Meekness Vs Weakness

Recently I’ve been thinking some about virtue.  That is, what is virtuous and what isn’t.  For example, I’ve written about how being “nice” is not a virtue while being good is. All of this may seem like semantics or splitting hairs but it’s more than that.  How we view these things impacts how we live our lives.  It impacts how we view ourselves and our context, including if our context happens to be singleness.  I want to tackle a few more of these thoughts in the context of singleness.

Today I want to talk bout the idea of meekness.  Meekness is indeed a virtue.  So much so in fact that Jesus says in Matthew 5 that the meek shall inherit the earth.  But we are very confused in our culture, even in our Christian culture, about what meekness is.

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Jesus Can Help You Attract Women

For over 20 years I’ve been inviting people to know and follow Jesus.  One of the things I like to do when I have time is to juxtapose two stories from the bible.

The first is the story of the wealthy young ruler who approaches Jesus.  The man kneels before Jesus, offers him some flattery and then asks what he needs to do to have real lasting life.  Jesus first brushes off the flattery and then tells him that he knows the rules of the kingdom.  The man says he”s kept all of those.  So not only was this man well off, but he was apparently a good guy.  But something was still missing.  Jesus then essentially says, “Sell everything you have, and come with me where I’m going.”  The man went away sad because his wealth was the center of his life and he was not leaving it.

The other story is from Luke.  In this story in the middle of the day, after teaching from his boat, Jesus tells Peter to go out into the water and drop his fishing net.  Peter basically tells Jesus that to do so is completely ridiculous.  They had worked all night (the right time to fish) and not caught anything.  But he does it anyway.  He then pulls in the catch of a lifetime.  He has to call others to help.  This was THE catch.  He could have just thanked Jesus and made a killing at the market.  But instead he realizes what is going on and falls to his knees. Jesus says, “Come with me.  From now on you will fish for men”.  Peter leaves THE catch on the beach and goes with him.

It’s the same invitation.  One man says yes and another says no.  One is with Jesus and the other is not. This theme plays out all through scripture.

There’s obviously about a zillion things we could pull from these stories.  But what I want to talk about today is that we as men can actually learn a lot from Jesus about how to approach and attract women.  Seriously.

Jesus was a guy that everyone wanted to be with.  People were drawn to Him period.  He knew His identity.  He was confident, strong, caring, smart, powerful, fun, charismatic, and fully alive.  He was exactly himself always.  He had integrity.  He initiated.  Quite simply Jesus was the most attractive person ever.  Jesus was hot!

Now Jesus knew that celibacy was required to accomplish His mission.  But you can bet women wanted to be with him.  So what can we learn from Him about pursuing women if He didn’t?  A lot actually.

For starters we need to recognize that if we walk with Him we can become all of the things that I listed in two paragraphs above.  If I’m in Christ then I can know where my identity comes from.  I should be becoming more confident, strong, caring, wise, etc.  Of course I’m not Jesus and therefore can’t live that out perfectly, but I should be becoming it.

But more than that we can learn from how Jesus interacted with those he called.

Jesus loved people.  He invited people to join Him, in all sorts of ways. Some joined him for a while and left.  Some walked away.  A few went with Him.  Here are a few take aways in terms of dating.

First, Jesus was inviting people to something.  As a man we need to be inviting the woman to come with us.  They are not the goal.  I’m pursuing a goal and I’m looking for someone to come with me in that.  This is a huge thought.  Women want someone who is going somewhere.  Call it ambition or direction or whatever, it is attractive.  If we don’t know what we are about and where we are going as well as how to communicate it, we run the risk of not being attractive, or of attracting the wrong person.

Second, Jesus asks and invites but He never begs.  This is actually true through the entire Bible.  God does NOT need us.  He wants us.  He loves us.  He pursues us.  But He is not begging us to be with Him.  He invites the rich man to leave it all, but he doesn’t beg him to.  In the same way we shouldn’t beg someone to date us.  Women like being wanted, but they can sense when they are needed.  If we can’t live without them, they don’t want to live with us – at least not for the long term.

