If I rang you up today and asked you if you were a good judge of the people whose profiles we send you, I can bet £100 your answer would be Yes.
‘Just wait on the Lord, HopefulGirl. I believe He’s got a lovely husband lined up for you.’ That’s what a dear old Christian lady told me one Sunday morning. It wasn’t the first time I’d heard it. Many times over the years, well-meaning people told me God had already ear-marked my future husband, ready to be delivered at the appointed time.
I wished I could be so sure. But as I looked around the church, I saw many wonderful women entering old age single and childless. ‘I suppose it just wasn’t the Lord’s plan for me,’ they’d sigh. Digging deeper, I’d discover they had spent decades waiting, longing and praying for a husband and family, and were left bewildered by how they’d misread God’s intentions. I didn’t want to end up like that.
At some point, many of us wonder whether it’s right to take our future into our own hands by signing up for dating services. After all, if God has a plan for our lives, shouldn’t we simply trust him to provide Mr or Ms Right when he sees fit? Or could it be that God expects us to be pro-active about our lives and relationships? Might he even use a dating service to lead us to our future spouse?
This dilemma came into sharp focus for me when I found myself suddenly single at 35. It was one thing coming to terms with being dumped by my fiancé, just as we were finally planning the whole wedding-and-babies thing. It was another to prayerfully decide I was ready to love again, then take a look around my Christian circle and discover the tally of eligible bachelors came to… zero!
I knew I didn’t want to marry a non-believer, so unless I was going to start eyeing the youth group like some predatory sugar mummy, I was going to have to look further afield. And there was no time to waste if I was to meet Mr Right while there were still a few eggs left in the basket. A little research soon revealed there were plenty of opportunities for unmarried believers to meet and mingle. But was it… right?
Of course, opinions differ. But after earnest prayer, I concluded that instead of waiting at home for God to drop a partner into my lap (although he can certainly do that if He chooses), I should get out and about, and meet lots of suitable singles. It surely couldn’t do any harm – and at least I’d know everyone else was also looking for love, so I wouldn’t have to subtly cop a look at the ring finger of anyone who caught my eye!
So, while continuing to pray that God would bring me the right man at the right time, and not allow me to venture too far down any dead ends, I threw myself into the Christian singles scene with gusto. It was the start of an amazing journey.
HopefulGirl’s book, ‘Would Like To Meet: The Real-Life Diary Of A 30-Something Christian Woman Looking For Love’, is published by BRF in paperback and Kindle – download your free sampler at www.brfonline.org.uk/hopefulgirl. You can connect with HopefulGirl at www.facebook.com/HopefulGirlUK
I’m continuing on with a theme I started in my last post- and it’s about perservance – because that is the name of the game when you are dating and trying to meet new people.
Yesterday I had a difficult phone call from a lovely lady I’d met at one of our London dinners. She had a good old rant and rave at me – indeed I couldn’t get a word in edgeways for at least 15 minutes – and she was quite exhausting to listen to – not least because of the speed at which she was talking. [A note here is to always try and pick up how you are coming across to others when you're on the phone to them. I didn't tell her that if she'd done anything similar with a new friendship she'd be shooting herself in the foot!]
Now she told me how many set backs she’d been having – describing each one in detail – and how as a result she was thinking of giving up, packing it all in and making do with life as a single person – despite the fact she really does want to be with someone and not be on her own any longer. As she spoke I was reminded of St. Paul’s writing to the Philippians and his exhortion of them to not count the cost of their troubles but to press on towards the goal before them:
“Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3 13 – 14)
St Paul was on a mission to preach Christ and nothing was going to stop him doing that – not earthquakes, not poverty, non imprisonment, not the loss of friends, indeed not any difficulty.
You have to have the same mindset at St. Paul in your quest to find a loving partner. Yes chances are bad things are going to happen along the way – you are going to be discouraged; some people won’t answer your letters or phone calls; some people will treat you badly – and sometimes you’re going to feel awful about it all.
But the key thing here is to take a note from St. Pauls book. Keep your goal fixed in your mind – and then the things that happen along the way won’t put you off your course. Keep in your minds eye the happiness you will find when you find your soul mate – and keep running the race to find them with this in mind. Then you’ll be able to persevere and you will reach your goal I assure you.
I was at church last Sunday and our vicar put up a slide which had the following quotation on it from Joyce Meyer:
“When you are tempted to give up, your breakthrough is probably just around the corner.”
This really caught my attention because I am in the middle of learning a new software programme and it’s really really hard. In fact it’s driven me to sleepless nights and exasperation and I’ve been wondering whether all my effort is worth it. I have come so close to throwing in the towel and letting it all go. But then on seeing this (and taking heart from it and applying it to my own situation) I have persevered and although I’m a long way from my breakthrough I think I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and I am confident that I’m not far away and that the results are going to be amazing.
