Life, for the Christian, is a two-part process that leads to another process. First the Christian lives as an unbeliever and then he or she dies to the world to live in Christ Jesus. After the Christian is born again, he or she must grow up in the Lord. This is the part of the process that most Christians forsake and do not respect. Because of this, many lukewarm believers end up in lukewarm relationships with unbelievers, backslidden believers, or wolves in sheep's clothing. The truth is ... once we're born again, a new process starts and that process is the slow and intentional dying to ourselves to live as Christ Jesus. It is forsaking the old man and putting on the new man. It is learning to see through the eyes of God, rather than being led astray by the blindness of our flesh. You see, the flesh leads us to choose people who are nothing but the equivalent of demons wearing their favorite outfits (beautifully designed flesh). When we are babes in Christ, our eyesight has not yet matured enough for us to soundly choose life partners for ourselves. Spiritual maturity causes our natural eyesight to be transformed by our spiritual insight. What this means is ... people we once would have regarded as "okay" or unattractive will suddenly look attractive to us when they are in submission to God. Now, this doesn't mean that we'll become blind and suddenly accept people that we are not attracted to. What it does mean is that God will open our eyes to see a whole new group of people who we were once blind to, people we've somehow managed to overlook when we were once blind.
Recently, I started binge-watching the show Catfish. Now, Catfish is not the type of show that I'd normally watch, but I'd seen a few episodes in the past and after hearing someone else talking about the show, my interest in it was suddenly reignited. If you're not familiar with the show, here's a brief description of it: Two people meet via the internet and eventually start a relationship. After years of chatting online and maybe even speaking over the phone, one of the virtual lovers becomes suspicious of the other one. This suspicion is usually triggered by the other person's unwillingness to video chat or meet with the person they claim to have fallen for. Wanting to move forward or move on, the person who's become suspicious contacts the Catfish show. Nev and Max (the show's hosts) go and meet up with the person who contacted them, gather as much information about the potential catfish as possible and attempt to unmask the evasive lover. The show peaks when the Catfish crew, along with the person who contacted them, flies or drives out to meet the person who's suspected of being a catfish. In 95% of the cases, the person is not the same person he or she pretended to be. In most cases, the catfish used another person's photos on his or her online profile. What strikes me as odd is the fact that the person acting as the catfish will oftentimes fall in love with the person he or she is catfishing.
Let's create a character to illustrate what happens on the Catfish show. Marjorie is an overweight girl whose self esteem is at an all-time low. Tired of being ignored by men, Marjorie goes on the internet looking for love but finds none. After a few months of feeling rejected, Marjorie decides to steal another person's photos. She wants to use that person's photos to create a fake profile. She wants to do this to get the attention she feels she's been lacking. Marjorie comes across Janice's profile and finds herself in awe of Janice. Janice is everything Marjorie ever wanted to be. She's got flawless skin, near-perfect teeth and the shape of a Barbie doll. Additionally, Janice's confidence bleeds through her photos and she appears to be as happy as she is beautiful. Several minutes into viewing Janice's profile, Marjorie is almost finished saving the photos she wants to use, and fifteen minutes later, a new profile emerges on Facebook. The name on the profile is Shana, but the real woman in the photos is Janice.
Marjorie proceeds to add friends to her new Shana profile, with most of them being handsome or average-looking men. The bait is set and it's not long before a few unsuspecting guys begin to bite. Marjorie chats with a few men and eventually exchanges numbers with Nathan, an unemployed mechanic from Boston, Massachusetts. Nathan is the perfect pick because he's kind, not overly handsome and he's unemployed (this makes her feel more like he's not out of her league; it lowers his point-value in her eyes and somehow levels the playing field). The couple starts chatting, exchanges numbers and carries on a five year relationship without ever having seen one another in motion (video or in person).
Marjorie keeps check of Janice's profile, stealing every new picture that Janice posts. She shares the newly swiped photos to the Shana profile and waits for the comments to start rolling in. Initially, Marjorie created the Shana profile to see how men would respond to a beautiful, fit and overly confident woman, but eventually, she became addicted to the attention she started receiving from men. Additionally, Marjorie is now emotionally soul tied to Nathan and overly determined to hold on to him. Nevertheless, Marjorie keeps making excuses every time Nathan wants to video chat or meet with her. Tired of the cat and mouse game, Nathan contacts the show Catfish. Nev and Max fly out to Nathan's location, and after speaking with the curious soul, they conduct a search on the photos that "Shana" sent Nathan. The photos lead them to Janice's profile, and after scrolling through her photos, they realize they've found the real woman in the photos. The duo also searches the phone number that "Shana" gave Nathan and it comes back registered to M. Hensley. The woman Nathan thought he was talking to said that her last name was Berkowitz.
