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Defense Mechanisms: Why and How we block Intimacy by Junior De Souza

Intimacy can be incredibly elusive! Though we all desire and need it, often times we ourselves are the very reason it escapes us. May the Lord illumine our eyes to see and move beyond our defense mechanisms into fulfilling, lifelong intimacy with our loved ones.

Authentic Connection

What is intimacy?

Intimacy is the meaningful and fulfilling connection between two or more authentic selves. Vulnerability and trust are assumed, since the authentic self is essentially and perpetually vulnerable, needing assurance of safety for expression. Intimacy is when the real Me meets the real You in a moment of trusting, soulical intercourse.

Just as intimacy can happen between people, it can also happen with God. We enjoy intimacy with Him when our truest self is presented regularly in His presence—the good, the bad, and everything in between. When the deepest Me approaches Him, the deepest Him can reciprocate and sweep over me (Ps 42:7). I become one with His heart and soul, going deeper than His deeds, gifts, and lordship.

Emotional Fears

Why do we block intimacy?  

Intimacy blocking is when a person employs certain behaviors to fend off potential intruders to their soul. These behaviors are commonly referred to as defense mechanisms, or simply defenses. We’ll get to them in a sec. In general, we block intimacy for four reasons.

Fear of buried pain  Those with buried emotional pain are terrorized at the thought of ever reliving that pain. The greater the trauma, the greater the buried pain, the greater the fear of that pain. Consequently, they block persons, interactions, or scenarios whereby that pain might be triggered and relived.

Fear of judgment  Who likes to be criticized or picked apart? No one. Some personality types and maturity levels can absorb or deflect it better than others, but nonetheless, criticism is not desirable or good (Mt 7:1-5). Some block intimacy when they anticipate judgment.

Fear of ridicule  Affirmation is a basic need. Unfortunately, many grew up in families where validation was scarce and shame was abundant. These wounded souls shut down or lash out if they sniff out potential shame, canceling any and all connections. Who wants to let their true self out only to be laughed at, belittled, or ridiculed? Saul hid himself at his kingly coronation for this exact reason (1Sam 10:21,22), which ended up happening anyway (v27).

Fear of rejection  Just as we need appropriate doses of affirmation, so also we need a social niche, or acceptance. Some block intimacy for fear that their self-expressions would cause them to be disenfranchised (rejected) by the very group they seek identification with.

Defense Mechanisms

How do we block intimacy?

Defense mechanisms are behaviors people employ to fend off potential intruders to their soul. All of us, at one time or another, for one reason or another, have used these barriers. However, as God continues to heal us inwardly, free us from the fear of man, and purify our overall personality, defenses should become less and less important.

Also keep in mind, these defenses are, at times, erected subconsciously. We might not realize when or how much we use them until a moment of clarification dawns. May this be our moment.

Marketing Accomplishments

Some people divert attention away from their soul by marketing their accomplishments. They continually spotlight their successes, victories, and achievements in their interactions with others. They incessantly, sometimes obsessively, put their “best foot forward”. In a job interview this might be okay, but not so with loved ones or the Lord. They need us to be deeper than our successes.

The needy and naïve are often impressed by such self-promotion. The confident are bothered by it and disdain it as bragging. The emotionally whole and spiritually discerning perceive it for what it is—a defense mechanism.

Playing to Strengths

Some people play to personal strengths, such as talent, beauty, heritage, wealth, and so on. This is slightly different from accomplishment-marketing. Playing to strengths spotlights what one has, while the former spotlights what one has done. This is another form of “putting your best foot forward”. Again, this might be okay in a job interview, but not for intimate relationships that require a more complete self-presentation.

Anger

How well does this work? Very. Occasional rage, a violent explosion, an aggressive tone, a seething irritability, a tense face, quick movements…who wants to mess with that? Anger is certainly among the most successful defenses. It begins to crumble though, when one comes along unmoved and unbothered by such childish temper tantrums.

Staying Busy

Martha avoided intimacy with Jesus by staying busy (Lk 10:38-42). Being always on the go, or hyperactivity, are defensive schemes to keep meaningful connections at bay. Who can be close, truly close, to a person who won’t slow down? This is true of both our relationship with people and the Lord (Ps 46:10).

Intellectual Garble

Sometimes the head can be the enemy of the heart. Some, especially the intelligent, barricade themselves from intimacy by being a “talking head”. They use intellectual garble, rhetoric, and diversions to avoid raw emotion, vulnerability, and bonding.

“Parenting”

Parents do not share full intimacy with their underage kids. The mental and social gap is simply too great. Similarly, adults who play the “Parent” role with other adults also create such a safe distance. Those who arbitrarily and continuously seek to parent, pastor, and patronize those around them do so as a defense mechanism. Their conscious and subconscious logic goes something like this: If I’m your parent I don’t have to relate with you heart-to-heart, soul-to-soul…because I’m your parent remember?  The Parent tactic is simply another intimacy blocker.

Superspiritualism

A tricky defense occurring often among Christians is superspiritualism. Christians hide their real person behind excessive Christianese, Scripture quotations, dramatic spiritual stories, “God told me” lines, and so on. These annoying brethren occasionally need to be interrupted in the midst of their performances and asked, “Helloooooo, is the real You in there somewhere?”

I’m not at all doubting the validity of their relationship with God or their experiences, only their spiritual maturity, emotional wholeness, and relational fulfillment.

Hyperindependence

Independence is good and necessary, but hyperindependence is a hiding place from intimacy. Isolation, seclusion, extreme privacy, and lonerism are protective reactions, as is the extrovert who advertises an I-need-no-one persona.

Codependence

Codependence is not intimacy, it is survival. It is not a meaningful connection, it is a desperate lifeline. It is one person sucking life out of another, or two people sucking life out of each other, but not two people floating in the buoyancy of genuine vulnerability and trust.

Precious Lord and Father, we identify our fearful defenses, we repent of them and ask your forgiveness. We ask for more grace to practice better, biblical ways of responding to our emotional needs and crises. In Jesus name, Amen.

Defenses vs Boundaries

Guarding Our Hearts

Proverbs 4:23: Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Solomon is not urging us to be defensive or nonintimate, but to have wise personal boundaries that others cannot trespass. The opposite of defensive is permissive. Swinging to a permissive extreme makes us vulnerable to the wrong people, at the wrong time, in the wrong way.

Psalm 48:12,13 tell us the city of God had watchtowers, ramparts, and citadels. John 2:24,25 tell us Jesus Himself had boundaries. How much more we?

Not only do boundaries guard individuals from the harmful, they also guard relationships. When intimacy begins to blossom, such boundaries will protect the vineyard in bloom from intrusive foxes (SS 2:15).

We establish boundaries through selectivity in four areas: talk, time, touch, and tangibles. We are to be selective with our talk, the types of personal information we share with others (Ps 141:3, Pr 13:3, 18:6,7). We are to be selective with our time, carefully predetermining and administrating the time we spend with certain persons and in certain places (Ps 101, Pr 12:26, 22:5). We are to be selective with our touch, monitoring with whom, when, and how we experience physical contact with others (1Sam 20:41, SS 2:7, 1Th 4:3-6, 1Ti 5:2). We are to be selective with our tangibles, screening who, when, and how our belongings are shared with others (Ezr 8:21, Job 5:24, Pr 12:27 NIV).

Lifelong Intimacy

Four “Right” Connections

God desires that we enjoy lifelong intimacy with others. This is done by understanding intimacy as four “right” connections.

Connecting with the Right People  

There is a type of person that is ideal for intimacy (Ps 101). We should all seek to be that person, and we should pray for these persons to be groomed and sent to us.

This type of person is, for the most part, non-defensive. They are willing and wanting to emerge from their fortress to share their soul with someone. This type of person understands boundaries. They are willing to maintain limits around their talk, time, touch, and tangibles so that any blossoming intimacy would be safe.

Most of all, this person is intimate with their First Love (Rev 2:4). Intimacy with Jesus is the foundation and schooling for all human relationships (Mt 7:24-27).

Connecting for the Right Reasons

Intimacy is the equal giving and receiving of authentic selves, giving being the beginning and the basis (Ro 12:10, 1Co 13:5, Php 2:3,4). Those who approach relationships to receive first do not have an intimacy mentality. Connecting for the right reasons means giving first, receiving last. Relationships implode or explode when one or both persons put receiving first.

Connecting at the Right Times

Intimacy is an opportunist—it can be heightened or microwaved at certain times. Victories, crises, and change are flashing-light opportunities to connect deeply (1Sam 20, Ro 12:15). More energy, thought, and prayer should be exerted in these times. Connect at the right times.

Connecting in the Right Ways

People have different love deficits based on past experiences. People have different love preferences based on their personality. Sensitivity and observation will reveal these. Connecting in the right ways means customizing love so that deficits are healed and preferences are satisfied (Eph 4:29, Php 2:4).

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8 Types of Single Woman by Junior De Souza

Just as single men can be quite the slippery surface, single women can be too. This article describes eight types. The following tendencies need to be discerned early in friendship, before attachments or entrapments develop.

(NOTE: I will use the term pairbonding at times throughout this writing. I understand there is an evolutionary psychology use of the term, but I am NOT in any way using the term in that context. I am using the term in its generic and basic sense, simply to mean “the romantic process between two people”.)

(1) The Mother Hen

Controlling Women

The mothering instinct is a controlling, micromanagerial instinct. In the right context (raising children) this instinct is good. However, when there are no children to raise, or when emotional wounds are festering, some women misapply these energies toward a man. When they do, they become Mother Hens.

Dominant Traits 

This type asserts her will in the man’s personal matters, matters that do not concern her or their friendship or their romance. Or, by assuming ownership of certain matters the man himself should handle or administrate.

