Of Love & Order Part 4: What Dating With Purpose Means To Me

 

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“Your love is as stable as you are: It’s not about how good a person makes you feel, but rather what good you can do for them.” Criss Jami, Killosophy

“God will bring the right person into your life at the right time. Always believe that! If they are not there, God isn’t finished yet!” Shannon L Alder

Courtship is an activity whereby one looses oneself … whilst trying to win someone’s love.
Mokokoma Mokhonoana

What is dating with purpose?
I love the very thought of this. When you have a purpose, an actual purpose for dating. It implies planning before and during the process. Few people plan how their relationships will turn out. Some plan as soon as their relationships begin, which is realistic, others procrastinate with it. Flipplancy and passivity do not play a part in this portion of an individual’s life at all. It is a precious transition, a valuable progression and treasurable advancement. Not everyone has the chance to be with the one they believe is right for them, let alone get into a relationship in the first place. What baffles me therefore, is how lightly esteemed a unique relationship (those who do have this privilege) is regarded when one considers the overall impact it has in his or her life!

Dating with purpose for me embodies three things:
1) having a strong relationship with God
2) possessing a deep understanding of love
3) establishing necessary barriers for protection

NB: It has to happen in exactly this order

There is no setting up boundaries on the foundation of a worldly influence of love, which occurs as a result of not having a firm grasp on what true love is. Where else or best can you get it other than from the Existence, Epitome and Expression of love itself? At other times, despite having a good relationship with God, your view of love can still be thwarted by the world which can mix the conditions you set for your relationship (through partially sticking to the Word or using it to justify your views) or if you are firm and sure, then there can be a possible failure to be faithful in upholding those conditions. Well, I am certain you know what I am getting at and leave you to consider the consequences of having number 2 in check at the expense of the others.
The main reason for those three things to be in place is because it sets the stage for a life lived with these checkpoints being crossed time and again. Take note that while I will be primarily speaking to those who are either beginning or are currently in the courtship stage, the counsel of the following spans across into other arenas, including marriage.

God is the core center by which your relationship exists (Mark 10:9)
If God is love, why would love be sought for in any other place?  Of course, ignorance has a role in this but apart from that, recognizing the Source of love is  paramount in the journey of a couple’s discovery if you will. The very fact you are together is a direct result of His plans coming together, in the same way you did. Being aware of this is the starting point of a fruitful relationship.

Jesus is the foundation in which your relationship is built (1 Corinthians 3:11)
When you have a strong relationship with God as an individual that naturally transitions into the relationship with your special one. There is that threefold cord that cannot be broken (Ecc 4:12). You essentially form the Triangle of Relationships. It was a term coined by Mike Breen the author of Life Shapes, where at the top stands our relationship with God, the left is our relationship with each other as the Body of Christ and on the right is our role in going on outreach to bring others into the kingdom and thus restore them into a relationship with God. It will look like this.

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From my stand point, however, the threefold cord is about the individual relationship with God; the understanding of oneself with the establishment of a strong identity; with boldness seek the person that God has for him or her, and finally bringing everything together through the foundation laid upon the Word of God. This way the couple gets to enjoy the fruitfulness of their own relationship as it is directed in faith by God, as long as complete confidence and reliance on Him is maintained.

Jesus is the chief cornerstone by which your relationship is sustained.
No doubt times can and will be tough. We are talking about two completely different people joining together in the prospect of sharing a life with each other. With this comes many different things. You have culture, background, beliefs, perceptions of life, opinions on current affairs, religion, education, politics,  finances, sex, drinking (some belive in drinking but not to the point of being drunk while others are against this notion), and world view. There are other elements as well but these are the main ones. It is very easy to be lovey dovey the one minute and the mortal rivals the next. The key thing is to remain in the Word, prayed up and keeping a positive attitude about each other, especially when you argue. Being sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading through good and bad times is what will sustain you. It may not always be easy but it is always worth it. I cannot stress the value of having a firm relationship with God as individuals  first before building one as a couple, becuase trying times will put your words of devotion to the test.

What different people’s interpretation of dating with purpose is.
This brief list of opinions on this term all connect to what I have pointed out in a unique way.

Sean and Brgitte call it a Christ Centered Relationship
Heather Lindsay notes that it’s about putting God first and being lead by Him
Yore and Mekeyas say it’s about having a solid identity then serving the Lord with your partner.
Mercedes and Nonso believe it’s about having a relationship that has a goal and clear expectations.

