkins.com. Used with permission.
God called Eve Adam’s “helpmate,” and as a helpmate myself, I take my job seriously.
I help my husband drive
I help my husband dress.
I’m his little helper.
In fact, I don’t know how he’d get anywhere if I weren’t in the car telling him where to turn and when to slow down. If it weren’t for me I’m pretty sure he’d wear sweat pants and a dirty tee-shirt every day of this life. He needs me, or least that’s what I think. He doesn’t seem to agree, however.
I don’t understand why people can’t just accept my control as not only inevitable, but necessary.
—get somewhere, put on his clothes, finish a sentence. And that is why my life is so often overwhelmed. I don’t understand why people can’t just accept my control as not only inevitable, but necessary. After all, four eyes are better than two, and what I’m really trying to do is help. I mean, I wouldn’t have to help him if he didn’t miss perfectly good parking spots or look like he was going to run over a pedestrian. I wouldn’t have to help him if he were more interested in dressing for success. Essentially I wouldn’t have to help him so much if he just did everything the way I think he should do it. Problem solved!
Or is it?
I know what to do, but I just can’t seem to do it. And what I do, I hate. See, I know that he doesn’t like it when I show him how much smarter I am than him, and I know that “Let me help” is just another way to say “You wanna fight?” So I try desperately not to “help” him, which is so counterintuitive that I can hardly hold my tongue. For example, while he’s driving down the street talking, I often don’t hear a word he’s saying because I’m just thinking, Please take this next left. It’s so much quicker than going straight. But I bite my tongue as he continues to talk and when we get to the light, unable to take it any longer, I squeak, “Aren’t you going to take Andrew Wilson Parkway?” quickly so as not to interrupt him for too long.
To which he says, “Okay, so I guess it’s more important to direct me than to listen to me. Have you learned nothing?”
“Oh, no, I’m very interested in your story. I’m so sorry I interrupted you. Please go on.”
I’ve learned my lesson, kinda. So last week I tried a new sentence configuration in order to get him to do what I wanted him to do without him feeling like he’s doing what I wa t him to do.
The male brain is a very delicate thing; you must always figure out how to make them think what they are doing is their own idea, otherwise it’s considered “control,” and for some odd reason they just don’t like to be “controlled.” It’s a flaw in their DNA, I think. So I say, “I found out that turning here shaves five minutes off getting to the freeway.” To which he grunts and says, “Ah,” as he continued on his merry strength way, leaving me to look longingly at the left turn and we should have been in.
The truth is that whenever I’m not in control of the situation, I’m looking for any opportunity to take control simply because I know things are faster, safe, smarter, and more comfortable when I’m in charge.
But when we yearn for control, it is because we are discontent with how things are going. And this discontentment speaks more to who we think God is than of whom we think they are.
When we can sit back and trust that God can speak to the other personal as easily as he can speak to us, when we can trust that our ways are not the only ways, and that loves lets other be wrong sometimes, it won’t be the end of the world. It just means that it might just take an extra five minutes to get there. A quiet heart is a joy to possess.
Excerpted with permission from the book A Woman Overwhelmed: Finding God in the Messes of Life by Hayley DiMarco (Abingdon Press) Copyright ©2017.
I've fallen in love with you guys, the marriage programmes are so helpful, thank you for the good work. Ernest (South Africa, Durban)
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