Parables And The Torah, Pt. 2

The New Testament isn’t saying anything new. It is echoing Torah. Messiah is echoing and declaring Torah!

In the average Christian church, there is a discounting of the relevance and potency of the Torah (first five books of the Old Testament) and the Writings due to misinterpretations of Scripture.

Statements like, “That’s the old stuff–we don’t need that anymore,” “We’re under a new covenant,” and “We’re not under the law, we’re under grace,” get us in a lot of trouble. 

Many who would profess to be followers of Yeshua (Aramaic name of the Messiah), deny the very doctrine and source from which He taught–the Torah. They use many of the excuses listed above to validate their living out of just a few books in the Bible.

I am convinced that our lives will be much more enriched when we seek to understand Scripture within its complete context.

Refusing to critically and objectively study what some call the Old and the New Testament IN CONTEXT leaves many of us hungry for truth. To apply Scripture out of its context is to starve yourself; for it cannot produce real fruit.

To apply principles of Scriptures contextually, we will have to unlearn much of what we’ve learned.

If you don’t remember anything else I say, remember this: the “New” Testament is commentary on the Torah, Prophets, and the Writings. That means its foundation is the Torah. They derive their thinking and understanding of Scripture from Torah. So, we must know Torah to properly interpret and apply what we read. Additionally, this means these commentaries will not deviate or disagree with the Torah.

The first couple hundred years after Messiah ascended, they did not have what we have compiled today. So, they were teaching from the: you guessed it–Torah, Prophets, and the Writings.

I know. Many believe they were reading out of pocket New Testaments and following along as these events took place; but, that’s just not what happened.

Heck, it’s unlikely the writers of the New Testament would’ve thought what they were writing would be considered Scripture.

So, when Paul writes to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16 saying, “All Scripture is breathed out by Elohim and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for setting straight, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of Elohim might be fitted, equipped for every good work;” the Scripture he is referring to is the Scripture they already knew: the Torah, Prophets, and the Writings. 

Most of the time when Christians hear Torah, their mind goes to the “law that Jesus fulfilled so that we don’t have to do it.” There are many things wrong with that perspective. However, we have to start somewhere.

First, it does not mean “law.” That is a common application of it; but, it’s not the most accurate. Many translate Torah as “law.” However, it is best translated as instruction, teaching, doctrine.

Simply, the Torah is YAH teaching us how to live life. It’s His instructions, descriptions, and definitions for life. It is the WORD (Ps. 19:7; Ps. 119:142; 1 Tim. 1:8, Rom. 3:31) and Messiah is the WORD made flesh (John 1:1-14).

In Matthew 22:36-37, 39-40, Messiah has an exchange that helps sum up the Torah.

Teacher, which is the great command in the Torah? And יהושע said to him, ” ‘You shall love יהוה your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your mind.’ And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commands hang all the Torah and the Prophets.”

When Messiah said, “The Law and the Prophets hang on these two commands,” he is saying every Word given in the Torah falls within those two categories. Every Word or principle given to Israel instructed them in how to love YAH and love people (including themselves). Also, it is a way of saying, this is the foundation for all instruction.

Recently, I was reading Paul’s letters and enjoying an enriching time in the Scripture when I came across a verse that is a prime example of this.

Colossians 3:5 reads, “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: whoring, uncleanness, passion, evil desire and greed of gain, which is idolatry.”

When examined in the Greek (the original language of the book of Colossians), these words sum up the instruction of Torah. We’ll explore idolatry, uncleanness, passion, and greed.

Idolatry

The word idolatry or immorality refers to a selling off of ourselves for the purpose of sin (failure). It has a connotation of adultery. It is to cheapen what is valuable. It is to give over to someone what already belonged to another. 

Torah is riddled with instructions against idolatry. Idolatry gives honor to the created rather than the Creator. Additionally, idolatry is a fruit of something. Idolatry is possible when the true value of YAH is not known or is incomplete. 

“You do not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of that which is in the heavens above, or which is in the earth beneath, or which is in the waters under the earth..”

Shemoth (Exodus) 20:4 TS2009

Uncleanness

The word for uncleanness or impurity paints a picture of mixing. Torah goes into depth always about the issue with mixing.

“‘Guard My laws. Do not let your livestock mate with another kind. Do not sow your field with mixed seed. And do not put a garment woven of two sorts of thread upon you.”

Wayyiqra (Leviticus) 19:19 TS2009

“They did not destroy the peoples, As יהוה had commanded them, But mixed with the nations, And learned their works, And served their idols, And they became a snare to them.