Conclusion
When you look at it dating with purpose comes down to rooting yourself in Christ and maintaining that relationship (for yourself first) throughout the rest of your life, no matter what happens. When you are certain that you have reached that stage or are close to it, you then pursue a future with the significant other. It is vital to give both yourself and your partner at chance at love that will last. Fleeting pleasures immediately robs you of that opportunity, especially when you prioritize that. Draw a line and determine how far too far is. At what point are the activities you engage in, particularly physical ones, about to reach worldly standards? Keeping these boundaries in check will ensure a long-lasting relationship equipping you well enough to weather any storm.

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Of Love & Order part 3B: Looking At Similar Differences

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Courtesy of ginabind.com

Luke 6:37
Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven

Proverbs 15:1
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger

Starting Matters
For as long as I can remember it has always been the popular belief that it’s not really starting that is important but finishing. Most people familiar with the Information Age (where the existence of being misinformed and disinformed increases the challenge with trust in all types of relationships), should respond to that belief in the same way as they would this one: Knowledge is Power, with Who Lied To You? You see your attitude at the beginning of a task determines its outcome more than anything else, therefore how you begin (in general) does in fact impact how you finish. Seeing that applied knowledge is power (impacting the consequences depending on how that power is used), commencing the right way in your relationship can actually greatly influence how it progresses later on. Too many times people are drawn to and seek out similarities as for hidden treasure to the point that differences are perceived as foreign objects!

Making Inadvertent Mistakes
There was a nice dating show that I watched a few years ago. It involved contestants competing in the jungle as automatically paired couples and later in the main ceremony, empowered with the choice to remain with the pair or choose someone else to be paired with. I remember a question in one of the episodes in season 2, I believe it was called Love In The Wild, a couple asked each other this very question which I know is extremely important for discussion:

What are the biggest mistakes men and women make in relationships?
Here is one for each gender that I thought was really interesting. For the men putting someone (or something) ahead of her is a recipe for disaster. I can personally relate to this. My partner (both in prayer and life), my shining light, my deputy commander, my vice captain, the wisdom of my ways and the love of my life, Nelly Sophia is the important individual I made this mistake with. The worst part was that it was an innocent (continual) action that I did not know was a mistake! She loves to talk every night for as long possible on the phone (because we only see each other once a week) and I would be engaging myself in a myriad of activities by the time she calls. From the moment I pick up the phone, part of my mind would be on the activity and the other part on her. Some friction arose every now and then as you can imagine. Sometimes I made the mistake of requesting for a “night off” so to speak completely unaware of the magnitude of what I was asking. Needless to say this created tension through the appearance of disinterest from the lack of attention given. I have learned that masculine energy is single-focused and targeted towards one purpose and goal, as such it is easy to ignore her (the women) and focus attention on somewhere else, particularly if it is work. Being sensitive to and cognizant of her feelings is not merely a habit that must be formed for creating balance, but a vital necessity.

Now for the women, the mistake they make more than any other (at least in my opinion) is being passive aggressive. Here is the thing on my part. There are times when I can pick this up with Nelly but then later take it as it is (simply because that’s what guys do) to avoid unnecessary assumptions. Having grown up with predominantly female friends I have tried to understand the concept of paradoxical terms with female logic. No means Yes, Yes means No, Maybe means No, We need to talk means I need to Complain, Sure go Ahead means I don’t want you To. This is a field I chose not to set foot on (in attempting to understand it) because I realized that life may possibly be complicated. That is definitely so in a relationship and women will do very well to acknowledge the easy-mindedness of the men and how very straightforward every word will be taken. The wisest move is to never under any circumstance be passive aggressive. Ladies say what you mean and mean what you say.

Different Is Not Wrong
To be honest I do not know why I titled the post what it is because I hate it when people use the term “same difference.” I thought I got a handle on it ever since coming across it the first time, but I wanted to really make sure that I had a good grip on it. It actually  is “an idiomatic oxymoron [Oxford Dictionary Online]. It effectively means. Whether these two choices are the same or different is immaterial to me.” There is an element of indifference in that which can spell DANGER should it ever so much as cross the minds of any individual in a relationship. The main factor to consider is that being different is not automatically a bad thing. To perceive it this way puts a whole new meaning to Opposites Attract. I personally am multicultural and I love this about myself because I get to see people appropriately differently than most would as a result of observing everything from a non ethnocentric point of view. Appreciating people for who they are just as they are and learning how they conduct themselves and honouring that by being a part of it for the sole purpose of maintaining a strong relationship is crucial. In an intimate heterosexual relationship that is standard. The key thing in moving forward in spite of differences is perspective. Get in your partners shoes, see things from their angle and learn from reflective thinking (taking the time to contemplate the situation logically [bird’s-eye view] not emotionally [stuck in traffic view]).

