(continued from last post )
(4) Limit Your Communication
A certain man once fell deeply in love with a lady – but there was a major problem. He was far, far away at war. To show the seriousness of his intentions, he decided to write her a letter and mail it – every single day.
At the end of 365 days and after 365 letters, the lady got married – to the mail delivery man.
It’s a humorous story, but it shows the power of constant communication.
If you want to fall in love or deepen a relationship, keep talking. If you want to deaden or slow down a relationship, stop talking.
Even in spiritual matters – our relationship with God – the same is true.
When you find yourself attracted to someone who doesn’t ‘belong’ to you – either by marriage, mutual commitment, or God’s confirmation – limit your communication as much as possible. Constant communication feeds emotional entanglements.
When you keep talking to a person – even if it starts out as platonic/neutral – your continuous communication begins to form a bond. If you both are not careful, you will start getting used to each other – then attached. Communication might be awkward at first, but after sometime, the awkward phase passes and you go into the accepting/familiar phase, then the comfortable phase, then – if not handled properly or stopped – the intimate phase.
Intimacy is not sex – although it can lead to sex. When you both discuss things that you wouldn’t like to be made public knowledge – or your spouse wouldn’t approve of, if you are married, you have crossed into the intimate stage.
Rarely do people plan on getting emotionally involved. They just get careless, and – if they have the Spirit of God – have rationalized away His still, small, warning voice.
Except it’s a spouse or spouse-to-be, family member, or colleague at work, I wouldn’t recommend constant, daily communication. Even with work-related activities, guard your heart with all diligence.
(5) Watch Your Communication Timezones.
I mean that literally. Timezones.
Except the individual is in another part of the globe with a different timezone from yours, it’s emotional foolishness to talk/text/chat at night.
I know this seems harsh, but we are talking about practically guarding our hearts and emotional gates.
There’s something about talking at night that forges a deceptively intimate bond between people. Even if you both are pure in heart and began the conversation innocently, there’s something about the quiet stillness of the night – and the sense of just the two of you being alone on Island Earth – that makes everything disappear.
If that continues, it is inevitable that ‘something’ begins to blossom. You both become more ‘aware’, your voices begin to lower, subtle flirting creeps in, the conversation becomes more intimate – and one cold, rainy night, Dear Spiritual Brother will find himself asking, “What are you wearing right now?” – or something equally inappropriate.
The conversation heads another way – and you both deceive yourselves that it is ‘love’.
Don’t do it. Guard your heart.
And even if you don’t get emotionally involved, they might. Be your brother/sister’s keeper. Guard their heart – especially when you know they already have feelings for you.
Talk in non-intimate settings and timezones. If you are single and you want to go deeper, you would know amidst the day-to-day running of affairs.
Don’t be afraid to inform the other party about your preferences. I’ve done that many times.
I once had someone I liked call me at about 11p.m. Yes, I was awake. Yes, I knew he might have had a busy day and that was when he felt we could talk undisturbed – but for me, it was, “Nope. No way. Been there, done that. No more.”
So, I picked the call and politely told him I wasn’t really comfortable talking at that time of night, and could we talk the next day? He was surprised – and maybe a bit embarrassed/hurt – but he understood and acquiesced.
I really, really liked him but I had to put up my gates because (1) ) there was no mutual commitment involved (2) I hadn’t heard from God concerning him – even though I had been praying about him. I wasn’t going to get emotionally involved, then God would tell me, “No.”
Well, God really said “No”, and he got married to someone else. He is still an amazing person and wonderful friend – but I am so glad I put up those walls.
Avoid situations that create a deceptive sense of intimacy. If he/she is The One, intimacy will be inevitable. Don’t settle for false intimacy now.
As a married person, it goes without saying: your ‘intimacy partner’ is your spouse.
(6) Don’t Alter Your Schedule Around Them. Fit Them Into Your Schedule.
By now I can almost hear, “Debbyyyy!! This is getting out of hand!”
Not at all. Hear me out.
There’s a tendency to let people we are emotionally attracted/attached to get away with murder – or determine how we run our lives. If you don’t have a guard around your heart, you will schedule your time and activities around the person.
I remember how a friend left a Bible Study class he was teaching because someone he liked sent a message saying, “Come.” No emergency. No crisis. She just wanted to see him. When I heard the story, I laughed. I perfectly understood.
Most emotionally careless and vulnerable people are led by how they feel. Feelings dictate their actions and decisions.
However, in Bootcamp Emotions, God will teach you to take decisions based on principles – and show you that your actions and decisions can dictate your feelings.
You find out that,
-When you shift your principles in favour of emotions, your walls and gates are weakened.
-When you control and guide your emotions in favour of principles, your walls are strengthened and fortified.
Productive areas of your life shouldn’t suffer because you ‘like’ somebody:
~If you are supposed to be in church, and he/she calls to come over – and they are not from out of town or having an emergency situation – calmly explain that you have to be in church, and reschedule the visit. Or better yet, invite them to church.
~If your lunch break ends at 2p.m., don’t extend it till 3p.m. because you are enjoying their company. Don’t talk to them at work when you should be working or in a meeting. Most definitely, don’t leave work to go out with him or her.
Especially when – as a single – there isn’t mutual commitment or you have not really heard from God, don’t open up yourself emotionally that way. This might be difficult, but there’s something that happens inside you: It lets you know, “God and I are still in control.”
If you want to get to know him/her better, you both should respect and work around each other’s schedules – without altering your life for each other.
Same for married people with one caveat: Let Your Spouse Know.