Tehillim (Psalms) 106:34‭-‬36 TS2009

The issue with mixing is expounded upon in the book of 1 John. John goes into depth about YAH being light. In Him is no darkness. YAH is not mixed — neither should we be. He is whole and complete — lacking nothing.

Passion

The word passion refers to an inordinate desire. A desire that is misplaced or out of order–which indicates something was not covered properly. Usually, when we think about passion/lust, the weight or responsibility lies on the person dealing with it. This is not how things work. Lust/passion is a fruit of something. It is an inordinate desire that comes when one lacks the proper perspective of your value.

The father is the one YAH gives responsibility to to provide identity and value. If a father does not cover properly, this lack will create an inordinate desire that shows up as lust. This could have been prevented if the father had covered properly. Torah is thorough in showing how to cover the vulnerable and the importance thereof. 

Greed

The word greed or covetousness means advantage and aggression. This is a contrary idea to what is taught in Torah. Many have often wondered why did YAH always instruct the people of Israel to get only what they needed. He’d find fault if they took more than they needed.

  1. This was a sign of someone who had not had Sabbath perfected in them. In other words, if they took more than they needed, this was a sign of someone who did not trust YAH. They were not yet able to rest in His provision and decided to provide for themselves.

When Sabbath is perfected in someone, they do not seek to provide for themselves. They see YAH as provider and what they have for others. YAH covers me and I don’t have to look out for myself. They trust. They do not strive. Providing for yourself is strife.

  1. Getting more than you needed meant someone else would go without. They’re always collateral damage when we do not trust YAH to provide.

The Torah is all about how to care for others and trusting YAH to care for you.

The purpose for this post is to draw attention to the connection New Testament Scriptures have with the Torah. The New Testament isn’t saying anything new. It is echoing Torah. Messiah is echoing and declaring Torah!

All of the words and right-rulings of YAH are to reveal (cultivate) two things in us: love for YAH and for people. The Torah makes provisions for the citizen and for the stranger, for the vulnerable, for the weak. 

If we live a life that is me-centered, we are not living Torah.

Learning Torah will change your life!

Torah is for today — and not in a vague “good for reference” kind of way. Instead, it is for today — actively, intensively, transforming its students.

“The Torah of יהוה is perfect, bringing back the being; The witness of יהוה is trustworthy, making wise the simple;”

Tehillim (Psalms) 19:7 TS2009

Stay tuned for more posts on Torah!

Why I Don’t Celebrate Easter

If the Church and the world are in agreement on all, some, or most things, the Church has ceased being the Church.

I’ll make this quick. I’m writing this on my phone, so you know it’s real!

Today is what many in the world call Easter Sunday. Churches are preparing weeks in advance for easter egg hunts, Easter productions, food, Easter baskets, etc. Traditionally, this is one of the two days regular church goers know they can invite their family members and they “have” to go. (Christmas service is the other time).

It’s interesting that two of the most attended church services are holidays with pagan roots. Before you get all up in arms, let’s take a look at the word ‘pagan.’ Most understand it to mean anyone who is a non-Christian or not of the world’s largest religious groups.

Biblically, the word pagan is used to describe one who is idolatrous (who worships many or any false gods/things). When we see the word pagan from this standpoint, we see it could refer to a Christian or anyone else for that matter. Interestingly enough, Paganism is considered a religion now and there are those who describe themselves as such (I’m not going to get into that).

Now, I’m not going to go in depth about the pagan roots of Easter — but I’ll refer you to those who can.

Aside from this, I have my reasons for forgoing celebrating Easter.

1. Religious Ritual over Remembrance

I am skeptical of the heart behind why we as children of the Most High (GOD) feel the need to celebrate Easter (especially in the way in which we do). It appears to me it is more of a religious ritual than a purposeful opportunity for remembrance of the Cross.

I saw this in how we were so focused on what outfit we were going to wear, how we’d style our hair, what we’d cook when we got home, easter baskets, how many eggs the kids found, etc.

If we really intend to celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of the Messiah, Yeshua the Christ, then why aren’t our eyes and hearts on Him? Why don’t we encourage opportunity to examine ourselves and whether we’re living in faith of what the Cross provided?

2. The world celebrates the same way.

To be honest, I’m skeptical of anything the world is equally excited about as the Church. If the Church and the world are in agreement on all, some, or most things, the Church has ceased being the Church.