Nev calls the number Nathan gave him for "Shana" and after a few minutes and persuasive words from Nev, "Shana" reluctantly agrees to meet with Nathan on the following day. When they show up on "Shana's" doorstep, out comes a woman who's one hundred pounds heavier than the woman on the Shana profile. She's obviously scared, insecure, unsure and somewhat guarded. "Hi, my name is Marjorie and I'm also the one who you've been talking to. I'm Shana." Marjorie then begins to search Nathan's eyes, hoping to see some sort of spark there but there's nothing. It's clear that her worst fears have been realized: Nathan is simply not attracted to her. After explaining why she chose to use another person's photos, Marjorie goes on to remind Nathan that what they had was real. "I'm not the same girl in the pictures," she cries, "...but I'm the same girl you fell in love with. Why does it matter if I'm a hundred pounds or three hundred pounds? I'm still the same person on the inside." Embarrassed, Nathan tries to explain to Marjorie why he can't be in a relationship with her. He says that it's because he can't trust her, but the show's viewers know the truth: he's simply not attracted to her. The show ends with the couple announcing that they are not together anymore and the catfished person renouncing online dating. The catfish discovers that looks do matter after all and you can't trick someone into loving you. When people see you, they will determine if they want to be with you. When people get to know you, they will determine if they want to continue knowing you.
What troubles me the most is how broken some people are. People often think that if they were skinnier or if their hair was longer that their lives would be better, so they try to get others to fall in love with their hearts, hoping that this love will be strong enough to help the catfished person get past their outward appearances. Now, here's the problem with this. The foundation of that relationship is deception. At the same time, this method of fishing makes me think about a few responses I've received from people when I tell them that I do not eat pork. I haven't eaten it (intentionally or knowingly) for 20 years. Now, my decision to not eat pork is not because of religion. I do believe that God made all things clean so my choice to not eat pork has nothing to do with a misinterpretation of scriptures, Old Testament law or any form of legalism. I stopped eating pork after I found out how filthy of an animal it is (naturally) and how eating it negatively affects a person's health. My family (maternal) has suffered with high blood pressure for several generations and one of the first foods that doctors have stricken from their life's menu has always been pork. For this reason, I decided to cut pork from my life when I was a young woman. Of course, there was a person I knew who told me how filthy pork was, and at first, I taunted him by eating it anytime he called or came by (I wasn't saved back then). But after conducting my own research and hearing about doctors taking a few of my family members off pork, I decided to quit on my own at a young age. There was a point in time when I passionately loved pork and would eat it daily, but nowadays, I simply don't eat it. When I share this truth with some people, they think that I've had a bad pork experience so they believe that if I'm tricked into eating properly prepared pork, I would find out how tasty it can be and return to my former eating habits. As a matter of fact, an uncle of mine gave me pork steak when I was around 20 years old (not long after I stopped eating pork) and he told me that it was beef steak. I bit into the steak and thought to myself how much it tasted like pork. After a few more bites, there was no more denying it. I was chewing on a pig and this realization made me sick to my stomach. Did the pork taste good? Yeah. Please understand that I didn't stop eating pork because of how it tasted, after all, I loved pork. Nevertheless, I'd made a conscious decision to not eat it anymore and I felt violated when I realized that my uncle had tricked me. "It was good; wasn't it?!" my uncle asked excitedly after I started rebuking him and running towards the bathroom. How it tasted didn't matter to me. I didn't eat pork ... simple enough.
I met another couple in Europe some years ago and while in the car with them, they started sharing a story with my ex and I. They laughed about having tricked one of their Muslim friends into eating pork (of course, they didn't realize that even though I'm Christian, I don't eat pork either). He (their Muslim friend) thought he was eating beef and had enjoyed every bite of the pork roast they'd fed him. He'd even got up for a second helping. They were convinced that they'd proven a point and that point was ... he liked pork after all, but they didn't understand that liking pork wasn't the issue. His religious beliefs dictated that he not eat pork, but because they thought they could rehabilitate his taste buds, they tricked him into eating pork. Of course, they have never told him that the meat he'd eaten was actually the flesh of a pig, so he's out in the world bragging about having never eaten pork or having not eaten pork for an extended amount of time. The point is ... people have the right to choose what they want in life, be it a pork-free diet or a skinny blonde woman with blue eyes. When we violate another person's right to choose if they want to be with us or not, we are as guilty of emotional rape.
