The Microwave Effect Pt. 1: Loneliness and How It Taints Relationships

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. Psalm 37:4-5

I still remember his words to me. In a conversation with my friend’s older brother last Christmas break about my post-law school plans, I told him of my desire to return to Atlanta to practice law and live. His words still ring out in my head: You’ll never get married there. I quickly replied something along the lines that I wasn’t worried about that. And being who I am, I know now and knew then that God will send me my husband at His appointed time. But I was never a patient person, I’ve only gotten better recently, lol baby steps. Fast forward to now, and well a couple of weekends ago, when I had a major epiphany that resulted in this 3-part devotional and videos (to come soon!). Ultimately, its thoughts and words like that, that consume a vast majority of people, ‘You’ll never do this, you’re never gonna make it there’. It is as if they are driven mad by the impatience, so mad that they decide to take matters into their own hands and plan their own futures. This is not contained within dating and marriage, but in every area of our lives. Its the microwave effect, the attitude that we should have what we want now. We live in a society that cannot delay self-gratification–look at the news when a new pair of Jordan’s comes out and see who was attacked or killed to get them. When you want something or someone, you must have it now and you can’t wait, even if waiting will bring along something better. When I realized this, God reminded me of a dream I had 2 years ago.

In the dream, I was at a house gathering with one of my close friends. There was a preacher, and every one in the house was caught up in what he was saying…but me. Every time he said something that did not align with the word of God, I corrected him. When he was done and the crowd had dispersed, I confronted him. Then he did something, and if you saw it, it was like dropping a rock in a still pond, causing ripples to my eyes, like he cast a spell on me. But I kept calling on the name of Jesus, rebuking and binding him, and eventually I defeated him.

At the time, I thought that dream meant I was not ready to go back to Atlanta, because I had been trying to get back since I left. I thought it meant that I wasn’t strong enough and would fall victim to what was happening to the people in the room, to the deception and appealing words of that false prophet. I now realize there was more there. That prophet was spewing lies to believers, and as it applies here, the lie that we are in complete control of our own destinies and don’t need God to get what you want! As a Christian, we are to submit to the divine will of God. That’s not to say that obstacles will not come and cause us to be distracted–on the contrary, these things will happen. I realize that I was the only one in there to see the truth–that he was lying and that I have to be willing to stand up on behalf of my friends and those around me and come against those lies. I ask you, what lies have you been told by the enemy–by the prevailing thoughts of society–that you are believing? Is it that you will be single forever? That you have to be skinny to be healthy? That you have to keep doing what your ancestors and parents did because of man-made traditions? Or specifically for this devotion, that you have to go about finding your own mate, by any means necessary? The lie that predominates all these things is that YOU don’t NEED GOD and that He doesn’t love you or else you would have everything you want. And that is the biggest lie. EVER. The enemy is going really hard nowadays to get us to stop trusting God and to start trusting ourselves…and we are doing it. We do it so much till we mess things up. Then we run back to God (hopefully) to fix it, and when He doesn’t fix it quickly enough or to our liking, we go on trusting ourselves and forcing our own way, like spoiled kids and continuing the cycle, and getting further and further away from the Father. It tells us that patience is pointless and you can have what you want if you go get it. Sometimes, when you get that thing, it does much more damage to you in the long run. So I hope these bless you…here goes.

Loneliness and How It Taints Relationships

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18

I fundamentally do not agree with online dating. Nor am I the aggressive female that will pursue you like a lioness searching for the last pig on the planet (This made me think about Nala from the Lion King). I tried being ‘forward’ in college expressing my interest in a cute guy and failed miserably (let’s disregard the fact that I had a boyfriend at the time, thank GOD for maturity, pruning and preparation–transparency is something else I tell ya). FYI, this devotion does not only apply to online dating, but all relationships. I am not trying to offend anyone, just to shed some light, like that light was cast on me. So at first, I was thinking it was just because of how I was raised…because no matter how it was presented to me, I just don’t like it. But after learning that several of my close friends, many in Atlanta, all date online, I had to really truly pray and seek God about why I felt so opposed to it. I know several who have met guys and were not so successful with it, so that was enough for me to further solidify my disdain. Then it was like all at once, I understood. The scripture above tells us to trust in God. Delight yourself in Him and He will give you the desires of your heart. And a more relevant verse to this area is Proverbs 18:22: He who finds a wife finds a good thing And obtains favor from the LORD. With that said, if you trust in God, delight in Him, spend time getting to know Him–because its in knowing God that you truly begin to know yourself–reading, serving Him, and in singing to, dancing for, praising and worshiping Him, He will give you the desires of your heart. This goes without saying, because in that time of getting to know God, submitting to God, and loving on God by doing His will and seeking His face, you will be prepared to receive that desire.

