Is courtship the answer? | Part 5

Courthsip IS the answer - post header JPG

 

Several weeks ago I began a series of posts about courtship.

And that journey has taken me to some very unexpected places – but I feel strongly that it is an important message that needs to be shared.

Ironically enough, my last two posts were directed at a movie that debuted Valentine’s Day weekend. In the book series that led to this movie, there is a very dangerous lie presented as truth – and the lie is this: “As long as it is by your own choice, it is OK to be abused.”

The greatest trick the devil ever played on women was to make them think submission equaled abuse… and then twisting logic to make them think that choosing to be abused was OK, and even exciting!

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 

And along these lines, I would like to talk now to you about proper authority.

I believe one of the most serious problems with society today is that we have no understanding of proper authority.

Without a proper understanding of authority – is it really so surprising that we have so many issues in our society?

 

Now, granted I am no expert. I have no fancy degrees or initials at the end of my name but I do have thirty-five years of life experience to pull from – more than twenty of them in the “dating” world. I had my first “boyfriend” in intermediate school. I have put quotes around the word boyfriend because it was an extremely innocent relationship – at least on my side. The young man had moved to Tennessee from California and his mother was more than comfortable leaving me at their house all alone with him and his older sister. During these times, I was extremely careful (entirely on my own) to stay within sight of his sister at all times. Somehow I knew, even then – and yes, without much specific instruction from my own parents, that to be alone with this young man would be a bad idea.

Now… years later I can look back and see the extreme of the bullet I dodged and I am ever so grateful to a grace-filled God who kept me from doing something stupid… at that time anyway.

Fast forward to high school. I say fast forward because middle school was miserable for me. I was not popular or rich or even cute. The summer between middle school and high school, I developed. I also spent that summer helping my mother to lose weight so I rid myself of the baby fat that had been stubbornly hanging on and curves emerged.

My first two years of high school were fairly innocent (again – thanks entirely to a merciful God who kept me from making a huge mistake) but more than a little eye-opening for me. I had been sheltered… very sheltered… by a slightly overprotective mother who didn’t want me to make the same mistakes she had. If only we had understood proper authority – she would have known it was better to share those mistakes with me, discussing the consequences that had come with them and helping me to outline a path that would help me to steer clear of those same traps and pitfalls.

Alas, we did not understand proper authority – she was not taught so she didn’t know to teach me… and I did make a lot of the same mistakes. Granted I saved my promiscuity period for after my first marriage failed but my extended family enjoys – oh so much – reminding me that my son was not brought about in the way God intended. Yes, I am so very blessed and if it would change having him here, I would do absolutely nothing different. But oh, if there had been a way to go back and change the way I went about things and still have my sweet boy – I would do it in a heart beat!

OK… I’ve rambled on long enough about me.

 

How did we get here?

In our society today, there is very little if any understanding of proper authority. People make fun of police officers (even people who aren’t criminals in the strictest sense). Children are encouraged to defy their parents (and not just by friends or peers). Churches are terrified to take a stand for what is right, just and true (and this is perhaps the most frightening for me).

 

The men who founded this country more than 200 years ago understood proper authority. They did not simply run away screaming that they didn’t have to do as they were told by Great Britain. They went through the proper channels. They petitioned, they pleaded, and finally they penned a document declaring their independence and presented it to their proper authority – Great Britain – who… ironically… is now an ally to the United States of America (at least for the time being – they may not be for much longer).

Our country is still so very young in comparison to many other systems of government in this world.

There are small countries that can not seem to find a good system of authority – and those countries inevitably fall left and right every day. A group of people determines that they can do a better job and instead of going about it the right way, they rise up, rebel and leave nothing but heartache, death and destruction in their wake.

The countries that have been around the longest are the ones that know how to deal with civil unrest, they know they have to be diplomatic, they know that sometimes they have to give a little – but at the end of the day, they are in command, in charge, in control. Therefore their subjects understand proper authority.