Most women see something about themselves that they want to change. For example, when I look in the mirror, I am still not used to the woman I see looking back at me. She's heavier than the woman I've seen for many years and I can see time starting to make its unmistakable marks on her appearance. Those expression lines that only showed up when I was angry or smiling are slowly becoming impressions in my skin (honestly, I like some of them 😏). Like most women, I wish I could regain my youthful glow and squeeze into my size four jeans again, but I can't. I have no choice but to accept (some) of the girl in the mirror. Sure, I can and will definitely shed off the excess weight, but I have to let time have its way with my appearance. I can fight back but eventually time will win. Sooner or later, the hands of time will break out of the handcuffs I put on it and begin to turn my once smooth skin into a canvas of frown lines, wrinkles and the like. Nevertheless, regardless of how I see myself in the natural, my spiritual insight isn't at all gloomy. Of course, I see my flaws and the changes I want to make, but I also see a beautiful, invaluable woman who doesn't look like what she's been through. I see a survivor, a living testimony and a prayer warrior. I see an incredible crown of favor custom designed for a king. For this reason, I don't place value in my flesh because the flesh ages and is constantly changing. I accept God's report regarding me and I refuse to settle for any man who thinks he's settling for me. This is why I would never consider luring a man to me using another woman's photos. In other words, my spiritual insight has overridden my natural eyesight. Now, don't get me wrong. I understand that men are visual creatures and I want to make sure I look my best for my God-appointed husband, but at the same time, God didn't design us to just be together; He designed to see together. I need to be able to see my husband inwardly, otherwise, my heart could easily change towards him once age begins to wash away every trace of his youth. The same is true for him. Physical attraction will attract him to me, but it is his spiritual insight that will keep him falling in love with me time and time again. People who are subject to the laws of their natural eyesight are about as unstable and unsettled as a dog in a steak factory. However, people who have godly insight tend to go against the grain of tradition, culture and familiarity; they tend to redefine what we call beautiful and raise the standard for godly relationships.
"I'm still the same person you fell in love with!" I can almost hear the pain-filled echoes of the women on the Catfish show as they tearfully plead with the men they've fallen in love with. My heart goes out to them because no one likes to be rejected, especially by someone they want to spend their lives with, but at the same time, I can't ignore the fact that they brought heartache upon themselves. They lured the men into their lives using the faces of other women as their masks, and they thought that their good hearts and charming personalities would be enough to help their lovers to see past their flesh. It wasn't; it never is. The fact of the matter is ... physical attraction is just as important (for most people) as like-mindedness and chemistry. Let's face it: people want to be physically attracted to the person they romantically link themselves to. This is just a part of our human experience. We have eyes to see and if we don't like the appearance of who we see, we won't desire to romantically connect with that person. That's just us being the flawed humans that we are. Additionally, the women acting as catfish had long ago rejected themselves and the evidence of this rejection was their decision to advertise a face, body, lifestyle and sometimes, a personality that was not their own. If you reject yourself, you will experience repeated rejection from others because God, your Manufacturer, gave you the Manufacturer's suggested price, but you get to determine how much you retail yourself for. If you discount yourself, you'll keep coming in contact with people who will repeatedly discount you and then reject you. You need godly insight into your own heart to know your worth, otherwise, you'll sell yourself cheap every time you romantically engage with another person. For example, when I sold my logos for cheap, I attracted cheap people. I didn't know the value of what I was selling, so I sold two hundred dollar logos for thirty bucks. I soon learned that people who pinch pennies will pinch you about their pennies. They are the hardest people to work with; they want the most work for the least amount of money. They don't respect the value of what they are buying because they've taken, for example, a twenty dollar bill and given it the weight of several hundred dollar bills in their minds. For this reason, they find it hard to lift every dollar they're required to pay for services and, at the same time, they can't carry (or have) much money in their lives. Money is to weighty for them to hold. Having grown up in poverty, I can tell you that poverty makes money heavier than it really is. Such people will mistreat you when you sell a service to them because you are taking away something they love and idolize. Because of their idolatrous relationship with money, they will do anything to try to hold on to every penny they can by attempting to hold on to you. These people will try to charm you, intimidate you or manipulate you into giving them what they want freely or severely discounted. You see, the value of a nickel is five pennies, but to a poverty-minded person, a nickel holds their future in its five-fingered hands.
