Journey Through Wanderings

You may remember my friend John P. from a previous Guest Post in December 2010, entitled “The Myth of the One”.  John shared some profound insights related to the myth that God has a perfect plan and a perfect match out there somewhere for all singles.  One of my favorite statements of his was this:

God does not have a perfect match for us (other than Himself). Have you seen the church? God does not even have a perfect match for Himself!

That entire post is worth another read, even for John who is now married to Kathy, a wonderful Christian lady.

Now John and Kathy need our prayers.  He’s recently been diagnosed with B cell lymphoma and has begun chemo. In addition to prayers, I’d also encourage you to follow John’s blog, WANDERINGS, which chronicles his journey through cancer treatment.  You can find him at  http://johnpyrc.wordpress.com/

John wrote in my guest blog, “We don’t need a perfect plan, or a perfect match. We need to be imperfect, earthen vessels of divine grace to one another as we work out our Salvation. His part of that walk is perfect: ours … not so much.” 

I’m trusting God for John’s healing, praying for this earthen vessel of divine grace and for God’s perfect leading through WanderingsI hope you’ll pray, too.

“Where’s Waldo?” A Single Woman’s On-Line Dating Saga

Perusing my local Barnes & Nobel bookstore, I held in my hands a copy of “Where’s Waldo: The Fantastic Journey”

Pouring over the colorful, eye-boggling pages I began to consider how much this book reminded me of my on-line dating experience.  Themed pages of giants, warriors, vampires, firefighters, farmers, & monks, all strangely representing various personality types of men I’d encountered along my cyber quest for love.  Though it’s been a few years, I vividly recalled a cast of conspicuously curious internet characters.

~Giants: men who were bigger than life or at least thought they were, who roared about themselves ad nauseum while looking down on others. 

~Warriors: men addicted to battles, trouble following them down every path. {In laymen’s terms they are referred to as “bad boys”.}   

~Vampires: Nocturnal males who prey on women, suck the life out of them, then move on to their next victim.    

~Firefighters:  Men who show up at the first sign of a flame but leave behind a scene of smouldering ashes.  

~Farmers: down-to-earth fellows, steady, reliable, yet slower than a John Deere in July and about as exciting as watching wheat grow.

~Monks: Tender, spiritual, non-verbal, funny dressers.

Each page displayed hundreds of near-identical characters with varying degrees of colorful clutter and debris surrounding them to further distract seekers from finding the One they sought.  Of course, Waldo was on every page but so deeply entrenched among a visual cacophony, the challenge was to find him among the bewildering frenzy of aberrations without curling up in the fetal position whimpering something incomprehensible.

The caption across the top of this literary treasure read, “Have you found Waldo yet?” And across the bottom, “Now with EYE BOGGLING EXTRAS!”

Indeed, my on-line dating experience unfolded much like pages in this Waldo compilation.  Promises to mingle with Christians, find bliss with my perfect match or  fall in love with my soul mate belied the fine print, common sense warnings that I most likely must stave off  hundreds…in my case thousands…of modern day giants, warriors, vampires, firefighters, farmers, & monks.  After countless hours, weeks, months spent looking for the “significant other” equivalent of a needle in a haystack, the Fantastic Journey was no longer quite so, well, fantastic. 

Those “eye-boggling extras”?  In my experience, they included photos of men flanked by Harleys, hound dogs, horses & hunting rifles, in addition to pictures of matches in costumes–from Superman to Shaquille O’Neal- and more than one fella sporting pumps and lipstick.  {Thankfully, the self-proclaimed nudist only posted pics of himself from the neck up.}

Photos were only the tip of the e-romance iceberg.  The biggest problem with on-lines daters, in my estimation is that most singles rush to fill out their profile while uneducated about and unrecovered from their previous relationship failures.  They haven’t invested in learning from their mistakes in an effort to move toward wholeness.  Whether newly divorced, recently widowed, or even single for years, many bring their trunk filled with unhealed wounds, self-exonerating blame, unrealistic expectations and unfulfilled fantasies into cyber space with them.  Unresolved issues clutter emotional landscapes, much like Waldo-type debris littering the pages of our story.

