Hello, Is It Me You’re Looking For?

So we’ve safely established in this series how to embrace your single season and wait for the right person. I can hear some of you saying, “But how do I know if they’re the right person?” I’m glad you asked.

There are a ton of books out there around this particular topic. I’ve read several excellent books with a Christian perspective on what to look for and what should be your deal-breakers. I’m not going to repeat all that stuff. However, there is one thing that is worth discussing at length.

The most important thing to look for in a partner. Something worth its weight in gold. Something more important than looks, attraction, or even personality. Chivalry can’t even touch it. This one thing will determine the success or failure of a potential relationship more than any other factor. Have you guessed it yet?

I’m talking about character. It’s the one thing we don’t talk nearly enough about in terms of dating, but will have the greatest impact on your relationship. Think about it. If a man has integrity, he won’t cheat. If a woman is honest, she won’t lie. If your partner has strong character, they won’t put you in a compromising or harmful situation. Character is what will determine how your partner treats you. Physical attraction waxes and wanes, but how a person treats you will have a lasting effect.

How many of us have fallen for someone charismatic, physically attractive, or with a great personality? I’m willing to bet all of us at some point. But charm and charisma alone, can’t be trusted. If they’re charming you, they could likely be charming someone else. My favorite example of this is a line from the Broadway musical turned big picture, “Into The Woods,” when Cinderella catches Prince Charming cheating…

As for physical attraction, that can change over time as we age. I’ve seen sad stories of people who left their spouse because of physically altering accident. True love, the kind that lasts, isn’t there only because of outward beauty. Proverbs 31:30 addresses this well, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised.” Men aren’t exempt, though. It goes both ways. A partner who fears the Lord (has a real relationship with God and genuine, good character) is of far more value than anything else.

So how do you find someone of good, strong character? “Where have all the good ones gone?!” I hear some of you lamenting. It’s simple really. The only way you will be able to find someone of good character is to BE someone of good character. Because people of good character have already figured out how important it is to find someone who values integrity, honor, and compassion. So naturally, they are looking for someone who exhibits those same values. Like attracts like.

So how do you become a person of good character? What are good character traits? Start by reading the book of Proverbs. It is a book full of wisdom. And that will set you in the right direction.

“May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.” ~Philemon 1:11

Resolution Revolution

It’s that time of year again. You know. The time when we all come up with some resolution for the new year that we may or may not be resolved to maintain. But we do it because we feel obligated. Mostly because society says we should.

It’s a new year. A time for new beginnings and a forward-thinking attitude. Hopefully a positive one. We think of all we’d like to accomplish in the next year. Some of us may put a lot of thought and consideration into what our resolution will be. Others of us (like me) decide on a whim so we’ll have an answer when someone inevitably asks what our New Year’s Resolution is.

As I’ve been contemplating my New Year’s Resolution (a little late, I know), I’ve noticed that society would say that it should be to lose weight, fit in a smaller dress or get slim, trim and toned. Even Oprah told me last night on a commercial that we should both be working towards “our best body ever.” Yuck! My value is not based on the number on a scale. Oprah’s success has never been based on what size dress she was wearing at any given time. She’s getting paid to endorse a product. I get that. But that doesn’t mean I have to buy it!

I’ve been giving a lot of thought the last few weeks to what I’d truly like to accomplish and where I sense God is leading me in the coming year. During all this introspect, not once have I thought, “I need to be a size 2 in order to attain happiness and success this year.” I have, however, realized I need more energy to do everything I aspire to.

More importantly, my goal in 2016 is to be intentional in everything: family, career, and ministry goals. All of which require mental, emotional, spiritual and physical discipline (that scary word). Building character like integrity, perserverance, self-control and trust in God are far more valuable than losing 10 pounds!

I challenge you to not fall prey to society’s pressure for your new goals in this year. Instead, focus on God’s goals for you. Lean in to the areas He would want to develop you in. God has always been more concerned with the heart matters. Whereas society focuses on the external and visible. The grocery store magazines will tell us we need a “new year, new you in a size 2” but God says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” -Romans 12:2 [NLT]

Rather than setting a goal of enhancing your physical appearance (which is probably doomed to failure by February), set a goal to know and understand God. Choose something like memorizing one new scripture each week (that’s 52 in a year, in case you aren’t gifted at math). Or decide to pray/meditate each day. Take time to listen to God’s leading and follow that. Choose something sustainable that you can realistically stick to for the whole year, creating a new habit and deepening your relationship with our awesome Creator!

Comment below with your non-conforming resolution! I’m interested to see what you are aiming for.