There doesn’t seem to be anything inherently wrong with getting candies, looking cute, eating with family or any of the other things we do on “Easter.” The problem comes when we’ve lost sight of why we’re doing it. The problem comes when we’re more focused on being comfortable than our responsibility to compel.

I can’t wrap this blog up in good conscience without clearing up some things.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t go to church on Easter or look nice or spend time with family. I am saying turn a mirror on your heart and ask GOD to search you.

Am I living in repentance?

Am I living worthy of the call with which I was called?

Do I truly believe in the power of the Cross?

Do I really believe in the power of the Resurrection?

Where have I ceased to live consecrated to the Father?

I pray you and myself discover deeper intimacy with our Father. May we hear His voice clearly. May we no longer be distracted by our conveniences and religious rituals. May we know true relationship with the Most High!

 

Be sensible.

Be fools.

Forgive But Never Forget: The Hardest Part (Pt. 3)

This is the very same obstacle we face when considering forgiving others. “If I forgive them, it’s as if I’m saying it was okay for them to have done what they did.”

This may be the shortest post of the ‘Forgive But Never Forget’ series; but perhaps, the most important. So read on. I believe it’ll be worth it.

If you have not read Part 1 or Part 2, make sure you do. Find the two posts here: Forgive But Never Forget and Forgive But Never Forget Pt. 2.

Forgiveness is such a touchy subject for a lot of us. Anytime anyone encourages us to forgive, we feel offended or judged; as if we were being accused of being bad people. We feel as if our pain is not being acknowledged or the offence is not worthy of our frustration. When trusted friends, family, mentors, and spiritual leaders encourage us to forgive, I don’t believe they do so out of judgement. They understand the freedom that is granted through forgiveness. The freedom is not for the person being forgiven, but the ‘forgiver.’

It amazes me. As difficult as people may find it to forgive others, it’s even more difficult for us to forgive ourselves. As dignified as many of us may feel when encouraged to forgive someone, the idea of forgiving ourselves is nearly impossible to some of us.

This is so unfortunate. We feel as if when we forgive ourselves for when we’ve hurt others, made poor decisions, or weren’t the best versions of ourselves, we’re saying, “It’s okay for me to have been that way or to have done that.” This is the very same obstacle we face when considering forgiving others. “If I forgive them, it’s as if I’m saying it was okay for them to have done what they did.”

To forgive someone does not make right the act that was committed. Instead, it frees them from the punishment or penalty of the act. This is the beauty of God’s forgiveness of us. When God forgives you for lying, He’s not saying it’s okay to lie from this point forward. He’s simply no longer penalizing you for the sin of lying. We spoke about this in Part 1.

When God forgives, he doesn’t just forgive the one thing you did, but the nature in you that is inclined to commit the act again (Isaiah 43:15).

This is the same kind of forgiveness we must implement from ourselves to ourselves. Many of us have received the forgiveness of God but have yet to forgive ourselves. Many of us are still penalizing ourselves for errors God has forgiven, redeemed, and forgotten.

Some of us will ‘forgive’ ourselves but will rehearse the act(s) and find ourselves conflicted. Due to the fact that we’ve continued to remember ourselves in our mistakes, we can’t imagine ourselves as one who is free from the punishment, guilt, and shame of our mistakes. Don’t let one (or several) mistakes keep you trapped in your thinking about who you are, who you will be, and who God has destined you to be.

Unforgiveness is a prison. Set yourself free. Receive the gift of God’s forgiveness, grace, and love through Christ. If you’ve never accepted Christ and would like to know more about what the heck this all means, feel free to email me. I’d love to talk.

For further study: I taught a sermon at my church a few months back on forgiveness. Feel free to listen for greater insight on this topic. It’s broken up in two videos (not because it’s long) but because there were technical difficulties that day. Find them here: There is Freedom in Forgiveness and There is Freedom in Forgiveness Pt. 2.

Scriptures: Romans 6:23, Romans 3:23, Matthew 18:21-22, Ephesians 4:32, Matthew 5:23-24.

Happy reading!

Over and out.

 

10 Things To Know About Me

I never know what to say when someone asks me to tell them about myself. Technically, no one asked me; but y’all gone learn today!

This feels strange.

I never know what to say when someone asks me to tell them about myself. Technically, no one asked me; but y’all gone learn today! Normally, when someone asks me to talk about myself, I stick to things that are safe; things that don’t require much vulnerability. I won’t promise I’ll spill my entire heart today; but I’ll share some things about me (10 things to be exact).