When I come in contact with poverty-minded customers, I have to spend time explaining the rules to them and I have to spend time defending my pricing scale. They will intentionally ignore the rules, hoping that by doing so they won't have to abide by them. They will intentionally ignore upgrade fees, hoping that by doing so they can get unlimited upgrades for pennies on the dollar. They will intentionally ignore posted prices, hoping that they can tell me how much they think my services are worth to them. So when I come in contact with people like this, I have to be firm, immovable, and yet, professional. That's because I know the value of what I'm selling, just like they know the value of what I'm selling, even though they don't respect it. Nevertheless, if they can discount my gift, they will.
When I first got into logo design, I sold my logos for far less than what they were worth, plus, I didn't have any rules in place. You can't imagine the type of turmoil I endured in that season of my life. I was taken advantage of, robbed, manipulated, demeaned, demonized, tossed away ... you name it, I endured it. The reason this happened wasn't because people are evil; it happened because by discounting myself and what I had to offer, I attracted the wrong type of people. When I took my prices up, put some rules in place and learned to unapologetically stand by my rules, I started attracting prosperity-minded people. They knew (and know) the value of what I was (and am) offering, and they were (and are) willing to pay the price for it. Additionally, these customer-types are very easy (and pleasant) to work with. They don't require a lot of my time because they aren't spending my time trying to manipulate or intimidate me into giving them what they want without giving me what I require. Everything is clear-cut for them. They see the design they want and the price of that design. They determine within themselves that the design is worth its asking price (or more) and they buy it with little to no questions asked. The same happened to me in the romantic arena. When I didn't know my worth, I attracted the wrong type of people. This didn't happen because people are evil (because many are really good); it happened because I discounted myself. I didn't know my worth. The truth is ... if I sold my two hundred dollar logos for ten bucks, I'd get a lot of poverty-minded sharks swarming around me, looking to take advantage of my lack of knowledge. If I gave myself to the first man who said "Praise the Lord," I'd receive numerous emails and advances from men who didn't want to pay the price for my hand. If I gave myself to a man who didn't know my worth, it would only be because I didn't have enough light in my eyes to see the price tag that God has placed on me. If this were to happen (and it has in the past), I couldn't remain angry with the man who took advantage of me discounting myself. After all, what can be said of an anointed woman of God who willingly gives herself to a man who does not love or fear the Lord? The answer is she doesn't know her worth and she is not yet mature enough to be in a God-ordained relationship. She saw a man that she wanted and because she was attracted to the external man, she tried to justify the condition of the internal man. This reminds me of the time when I bought a convertible just because it looked good on the outside and the seller told me that it would only cost around three hundred bucks to fix. The fact was ... the car was a pretty lemon! I was so focused on the external appearance that I completely disregarded the car's condition. I bought the car from the smooth-tongued seller and had it towed to a mechanic shop (yes, I said "towed"). The car was dirt-cheap and I thought I was making a smart buy. I foolishly paid for that car in installments.
