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The Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone."
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Excerpts From my Journal
I need a man, want a man, dream a man, eat a man, drink a man, want a man so bad I can taste the fulfillment of love, like cravings for a rich dessert, it haunts me even after I've had a whole meal. I can't explain it, I just want it.... I just really, really want a man.
I'm lonely, so lonely I don't have to peel an onion to cry. So lonely that frustration has become my first name. So lonely that depression is my middle name ... and I'm gonna wallow in my desperation because I'm lonely ... and that's as good an excuse as any for sitting around and feeling sorry for the way my life is going.
Mama told me, "There's an owner for every cloth in the store." Well, I'm ready to be bought. I've been sitting here with the same pretty pattern on my face for a long time and I'm beginning to fade, ya know? So my question is this, is anyone interested in a piece of fabric that's collected so much dust?
I have come to the conclusion that love is not a play, in my mind the true drama is that the only place a solobelongs is on an empty stage.
I have a confession to make. You might ask, "Could it be more embarrassing than what you just shared?" It all depends on how important honesty is to you. Although I am writing this book as an "expert" on contentment as an unmarried woman, I feel it is important to share with you that I was once a miserable single.
"No kidding!" you huff. I'm glad you're not surprised. Though it's impossible to ignore my lack of victory in the past, once I pressed past that difficult passage in my life, I'm happy I never developed convenient amnesia about how painful being an unfulfilled single can be. It keeps me humble. It keeps me connected with reality-and with you. If you're truly honest with yourself, while reading my intimate journal ramblings you were either saying, "Po' thang!" or "I can relate!" Either comment leads us to the same question: How do we end up in such a state over a man?
A man-such a potent pair of words. Those two words alone could set off a dialogue that would last throughout eternity. But right now we are dealing with an immediate need. Every woman longs for a fulfilling, committed relationship with someone who really, really loves her. We're talking about the kind of love that gives you a reason to get up in the morning, smile in the middle of the afternoon, and laugh at the abuse that the world dishes out on a day-to-day basis.
But what if that relationship isn't immediate? What if it appears to be stalled somewhere between here and "happily ever after"? What then?
I'm here to tell you, you can be happy and single. I know-I have truly evolved from the woman who wrote those painful admissions in her journal. I am now, as a magazine article recently put it, sassy, single, and satisfied! "You mean the words 'single and satisfied' can coexist?" you ask. Yes indeed, and I am a personal witness!
"But," you interrupt, "I don't want to be happy and single, Michelle. I bought this book because I want a man!"
Hold on, I'm getting there! But before that relationship can come along, understand that some things have to be in place-mainly you.
Someone once said, "Men are like buses. If you miss one there's always another one coming around the corner." I would like to add to that. If you didn't learn anything when the first bus passed you by, what makes you think you'll catch the next one? I think we need to back up and approach the corner correctly. Therefore, we're not going to start with the man; we're going to start with you.
In order to catch the right bus-believe me, you can catch the wrong one-you've got to be in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing. That's the point of this book. So if you don't mind, I'm going to take my time and drop a few things in your universe to get you on your way. Take a deep breath and repeat after me, "I'm ready for this; I'm ready for this; I'm ready for this." No need to click your heels three times because we're not going to Kansas; we're simply going to take a little journey back to the Garden of Eden to find out how this whole relationship mess began.
In Search Of Eden
Once upon a time there was a girl named Evelyn. Now Evelyn had this really wealthy Father who set her up in royal fashion. She was proud to say she had a great relationship with her indulgent Daddy and never wanted for anything. He had even found the perfect mate for her. Why, Evelyn and this man were so compatible, being with him was like being with herself-they were true soul mates. Her Father had chosen well.
He always chose well-that's why she had no problem with being obedient to his instructions. That is, until she met Sly. Sly was, well, slick, smooth, and sly! He made suggestions that made Evelyn's toes tingle. He liked to walk on the wild side. Suddenly Evelyn became aware of things she never considered before. What Sly suggested made a whole lot of sense. Why should she listen to everything her Father said? She should be able to make some decisions on her own. Do her own thing. Be lord of her own destiny. Make up her own mind! After all, she was "grown" (that's urbanese for "an adult"). Life was a bowl of fruit, and she wanted to taste all of it.