I will first say, that Romans 8:28 tells that all things work together for the good of those who love God, and are called according to His purpose for them. I believe, and Lord correct me if I am wrong, that ultimately at the end of the day, when we get outside of the will of God, as long as we come back and surrender to Him, seeking His face and staying at His feet, He will ultimately work that thing out for our good. So let’s march on, stepping through scripture.

In Genesis 24, Abraham sent his servant Eliezer to get a wife for Isaac. Before Eliezer did anything, he asked God for favor and to send him the woman to become Isaac’s wife. Before he finished praying, Rebekah came up and did exactly as he had requested in his prayer. Even further back in Genesis 2, God himself took Adam’s rib to create Eve, and presented Eve to Adam as his wife. So I wondered, what made this so attractive to my friends? What was it?? Then I heard a lot. lol.

Primarily, because of our microwave society–fast food, tv dinners–we don’t like to wait for anything. And we as humans are inherently self-centered, which is usually instilled in us from birth by how our parents are supposed to tend to us(all don’t experience this nurturing) which leads us to believe that everything should be about us and that when we cry, we get what we want. This is not so. Isaiah 40:31 says that they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall run and not get weary–wait on God for your spouse, trust Him for him or her and you will truly get the best person for you. And even if your waiting tarries longer, your strength will be renewed to persevere in that season.

So back in August I told God I was not going to wait for my future husband, and that I was going to meet people and date whoever I wanted because I did not want to wait for this man anymore. Of course in my first year here, God did a WHOLLLLLEEEE lot of work on me. I dealt with things that had affected me since childhood and that had hindered me from truly walking in my purpose. It was hard, especially releasing these things while in law school, a whole other challenge in itself. So I was not too interested in dating last year; don’t get me wrong, I would go out, if asked just as a diversion from monotony so to speak. But then I had an epiphany this summer about how I was being double-minded, saying I didn’t want to date, but knowing in my heart I long for my husband and to have a family someday. I had to seek the source of the confusion in my life because I was attracting guys who were just as confused as me. They liked me and enjoyed my company, but didn’t want to settle down. They wanted to hang out with me when I was local, but were not willing to date me because of the distance. So I checked my words and thoughts and got it together. Then I met 3 guys within a few weeks of each other…one I was introduced to, the other two I met in the grocery store parking lot (y’all better go grocery shopping lol!!! JUST kidding). One guy I beat in pool and never heard from again, and the others just were not my cup of tea. But in this process, I told God I was not going to wait for who I felt He had told me would be my husband. I said I was going to pick who I wanted…why…because I was feeling that microwave effect! I let impatience tell me I could do it on my own because I had become who I ideally wanted to attract. I’m guilty of it all the way, talking to guys that I have no desire to get serious with, just for the attention or to numb that ache that the loneliness was causing. In all honesty, I know this is God’s time, but I wanted what I wanted, when I wanted it. But now, today, I am content, in my singleness, because I know and rest in trusting God for who He has for me.

But back to that weekend. I realized that with this attitude, we are cutting God out of the process. By dating online or going rogue like me–or truthfully, hooking up with any person you meet without seeking God, you are basically saying to God, “I don’t need you.” There are plenty of people in unfulfilled relationships and marriages to the WRONG PERSON. They have children, acquire things and assets, and then one day, reality sets in after the lust or strong like wears off, and they are ‘stuck’ with this person for life (or until the divorce papers are signed). In some cases, these people cheat, lie, or do some other damaging behavior to this other person, all because they chose to omit God from their recruitment process and refused to allow God’s work to be completed in them before adding another to the mixture. Like I said, I don’t limit this to online dating, because there are plenty of people that meet a guy on the street, at the club, or in the grocery store like I have, that end up unhappy outside of the will of God. The effects of going outside of God’s will are lasting. Because what’s left behind, is the soul tie and the remnant of that person, the damage they have done to you and you to yourself in the course of the relationship, the baggage they have created, that you carry with you to the next relationship. It ultimately boils down to us being so impatient that we tell God, I got this on my own. Because of free will, we can do that, and what we really end up doing is delaying God’s plan for our lives from fully manifesting with the threat being we leave this life unfulfilled. So, then your decision affects your future, and the lives of others indefinitely. The sad part is that most people don’t even think about the consequences.

