Lions and Tigers and Bears, OH MY! My Experiences As A Single Christian Woman – So Far!


Even when faced with the excruciating pain, a person who has ever had a broken bone comes to realize that survival from such a trauma is possible.  That does not mean they will purposefully go out and break another bone again, and we certainly would not break it again for them. Right?

I have found that dating has been a whirlwind of lions, tigers, and bears.  Trying to determine which guys are safe and which ones are predators has worn me out.  I guess the positive to all of this, is with each new experience I’m gaining a deeper level of discernment.

I do not want my next words to come across as bitter or unforgiving.  I am simply sharing some of my experiences as a single Christian woman who has faced some frustrations, but I refuse to give up hope.  I care deeply for people and pray all the best God has for those who have crossed my path.

Let me start by saying that I’ve met some amazing godly men, and I applaud them for standing strong and staying faithful to God in a culture that rewards compromise – momentarily.  I’ve recognized their strength and deep love for God and His ways, but for whatever reason the interest stops at friendship on their part, mine, or both of us.  My words of frustration are not meant to sound like a lonely and desperate girl who is jaded with a mindset that there’s no good ones left.  I hope that my words will inspire all of us to become a little more cautious of how we live each day – as those who represent Christ Jesus.

If we see a strength in someone it’s most likely because they’ve had to walk through some serious stuff.  Fire reveals the gems after the wood and hay are burnt away.  Seeing a strength in another person should be an inspiration for us to strive for that same strength, not use it as an excuse to be deceptive because they’re “strong” and they can handle it.  We’ve not seen the breathless tears they have cried as they’ve “worked out their own salvation”*, and most likely will not see the many more tears that will be shed in order for them to gain further strength.

It’s human nature to lean and depend on others for strength, this in-itself is not wrong.  The Bible tells us we are to “bear one another’s burdens”, but to purposefully abuse another person’s gift or ability is wrong!*

It has been 6 years since the death of my husband.  Over the past few years I have gone on a few dates with, by all appearances, solid people.  I exclusively dated one guy for about 7 months who really captured my heart, but seemingly overnight, like a light-switch being turned off, his eyes went from being filled with care to hollow.  Being a single Christian woman in this world has proven to be nothing less than cruel – so far.  I had no idea that Warren’s departure from this world would mean me being thrown into the lion’s den.  Sadly, I am understanding more and more why the Holy Spirit caused me to pray for God’s absolute protection immediately following his death and everyday since then.  It’s a jungle out there!

Many of you have given me a beautiful and humbling compliment by telling me that you see great strength in me.  My heart gives thanks to God every time I hear those kind words spoken over me because I know that it’s Him you see.  Unfortunately, there are others who use this “compliment” as an excuse for what they are about to do or not do. Somehow by uttering the words, “You’re strong”, it allows them to justify their own unwillingness to grow past a state of adolescence, or they use the complimentary speech, “you’re tough, you can take it”, knowing they have a painful emotional block they can’t get past.  It will only be a matter of time before they, like Houdini, will disappear.  I’ve also come to realize the words “You’re tough” is code for, “I know I repeat an unhealthy cycle that hurts people around me, but you’ll be alright when I hit my wall and choose to withdraw.”  They just refuse to do the things necessary for personal growth.  Or, they’re just a plain ol’ jerk!

For whatever reason, some view me as strong enough for them to experiment with me.  They use me to see if they happened to wake up that morning fixed or free from whatever it is that has had them bound for years. I’ve also become very guarded because of the not so flattering added words “you’re good for me”.  This is code for them masking a hidden double life.  My brother revealed this truth to me while we were in conversation this past Thanksgiving.  Hey!  It’s straight from the horse’s mouth.  No, my brother is not a horse, but he is a man.

I want to be “good for” and “strong” for people, but I cannot be anybody’s salvation, nor can I be the solution for someone to simply do what’s right.  If one is unable to make right choices without me, I guarantee I’m not the answer to whatever the ailment is.  A person only becomes a temporary band-aid for another person and will eventually tug at the very issue it was meant to hide.  Once the newness wears off, the band-aid either is thrown away or loses its grip and falls off.

Another disheartening situation I’ve had to endure is the professing Christian men who are married and hit on me.  This is in no way flattering!  As a matter of fact, it’s a complete insult to my character.  I do not want another woman’s husband!  I certainly would not want another woman to minimize my worth by hitting on my spouse.

I’ve also had the pastors who ask me to come “minister” to their congregation while in the very next breath they’re asking me to accompany them, alone, to dinner or some event away from the church.  Through all of these experiences I’m gaining understanding for why certain instructions were given by God in His word.  Jesus sent His disciples out two by two for a reason.  Please don’t get me wrong, I long to meet someone and get married again, but I want it to happen honestly, not by the manipulation of power or because someone thinks I have some special ability to cure them.  We all have strengths and weaknesses.  I need someone to be strong for me too, but only in a healthy way.