Over the years, this young country of ours has begun to abuse and ignore proper authority. People like to say that we started out as a bunch of rebels who wanted their own way but that was not it at all and unless we can find a way to return to the morals and standards of our forefathers, this country will be doomed as well.

You can see it every day.

  • Defiant teens tell their parents they don’t have the right to tell them what to do.
  • Defiant criminals try to kill police officers and when that officer is forced to use their authority in defense, they are the ones called into question… not the young man who was/is so clearly in the wrong.
  • Defiant protesters claim that all they want is to be heard, and then they wreak havoc and leave destruction and death in their wake.
  • Defiant “leaders” ask the people they are supposed to represent – what their opinion is on a certain subject and then do the exact opposite of what their people ask of them.

And there are millions more.

 

Somewhere along the line, someone decided that authority was no longer important. They wanted to do things their way and they didn’t want anyone calling them on the carpet about it so they stirred up their friends and they made a bigger and louder noise about it that kept going until they had the whole world in turmoil.

It seems that everywhere we turn, there is another new group that springs up to “defend” alleged “rights”…

  • It’s not enough that women have been given the right to choose whether they wish to work outside the home or not; in the current climate, if a woman does not “choose” to work outside the home, it seems as if everyone is against her.
  • It’s not enough that certain groups have been given the equality they so adamantly demanded – they now want to push down the other groups that were “oppressing” them so that they are above everyone else!
  • It’s not enough that we have done away with harmful treatment of animals and are doing everything we can to fight those who disobey the law – people want animals put up on a level with humans, even above in some cases.

We are living in a world gone mad – and why… because people don’t want to submit to the proper authority.

They want to do what they want. And then they don’t want to face any consequences.

The word submit has become synonymous with abuse and mistreatment and the word authority has become associated with dominance, dictatorship and demoralization.

 

sub·mit
səbˈmit/
verb
verb: submit; 3rd person present: submits; past tense: submitted; past participle:submitted; gerund or present participle: submitting
  1. 1.
    accept or yield to a superior force or to the authority or will of another person.
    “the original settlers were forced to submit to Bulgarian rule”
    synonyms: give in/way, yield, back down, cave in, capitulate; More
    antonyms: resist, defy
    • consent to undergo a certain treatment.
      “he submitted himself to a body search”
    • subject to a particular process, treatment, or condition.
      “samples submitted to low pressure”
    • agree to refer a matter to a third party for decision or adjudication.
      “the U.S. refused to submit to arbitration”

 

If you’ll notice, in the above definition, the word submit is preceded by FORCED when it talks about submitting to “Bulgarian rule”.

However, if you keep reading, you can see that submission is something that is entirely optional. The only thing submission has to do with the above statement is that it was forced on the people. This is not the case in most circumstances where the word submit is used.

A soldier can stand over you and tell you that you will submit but you choose whether you want to submit or not. Yes, the option could be torture, abuse or even death but it is still a choice each person must make on their own.

 

au·thor·i·ty
əˈTHôrədē/
noun
noun: authority; noun: auth.; plural noun: authorities
  1. 1.
    the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience.
    “he had absolute authority over his subordinates”
    • the right to act in a specified way, delegated from one person or organization to another.
      “military forces have the legal authority to arrest drug traffickers”
      synonyms: authorization, right, power, mandate, prerogative, license,permission

      “the authority to arrest drug traffickers”
    • official permission; sanction.
      “the money was spent without congressional authority”
  2. 2.
    a person or organization having power or control in a particular, typically political or administrative, sphere.
    “the health authorities”
    synonyms: officials, officialdom; More

  3. 3.
    the power to influence others, especially because of one’s commanding manner or one’s recognized knowledge about something.
    “he has the natural authority of one who is used to being obeyed”
    • the confidence resulting from personal expertise.
      “he hit the ball with authority”
    • a person with extensive or specialized knowledge about a subject; an expert.
      “she was an authority on the stock market”
      synonyms: expert, specialist, aficionado, pundit, guru, sage

      “an authority on the stock market”
    • a book or other source able to supply reliable information or evidence, typically to settle a dispute.
      “the court cited a series of authorities supporting their decision”

 

 

 

As for me and my house, I choose to submit to God’s authority!CLICK TO TWEET!