I know what you’re thinking, its not that serious, right? Yes, it is! And in case you haven’t guessed, this all stems from loneliness. That discontentment you feel, its because you have been pushing God out and then choosing to fill it with some person or activity that causes you to get off track. If you need to warm your bed, get a heating pad! Ladies, keep your legs closed to every Joe Blow you meet and seek God about him. He will make it crystal clear whether He is for you or not. Fellas, everything that glitters ain’t gold, and everything that looks good isn’t right for consumption. Hips WILL lie. Loneliness is a direct product of not spending enough time with God. Yes, we all need human companionship, because like we see above, God said it was not good for us to be alone!! However, God only blessed Adam with Eve after Adam spent much time with God. Adam was operating in his purpose, naming the animals, reigning and ruling over the Earth, and having regular kickbacks with God. He was being who God created him to be. Ask yourself, are your priorities in order? Do you spend time with God? A Max Lucado quote I love is “A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that man should have to seek Him just to find her.”

Your first solution to loneliness is to make the decision to trust God. James tells us faith without works is dead. Your work is to trust God and have faith that what He has for you, is for you, and those things you desire will come to pass. Next, submit your every care and concern to Him. That is trusting God with everything. Your crazy family, your job, your finances, your hair…everything, even that desire to get married. Lay it at His feet and let Him show you what to do. Third, make it your daily desire to spend time with Him, so that you can get to know you for who you are called to be. Fourth, if it is your desire to be married, ask God to make and teach you to be a spouse. Or, if you just want to have friends–NOT a romantic relationship–ask God to make and teach you to be a friend. Lastly, you have to be patient. You have to trust God and wait. Allow God to make you into the Proverbs 31 ladies, and men, allow God to teach you to love like Christ, to have the heart of David towards your future wife. Your process may take a few weeks, a few months, or a year or more. Allow God to work in you before you bring someone else into your life. One thing I’ve learned from all of my married friends, is that marriage is work. Make sure you are prepared for what that entails. That is not simply knowing yourself, or who you think you are. That means knowing God, so that you understand what it means to turn the other cheek. That means knowing the Father so that you can be submissive (ladies don’t run away from that word, lol). That means trusting that whoever He removes in that process, whoever was holding you back from where He wants you to go.

So whether this changes your mind or not, that is for you to decide. I just wanted to share the truth with you. Trust God for your mate. Let’s be clear here, you have to trust God with everything, your entire life. If you are single, embrace your singleness for this season. Do everything you never did. Travel, go skydiving (coming soon!!), leave your dog at home and just go have fun and enjoy the beauty of being single. Also, work hard and labor for the Lord so that you have established a solid relationship with Him when the time comes for you. Because once it does, you can’t just retreat in defeat. You have to work hard and love even harder to keep your marriage. The enemy is coming for marriages, for families, and for everything God created. Why??? Because he hates us and evidences it by perverting everything God created. So please stop microwaving your life. One thing I’ve learned about microwave cooking, is that the main difference between it and cooking in the oven, is that the aroma, the sweet or savory smelling scent of whatever you’re preparing, it does not last. Seek lasting relationships, mainly the most important one.

You may wonder if I’m even qualified to say this stuff. I’ve read plenty of ‘self-help’ books, and actually some great ones on dating as a Christian but the best advice was prayer and talking to God. I have plenty of eye-witness accounts and first-hand experience of relationships gone bad…mistakes I made, decisions I regret, scenes I wish I could do over. But alas, everything in its season and timing. Cultivate your relationship with God in the interim…because He will make it plain as day who He has for you!