Jesus, even though it saddened Him, let people walk away.  When the rich man walks Jesus doesn’t hesitate and say something like, “Hey wait a minute.  You know what, you obviously kind of like me and I want this to work out.  So how about you sell half.  Heck bring the rest with you and we’ll use it.”  He lets him walk.  It is good to pursue a woman.  It is a terrible idea to chase her.  Jesus was not (and is not) a stalker.  He is not waiting for us to make His life complete.  No one should hold that power over us either.

The reason we know Jesus loves us is that even though He doesn’t need us, He wants us. Some people say yes to that and some say no.  The truth is that you can’t love anybody that you have to have.  Love is a choice, not a compulsion.

If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.

Have A Game Plan For Dating

One of the worst places you can be on a date is that moment when the girl says, “what are we doing?” and the guy says, “I don’t know, what do you want to do?”  I know because I’ve been there and done that.  When you go on a date, especially initially, it’s good to have a plan, or at the very least, have an opinion.

But let’s back up a step.  I think it’s actually helpful to have a plan when meeting women. Now I don’t mean be a robot or be completely controlling.  But I think that as a guy, having a plan, or set of plans is helpful.  Having some options in your mind for things to say when you meet someone is good.

A lot of guys have a hard time approaching women.  I’ve talked about approaching women and developing dating skills in the past.  But the common theme in those previous posts is that having a game plan is good.

When I was online dating after a while I realized is that sense you never knew who would communicate back, it was good to have some sort of system or you’d be sitting there all day.  So I developed a three or four email plan.  Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t send the exact same email to everyone.  But I had the exact same principles.

Comment on what they wrote, ask two fun/light questions.  In the second email ask another series of questions including a set of either/or questions.  In the third email ask a fun question and deeper one.  Fourth email ask to talk live.  (Gentlemen – for free – women like questions – makes you seem interesting and interested at the same time – that’s for free).

When I was talking to my wife early on she would make fun of it.  She’d say stuff like, “is this part of your system?”  She could tell I had one.  The best part was from the very first date, she went about trying to bust the system.  It was awesome.

Am I saying you need a system to approach women?  Yeah sort of.  Especially if you are uncomfortable doing it.  I’m not saying you should plan every moment and interaction out in your head.  I’m not telling you to over think it.  (If you are 30 and single – you’ve already over thought it – lots of times).  I’m saying that as a guy, when you have a bit of a plan that you trust, when you “know what you are doing”, it gives you confidence and you can go from there.  If you have a plan – you don’t have to over think it – you just do it.

Here’s a non dating example.  I’ve spoken in front people my whole life.  Literally hundreds of times in front of many thousands of people.  Now part of it is that I have a gift of speaking and teaching.  But part of it early on was I worked my tail off in preparation.  I studied what I would teach and I practiced.  I would stand in my living room and give the talk over and over.

When I got to the actual talk, I owned it frontwards and backwards.  That enabled me the freedom to handle anything that happened that night without getting flustered or thrown off track.  It enabled me when sharing God’s word to be able to listen to His leading as I talked and flex with what was going on in the room.

I’m not suggesting being rigid.  Think of football. You have a playbook.  You game plan all week.  When you get to the game you call plays based on what is given to you.  Once the play starts you execute as best you can and then you just play ball.  But without plays it all falls apart.  You don’t just show up on game day and hope for the best.  Bad teams either have a bad plan, or they never change based on what is given to them that day. Or both. What I’m saying is the better you game plan, the freer you are to react.

Here’s the kicker.  You know what having a plan really is?  It’s called leadership, and leadership actually works.  With women pursuit is part of it (going to her) but part of it has to be invitation.  But you can’t invite her if you aren’t going anywhere.

By the way this is why if you let the girl become the goal you are screwed.  Women don’t want to be the goal.  They want to join you on the journey.

Having a plan and practicing creates confidence.  It helps you know what works for you and what doesn’t.  I’m not saying that you should make dating a game.  But attraction matters.  Confidence is attractive.  That is fact – like it or not.  And as a guy, having a plan and knowing what we are doing creates confidence.