Pairbonding Pattern 

This type is predictable. She is almost always surrounded by passive men, while shying away from strong, assured men. Jezebel and Ahab had this relationship exactly.

To Men 

If you are still battling to overcome docility or manchildness or mama’s boyness, realize the temptation to drift into a Mother Hen’s orbit. The pull will be strong, and, she will drift into your orbit herself.

You must resist pairbonding with her on this basis. If you do, you are establishing an imbalanced script that could take years of chaos and pain to rebalance, if at all. Your safest course is to flesh out your masculinity a bit more before pairbonding with anyone, especially a Hen.

To Women 

Keep your mothering instinct in the only container it was designed for—raising children. If emotional wounds are exacerbating and miscontextualizing this instinct, they need to be sanctified. “Mothering” is one of the greatest complaints and bitter jokes I hear from men about their female friends, girlfriends, or wives.

(2) The Manizer

Egomaniacal Women

Like the womanizer, the “manizer” is an egomaniac, not a sex or romance or money addict. These are just side-benefits. Manizers have a monstrous craving for attention and validation. Every man they successfully subdue—sexually, emotionally, or financially—simply feeds that monster. When they experience “dry periods”, they spiral into a black hole of self-hatred and turn to other escapes.

Believe it or not, many manizers are Christian women. Some are simply babies in Christ. Some are spiritually older, yet still struggling to overcome the monster. And some are in a backslidden, prodigal state.

Dominant Traits 

These types are very attractive and seductive. If her level of egomania is sky high, she will be initiatory and predatory (like Potiphar’s wife, Gen 39:7-12; see also Pro 7:10-15). If it is moderate, or moderated by insecurities or social restraints, she will simply position herself strategically to be approached by her desired man/men (like Bathsheba, 2Sam 11:2-4).

Basic masculinity is overwhelmed by these types. In fact, Solomon said this brand of woman is not overcome or resisted, she is escaped (Ecc 7:26, Gen 39:12).

Pairbonding Pattern 

The manizer gravitates to high status males. Sometimes, also to men who are married or taken or socially off-limits. To her monstrous need for validation, these conquests supply the greatest highs.

To Men 

The manizer betrays herself easily: deny her what she wants and she will react with anger or quickly discard you. Refuse to be seduced, refuse to cough up money and gifts too soon, refuse to be emotionally weak with her…how does she react? If she is not a manizer at heart, she will, at the very least, respect your discretion, and possibly be interested in you even more. She may just need an honorable man to set the tone and lead you both on paths of righteousness. However, if she is still a manizer at heart, she will not take your discretion well.

To Women 

Remember, the actual root of manizing is self-hatred and egomania. The first place you will have to go, then, is your self-image, and where it became so frayed. The second place is your egomania. You must be dethroned and cast down as the Attention Center of your life and men, and the Lord Jesus must replace you.

(3) The Man Hoarder

 Insurance Policy Women

She was super-friendly, spiritual, and gorgeous. I met her when she came to my city as a promotional model. We went out on a date and had an incredible time. I was very interested.

As I fasted and prayed about her in the following days, the Holy Spirit prompted me to do some unusual research. I discovered this woman was a “Man Hoarder”, and I was to become one more man in her emotional insurance policy. She had quite a collection of male “friends”, friends she kept close enough to keep interested, yet far enough to dodge commitment. I let her go and challenged her to grow. As time went on, the Holy Spirit continued to illumine the phenomenon of manhoarding.

Dominant Traits 

This type is warm and inviting, happily accepting any male attention. She will usually give her number, call, text, and email faithfully. She will hang out joyfully and even confide in him. Sounds innocent right?

Here’s the hook: she will titillate. She will say/do things that indicate romantic interest and chemistry. Then, when the man moves for commitment and exclusivity, she plays ignorant and innocent. And she is doing this same dance with several other men simultaneously.

Pairbonding Pattern 

When they do pairbond with one man, it is usually a womanizer of some degree. Only he possesses strong enough virility to flip the script on her and induce emotional or sexual surrender.

To Men 

Manhoarders are perhaps the most mind-bending class of women. Protect your mind! You are not one of many. You are not to be teased. You are not a toy. You are no one’s emotional insurance or just-in-case. Yes, you might be a change agent in her life, but you need to know this with certainty from the Holy Spirit as early as possible.

To Women 

It is a sin to collect men as insurance policies or just-in-case-I-get-lonely. Jezebel hoarded over eight hundred men in her collection (1Ki 18:19)! The Lord sees why you keep men around. If it is truly for friendship only, then do not titillate, do not touch, do not say, and do not do anything that could indicate romantic possibilities. Act like his sister.

(4) The Spiritual Sluggard

Godly, but Lazy, Women

Sluggard means “lazy person” (Pr 6:6-9, 20:4, 21:25, 26:13-16). Spiritual sluggards are just that, spiritual but lazy. They love God, know His Word, are faithful at church, often involved in ministry, and so on. However, they are remarkably unmotivated when it comes to their physical health, weight, appearance, and emotions (all of which are related). Some will blame everything but their own character for this: bad genes, hormones, too busy, men as shallow, fit women as superficial, spiritualized excuses, and so on.

Solomon said the lazy will always have an excuse for mediocrity, Proverbs 22:13: The sluggard says, “There’s a lion outside! I’ll be killed in the public square!”

Dominant Traits 

This woman places a high value on the spiritual, and rightly so, but an equally strong devaluation and neglect of the physical.

Pairbonding Pattern 

This type pairbonds with men who will not challenge their lifestyle habits. This is not any one particular type of man, simply one who will not challenge her to balance out and maximize every aspect of her being.

To Men 

If she cannot take care of her own body, how can she take care of you? Jesus said we can only love others to the degree we love and care for ourselves (Mk 12:31). What else can she not take care of? Before you overlook physical negligence, understand the wider implications.

On the other hand, I have seen men provide lifechanging inspiration to a female friend, helping her actualize the excellent Esther she really is. Be sure of the Spirit’s path for you early on.

To Women 

I will say quite a bit here simply because this is the most common type of single Christian woman I encounter. They were in my churches when I pastored, in my counseling office as a counselor, and in my ministry engagements as I travel.

Health and weight problems usually reflect deeper emotional and character concerns. Jesus asked, if you cannot be faithful will little—your own body, God’s temple—how can you be faithful with greater stewardships (Lk 16:10), like a great husband? You can only love and care for a man to the degree you love and care for yourself (Mk 12:31).

Rigorously address emotional wounds and self-image problems. Talk to your pastor or Christian counselor or other trusted spiritual leader. Little by little, with the Holy Spirit, cultivate the fruits of self-control and moderation in your eating habits. Exercise or get active several times a week. Paul said God is sanctifying your physical body with equal commitment as your spirit and soul (1Th 5:23).

Males & The Female Physique 

One of the most common lies believed among single Christian women is this: When God sends my husband, he will love me just the way I am.

If this were the case exactly, then you too must throw out your list of ideal traits for a great husband. He can play video games all day, neglect your emotional needs, dirt poor, hooked on porn, severely obese, smelly, wears the same underwear for several days, in prison without parole, calls mama four times a day, doesn’t own a car…but his future wife will love him just the way he is, right?

Scripture never suggests this line of logic. God loves us just the way we are, for sure, but even He requires us to change upon knowing Him (1Pet 2:1-3,1Th 5:23,24). Plus, you’re not marrying God or sharing a bed with Him.

In Genesis 2:23, when the Creator finished Eve and presented her to Adam, his instant remark was concerning her physical body: “This is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh”.

Notice he did NOT say “Alas, my helpmate!” or “This is my spiritual partner.” or “Great! I have a best friend now.” No, Adam commented on her physical body. And remember, Adam was morally perfect when he said this.

This tells us something very fundamental about males: their dominant reaction to women is visual, physical, and sexual. There are many other scriptures to browse concerning this (Gen 12:11-15, 34:2, 38:15,16, Jud 14:1,2, 16:1, 2Sam 11:2-4, Job 31:1, Est 2:1-17, SS, Ru 3:3,4).

Looking for a husband-king Xerxes? Remember Esther’s beauty preparations (Es 2:1-17). Looking for a Boaz? Remember Naomi’s beauty advice (Ru 3:3). Exercise, eat clean, get enough sleep, and dress attractively (all Christians should do this anyway). Observe the most desirable femmes and adapt their beauty nuances to suit your personality. Need a total makeover and entirely new look? Try it. Whatever you do, resist spiritualized, Christianized excuses to stay mediocre, unhealthy, and unappealing.

(5) The Free Spirit

Independent Women

In many cases, the independent woman is a high-value prospect. Not prone to co-dependence or golddigging for money, many males seek this type out. The thorn on this rose, however, is her struggle to sacrifice some of her independence to merge with a partner. To the free spirit, losing some of her freedom is like losing a limb.

Dominant Traits 

This type is confident, active, driven, and financially independent. In a good way, she epitomizes the contemporary woman who is free from the oppressions and labels of gender inequality.

Pairbonding Pattern 

This type does not pairbond easily. She is choosy and jealous of her independence. When she does pairbond, though, it is usually with one of three types: a docile man who will not make excessive demands, a charming and romantic man who floods her emotions and curtails her independent streak, or a womanizer of some degree that hooks her libido.

To Men 

Realize from the getgo that independent women are jealous of their independence. However, if she is a quality sister in Christ, do not let this intimidate you. If you are truly interested, then advance with prayer and fasting. Follow the Holy Spirit patiently, not your testosterone spikes.

Also, never try to “tame” or control the free spirit. This is the quickest way to repel her. Simply be a person and life she would enjoy merging with, and if she is interested, she will make the adjustments in her own way and time.