As a matter of fact, she didn't mind sampling the piece Sly now dangled so invitingly in front of her. She hesitated for a brief second. Hmm, she thought, maybe I shouldn't.... This is the one thing my Father told me to avoid.
Oh, pooh, she decided, he gave me everything else I wanted-he couldn't possibly get that upset about my tasting this one tiny piece of a delectable treat. After all, didn't he cultivate this very fruit in his own private garden?
Crunch! Ooh, it was delicious! Evelyn handed it to her loving mate because they shared everything. The moment he swallowed the last bite, Evelyn knew something was wrong. Sly had slithered off in the middle of their taste test, and her honey was looking funny. Oh, no! She was looking funny too! She was naked! How long had she been parading around, ignorant of this embarrassing fact? And with this realization the frantic couple ran for cover.
And just when they thought things couldn't get any worse, they did-Father was heading their direction. How were they going to explain this mess? Father won't punish me, Evelyn comforted herself. After all, it wasn't my fault....
Sound a little familiar? Yup! You guessed it: The longing for love began with Adam and Eve when they plummeted into disobedience. Their mistake, which God called sin, set in motion a generational curse that few have recognized. That disastrous chain of events remains unbroken today, visiting every descendant of Adam and Eve on the face of the earth.
Today we are going to uncover the trick that Satan plays on us all. Since it is the truth that makes us free, that equips us to make choices that secure our liberty, I am going to tell you the truth. We are going to get to the root of why so many struggle with their singleness.
Singleness is not a curse. The misery many suffer as singles and the bad choices that misery provokes are, however. Therefore we need to get past this once and for all. Now I realize you know the story, but I want you to take another look at what really happened in the Garden. I want to talk about the stuff that nobody points out to us. Admittedly it's a beautiful study on the Creation, but there's a whole lot more going on in this tidy little presentation of how the world got started. So indulge me.
In the beginning God existed in all his forms: God, the Word which became manifest in the form of Jesus, and the Holy Ghost. And the three were one. Now, don't get stuck here. We don't want to tackle a deeper study on the Trinity right now-I'm trying to take us somewhere, so come along.
In the beginning, God created the world, the solar system, everything pertaining to life and godliness, and then he decided all of this stuff was so gorgeous that there should be worshipers to enjoy and appreciate the creation and the Creator.
I can relate to that. Nothing warms my heart more than knowing that my books have blessed someone. That's not vanity, just a healthy, God-given desire to be appreciated for a job you worked hard at.
Anyway, God discussed this with Jesus and the Holy Spirit; they counseled among themselves and came up with a fabulous idea. "Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness'" (Genesis 1:26).
Notice the words us and our. The whole Trinity was in on the decision! They then made this magnificent creature whom we've all come to love and adore, even in the midst of deep frustration, called man. God made man from the earth, breathed the breath of life into him, then took him and put him in Paradise, namely, the Garden of Eden. From the beginning, notice, only God's hand could transport man from where he was into a more glorious existence. Remember that.
Now, man was created on purpose, with a purpose. Besides appreciating God and his handiwork, he had an assignment. "The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it" (Genesis 2:15).
Once Adam got busy doing his job, God, being the gracious God that he is, made another corporate decision. "The Lord God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him'" (Genesis 2:18).
Here is an important fact that must not be overlooked. God decided that Adam needed a mate. Adam didn't have a clue. He didn't turn to God and say, "Hey, you know, it's been real nice hanging out with you, but what else have you got? I've got needs, you know." No, he was into fellowshipping with God. His heart was full to overflowing with love for his Creator. He relished their time together. He rejoiced in the world that God had so generously spread before him. He found his fulfillment in fulfilling his God-ordained purpose. He felt no lack.
Imagine: Adam felt no void, no screaming empty spaces in his heart. All was well with his soul. The mate thing was totally God's idea.
