You Don't Need a Fairy Godmother to Find Cinderella

 I'm so excited to feature a guest blog, (especially for my male readers) from a good friend Jeremy Holden. I am blessed to be able to bounce many ideas off of him and his wife Trina.

Why do we have so many mature, godly, eligible guys and girls who are still single?

I believe many Christian young people (and maybe even you) have been deceived and have fallen victim to one of Hollywood’s most pervasive lies. Now before you completely tune out, hear me out on this. I can hear you saying “I know Hollywood lies and I wouldn’t fall for it” but that’s the thing about being deceived, if you knew you were deceived – the lie didn’t work.

As a Christian, it’s easy to see that the “friends with benefits” and the “one night stand”  relationships we see depicted in the movies and on tv are wrong. I think the devil is using a better disguised and therefore more dangerous lie. The result of this lie is that we have almost an entire generation of young people who are not getting married and therefore not able to raise up the next godly generation.

So what’s the lie I think you’re believing?

You believe that if you wait long enough, you’ll experience ‘true love‘. You know - when you meet someone, you look at each other and suddenly the lights dim, music starts to play, a mirror ball appears throwing dancing lights around the room and you just know, “This is the one!” I call this the ‘Prince Charming sees Cinderella at the Ball’ (PCCB) lie.

Now if you’re a guy reading this I’m going to get in your face a bit.

I think you’re afraid.

Afraid of what?

Afraid of saying “no“. Let me explain.

You know several - in fact, probably dozens - of eligible, mature, attractive, young ladies. If you were to seek a relationship with one of them you would be saying “no” to all the others. And this is where the Hollywood lie comes in – you think if you commit yourself to a relationship, you are giving up on the PCCB scenario. You want to keep your options open. You’re afraid to take that step and commit to someone you haven’t fallen head over heels for incase your true Cinderella shows up.

I’m going to steal picture from a friend here. This triangle shows the three types of love.

You are expecting to have the eros - that emotional, passionate, kind of love - overcome you and then have the commitment and friendship follow. God has designed things just the opposite. When you develop a friendship, within the confines of commitment, your emotions will respond in kind.

Let me share from my own experience. I had been involved in a courtship prior to the relationship with my wife. Because of what I had experienced in that courtship, I was hesitant to want to enter another relationship. My wife also came into our relationship with a painful dating experience and was also cautious. That cautiousness on both our parts caused us to be very slow to allow emotion of any kind in our relationship. It wasn’t until I made the decision to commit to the relationship that there was any emotion involved. It was definitely a strange feeling to decide, apart from any emotion, to enter a dating relationship.

My wife and I already had a friendship and when the commitment of courtship was added, the emotions were not too far behind. And let me tell you, they wasted no time at all in catching up. God has designed men and women to be attracted to each other. Just adding some commitment to your friendship, along with the increased time spent together pursuing your relationship, and the God given attraction will develop.

That brings me to the next fear you single guys reading this are facing.

The Choice.

So how do you choose?

You need to be active. The process of finding a mate in the Bible always involves searching. The only example of God dropping a mate on someone is Adam in the garden (and it cost him an arm and a leg). But even then Adam had been looking - and “there was not found a helper fit for him” (Gen. 2:20).

As you look at the young ladies around you, chances are there is one who comes to the forefront of your mind (I know this because I’m a guy too and I’ve been there). Talk to some close friends, parents, or pastor. Also, pray about it, because “a prudent wife is from the LORD.” (Prov. 19:14) Don’t exclude someone because you didn‘t get the PCCB effect when you met.

Make a choice. Take a risk. Just because you start courting someone (or dating, or whatever you want to call it) doesn’t mean you’re going to say “I do.” You may decide you really don’t get along all that well and go back to being good friends. You will have learned and hopefully grown in the process. It will hurt a little (or a lot) but God never promised a life without pain. He may want to use pain to shape you into the person He wants you (or the other person) to be.

But on the other hand, the Grand Stage Manager may have the music cued, the mirror ball in place and the lighting tech at the ready, and He is just waiting to have you ask a certain someone to dance.

Proverbs 18:22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing
and obtains favor from the Lord.

Jeremy Holden is now 5 years into happily-ever-after with his wife, Trina, and they have three adorable children. He pops in with occasional words of wisdom on his wife's blog, All That Is Good. There you can read an account of their courtship, called, 'How to Woo a Wife'.

A Holy Discontent

“That’s all I can stands. I can’t stands no more!” – Popeye.  Have you ever thought of frustration as a good thing? Or even a God-given thing? Popeye might have. He always gets to a point where he acts because his frustration builds to a breaking point where he no longer can sit by and do nothing. He MUST act.

I used to think that frustration was a bad thing. That I needed to be content in everything all the time – which just added to more frustration! As many of you know, I can be er, rather intense at times? Or passionate? I used to try to hide that side of me, or at least not let it grow; instead of realizing the Lord made me that way for a reason (I still need to honor Him in with the passion and grow in maturity with it, but He gave it to me so I could use it for Him).

The Lord used Bill Hybels’ book Holy Discontent to open my eyes to the fact that the Lord wants to take those things and areas in our lives that we can’t stand, and use us to do something about it.  The frustration is meant to be a catalyst for change.
 The things you can’t stand, the things that break your heart and baffle your mind, just might be the things in which the Lord wants to use you to make a difference.

