purpose

The Layaway Plan

Dating, courting, whatever term you chose to use, has become quite interesting these days. It can all seem so complicated, especially when there seem to be so many rules in the game of dating. Who should call who first? How long should you wait? Do you take turns setting up dates or wait on each other? I have gotten plenty of those questions, but I want to skate past this today. I get many questions all coming down to “How do I know they are serious?” I often refer to what I call “The Layaway Plan”.

Let me break this down. Almost everyone has gone shopping for something a handful of times. Layaway programs were created to allow customers to lay claim to items they desire by investing usually at least 10% of an item.  If you are still searching for other items and you aren’t sure if you are going to find exactly what you are looking for, you can make sure no one else claims the others you in which you are interested. If they don’t find anything better, then they have a time frame in which they can fully complete their purchase. Sometimes you decide you find something better and let go of the items on layaway. Many of us date with this method whether we identify it or not.

Let’s say I find a guy in whom I am intrigued, but I am not quite sure whether it is exactly what I want. He may have some characteristics or traits, but I am not sure. There may be another guy that comes along that may have exactly what I think it is in which I am looking. Of course, I don’t want to miss out on this guy. So, I have to invest just enough to keep him occupied or intrigued. I may call him, text him, and spend time with him. I’m just making sure I do enough that I can keep some of the other prospects away from him. That way I am not missing out on what could be potentially be a great thing or my person.

Some of you aren’t even going to be real and admit that you have done that or if it currently identifies with you. I realize that you have to date in order to find love. Now you do have to know what it is you want or looking for in order to find it. I could stop right there. No commercials just yet though.  Some of you want to put people on layaway for free. You make no kind of investment, but expect them to be there when you get back. That is hilarious to me. You may even start other layaway plans while still searching for what you want. Some of you are on layaway and don’t even realize it because she or he makes you feel special. You don’t even realize that they are only investing in the minimum to keep you off the market. They know someone will come and want to fully invest in you. They may not be ready to fully commit for whatever reason or excuse.

One thing that people tend to forget while still shopping at times is that the layaway plan has a limit. There is an expiration written into the policy. Most layaway plans don’t exceed over 90 days. You have 90 days to make a decision on whether you are willing to make the investment to make the full purchase. I was reminded tonight that during holidays an extension is often given now so you may get 120 days. That is not the norm. If I am not willing to fully invest, then I can’t string a man along. Let’s be honest. Most of us really know within that time frame whether we can see something progressing from that relationship. Now there can be several different factors that cause us to hold on past this point. It can be comfort, fear of missing out, fear of the unknown, fear of causing hurt, selfishness, etc. For the sake of time I won’t elaborate on those in this post. I will hit that another time.

I personally held on to some relationships or friendships because I was comfortable with the familiarity. It was easier not to start over and learn someone else new. I told myself that we had a really great friendship and isn’t that a great foundation for a great marriage? Now don’t get me wrong, it can be. Sometimes we are in denial. Some of us had great friendships only because we didn’t do anything to rock the boat. You don’t want to be rude or hurt feelings. Some of my greatest friendships are with people who don’t mind hurting my feelings. I thought that if I stuck it out it would change and marriage would evolve eventually. We would get on the same page. There is potential. Truth be told, I saw red flags along the way that pointed me to an end. I knew it was time to let it go and I held on anyway. I caused more hurt by lingering than by letting them go. I had to ask myself was I keeping the other person from finding their person because I hadn’t let them go. I loved them enough that I wanted them to be truly happy even if it wasn’t with me.

If you aren’t going to invest, then let them go. I hear people tell me that they are going to entertain one person, until someone else comes along that catches their attention. Here is the problem with that. It usually doesn’t work that way. If you really want to experience love and happiness with an individual, you must be willing to be vulnerable. Let me say it again another way. The level at which you chose to stop being vulnerable, is the level of happiness and love you can experience.  I know it doesn’t feel great being vulnerable. Who wants the feeling of thinking they can be hurt?