I own my responsibility for being so naive in this great adventure I’ve been on.  I was never 1st choice to be asked out on a date when I was growing up.  I have been taken by complete surprise for this kind of attention to ever be an issue because I was rarely even 2nd, 3rd, or 4th choice.  I married Warren just 3 months before I turned 21 and had not dated a whole lot before that.  Marriage is hard work, but this whole dating scene wears me out.  I had friends take me to see the movie, “He’s Just Not That Into You” so I could understand how to play “the game”.  As much as I hate the game playing and do not agree with this movie on many levels, I’m frustrated by the amount of truth in it.  So between the power abusers, the emotionally wounded, those unwilling to seek counsel (which we all need from time to time)*, the blatant players/liars, and let me not forget the men old enough to be my father, I’m struggling to find more than a thin thread of hope.  Thankfully God tells me that’s all I need in order to witness His miracle-working hand.*

Lions and Tigers and Bears – Really Do Bite!

I am a real human-being with a real human heart that feels deeply.  Chances are if it hurts you it will also hurt me.  Any strength you see in me is the grace God has granted me to cope through this season of life.  It’s not permission for you to abuse the fact that “Shannan’s strong so she can take it”.  Yes, I’ve survived burying my husband after witnessing his tragic and sudden death, but that does not mean I have the strength of heart to pacify your need to fill a lonely moment, or just to be used for a dinner companion for a social event.  I have to believe I’m worth more than prostituting my time.  If you are not willing to face and workout your own fears, insecurities, and painful issues with God please leave me alone, because I am working hard to allow God to rebuild the less than sturdy areas in my own life.

My heart has hurt enough, cried enough, and gasped for air enough over having to bury my husband and best friend, that all of these extra tears because of lies, broken promises, and the frustrations involved has left me weary.  In breathless tears I beg God to help me remain open to receive all He has for me, and I thank Him each morning for His continued protective covering.  I daily ask for strength along this journey because I am so tired and tempted to build the same unhealthy walls that others refuse to let go of.  I surrendered those fears and insecurities years ago and I do not want to live under that deception and bondage again.  God is too good and too faithful for me not to trust Him.

“Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the spring of life.” – Proverbs 4:23 (amp)

I do want to be a source of strength and comfort for others, but I must continue to guard my heart and preserve my integrity for the one man who God has to walk with me the rest of this journey.  May I never use the pain others have caused as an excuse to inflict pain on another person.  I pray that God will keep me aware that every heart is valuable and never meant to be toyed with for my own selfish gain.

I’ve read conflicting reports whether or not a bone is strongest in the area it has been broken once it’s completely healed, but most will agree that this is in fact true just before it’s healing process is complete because of the extra effort the body pours into the wound – but we wouldn’t purposely break it again.  Right?

~Shannan

Uncompromisingly Walking With Him In 2012!

Still Keeping it real!

We can only walk with those who are willing to walk.

* Gal. 6:1-5

* Phil. 2:12
* Prov. 11:14
* Luke 17:5-6

“Where no wise guidance is, the people fall, but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”

13 Comments

  1. Myles Holmes said,

    01/09/2012 at 11:50

    Thanks again, for your HONESTY, and willingness to share some hard truth! You are a WRITER, Shannan, who is LIVING it! There are so many of us who continue to pray for you, be blessed!

    • 01/10/2012 at 11:50

      Myles your encouragement has been a strength for me to keep sharing. Thank you! I know God has me so perfectly where He wants me and will continue to shelter me, because so many of you FAITHFUL followers are praying for me. May God bless you double MY FRIEND.

  2. Pat Barnes said,

    01/09/2012 at 11:50

    Thanks Shannon. Well said, and it is sad that your experiences are so common to what I and other friends have encountered. I have read so many good Godly “living single” books over the years, been to singles seminars, single ministry leadership conferences, etc… and it is baffling how the gap seems to increase in honest communication in relationships and hurtful retreating instead of affirming one another in the Lord even if the romantic relationship doen’t work out. We should meet sometime for coffee. I miss seeing you and Penny and enjoy seeing your posts.

    Blessings to you,
    Pat

    • 01/10/2012 at 11:50

      Pat, I knew when I started writing this that is was all too familiar to so many, both for men and women. We can read all the “self-help” books regarding single life, but God says to seek Him first and ALL these thing (our hearts desires) will be added. I have chosen to only read the extra stuff, when and if, I have time after reading and searching out scripture. I know you do the same.