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1

As You Love Yourself

He answered: "’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’" Luke 10:27 NIV

I have been thinking about this since before I went to bed last night. I have been thinking of how to share this…whether to do an Instagram post or break my Lent fast from Facebook because it seemed so important to share, or whether to simply share it with my girlfriends as I have been doing the last few days. For preservation of anonymity, I decided to do what I do best..write.

After bible study, I had a conversation with a friend that turned to the topic of my singleness. He asked, why don’t I have a boyfriend? My reply was the truth, in that I wanted to detox, release all the baggage of relationships past, release all of the things that have happened to me over the years, be the best me I could be, and do what God asked me to do, but do it for myself. I admitted I wanted to be in a relationship, loved being in one, but I wasn’t ready for it. As I got off the video, I realized that this was something much more than that. Back in 2009 after my transplant, one of the things I asked of God was that He teach me to love others the way He loved me and to love myself that way too. So as He spoke to my heart last night and reminded me of that, I realized that I was loving myself the way God wanted me to love myself by choosing to remain single and celibate until I meet my husband. I was loving myself so that I could love my neighbors as myself. Let’s be real, how can you love other people if you don’t love yourself?

I tried writing this last night before I went to sleep…but delirium and tiredness hit me heavy. As I woke up with this on my mind, it kept coming back to me that it would have been impossible for me to fully love someone, my future husband for example, if I continued to carry around all of the filth and garbage from the past. I realized that I could not give God or him all of me in holding on to what BoBo did to me or mistakes I made. I realized I could not love Marquita and thus I could not love others being who I used to be. Yesterday, I shared with Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and undoubtedly the world how I woke up feeling beautiful. I never in my life experienced that feeling…and I didn’t have on any makeup or lip gloss…just a smile and my clothes that are almost two sizes too big in some areas lol. I realized that of all of the things I have gone through in the last 8 months of this Esther purification process (reply if you’d like more details in how God has been transforming me), the greatest lesson has been in loving myself. The products of this journey so far include knowing my worth, being able to be brutally honest with myself about the mistakes I have made, listening to and learning from others, and just embracing me for everything that includes…in essence, loving me.

I think of this scripture and it dawned on me how it is apparent that there is a lack of love in the world, and that the enemy’s attempts at perverting everything God has created are in actuality, working–but I digress because God already has the glory from this. Hate is apparent in every area of our lives, from global interactions to day-to-day driving experiences. People are isolated and cut off from real interactions with others, they flip people off when driving, or in my case, threaten to ride around with a bucket of rocks to beam at people every time they do something I don’t like on the road, lol. But this is not how God intended us to be. I have learned that it is in loving God–submitting, being obedient, and trusting Him, having faith in every single thing He says–that I learned to love me. The things I have done have been unorthodox, even strange (but hey God is extraordinary, if Naaman dipped seven times in the dirty Jordan and was healed of leprosy…then my celibacy and singleness are mere tasks for the greater glory He will soon reveal).

You cannot love yourself walking around in shame. You cannot love yourself walking around dragging generational curses (which, YOU have the authority to condemn and break, Isa 54:17) or by allowing yourself to be oppressed by demonic influences (let’s be real…lust, perversion, whoredoms, addictions, depression, and bondage define the world we live in…and it was only after being delivered from it that I recognized its hold on me, but more about that to come soon). You cannot love yourself ignoring the truth. The truth is, it has been in my obedience and willingness to trust God that I have learned so much. I have lost so much ‘weight’ both literally and spiritually, because I got fed up with not loving myself and going back to why this and why that, why isn’t my life going the way I want it to go. It all started because I loved someone else so much that I wanted to forgive and be a better woman… But there was a greater gift in store for me, because this journey has been so beautiful–I finally love who I see everyday looking back at me, unconditionally. This journey has opened my eyes to seeing the beauty in others, and also in being loving to others even when the old me could give two…craps about even speaking to people. The greatest commandments–to love God and to love others as ourselves–can change the world if practiced. It is my hope that in my sharing this process, and eventually the whole of it with you all, that you will go against the norm, against society’s demands of assimilation, and be the agent of change in your sphere of influence. I am sure your journey to true self-love–how can you love yourself if you don’t love God–and love of others will be different from my own…but stop resisting it and just be! Love your neighbors as you love yourself…love yourself today!

"I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another." John 13:34 HCSB