It also behooves us to note that everything God does has a purpose. He decided that Adam needed a helper to assist him in performing his purpose on earth. And he needed this helper on two levels: spiritual and natural. In that order.
All One Or Alone?
Let's face it: Adam wasn't really alone. The Lord himself came down-did you hear me? The Lord came down, daily, from heaven, to walk and talk with Adam in the cool of the evening. Adam had divine fellowship with God. I'll tell you what true aloneness is: the absence of God. That is the epitome of alone. So Adam was not alone in the way that we define aloneness. Still, Adam had no concept of being one with another. He was not acquainted with the concept of true intimacy. He wasn't even aware he should want oneness with someone. You see, Adam was a reflection of God. He was not one with God. The idea of relationship, interaction with a being just like himself, was foreign.
In order for Adam to reflect the image of God accurately in the earth, he had to be connected to another. This is where he needed a helper in the spiritual sense. He had to be one with someone, mirroring the oneness of God, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Without this experience, he could only go so far in his worship experience. He would never learn to reach beyond himself. He would be self-centered. And that would limit both his grasp and his appreciation of God.
God wanted Adam to come outside of himself to a higher place. God wanted Adam's worship experience to grow to another level of emotional closeness. Once he became one with another, he would understand afresh the beauty of deep relationship. This would enhance his life and enrich his worship.
Whew! That is potent stuff!
On the other hand, Adam needed a helper in the natural sense. God understood the need for partnership to get a job done. When God created the world, Jesus, the Word come to Life, the Holy Spirit, and Wisdom were present to partake in this magnificent inception.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. (Genesis 1:2)
I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion. I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep. Then I was the craftsman at his side. (Proverbs 8:12, 27, 30)
Though God was the leading character in this epic, he understood that "two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work" (Ecclesiastes 4:9). He also was aware what the power of agreement and the spoken word could create. Solomon acknowledged it: "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken" (Ecclesiastes 4:12). And Genesis tells us: "Now the whole world had one language and a common speech.... But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. The Lord said, 'If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them'" (Genesis 11:1, 5-6).
A side note here: If you haven't gotten busy performing your God-ordained purpose, then you can't tell God you need help-right? If you're in a paralyzed state, putting your life on hold until God gives you your mate, let me pour this in your Kool-Aid: God knows you don't need help feeling sorry for yourself. My suggestion? Stop asking God, "Why am I alone?" and begin asking him, "Why am I here?" You don't need help until you're doing something that requires help. So get busy, sister!
Now we see that God had decided that Adam needed someone to help him comprehend the notion of intimacy, but also someone who would be specially designed and equipped to help him complete his assignment on the earth. But before God created woman, he did something very interesting.
Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.
But for Adam no suitable helper was found. (Genesis 2:19-20)
Isn't that interesting? Why do you suppose God had Adam name the animals before he gave him a mate? This was a test. Had Adam really learned the heart of God? Did he truly walk in agreement with him? Did he call things as God saw them? Or did he just do his own thing? Since Adam's job was to maintain order in the earth, God gave him the authority to carry out this responsibility. He gave him the same power of the spoken word that God himself possessed. This was a major promotion. Adam was officially a partner with God! Therefore it was imperative that Adam become an extension of God's arm by being in one accord with him. Utilizing his authority apart from God could have serious consequences.
We must take note, however, that whether Adam was in agreement with God or not, whatever Adam called the animals was what they were going to be because he was a free agent. But Adam passed the test. He named the animals and agreed that none was a suitable prospect for partnering with him.
Now this is where some of us get messed up. We get stuck in the animal kingdom. In our search for a mate we name some animals the wrong thing. We fail to see some of the frogs and dogs we encounter for what they really are. We look past the obvious in our desperation for a partner and call whomever we meet "Mr. Right." And because God doesn't hold up his hand and scream "Stop!" we decide that this man, who everyone else can see is a poor choice, is the other half of a match made in heaven.
The truth of the matter is, if you don't invite God into the process of making your choice, he will allow you to do your own thing. He will let you name the animals as you see them and deal with the heartbreaking consequences. After all, you too are a free agent.