As singles, attracting quality people into our lives can prove a significant challenge.  Perhaps the best place to start is with our own trunks, unpacking the stuff we’ve been carrying around for years, embracing the call to health in mind, body & spirit, and working to become quality people ourselves.   Then, rather than searching for Waldo amidst a sea of frightening caricatures, we might actually discover there’s a truly fascinating individual smiling at us over the top of an inspirational anthology. 

Replacing the flamboyant children’s book on the shelf, I inquired of a store employee where I might find the self-help section.

Pretty Woman–God’s Perspective

On Thursday, January 26, I will be the guest speaker for Colorado Springs, CO, DreamMakers, a ministry for single women of ALL walks of life.  Whether you are widowed, never married, separated, divorced, young, young-at-heart or feeling REALLY OLD, if you’re a single woman, you are welcome to join us at Woodmen Valley Chapel’s Café area,  290 East Woodmen Road from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.   Here’s a sneak preview of my topic, “PRETTY WOMAN—God’s Perspective”.

Have you ever bumped into a girlfriend you haven’t seen in a long time and the first thing out of her mouth is, “YOU Look GREAT!”  Do you think to yourself…“Liar!”? 

Inside, you’re saying, “I’m overweight, my hair’s a mess, my tan has faded, I’ve got bags under my eyes, I bite my nails, I’m undisciplined, insecure, untalented, unworthy, and ugly.”  Then you hear these words spill out loud, “Thank you! You look Great too!!”? 

Why do we do that?  What in our spirit compels us to dig up all the junk we possibly can about ourselves and then accept it as gospel?  Why do we default to the negative voices in our head rather than cling to the truth of what God says about us?

In 1990 Julia Roberts starred in a movie called Pretty Woman.  You probably even saw this movie.  Roberts portrayed a beauty who made her way in the world by cashing in on her looks.  She lived as though she believed her only worth was in selling her body to the highest bidder.  Oddly though, an ache inside her told her there had to be something better out there.  I remember thinking how strange it was that her character would give herself from the neck down to just about anyone with cash in hand yet she had a hard & fast rule that she would not KISS any of her customers.  She so wanted to believe there was MORE for her than what she was getting paid for, and she held on to a tiny bastion of hope, allowing no one access to the sacred sanctuary of her lips.

What is it in my spirit that has caused me at times to live like this Pretty Woman?  No, I’m not a prostitute.  At least not in the literal sense defined by the law.  But you can bet there have been times in my life where I’ve compartmentalized my value and marketed myself for less than God says I’m worth.   I behaved as if I scarcely deserved 50 cents worth of Christ’s Love but not the full price of His Sacrifice.  Like the Pretty Woman I held certain small things sacred but would rummage through refuse in most other areas of life.  I didn’t value myself the way my Jesus does.

I see this so often in single women and it breaks my heart.  We might start out feeling like we are beautiful but somewhere along the road we lose touch with our true beauty.  Once like a stunning evening gown in Nordstrom, we hung in there for a while.  But the clock ticked off too many days, weeks, months and we were relegated to the sale rack.  Sadly, we did it to ourselves by taking a virtual red marker to our soul’s price tag. 

First, it was just a little…10% off.  We’re still feeling like we are worth a lot but we’re hoping this small mark down gets us noticed.   When it doesn’t, we pick up the pen again…20% off.  Surely now someone will snatch us up…for a date, a promotion, a relationship, a party invitation, a leadership role.  We’re looking for validation from someone, anyone.  And when we still don’t get what we think we need, we tell ourselves it’s because we don’t deserve good things.  Again we pick up the pen… 50% off.  The danger?  We keep discounting our worth until we end up in some bargain basement sale for 90% off.  Or donating ourselves to some guy named Good Will.  Trouble is, Good Will often has Bad Intentions.  What Happened?

In this presentation, we’re going to take a look at things single women use to define ourselves…the tools & traps this world offers us to trade not just our confidence but our true value for.  You may recognize several of these “tools” as ones you have applied to yourself.  You may even have others I don’t mention.  Our goal is to have some fun, maybe even laugh at ourselves, and to also thoughtfully consider who we think we are and who we REALLY are from the perspective of the Grand Designer of the ultimate Pretty Woman.