Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Presentation Is Everything (part 1)

I have been contemplating about starting a vlog (video blog) on the same premise of Christian Dating. I was so excited about the initial idea I opened two accounts on two different websites for the same ministry. I was just about to get started, when all of sudden there were these thoughts:
the camera adds 10 pounds (at least) 
how will may face look under the lights 
will I need make up and how much? 
will I be accepted?
what am I going to talk about for 3-5 minutes?
will it be poignant?
will people understand me?
do I sound well?
do I talk with my eyes?
do I use too many hand gestures?
how many times do I say um in a sentence?
how long do I pause?
do I have a speech impediment?
are my teeth white enough?
have I studied long enough?
And then I laughed counting it all joy (James 1:2 KJV). How did I get this far without certain things in place? Where did the idea come from without me praying about it? If there is no peace, I wasn't about to do it. I laughed again, thinking about all of those college courses in speech, making corporate presentations in my career, and conducting staff meetings with a bunch of people needing whiskey to keep it together for an hour. Without the drink, it happened and was done well (Philippians 4:13 AMP). None of which I could have done without prayer (James 5:16 KJV). I had to laugh again.

Nevertheless, putting it in the perspective of Christian Dating, I not only recognized the enemy to get me to doubt my own abilities, I also could see how one misses out on their blessing not having the tools available to build up your own self esteem and just folding up with a bunch of excuses which is the product of listening to the aforementioned listed above (Hosea 4:6 KJV). It is a trick that is commonly referred to as the enemy because it is a product of fear and lack (1 John 4:18 AMP). These are the devices the enemy uses. Those things listed could not be used if you know who you are in Christ. Those questions of doubt would be a waste of time if you have been obedient in the things that God has said to you. If you sought the three ingredients for Kingdom Living, then you can laugh too and maintain the abundant life that you have been so richly blessed with.

This topic reminds me of a young woman who attended the same college as well as church ministry with me. She was one of the most congenial people I have ever met. She seemed to be always in a good mood and had a smile for mostly everyone. She was just a joy to be around. Nevertheless, one of the things that bothered her so much in her life that she allowed me to know about was her weight. She stood at about 5'6' and looked like she might have weighed close to 400 pounds. The weight didn't seem like it was keeping her from doing what she liked to do; nevertheless, she had the desire to be married and have children. She was already well in her thirties and was feeling that as time paced forward, her prospects were starting to look pretty bleak. One day we made a date to go to the gym. She was driving. While en route she mentioned how much she would like to start dating but decided that when he does come to find her, she would like for him to love her from the inside and then she would make the attempts to work on the outside. I figured her reasoning came from making all of the attempts in the past for some man only to find after all of the hard work to get some of the weight off, he either gives you the "friend speech" or makes sure she sees him with some other females. I didn't get into that with her only asked if God gave her instruction about her weight. She said He did and followed the admission with a lot of excuses. Me telling her to be obedient to God was overshadowed with the excuses, so I didn't say anything else about it.

The thing I heard from her that she was passionate about was getting married. It was as if she knew she had things to do and knew that she was anointed to them, at the same time she was frustrated trying to get done that which she was anointed to do but needed the husband to do it. She believed she thought she knew who the man was that she was supposed to marry. He spoke to her, according to her several times, but nothing ever came of the conversations. Or I should write, nothing that solidified a relationship that could lead any place else other than someone I met and greet every now and again. The strange thing that happened over a few months was this man became ill. Though he continued to come to church using his faith that he was healed (assumption), it was still quite visible that something was going on with him, Weeks later, he passed away. The young woman pining for his man was distraught but not so much that she couldn't continue her education and with the tasks that she was responsible for. It was her last year of school when all of this happened, just before her graduation. On the day of her graduation she was rushed to the hospital. The next day she was pronounced. She also went home to be with the Lord.

