Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What Men Do NOT Find Attractive!

There is no point recreating the wheel, when Beth Moore nails it on the head in her book,“So Long Insecurity”, where she confronts her own insecurities as a woman and reveals results from an extensive survey of men. In that process she stumbled across the same thing I have found in my own search, the “one thing” that men do NOT find attractive.

Great guy's point of view
Beth says, “Men are not our problem; it’s what we are trying to get from them that messes us up.  Nothing is more baffling than our attempt to derive our womanhood from our men.

We use guys like mirrors to see if we’re valuable.  Beautiful. Desirable. Worthy of notice.  Viable.  We try to read their expressions and moods in order to determine whether it’s time to act smart and hard to get or play dumb and needy.  Worse yet, we try to tap into their inner equestrian by acting like the damsel in distress.  When XX meets XY and tries to pry that X away from him so she can have an extra one, she is attempting to mutate both of them.
I say this with respect and great compassion: we’re attempting to get our security from a gender that doesn’t really have much to spare.  Our culture is just as merciless on men as it is on women.  Their insecurities take different shapes, but make no mistake: they’ve got them.  You know it.  I know it.
Let’s face it.  Men want us to get a grip anyway.  They don’t like the pressure of being in charge of our sense of value.  It’s too much for them.  The candid ones gladly admit it, and for these who don’t, you’ll know it by the flapping of their shirts in the wind as they run for their lives.
A man is infinitely more attracted to a secure woman than to an emotional wreck who insists he could complete her.  As my friend Christy Nockels says, ‘Men are not drawn to hysterical, needy women.’
. . . After months of research, I’m convinced that men are indeed more intrigued by a confident woman who carries herself well and knows who she is than a picture-perfect beauty who seems little more than that.  Some men might be tempted to take the latter to bed, but when all is said and done, they would more likely take the former to heart.  When the average guy sees the woman in his life hold her own in the face of intimidation, he is impressed.  At the end of the day, both men and women want to be with someone they can respect.”

Thanks, Beth!  I’m also a married woman who's favorite ministry is pouring into younger women the hard lessons learned from having ‘looked for love in all the wrong places’. The most powerful thing I teach in the “Big Reveal” material I use with teen girls is that one lone truth. They sit on the edge of their seats when I unveil the answers to a survey of 200 local teen guys. “What is THE most attractive thing about a woman?”… the over riding response was…’CONFIDENCE’.

That alone immediately levels the playing field for all women and puts each of us in the right place, at the foot of the cross looking for our TRUE identity and source of confidence. By the way, as a marriage ministry, we find ourselves addressing singles and youths equally often with the core message – be WHOLE. Married or single. Young or old. Male or female. Park your self in Father’s lap until He settles in your heart your real value. THEN, you’ll have that confidence that is attractive to the rest of the world. Because they are starving for the same.

Friday, November 30, 2012

What Do Today's Teens Think About Marriage?

The results are in!  "Survey says..."

According the the University of Virginia, the future of society's norms can be predicted in their recent large scale report titled "The State of Our Unions".   OH!  She said the word 'report'!  No worries, you don't have to be a college research professor to see the trends of the last several decades as they are revealed by topic, charts and easy to see graphs. I like pictures!

You could get lost all day in fascinating thoughts about the importance of sex, generosity and commitment in successful marriages.  That is what we're all about in our marriage ministry The Dance of Marriage.

But what caught my attention today was the section about our teenagers. Where have they landed on the topics of marriage with what they have seen from the previous generations?  What do they think about living together, babies before or without marriage, the chances of a happy life-time union? 

Find out here TEEN ATTITUDES ABOUT MARRIAGE AND FAMILY   Then come back and contribute your personal comments and reaction!  I love to interact with other parents who are willing to be candid in their wondering and learning. 

Personally, I was shocked at the relief I felt looking at the stats! It's not as bad as I thought in many arenas. I'm more hopeful that having our teenagers watch our marriage 'real time' is a GOOD thing; all of it... the heated discussions, the conflict resolutions, the tears and the laughter, the good years and the hard years, the kissing in the kitchen and the Sunday afternoon 'naps'!

I pray that they see enough of the 'work' of a great marriage to not be disenchanted when they discover for themselves at the 'seven year itch' mark that marriage is NOT about your spouse making you 'happy'. It's about two people laying down their selfish nature of ME to build a new entity called 'WE'. 