To Women 

Your selectivity and freedom is excellent. I give only these two pieces of counsel. First, be sure your independence is true independence, not escapism or fear of vulnerability or fear of commitment or fear of losing adventure. Second, there are secure brothers out there who will not try to tame you. Stay open and third-eyed for them. Do not keep your firewall so high that you repel them before they can reveal themselves.

(6) G.I. Jane

Belligerent Women

“G.I. Jane” is belligerent and prickly. Quick to bite and quick to fight, she harbors unresolved disappointments and animosities toward men. In extreme instances, and though she might never say so, males are merely necessary means to personal ends. For a disturbing and melodramatic illustration of these types, rent the movie The Wicker Man (2006), starring Nicholas Cage.

Dominant Traits 

This type is easily offended by and hypersensitive to men. Driving her from within is a compulsion to confront, challenge, compete with, condescend, or conquer males. Romantically, she shoots down low-value suitors like cardboard targets. This type is easy to spot because she is constantly conflicting with some male, somewhere, for some reason.

Pairbonding Pattern 

Like the Mother Hen, this type also gravitates to weaker men. Alpha males and womanizers usually do not tolerate her.

To Men 

Docile men, beware. Her attention might feel validating at first, but in the end she is a razor-sharp, two-edged sword. And, if you disappoint her, she will discard you as quickly as she discovered you. Become strong and complete in your maleness, and safeguard your vulnerability around these types.

To Women 

If this is you, you need deep healing and purification. Analyze with the Spirit when male-related pain first appeared in your heart. Analyze how this evolved into a hyperfeminist coping strategy. Then, with heartfelt repentance and maybe some biblical counseling, reconstruct your attitude and behavior towards men. A sign of your healing is an increase in honor and peace toward men, especially those that resemble your original disappointment.

(7) Every Man’s Best Friend

Cool Women

She is too cool, superfun to hang out and stay up late with. She is easily one of the guys. She safeguards everyone’s secrets and is always there when needed. These types of sisters are just plain awesome. But my heart breaks for them.

The problem? She has low sex appeal. She is every guy’s best friend—but no one’s romantic interest, or rarely.

Dominant Traits 

Loyalty and coolness describe this woman. She is a true best friend type. However, she does not possess significant romantic-sexual appeal for most men.

Pairbonding Pattern 

Very sadly, this type is often the target of womanizers, especially during his “dry periods”. And because of her seemingly perpetual loneliness, she will accept his advances—and the sure pain to follow.

To Men 

This might be hard to do, but it would help her greatly to have a tenderhearted, honest conversation with her. The cool gal needs to know, from a man’s perspective, why she is every dude’s best friend but never or rarely someone’s romantic passion. As her friend, confidant, and PlayStation co-champion, you can help her better understand how sex appeal is a man’s God-given priority (see #4).

Your friendly advice might be the very thing she needs to optimize her appearance and appeal—first for herself and her Lord, then for her future partner. Proverbs 27:9: …the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.

To Women 

I had an awesome friend once who was this type. From time to time she complained that the only men interested in her were boring and smelly men from other countries who wanted an American concubine (it was absolutely hilarious hearing her say it). As her buddy and Buffalo wings partner, I needed to respond. This is also what I say to you.

I encouraged her to modify her wardrobe, colors, posture and poise, conversational habits, and other things. She was already in great shape physically, so these modifications would go a very long way.

The next time I saw her she was gorgeous. She had unearthed and polished her full feminine glory. She had giddy new stories of romantic interest. I was so happy for her. As a Christ-loving, supercool, and now much more appealing, sister, she will be the multifaceted delight of her husband.

(8) The Mature

High-Value Women

Finally, the mature single woman is the highest value prospect. These are the ladies who are both ready and capable of a fulfilling marriage-minded romance. They are mentally separate from their mothering instinct. They do not need the validations of constant male conquests. They do not keep suitors around for insurance. Their bodies are well-cared for and appealing. They are independent for the right reasons. They perceive men as honored equals, not opponents, tools, or means. They are best friend material.

Dominant Traits 

Song of Songs has a beautiful and powerful scripture describing the ideal wife or wife-prospect. Notice the three underlined portions in Song of Songs 5:1: I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride…[Friends] Eat, friends, and drink; drink your fill of love.

First, Solomon calls his beloved his “sister”. This means she is his spiritual sibling, a Hebrew, one of Yahweh’s children. Likewise, the mature Christian woman is an authentic and advanced sister in Christ.

Secondly, He calls her his “bride”. This highlights the romantic-sexual nature and chemistry of their relationship. Likewise, the mature Christian woman is romantically-sexually appealing to a prospective husband. She is bride quality.

Finally, the couple’s companions call them “friends”. This highlights their friendship and compatibility. Likewise, the mature Christian woman is best friend quality.

God’s Word is always right on!

Pairbonding Pattern 

Women like this are cautious romantically. They gravitate to males who are high-value themselves, or, are progressing diligently towards it. They often remain single and unattached for extended periods of time, unwilling to settle for less than an ideal brother.

To Men 

Women like this are searching for someone on their level. So realize you will have to match or exceed her overall value to be in her thoughts and prayers. You will have to upgrade every area of your life that is romantically relevant. Remember Boaz. He was on Naomi and Ruth’s radar because he was a level-10 in every area that mattered to Ruth.

To Women 

High-value prospects are rare for both genders. The temptation, even for mature women, is to become discouraged and settle for the “inferior but available”. You are too valuable and rare to do this. You are Proverbs 31:10. Continue having wise friendships with decent men, but preserve your feminine ruby only for a level-10 brother who deserves it.


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8 Types of Single Men by Junior De Souza

    

Keep in mind as you read this, no one is hopelessly doomed. Some men are quite willing to change under the right circumstances. As always, seek the Lord’s counsel earnestly and use common sense before linking up with anyone.

(NOTE: I will use the term pairbonding at times throughout this writing. I understand there is an evolutionary psychology use of the term, but I am NOT in any way using the term in that context. I am using the term in its generic and basic sense, simply to mean “the romantic process between two people”.)

 

It’s Not Raining Men

In 1982, The Weather Girls recorded their notoriously famous song “It’s Raining Men”. I first heard the song in junior high school, and laughed royally as I envisioned heavy-set Martha Wash as a green-eyed, man-eating monster.

Fifteen years later, the song still amuses me very much, but with a reserved and silent concern. Because really, it’s not raining men. In fact, we are in a drought of good single men. Our churches and support groups are busting seams with single women, divorced women, abandoned women, lonely women, disillusioned women. Even Israel saw seasons of such “man drought” (Ps 12:1, Ecc 7:28).

8 Types of Single Men

As a Christian leader, I am responsible to both my sisters and brothers: to help women remain sure-footed on the slippery surface that is single men, and, help men become the high-value prospects that any sister would love to have. Therefore, in today’s writing I will make appropriate applications to both.

This article describes eight types of single Christian men. The following tendencies need to be discerned early in friendship, before attachments or entrapments develop.

(1)  The Mama’s Boy: Needy Guys

This type of single man is still reaching for his mother, consciously or subconsciously. He has not individuated from her emotionally. Consequently, he elevates every other woman into a mother-figure and sets that on that same pedestal.

Dominant Traits 

Men like this are needy and clingy. They look to their girlfriends and other women around them with childlike longing. He wants to be taken care of; this usually means financially and domestically. These guys usually lack typical masculine interests, assertiveness, and courage.

Pairbonding Pattern 

This type gravitates to strong and domineering women. Likewise, strong and domineering women gravitate to him. He gets his mother fix and she gets her power fix. Ahab and Jezebel had this relationship exactly.

To Women 

Recognize the lure of such types. It can feel empowering, even healing, to care for a grown man in such a way. However, as time always proves, your deeper femininity will ache for a true male, one who is strong and capable of undergirding you. Scripture says a man is to be a strong tree trunk on which his woman can lean securely. Song of Songs 2:3: Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my beloved among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade…

To Men 

We must love and cherish our mothers (Pr 30:17). However, our emotional development has been paused if we are excessively and disproportionately needy of her, and by extension, all women who subconsciously symbolize her. One of the best ways to move past this is by connecting with strong, mature males who will help flesh out that embryonic masculinity.

(2) The Womanizer – Egomaniacal Guys

The womanizer is an egomaniac, not a sex addict. As a pro athlete and man, I have been surrounded by womanizers for most of my adult life. Each one had a monstrous craving for attention and validation, and every sexual success story simply fed that monster. When they experienced “dry periods”, interestingly, they spiraled into a black hole of self-hatred. It had very little to do with orgasms and very much to do with ostentation.

Dominant Traits 

These types are usually outstandingly attractive and fearlessly charming around women. Though this is not wrong in and of itself, it is used as leverage for sinister ends. Men like this exude sexual energy on multiple levels (conversation, dress, body language). As annoying as they might be to some, the deeper female instinct and brain is powerfully drawn to such virility. Google the lyrics to Carrie Underwood’s hit song “Cowboy Casanova”, or Brittney Spears’ song “Womanizer”. Their words describe him in a perfect and humorous way.

Pairbonding Pattern 

This guy hunts three types of women: the lonely, the insecure, and the high libido female. And they hunt him. The lonely, then, enjoys a dreamy companion. The insecure, then, enjoys affirmation as “not so bad”. The high libido female enjoys the same kind of experience he is offering.

To Women 

Most women already know a Casanova, yet many concede (partially or totally) to his charm for the sheer pleasure or escapism of it. Here’s the hook, though: some women do not want the euphoria to end. They try to “reform” him and draw him into a committed relationship. Ninety-nine percent of the time this is energy wasted, and the residual feeling of being used can linger on for years.

 To Men 

The God of heaven and earth will hold each of us accountable to the uttermost for how we use our looks and charm. I have seen Him punish Casanovas right before my eyes, and a dreadful fear of Him shook me to my bones. Remember how God dealt with Solomon. He will not spare you His chastisement either.