The mechanic wanted too much money to fix the car. He gave me a long list of things that needed to be fixed, but when I spoke with the dealership, the seller insisted that the mechanic was lying. He suggested that I have the car towed to another shop so I did. I paid another towing company to tow my beautiful wreckage to another mechanic who'd initially given me a better price and more hope. Once the car was on his lot, however, he shattered my hopes yet again. He validated what the previous mechanic said and his price was higher than the previous mechanic. He even found something else that needed to be fixed that the previous mechanic had either overlooked or failed to mention. Nevertheless, having it towed back to the previous mechanic wasn't cost effective, after all, I'd paid the previous mechanic to tow the car and I'd paid him for the diagnostic he'd done. I also paid another towing company to tow my car to the second mechanic, plus, if I had the car towed away from him, I'd have to pay him for his diagnostic. Before long, I realized that the amount of money I had paid out for a car that I couldn't even drive would have been enough to purchase me a car that I could have driven, but that car wouldn't have been as pretty as my disabled convertible. Eventually, I had to sell that car for less than its purchase price. I never got a chance to drive that car, but it sure was pretty. The point is ... I didn't know the value of the car so I overpaid for it simply because I liked the way it looked and I let some smooth-tongued salesman speak into my hearing when I didn't have enough wisdom to truly hear him. The same is true for a blind woman who loves the Lord. When a woman walks in darkness, even though she has the light of God living within her, it is because she is immature and hasn't fully forsaken the world as of yet. For this reason, she can be anointed and appointed to do mighty works for the Kingdom of God, but while in her immature state, she can easily find herself led astray by the lies of her eyes. She sees a beautifully wrapped devil and wants to engage with the external man and, for this reason, she will totally disregard the condition of the internal man. You see, just like I tried to pay the least amount of money possible to get the car of my dreams, she will try to do the least amount of dying possible in an attempt to get the man of her dreams. The problem is ... she could not spiritually afford the man of God she needed, so she decided to get the body of the man she wanted, even though his mind needed some major work. Satan got into her ears and with his smooth tongue, he started telling her about the potential of the man she was considering. Satan distracts us to keep us from looking at the reality of a person by getting us to envision the potential of that person. She saw her pastor as a bootleg, spiritual mechanic who could fix just about anybody, so she thought he could fix the man she'd chosen for herself and help him become the man she didn't want to die for by taking him to church. Let's face it; we have to die to ourselves to receive the promises of God and she didn't want to die. She sees herself as a good woman who would be an asset to a good man, not yet realizing that God doesn't put two good people together; He places two dead (in Christ) people together. She was obviously being led by her eyesight so she chose her man from a broken and low place. One thing I've learned about human beings is we settle for people who we'll eventually have to get delivered from when we like the way they look. We often settle for the weapons that were formed against us, thinking we have the power to disarm or re-purpose them. Nevertheless, when we choose from our brokenness, we often choose people who match our perceptions of ourselves and the lives we've planned for ourselves. Keep in mind that these plans are often centered around rejection, low self-worth and the familiarity. This means that such a woman would likely disregard the man God has assigned her to if he were to find her in that season of her ministry because she'd be too worried about what others said or thought about him. At the same time, she'd happily accept the man Satan assigned to destroy her because he looks good, even though his words and choices clearly identify him as a satanic plant.
Let's reverse the catfishing story about Marjorie and Nathan. As a reminder, Marjorie has been using Janice's photos and calling herself Shana. She's been catfishing a guy named Nathan. After a thorough investigation by the Catfish crew, Nathan finally meets Marjorie and again, she's not the person she said she was. Howbeit, this time, Nathan is a completely different person as well. He's four years older and seventy pounds heavier than the photos he's been using. The man once thought to be a dark haired, tan male with an athletic physique is now a pale white male with red hair, a face full of freckles, dark brown eyes and a beer gut only a bartender could love. Most of his remaining teeth are crooked and yellowing. Do you believe that Marjorie would make the same plea as before? Would she try to convince him to stay with her, citing that she's still the same person he fell in love with? More than likely, she wouldn't if she knows she can do better. Why is this? Because by accepting what others said about her, Marjorie didn't realize that she had become as shallow as the people who've made her feel unworthy of being loved. Now, the tables are turned and Nathan is pleading with Marjorie. "I'm still the same person you fell in love with," he says tearfully. "The only difference is I'm not the guy in the pictures. Sure, I don't have abs of steel, deep blue eyes or smooth black hair, but everything else about me is real. I love you and that's what matters the most." Marjorie's response is different than before, however. "I don't trust you anymore," she says. "I don't think I can get past this lie. We both lied to each other so I think it's better if we just be friends." Why isn't she pleading with Nathan to stay with her? Because unlike the previous example, she is now subject to the laws of her flesh. She's not physically attracted to Nathan. She believes she can do better so, for this reason, she uses many words to justify breaking up with him. The reality is we want to be attracted to whomever we romantically link ourselves to. This is similar to the car example, only in reverse. If someone had offered to sell me a car that didn't look good on the outside but had a great engine, I would have rejected their offer, not realizing that the body of the car was cheaper to fix than the engine of the car. Howbeit, we are still humans who want to be romantically linked to other humans whom we are attracted to, not just inwardly, but externally.