In her book Battlefield Of the Mind Joyce Meyer exemplifies (on overcoming  judgemental, critical and suspicious thinking) the value of my last point. She says

My husband and I are extremely different in our approach to many things. How to decorate a house would be one of those things. It isn’t that we don’t like anything the other one chooses, but if we go out to shop for household things together, it seems Dave always likes one thing and I like something else. Why? Simply because we are two different people. His opinion is just as good as mine, and mine is just as good as his; they are simply different.

If your friend/partner is from a country where they drive on the other side of the road from what you are used to, it’s not wrong! I cannot tell you how many times I have heard how Americans drive on the wrong side of the road and vice-versa towards Africans. Using chopsticks instead of regular cutlery is good. Fancy dining on the floor instead of a table? Even better.  I asked my friend if she ever had a relationship with someone who was the total opposite of her. She said that’s her best friend. Use your differences to your advantage. If you can’t get around them, jump over them or go under them, then go through them together!

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Of Love & Order part 1: What Happened To Love?

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Courtesy of completewellbeing.com

“When it’s gone, you’ll know what a gift love was. You’ll suffer like this. So go back and fight to keep it.” Ian McEwan Enduring Love

“I used to think that I could never lose anyone if I photographed them enough. In fact, my pictures show me how much I’ve lost.” Nan Goldin

Starting from the beginning
Things in my life are moving in a way that only God can orchestrate. From not knowing my purpose and passion, to having TV/Film skills. From only possessing video production skills to having design traits too.. From enjoying an ordinary relationship with God to an extraordinary one. From being single to being in a relationship!
Of course when I put it like this it sounds like everything is going smoothly, all according to plan. That is far from the case. I have had to learn patience, deep trust in God, and persistence especially through and in prayer in the process. The fact that I am even writing this right now is a testament to His goodness! With gloves off, hands rubbed, we are ready to get into highly likely the most exciting journey yet.

What it is about
What is love? No I am not talking about Haddaway’s song! I am sincerely bringing to mind the reality of the most impactful force ever to hit humankind. There seems to be a widespread knowledge or more accurately information, on the subject with it affecting each of us in a completely different way. If you ask one person what they believe love to be, you will get a completely different answer to what the next person will say. The question that eats me every time is if two people (man and woman) were always meant to be, how is it that there are cases where break up happens after 4 or more years? It truly is baffling to me. As I brushed up on my dating knowledge through so many various means including books, TV (talk) shows/series, movies, internet articles, music, conversations/discussions, seminars/conferences and CD’s,  I began to see a pattern between the thriving relationships and the ones that appear to be doomed for failure before they even start. No I am not claiming to be some expert or anything, there is still much for me to learn in spite of all I have already learned, I am merely putting forward my observations in the hopes that someone will have a good or better understanding of love. The point is to let the reader combine their knowledge, insight, wisdom and understanding with what they glean from here.
In case you are wondering Why “Of Love And Order?” It is simply based on this profound principle: Worthwhile relationships take work. Before diving into what I believe that entails, we will observe what I am of the opinion is the world’s standard for love.

Types of relationships
The info about to be displayed is an excerpt taken from a book by the world-renowned dating coach Nick Savoy, founder and CEO of Love Systems. In his journey to find love (married now), he came to discover 6 different kinds of relationships:

  • Traditional: One boy, one girl, no one dates anyone else.
  • Traditional Plus: Like traditional, but sometimes you involve other people in your sex life (not your emotional life). Usually this is when both you and her enjoy threesomes with other women.
  • Open: Your primary emotional commitment is to each other, but you are both free to date other people. Open relationships vary in intensity: some are much like Traditional Plus relationships while others are far more casual.
  • Multiple: You have a strong commitment to each other, but nothing theoretically limits what you can do with others.
  • Dating/Undefined: The rules of what you’re doing and where you’re going are unclear, but there is no explicit commitment. Often early in your relationship and usually the case before you sleep together.
  • Friends with Benefits: No significant emotional commitment. Relationship is primarily sexual.

You would be surprised to note that there is in fact a TV series called Friends With Benefits! Jaw-dropping I know. One can be rest assured that most people’s view of love would have been influenced by one or more of the above. What this therefore implies is that the relationship gets shaky right from the get go because it is established on an unstable foundation.