Now I know many people who join friendsfirst find that their expectations haven’t been met in the first flush of membership. Or they think they’ve put some effort into contacting others and yet have not had the results they were looking for. It’s not uncommon for them at this point to throw the towel in and think perhaps they’ve made a big mistake in joining.
Now, if you are feeling at all that way, then re-read Joyce’s quotation and take it to heart. It’s a real truism for life. Just at the point you think of giving up, is exactly the point at which you are probably going to make a breakthrough. And this breakthrough could have a lifechanging impact – especially if it means new friends coming into your life, new contacts made or something you learn that you implement which makes a difference. We have so many members who testify to this truth – they were about to give up but decided to persevere and that’s when they met Mr or Mrs Right.
The older I get the more I realise that most things in life don’t come easily – but those that are hard won are often the sweetest and most long lasting. Relationships are just like this too but they are certainly worth hanging in there for.
With best wishes as you wait for your breakthrough
I recently rented a field to put some animals in and now I need to get it fenced. I’ve had the field for about 5 months now and but it’s still not fenced! Secretely I keep hoping some fencing contractors will magically ring me up out of the blue and tell me they know I want the field fenced and suggest they come and do it.
Rationally of course I know this just isn’t going to happen however much I wish it would. If that field is going to get fenced then I have to get off my proverbial and do something about it.
If it’s going to be….. it’s up to me.
And it’s the same for you with your membership of friendsfirst.
Are you waiting for other people to contact you?
Well if you are, you could be waiting a long time.
Instead like my fencing project you have to take action yourself. With your membership you just have to detemine that you are going to make contact with others, set some dedicated time aside and just do it!
And like my fencing project, once I start it, it’ll probably happen very easily. And it’ll be the same for you. But making that first move is so important.
Why not do it now
I don’t need to tell you that in the dating world, there is masses of choice and sometimes it feels it’s hard to get yourself seen and noticed by the right people (or in your case the right person). Well the truth is, it isn’t hard to get seen and noticed……. if you do the right things.
This point has been beautifully illustrated recently by Air Zealand and it’s worth studying what they’ve done and applying it to your dating journey.
Everyone who’s ever been on a plane knows how boring the safety talk is. If you’ve flown more than once, you probably don’t listen to what comes over the tannoy before your flight takes off – however much the crew try to persuade you to do so. It’s just too boring and you’ve heard it all before. And yet from the airlines point of view, it is really important that they get you to listen to it (in the same way that in the dating world, getting someone to pay attention to you rather than someone else is really important).
Air Zealand knew they had to do something radically different to what everyone else was doing if they were going to get their customers to listen to their safely briefing. And here’s what they’ve done. Check out their 4 minute video by clicking on this link http://youtu.be/cBlRbrB_Gnc
Now what I find amazing is that not only is this video a hit on their planes – but it’s had over 10 million hits on youtube. This is a safety video we’re talking about – the thing people won’t watch when they are on a plane – and yet here are over 10 million people watching it when they aren’t on a plane.
If this is what a big successful company like Air New Zealand are doing, then it’s worth sitting up and noticing.
Do you want to stand out from the crowd? Do you want people to take notice of the communications you’re sending out? If so, BE DIFFERENT, do something different; do something original. It’s not hard – it just needs some thought.
Today I want to ask you if you are getting the response you want from the people you are contacting?
OK so this assumes one very big thing – that you ARE making contact with others! If you aren’t making the first move and aren’t making contact with others, then this email is going to be wasted on you. But let’s assume you are. You’re sending emails and letters and making phone calls to other members.
If you aren’t getting the response you want – or aren’t getting any response at all, then you need to take a good look at what you are doing.
Let me ask you some more questions.
Are you giving the people you contact enough reason to contact you back? (and saying ‘I hope you’ll write back’ is NOT enough!)
Are you being interesting enough about yourself?
Are you showing sufficient interest in the person you’re contacting?
Are you offering them any reason to get back in touch with you?
It might be as simple as sharing an interest – or making a comment about a shared hobby or interest – or it might be that you raise a topic of conversation, make a comment and ask for their opinion. Done in the right way it’s hard NOT to respond to something like this.
Setting out your stall and just hoping that making contact is a good enough effort that should elicit a response is NOT the case. It’s NOT enough. Keep doing this and you’ll soon think that everyone else is uninterested and uninteresting – which won’t be true.
Be interesting yourself, be interested in others yourself, be different, and be thoughtful and you’ll soon find the response you get from the contacts you make gets better and better.
This isn’t rocket science, but it does need a little thought and some effort… which will pay great rewards I promise.
I’ve recently been thinking about goals.
Now I’ve never been a very goal orientated person. I’ve always found them a bit difficult to set and generally I don’t do it. I think if I’m honest it’s more down to mental and emotional laziness than anything else (well and perhaps a bit of fear!).
But I do know that in the few times of my life when I have set a goal I’ve always reached it – which is pretty amazing when you think about it – and some of these goals (for example obtaining a visa to go and live in Australia) were NOT easy to achieve.
