Sometimes, feelings just don’t know how to act right.
Sometimes, feelings don’t care about morals or righteousness.
Sometimes, you have an undeniable connection with someone that oh-so-happens to be in a relationship, engaged, or even married…and feelings will lead you to believe that you have no other choice than to allow that “connection” to physically manifest itself in both of your lives.
This can, and does, happen to all types of folks; from the married Pastor at your local Church to your newly-engaged gal pal from the gym, to your cousin who’s getting particularly close to her married boss at work.
Here are 5 things I like to remember when feelings feel like making a mockery out of me.
1. The Truth about God: He doesn’t confuse people. Every bit of confusion that I deal with in life comes from listening to my fleshy mind, other people’s opinions, and my mixed feelings. As for God, He has a knack for clarity. There is never a time when He sets up a scenario for me, or you, to sin – no matter how much it seems to be “fate”. Trust me, I’ve tried to find “destiny loopholes” when it comes to sin in my life; there aren’t any :) There is never a time when He is in approval of adultery or infidelity – no matter how strong the feelings in support of it are.
2. The Beauty of Boundaries: I don’t think I can say enough how much I love the book, “The Purpose Driven Life”, and how much I appreciate the author, Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in Los Angeles, CA, for writing it. It changed my life…for the better. Another thing I appreciate about Pastor Warren is his seeming openness and vulnerability. I watched an interview once where Pastor Warren was asked how he avoided infidelity in his over 38-year marriage and his answer still resonates with me ‘til today. He said that in all honesty, he has a desire to sleep with every beautiful woman he sees and while those feelings might be “natural” to him, not everything “natural” is good or meant to be indulged. And since his fidelity to his wife is a representation of his fidelity to God, he takes it seriously and intentionally sets up boundaries with women and female friends in his life (he even goes as far as not allowing himself to be alone in a room with just one woman). Boundaries are for married, and single, folks to employ. Boundaries create freedom. While that might sound like an oxymoron, it's true. When I set clearly-defined godly boundaries in my life, I then have the freedom to enjoy and live my life fully within the set parameters. A life without boundaries is a life headed down a dangerous road. Without godly boundaries, the Lord knows the shenanigans I'd get into.
3. The Consequences of Sin: Someone asked me recently how I was able to move to the U.S. for college at 15 and not get into all forms of sexual deviancy. I laughed. Who says I didn’t? Jokes aside, my answer lies in the fact that my fear of the consequences was greater than my wanton desires. I wasn’t okay with STDs. I didn’t feel like unnecessary itching, burning, or lifetime medication (i.e. ARV’s for HIV). I wasn’t okay with unwanted pregnancies. I didn’t feel like raising a child that I had no desire for...not to mention I wasn’t okay with abortion. I didn’t want to find myself one day in a clinic getting rid of a person growing in my belly; which if you’ve read my post, That Time I Had An Abortion, you’d know would have been a real possibility. All those scenarios terrified me and that kept me in line, so to speak.
4. The Rewards of Faithfulness: It’s easy to forget that faithfulness has its rewards. Striving for righteousness can sometimes feel like a never-ending chore that sucks all the fun and happiness out of life. It’s good to remind ourselves that there are rewards to faithfulness – one of the greatest being PEACE. There’s nothing like it. It’s the most coveted spiritual gift yet ironically enough most people have yet to taste it – Christians and non-Christians alike. Peace is the antidote to anxiety and stress (both of which are great modern-day killers). Peace is the breeding ground of joy. Peace is the secret to youthfulness. Peace is one of the spiritual gifts that comes as a result of faithfully pursuing righteousness and fleeing the scene of sin. I do my best to remain mindful of this - sometimes I forget.
5. I Am Not My Thoughts: One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is that I am not my thoughts. I am simply an observer of the thoughts in my mind. For a long time, I believed my thoughts defined me and that was a scary thought. It's in recent years that I’ve come to the understanding that my mind holds a pool of thoughts and I have the choice of which thoughts to entertain and which thoughts to dismiss. That’s what defines me – my choice. With that being said, I do hold responsibility for the information I take in that inspires the quality of thoughts I have. There’s a saying, “garbage in, garbage out.” If I continuously saturate my eyes, mind, and spirit with promiscuity, profanity, and the promotion of sin, I will have mainly promiscuous, profane, and sin-promoting thoughts. It makes sense. And then, it will become 100x harder to make God-inspired and pure choices in my life because the thoughts of such will be few in my mind. I am not my thoughts but I do have a say on the environmental factors I allow to influence my thoughts.
And there you have it; 5 things to remember when “the one” you want is already taken. I hope they prove to be helpful reminders if you ever find yourself dealing with feelings for an engaged or married man/woman.
I also have to add that I don’t actually subscribe to the idea of “the one” – at least not in the fairytale sense. Do I believe in soul-mates? Yes. I believe in people that you have an undeniable soul connection with that tend to share your philosophies, mission, and purpose in life. I believe you can have more than one soul-mate though. I can be soul-mates with John, Jacob, and Joseph. Following that train of thought, it’s more likely that there are “the ones” as opposed to “the one”(However, I only get to marry “one”; Adam was given “one” Eve, not Eve, Edith, and Eugenia).
So, if you find yourself feeling confused because that guy or gal that you think is “the one” for you is already taken, I empathize. Don't let the feeling stress you out. Truth is, he’s not “the one” for you.
There will be another single and available “one”.
That “one” happens to be somebody else’s. You might want to carry your legs and run before you enter unnecessary wahala :)