Once the grief was over, I knew there was a lesson in all of that though I had no idea what it could be.  I understood her frustration and have been frustrated listening to many men speak about what they wish for their women to look like and they themselves look as if they stood on some street corner and drank beer and smoked cigarettes all day long. It isn't very attractive, yet women are supposed to look like models all the live long day. I had to put things in perspective knowing that women were made for men and not the other way around. I also had to keep my faith at work knowing that God is good and the Father of women as well as men. Be assured, the benefits of righteousness is not gender specific.

Nevertheless, there is a point to be made about one's appearance especially if interested in dating for the purposes of marriage. To each his own, I am sure there are those that like the folds of the flesh as well as those that prefer for the person to be fit. To be clear, this is across the board. Just as much preference men have in what is attractive to them, women also have an opinion in what is attractive to us. It just seems that women can make more adjustments as age and priorities shift more so then men can. She sees his hairline diminishing and his waistline increasing but still maintains what is needed. Is that also true for the men? Nevertheless, though the outward appearance changes over time it shouldn't make a difference if the main purpose is to be pleasing to God.

I wrote about this topic before. There was a young couple with the responsibility of a ministry to contend with. In so doing, they realized in the dating process how attracted they were to each other's outward appearance. So much so that they decided to draw up a contract for the other to maintain their looks throughout their marriage. They made this contract known to their congregation. I heard about it as one of the sermons that was televised. I don't know what the other congregants could possibly be thinking, all I recall saying to myself was, they just made their marriage a little more difficult then it had to be. She would be the one having children and body changing over the years in raising those children. We found out later that he had a sweet tooth and had his own battles. They both have changed over those years and neither one mentions that contract anymore - whether it was a good idea or not.

Watching all of this and dealing with being video taped for the sake of the ministry, I had to come up with my own conclusions that would be befitting of me in Christ. Knowing that in the Old Testament, it is written that man looks at the outward appearance, but God sees the heart (1 Samuel 16:7 AMP), it allowed me to see that verse was written after the fall of man. After the fall of man, the flesh was adhered to if one didn't know any different. So if God sees the heart before anything else, I had to get my heart right for Him and not man.

Second, it is written in the New Testament, to present this body as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto Him (Romans 12:1 KJV). This means for us, that not only do we have to live right (being in the right places and avoiding those places that would not be beneficial ), we would also have to eat those things that would be right for us. I have learned that even with a balanced diet, vitamins can give me more energy to do more. I have also learned in the sight of God going to bed late and waking up early isn't good (Psalm 127:2 KJV). Physically is wears on the body and impedes the body from digesting food well, slowing your metabolism, and can be the cause of many mental (emotional) illnesses. Also the verse where bodily exercise profits little doesn't mean for the person not to exercise (1 Timothy 4:8 KJV). It means for the person to prioritize. Getting the heart and mind right should take precedence. If all one thinks to do is have a great looking body and everything else isn't up to par, it is a waste. How many times do we have to see people lose so much weight and we all applaud only see that weight (and then some) creep right back in less then a year. If that heart and mind isn't looked after in finding what caused for those pounds to get there, then those pounds are destined to come back.

Finally, looking at one of my favorite parables, the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30 KJV), I can use this here as well. If God gives us a blessing and has told us He will be back to see what we have done with it, why then should what He has given look out of shape and flabby? What excuse will we have when we make that presentation as they did with the master. Will we use:
I didn't feel like exercising.
It's too hard.
I don't like to sweat.
I'm tired.
I have too much to do. 
I don't have the time to go to the gym like I use to.
Love me for me and not for what I look like.
I am not trying to look buff.
Its uncomfortable for me to think about having made some those excuses in the past. In the parable of talents, the man that was afraid to do anything was banished out of the master's presence where there was the gnashing of the teeth. That description sounded like hell. He had excuses too and the master wasn't impressed with any of them - apparently.

But I thought if we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, we would be saved from that. 

Truly, if we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, we would do better than that. Recall the first couple that had excuses and blame. Their life was cursed along with the serpent's. Seriously, we know better so let's do better.

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