The Five P’s of Victory

One of the greatest fighters who ever lived, Muhammad Ali, once said:

“The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses…it’s won behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road long before I dance under those lights.”

 

We’re all familiar with the exuberant elation that comes from winning something.  We equate winning with being the best and the greatest within our league.  Let’s face it, there’s just something about the thrill of power that comes with the number one spot.

On the other hand, I’m sure most of us have had the experience of being served the bitter dish of defeat by an opponent.  This can conjure up emotions of agony that totally deflates our egos causing severe “pride-reversal.”

Although this paradigm exists, there are those that seem to have a knack for winning.  They always win the title belts, the gold medals, and the trophies.  They are the champions of our day.

What do those people do differently?  Some may argue that it’s strictly genetics.  Although this may be true on some level, I believe there is a system or a process for ensuring victory in our lives which can be summed up by the Five P’s of victory:

  1. Passion
  2. Process
  3. Power
  4. Performance
  5. Pay-Off

Passion

Passion is defined as a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.  Passion is the engine deep down in your belly that keeps you doing what you love, even when you’re tired, nervous, or even hurting.  Passion is the power that pulls you through your process.  It’s the secret weapon of success.  What you are passionate about is often an indicator of your true calling.  Even though this is the most fundamental indicator of your intrinsic purpose, it is perhaps the most elusive.  God has placed within you certain abilities and giftings that set you apart from everyone else.  It’s up to you to accept the challenge of unlocking the God-given power within you by discovering and embracing your unique passions.

If you expect to be an overcomer, then you must be passionate about your purpose.  Passion is what locks you into the “why” of what you’re doing.  In the absence of passion, quitting becomes easy.  What’s pulling you into your purpose?

Process

All champions have one thing in common; on some level, they value training, coaching, and development.  Training is the process of conditioning via instruction, discipline, or drill.  It is the preparation for a test of skill.  Generally speaking, it is the passageway through which the ordinary walks to become extraordinary.

I am a Black Belt in Tae-Kwon-Do, and have received several awards and trophies in the categories of forms and sparring.  I recall the days leading up to a tournament or testing, and how physically and mentally demanding it was.  I never enjoyed the process that I had to endure to produce excellence, but when those trophies were in my hands, the pain of the process seemed to dissipate.

God’s plan for your life is worth your present pain.  Diamonds must be cut before their brilliance is truly revealed.  Gold must be liquified before its purest form is revealed.  In like manner, the treasure that is within you must endure a refining process before your true essence and beauty is manifested.   1 Peter 1:7 states:

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ, [KJV].

Power

A very interesting phenomenon takes place during the training and developmental process.  Put very simply…you change.  If change does not happen on some level, then the efficacy of the process must be called into question.  You gradually become stronger, faster, wiser, and more confident.  The journey itself challenges you as you navigate the course required to reach your destination.  In turn, the obstacles that you encounter change you as they force you to reevaluate your current condition in relation to the desired goal.

When we pray for certain things, in most cases, God will answer with process.  For instance, you may pray for a spouse, but God may answer with a very difficult person that you have to work with on your job.  The process of working with that person sets you on a journey of self-discovery, where you learn that you are very impatient.  God’s message to you is this: before He brings that special someone into your life, you must learn patience.  The co-worker is just a pawn in the process.  When you learn to be patient with your co-worker, you’ll be better equipped to exercise that same muscle of patience with the person who will one day be your spouse.

The strength to bear the weight of what comes with your destiny is only acquired on the road to your destiny.  God is more concerned with your ability to maintain the demands that come with the next level, than the glory of crossing the finish line.

Performance

What do you do when it’s time to execute?  Can you handle the pressure of being on the grand stage, or do you experience the dreaded “performance anxiety?”

This phase of the process is where battles are either won or lost.  You can spend all your time training for the big day, but if you can’t fully execute, then all of your hard work will be in vain.  God always affords us opportunities to execute what we have learned in theory.  Hearing the word of God taught in church is like training on a punching bag.  The opponent isn’t real and it doesn’t punch back.  The real fight is in the ring of temptation and tribulation, when the real enemy, Satan, engages you on the battlefield of your mind.

When it’s time to perform, can you produce the will to execute what the drills were designed to teach?  The performance always reveals weaknesses in your training.  How you train is how you perform.  Any fighter worth his weight in gold knows that in order to perform at the highest level on fight day, he must push past his limits during his training.  If he skips training days and binges on Doritos and Honey Buns everyday, then fight day will reveal those weaknesses and punish them in like fashion.

Process is designed to reward diligence and punish indolence.  You get to choose the outcome of your performance based on how you handle your process.

Pay Off

In the world of sports, victory is never guranteed.  That’s what makes sports so magnetic.  It’s the charge of adrenaline that comes from witnessing the end result of training and its ensuing victory.  Champions aren’t champions just because they win, they are champions because of how they think.  A champion expects victory even though he knows that victory is never guaranteed.  The expectation of victory increases the probability of experiencing victory.

You should be jumping for joy now as you read this, because you live by a different law called the Law of the Spirit of Life (Romans 8: 2).  This law guarantees victory in your life when certain conditions are met.  1 John 5:4 states:

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith, [KJV].

Beloved, if you have been born again, you are guaranteed victory.  You’re an overcomer, but you must have faith in the victory Christ has won.  Through him, you have already overcome your greatest struggles.  It’s not just about winning, it’s about overcoming through the blood of Jesus.