Realize the actual root of womanizing—self-hatred and egomania. When your self-image finds wholeness in Jesus Christ, and your egomania obliterated before His glory, the womanizing will start to lose its power source.

(3) The Man-child – Irresponsible Guys

The “Man-child” is a man who lives like a teenager—minimal responsibilities, excesses, slothful, flighty, teenage-style partying. His house either is or looks like a bachelor pad. Pizza is his staple. Jobs change frequently. Half-nude women postered on his walls and screensaver. Video games 24/7.

Dominant Traits 

 Man-childs are simply not ready to grow up, for whatever reason. They are mentally stuck in adolescence, just as Mama’s Boy is stuck in childhood. These types can be very frustrating to women who see promise and potential in them.

Pairbonding Pattern 

This guy gravitates to the cool gal who is fun to hang out with and won’t harass him about his immaturity—at least not right away. However, when she starts to care deeper for him she will either indulge him and become his caretaker/manager, or, go ten rounds of frustration with him and finally let him go.

To Women 

The Man-child is fun. And in a world of stresses, he can be a welcome delight and portal back to high school when things were easy. But stay in tune with reality and what is best for you long-term.

Only the Holy Spirit can fully motivate a man-child to drop the “—child”. Granted, you might be a tool in that inspiration. I have seen that happen. But sometimes it does not. Your exhortations might polarize him even further into his frat boy life. Your safest course is to pray and discern early if this is the best path for you.

To Men 

Men sometimes revert like this after a painful blow to their career or a breakup/divorce. The need here, then, is not maturation but healing. There is nothing wrong with seeking out nonsinful pleasures and lifestyles (Ecc 2:24, 5:18, 1Ti 6:17). However, to avoid dismantling our lives and responsibilities completely, we need to seek full healing when such disappointments happen. Seek it from the Lord (Ps 107:20), from a trusted spiritual leader (Heb 13:7), from Christian friends (Jas 5:16).

Men, in cases where manchildness is simply raw immaturity…grow up!

(4) The Secret Homosexual – Disinterested Guys


Recent years have shown us the detestable tragedy of secret homosexuality in the church. Many of these are non-married Christian men, some with girlfriends and fiancées. Because the church, in general, is not adequately equipped to bring these men freedom, they endure their struggles secretly. Then, after endless seasons of silent torment, many give up and “embrace” their impulses. Though Christ’s entire kingdom suffers when this happens, I believe women suffer the most. For, that man was destined to be the loving husband of some sister waiting patiently for him.

Dominant Traits 

These men are usually marked by their sexual disinterest in women, yet also their profound ability to bond with them socially and emotionally.

Pairbonding Pattern 

These men often select girlfriends or wives with low sex drives, thus concealing their sexual disinterest. One couple I knew had sex only a few times a year. It wasn’t until her friend pointed out the strangeness of this that she began prying, and, discovered his secret sin.

To Women 

God created men with a ravenous sex drive. This does not mean all men desire sex with equal intensity or frequency, but it is baseline masculinity to have persistent reproductive compulsions.

If, during the pairbonding process, there seems to be a sexual blankness to him, you need to consider the possibility of latent homosexual issues. If you discover this to be so, do not become his smokescreen or enabler. Challenge him with heartfelt love to seek freedom from one of the few ministries that deal specifically with this. If and when he does, it is between you and God what you do from there.

To Men        

If this is your struggle, the longer you keep it a secret the more it will metastasize and subdue your total being. You do not have to broadcast it to the world, but seek freedom from one of the few ministries that deal specifically with homosexual bondage. If it is impossible to access their services, the power and truth of the Lord Jesus, His Word, and His people will be sufficient wherever you are (1Co 6:9-11, Jas 5:16). Always remember that.

(5) The Cheapskate – Stingy Guys

The Cheapskate has made money his ultimate security through obsessive non-expenditures. Fueling his miserliness is a root of poverty. Somewhere in his life he contracted the fear of destitution and he obeys this fear daily.

Dominant Traits 

Perhaps the best way to sum up this guy is this: bargain over comfort. Nine out of ten times he will pinch the penny at the expense of quality, convenience, or comfort. This might be a little cute in a quirky way at first, but realize he will sacrifice your comfort just as easily if and when the time comes.

I am not at all denigrating financial prudence. The Bible urges wise and calculated money management (Pr 21:20, Lk 16:11,12). However, discern the distortion. Discern a poverty root, fear of destitution, stinginess. A man should use his money to improve and insulate your well-being as a potential life partner, whether it’s paying extra for valet parking or higher quality tires for your car.

Pairbonding Pattern 

These types often link up with women who have a similar poverty issue. This way he is not resisted or challenged to change.

To Women 

Be sure there is not a poverty root or fear of destitution in you. This will unconsciously pull you to men with those same issues—even if they have a lot of money. Settle your own financial emotions and mentalities. If possible, do so before pairbonding with anyone, since money is a top three issue for all couples everywhere.

Be hesitant to pairbond with any man that does not have a healthy, biblical prosperity outlook. Remember, you will be on the receiving end of whatever his financial outlook is. Where does he take you on dates? How does he spend money on himself? Is he generous or miserly?

To Men 

Attitudinal fear is a false god. If we have a poverty root we need to get raw with God and dig that rottenness out. Besides prayer and feeding on Scripture, probably the best way to change is by giving consistently. Generosity not only heals our hearts, it initiates the biblical prosperity process promised by God to His people (2Co 9:6-11).

(6) The Materialist – Opulent Guys

At the opposite extreme is the materialistic man. Usually wealthy, he tries to buy his way through life. His underdeveloped spiritual, emotional, and relational life cause him to overcompensate through possessions. He is that man who will miss a special event but send a fat check or extravagant gift instead.

Dominant Traits 

These types are known by their extravagant expenditures and gifts. Romantically, he will attempt to buy love or sex. His typical solution to relationship problems is to buy her something she likes.

Pairbonding Pattern 

These men gravitate to women who are materialistic themselves, women who will respond favorably to his opulence. However, he tends to shy away from women who want significant emotional depth or regular quality time.

To Women 

The lure of opulence is awesome. I have known women to bed and wed certain men exclusively for the benefits. They had no intention of loving him or staying faithful. And since he was emotionally and relationally shallow, she had large chunks of time to go and do what she really wanted without him ever knowing.

Be wary of a man who shows more of his wallet than his heart. Wealth is a great thing in the hands of a good and godly man. It is a root for all kinds of evil to those who are not. It is not at all wrong to desire a prosperous partner—just be sure his character is as robust as his account.

To Men 

Don’t be that man! Your finances are merely one aspect of who you are, and it is not even in the top three: your relationship with Jesus, your relationship with yourself, and your relationship with your inner circle. Continue to have an abundant and generous financial life. Simply be sure to have that same bounty spiritually, emotionally, and relationally first.

(7) The Supernice Guy – Docile Guys

After enough heartbreaks from Casanovas, headaches from man-children, and shallowness from materialists, many women finally try out the docile man. He is super nice, and most importantly to her, super safe. He will adore her incessantly, do whatever she wants, remain easy to predict, and most likely never break her heart.

Dominant Traits 

In the animal kingdom, the alpha male is the strongest and most virile male. He gets first pick in mating, feeding, and shelter, and in some species, he is the only one who mates. The beta and omega males are those who come in second (beta) or last (omega).

The same has proven true with humans. Supernice guys are known for their passivity and sexual reticence, and thus, are often second or last when it comes to females. In certain instances, though, a woman will seek out these types if she has been overly disappointed by other types of single men.

Pairbonding Pattern 

Beta and omega males often pair up with females the most desirable men brush aside (beta and omega females). As mentioned, on occasion they will link up with wounded alpha women who are “burned out” on the other types.

To Women 

You do not have to settle for either/or. They might be rare, but there are men who possess strong male qualities with the loyalty and safety of Mr. Rogers. Women who settle for either/or are destined for another disappointment, since one of their feminine instincts will go neglected—sexual chemistry or emotional security.

To Men 

Every Christian must have a kingly self-image (Rev 1:6 NKJV, Ro 5:17)—how much more so Christian men! The paradox of God’s kingdom is that every Christian is an alpha, appointed to redeem and rule some portion of the earth (Ps 37). Paul recognized these “spheres” (2Co 10:13). Supernice guys who strengthen and flesh out their full masculinity are some of the most balanced and desirable romantic prospects.

(8) The Mature – High – Value Guys

Finally, the mature single man is the highest value prospect. These are the guys who are both ready and capable for a fulfilling marriage-minded romance. They are emotionally individuated from Mother. They do not need the ego’s heroin of constant seductions. They are responsible. They are secure and virile sexually. They are financially independent and generous. They are kind and loyal.

Dominant Traits 

Two words that describe well a high-value Christian man is balance and abundance. Remember Boaz. Balance requires multiple seasons of spiritual and emotional maturation. Abundance (in every area) requires multiple seasons of wisdom, discipline, and diligence.

Pairbonding Pattern 

Men like this are cautious and selective in females they consider. They gravitate to women who are high-value themselves, or, are progressing diligently towards it. These types often remain single and unattached for extended periods of time, unwilling to settle for less than high quality sisters in Christ.

To Women 

Men like this are searching for someone on their level. So realize you will have to match or exceed his overall value to be in his thoughts and prayers. You will have to upgrade every area of your life that is romantically relevant. See 1Samuel 25, especially verse 3. Abigail won David because, Scripture says, she was attractive, clever, respectful, and spiritually advanced. Ruth won Boaz for the exact same reasons (see Ruth 2,3).