I pray that they witness enough of the JOY and fruit of a great marriage to provide the hope and conviction in their hearts to commit to the 'work' of the planting season to get to the harvest of the DEEP intimacy that the world so desperately runs around trying to find with short cuts and false guarantees.

Today, I will not hide our very authentic, very transparent, very NORMAL relationship ups, downs, woes and JOYS from my children.  According to the facts in this report, our culture's lack or failures in the marriage and family department have not swayed our teenagers (too far) from the HOPES and DREAMS they have for a satisfying and successful family life. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

What Do Men Really Think About Cleavage?

Q: "What do you wish you had the freedom to tell a woman who is immodestly dressed?"  
(Adult Male Answers)
      These are real life answers pulled from 100 questionnaires given to the adult men from our high school; the fathers, teachers, neighbors, and pastors in your world:

·         I wish they would be receptive to hear, but they are not.
·         Ask them if they realize how they dress also reflects maybe opposite of what they intended to convey.
·         That guys just think you want to get it on.
·         “Don’t give sex to get love.”  “Have better self-esteem.”
·         “When I see you dressed like that, I don’t just imagine taking a romantic walk along the beach.  I do think about the physical act of sex with your body—only for the purpose of my personal sexual gratification.”
·         “What are you trying to attract?”
·         “You are sending a message that is not pleasant.”
·         “Whom are you trying to please or impress?   Are you willing to pay the price for immodest dress?”
·         “Men are very visually stimulated.  That image sticks with us.”
·         “You have no idea how ‘loudly’ you are sending the wrong messages to the guys—including the most godly guys!”
·         How they affect others.
·         Address if they are aware of how this affects males and question if they are trying to do this.
·         How it does not achieve what she intends.
·         “Men are not looking for a long-term relationship with you, only short-term fun.”
·         It sends the wrong message.
·         That the people she is attracting are not the kind she really may want or need.
·         “You’re casting the wrong image of yourself.”
·         What message they are sending to men & what it says about their self-esteem.
·         Tell them how they impact men.  Understand—will not get what they really want.
·         Tell them what guys are thinking.
·         Love yourself more.  Did your dad fail you?
·         That their immodesty affects men of any age.
·         “Don’t sell your body—God gave it to you.  Save it for the husband God has for you.”
·         That they are headed for trouble.  That God loves them.
·         “Do you know what you are communicating via what you’re wearing?”
·         “If you are looking for attention, you will attract a poorer quality of friends.  They are drawn by dress, not by who you are.”
·         I think about how perverse our society is.
·         “You are asking for something you may not want.”
·         She is making herself look loose and immoral.
·         “You are hurting both yourself and others around you, but mostly you are hurting yourself.”
·         “You are attractive without having to show too much.”
·         That it makes them look like they are promiscuous.
·         That they look ridiculous.
·         “The attention you get is only temporary and not lasting.  Love looks deeper to the real person.”
·         Simply, it can lead to no good.
·         It makes me very sad to see a woman who is dressed immodestly.  She may be insecure or afraid, but she will definitely be attracting the wrong type of man.  I see a rocky and unhappy future for her and this saddens my heart.
·         That her appearance devalues her social status.
·         “What are you trying to say to others with your dress?”  “Do you know what you’re saying?”
·         “I don’t want to look at your chest falling out of your shirt.  (Low-cut shirt with push up bra.)”
·         They attract the wrong types.  Do not confuse attention from these types with long-term happiness.
·         “You want to be looked at yet you yell at people who look!”

When we look in the mirror in the morning, let's ask ourselves the hard questions. Who am I dressing for?  What am I saying with my choices?  Am I inviting respect?  Am I showing respect for the needs of my 'brothers' around me?

Am I looking for the answers to my inner questions?  Am I pretty, attractive, desirable... am I ENOUGH?
Only God can answer these questions in the depths of our heart and re-frame our identity as his beautiful daughters - created in his image to bring him joy just for being ourselves.

This may be news to some of my sisters reading this...
NO human man is going to be able to fill the gaping hole in the depth of our being. Our value is not based on how many men find us desirable physically. So why give away the 'goods' looking for temporary, false band-aids of attention and validation that will leave us feeling more used and less valuable?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Joyce Meyer has always spoken my language!  I am willing to take little sass from her because she has "been there, done that!"  Today, I am reminded of the power of my spoken word.  Below she shares a few tips on how to check yourself, or at least set guard at your lips!  Thanks Joyce. I needed a reminder.