Here’s what I know doesn’t work.  Doing the same things that don’t work over and over. Being scared when you approach a woman you like because you don’t know what to say. Hoping that even though you never work on getting better at it that God will somehow magically make it happen.

Do you feel confident approaching someone?  Do you know what to do when you do have a date?  What would it mean to work on that?

Shame Crushes Confidence

I know of a wise older gentleman who asks men that visit him three questions: “Are you good looking or not?” “What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?” and “Do you have a big or small penis?”

It’s kind of funny. It’s sort of offensive.  It’s for sure brilliant.

How a guy answers those questions is everything.  Does he answer honestly – even with himself?  Where does the answer to each question come from? They are all relative questions – what is it that guy comparing his answer to?  When was the first time he answered each of those questions?  What answer has the world, his dad, his God given him?  Every guy has answered those questions in his head – just not out loud.

Most men spend their life affected by their deep seeded answers.  They either run from it, avoid it, cover it up, or rail against it with anger.  The kicker is most of us have the wrong answer, or at least the wrong idea of what the answer means.  Very few of us own our answers.

They are the type of questions that haunt our confidence in who we are as men.  We often look for the answers from women.  It’s why single men don’t act  and why married men are afraid of their wives.

The kicker is this, most women don’t really care that much about any of those questions. But how you answer them will affect everything you do with women – whether you are married or single.

These three questions (or similar ones) get at the heart of three areas of our life that we are insecure about.  Our self image, our shame, and our sexual prowess.

I’ve written a lot about our self image, including when it comes to how we view our looks. Later this week I’ll write about the sexual prowess question.  But today, I want to focus on the second question.  What is the worst thing you’ve ever done?

This question has to do with shame which flies in the face of the gospel.  For some there is fear of being found out, for others the fear of being disqualified.  Many have been carrying it as a secret for a long time.

The funny thing about the worst thing you’ve done question is there’s a good chance it’s not actually the worst thing you’ve done.  It is however, what you are most of ashamed of.  But most of us have never actually said this out loud, to anyone.  Many have not even said it to God. Shame is a powerful tool of the enemy.  Shame means we are unreconciled with God. Think about that.

Shame causes us to look away when we shouldn’t.  It causes us to withdraw, back down or act out when we think it might be exposed.  What we hide in the dark, makes us afraid of the light – and freedom (as well as confidence) is in the light.  Worst of all, it holds us back with Jesus because He brings light to everything.  As a secondary problem it holds us back with people – including the opposite sex.

Shame crushes confidence.

The only way to crush shame is to bring it out into the light and deal with it.  It’s the only way to know which parts of it are our fault (so we can repent) and which parts aren’t (so we can heal).

We have to start with the truth that Jesus is serious about both forgiveness and healing.  If we don’t believe that then we will spend our whole lives in the dark.

You see the follow up question to what is the worst thing you’ve ever done is this, “Do you know that you are forgiven for that?”

Either the cross took care of every sin or took care of none of it.  There really can’t be any in between.  So if I think that Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin for us, then I have to figure out how to believe that I’m forgiven for the worst thing I’ve ever done.  We know it intellectually and biblically. But most of us don’t live out of it at all.

Here’s the truth.  Because of the cross, you are forgiven for everything you’ve ever done, everything you’re doing, and everything you ever will do.  That’s either true or we are screwed.

There are also some of us who are carrying shame because of something that happened to us that we have falsely interpreted as our fault.  Again, the only way to get at this is to bring it into the light.  Once it’s in the light, we need to know that Jesus, through the power of the resurrection makes all things new.  There is nothing that can’t be made new – nothing.

What does it mean to bring something into the light and deal with it?  I think it means bringing it before God and someone else.  I think to own it means to share it with someone. This can obviously be dangerous.  But we have to take the risk. If we don’t have community, pay a few bucks and see a Christian counselor – hey married people do it.

If we don’t then we will continue to shrink back.  Shame will keep us dating no one (or the wrong people), fearing commitment, or if we do somehow get married, insidiously impact our marriage.