To Men 

High-value prospects are rare for both genders. The temptation, even for mature men, is to become discouraged and settle for second or third best. As relieving as this might be for the moment, it will prove dismally disillusioning when all that character and maturity kicks in. Continue having joyful friendships with women of all types, but protect your masculine sapphire only for a level-10 sister who deserves it.


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Rebalancing the Sexual Script by Junior de Souza

Just in the last century, romance and sexuality have become greatly restructured. The game of love has become much more than fun dates, screening mates, tasty dinner plates, and euphoric emotional states. It has become an opportunity to seize power, and most importantly, establish an imbalanced script for any longterm relationship that might ensue.

NOTE: I will use the term pairbonding at times throughout this writing. I understand there is an evolutionary psychology use of the term, but I am NOT in any way using the term as such. I am using it in a generic sense simply to mean “the romantic process between two people”.

Understanding Scripts

script is an expected course of behavior. Scripts are also referred to as roles or role-playing. They are characterized by persistent inner compulsions to play out expected behaviors.

For example, a person scripted for failure tends to fail habitually, and even sabotages their own success. Consequently, they create a real-life “play” of sorts, filled with characters (real people) and developing plots (real situations), all racing towards climactic failures. Believe it or not, the failures bring a sense of fulfillment, however bizarre and short-lived.

The truth of theater  The script concept is borrowed from the world of theater, where plays have a cast of characters who act out prewritten roles, scenes, plots, and themes, all moving toward a climactic end. William Shakespeare correctly commented, “All the world is a stage.”

Similarly, real life can be quite theatrical. Not that it becomes any less serious, but rather, people fashion for themselves and others roles, scenes, plots, and themes, all moving toward the fulfillment of personal needs and wants. So when we say Suzy Q is being “dramatic”, it’s pretty accurate. She is following an inner script and developing her play to meet her needs.

Broader Scripts & God’s Script     

Scripts are not only personal, they can exist on broader levels. Entire family systems can follow expected courses of conduct in their relationship choices, vocational paths, and other major decisions. Many churches follow scripts. Trying behaving in a traditional Southern Baptist church the way one behaves in a rowdy Pentecostal revival and see what happens—and vice versa.

Scripts can be observed easily in societies and subsocieties. What is expected of a woman in a harsh Muslim culture is much different than what is scripted for her in Paris or Milan or Miami. What is “normal” in Nashville is radically different than San Francisco.

God’s script  God Himself has written scripts. His overall expectation of mankind is established in the Bible (Isa 46:10). His preordained calling for each person was written in a book before one of them ever came to be (Ps 139:16). Every prophetic word that is spoken is a revealing of God’s situational will, or script.

Any and every part of life is liable to be run by scripts, roles, and present expectations. The question is, What scripts are biblical, wholesome, or benign? What scripts are dangerous and harmful?We must answer these questions as they pertain to romantic-sexual scripts.

Romantic & Sexual Scripts

Romantic and sexual scripts function like any other. When pairbonding happens between a male and female, their preconceived roles eventually emerge. Sooner or later, they start relating in ways they’ve been ingrained to relate, and they expect their partner to relate accordingly. Plot lines develop, themes emerge, and each lover’s script is fully activated.

This is precisely how one man becomes known as a “player”, and another as a “good guy”, and another as “clingy”, and so on—these are their inner scripts. This is how one woman becomes known as merely a “tease”, and another as “wife potential”, and another as “desperate”, and so on—these are their inner scripts. There are many more romantic-sexual scripts than these, but these are probably the most well-known.

The two predominant scripts, however, that have dictated male-female relations throughout human history are the Patriarchal Script and the Jezebelian Script. We will finish with God’s original, ideal script.

The Patriarchal Sexual Script: The Pedestaled Male

After the Fall, the male-female script became decidedly male-centered, or patriarchal. God Himself pronounces to the woman in Genesis 3:16: …Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you. (Explaining this scripture now would take too much time.)

The rest of the Old Testament and most of human history plays this out, with males possessing the priority and determining the romantic-sexual scenario.

Sexual Revolutions & Restructurings

The patriarchal script prevailed in much of the world (and still does in some circles) until the onset of Sigmund Freud and pornography. The sexual revolutions and restructurings of the 1900s were, in large part, due to these two influences.

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)

Though his approach to sexuality was male-centered and carried misogynistic undercurrents, Sigmund Freud’s ideas provided the seeds for eventual sexual revolutions.

Freud proposed an elastic view of human sexuality, of which heterosexuality was only one “stretch” or expression. He attributed sexual repression to “the structures of morality and authority erected by society” (Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, 1905). To him, sexuality was a social construction rather than a fixed biological one. Thus, by transforming the social order, sexual repression could be overcome and liberation achieved.

Pornography

Pornography, as we know it today, was born in the Victorian era of a prosperous British empire (1832-1901)—the same time period as Freud. Through major excavations of Pompeii in the 1860s, erotic art from the Romans was discovered. This appalled and intrigued the Victorians. And though legislations outlawed pornographic material, a select few (the upper class) had access to it and the Roman relics.

After the 1895 invention of the motion picture, French filmers immediately began pioneering adult films. These too became outlawed, and producers went underground with their product. Eventually pornography became legalized and accessible virtually everywhere, beginning with Denmark in 1969. In the 1970s and 80s, the newfound sexual openness prompted big businesses to opportunize and cash in, financing porn into the recognized world power it is today.

Other Precursors

Other revolutionary precursors are worthy of mention. Victorian and Cold-War Puritanism encouraged cultural rebellion. Mass communication allowed for a speedy and dramatic dissemination of liberationist sexual ideas. The invention of the birth control pill (1960), major improvements in obstetrics, and female financial independence after World War II (in America) also contributed.

These factors, however, only added momentum to an already moving train. The enormous influence of Freudian sexual thought, coupled with the simultaneous global pornography phenomenon, successfully moved the masses to restructure the sexual script from patriarchal to Jezebelian.

The Jezebelian Sexual Script: The Pedestaled Female

Jezebel of the Bible remains famous because she typifies a timeless sexual script: seductive and domineering woman…male partner who is passive and dependent…wider group of male “friends” who are also dependent.

Jezebel

Jezebel, a Sidonian, crossed political, cultural, and religious boundaries to marry Ahab, an Israelite king (1Ki 16:31). She became the most powerful person in Israel. Her husband-king deferred to her (21:25), a large contingent of eight hundred fifty false prophets deferred to her (18:19), and Israel’s ruling eldership deferred to her (21:8-11). The only ones who resisted her were Elijah and seven thousand faithful.

The Power of Female Sexuality

Jezebel was demonized. No one sets out to exterminate an entire generation of Yahweh’s prophets without direct satanic inspiration. However, what stuns me is how Scripture never emphasizes Satan or Asherah or Baal as her power source. It focuses on her sexuality.

Jezebel obviously had mesmerizing beauty, and she worked it to control every male in Israel. When King Jehu came to kill her, Scripture says she resorted to seduction as her last hope. 2Kings 9:30: Then Jehu went to Jezreel. When Jezebel heard about it, she put on eye makeup, arranged her hair and looked out of a window.

Jehu himself gives us the most revealing information about her power in 2Kings 9:22(AMP):

When Joram saw Jehu, he said, “Is it peace, Jehu?”

And he answered, “How can peace exist as long as the fornications of your mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?”

Jehu said Jezebel’s “fornications…are so many”. The Hebrew word used here for “fornications” is zanuwn, which literally means “adultery, fornication, or prostitution”. (The NIV translates it incorrectly here as “idolatry”.)

Zanuwn is used in Genesis 38:24, referring to Tamar being with child through “prostitution”. It is also used in Hosea 1:2, referring to Gomer as an unfaithful wife of “whoredoms”. The word is used as spiritual adultery (idolatry) only in reference to Israel, since only a person or nation in covenant marriage to Yahweh can “cheat” and commit spiritual adultery.

Jehu was calling Joram’s mother, Jezebel, an outright whore. He wanted Joram, Joram’s entourage, and everyone listening to know that much of Jezebel’s power came through extreme sexual misconduct.

The Jezebelian Script Today

Today, this same script is being played out globally, led by the West and Europe. The sexual revolutions and restructurings of the 1900s did not create an equal script, it created the polar opposite one. Whereas the patriarchal script prioritizes the male, the Jezebelian script prioritizes the female. In the former, men possessed the social-sexual power, in the latter, women possess it.

Female sexuality is being wielded as a social-sexual force like never before. Male leaders in Christianity, world governments, and other realms of society are failing and falling in crisis proportions, not to women in general, but to a particular brand of women, those carrying a Jezebelian script.

Dating & The Jezebelian Script

In my younger years, I struggled to understand why many females seemed to pedestal themselves so highly, especially around interested men who pawed for their attention. Some of these women gave such suitors just enough attention to keep them around, yet never really engaged them in any meaningful way. I knew (and know) some who kept as many as twenty men coming around! To her, these were merely “friends”—friends with financial, recreational, social, emotional, and God-knows-what-else benefits.

Even in my youthful ignorance something didn’t seem right. I know friends when I see them. This seemed more like insurance. Or an obsession with power. Or self-worship. Something.

I went to Scripture, prayer, and scientific studies for answers. Now it is too clear. There is a script that has captured the masses, even some Christians. It has captured the pairbonding process of many singles.

The Premarital Script Becomes the Marital Script

Satan’s ultimate purpose with the Jezebelian script is this: the destruction of marital success. If and when pairbonding leads to marriage, the pairbonding script carries over into marriage. A piece of paper does not change the infrastructure of a relationship.

If the wife is wielding social-sexual influence and a domineering posture, and the husband is passive to this, a typical Jezebel-Ahab marriage will result. There cannot be true friendship and partnership. An entire host of role-reversals ensue. Callings and blessings are forfeited. Children learn false scripts. Church scripts mimic home scripts. Nations follow the church. The ramifications are endless.