They are so many different scenarios of how this layaway plan can play out. I will touch on more of these soon.  As for now, don’t be someone’s expired layaway plan. If someone hasn’t made the investment yet, don’t think you aren’t worth it. Don’t use this to measure your worth. Maybe that person is just not your person. Someone will come who will be ready to fully invest when it’s time and see the treasure you are.  Don’t leave people on layaway once you know you have no intention of making the full investment.

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Beyond Bondage

If I took a virtual poll right now, how many of you would choose freedom over being locked up in prison? Let me be the first to raise my hand! I think that majority of us would choose to be free right? You are probably thinking “Tara, who wouldn’t?” This seems like it would be an easy decision. Those who are behind those prison walls would probably give anything to be on the other side. A couple of weeks ago I had a vision and it left me a little puzzled for a moment. I was shown a prison cell. There was a woman sitting on a bench with ankle cuffs and handcuffs. The officer opened the door of the cell. He came in and removed the ankle cuffs and then the handcuffs. He walked out leaving the door to the cell wide open. She stayed right there and didn’t get up once she was set free. I couldn’t quite understand why someone would be sitting in prison and they are already free. There are so many of us who are in this same position of the lady from my vision.

God has set us free from bondage of addictions, relationships, hindering mindsets, abuse, etc. Yet some of us are like the woman sitting behind the cell free and don’t even know freedom has already been granted. We are holding ourselves in bondage of things that God has already released from our lives. In some cases, many have asked to be free. Many nights of crying ourselves to sleep because all we can think about is what lies beyond this place of confinement. Some are all cried out and living silently in pain. Hearts are aching to experience happiness beyond the bondage. Now that we have been given the liberty to get up and walk out, we are stuck sitting on the bench. Fear has come, and we don’t think there’s going to be a better life outside these walls. There is so much beyond the bondage, but you must first receive the freedom. If all you can visualize is doom and defeat, you will never be free. You must see life beyond bondage.

Maybe some of us found the courage to walk out. We took the steps and realized that there is a new-found freedom. Now we are out of prison, but we think that life outside of what we are used to is so hard. We are used to being bound emotionally, physically and psychologically that we struggle accepting the newness. This is a trick of the enemy to get you stuck in prison, so you don’t walk into the greatness that your lies ahead of you. You start to think that it was better being in prison then being free. You forget the bad things about prison that caused you to cry out for something better and thinking there must be more to life than this.  My heart aches for us that are deceived to believe prison is so much better than being liberated. It may be new and may even hurt sometimes when we are separating from relationships. It is only temporary. It will get better and you will be able to thank God for the freedom. Your mindset must be renewed with this new freedom or you will still be stuck in the prison of your mind. Listen do not sell yourself short. You are worth more than what you are accepting.

 
Then some has walk right back into the doors of the prison cell and close the door ourselves. Yes, we think that prison cell is our home and that’s the place that brings us peace because it turned into our normal. You start investing more into this place of bondage hoping to yield happiness. You are practically decorating the cell, so you can tell yourself it’s not that bad. Underneath all of that, remember it is still prison. It doesn’t matter how pretty you make it seem in your mind. There isn’t beauty in bondage. I know it seems hard for any of you to think that any of these images can be you. I was once that woman on the bench inside the prison. I was so used to the heartache, pain, and even numbness that came along with it. I struggled with moving past that to walk into a place where I could truly live. Oh, I thought, that I was living because of what I labeled as good moments. I had no clue that I was slowly dying, and life was being sucked from me. Think about prison. When a person goes in, their life stops at that moment until they are released. You aren’t truly living in bondage. There is so much life, joy, peace, happiness, prosperity, and healing beyond bondage.

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I ask you to please search where you are currently. Are you sitting in prison after God has released you? Are you out of prison, but now you are aching to be back in the walls of confinement? Have you returned to prison and locked yourself back inside to what God has released from you? Are out of prison and enjoying your freedom, walking in your purpose, and truly enjoying the life God has for you?