January 28, 2015

When your comfort zone breaks open

By Tatianah Green

As scary as it might be for some of us, there are going to be moments in your single season when you’re going to have to get uncomfortable. I recall looking at my vision board recently and it had a quote about living outside of your comfort zone. It held me accountable to something that I knew deep down in my heart that I wanted and needed in order to become what God had created me to be.

There are so many things that we as single adults have to at some point get uncomfortable with. I’ll share that for me personally, facing confrontation with others is not comfortable for me at all. I don’t, however, want to stew in my feelings any longer than necessary. I have to take the necessary steps to be appropriate yet honest with what’s on my mind, whether good or bad.

For some of you it may be taking initiative to approach someone you’re interested in, or breaking away from that toxic relationship, or confronting a friend, or finally realizing that you have a character flaw that needs work. Getting uncomfortable in your singleness requires you to be brave and being willing to learn in this season. God will put you through some situations to show you exactly how you are when the discomfort comes. It’s up to you at that point to retreat to your comfort zone (flesh-led decision) or face change head on (spirit-led decision) even if you don’t know what that change looks like. As the maxim goes, if you want something different, you've got to be willing to do something different.

Don’t be afraid to face your challenges in your personal growth. Let’s say that you have an issue with patience and you realize that it’s time to change those behaviors associated with being impatient. God will allow you to get tested in patience. He values patience, for it’s one of the best characteristics that we as believers can enact; it’s also part of who He is. And if we are made in God’s image, then yes, we ought to love and be patient, longsuffering with one another as He is with us.

When in the midst of the test, remember His promises or His word concerning that area that you are working on. For me, it’s being totally open with how I feel. There are times when I feel I’m holding back from what I should say out of fear. But I remember scriptures like 2 Timothy 1:7 that says that God has given me power, love and a sound mind, not fear. The fear of potential rejection or hurt would keep my mouth shut or move around the topic. As of late I’ve been getting better and saying how I feel, although I’m better at writing it out! I rather address this personal issue now in my singleness than later down the road when I’m married.

Also be aware of your motivation to move out of your comfort zone. As followers of Christ we want to pursue the Kingdom first, the One who died for us to us free. Let God be your true motivator for change because of your love and reverence for Him. Don't focus on the concept of a "reward" that you get for good behavior. Remember that your growth is not just about you. There may be people waiting on you to get uncomfortable! Don't worry about anything that you have a desire for. Walk with God and He will provide all your needs (in His timing) according to His riches and glory.

Remember the last time that you realized you’ve grown out of an old comfort zone? It was restricting and heavy, but now it seems as if you have more room to move and be who you are. It’s truly freeing to get out of the comfort zone. The uncomfortable feeling only lasts for a brief moment, but nobody wants to believe that. When you get over that uncomfortable part, you’ll feel relieved and no longer burdened by what you were holding onto in the comfort zone.

What are some things that you know you could make more effort to work on? It’s time to get out of those comfort zones and be ready to embrace real change.

January 23, 2015

When they're not "the one" after all

By Tatianah Green

Last summer I met someone who I was interested in and we kind of hit it off. The attraction was there and there were other elements that seemed to fall into place. However, the distance between us and some unshakable red flags (confusion, it seemed we were unequally yoked spiritually) stood out to me and I had to make a decision. I prayed and over time, I was finally at peace with the fact that that man was not meant to be my husband. 

It had been months since we talked via a social app, and he reached out to me out of the blue recently, saying that I had deserted him, or I guess I "fell back" as some would say. I realized that it was time to gracefully tell him the truth and not lead him on. I wrote as honestly as possible, incorporating the fact that I did not have much peace at all about the notion of being his wife, which is what he wanted, though in my loneliness then entertained the thought in the beginning. I thank God for opening my eyes instead of me getting in my own way and putting myself on an unnecessary emotional roller coaster. It reminded me that it's important to guard your heart and not be led by emotions. 

He said that was fair to say and thanked me for being open. That was it, nothing much to explain how he felt, which I may not have needed to know anyway. I felt relieved! I want more from life, God's very best for me, and at this point I don't want to settle. It's not even about being picky. The world will tell you that because the world is led by their flesh. But if you incorporate the presence, the Word, and the wisdom of God to make the right decisions in your love life, you will be spirit-led.