God’s Original, Ideal Sexual Script: Two Equals Relating Across

God’s original and ideal romantic-sexual script is that of two equals relating across, not up or down. In Genesis 1:26-28, God’s creation of the genders and His terminology are indicative of this. Notice the underlined portions:

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule…So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created themGod blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule….”

Jesus’ incarnation and establishment of the New Covenant were intended to restore original realities. Most certainly this is true for the pairbonding process and marriage. But how do we return to this? How do we reject both patriarchal and Jezebelian extremes, and find that ideal gender equality in the romantic realm? I think of three ways.

(1) Understand the temporary nature of patriarchy.

God established the Old Testament patriarchy as a temporary provision in response to the fall of man (Gen 3, especially v16). However, this was not His original or ideal plan; the words and concepts of Genesis 1 and 2 are. Christ came to reestablish this by being a second, last, and perfect “Adam” (1Co 15:45-49). Therefore, New Testament Christians—especially men—are not to be patriarchally-scripted.

(2) Recognize and resist the Jezebelian script.

The Jezebelian script emasculates and demotes men to pedestal and deify women. Men need to become more perceptive of this, whether in pairbonding or marriage—and resist it. They must retain their confidence and character at all times when relating with dates or wives. Men, if you have to beg, chase, appease, placate, or sacrifice your male dignity for her, you are playing the Ahab-role in Jezebel’s theater.

Women, resist the urge to ride the wave. If you are single, treat suitors with honor and friendliness, no matter how undesirable they might be. However, do not lead them on, give them hope when there is none, or keep them around as pseudo-friends or insurance policies or whatever.

If you are married, honor your husband in attitude, behavior, and words (Eph 5:21-33). The moment you dishonor him and scheme for control, you are playing the Jezebel role.

For a disturbing, yet crystal clear, illustration of the Jezebelian script, rent the movie The Wicker Man (2006), starring Nicholas Cage.

(3) Rediscover and pursue God’s original script.

Genesis 1:26-28 is God’s original romantic script. It is one of equality. Both were blessed. Both were given rulership. And in their romantic-sexual relationship, both were given equal shares and priority. There was no patriarch and there was no goddess. There was no pedestal and no one was pawing up at the other.

Christ came to reestablish this reality. 1Corinthians 7:2-5 says it exactly; notice the carefully the equality:

But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent…

This romantic-sexual marital equality begins in pairbonding (dating, courtship, etc.). If singles start with the right script, they are likely to continue it into marriage. If not, we are headed for many more decades of embarrassing moral failures, divorce, and a mass of disillusioned Christian singles still wondering why their faulty scripts won’t work.



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Does God Choose Who I Marry? by Junior De Souza

Being single is a time for critical personal growth and marriage-relevant preparation. Those who prepare are rewarded with romantic victories, while those who lazily chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty. May God find His singles to be a level-10 in every area.

Proverbs 21:31(YLT): A horse is prepared for a day of battle, and the deliverance is of  Jehovah!

Proverbs 28:19(NIV): Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty.

After salvation, probably the most important choice a person will make is who they marry. As Christians, this naturally prompts us to ask, Does God choose who I marry then?  As always, God’s omniscient Bible has the answers we need.

(NOTE: I will use the term pair bonding at times throughout this writing. I understand there is an evolutionary psychology use of the term, but I am NOT in any way using the term in that context. I am using the term in its generic and basic sense, simply to mean “the romantic process between two people”.)

Understanding Disagreements

Whenever there is significant disagreement and controversy around a particular biblical topic, here is what I have learned: the correct answer is usually in the middle OR the correct answer is elastic (different in different situations). If more Christians could understand this simple truth, unity would skyrocket.

This bit of wisdom is so important I’ll say it again: whenever there is significant disagreement around a biblical topic, the correct answer is usually in the middle OR the correct answer is different in different situations. This is why both sides of an issue often sound so convincing—both has elements of rightness.

Christian Pairbonding: God’s Will or My Will?

So it is with Christian pair bonding and marriage. Does God choose my mate, or, am I free to choose my own within biblical boundaries? The super-spiritual among us point to several scriptures in which God handpicked a person’s mate. The super-practical among us point to several scriptures in which God authorized the wise use of freewill in mate selection.

Add to this polar discussion the many sub models, and you’ll need a Tylenol: matchmaking angels, supervised courtship, godly dating, Christian speed dating, semi-arranged marriages, and on and on. Oh my. By the time you’ve read all these matchmaking statutes, you’ll be fasting for the gift of celibacy.

The Correct Answer: It Depends

Remember our simple truth: whenever there is significant disagreement around a biblical topic, the correct answer is usually in the middle OR the correct answer is elastic, different in different situations. So, does God choose who I marry, or, am I free to choose within Scripture’s boundaries? It depends on your calling.

I will show you from Scripture how God designed different romantic paths for different believers. For some, God handpicked their partner. For others, He authorized the wise use of their freewill to find their own. To the super spiritual…you are right—sometimes. To the super practical…you are also right—sometimes. Solomon, our Spirit-inspired intellectual genius, nails both sides in Proverbs 19:14 and 18:22.

Proverbs 19:14, When God Chooses

In Proverbs 19:14, Solomon says quite plainly: …a prudent wife is from the LORD.  He is telling us that, at times, God is the direct supplier of a mate.

Proverbs 18:22, When I Choose

In Proverbs 18:22, Solomon presents the counter possibility: He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favour from the LORD.

Notice carefully the word he uses: finds. Finding assumes searching, and searching assumes the exercise of intelligence and freewill.

Two Romantic Paths

Solomon is not contradicting himself, for he is writing the eternal Word of God by the Spirit’s breath. Rather, he is juxtaposing two legitimate possibilities, two romantic paths. Therefore, depending on a person’s calling, the Lord will either (1) choose their spouse Himself or (2) authorize them to find one themselves within biblical parameters. The Bible presents both paths.

PATH #1: WHEN GOD CHOOSES

Several scriptures show direct divine ordination in certain pair bonding instances. Indeed, these stories flutter our emotions with an enchanting blend of spirituality and romance. The super spiritual among us tend to notice and emphasize these scriptures. However, keep in mind; this is only one of two possible romantic paths.

Isaac & Rebekah

The first instance is from Genesis 24, the divine joining of Isaac and Rebekah. Scripture tells us an angel was sent ahead of Eliezer to orchestrate the meeting between himself and Rebekah (Gen 24:7, 40). Not only this, but Scripture specifically says Rebekah was “appointed for Isaac” (v14). Laban and Bethuel, the guardian men in Rebekah’s life, recognized this. In verses 50 and 51 they say, “This thing comes from the LORD…the LORD has spoken.”

Samson & His Philistine Wife

Judges 14 records the story of Samson and his Philistine wife (she is unnamed). Samson notices her on one of his trips to Timnah and his temperature rises. He wants to marry her. His parents resist the idea, wishing instead he would marry an Israelite.

Then, in a mind-bending statement, Scriptures says this (Jud 14:4 NKJV): But his father and mother did not know that it was of the LORD—that He was seeking an occasion to move against the Philistines.

The full meaning of this scripture is a discussion for another day. But what is relevant to our topic is the phrase, it was of the LORD. The LORD caused Samson and this Philistine woman to be at the right place, at the right time, so they would attract and marry. On the surface it seemed rebellious of Samson, but Scripture emphasizes to us it was of the LORD.

Boaz & Ruth

The Boaz-Ruth romance is the most well-known and most idealized of all biblical love stories. The book of Ruth never directly mentions the divine ordination of their marriage, but it is quite obvious in light of the multiple providential events that led to it (Ru 1:22, 2:1-5,20, 4:1-12). The Lord rewarded Ruth’s sacrificial faithfulness with a handpicked man of great maturity and wealth. And He rewarded Boaz’s endless integrity with a handpicked beauty of unusual character.

Xerxes & Esther

This love story is also filled with providential events: Esther noticed and brought into Xerxes’ harem, her successful night with him, Mordecai’s role, and so on. It is a charming story, and obvious God handpicked Esther for Xerxes to rescue the Jews. Mordecai even suggests Esther was born for him. Esther 4:14: … And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?

Joseph & Mary

We see the Lord’s direct ordination in Joseph and Mary’s union. Isaiah 7:14 says (NKJV), “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son.” Notice carefully the wording: not a virgin, but the virgin. The virgin was preselected; her name was Mary.

Similarly, the Lord selected a specific man to be her husband—Joseph. This man would have to endure extremely unusual events, some of which had never happened before and would never happen again: a virgin pregnancy, a flight to Egypt while his countrymen’s sons were being systematically massacred, a son who claimed to be God, and so on. As we can observe from the gospels, this man was indeed preappointed and groomed for these epochal events.

Proverbs 19:14

In this final scripture already mentioned, Solomon says, “A prudent wife is from the LORD” (Pr 19:14). He is telling us that, at times, God is the direct supplier of a person’s mate.

We can easily see from these scriptures how God, at times, directly ordains the pair bonding and marriage of two individuals. This is only one possibility, though. There is another path in Scripture.

PATH #2: WHEN GOD LETS A PERSON CHOOSE

Numerous scriptures also show God authorizing individuals to use their freewill in mate selection. In these instances, He did not handpick their mate, but instead gave them certain principles or guidelines within which to make their own selection. Within those parameters, they were free to choose whomever they desired.

Numbers 36:6, Zelophehad’s Daughters

In the issue concerning Zelophehad’s daughters and inheritance land (you can read the story on your own), God gave them freedom to marry whomever they wanted. The only parameter was their selection had to be within their father’s tribal clan. The exact scripture is Numbers 36:6; notice the underlined portion: This is what the LORD commands for Zelophehad’s daughters: They may marry anyone they please as long as they marry within their father’s tribal clan.