Choosing to submit is not the same thing as choosing abuse!CLICK TO TWEET!

PROPER authority is NOT harsh or wrong – it is protection and LOVE! – CLICK TO TWEET!

PLEASE SAY NO TO 50 Shades…! – CLICK TO TWEET!

 

 

And with that, I will leave you for now…

I will be back next week with more!

© Rachel L. Miller 2015

 

Disclaimer: For now I will allow comments to this post. I reserve the right to delete any and all derogatory or abusive comments and if I must, I will turn off comments. 

Is courtship the answer? | Part 2

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The strangest thing happened last week…

A family that I admire, respect and look up to had a bit of drama.

One of their daughters (who is a married woman now) chose to do something that many of the family’s fans were completely and absolutely shocked by.

In the grand scheme of things, it seemed quite ridiculous to me but in retrospect I can see where it would have felt like a betrayal to many of the people who hold this family in high esteem.

And on that note, this post will be a bit different from last week’s post.

 

I mentioned in my last post that I went through a rough time in high school and that I feel my experiences during that time are quite a bit responsible – if not completely – for many of the issues I have had in my life where relationships are concerned.

 

Peer pressure is not just about drugs and alcohol.Tweet this!

 

And peer pressure is not just about intimacy either. It may take you by surprise to realize that peer pressure is far too often about the dating that comes before intimacy.

Your friends will influence not just who you date, but how often, how serious the relationship is, and sometimes… how far you go with that other person.

 

How friends influence WHO you date:

Girls – think back to high school. Think back to when you were sitting around a lunch table or a study table in the library or when you got together for a slumber party.

Did you talk about boys? Sure you did.

And when you talked about these boys, your friends had opinions about who was the cutest, who was smartest, who was nicest, who was the most athletic, who was a gentleman… and who was NOT.

Now not every single girl is influenced in this area by their friend’s opinions but many are and it happens one of two ways.

  1. You listen to your friend’s opinions and follow their advice. You ignore the “bad” boys and aim for the “good” ones.
  2. You feel a bit rebellious and you go after the “bad” boys… despite what your friends say… just because you can.

Another area of influence is the unspoken rule that you don’t date a guy that your friends have dated. I say unspoken but it can get pretty verbal (and sometimes even physical) when you break this rule – which is probably why most girls obey it without question or hesitation.

After you decide who or who not to date, comes the inevitable competition. Your friends may be friends but they can also seem amazingly like enemies when it comes to who gets what guy.

 

How friends influence HOW OFTEN you date:

After you are all paired up (not usually how it happens by the way – usually only one or two people in a group of friends are paired up while the rest of them play the field), comes the competition of the actual dating.

Who gets to go to the best restaurants, who goes to good movies, who goes out the most often, whose guy spends the most money, whose guy buys the best gifts, the list goes on… and on… and on… but no one ever really wins this competition because it starts with boys, continues with dating, goes on into engagements and weddings and then on to your kids.

It’s no way to live!

And that is one reason I do not compare my kiddos to ANYONE else’s kiddos! Sam and Gwen are individuals. They are just as much different from each other as they are from every other kid out there! There is no chart for when they should be able to do something. They do it when they’re ready to! Anyway… I am off-topic. Back to the subject at hand.

 

NEVER be afraid to be an individual! God made you SPECIAL!Tweet this!

 

We are beginning to get to the big guns here…

How friends influence HOW SERIOUS your relationship is:

This one is a little murky because there are so many factors to it.

Some groups of girls are adamant that you should casually date in high school because you are so young.

Some groups of girls think you should ONLY go steady (or date exclusively) EVER – high school or not!

Some girls think you should be friends with guys and occasionally go out but never really DATE in high school.

And some girls think it’s a good idea to be exclusive to the point that you’re engaged (or intimate) when in high school.