I’ve got to at least introduce myself at some point.

Hi! My name is Darveiye Michel Flemming (We can talk about the pronunciation another time). I’m the creator of this blog, Sensible Fool. How ever you’ve found your way here, thank you. I appreciate every like, comment, share, question, and critique. It means a lot. So, thank you for your support!

Leggo.

1. I grew up with 2 older brothers and 4 younger sisters; all of which names start with ‘D.’ (Durell, Diante, Darveiye, DeShara, Danielle, Drew, and Destiny) Shout out to y’all! Y’all are the best.

2. I was born in Chicago. However, honestly, I don’t really claim Chi-town like that. I’m an Okie.

3. I began my relationship with Christ when I was 5. It’s a beautiful story. I’ll have to tell it on here one day.

4. I went through a few lengthy periods of atheism in which I genuinely believed God wasn’t real.

5. My favorite colors are blue and green. I believe they’re the most natural beautiful colors.

6. I play keys and guitar. Music has always been a passion of mine; worship moreso.

7. I speak English and Spanish; and a little bit of a lot of different languages. Entonces, si hable español, háblame para que yo podría practicar. ¡Besos!

8. I love film. I often have very spirited discussions about it. So, be prepared.

9. My favorite animals are tigers and great white sharks. I plan to swim with sharks at some point in my life. Sharks are also another subject you can prepare to get into an argument with me. Don’t ask. Or do. The choice is yours.

10. I teach precious immigrant and refugee children English as a second language. It’s incredibly rewarding and challenging. They keep me laughing and constantly asking myself, “what the heck is going on?”

11. BONUS. I’ve danced hip-hop for the majority of my life. Don’t ask me to show you a move though. I tend to get a little shy for some strange reason.

Anyway, those are just a few fun facts about me. I hope you enjoyed reading this! Please comment some fun facts about yourself. I’d love to hear who’s reading these posts.

Happy reading!

Over and out.

Forgive But Never Forget

You’ve heard it before. “Forgive, but never forget.” This infamous phrase is ingrained in our thinking. Many of us don’t see a problem with it. It makes sense to us. Rightfully so. “Just because I forgave you doesn’t mean I’m not going to remember what you did. I don’t want to find myself in that same situation again. So, I’m going to remember.”

Disclaimer: If you find yourself in a toxic cycle or situation, use wisdom. Find out why you gravitate toward detrimental situations and stop the cycle. Moving on…

Well, I won’t keep you in suspense; there is in fact a problem with this notion of “forgiving but never forgetting.” In fact, it’s quite contradictory. To understand this, we have to first look at what forgiveness is and God’s standard for forgiveness.

To forgive is to (erase) a debt; to no longer make someone owe you for something they did wrong towards you. If you’re a college student or have ever been, you may be familiar with the term “forgiveness” as it relates to student loans. That’s the ONE place many of us would like to receive some forgiveness and forgetfulness! (Can I get an amen?! I just wish the spirit of forgetfulness would come upon the folks at FAFSA! Glory!) Moving on..

When you forgive someone, you are relinquishing (giving up) your rights and the need to “get them back” or “make them pay.” Refusal to forget what they did only keeps the offence (wrong doing) at the forefront of your mind and resurrects a desire for the debt to be paid. So, if not forgetting is anything, it’s at least unproductive. Now, let’s see what God does.

The Bible says that God forgives our sins and remembers them no more.  He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12). No one has ever been able to find where west or east ends. This is to say your sin can’t be found and it is no longer associated with you or how God will relate to and with you. Isaiah 43:15, it says, I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” Another translation of the same verse says, “I–yes, I alone–will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again.”

When we look at the original text, written in Hebrew, the phrase, “will not remember your sins” also indicates that God will forgive the offence (which can be considered habitual sinfulness) and the penalty for it. This means God doesn’t just forgive the act, but the nature in the person that caused the act. It’s much deeper than we often think. If it’s habit, it’s a part of nature and God chooses to forgive the very thing (nature) that’s wrong in you. On top of that, (oh, I’m excited now), God removes the penalty or punishment for the sin.

One of the only reasons we remember offences is because we feel as if there has not yet been adequate payment for the wrong doing. Many times, we’ll look for small ways in which we can make them pay and ease our pain and pride. We do this by being petty, making small slights, digs, disses, and insults toward or about that person. This is unnecessary if you’ve truly forgiven them. Stop rehearsing what they did to hurt you. We rehearse so that we don’t forget. Refuse to rehearse the hurts and receive healing.