Deuteronomy 21:10-13, The Warring Men of Israel

In Deuteronomy 21:10-13, God allowed the warring men of Israel to take wives from the peoples they conquered. He gave them a few parameters, however. The women were to shave their heads and trim their nails (v12), given entirely new clothes (v13), and allowed to mourn for a full month (v13). Other than this, they were allowed to take as wives whomever they desired (v11).

Of course, the cultural and sociological context is drastically different today, but the core principle is timeless. Pending certain guidelines, God allowed these men the freedom to choose a wife as they desired.

Proverbs 18:22, Searching & Finding a Mate

In Proverbs 18:22, Solomon says this (underline added): He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favour from the LORD.

Notice carefully the key word he uses: finds. Finding assumes searching, and searching assumes the application of intelligence and freewill. Solomon even promises God’s favour to the one who successfully does so.

Jeremiah 29:6, The Jewish Exiles

The prophet Jeremiah prophesied a command resembling Proverbs 18:22. In Jeremiah 29:6, he commands Israel to “marry and find wives” (NIV, emphasis mine). In this prophetic command the Lord did not say, “I have a mate preselected for each of you in Babylon.” Rather, He commissioned them to find spouses for themselves.

This is an interesting scripture. God not only allowed their free choice in mate selection, He commanded it through a direct prophetic utterance. It seems they needed clear encouragement and motivation to search and find, attract and marry.

Hosea & Gomer

In Hosea 1:2 (NKJV), God tells Hosea: …Go, take to yourself a wife of harlotry…

Notice carefully the wording. Hosea was commanded to marry a prostitute; God did not specify which one and He never specified Gomer. He simply told him to marry prostitute.

Also, we are not told about Hosea’s selection process. We are not told how long the selection process took. We are not told if it was easy or hard. It could have been easy—many prostitutes desire a virtuous man to come along and “help” them leave their lifestyle. It could have been hard—just as a holy prophet would not want to marry an immoral prostitute, so also most immoral prostitutes would not want to marry a holy prophet. The Bible only tells us Hosea ended up selecting Gomer.

Hosea’s sovereign election of Gomer among all the harlots symbolizes Yahweh’s sovereign election of Israel among all the nations (Deu 10:15). Just as Gomer’s redemption was an independent act of Hosea’s affection, so also Israel’s redemption was an independent act of God’s affection. God and Hosea both made independent, freewill choices.

1 Corinthians 7:39, Christian Pairbonding & Marriage

In his first letter to the Corinthian church, Paul also presents the freewill option in choosing a mate. He says in 1Corinthians 7:39: … she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord.

Notice carefully the wording: anyone she wishes. The only parameter is that the mate belongs to the Lord—is born-again and living under His ownership.

In verse 36, Paul makes a parallel statement (NIV, underline added): If anyone is worried that he might not be acting honourably toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if his passions are too strong and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married.

Notice the underlined portion: he should do as he wants.

In all of 1Corinthians 7, Paul never once says or implies, “Make sure it is God’s preordained, handpicked mate”, or even, “Make sure it is God’s will.” He is not at all negating that option; he is simply emphasizing the freewill option to the Corinthians.

Why You Must Discover Your Romantic Calling & Path

This entire subject boils down to, “What is my romantic calling? What is the personal path God has pretrodden for me?”

I urge you to discover this, for; many love story playwrights will earnestly give you their script to follow. Find and follow God’s script for you.

Ponder, for a moment, both paths. You might be “waiting on God” in the nursing home if He has already authorized you to search and find a mate for yourself. Or conversely, you might be searching feverishly and frustratingly when you should be praying, relaxing, and preparing for the one He already selected for you. Discover your call!

Discovery Steps

Discovering your romantic path is no different than discovering any other divine purpose for your life. Therefore, some of these steps might sound routine or common sense, but nonetheless, if faithfully applied, will result in crucial illumination in the area of romance.

Fast and Ask Specifically

God commands you to know His path for you (Eph 5:17). Therefore, we can fast and ask specifically and expect God to answer sooner or later (Mt 7:7-11).

Obey What You Currently Know

Before God tells us what we really want to know, He often tests us to see if we obey what we already know. If we cannot obey what He has already shown us about other areas, we will not be entrusted with new information and guidance (Lk 16:10, Mk 4:23-25). On the other hand, God is astonishingly liberal to those who obey Him meticulously and continuously (Jn 15:7, 1Jn 3:22).

Analyze Each Path

Each romantic path has its privileges and challenges. When God chooses our mate, the privilege is we can relax and focus on personal growth and preparation. The challenge is, it will happen in His time, in His way. Isaac was forty when his appointed time came (Gen 25:20); the virgin Mary is believed to be sixteen, or even fourteen by some.

When God lets us choose, the privilege is we possess power over timing and means (remember Paul’s words in 1Corinthians 7:36,39). The challenge is having the wisdom and patience to choose excellently and not destructively. This does not at all mean God will not assist with wisdom and relevant resources (Pr 2:6, Jas 1:5); it simply means He is letting the person make the final choice.

Which set of privileges and challenges beats deep within, kindles faith and vision, and makes your spirit perk up?

If we fast and ask specifically, are faithful to what we already know spiritually, and analyze each particular romantic path, sooner or later, it will become abundantly clear what has been divinely willed for our life. And it will be good, pleasing, and perfect (Ro 12:2).


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Recovering from Rejection by Junior de Souza

   The Force of Rejection


 
Rejection is one of the most titanic ordeals a person can experience, on par with the death of a loved one or terminal loss of health. Sound exaggerated? Then consider this. Rejection, or the perception of it, contributed to Cain murdering his brother. God even points this out beforehand (Gen 4:7). Rejection from his mother and a music producer harbingered Charles Manson’s masterminded murders of at least nine innocent people.
Rejection, or the perception of it, is one of the main precursors to substance abuse, destructive relationships, sexual addiction, and countless other tragic stories. On a more general level, rejection is the fuel for low self-esteem, low self-efficacy, insecurity, compliance, conformity, loneliness, hypersensitivity, and aggression.
No need to despair, though. There is full recovery from this fatal toxin. Technically, anyone (Christian or not) can recover from it. However, only in Christ and through the Spirit of liberty can a person enjoy the purest and most thorough form of recovery and freedom.

Rejection


Rejection is being refused, excluded, unrequited, or discarded by another person or group. The perception of rejection can be equally injurious, especially in a person’s younger years or in times of greater emotional sensitivity. Rejection can be passive (ignoring, indifference, distance, absence, etc.) or aggressive (ridicule, harassment, bullying, violence, etc.).

Rejection Expectation


 
Rejection expectation is the assumption of rejection. (It is also called rejection sensitivity, rejection complex, rejection root, and spirit of rejection.) In other words, a person who has been rejected severely or repeatedly comes to anxiously expect it. They assume it will happen, and thus, they are hypersensitive to the slightest indicators it might be happening. Overreactions are common. The most minor brush-offs and refusals feel like earth-shattering humiliations. Relationships with this type of hurting person are a stomach-turning roller-coaster.

Why is rejection such a big deal?


Rejection is so meaningful to us because we are emosocial, meaning, our mental condition is somewhat (but not totally) woven into others. This does not necessarily imply inherent codependence or neediness, rather, it implies an inherent need for belonging and good relationships.
God Himself summed it up best when He said, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Gen 2:18), and, “Two are better than one…A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecc 4:9,12), and, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together” (Heb 10:24,25).

Two Signs of a Rejection Root


 A “rejection root” shows itself through two main fruits: low self-esteem and hurried attachment.
This root makes us doubt and second-guess ourselves continually, and in extreme cases, hate ourselves. It makes us feel small, smaller, or smallest (Num 13:33, Jud 6:15, 1Sam 9:21). Bottom-line: unresolved rejection fuels low self-esteem.
This root also pressures us to attach to others too quickly, too easily, and usually indiscriminately (Pr 12:26). I am not referring to those unique instances where phenomenal chemistry and compatibility are present, microwaving the typical bonding process. I am referring to a pattern of attaching to others too quickly, too easily, and too indiscriminately. This hurried bonding is motivated by bleeding wounds for acceptance.

Accurately Interpreting Rejection


 Not all rejection is equal. Not all rejection is vicious. As children we interpreted all rejection as “bad”, and as adults we generally do the same. Few people develop the keenness to discern different categories of rejection and their meaning.

Unjust Rejection


 This brand of rejection is the vicious kind. It happens when someone rejects us simply because they themselves are vexed by their own rejections. It is seen most obviously in children/youth and their propensity to exclude, ridicule, or bully. It is also seen in parents rejecting their children (certain aspects of them), mainly through excessive criticism and withholding basic validations.

Healthy Rejection


 At the opposite extreme is “healthy rejection”, and it tends to happen more among adults. Sometimes people reject us because they perceive destructive tendencies in us or in our life. Thus, in discretion, they distance from us partially or completely. More aggressive individuals might even confront us openly before pulling away.
We need this healthy species of rejection. Why do we assume others should accept us unconditionally, while we possess elements that could harm or devalue their life? If we find ourselves continually rejected by different types of people, across several different settings, over multiple seasons of time, guess what?

Perceived Rejection


 Sometimes it’s all in our imagination or (faulty) perception. Believe it or not, you can feel what is not real.
They are just preoccupied. They are carrying a private burden. They are truly busy. They really are tired. They are not rejecting us or anything about us. They simply cannot give us what we would like at that time.
Adults have the cognitive development to reason through this and undo the feeling (even though many do not and assume their perception is right). Children, however, cannot. They are literalists and one-dimensional. Their perceptions are assumed to be absolute truth. Therefore, parents and caretakers need to do their best to embrace and accept, and avoid behaviors that could be perceived as rejection. When unavoidable, time and effort need to be taken to explain away the perceived rejection and reassure validation.