Six Signs You Need to Stop Talking

by Joyce Meyer
Have you ever wished you’d stopped talking about five minutes before you actually did?
Because I’ve been there myself, I want to help protect you from saying potentially embarrassing or hurtful things. And I’ve prepared a list of six warning signs to let you know when it’s time to stop talking.

Sign 1: You’re Complaining, Not Explaining

There’s a subtle difference. Explaining is simply telling someone about your situation. Complaining is when you have an attitude that says “I’m being inconvenienced.” (See Philippians 2:14-15.)
There will be times when keeping quiet in order to avoid complaining seems so hard you almost can’t stand it. But God will always give you the grace to do it. And if we ever want to arrive at our Promised Land, we need to stop complaining about the way God’s getting us there.

Sign 2: You’re Criticizing Somebody

Picture this. Someone says or does something you think they shouldn’t have done and all of a sudden, you’ve got about a hundred opinions about them that you want to talk about!
First Thessalonians 4:9 says, “But concerning brotherly love [for all other Christians], you have no need to have anyone write you, for you yourselves have been [personally] taught by God to love one another” (AMP).
In other words, sharing your critical opinions about other people is always a mistake. We need to cover one another with love, instead of uncovering their weaknesses and pointing out their flaws.

Sign 3: Your God Is Too Small

Whenever we say, “I can’t do this” or “It’s too much for me to take,” we’re actually defeating ourselves―and we’re not trusting God to get us through it.
What we need to say is, “God is bigger than every issue I will ever have to face, and I can do whatever I need to do through Christ who strengthens me.”
The Bible says that David ran quickly toward the battle line to face the giant Goliath. Sometimes we stare at our circumstances too long. We end up scaring ourselves half to death instead of believing God will give us the victory when we face our giants.

Sign 4: You’re Self-Inflated

We like to boast about what we’ve done, what we can do, and what we’re going to do. If we’re not careful, we can even take credit for things God did!
Everything we do, we should do it as unto the Lord. (Colossians 3:23) I don’t think we can even begin to know what God would do for us and the things He would allow us to participate in if we would learn to keep our successes a secret between us and God, unless He specifically gives us permission to share them.

Sign 5: You’re Standing in Judgment

“ We can look at everybody else through a magnifying glass when we're a mess ourselves and can't even see it. ”
Matthew 7:1 (NLT) says, “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.” I think this is really important for Christians because we can get our religious, snooty noses up in the air. And if somebody does something wrong, they’re out of the group.
We can look at everybody else through a magnifying glass when we’re a mess ourselves and can’t even see it. So we need to remain humble before God and before others.

Sign 6: You’re Just Being Negative

The world is full of negativity. Instead of adding to that negativity, Christians need to be positive about the problems and circumstances we face.
We may not get everything we want, the way we want it, when we want it, but God will take care of us and give us grace to have joy and be positive in the midst of any situation. And that’s an awesome way to live.

This article is taken from Joyce's four-CD series, The Power of Words.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Parenting Isn't For Cowards!

This title is one of my favorite summary quotes by a well known family expert, Jim Dobson. The picture that went through my head after seeing this post of a 'parenting' tactic was scary.  What if someone 'over me', or God himself, paraded my parenting mistakes for the public to judge?!  You know the ones, the breaking point where you yelled ridiculous and horrible things about "selling them to the highest bidder!". Need I ramble on, filling in the list of 'hall of shame' parenting disasters? 

The heavy sense of failure we experience at those moments is already debilitating.  I am quite SURE that public judgment and ridicule would NOT serve to 'inspire' me to better parenting skills. It would, however, take the emotional pain OFF of the real issue (my behavior) and waste the purpose of the pain of learning, deflecting it onto the judge. So instead of the heartfelt reflection of my self inflicted stupidity,  I would miss the opportunity to take responsibility by focusing on being angry at the wrong person.  Isn't this exactly the opposite of our goal as parents?   

I often think that I simply need to get out of the way and allow my teens to feel the full weight of their decision making, whether it produces pleasurable consequences or painful ones.  I believe that this more effectively prepares them for the real world where their mommy is not going to be around to police their actions.  That is where the above quotes comes in.  Oh, if I could only GET OUT OF THE WAY more often!  It takes great courage to 'allow' your child to suffer natural consequences.  The public shame part of the teen girl in question was not 'natural'.  I wonder if simply having the student post a 'good bye' message to her social media site with the truthful reason, would have been sufficient.  Her friends, and not strangers, would have delivered plenty of gentle, 'friendly fire' to produce the 'natural' painful consequences desired.