I remember being around 17 years old and having a couple of male friends, but one in particular who was like a brother to me. We'll call him Jacob. I can honestly say that Jacob was a very dear friend to me and I absolutely loved talking with him on the phone. As a matter of fact, I would call him often and I'd get off the phone with just about anyone whenever he clicked in. Jacob and I would talk on the phone for hours at a time and we'd talk about our current or past relationships. He would always advise me about men and if I had a guy in my life whose behavior was questionable, I'd give Jacob a call and he'd always sum up that guy's intentions in one sentence. Jacob was very brotherly and direct. I can remember him saying things like, "Naw, he wants to play games. Cut that joker off. Believe me when I tell you, he already has a girlfriend" or "Tiff, that dude just wants sex. Kick his horny butt to the curb. You're far too good of a woman to fall victim to a man like that." And he'd be right. Jacob would show me what I could not or did not want to see. He even talked me out of quitting my job to work with some men I'd met at the local mall. The guys were traveling photographers and one of them stopped me one day while I was walking through the mall. I was in the world so I was scantily clad, seductive, prideful and naive (not a good combo). After speaking with me and realizing that I wasn't operating in the good sense God gave me, one of the guys offered me a job. He told me I'd be making one hundred bucks a day and he wanted me to dress the same way I was dressed as I stood before him (seductively). He said I would attract a lot of male clients. He told me that even if the men did not show up for their photography appointments, I would still be able to keep the non-refundable deposit they paid me when I lured them to our booth. I was about to turn 18 years old and a hundred bucks a day sounded like a million dollars to me (I was making around $30 to $40 a day at my current job), plus, all I would have to do was dress like a whore and flirt with a few guys. I was already doing that for free! I was devil bait, but he was telling me I could be professional devil bait. I accepted his offer and turned in my two weeks' notice at my current job. Nevertheless, the interview process was strange (he invited me to his hotel room for the interview but I had enough sense to bring someone with me ... to his disappointment). After that, he told me that we would be sharing a bed while traveling to save money because, as he put it, he was not going to be sleeping in the bed with another man (his business partner). They always got double bed rooms to save money. Even though I had a million red flags in front of me, I still considered going because I was young, naive and broke. I figured that I could get my own hotel room with my money or simply resist his advances when they came. When I told Jacob about the offer, he passionately and firmly told me not to go with that man. "Withdraw your resignation from your job," he said. "Those men are probably gonna try to pimp you out; they're likely into sex trafficking. Don't go with them, Tiff. I'm serious. Call your job and tell them you've changed your mind. You're too nice and he sees that. Please don't get mad at me for saying this .... you're a pretty girl, but you can be a little naive." I laughed. I wasn't offended at all. I knew he was just looking out for me and I appreciated him as a friend. After listening to Jacob's reasoning, I took his advice and withdrew my two weeks' notice. Not long after that, the guy who'd initially hired me told me that his married business partner was saying that I was going to sleep in the bed with him and they'd argued about the sleeping arrangements. He begin to speak reproachfully about his business partner in an attempt to get me to favor him over the guy. Of course, he didn't know that I'd withdrew my resignation from my job and when I finally told him, he said every nice thing he could think of to change my mind, but to no avail.