Aiming for the target
What this series hopes to zero in on is “popularizing” the notion of fighting for your relationship, first of all by learning more about why such a pure and precious thing has been tarnished not only by the world but by and with Christians as well, and coming back to what matters most, the only One qualified to define and execute exactly what love is. We have found that much of the reason for relationships going bad is because there is not much preparation made before entering into it and there are few, if any, boundaries put in place as well. This served as the introduction to the series, which could  have the subheading What happened to love? if you will. Links to stories that are moving, depressing and eye-opening, as well as stories from my own life will be covered in subsequent posts. The most important thing to realize is that outside God, there is little to none satisfaction and fulfillment in this life. No need to take my word for it, just ask Solomon (Book of Ecclesiastes)! Even he, in the fulness of the wisdom pouring forth from the wisest man who ever lived had this to say:

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:

Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.

I owe it all to You

I owe it all to You
Everything I am
Everything I do
I lay it in Your hands
You gave to us Your only Son
From the bottom of Your heart
I owe you that depth of love
Here and now is where I’ll start
Seeking Your kingdom everyday
Through giving it my all
In all I think and all I say
The price You paid wasn’t small

 

 

The Arrivals part 6: The Battle for Human Energy

Please see the intro and the previous parts first to best understand this.

Living a life where being good, kind and gentle is extremely important. Those qualities are part of the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23. Love is the governor of all the fruits so walking in love as you perform the other fruits is vital. Loving your neighbour as you love yourself is no cliché as most make it out to be.  It should instead be our life motto!

 

Love what you do

I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel.  Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me.  I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:33-35

Why you should love what you do
Paul was a tentmaker and he used his job to illustrate why you should work hard, which is for the sake of supporting the weak. Helping the helpless and less fortunate, as outlined in James 1:27:

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

I love the last part: refusing to let the world corrupt you. Now 1 Corinthians 15:33 which says “…for bad company corrupts good character,” highlights that beautifully. Basically we are to be different from the world by helping those in need and doing so with passion. I believe that was the heart of Paul. He pointed out that we have our jobs for the soul purpose of giving. Now I don’t believe he limited himself to only those in extreme cases, but I think he also meant those we are with everyday, or at least, it is equally as applicable. If someone needs a lift, we give them one. Assistance needed with lifting things, we give them that too.

Understand that businesses, enterprises, companies and organizations all exist to give to the public! That is why the jobs are there. We are to give in any way we can. Earlier I mentioned that we are to give with passion because “…God loves a cheerful giver, ” 2 Corinthians 9:6. That is basically the picture here and it is an example of loving what you do. Paul loved what he did so much that he received fulfillment from giving cheerfully. He was then in a position to teach others to lead, not by his example, but rather by the example he was following: Jesus. That is why he quoted His words in the last part of the verse, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

The positive differences
It is very possible for someone not to do what they love but still love what they do.  They can also spend more time not doing what they love than actually doing what they love. The thought of being able to do what they love later on gives them the drive to love what they do with excellence, treating it as if it were what they actually loved doing! Sadly, it is also possible to love what you do without necessarily being in a position to do what you love neither later nor at all. If you were at an accounting firm and you loved what you did,  though what you really loved doing is playing pool-and hardly ever got the chance and neither do you treat as a hobby-at least loving the firm, in a way, makes up for it. That is my point behind the emphasis of loving what you do.

Clarifying things
When I say, “do what you love” I’m not talking about the superficial stages like, you love baseball. I mean the deep passionate type of love. Think of it as a dream. In fact, in essence, that is what I mean. You have a dream for doing a particular thing except you are not doing that thing right now. What I am saying is love the thing you are doing now even though it is not your dream. The reason I am saying this is because I think about how so many people have jobs only because they needed them, then hating them, but tolerating it because they have to. The truth is, they don’t have to. They can actually change their environment by changing their attitude. That is a point I made in an earlier post: 8 reasons to have a positive attitude. One of the reasons I say this is because I believe you can get closer to achieving your dream by loving what you do, where you are right now.

When you think about it, it does not make sense to hate, for example, a desk job and love travelling but spend a great deal of your life at the desk job! If you cannot do anything about it, and you really have no choice but to be there, what good would hating it do you? How would coming home complaining about everything and everyone benefit you? One could actually argue that as long as you are not blooming where you are planted, chances are you are not going to flourish in your field! Would it be because you are not skilled or qualified? No, but rather because of your attitude. You would literally be embracing the same attitude in your domain as you did outside it. It does take 21 days to form a habit and just as much to break one. It is the “undoing” part of the habit that is the hardest. Changing a routine. Bringing new ideas. All that will need to change in order to suit your new lifestyle. The one thing that will always remain consistent is your attitude. You can change it and it will stay that way until you change it again. You will either most of the time, if not always, be negative or positive. Truth is you owe it to yourself to experience the best of every single day. Why not think the best of yourself, everything and everyone; make the most of all that you do, and be an inspiration both to yourself and those around you! That is what matters at the end of the day.