In search of my holy discontent, that "thing" that makes me want to wake up every morning, I came across this song by Need to Breathe:

The “Something Beautiful” is my holy discontent and the purpose for which the Lord is calling me to make a difference in my sphere of influence. Once that “something beautiful” touches you, you will never be the same again. You wont stop until you find it, until the Lord shows you what He wants you to do with it.

You might be the next founder of an organization like World Vision or maybe you are called to offer a word of encouragement to a weary soul. Whatever it is, the Lord will take and use your deepest pains, greatest frustrations and give you a purpose, a mission and hope to serve Him – He will give you a Holy Discontent.

So I encourage you to read this book. It will have an impact!

Call It What It Is - When Friends Know too Much - Part 2

In my last post I talked about close guy/girl friendships and how I’ve come to believe that close cross-gender friendships ultimately don’t work.  So what should healthy guy/girl friendships look like?

First – Call it what it is.  Be honest with yourself. If you’re in a close friendship with someone of the opposite gender, do you desire for it to be more? Does he or she?  Do you tell everyone you’re like brother and sister?

Brothers and sisters don’t necessarily text, chat, talk or see each other every day. They don’t flirt (By the way – if you’re just “teasing or flirting” as friends – you’re in a very dangerous spot). Brothers and sisters rarely do things alone together (or at least not as a habit). Brothers and sisters are also never exclusive (most of the time there is always one cross-gender friendship that is ‘exclusive’ or deeper than the others). Jealousy with the interactions the other person has is never present in healthy sibling relationships. 

If your relationship falls into one of these – call it what it is – you’re dating.  I encourage you to stop and think – even more so if you just tried to justify “oh that’s not me” to yourself after reading that last sentence.

Look at it from the future. Where can these friendships go? What happens when one party starts dating someone else? (Again – the deep close friendships) The friendship has to change. The closer one gets to marriage, in order to honor their spouse or future spouse, they can no longer have these deep relationships. 

Why do we have these friendships?
Do you ever think about the purpose of the friendships you are in? Unfortunately a lot of deep guy/girl friendships grow out of unmet emotional needs. Or maybe we just enjoy the attention. The tangled webs we weave! Danger comes when we look to the other person to meet needs and securities that the Lord should be filling.

Honor your future spouse now.
Do you want your future spouse to have a deep cross-gender friendship like you currently have? What if we looked at the opposite gender as some one else’s spouse on loan to us? How would we want someone else to treat our future spouses? How about with respect, encouragement and care, but also guarding and protecting them emotionally and physically?

Always the “best friend”?
Tired of never being the girlfriend or boyfriend, but always being the “best friend”? I have news! You are always the “best friend” because you act like the “best friend”! Stop kidding yourself! Build healthy friendships instead.

What do healthy guy/girl friendships look like?

¬    They are clear-cut. There’s no confusion or questions and always good boundaries.
¬    They challenge and encourage each other in the Lord. (Look for a post on this soon!)
¬    They are friends in groups. Avoid a lot of alone time – it builds confusion and opportunity to share things that should only be shared in committed relationships. (Again, I know there will be exceptions - such as long distance friendships. It’s the spirit, not the law, to keep in mind.)
¬    They treat each other with respect and put their own personal needs aside.
¬    They act like true “brother and sisters”.
¬    There is intentionality in the relationship and it’s not forced. “I called to ask about this event, person, request, etc…” Not “what can I think of as an excuse to call”?

Rule of Thumb: Your closest friends, emotional support, and accountability are always with people of the same gender until you are married. This frees you and keeps you in check to have healthy interactions with the opposite gender.

The Balance.
I understand that a lot of people use friendships as a way to “test the waters” or try things out in a “safe” way, to see if in the future, they would like to date that person. A lot of great marriages start out from great friendships. It’s the boundaries in the friendship that make it or break it. Good boundaries will also allow a smooth transition to something more than friendship. I also believe you can see what you need to see in another person without crossing into an unhealthy, deep, emotionally-tying friendship. If attraction forms, great! That is the way things are supposed to work. Do something about it then – define the relationship. It’s staying in the grey area that creates the problem. 

On the flip side, some people are so scared of where a friendship might lead; they won’t let anything start. This isn’t healthy either. I think in all cases it’s wise to remember:
 

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Col 3:17
I’m also not saying you shouldn’t have guy or girl friendships. We need the opposite genders perspective and influence in our lives – we just shouldn’t be “best friends” with them.

Seek the Lord.
I challenge you to seek the Lord on this and see what He thinks and would have you to do. I wish someone had told me all of this sooner or I had listened more. I’ve learned it the hard way.  I have also been learning how to practically live out healthy guy/girl friendships, but I hesitate to post specifics because I don’t want you to do anything because “Katie suggested it”. Seek Him. If you want some tips get in touch with me and I won’t mind sharing then.

If you would like to hear this from a guy’s perspective, I encourage you to check out my friend Chris’s blog.  http://chriskaspar.wordpress.com/2010/11/24/best-friends/


Thanks again to Christine Britten for being the best editor ever!

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I'm a fun loving, people person, with a passion for ministry and the Lord. My greatest desire is to see people come to realize who they are in Christ and how that effects every area of their relationships and lives.I want to know Him more.