Sunday, October 18, 2015

Are You Ready?

This is a guest post by Dawn Sanders. She is a writer who blogs about overcoming adversity and building a life you love. She lives outside of the Washington, DC area and serves as a minister at a local church. She has served as a great example in my life. You can read her blog, follow her on Twitter, and Facebook.

Recently, a mentee asked me to write a post for ladies-in-waiting. Her request took me back. Don’t get me wrong. I am waiting, but not specifically for marriage. I am waiting for the next big thing in my life—whatever that may be. It may be marriage; it may be something else entirely. Whatever my next blessing is though, I want to be ready to receive it.
That is my challenge to singles and anyone else waiting for their next big thing: Get Ready! I say this because you don’t want to delay your harvest or worse—miss it all together because you were focused on or distracted by something else.
That almost happened to me with Reggie. When Reggie came along, I was involved with another man. So, I didn’t notice Reggie at first, but he noticed me. When Reggie told the story, he said God spoke to him about me being his wife the first time Reggie saw me. Instead of approaching me though, Reggie watched me to see what kind of woman I was, and if he liked what he saw. Reggie liked what he saw, but unfortunately, I was unavailable.
The gentleman that Reggie was, he didn’t go any further. Instead, Reggie decided to have a few more conversations with God. These conversations led Reggie to wait for one of two things to happen. Either God would end my relationship with the other guy or God would show Reggie someone else.
Thankfully, for Reggie and me, God ended my previous relationship. However, it took three years. Three years wasted because of my distraction by someone else.
The magnitude of this mistake really comes into focus when you consider the pain I experienced in the previous relationship, and that Reggie and I only had four years together—two before marriage and two after—because of Reggie’s unexpected death due to a heart attack. I could have been happy with Reggie, because we were very happy, rather than hurting with someone else.
It all could have been avoided if I had been focused on getting ready. I circle back to this because that is what Reggie did. Yes, he waited on God, but Reggie didn’t spend that time just sitting around moping or complaining because I was unavailable. While he waited, Reggie worked on himself.
There are several nuggets to be mined from this story. Here are three:
1.) Focus
Rather than focusing on what you are missing (i.e. marriage or a mate), focus on what you can do to prepare for your blessing when it arrives. This works when waiting for anything, not just marriage. For instance, I mentioned in another post that writing a book was one of my writing goals. I still believe there is a book in my future, so writing this blog allows me to hone my writing skills while helping others. This allows me to do something positive in the present while preparing for something else positive in the future. Sounds like a win-win to me! Focus on what you can do to prepare for your blessing when it arrives. 
Focus on what you can do to prepare for your blessings when they arrive #AreYouReady
2.) Patience
The key to patience is having the desire in the right place in your heart. Reggie was patient because he was in control of his desire to get married. His desire wasn’t in control of him.
Allowing your desire to control you makes you a victim of your circumstances. Then, you are reactive rather than proactive. On the other hand, proactivity gives you choices so you can take advantage of opportunities and seek alternatives. That way, you can make the most of today.
Reggie demonstrated his control over his desire when he didn’t react to God telling him I would be his wife by approaching me while I was involved with someone else. Our God is a God of Order and that would have been out of order. Alternately, Reggie was proactive by watching and praying.
“If you’re proactive, you don’t have to wait for circumstances or other people to create perspective expanding experiences. You can consciously create your own.” – Stephen Covey
Another reason to be patient is that your heart’s desire may be closer than you think. Remember Reggie noticed me. I just didn’t know it. Had I been ready we could have moved forward in our blessing that much sooner.
The key to patience is having control of your desire rather than your desire controlling you. #AreYouReady
3.) Distractions
Don’t allow distractions to get in your way before, during, or after the wait. While working on this blog prior to announcing it earlier this week, many distractions tried to pull me off task. In fact, the attack came on all fronts: home due to a leak that caused an unexpected renovation, family in the form of my mother’s hospitalization and following healthcare, and work’s ongoing demands. The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy our blessings (John 10:10). Don’t let him do it.
Another way Satan attempts to distract is with a counterfeit. You know what a counterfeit is, right? An imitation designed to cheat you out of your blessing. Often you don’t realize it is a fake until it is too late—after investing too much in it. That is what happened with the relationship I was in when I met Reggie.
Now, some of you may think, how will I know if s/he is Mr./Ms. Right if I don’t explore the relationship? To that I say, do what Reggie did: watch and pray. Check the person out before jumping in. Doing that would have saved me a lot of time, not to mention pain and heartache. The signs were there before I ever went out on a date with that guy that he wasn’t the one for me. I just ignored them. Now, I follow Maya Angelou’s advice: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them, the first time.” 
Don't allow distractions to block your blessings. #AreYouReady
These three mindsets served Reggie well while waiting for me. They enabled him to wait three years for his harvest, and I am oh so glad he did. So much so that I believe if you follow his model, you will be glad you did too.
Until next time,
P. S. Check out the rest of this series: Part two switches gears to what we can do to improve our relationship skills, part three continues with what we can do to improve our emotional health, part four shares what we can do to improve our physical health, part five moves to what we can do to get ready in regards to our finances, and part six concludes with what we can do to grow spiritually.
Questions: Are you focused or distracted during your season of preparation? How so? Where is your desire in your heart? Does it have control of you? Or are you in control of it? What can you do to gain control over it? Please respond by clicking on the Comment, Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest buttons below.