Recovering from Rejection


Recovering from rejection or eradicating a rejection root is 100% doable. If not, we doom ourselves to puppy-dogging for attention, approval, and acceptance that will continually prove elusive.

(1) Heal those you have rejected.


 When I was 21, the Holy Spirit revealed His hot displeasure towards my character. He prompted me to make a list of every person I had ever rejected or hurt significantly. It was 126 victims long. Then He prompted me to go back to each one and humble myself, state my wrong specifically and without justifications, ask for their forgiveness, and make restitutions where possible.
The next eight months were occupied with in-person visits, phone calls, handwritten letters, and emails. I never knew a human being I thought to be so wonderful (me) could actually be so depraved (me). Each name was a nauseous encounter with the raw, real pain I had caused. I abhorred myself. I couldn’t take enough showers to get Me off of Me.
But glory to the Sanctifier! I saw dozens of emotional healings in these precious ones, and even two feuding families (which I caused) reconciled and resumed friendship. When I marked off #126, I felt as if my being had been in a washer machine over a hundred times. I wish I had the vocabulary to express how this reformed my deepest personhood.
One thing I did not expect was this: the spirit of rejection I had lived with for many years had now become inexplicably dislodged and was almost nonexistent. More steps would need to be taken, though, to complete the miracle.
Matthew 7:2,5: …with the measure you use, it will be measured to you…You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
      
Proverbs 28:13: Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

(2) Repent for owning the rejection of others.


 Rejections will always happen, but we do not have to own them and welcome them into our core personality. We can hold them at a scientific distance, analyze and learn from them, then release them back into nothingness. Whether we owned these rejections as innocent children or as foolish adults, we need to repent specifically and verbally reject them from our identity in the name of the Lord Jesus. Owning rejection is owning an idol.
Ezekiel 14:3: Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces.

(3) Accurately reinterpret your rejections according to what’s really true.


  Remember, feelings do only one thing: feel. They do not reason or calculate. They do not analyze or interpret. They do not consider or reconsider. They feel and that’s all they do—feel.
This means you will have to surpass your emotions to analyze the truer nature of your rejection. Is it unjust rejection, coming from someone(s) simply passing on the ills they have suffered? Is it healthy rejection, coming from others’ perceptions that I could harm or devalue their life in some way? Is it only perceived rejection, and I am overreacting via my own rejection expectation? Figure out and follow what is really true.
John 8:32: You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

(4) Pursue a rejection-free life.


 Pursuing a rejection-free life means two things: (1) consciously reminding yourself to accurately interpret rejection scenarios and never own any rejections, and, (2) generously granting judgment-free (but wise) acceptance of others. Live above receiving or giving inappropriate rejection.

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The Nine Blessings of Disappointment by Junior de Souza

 

Disappointment…a blessing?

Can blessing be unattractively clothed in disappointment? Sigh…yes. It is human nature to constrict our definition of “blessing” to those joys that satisfy our most burning wants and needs. And to be fair, those gifts are most certainly divine. However, blessings exude from a good God in all shapes and sizes, colors and textures, situations and seasons, pleasures and pains.

Can we find those blessed jewels buried in cold, dark places? Job 28 says the treasures of God are in the “farthest recesses of blackest darkness” (v3). Oh my. In fact, some goods, gifts, and graces from God can only be attained in the low place. There is a dimension of fellowship with Him and His goods that can only be gotten through His sufferings (Php 3:10).

My faithful soulmates in Christ, I pray the fallible words of this article release eye salve upon your eyes to discern the nine blessings embedded in your disappointments.

(1) Adoration

Disappointment Blesses by Deepening Our Worship

     Disappointment produces a stronger, richer adoration of our Lord. When the goods of earthly life somehow disillusion us, we are harshly driven to the One who never disappoints. These goods are not necessarily wrong, but they have the agitating ability to occasionally backfire. These times send us rushing to our First Love, our Best Friend, our Linus Blanket. At this place and moment of self-abandonment at His feet, God fills our empty jars with new oils of worship and gratitude—more than enough to pay off every emotional debt created by our disappointment.          

     Hosea 2:14,15(NKJV): Therefore, behold, I will allure her, Will bring her into the wilderness, And speak comfort to her. I will give her her vineyards from there, And the Valley of Achor as a door of hope; She shall sing there, As in the days of her youth, As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.

    (2) Appreciation

Disappointment Blesses by Expanding Our Values

Many Christians have personal values that are too limited and too narrow. They do not appreciate and value things outside their immediate, preset focuses. Disappointment, however, has a fantastically painful way of expanding what we value. Things we once cherished as supremo and superlative now become secondary or simplified. Things we once despised as common or contemptible now become choice and comely. This reshuffling and dilating of personal values is critical if we are to ever enjoy life’s broad spectrum, fulfill the finer details of our destiny, or recognize unusual blessings when they come.

The book of Ecclesiastes is a book on values. In it Solomon describes his own journey with disappointment (“vanity” and “chasing after the wind”), and the value system that resulted. In many ways, a mature value system should reflect Ecclesiastes quite closely.

 (3) Attitude-change

Disappointment Blesses by Renovating Our Mindsets

      Attitudes are deep grooves in our soul that we continually and automatically slip into. These emotional-mental currents undergird every behavior in our life. If we never replace, renew, and renovate these mindsets, we will behave at 60 the exact same way we behaved at 16.

Disappointments brazenly violate our attitudes, offering us precious opportunities to change our ways. In such times, stubborn goats cling even more tightly to their ways. Don’t let this be you! Pain and failure offer costly wisdom that can redesign your thinking, your behaving, your life, your future. Some of the greatest men and women in history were birthed in mind-changing disappointments. Change your mind!

     Ephesians 4:23(NIV): …be made new in the attitude of your minds.

 (4) Awareness

Disappointment Blesses by Clarifying Ideals

      Idealists are not the only ones who yearn an ideal. Realists do too. The difference is, realists are much more in tune with the nuts and bolts of life, and therefore, sometimes lose themselves therein. However, for both idealists and realists this one thing is true: disappointment makes the truest ideal much clearer, bringing both of them closer to that priceless balance. Disappointment burns away the dross of both hyperidealism and hyperrealism.

If we commune with disappointment enough times in a certain area, we will become one of those individuals with rare awareness of the truest ideal in that area. This is the essence of being an accurate visionary. These types have been disappointed enough times to quickly discern faulty targets, and, quickly perceive and uphold the truest ideal.

Ever notice how God prepared Adam for an ideal mate, Eve? He disappointed him repeatedly with every animal in creation. Notice carefully the wording in Genesis 2:20-22: So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found…Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.      

 (5) Ardor

Disappointment Blesses by Uncovering Our Desires

      Disappointment is a great revealer of desire, especially deeper ones we’ve lost touch with. Such desires get buried or ignored or forgotten amidst life’s menial obligations and the pressures of others. Thus, we resign to a monotonous, scripted life void of ardor—until disappointment strikes. Then, all of a sudden, we feel important things we used to feel in more passionate times. As we embrace and reconnect with these passions, we can offer them on God’s altar so He can fulfill them.

God wants our most authentic desires in the foreground of our life. These desires usually pertain to our truest personality and life plan.

Psalm 20:4: May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.  Philippians 2:13: For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. 

    (6) Anticipation

Disappointment Blesses by Igniting Our Faith

 Disappointment is a merciless eliminator. It eliminates the inferior and inadequate we have settled for, and ignites faith to work God’s Word for more, better, greater. We can easily settle for level-5 or level-6 realities, when God has assured the obedient they can eat the very best of the land (Ps 81:16). So He induces disillusionment, simultaneously igniting fireballs of faith to expect only the very best from Him. Our sadness soon turns to fasting, prayer, declarations of Scripture, acts of obedience, acts of faith, acts of courage, acts of preparation—all in faith-expectation for level-10 blessings.

1Chronicels 4:9,10: Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.

 (7) Action

Disappointment Blesses by Provoking Movement

      We can easily get stuck, frozen, or complacent in one or more areas of our life. Disappointment is that sledgehammer that crushes the ice, that moves us again, that frees us to initiative and action. Many of us already know what to do in areas of bondage or mediocrity. Being motivated to action is the problem. A good heartache and headache can do wonders to goad us into go-getting.

Proverbs 6:9: How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep?  Proverbs 20:30: Blows and wounds cleanse away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being.

 (8) Ability

Disappointment Blesses by Improving Our Skills

     Lack of skill creates disappointing results. Disappointing results illumine our lack of skill. Instead of blaming this or that, him or her, we can appreciate disappointment’s critique and work to improve our skill.

Herein is where the practicality of Proverbs can really help us. We must resist the temptation to be superspiritual and spiritualize every pain and failure. Sometimes the fault simply lies in our lack of skill in that particular area.

Proverbs 22:29: Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men.  Ecclesiastes 10:10: If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success. 

 (9) Anointing

Disappointment Blesses by Increasing God’s Power

God’s power will match and exceed any heartache we experience. (If we seek Him throughout the pain, that is.) There is more than enough oil for every empty jar we accrue in life. This Oil flows to us first, then flows through us.

There are multiple ways to increase in personal anointing, but disappointment might be the most scorned of them all. If you are praying for greater supernatural power, expect some disappointments. Expect to accrue empty jars. Expect to have your inferior hopes and confidences shattered. These things break us and drive us to the Mighty One of Israel, who in turn pours true might into our being, and eventually through our being to others.
Luke 4:14: Jesus returned to Galilee [from the desert] in the power of the Spirit…

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