They (the person you are letting go) are not always going to get it right away. It may be absolutely necessary to cut off communication, to drown out that voice that tries to stay on your mind and question your decision. The thing is, it’s not your decision in the flesh that reigns anymore, because we all would be with someone God didn’t have for us if we stuck with our flesh decisions. But when you choose to make a spirit-led decision, the flesh is not going to get it, and many times, neither will the person you’ve got to let go. Like when the enemy’s camp gets confused with us praising God, spirit in action is going to confuse the flesh.

I received a message saying that he wanted to talk sometime soon. I mean, what else is there to talk about? “To the Friendzone with you!” Lol. No, please, don’t say that to anyone. Some of these folks are not going to be your friends after this, just take the lesson from that seasonal person and move on as the Lord leads you. You are worth so much more than what your weak moments are willing to settle for. That’s why it didn’t “feel right” or lacked peace in the first place or even a few months later. Those red flags are so real, don’t look over it and call it grace--it’s a clear warning! I addressed this specifically in a post about “the Boaz illusion.

Trust me, I know it sucks to have that sunken feeling in your stomach when you thought what was meant to be is just not going to happen. The dreams you had are gone; the bubble has burst; the plans you made are obsolete because of the weight of reality.

And that’s okay. Similar to when you get over a crush from when you were a teenager, this blow to pride will too pass. It’s not the end of the world, just an end of that chapter with that person. Shoot, they may not even get the privilege of having a chapter in your love story, maybe a page and a half! You can be grateful for the positive moments, great conversations, and the feeling of simply having a connection with someone. To you that may mean a lot, but what if God says that’s not enough? What if you overlooked something long enough that you’ve settled for it? I’ve been there, and if you want to be in God’s divine will, you’ll have to submit those temporary feelings for His plan for your life.

Nothing will be able to compare to God’s best for you. When you follow His way to see His choice for you manifest, it will eclipse moments like these where you feel that it won’t get any better. No need to get dramatic about this; trust and believe that it will get better. God loves you more than you realize. He’s truly a keeper, and even if your heart is broken, He will mend it. He will also show you the lesson in that moment so that there are no repeats.

"Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand." {Proverbs 19:21 ESV}

We’ll bump our heads again and again, as long as our human nature strives to go ahead of the path past our spirit. You’ll start to realize one day that God is changing you for the better, even when it hurts. You’ll be empowered when resisting the enemy’s traps instead of attempting to move forward while turning your head backwards.

January 21, 2015

Poetry: "Letter to a Stranger"

By Author Nneka J. Howell

If I would have known back then what I know now,
I would have fallen off my bike on purpose,
As if my training wheels was a disservice,
Just so I could watch my skin be torn away from my flesh,
So that he would spend more time…
Patching me up

If I would have cried longer the day I got my finger smashed in the bathroom door,
Maybe he would understand that even as a woman, when I cry,
There is a piece of child inside
Left behind

Maybe he would know to wipe the tears until a smile arrives.
Maybe he would know that quality time would’ve given me a piece of mind…

Or what if I would’ve confessed to him my deepest secret,
Knowing he would’ve physically hurt anyone who dared to hurt me,
And maybe visiting him in prison is what I needed to see if it meant that he understood,
The importance of love-ing me.

 Maybe nothing would’ve ever been good enough.
No verb or noun, no pain, no gain, a no-brainer, the fact is,
What I lacked was never enough.

For him to keep at least one word,
For him to save me when I drowned in cries I felt was so unheard.
But God…

But God, removed that tumor from my chest.
He told me, that, being father-less didn’t mean I wasn’t blessed.
If I knew then, what I know now…
You’d see a smile through all my frowns.

You’d see what I couldn’t see, because while I was busy being me…
I was also busy trying to find out how much of a man,

And in the process of looking God right in the eye…
I found me, made in His image,
So what was absent,
Written by: Nneka J. Howell
Copyright  © 2014

Find out more about Nneka and her work on Facebook and connect with her as well on 
Instagram & Twitter: @authorladypoet

January 13, 2015

"Is it April yet?" Learning not to rush your now season

By Tatianah Green

I recently had a conversation with a friend in which I was complaining about the super chilly Chicago weather we’ve been dealt with over the course of a week. Snow, ice, slush, and below zero temps are enough for anyone to want to skip past January, and maybe a few more months to be safe because the Windy City doesn’t really warm up ‘til about late April.