Final word 
Of course the best is loving what you do as you do what you love. If you are not in that position, you will need to love what you do in order to get to that position. Not necessarily through loving what you do so much that it becomes what you love doing, that is, a new dream, but rather doing so to make sure you enjoy everyday life. Through doing that you will realize it opens doors to eventually getting you closer to the very thing that you REALLY love doing. Remember the other purpose, though, helping someone out. The last thing to remember is your true Superior, Contractor, CEO:

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. Colossians 3:23-24

 

What are 2 of the most important days of your life?

Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 
 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:4-8

The one day that I consider to be most important
For me, the day that I was born again, which is February 13 2005, is the day that I started having a real relationship with God. Looking back at the way I grew up I could safely say that the term, “Christian” was really nothing more than a label! The only time I would read my Bible was on Sundays, when the speaker said, “Turn to this Scripture!” It’s both funny and sad. Until that day when I decided to be all out for Him, I then had wonderful experiences with the King!

No matter what we go through in life, we can always count on the King. Even if we lose everything, we have Him, and as long as that is the case, in essence, we have everything! I love how I can learn to love because of the love He has shown us (Rom 5:8), and because of the love He has given us, we can portray that love to everyone else by demonstrating it. A love that is different from this world. A love that is not limited by or to Eros love. A love that has no limitations. No boundaries. No exceptions. No dictations. No bribes. Above all, it is a love that has No conditions!

The ultimate reason I believe that being born again is one of the important days in my life is simply because of the love that comes from the King, which is like no other. What I have learned about it is:

We are to experience Eros through, in, with and by Agape

The second day that is most important
Discovering, understanding and pursuing your purpose is a no brainer. It’s amazing how I see a lot of posts and DVD’s amongst other materials about “the meaning of life.” They may really be asking, “What does life mean? What does it mean to have life?” Some people would argue that anyone who has life, has a life. I honestly believe there is a lot of truth in that! As long as you are being as productive as possible with your life only then are you producing something with your life: meaning, or a better word, “fulfillment.” The way I see it, the question, “what is the meaning of life?” at the heart of the matter is really asking, “What is the meaning of passion?” When you start thinking like that you begin to bring a new perspective to things. Once you have thought about that, you can ask a similar question, “What is my passion?” All you have to do is just sit down and think for a long time about the very thing or things you would love to do whether you got any money for it or not. In fact, if you could do this thing or these things without getting any money and not have a single care in the world about it-no matter the circumstances-you have found your passion.

The process does not take a few minutes. It very often takes hours, days or even weeks. That means taking into consideration a few things:

a) what your talent is
b) what makes you extremely excited
c) what makes you very mad every time
d) things you do with ease other people wished could do the same
e) what people have affirmed you were born to do
f) to a certain extent, the thing/s people like about you

Now the other thing that will tremendously help as well is the post: the plan of action for your dream: writing it down! If you put this list together with everything that is written there, you are definitely getting very close to finding your purpose if you haven’t found it yet. Now you may be thinking that thinking is very difficult. That it can be a challenge to find the time to do it, especially if you are very busy. The counterintuitive thing is that the busier you are, the more time you will need to think! That means you will need to make more time, if you have not made any at all, to do that. You can see more about great ways of thinking in my earlier post: think twice! Change the way you live by changing the way you think.   

Why I put this post together
Last night (Tuesday 13 December 2011) whilst I was making my dad coffee, a program was on where Steve Harvey was doing his thing. I have no idea what the whole show was about or what it was but I do remember him saying, “I learned this from a guy when he told me the two most important days in your life: the day you were born, and the day you discover why.” Well I did not stick around to listen to more of what he had to say, not because I did not like it, but I had to do the coffee! I decided to think about that statement.

The day you were born is a very important day, not because of celebrating birthdays, but rather acknowledging the beauty of  your existence. It means you have something to do. That leads to the day you discover why you were born. Whether you know it or not, we actually live between two worlds. There is the spirit realm which actually governs everything that happens in this realm, because everything happens there before it manifests here. This is why the aspect of faith exists:

Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all  (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”- Genesis 17:5) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did. Rom 4:16-17.

That is why I believe that the day you are born again is the most important and the day you discover why, since your passion and calling are similar, is the second most important day in your life.

Which two days do you believe are the most important days of your life?