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.

Intercession

I remember the teacher we had in our D.T.S (click the link to find out what that is) mentioned how this is a literal standing between God and the world or person or people. So you, in a sense, are trying to bring God closer to the person/people by standing in the gap and pulling, pushing etc them closer as much as possible. It takes effort to do that. Which is why intercession should never be taken lightly. The synonym to this word is intervene (to occur or be between two things; mediate).

The next time you pray for someone or a group of people, keep in mind that you are doing more than just praying on their behalf. You are bringing them towards God to the best of your abilities. It’s not easy carrying someone on your back or shoulders for long distances, especially when climbing hills! I like to picture it like that so that when God moves on their behalf, I can feel like I crossed a huge milestone!

Faith in a prayer-hearing God will make a prayer-loving Christian. —Andrew Murray

I have so much to do that I spend several hours in prayer before I am able to do it.—John Wesley

“When you pray, rather let your heart be without words than your words without heart.” John Brunyan

Prayer is earthly permission for heavenly interference– Myles Monroe

I love this. I was really moved when I heard it:

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

Imagine being in battle and the enemy is invading your camp and tearing everything apart! To stand there and do nothing but simply watch (what was part of a huge part of your life, as) it all gets destroyed-valuables taken and very special and important people kidnapped (if fortunate)-is a tragedy too hard to bear. Where was/is your heart? Where was your mind? What were you feeling? Pain? Anger?

The value of prayer
I remember a teacher at a seminar I went to saying that people very often tell you that they will pray for you when you ask them to and end up, 9 times out of 10, not doing it. It’s both funny and sad, but more sad than funny.

Solomon was praying for God’s people, Israel, with regards to protocol (behaviour, procedure, attitude, the right way to do things) in the Temple he built. He asked God, in great detail, to be pleased with their offerings and also when they obeyed (observed and faithfully kept) His commandments, laws, precepts and statutes. Another request he made was for God to pardon and forgive any sin they would commit, both knowingly and unknowingly, should they realize it and decide to repent. This is how God responded:

2 Chronicles 7:14

 If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave,  and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.

Taking prayer (intercession) seriously
One thing I love to say is: If you put so little heart into your prayer, you can’t expect God to put much heart into answering it.

I see prayer and intercession as part of giving and receiving. What you give God (as far as your heart is concerned) is what He will give to you (in response to how you approached Him). God will move in your life (give attention to your words, actions and whatever you need Him for at any time and any place) proportionate to the depth of the relationship you have with Him!

Let those words sink in. Personally the best example I can give is Job:

There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who [reverently] feared God and abstained from and shunned evil [because it was wrong].

His sons used to go and feast in the house of each on his day (birthday) in turn, and they invited their three sisters to eat and drink with them.

 And when the days of their feasting were over, Job sent for them to purify and hallow them, and rose up early in the morning and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed or disowned God in their hearts. Thus did Job at all [such] times Job 1:1, 4-5

This was his habit! His habit translated into his character. It became a part of him. It wasn’t custom anymore. Watch what happens as a result of this continual practice:

 Then Satan answered the Lord, Does Job [reverently] fear God for nothing?

Have You not put a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have conferred prosperity and happiness upon him in the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. Job 1:9-10

All he did was pray for his children! Even if they did right in the sight of the Lord, just to make sure that they remained that way, Job prayed for them. Pay very close attention to this as I finish this post:

 After the Lord had spoken the previous words to Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me the thing that is right, as My servant Job has
Now therefore take seven bullocks and seven rams and go to My servant Job and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept [his prayer] that I deal not with you after your folly, in that you have not spoken of Me the thing that is right, as My servant Job has
So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the Lord commanded them; and the Lord accepted [Job’s prayer].

And the Lord turned the captivity of Job and restored his fortunes, when he prayed for his friends; also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had beforeJob 42:7-10

Weekly Photo Challenge: Friendship

My boy DJPDOGG. We be representing the King and He is what lays the strong foundation between us:

“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”
― Albert Camus

 

Knowing what matters most

“When you are in the final days of your life, what will you want?

Will you hug that college degree in the walnut frame? Will you ask to be carried to the garage so you can sit in your car? Will you find comfort in rereading your financial statement? Of course not. What will matter then will be people. If relationships will matter most then, shouldn’t they matter most now?”
― Max Lucado

Looking at the future

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.  In those days when you pray, I will listen.  If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. Jeremiah 29:11-13

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Philippians 3:14

 And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him Hebrews 11:6

If his good deeds had made him acceptable to God, he would have had something to boast about. But that was not God’s way.  For the Scriptures tell us, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith. Hebrews 4:2-4

Staying focused
It is so important that we stay alert and plan well for the whole year next year. There are a lot of things to look forward to. Most of the time, most of them will be good things. I can say that with confidence because of who the King is and also because of what I know about the number 12. I will put together a post about it on 01/01/12. It is not so much how we start something that matters but how we finish. So often our mindset before, during and at the end of the process determines how well we will do and how things turn out. Next year will be such a crucial year. For many a lot of opportunities will present themselves and if there is no preparation for them, will be tragically missed.