To forgive and refuse to forget is a reversal of the forgiveness process. This is why many of us find ourselves so internally conflicted. We’ll forgive but will choose to remember what they did. As I’ve said before, when you constantly remember what they did, you’ll find yourself demanding a payment for the offence; which immediately reverses the forgiveness you gave moments before. Essentially, the two (forgiveness and remembrance) can’t coexist.

Because God doesn’t remember our faults when He forgives, He can’t be conflicted about His forgiveness towards us. Forgiveness and remembrance can’t coexist right? It means that any time you mess up, God isn’t weighing in your previous sins or reconsidering whether or not you “deserve” to be forgiven. God is sure that He wants to forgive you; because if you’ve already accept Christ as your Savior and believe in Him, you’re forgiven.

To be honest, I had no intent on writing about forgiveness. Nevertheless, I found myself prompted by the Holy Spirit to write this blog. I hope this helps someone who is struggling to forgive.

One of the hardest parts about forgiving someone is this feeling of being taken advantage of, undervalued, and unappreciated. I want to encourage you with this. God sees you. God honors your decision to forgive and can help you in the process of healing from any aftermath. God honors your choice to forgive others by forgiving you. Yeshua (Jesus), while teaching His disciples how to pray (Matthew 6:9-13), said this, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” As Yeshua (Jesus) prayed this, He revealed that God understands and relates to the process and need for forgiveness. We’re not alone in this. Let it encourage you that God sees you and honors your choice to forgive.

Scriptures for further study: Matthew 5:23-24; Matthew 6:9-13; Psalm 103:2-14; Isaiah 43; Isaiah 53

I hope you enjoyed this. Please pass it along to someone you know who may need to read it.

Happy reading!

Be sensible; be fools.

 

*I do not own rights to the featured picture.

 

I’m Not a Christian Pt. 2

Let’s dive in. Shall we?

In Part 1, we discussed the fact that religion has the tendency to focus on outward appearance. “Just follow the rules,” “do the right thing,” “do this,” “say that,” etc. It does not address the inner to outer transformation mandated and desired by God (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Another Problem With Religion:

Religion requires no intimacy and therefore offers no true change. Let me explain.

Religion, generally defined, is a specific set of beliefs and practices concerning purpose for life and deals with the idea of a supreme being or the lack thereof and its (or theirs) relation with humanity. We could add to this definition that religion includes certain rules, regulations, and traditions to be followed.

My fellow “Christianers (check Pt. 1 for definition)” know these all too well. We measure our success and holiness by our ability to “follow the rules” and “look the part.”

This is a problem.

For argument’s sake, let’s say there are indeed a set of rules and traditions to which we are to adhere  and God, the Rule Maker, gave us these rules by which to abide. And let’s say adherence to these rules is the means by which we are considered holy.

The Rule Maker’s ONLY requirement would be for you to obey the rules. He wouldn’t need to KNOW you. It wouldn’t matter that you knew Him, but that you knew the rules and followed them. Fortunately, the very premise on which God and man’s relationship is built is the idea of an ongoing, everlasting intimacy. If our relationship with God never extends beyond a set of rules, we’ve missed out on the greatest treasure of knowing HIM. THIS is where true transformation is found.

What if I told you there are no rules?

We understand laws, theories, and rules of this life based upon what we can measure (science). We have a need to understand existence & our limitations. So we call them laws, boundaries, etc. Many would say we have an unconscious understanding of what “ought not to be” and what “should be,” right and wrong, etc. What if I told you God never set any laws?

C.S. Lewis said,

My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust (Mere Christianity)?”

We understand ‘do not murder,’ ‘do not steal,’ and ‘do not cheat’ to be laws of some sort. Whether or not we attribute God as the author of these boundaries is in fact important. However, HOW we understand God to be the author may need some adjusting.

God encapsulates every idea of what is right, just, and holy. There are no laws. There is simply God. There is simply His nature. Who He is dictates what “ought to be.” He does not need anyone’s permission or power to exist. He just IS.

The universe and all life in it is simply governed by and according to His nature. God is the very precept for everything ever created and that will ever exist. Any attempt of substitution for relationship with Him is counterfeit, unnatural, and empty.

This is why religion doesn’t WORK! Religion seeks to follow rules for the sake of reaching holiness. “If I’d just do this, then I’ll be alright.” “If I don’t do that, then I’m okay.” Becoming intimate and familiar with GOD is how one reaches holiness. For God’s nature is the boundaries in which we should exist!