Personally, I wish I had fallen into another camp. I wish I had used high school as a time to learn and have fun but NEVER date or become romantically involved AT ALL! Aside from the fact that boys in high school can be even more immature than girls in how they view relationships… if I had taken the time to look around me at all of the “relationships” – I would have realized that I was fighting a losing battle.

No relationship started in high school turns out the way you expect it to.

Yes, there are people who manage to stay together through trials and troubles but it’s not because they’ve been together so long… It’s because they find a way to get through it – either through prayer or through counselling or through sheer determination.

Regardless of what your friends do, you should NEVER allow anyone else to dictate how serious YOUR relationship is… unless that someone is GOD!

DISCLAIMER: As terrible as it sounds, YES, I am including your parents in the above statement. It is always YOUR CHOICE whether you allow your friends to influence you or not… just as it is YOUR CHOICE whether you listen to your parents council on the subject (as well as every other one). It takes a very strong person to listen to the advice of parents, friends and siblings but to ultimately adhere to GOD’s will for their life!

 

NEVER allow someone else to dictate how serious YOUR relationship is – unless that someone is GOD!Tweet this!

 

This one really goes hand in hand with the subject above

How friends influence HOW FAR you go with your significant other:

This is by far and away the scariest one for me and I am proud to say that I avoided that particular pitfall… mostly.

I say mostly because I was pure (only in the strictest sense of the word) on my wedding night but there were quite a few things I would NEVER have done if it weren’t for my friends telling me the great lie – “everybody’s doing it…”!

First of all – and listen carefully to this girls!!!

  • It is impossible for EVERYBODY to be doing it!
  • Even IF everybody else is doing it… IT DOESN’T MEAN YOU HAVE TO!

For starters, in high school, you hear constantly about what your friends are doing in their own relationships. Just a little tip here – if your friends are talking about things they’re doing with their guy… it probably doesn’t mean much to them. Using something personal to “one-up” your friends is never a good yardstick to measure the depth of personal, emotional or even physical feelings!

However, let’s follow the thought through here…

Your friends will tell you all about what they’re doing and they’ll use their own behaviors as the yardstick to measure where you should or should not be in your own relationship.

Don’t ever let someone tell you that you should/when you should – hug a boy, kiss a boy or ANYTHING else!

NO ONE ELSE has to live in your skin!

NO ONE ELSE has to live with YOUR consequences! Except maybe your kids… 

NO ONE ELSE knows YOU as well as YOU know yourself… except God!

NO ONE ELSE gets YOUR eternity – wherever it may be.

Your friends may think they’re being helpful. They may even think they’re doing you a favor. But THEY aren’t the ones who have to live with the decisions YOU make. YOU ARE!

So it really doesn’t matter what your friends are doing, what your parents did or what you see people around you doing. What matters is what you want to do, what you are comfortable with, what you want to live with!

 

NO ONE ELSE has to live in your skin!Tweet this!

NO ONE ELSE knows YOU as well as YOU know yourself… except God!Tweet this!

NO ONE ELSE gets YOUR eternity – wherever it may be.Tweet this!

 

 

Now… let’s look at a different perspective for a moment:

Imagine for a moment that your friends are dedicated to courtship – along with you…

That image looks very different doesn’t it?

In this image, instead of competing with each other for the “best” guy and focusing on things that have no eternal or even long-range value (like looks), you can instead discuss who you think has the best relationship with God, who likes kids and who doesn’t, who is most likely to stick close to where your family is, who shares the same life and spiritual goals that you do.

And then… instead of trying to “one-up” each other on dates and kisses and looks – you can lift each other up, use accountability to help each other stay pure and focus on what is most important when it comes to things you want in a husband, and in the man who you want as the father of your children.

And with all of the experience I have had on the “other side” – I pick courtship any day!

Pearls of wisdom:

  • There are just as many people (maybe even more) that live their life alone after dating… as there are after courtship.
  • Courtship gives you the opportunity to get to know a person WITHOUT hormones or emotions or pheromones distracting you.
  • Courtship offers the opportunity for friends to lift each other up – whereas dating (more often than not) leads to competition, back-biting, and dishonesty.
  • Courtship has been around since the dawn of time (or nearly) and you know what they say… If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

 

OK. with that I will say adieu.