Parenting a very challenging teen girl, I have one survival tool that I cling to in an effort to simplify what is overwhelming for me.   When my heart is full of destructive emotion, I hear Holy Spirit calming me with these words... "Preserve the Relationship."   When I filter my mouth and my emotions through this sieve, it helps me to see beyond my nose and remember that I do not want to cut her off at the knees, or worse. Although I may FEEL like it. Eventually, when she arrives at the end of the separation process, I do actually want to have a relationship with my mature, adult daughter.  So regardless of the seeming atrocity of the moment, I will "Preserve the Relationship".

Take courage, my fellow parents!  We can DO this. We will survive parenting in this culture. AND, our teens will survive our parenting foibles.  Lord help us!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Enjoy the Journey

Don't you hate it when people tell you to "Enjoy the journey"?  What an overused cliche. I really had a problem with this concept, as I pride myself on 'getting there' faster and more efficiently than the next guy. What is the hurry?  I'm not sure. I wonder if I've spent too many years in Business 101 and set one too many timely goals. While some folks may need to be nudged off the couch, I have wasted equal amounts of life striving, DOING, and rushing to the NEXT thing. I never learned how to BE. I missed alot of the present hurrying to my future. God is changing this in me.

My husband and I were recently talking about the differences in our temperaments in this arena.  He is an idealist and visionary.  He loves to 'enjoy the journey'.  We laugh about a picture someone shared with us of the two of us walking through the woods. My husband is leisurely lollygagging down the path, gazing at the sun peeking through the tree tops, fully engaged with the moment.  I, however, am frantically looking for the correct path, wondering where in the world the map and compass are, and fretting about how slow we are moving!

So if there is a goal or a future to be apprehended, I tend to want to take the fastest jet, or the express train, and sleep until we get there!  But apparently, God is NOT in a hurry. He insists on taking the scenic route with all the 'surprise' stops along the way.  He says things like; ENJOY, listen, smell, taste, feel, relax, trust, and REST. He wants to take me on a fabulous ROAD TRIP

Then, when I DO finally get into the RV with God, I find myself trying to have control of the steering wheel, the speedometer, the map and the timing of the rest stops!  What do you do with a control freak choleric personality that has the heart of an orphan, trying to DO IT ALL BY MYSELF?   
You do like the picture lean back on the driver and toss your feet out the window and chant... "I trust you Daddy!  Take me for the ride of my life!"

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Eagle Who Spoke to Me

He's back!  We think this is the same eagle who visited last year in September. He hunts the swamp across from our house.  We just sat at the end of the driveway after church and admired this glorious bird of prey gliding effortlessly on the thermals.  He appeared to be having the time of his life in spite of a fierce and blustery wind.  Instead of working frantically to overcome the headwinds, he RODE them like a ride at the fair!  He banked right, then left, then straight up into the heavens.  He would suddenly turn to 'fall' zooming directly to earth, and all at once hovered in one place...all without once flapping his wings!  I felt God speaking to me in an instant. 

What an awesome visual answer to my prayer, "Father! How in the world do I accomplish all the important 'stuff' of life without working myself to bitterness or reverting back to the task master spirit of 'driver'?"

It's so easy to slip back into the OLD way of life, to listen to 'driver' yell in my ear... Be self-sufficient! Pull yourself up by your bootstraps, woman!  Buck up and do it!  You have to be productive until you drop into bed to be VALUEABLE.  You are what you DO.  Time is fleeting, you have so much to DO!  All lies designed to keep me running on the hamster wheel, missing the abundant LIFE with the false thrill of busyness and DOING.

Lets just say it out loud. "The 'TO DO' list will never be DONE!"  There. We said it. Painful truth for all of us who are Choleric or have believed the lie of the orphan, thinking that we are alone in this world, that no one will rescue us or help, that it is all up to us. Our Father does not want us to fret, frantically trying to do the impossible, fighting fruitlessly against the powerful winds of perfectionism and performance for identity.

Mr. Timely Eagle was a reminder to listen to Holy Spirit; what is He asking me to do today.  How?  When?  When am I done?  When do I stop and rest and say "good job - you're done for today'.  God is the author of BALANCE and true success in all the areas of this life he has given me - family, health, motherhood, business & ministries.  I set a plan of action with God's discernment and then choose to be "faithful'.  Mother Theresa said "I do not pray for success.   I ask for faithfulness."    One of my all time favorite mentors, also given the National "Spirit of Success" award said... "Tracy, are you being ambitious or faithful?"  I choose to be FAITHFUL.