How can you say this?

It’s simple really.

If you were an actor hired to play the role of Michael Jackson (I’m a big fan); how would you approach personifying this legend? Would you find it sufficient to have a set of rules to study from with a list of “don’t do this,” and don’t do that?” Would you prefer to have dialogue with him, review his videos, listen to his voice, talk to his fans, and study his mannerisms? My guess is many would choose the latter. No set of rules are going to give you the proper perspective about who Michael Jackson was and his ongoing impact on the world. Rules will not give you the necessary direction.

This universal law, this unconscious understanding of right and wrong, this common nature with God, has historical origins. ”Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…so God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female He created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it (Genesis 1:26a, 27, 28a).”

God created us in HIS image according to HIS nature so that we would know what ‘ought to be’ and what ‘ought not to be.’ If we seek Him, we will find everything we could EVER need. If we seek to KNOW Him, we fulfill the ultimate purpose for our existence.

I leave you with this.

“I think all Christians would agree with me if I said that though Christianity seems at first to be all about morality, all about duties, and rules, and guilt and virtue, yet it leads you on, out of all that, into something beyond. One has a glimpse of a country where they do not talk of those things, except perhaps as a joke. Everyone there is filled full with what we should call GOODNESS as a mirror is filled with light. But they do not call it anything. They are not thinking of it. They are too busy looking at the SOURCE from which it comes (Mere Christianity).”

God IS goodness.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this and it has encouraged you!

Please like, comment, and share! I look forward to hearing from many of you!

Over and Out!

 

Note: I do not own rights to the featured picture.

3 Reasons We Hate Being Single

It’s about that time. We see it almost every day. Log into Facebook and you’re bound to see it SOMEWHERE on your timeline. “So-and-so is in a relationship with So-and-so.” Sometimes you catch yourself thinking ‘how could THEY possibly be in a relationship’ and not you. I mean, “I’m good looking right? I’m funny too! I’m smart!”

It’s no secret you want to be in a relationship. You probably feel you DESERVE to be in one. Maybe you do. But before you take that plunge, let’s examine why you’re having a hard time being single.

As I tell people all the time, a lot of the time, it’s not about WHAT you feel but WHY you feel it. Here are some reasons you may hate being single and shouldn’t.

  1. You hate being alone.

I don’t know about you, but many of my friends have expressed this sentiment. While I am more than okay with being “alone” physically, I feel the effects from time to time. Aside from the fact that many of us are extroverts(people who get energy from being around people), we hate being alone because we don’t trust ourselves with our own thoughts. Being alone requires us to deal with our issues. The issues aren’t always deep. Even the small ones can seem like a drag to deal with. We want someone to help distract us from it all.

What you need to do: Practice being alone and content. Be honest with yourself about YOU. Deal with those issues. Being in a relationship will not magically make them disappear. It will only amplify them. Deal with it now.

  1. You focus on what you don’t have.

Have you ever uttered, “at least you have someone.” I know I have. We place romantic relationships on such a ridiculously high pedestal. What we’re really saying is, “nothing in your life is really THAT bad, because you have someone.” This is far more insensitive and naïve than we realize. We forget what being in a relationship requires of us and what singleness allows. A relationship is a priority and requires WORK. Singleness requires work, but of a different kind.

If you can’t think of any good things afforded through singleness, allow me to assist you. When you are single, you have freedom to come and go as you please. You (mostly) have only your issues to navigate through. There is even an emotional freedom. You don’t have someone else’s actions dictating your emotions. THAT’S freedom. These are just a few of the things being single allows. There are many more and I’m sure if you thought about it, you’d find many more.

Unfortunately, we approach singleness as a “purgatory” before we reach our eternal destination. It’s no wonder any of us can truly enjoy our singleness. We’re always WAITING for life to begin as though life cannot be found before or outside of marriage (relationships). This leads me to my final reason.

  1. You’re not whole.

There is no reason to be ashamed of the past and the baggage you may have picked up in the process. We’ve all got a story. However, please understand, until you are WHOLE, you are not much good to anyone.

Wholeness is a condition in which one is healthily self-sufficient and uses relationships properly for their good and the good of others. Many of us know we’re not whole. Instead of going through the tough process of searching our hearts for fears, doubts, anxieties, trust issues, we look to another to fill in gaps created from previous hurts.

Why is this a problem? It’s a simple principle.

50% plus 50% equals 0%.