I will be back next week with more!

© Rachel L. Miller 2015

 

Disclaimer: For now I will allow comments to this post. I reserve the right to delete any and all derogatory or abusive comments and if I must, I will turn off comments. 

That dangerous pedestal. (Yes that’s spelled right… I checked…I know though – it looks wrong)

Recently I have witnessed two different men, whom I held in high esteem for many years, knocked off their pedestals… so to speak.

Aside from being quite upsetting, it was very eye-opening as well. There are several morals to these experiences but I am only going to focus on two of them.

Let’s see if you can figure them out before I tell you…

 

Experience # 1: (Due to the sensitive nature of this event and to protect an innocent man from further abuse, I will NOT be using any names.) 

In the first instance I speak of, I watched a great, devout man of God fall from his pedestal – or it might even be more accurate to say that he was pushed.

And isn’t it interesting that all it really takes in these instances is the whisper of impropriety to get people guessing and after that, all it takes is one (weak or not) accusation to make everyone 100% sure they’re guilty… unless you tend to be good at reading people and KNOW the person well enough to KNOW they’re not guilty!

It took years and it took lots of whispers but it really only took one well-placed, well-timed accusation to put an end to this man’s career and ministry. And though he is still living, I would imagine having your purpose snatched from you, the only thing you’ve done for more than half your life, feels a bit like dying – only he’s stuck here in this world while going through it.

No Heaven for him yet… just the half-life that is left here on Earth.

JUST FOR THE RECORD: I believe this man is innocent of what he was accused of! I know he’s just a man and men make mistakes but I do not believe that was one of them!

Nevertheless, he has been knocked from his (figurative) pedestal and there will be no getting back up on it – no matter how anyone tries.

 

MORAL 1: When you are in the public eye, you must be careful of every word spoken and every action done. You even have to be careful of your thoughts because they quickly become words and those words become your philosophy and that philosophy defines your character.

 

 

Experience #2: (and this one was very personal for me – in this case I feel it is important to actually keep their name confidential in order to protect myself from potential backlash)

For years I was a fan. This was someone to look up to, someone who had been through the type of beginnings I had and come out the other side successful and prosperous! A hero! A role-model! Someone to inspire me!

I can do what he did! Or can I?

No. In fact, I can not and will not. I won’t! I won’t! No matter what the world wants from me – GOD is leading my words… NOT the world!

This was a tough one for me. And this one was even more difficult because the pedestal he fell from in this instance was very personal to me. The world at large still has him up there and they show no sign of demanding he step down – in fact it may be that his behavior pushes him even higher in their eyes…

In the interest of anonymity, I will only say this – the writer I am referring to has a façade and then they have the truth. And in discovering the truth, my illusions have been destroyed because the  façade is their outward appearance – a claim that they follow and believe the teachings of CHRIST!

The truth is that they are one of millions, absolute millions, that have decided for themselves that God is not quite as all-powerful as the Bible paints Him to be so they pick and chose what they want to believe and their lives (and writing in this instance) reflect that.

MORAL 2: Writers have to be very careful about what they write – especially where that writing disagrees with their beliefs. Writers are held up as heroes so many times and what we write has an effect on our readers.

If we are peddling nonsense, it WILL cause problems with someone, somewhere, at some point. And eventually, enough people are going to see through to the truth and knock you off that pedestal.

Or else… one day… you will see the error of your ways but it will be too late to do anything about it because the generation who grew up reading your work has now passed that on to their children with the admonition that YOU KNEW what you were talking about!

 

 

OK. I’m done. Rant over. Please don’t be too angry at me. I had a very rough day yesterday and in the wee hours of the morning amid sleeplessness, these thoughts were going over and over in my head and I just had to get some of it out so I could get some writing done.

 

Have a GREAT weekend and Good Day!

GOD BLESS!

©Rachel L Miller 2014