So, you see, Adam had some sense. He saw the animals for what they were and left them alone. He didn't waste his time getting scratched up by the lion or tromped on by the elephant. He didn't try to make it work with the giraffe. He dusted off his hands and moved on. The man was still whole, still free, even though he had noticed that everything he named had a mate, a helper, of its own kind.
Give It a Rest
The story goes on to say that God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam. Do you know that God will help you rest in him while you wait for your mate-if you let him? Adam didn't struggle with God. The Creator was his friend. He trusted him completely. This is what gave God room to move and make good determinations for Adam's life.
So while Adam slept, God went about creating a helper for Adam, one he knew Adam would like. She would be equipped with everything Adam needed to help him carry out his duties, yet come with features that would bring pleasure to him as well.
Excerpted from IF MEN ARE LIKE BUSES, Then How Do I Catch One? by Michelle McKinney Hammond Copyright © 2000 by Michelle McKinney Hammond
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Posted April 8, 2009
Single Sisters' Strategy 101. This one will B a blessing 2 U. Enjoy the timely advice and LOL! along the "trip." U will find worthwhile tips on improving yourself and building your self-esteem. Both of these items, self-improvement and self-esteem building will make U more appealing to Ur future mate, and you'll B able 2 catch Ur "bus" soon. It is enjoyable reading and entertaining.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 2, 2005
I laughed, I cried, I nodded my head of in agreement!!! This was the first book of Hammond's I had read and I have read every one since then! At first, I was shy about picking up the book because of the title, but I was alone in the corner of a B&N, so I decided to pick it up...Well by the time I got to the 5 page, people knew I was reading it in the back!! I laughed, and cried like it was a friend right there talking to me! this was a WONDERFUL book for me...it came at the right time when I was about to throw myself in the street, this Scripture infused book came along and gave me conviction thru the scriptures not to give up...I recomend this book to young, middle aged, or senior single ladies everywhere!!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 11, 2005
If you are really considering the notion that a relationship is what will make you happy, this is really a good book to begin with. It helps single ladies to identify what is really important regarding the ultimate relationship and who we are to be in it. This book offers us both hope and vision for that future relationship. I truly appreciate having had this book to read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 23, 2003
Ladies...Ladies...Ladies... Where do I start? Reading the title led me to believe that I was going to get tips on finding godly men, and what to look for in a mate. Little did I know that the book would change my entire outlook on how I viewed being in love. It taught me who I 1st needed to fall deeply in love with, before even considering being swept off my feet by Mr. Right. I honestly would recommend this book to anyone desiring a relationship (secretly in your mind or openly let's keep it real) before you take any steps.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 31, 2003
First of all I'd like to say to Michelle, What a great book!! At first I thought that the book wasn't gonna be as good, because It was not gonna be an original piece- I was proved wrong. I am a 24 year old woman who thought I had everything going well and right for myself; I have the career, the car,a great apartment, everything. The only thing I felt I wasn't happy about was finding a wonderful man to complete me. I read your book and finally figured it out- I wasn't as happy as I thought I was and a man couldn't do it, I had to be obediant to God and a 'Woman of Principle' to be happy and content. Well, I'd like to thank you for opening my eyes to see the bigger picture. I have decided to let God do his will, he knows what and who is right for me.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 5, 2002
This book is a book that every woman should read. It is not a how to book but one that gives you insight on how to live according to God's word and will. It certainly helped me prepare to receive my mate - I met my husband just weeks after reading this book. This book is heaven sent!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 24, 2002
This book was such a blessing, but don't let the title fool you. It's not a how to book, but a book that gives you insight into the mind of a God who 'longs to be gracious to you' and 'give you the desires of your heart'. We must know the ways of our Lord and know that receiving a mate aren't for physical pleasures, but for kingdom purposes and God's plan for mankind. We must stop thinking about ourselves and thinking so small and start thinking like God would have us to and see the BIG picture. Thank you Michelle McKinney Hammond!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.