How can this be Darveiye? What type of math are you working with? According to relationship math, that’s how it works.

If you and the person you are with are not whole (i.e. 50%), one person has to be completely poured out in order for the other to reach 100%. You’re only as good as your weakest link.  The person who has to pour EVERYTHING out for the sake of the other will develop animosities, false identity, and neglect self-care. This will ultimately ruin the relationship or allow the two of you to maintain a dysfunctional relationship. Either way, it’s ‘no bueno’ from here.

What’s the right math? 100% plus 100% equals 100%.

If both of you have reached a state of wholeness, you can properly assist each other in improving and fulfilling your individual and collective purposes.

REMEDY: Wait. Be whole. However, take the proper steps in figuring out how you can be a healthy individual WITH or WITHOUT a relationship. Singleness isn’t a punishment, but a gift. An opportunity to blossom and KNOW yourself! We don’t know how much of a blessing that is until we watch our identity slowly slipping away into the hands of a relationship. So enjoy where you are now for however long you’re there!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this and I hope it helps!

49

Dear 49,
Today, I went to one of many church services. Today, you went to your last.
Today, I worshipped God in peace. Today, you entered eternal peace.
Today, I didn’t fear for my life. Today, you have nothing left to fear.
Today, I had no threats made to my life for my worship of a holy God. Today, you worshipped a holy God DESPITE the threat to your life.
Today, I lazily worshipped God.
Today, you gave your all.
My heart doesn’t mourn for your deaths as usual. For I know there is HOPE. There is more beyond this life. Beyond that, I don’t mourn for your deaths as much as I mourn for the rest of us who are still alive.
I mourn for others like myself who are lax in our walk with Christ having never experienced persecution to the point of death.
I mourn because I struggle to follow God without a threat to my life.
I mourn because not enough of us know what’s happening there and other places in the world.
I mourn because we’ve got it too easy.
I mourn because I’m not sure we’ve got the courage you possessed.
Nevertheless, in the midst of the pain, I praise God for the lives you’ve lived. I praise God for the trails you’ve blazed for those coming behind you. I praise God because I’m certain you all prayed for the rest of us to KNOW Him. I praise God for the high honor of dying for His name. I praise God because you have run the race and have laid hold of the prize.
Rest well my brothers and sisters.
‘Til we meet.
This is to the 49 men and women who lost their lives in church bombings20170410001302767530-minihighres.jpg in Egypt on Palm Sunday. http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/09/middleeast/egypt-church-explosion/

The Danger of Dignity

Dignity: the quality or state of being worthy, honored, or esteemed; high rank, office, or position; a legal title of nobility or honor.

There is something so dangerous about dignity. If you’re like me, you’ve probably heard this word used a few times for certain situations. When someone is in danger of being excessively embarrassed or ridiculed, we say, “Let her keep her dignity.” In romantic relationships where the woman is making more money, she’s encouraged not to rub it in his face or announce it to others; for the sake of him “keeping his dignity.”

Please don’t misunderstand me. Those are simply examples of when this phrase is used. I am not for embarrassing or ridiculing someone.

I have come to learn dignity is quite stifling. We’ve all subconsciously created molds that exemplify ‘dignity’ to us; he who is independent, educated, and, successful. We tend to treat these sorts of people with greater respect and care; because they’re “worthy, of high rank, honorable.” Those are great things right? Maybe.

Granted, there is nothing wrong with being independent, educated, or successful.

What if I am not independent, educated, or successful? What if I don’t own a home or car? What if I’m not the sharpest, fastest, or brightest? What if I’m still in sin? What if I’m not popular or well liked? What if I’m homeless and jobless? What if I have a mental illness? What if I’m not confident, well-versed, or charismatic? Am I not “worthy, high ranking, honorable?”

The reality is that we see people through a lens. Subconsciously and quickly, we decide if this is a person “worthy” of respect, “high ranking” enough for our time, “honorable” enough for our investment. This is a huge problem.

The Bible says, “whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for My sake will find it (Matt 10:39).” This is Jesus speaking, giving an appropriate warning concerning valuing anything of this world more than relationship with Him. If I am so caught up in the things of this world and my identity is so found in it, I cannot and will not live for Christ.

My dignity will cost me my freedom. My dignity will keep me from seeing value in people. My dignity will keep me from humbling myself before a holy God. Everyone must lose their dignity in order to truly know God as Father, Lord, Savior, Master, Ruler, Redeemer, Creator.

We must lose our right to be honored.