      I have met some great guys. I just haven’t met the one that God perfectly made to be my “helpmate” – that I know of. God bless you Pat and stay hopeful!

  3. Bill Butler said,

    01/09/2012 at 11:50

    Dear Shannan,

    Your excellent writing is straight from your heart.

    Should any pastor wish to seek to spend time with you alone…
    I would remind them of 1 Thessalonians 5:22 … “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

    If anyone truly desires to be used by the Lord, they must deal with the issue of appearances. A person might be innocent, but if anything even “appears” evil, it can compromise their usefulness.

    If one does anything that causes consternation or doubt in anyone else’s mind as to their intentions, they are dishonoring God.

    Go back a verse… “Prove all things; hold fast to that which is good.”

    Follow this up with 2 Thessalonians 2:2.

    Do not accept even a professedly spirit-inspired communication, if it be at variance with the truth taught you.

    • 01/10/2012 at 11:50

      Thank you Bill. I certainly don’t want to come across as unapproachable, but I do hope to be respected enough that when approached it’s done so with honesty. I set pretty strict guidelines when I travel. Actually, I’m just as cautious when I’m home. To list all those details would mean another blog, which I’m sure will be written someday..Ha! We do need to be careful. The world is watching, and it’s a broken world with insecurities ready to find a reason to build yet another wall of distrust.

  4. frances rivera said,

    01/09/2012 at 11:50

    I know I won’t be one who would be offended by your words. I am one who continues to live in this world as a single woman who thought that dating in her thirties would be easier than dating in her twenties. Boy, was I wrong! The older I get, the more challenging it is to date. I completely empethasize with you. I want to still have faith that God has the best man waiting for us. I just wish he would hurry up! Ha!!!

    • 01/10/2012 at 11:50

      My friend, I know you understand. One thing I can say for sure, with all that I am learning about others, I’m also learning a lot about the things that need to change in me. Not only will I appreciate the man God has for me on a much deeper level, but I will be a much better person for him today than what I would have been for him yesterday. At least I hope so!

      Do hold tight to your faith in God. His timing may hurt for a moment, but He does not lie. His best is worth the wait! YOU are worth His best!!!

  5. Adam George said,

    01/10/2012 at 11:50

    I don’t just pray for YOU during this….I’m praying for “him” as well. Have been for a long time. Not sure if you follow any of the “Madea” films or not but I just posted a video on my blog about prayers for God to send someone into your life. I truly do love you, my sister-in-Christ! May He send you THEE one…and may the one be all that Christ would have him to be….because I’m not above driving to Nashville to put a Holy Ghost pounding on someone if they dare mess with my sister! : )

    • 01/10/2012 at 11:50

      I had to laugh out loud when I read this. I may take you up on that “Holy Ghost pounding” someday…Haha! I also just now watched and shared that Madea video. What perfect timing! I don’t know if you read my responses to others on here or not, but this is what I wrote just a short time before your Madea post.

      “One thing I can say for sure, with all that I am learning about others, I’m also learning a lot about the things that need to change in me. Not only will I appreciate the man God has for me on a much deeper level, but I will be a much better person for him today than what I would have been for him yesterday. At least I hope so!

      Do hold tight to your faith in God. His timing may hurt for a moment, but He does not lie. His best is worth the wait! YOU are worth His best!!!”

      I do love and appreciate you too Adam! “Don’t stop!” “Keep Tryin’!” “Keep Lovin’!” …”He’s A Fool!” Hahahaha!!!

  6. juliette said,

    01/11/2012 at 11:50

    This was very eye opening to hear what goes on in the heart of a godly woman in the dating world today. Well said. Very honest. I am sitting here with a lump in my throat as I am currently witnessing my own daughter as she starts to date.
    I know the promises of God are true and He will guide us if we seek Him first! There is rest and peace in the arms of God. Praise God for men of Courage! They still exist. I know this. I married one.
    God first. God first. All the other things will follow.
    I would encourage you to see the movie “Courageous”.

    • 01/12/2012 at 11:50

      I can only imagine what a mother’s heart must go through as she watches her baby girls grown into beautiful young women. Both your girls love God and seek Him, I know that God will hold them close!

      Yes, there are men of courage out there. I have met them. I LOVE the movie ‘Courageous’ and think EVERYONE needs to see it. I scraped my pennies together and pre-purchased it for my family friendly video library. Now I cannot wait until they make a movie that calls women out the same way. Once the men make the choice the women will be able to find the same strength. It’s the proper order 😉

  7. Bob Teeple said,

    01/12/2012 at 11:50

    Follow the yellow brick road…..and whether you meet a scarecrow, tin man, or cowardly lion, you will eventually reach your destination……


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