Goals really do give us focus in life and help us to see where we are going, and there’s one thing that’s certain… you are going somewhere and if you don’t determine your path to a degree then you’ll probably drift like a rudderless boat pushed this way and that by the wind,.
So can we set goals to do with our personal life?
You might think you can set a goal like ‘I want to get married in the next 2 years’. Now I’d say this was more of a desire than a goal… because it’s not something you can achieve on your own- and it’s not something you can completely control.
However you can control the steps that would lead you in that direction – and therefore you can set goals to achieve this.
For example you might have had as a goal “Join an introduction agency within six months in order to meet more people.” You can tick you’ve done that. Excellent.
What other goals might you now set yourself to help you move forward towards your dream?
Here are some examples
- I’m going to contact (by phone, email or letter) x number of people each month.
(this is a very specific targeted goal that you can measure – that’s always important)
- I’m going to meet x number of new people in the next x months (again specific and measurable).
Once you’ve set this goal you are going to have to start thinking how to make this happen. For example:
o Are you going to invite other friendsfirst members to meet up with you?
o Are you going to attend an event and meet new people there?
o Are you going to join a local club and meet new people there?
- I’m going to take up a new interest/hobby so that my profile is more interesting and I’ve got new things to talk about to other people.
Setting goals help us to be more purposeful.
They always help us measure how we are doing.
If you are anything like me, then you are probably finding life flying by – you are always busy – but not necessarily achieving or getting what you want in life.
Set some goals and I assure you you’ll find it easier to structure your time and life to achieve them.
Take some time to set some goals for yourself now …. And then of course don’t forget to track how you are doing on them in 1/3/6 months time.
I went to a ‘singles’ night out recently and it was fascinating to watch how people behave.
Most people didn’t make a huge effort to meet everyone else at the event, and some people didn’t make any effort at all.
Now I found this truly amazing. Here’s an event that is arranged specifically to help single people meet each other in an easy informal way and yet some people stood around like lemons not talking to anyone and not making the effort to meet people.
“Yes but perhaps they were really shy – I know how they feel” I hear you say. Well perhaps they were – indeed one man even told me he was (and the reality is MOST people feel shy at events like this!). But in that case he needs to do something about it – because acting like a wall flower isn’t going to help him meet other people (which is what he was there for!).
Now if any of this resonates with you (although I’m sure you wouldn’t be like it would you) then I hope the following will help.
If you are shy and find it difficult to meet people at events then try these things to improve the number of people you meet.
1) Set yourself a goal e.g at tonight’s event I am going to meet and talk to three people I haven’t met before.”
Having a goal in itself will help you know what you have to do in the time you have available – rather than just hoping things will happen by chance to you. Try it and see for yourself the difference it will make.
2) Rehearse beforehand some introductory lines to say to people when you first meet them. For example you could say “Hello my name is [fname] and I’m from [fcity] – where have you come from today?” And you might follow this up with “How long have you been a Christian for?” or “How do you most like to spend your time” if the conversation hasn’t naturally flowed on.
If you need to move on to talk to the next person you can very politely say: “I hope you’ll understand but I’m determined to meet three new people tonight so I’m going to introduce myself to x over there. It’s been really lovely meeting you and I hope we will get a chance to chat again a bit later.”
3) Monitor yourself at how you are doing with your goal. Perhaps inside you are still feeling really really shy but remember other people don’t see this; other people are feeling the same, and most people at these sorts of events are probably feeling the same way as you (whether they look like it or not) and will be absolutely delighted if you come up and start talking to them.
I promise you it works. I’ve been there and done it myself and I’m not saying it’s easy but I am saying it’s doable and it will help you meet people.
Today I want you to consider the first impressions your profile photographs are making.
Firstly I trust you have five photographs on your profile!
If you haven’t got five photographs on your profile it’s like going to church or a social gathering with a bag over your head.
And please don’t tell me that you are not photogenic or can’t get any photographs taken. This is not true. Everyone – and I meant everyone can have a nice photograph taken. And in today’s world of mobile phone cameras and photographic studios on every high street, getting a photograph taken is really easy.
So if you haven’t got five photographs on your profile stop making excuses and get them done and sent to us. (If you’re really really stuck, ring us and we’ll happily help sort this out for you).
If you have got five photos on your profile – well done. Now how do they look? Is at least one a recent one of you? Do the others protray you doing things in your life that will pique other people’s interest?
It’s quite hard to evaulate your own photographs so we would recommend asking a friend for their objective opinion. Or of course we’ll happily give you ours.
But please do take a moment to review your profile photographs. They do make a strong statement and first impression – and you do want to make this as good as possible.
This is our last email before Christmas so here’s wishing you a very happy one – I trust you will be blessed by knowing ever more deeply the love of God shown to us through the incarnation of his Son.