We must lose our high rank.

We must lose the worthiness and glory.

We must cast off the crowns to truly see who He is.

When we see God for who He truly is our perception of ourselves and others will change and true transformation happens.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this and it has encouraged you!

 

When Feeling 22 Doesn’t Feel So Good

If we’re honest, we’re not always excited about our birthday. For me, I begin contemplating deep, existential questions that ultimately ruin the experience. This is unlike my sister who made a big deal out of every birthday, particularly when moving into the double digits (10).When we were growing up, she was always so obsessed with turning a year older.

I’m a year and a half older than she is (this is important). Every birthday she would always ask me, without fail, “Darveiye, how does it feel to be ___?” My sarcastic reply was always along the lines of, “The same way it felt a few hours ago.”

I’m 24 now and something changed this year. In fact, something has changed my last few birthdays. I felt it. Big time. I felt older. This overwhelming weight of new (invisible) responsibilities hit me like a ton of bricks. I began thinking I should be further than I am, more mature, more fill in the blank. It took encouragement from family and friends to help calm me down and change my perspective.

Many of us need some encouragement and perspective shifts. So I took the liberty of giving you some things to ask and think about at your next juncture. Feel free to ask these questions to your friends and family. Maybe things aren’t as bad as you think they are.

Questions:

  1. What are five things are you most proud of up until this point?

I had a close friend ask me this late summer of 2013. It was not my birthday, but we were getting to know each other beyond what we thought we knew. This question is multifaceted. My answer to it showed me what I valued, it eased my mind as far as the failures I’ve had, and made me hopeful concerning my capacity to do well. I believe this is such an important question to ask someone because I think we spend too much time focusing on failures. The idea is to help a person see through their OWN eyes where they’ve done some good and had fulfillment.

  1. What are your three biggest regrets of last year?

Periodically asking ourselves this question is important because a lot of times we find there are things we regret but never deal with the residual ‘stuff.’ If I can identify what I regret or could have done better, I have simultaneously discovered an area for growth and goals.

  1. How have you been too hard on yourself?

We are our worst critics. Enough said.

  1. How did you give yourself more grace when you failed?

Many people will answer this question with, “I didn’t” or “I gave myself too much.” This is important because people will learn so much about their perspective just from their answer to this question.

  1. What unhealthy things do you think you need to cut out of your life? What healthy things will you add this year?

Let’s be honest. We don’t always commit to the good things we planned to do. We don’t always drop those bad habits like we should. Let’s identify it and get a direction. Additionally, this provides some accountability for those goals!

  1. What gift do you plan to give the world with this year?

Oftentimes, we wait until New Year’s Eve to declare goals. Let’s step out of the norm. If we realize we can set goals any day of the year to fulfill whenever, we have a different motivation. The pressure of “new year, new me” is enormous. Everyone decides what they want to change and you feel as though everyone is watching to see if you fulfill it. Depending on the person, that is a good or bad thing. Let’s not become so consumed with what to do but who we are becoming.

  1. What matters more to you now than before?

This is in tandem with the first question. Give them an opportunity to see their growth and values. Sometimes they will find there are many things to be changed or many things have already changed. Also, we get so caught up in what people think of the progression of our lives. Figure out what YOU think about the progression of your life.

Statements:

  1. “I am so proud of you because…”

If they truly are your friend and you theirs, your opinion matters to them. Show them you approve of SOMETHING they do or who they’re becoming.

  1. “You know what I love about you..”

This is in company with the first statement. This is a bit more in depth, I think. Let it all out! Tell them what you love about them not why you love them. Love that is conditional is not love at all. Keep the focus on them, not you.

  1. “You know what people love about you..”

You’re a friend, clearly. They subconsciously think you’re supposed to love certain things about them. To add what people outside of your intimate friendship think can be highly beneficial.

  1. “The world would be different without you because…”

Show them they matter. You know your friends well. However, friends don’t always come to each other or anyone when they’re DEEP in trouble; when they’re depressed or have suicidal thoughts. In fact, many don’t realize the severity of their own situation until they’re quite far into it. Remind them you are a safe place when they’re at their best and their worst.

  1. “You’ve changed in the very best way…”

The questions are to help THEM see how they’ve grown, developed, and can improve. Your statements are to reinforce the positive and confirm that change needs to be made. Be kind. Be real. Be authentic. Be a friend.

If it’s your birthday, ask yourself these questions. Hey, even make those statements to yourself! You are important and don’t you forget it!

HBD!