Not too long of a moment passed that I felt a reminder in my spirit about not rushing God’s timing. I have a lot of things running around in my mind, and the future is one of them. If you’ve made your goals, resolutions, or even a vision statement or board for the year, you may be excited and focused on what that future looks like, perhaps even enough to want to rush this season or the next in order to reach that destination.

Admittedly it’s fun to sit and daydream about the future. You probably do so on a good date (don’t lie to me, lol). However, while you’re stuck in a potential future, you could be missing on your answer to all of that in the present. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings in every season. If you are single, seek the Lord on why you are and be patient for and with His response. If you are dating or courting, don’t be anxious for anything and pray about everything! Christians in this stage need to pray more because there are important factors (another person’s feelings, spirit, time, etc.) that are coming into play. If you’re so laser focused on the future, how can you prepare for it now?

You wouldn’t be ready and you could delay your process. Not to say that God can’t reveal something about your future to you, but you can’t let that be all that’s on your mind. There are things in the present that need tending to in order for that future of yours to manifest. So when the Holy Spirit comes in and snaps you out of it, wake up and pay attention to what’s around you.

Being present mentally in the present time is beneficial because there’s always a lesson to be learned. Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us that there is a time and season for everything. If each day is a gift, we have to be grateful for each one and find that sliver of joy or hope in each one. This is coming from a woman who often looks forward to Friday aka the weekend. I have to change my outlook on the days between last Saturday and the next Saturday by intentionally asking the Father each day to show me something that day, being open to Him using me. Also being grateful for being alive, taking in a deep inhale and exhale and acknowledging the day as a gift can help you appreciate it more.

If you feel stuck in routines from day to day, shake things up and do something different and out of the ordinary that won’t break your budget or take up too much time. Just taking a different route to your everyday destinations can give you a different, refreshing perspective on things in your day to day.

Listen, I know all too well that the future seems cool, fun, different, but you know what else? It’s not guaranteed. Jesus kept it real when He said neither man nor angels know the time when the end of days will come. Only God knows, but if we’re distracted by a fantasized future that may not happen, we could be unprepared for what actually is guaranteed to happen. We can be comforted in the now for He also says to not dwell on the future too much and let “tomorrow worry about itself.”  

We have enough to handle in these precious 24 hours, these 7 days, these several weeks, these few months per season, these years, and so forth. Will you submit your future plans to God to fully embrace your present's course? I’m working on it! I pray that you are too.

January 9, 2015

Join us for Pillow Talk on Thursday, January 15th!

For my singles, engaged, and married folks, this call-in event is for you! 
Join me and Author Debrena Jackson Gandy for a FREE one hour call about dating, relationships and more. 
What makes this discussion more impactful are the questions that we get from the audience! 

Please, don't be shy, email, DM, Inbox etc. your questions about love to bliss4singles@gmail.com

Call Time:
 9-10 pm Central Standard Time
10-11 pm Eastern Standard Time
7-8 pm Pacific Standard Time

I will be trying to do double duty next Thursday and Tweet from @BLISS_BCS, so be sure to follow us and participate in the discussion by using the hashtag #BLISS. For all you Scandal and HTGAWM fans, the new shows will not be on, so call in and
get enlightened in love lessons for your 2015. Talk to you soon!

Me and Debrena Jackson Gandy in October 2015

December 31, 2014

2015 and the Single's Manifesto

Happy New Year!!! Well almost. I've been working hard at my job and haven't been able to update the blog until right now. Below is a list of the top ten most viewed posts this year. As I looked over the list I must agree these were some fun topics to cover with a Christian perspective. I look forward to covering much more in the new year. If you've missed a blog post or want to rewind to the lessons presented, feel free to click and share on your social media sites. I appreciate the love and support. Don't forget my post on BlackandMarriedWithKids.com!

What topics should B.L.I.S.S. take on in 2015? You can always submit an idea to me via the contact box in the right-hand column or email me at bliss4singles@gmail.com

2014's Top Ten Blog Posts from BlissforSingles.com (B.L.I.S.S.) 

