On Valentine’s Day 2012, my six-months-no-dating pledge ended. What a perfect day to reveal epiphanies about love. Except, I wasn’t ready to recap all I’d learned, just yet. I took some time and really processed these past six months, and here”s what I came up with.
Well, for those just joining me, six months ago I signed a pledge to God that I wouldn’t date anyone for six months. The pledge came from the amazing book by P.B. Wilson, “Your Knight in Shining Armor,” and I vowed that I would put aside dating and focus on allowing God to mold me into the woman He created me to be. I made this commitment because I had not been making wise dating decisions — ever. It was obvious that I did not trust God with my dating life because I consistently made unwise dating choices, reclassifying men with real deal-breaker issues as just “fixer-uppers,” as if I didn’t believe God had someone suitable for me waiting in the wings. So I quit that thinking, cold turkey. Six hard months. And it was fabulous.
In six months, I analyzed every relationship and semi-relationship I’ve ever had, and discovered I’d been a soup kitchen for the emotionally homeless all this time. I sought to be a savior to troubled men as a way of giving myself a sense of validation and purpose, not fully realizing that I was created for a God-given purpose that I didn’t have to go searching for inside of another person. And most of all, I realized what a disservice I was doing to those young men by trying to stand in for their real Savior, Jesus Christ, who would’ve done the job much better than I ever could. After all, I couldn’t even save myself — why would I think a broken person could patch up another broken person’s holes? Futility.
In these past six months, I’ve fully surrendered and released not only the baggage from those relationships but my reasons for desiring and reveling in dysfunction, in general. Because there are just certain qualities that a godly, Christian husband should have and certain qualities I should have in order to be a godly, Christian wife, and at least 15 things I’ve been working on changing about myself in order to be a person that God would be pleased with. And I’ve learned to be completely patient — even when someone who seems perfect for me is standing right in my face — because “Patience is the weapon that forces deceit to reveal itself.”
I’ve learned a lot about what love is — that it’s an action and not a noun, not a fickle feeling or ephemeral emotion. Love is a consistent choice to sacrifice yourself for another person’s benefit. Love is giving unencumbered by expectation of reciprocity. And that makes it hard. Sometimes you have to lay down your pride and yield the opportunity to be declared right. Love is the only way you can speak truth to people because you love them more than you love to be liked by them.
When Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13, “if I do not have love, I have nothing,” he’s not talking about the sick obsessions of your Edward-Bella-Jacobs or your Chris Brown-Rihannas, if you will. He’s not even talking about having a healthy dose of romance. He is talking about the pure and perfect love of Jesus Christ — the real, self-sacrificing love you can have for people once you understand that God is enough.
It is enough that God created you and loves you unconditionally. It is enough that Christ found you special enough that He literally laid down His life as a sacrifice in your place so that you would not be doomed to Hell for your sins, but could instead live an abundant life on earth and go on to have eternal life in paradise with Christ after an earthly death. And because HIS love is enough, we don’t have to use other people to make ourselves feel good. We don’t have to search for “the one” to complete us, because we’re already complete by the love and power of the almighty God. Therefore, we can stop wasting time in a needless pursuit of some other broken person’s version of “completeness” and get busy living a life that is pleasing to God — because He’s been THAT good, THAT faithful, THAT merciful to us that living any other kind of way doesn’t even make sense!
We show our gratitude and our love for Him by showing HIS love to others, just as He commanded. And when we give love, we have no choice but to get it back, pressed down, shaken together, and running over! Therefore, the only way you have a life that is full of love is by being full of love. Forgiving others and being free of a need for the validation of others.
The love of God doesn’t hurt, isn’t constricting, or threatening or manipulative or fake or self-serving. It is patient, kind, slow to take offense but always ready for reconciliation. And it’s a process, as is everything with being human and liable to fall.
I’ve blown plenty of chances to be love for someone in the past six months. And I’ve been blessed with plenty more to try again. That’s the faithfulness of God at work. I was not cured of my human condition in the past months, nor did I change all 15 things on my list. I didn’t get down to the goal weight I had in mind and I didn’t achieve all that I’d set out to do in this time. And the point is that I wasn’t supposed to and I may never and as long as I’m still growing in Christ, that’s ok.
But I did learn what love is. And I did learn to be patient enough to weed out the counterfeit, and open enough to give and receive the real thing. There’s no greater lesson than that.
Over the past six months, I:
Got VIP passes to MLK Memorial Weekend and interviewed a TON of people, including diva Patti LaBelle, Jesse Jackson,
Roland Martin, Michael Eric Dyson and others
I got to visit the White House
I met and interviewed the fabulous Angel Laws
And the incomparable Gabrielle Union!
I took a lovely — and much needed — girls’ trip to New York with my cuz to see The Mountaintop on Broadway
I was featured in Essence Magazine
I bonded with my lovely cousins
I co-hosted a fabulous holiday party
I spent a BLISSFUL two weeks watching Lord of the Rings, writing, talking, and just BEING at home with my awesome parents
I took my mom on a fabulous New York getaway for her birthday
And we wandered the Manhattan streets til 3 in the morning getting sidewalk artists to draw us
I met the fabulous B. Smith AT B. Smith’s on Restaurant Row in Times Square
And had a brunch with my fam that was the bomb.com
But was nothing compared to the Chicken and Waffles I had for the first time at Creme Cafe on U Street
I visited Frederick Douglas House on his actual birthday with my long-lost sister
And went to the Kennedy Center to see Alvin Ailey perform
I celebrated some of my favorite DC Divas with a Galentine’s Day brunch at CoCo Sala
I saw Breaking Dawn 5 times, had three Twilight Marathons, started writing two books, was nearly mugged and only Jesus came to my rescue, I lost a dear mentor, the world lost a legend, and I had my FIRST PIECE published in Ebony Magazine!! And TO GOD BE ALL THE GLORY for everything lost, gained, earned and learned through these past six glorious months!
Would YOU take the Six-Months-No-Dating Pledge?
Lord, I want You to fashion me for my prospective husband. I commit the next six months of my life for Your construction. I will surrender any area which is not controlled by You so that my life will bring You glory.
Purchase Your Knight In Shining Armor below and get the latest DCDistrictDiva.com shirt, “Call Me In 6 Months” at The Diva Shoppe!