Jacob loved me as a friend and he was very protective of me. I loved him as a friend and I was very protective of him. Nevertheless, as "in sync" as Jacob and I were, I wasn't physically attracted to him. Now, what confused me at that stage in my life was the fact that I was seriously attracted to his personality more than I was to any man I'd ever dated. When Jacob and I would speak over the phone, I would often find myself questioning why I'd romantically rejected him the few times he'd asked me out, but anytime I saw Jacob, my humanity would take over. Now, don't get me wrong... Jacob was not an unattractive man, but I wasn't physically attracted to him. Sure, I do believe we had matching demons but he wasn't the eye-candy I was used to, plus, I didn't want to risk losing his friendship. I was seriously attracted to Jacob's personality, so much so that I avoided hanging out with him alone. I would only agree to meet him in a public place, not because I didn't trust him but because I didn't trust myself with him. I liked Jacob's personality but I didn't like the flesh he was wrapped in. I knew that if I'd hung out with Jacob in a private place alone, I'd ruin the friendship that I treasured so much. If computers and internet had been as popular then as they are now, and I had met Jacob online, I would have fallen head-over-heels in love with his personality. However, when I saw him, a battle between my eyes and my ears would have taken place because the two would not have been in sync with one another. Thankfully, Jacob understood my position so he never pressured me about a relationship. He would always tell me that he valued our friendship and he didn't want to do anything to jeopardize it. For this reason, Jacob never touched me or made any sexual advances toward me. Instead, he remained a dear friend to me for several years; that was, until we both started getting in serious relationships and lost touch with one another. I was living in my flesh; I was being led by my blind eyes, so I could not and would not enter a relationship with Jacob, even though I believed with my whole heart that if I did, our relationship would be solid. I had no insight into who I was as a creation of God so I couldn't see anything but flesh. I wanted a man on my arms who turned heads and silenced the spirits of rejection that I had at that time. For this reason, I ended up dating a few handsome men who had the intelligence of wild geckos. At the same time, Jacob was not and is not my God-appointed husband so even if he were still in my life and he was a man of God, I still wouldn't consider him because I'm not physically attracted to him. The reason I'm not attracted to him is because God did not open my eyes to see him that way. I believe that when we have godly insight, God will open our eyes to see the men and women of God He has assigned us to. When this happens, we may find ourselves attracted to men (and women, for the guys) who we ordinarily wouldn't have gone for when we were spiritually blind and led astray by culture, traditions and familiarity. For example, nowadays, I see differently. My definition of "handsome" is not subject to Hollywood's depiction of beauty, nor is it subject to the opinions of others. I see men in their inverted states; I see their hearts. Because of this, men who were once eye-candy to me suddenly look like overcooked liver. Truthfully, I can identify them as "handsome," without even being even remotely attracted to them. When I call them "handsome," I'm speaking from a cultural standpoint or better yet, what I've learned to identify as handsome in the natural. Nevertheless, should those men ask me for my number, I'd decline them because while culturally, they are handsome to me, spiritually, they are unattractive to me. I can see past their flesh now and I realize my own value. For this reason, I won't sacrifice a God-appointed marriage where my husband and I can be praying together, casting out devils and healing the sick to marry a man who's powerless but nice to look at.
Understand this: you will either see with your spouse or be with your spouse. What's the difference? To see with your spouse means you have spiritual insight and your relationship is centered around your relationship with God. However, if you are going to "be" together, you will simply be two people who came together because they liked what they saw (externally). Such a relationship has no godly foundation or purpose; it is flesh-centered and pointless. It is a shallow relationship with no real substance or destination. It's nothing but two powerless (but beautiful) people coming together and having beautiful but powerless children who will ultimately be raised in a single-parent household. Why is this? Because the eyes are as fickle as the person who's sporting them. The most handsome man in the world can be seen as the ugliest man in the world by the woman he's married to if he doesn't treat her right. People soon discover how pointless beauty is when they are in need of a miracle.
Should you get with someone you are not physically attracted to? NO! The reason for this is ... if that person is unattractive to you, more than likely it's because God didn't assign the two of you to one another and that's why you can't see that person's beauty! If you end up with someone you are not attracted to, you won't fight fair. You'll say things to them that are hurtful and you'll expect more from them in that relationship. You won't forgive them as easily as you would forgive someone you're attracted to and you won't do as much for them as you would for someone you are physically attracted to, so physical attraction is important in relationships. But more than that, spiritual attraction is what holds relationships together. When God is the light in your eyes, you'll see people the way God sees them.
So what should you take from this teaching?
- Don't feel around blindly in the dark, hoping to pull out a man or woman of God. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.
- If you're a woman, let your husband find you after you've been hidden by God and he has the spiritual insight to find and see you.
- Don't get impatient and try to do God's job for Him. Look at your track record and remind yourself that you're not God and you've failed yourself many times.
- Don't catfish anyone. Just be yourself. Anyone who can't see your true beauty is blind to it for a reason.
- Respect the process. God is taking you through a seasonal process where He ensures that you receive what you need to grow into the person He's designed you to be. Every season produces something in your life or requires something from your life to prepare you for the next season. If you do not respect this process, you will become impatient and you'll let your lying eyes choose a life's mate for you and that life's mate will feel like a life sentence in the state penitentiary.
- Respect another person's right to want you or not and do not get with someone you are not physically or spiritually attracted to. Sure, you could eventually grow to love one another but at what expense?
- If you don't know your worth, it's only because you are not spiritually mature enough to choose or be chosen by your God-appointed spouse and that's okay. Just keep on growing up in the Lord and when you're ready, you won't discount yourself.