10) Toure' and Sarah Jakes Roberts get married! (November)

9) Black Love Role Models: Ryan and Michelle (February)

8) 10 don'ts that guys do that get them in the friendzone (October)

7) Tony Gaskins Jr. speaks on "Real Love" in Chicago (April)

6) Modern dating terms that make no sense (July)

5) What makes a Christian man sexy? (March)

4) Situationship is not a word: more dating terms that don't make sense (July)

3) B.L.I.S.S.: 2 years and counting (January)

2) More than a crush: when #MCM and #WCW goes too far (February)

1) Ciara, Future, and the Boaz Illusion (August)

If I go into YouTube videos, I'd love to expand on these topics, especially this year's most popular post about the Boaz Illusion. But before I get into 2015 plans, I want to share a brief pep post for my fellow BCS's (Beloved Christian Singles): 

The Single's Manifesto 2015

I am single, and I am powerful.
God has purposed me for great things according to His word which does not return void.
I, in my single state, am where I need to be.
I will be bold, confident, unbothered by the ways of the world.
I will hold steady, focused on the One who has lit my path all of these years.
Through past mistakes, the Lord has been with me.
Through these errors I used to be ashamed, but I can now say that I am renewed, delivered, set free.
I'm equipped with the keys of experience and wisdom to help my brothers and sisters be free as God has called me to do.
My past does not hold me back anymore, fear is not my default state of thinking.
I am a faith-filled believer in Jesus who proved that all things are possible.
Nothing will stand in the way of what God has for me; His will is what I desire most in life.
No matter what happens in 2015, I will trust the Lord, my Father, provider, and everything in between.
I am powerful, and I am single.

Manifesto means "a public declaration or policy or aims; mission statement." What is your mission statement? Have a safe New Years Eve, and a more than amazingly blessed 2015!

Much Love,

Tatianah Green
Editor in Chief, B.L.I.S.S.

December 26, 2014

Kwanzaa, anyone?

By Tatianah Green

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas yesterday as many acknowledged the birth of our Lord Jesus in their own special ways. Over the years we have made Christmas and its traditions part of our culture.

From music to food and gift giving, Christmas has influence on and participation by the Black community. One traditional holiday that hasn't been around nearly as long is that of Kwanzaa, an African American/Pan-African holiday that starts today until January 1. Calendars recognize it, your African American Studies professor may have told you about it, but do you celebrate it?

I remember learning the most I've ever learned about the 7-day holiday in third grade (shout out to Mrs. Toni Fila). We had to learn a Kwanzaa song, wear African prints and paper Kente print hats, and read about the traditions. Then after that I've never celebrated. December 26th was to me just the day after Christmas. Is Kwanzaa not cool enough? Do we just not know about it? Is it "too African" for American Blacks? After all of these years, it seems to me that a holiday like Kwanzaa needs to be acknowledged, if not celebrated, more than ever within the African American community.  Here are a few reasons why:

  1. For one, it's not a religious holiday, it's a cultural holiday. You don't have to be Christian or any other faith to celebrate Kwanzaa. It's the celebration of African heritage and community that we all desire to have in the bottom of our hearts. Learn more here

  2. Kwanzaa celebrates 7 key principles (aka Nguzo Saba) that we all really need in this time in our nation's history. African Americans among other minorities are center stage of racial inequality in 2014. Instances and "incidents" are happening nearly every day, and more than ever we need a sense of unity in our neighborhoods and communities. This is where Kwanzaa can come in, and remind us of the importance of being united, being determined, responsible, collaborating with one another in the marketplace, operating in purpose, expressing our creativity freely and having faith.

  3. When everyone else who isn't Black wants to appropriate our culture, we can't leave Kwanzaa to die, get watered down, or disappear because of our lack of knowledge about it. Kwanzaa is the time outside of Black History Month for our country and community to celebrate the lives of Black people, period. No other holiday is going to do that, not even MLK Day. In the midst of the consistent disrespect that the world seems to show our culture, they can never take our spirit. The African American community has its flaws but we are a resilient people, comprised of so many blends of nations, tribes, groups, and beliefs. Kwanzaa is the time when we are just people, whole human beings with a common root to the Motherland, where life began. 

I encourage you all to look up the history of Kwanzaa and see if you want to celebrate. Even taking the time to give back or encourage your brothers and sisters in special ways this week is enough. If you live in the Chicago area, the DuSable Museum has events for Kwanzaa, click here to learn more.

Do you celebrate Kwanzaa? If not, would you? Let me know on Facebook!