In this year 2011 it has undoubtedly been the roughest year yet. Of course on the one hand it is no surprise. The number 11 is the number of destruction, division, demotion, dethronement and chaos. That is why the natural disasters have been more intense than ever before. It is why the breakthroughs that were rightfully to be within our grasp, have been withheld and some times denied us. So many health challenges. Many financial challenges, relationship challenges and so on. On the other hand we have not been able to maintain enough discipline and have enough desire to see through our goals to the end. Most obstacles have proven to be serious and stubborn. That is why I am encouraging everyone to really sit down and use this week, the last part of this year, to think about the good things that have happened this year and how they can maintain that.

Coming up with new strategies
Whatever has not worked throughout this year, cancel it. In your list of goals, against those ones that have not been achieved, write down why. After that get together with family and friends and brainstorm new strategies, new ways to achieve your goals. What approach are you going to take this time? How are you going to handle the obstacles that appear before you? Even if it is a very simple goal you cannot rule out the possibility of an obstacle getting in the way. As you try to anticipate what it may be, write down how you will get past it and move on. Once you have your strategies down, get someone who is going to be accountable to you. I cannot emphasize the importance of being very serious about next year. It will be so wonderful!

Relationships and worship
For me the year 2012 will be about these two things. Some of my posts will be about Solomon and how he utilized the relationships he formed to get him further to his goal. I will be using 1 Kings 3-10 and the Proverbs. Then I will try study David for a while and see why the King was pleased with him to the point of calling him a man after His own heart (1 Sam 13:14; Acts 13:22). What does it mean to be a man/woman after God’s own heart? How did David get such an understanding of worship that he excelled though getting deep into it? My desire is to get to that level where I draw close to God as He draws close to me throughout the year (James 4:8).  All my other goals will fall under these two. That is my strategy for 2012. Establish a major goal and have all the others put in place to help reach the major one, one step at a time.

Look forward to success, take advantage of failure and then keep looking forward to success. Write down every answered prayer, it is a testimony. Cherish every relationship, they are vital to the fulfillment of your destiny. Learn from your own and other people’s mistakes. Have an open mind. Dare to be different. Challenge popular thinking, there is nothing worse than doing things because everyone else is doing it. Give more to live more. Do something you have never done before. Embrace every challenging moment as an opportunity to be a testimony to someone else.

In my post that I will write on 01/01/12, I will give some examples as to why 11 is such a bad number both in the natural and in the spiritual realm. I am actually looking forward to that post. May you all be blessed and be a blessing this Christmas week. This is the last week in 2011: the year of wisdom. James 3:13-18 was the theme for this year. Let’s finish it bold. Finish it strong. Finish it wise.

 

Relationship Checklist part 3

Alright, the long-awaited post! Now we’ll see the outcome of relationships started in these situations:

1) What if you married your high school friend?
I have heard of some marriages that occurred from a relationship that started right here. I actually have friends whose parents experienced this. The only sad thing nowadays is that it’s rare for anyone to end up married and say, “He/She’s my high school sweetheart.” That sort of thing is seen in tv series. Supposing that things did work out, it would be a grand thing. The second longest relationship. I believe it will be a worthwhile one considering that both parties would know each other very well.

2) What if you married your work-mate?
This idea came from a tv show my family loves seeing. It’s called, Minute to win it. The theme at the time was Office supplies. Now the couple that was competing together were actually employee and boss but it got me thinking, relationships can also arise from those working closely together. Now I can imagine a very good outcome from this. You work together and therefore get to spend a lot of time together, so even if the love is young it can be nurtured at a decent pace. Please share your story if you’ve already or are in the process of  experiencing this.

3) What if you married your boss?
I thought that the idea of being in love with your teacher and also being in love with your boss (no at the same time!) was something that only existed in the movies but I’ve come to realize that it happens in real life too. Well for obvious reasons such as jealousy amongst co-workers-especially if the employee involved is doing exceptionally well and keeps getting rewarded-this may not always work out. I’m just imagining the scenario. There’s a probably a high chance of the employee becoming a teacher’s pet. While it does not always have to be that extreme, I was thinking about how that can affect everyone else. It may depend on how they portray themselves to everyone else. If they’re open and everyone else is cool with it then that’s great.If the boss makes it clear that no one is going to be treated differently too, then yes, the relationship might in fact work out and go a long way.
What do you think?

Last thoughts
I know that at the end of the day it is all about whether or not the couples are able to make the relationship work. Learn to set boundaries and respect each other’s privacy (and also give privacy) then things will work out for the better. I’ve just seen that in the midst of all the work to maintain he relationship, circumstances play a big role in it too. I think the greatest test is figuring out how to be there, especially when that is really difficult. Of course understanding is the only thing that can keep things cool in such a heated moment. If there’s been maturity the whole time then there’s nothing to worry about. If there’s been carelessness, that is, not fulfilling promises, keeping up with or remembering dates and so on, then trust can be hard to build. At the end of the day:

Worthwhile relationships take work