First things first. God is a God of order. He created Adam alone and then gave him a relationship. Adam had time with God and with himself before he had time with his lovely bride. If God has chosen to allow you a time of intimacy with Him, enjoy that Sabbath and receive it as an opportunity to savor your consecration and develop your qualities as an individual.

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Matt. 22:36-39

Jesus says that the greatest commandments that are listed in the Word are thus: the greatest commandment is the one that demands that we love our Lord with all our hearts, minds, and souls; the second-greatest commandment is that we love our neighbors as we love ourselves. But how can we love our neighbors who are apart from us if we do not learn to love ourselves? It is here that we must begin the process of preparing our gift to be given. For how can we give to someone a gift that we do not value or believe to be significant ourselves? Is it possible that this is the basis for so many dysfunctional relationships? Is it possible that many people have a tendency to see themselves as insignificant and therefore open themselves up to a life of abuse?

More important is the fact that when we do not value ourselves, we tend to attract people who support that devalued image. Remember now, we train people how to treat us by how we treat ourselves. If you honor yourself, there are some men who will not find that an attractive feature. You will heat statements such as, “She thinks she is so much,” or, “That girl is a trip.” The truth of the matter is he has seen the product and doesn’t have the price that the ticket says must be paid. You must know that sometimes rejection is a blessing and not a curse. There are some people, jobs, friends, and so on that you do not want to attract. You want to draw to yourself people who are comfortable with your values and perceptions. People with low self-esteem tend to draw to themselves others who dominate and control or belittle them. They attract the types of men who are apt to reinforce their own negativity. That is why you need to be healed inside before you enter into relationships.

Sometimes God delays relationships to give you a chance to heal as an individual. Then and only then can you make choices that are healthy–choices that are not predicated on obsessive need or fear of being alone. There are many people who endure unthinkable abuse because they are terribly afraid of being alone! To avoid themselves, they choose life with an abuser rather than a night at home alone. But there are some things that are worse than being alone.

While you are single, if you do not spend time finding wholeness and learning the art of being happy alone, you will marry out of fear and then years later awaken out of the comatose state of low self-esteem, only to recognize that you are a valuable entity whether there is a man around or not. Then you may find yourself lying beside someone who no longer fits where you are; he fit where you were and how you saw yourself before. You may find that you are tied to someone who fits your dysfunction but not your function. Tragically, you have grown apart rather than together. Many times, in response to the woman’s new sense of value, the man will panic and try to insult the woman into a false feeling of incompetence. Women, do not embrace this degradation! Maintain the courage to disagree with debasement. There is a difference between constructive criticism and the killing of a human soul. Know that there is nothing damaged within you. It is the man who is insecure, devaluing you to compensate for his own weaknesses. A strong man’s hands can clap for his woman and still feel good about himself.

Many brides walk down the aisle of the church secretly saying, “Save me, save me.” It is the silent scream of a desperate heart that is in love with the idea of love, in love with the hope that someone will love her so well that she will finally feel good about herself. But before you make a tragic mistake, you must learn the art of being warm alone! Additionally, you must realize that this is the time during which you should develop a respect for your own opinions. This is not to say that the goal is inflexibility as it relates to others’ opinions. No, we always want to be open to the wisdom others can offer. But it does mean you should have conviction in your own thoughts in the absence of all others and their advice. What do you think? Before you get a second opinion, be sure you have a first one. It is time alone that enables you to get a grip on your own feelings and develop your own reasoning. Take it from me, it is far better to fall in love with a whole woman who has her own opinions and creativity than it is to be married to someone who thinks only what you think and wants only what you want. On the surface, having a woman defer to you may sound noble to some men. But after a while, you want a woman who has an idea that you didn’t give her!

In short, the melody must be established before the harmony can be written. You must first establish your own identity. Try to establish some solidarity financially, mentally, and spiritually. Then, when and if you add the harmonious thrust of a male counterpart, he is enriched by your contribution and you by his, without being a weight that he carries until he is exhausted. The goal is ultimately a state of wholeness. That wholeness cannot be reached if you are not divorced from your past and prepared for your future. So let’s take it step by step, one day at a time, and watch God give you the grace to make changes and institute goals for your future.

Your assignment at this point is quite simple. You have three P’s that you are to start with. They are prayer, praise, and pampering. Pray for strength because you know that He gives might to those who have none. Praise God for your survival because you know that it is by His mercy that you are still here. Pamper for solace. It is through pampering yourself that you find renewal and comfort against the tragedies of life. You could do all of these practices at the same time. Light a candle in the bathroom, play some soft notes, and slip into a hot tub with scented bath beads. Lie in the water and raise your hands in the air and praise the God that blessed you to be alive. Pray about the things that would normally worry you. Refuse to spend the evening worrying about things over which you have no control. Instead, lather up and relax–this is your time of pampering!

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. Eccles. 3:1 (NKJ)

(C) Bishop T. D. Jakes

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