What is the worst thing you’ve ever done?  Who have you told?  Do you know you are forgiven? Really forgiven?

The Meek Will Not Inherit A Wife

A few years ago I was talking with this woman I liked, when she said, “You know what, I’m so tired of Christian guys.”  I laughed, cringed, and completely understood what she meant.

She didn’t mean that she wanted to date/marry an unbeliever or that she didn’t love Jesus. She meant that she was tired of the over thinking, over spiritualizing, over nice acting “Christian” guys, of which at the time I was one.

Now, to be sure, this girl had her own issues.  But the fact remains, we have a real problem within the Christian community when it comes to dating.  It’s everybody’s fault.

We (meaning the Church big picture) have this extremely weird double standard going on where we tell guys to be basically be nice and get in line, while following all the guys who don’t.  We say don’t date around, don’t ask anyone out if you don’t know you can marry them, guard the girl’s heart, but oh by the way – lead.  What the heck?!

What we’ve created is a whole lot of nice guys that don’t act.  And when they do act they end up doing so in a weak way.

I used to be completely frustrated at the fact that the “bad guy” would always somehow have the girl, and I, who was of course the “good guy” didn’t.  But while it’s true that some of these guys were bad, what most of them were was confident, regardless of their goodness or badness.  I on the other hand, when I really liked someone, was not.

When it comes to being attractive to females, confidence is perhaps the single most important factor.  Not even a lot of females can name this, but it’s a fact.  It’s more important in terms of initial attraction than just about anything including but not limited to: looks, money, spirituality, brains, ambition, drive or sexual prowess.  Although all those things both affect and are affected by confidence.

Women describe this different ways but it is core to what they are looking for.  They want, “someone who knows who they are”, “who knows what they want”, or “who is comfortable in their own skin”.  However they describe it they are attracted to it – they respect it.  And respect is the key.

We as men, have to get a handle on this, and most of us don’t.  We think we do, but we really don’t.  It takes some real courage to confront our lack of confidence.

I’m not talking about arrogance.  Although, arrogance is more attractive than boring or weak.  It is more attractive than fearful (although most arrogant people are masking fear). And this is important: Passivity is not the opposite of Arrogance.  Humility is. And humility is not about being weak.  

It’s more than semantics.  Humility is not interchangeable with weakness, meekness, or passiveness.  You cannot be insecure and humble at the same time.

Yes Jesus said the meek shall inherit the earth.  But meek as we mean it in our culture (tame, mild, bland, unambitious are given as synonyms) is not what Jesus meant.  He was none of those things.  That verse does not mean the scared and passive will inherit the kingdom.  And they for sure will not inherit a wife.

It’s a double whammy.  Confident guys get dates because they are attractive to women, and because they are confident enough to ask.  They act because they are less afraid.

But here’s the best part, a lot of Christian spokesmen seem to think the answer is telling the non-cofident guy to man up.  That is completely ridiculous.  What we need to do is two things.

First we need to help guys dig deeper into why they are insecure and passive to begin with.  The spokespeople don’t like this because it requires actual work instead of just sounding cool in a sermon or book.  But it’s essential.  We have to figure out why we are scared.  What is it that makes us insecure around the women we want to pursue.  Actually at a broader view – what makes us insecure anywhere.  Where is that coming from?

Jesus was not insecure and if we are going to follow Him then that means facing our insecurities and growing out of them.  As a side benefit, as we do, we become more attractive.  Growth is hard work, but I promise you this – Growth is Hot.  Dead serious.

Secondly, we need to give men tools in interacting with women.  Here’s why.  Men are afraid of what they don’t know how to do.  We loathe failure.  So if I’ve spent most of my life not knowing what to do with women, guess what – I’m going to be insecure in that area.

All men are confident in what they know how to do and unconfident in what they don’t know about.  Therefore if we want Christian guys to have confidence and “man up” as it were, then we need to give them the tools, not just a pep talk.

I’ll have more to say about his later this week, but for today let me leave you with a couple of questions.

When are you confident?  When are you not?  When is the first time you can remember being passive?  Do you have the tools to pursue and marry a woman?