Your process has prepared you for the very battle that you are facing now.  The enemy is no match for you and your Lord Christ.  Victory in Christ is guaranteed.  Together with him, you can conquer every opponent that tries to take your crown.

Romans 8: 35, 37: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us, [KJV]. 

As always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.  See you soon.

BE

Editor: Jaime Evans

Why I Don’t Like Easter

Before you break out the hammer and nails to crucify me, take a second to see if you agree with some of the things that I attempt to elucidate in this post.  When you’re done reading, if I’m successful, maybe you’ll share my sentiments.

With the recent passing of the Easter season, I contemplated extending an apology to all of my readers for not submitting a trite Easter post.  The type of post that says:

Hey everyone, Easter is here.  Now go to church to check the “Easter” checkbox.

Well, I thought about the apology and I changed my mind.  Although me not posting wasn’t intentional,  I’m somewhat pleased it worked out that way.  To be perfectly honest, the more I think about what we’ve turned Easter into, the more I realize that I don’t like it very much for the following reasons:

  1. Misplaced Motives
  2. Habitual Hypocrisy
  3. Easter Ends

 

Misplaced Motives

You may be able to relate to my stroll down Memory Lane here.  My earliest recollections of Easter were going shopping with my mother to get a new suit and a new pair of shoes.  I would spend all day in the barber shop (hated it) getting a fresh Easter haircut so that I could look like a million bucks when I stood in front of the church to recite my Easter speech.  Easter to me was more about a flawless look and performance than about celebrating new life in Christ.  My motives were misplaced.  Of course, when I grew up and accepted Christ personally, I realized what Easter was all about.  My motives and methods for celebrating Easter totally changed.  Easter became personal.  Jesus willingly suffered and died in my place before I even had the ability to know or understand that I needed Him.  Jesus subjected himself to the pangs of death.  He loved me so much that even though I deserved eternal death, Christ intercepted that judgment and died once so that I could live forever.  All of a sudden, the new suits and new shoes lost their luster when compared to Christ’s love for me (Thank You, Jesus).

I’m afraid many people still have misplaced motives when celebrating Easter.  This is a systemic epidemic within the church.  The message of the cross has been grossly abused, and we as an assembly have failed to convey and reproduce the power that is innate in its pure, unadulterated delivery.  The message of the cross is designed to initiate change in us.  Crucifixion was by far the harshest form of punishment dealt by the Roman government.  Even for the guilty, it was inhumane.  Within that framework, Jesus was led like an innocent lamb to the slaughter to pay a debt that He did not owe, and one that we could not pay.  The thought alone elicits an onerous emotion within us, thereby causing within us repentance, reverence, and ultimately right relationship.

 

 Habitual Hypocrisy

Another problem I have with how we handle Easter is the  hypocrisy that always rises to the surface.  Hypocrisy takes on many forms, all of which stem from one main motivation:

To appear to be someone that you’re not

The word hypocrite derives its context from the illustration of an actor who wears a mask in a stage play.  I think it’s safe to say that we have all indulged in our fair share of hypocrisy at some point.  However, I would like to cast some  light on a very specific type.  We all know people who don’t necessarily have church attendance as a priority on their to-do list.  Interestingly enough, an incredible phenomenon takes place every year on Easter Sunday as sanctuaries across the nation are packed to the max for an impressive display of liturgical pageantry.  Everyone shows up with their masks erected and dressed to impress.  We all know  and have witnessed what happens when you try to find these same people the other 51 Sundays of the year (they’re nowhere to be found).  I don’t have as much of an issue with this type of hypocrisy as I do with the next type that I’ll explain now.

It seems the people who attend church regularly, carry a different disposition, which I still categorize as hypocrisy.  In a nutshell, it’s the proverbial, “holier than thou” attitude.  I can’t emphasize how much I detest this type of hypocrisy.  The deception associated with this mentality says, “I attend church regularly, therefore I’m closer to God than you are.”  These people think regular church attendance alone is somehow gives them a special status with God.  Nothing is further from the truth.  In fact, this type of hypocrisy was the attitude that fueled the people responsible for killing Jesus.  They were so blinded by their own hypocrisy that they totally misjudged Jesus, because He didn’t arrive in the pretty “Messiah” package they were expecting.

Hypocrisy causes a blindness of sorts.  If you’ve ever worn a mask, you know that you lose almost all of your peripheral vision.  Therefore, when you operate from a hypocritical platform, you’re operating with limited vision.  How can you help others when you can’t see yourself?  In Matthew 7: 1-5, Jesus explains how a hypocritical slant can totally distort your perspective:

5.   Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

 

Easter Ends

For Christians, celebrating Easter should be a lifestyle.  The concept of commemorating Jesus’ death and resurrection is vital, however, the celebration should never be limited to one weekend a year.  The Resurrection is so much more than that.  It’s an invitation to experience the greatest power known to man through a genuine relationship with the risen Lord.  When you open your heart to Christ, your perceptions change, and everything becomes brand new according to 2 Corinthians 5:17.  When you fall in love with Jesus, and truly walk with Him, you will find reasons every day to celebrate, because it becomes evident that He lives in you.  Each day that you wake up, it’s a day of significance.  According the Lamentations 2, God’s mercies are brand new each morning, thus proving His great faithfulness.  Now that’s a reason to celebrate.

In conclusion, according to Colossians 3, new life in Christ is all about seeking God and discovering new frontiers in Him.  By all means, let us continue to commemorate Easter Sunday, by allowing the power thereof to permeate our lives and produce a lifestyle of results.

Let the celebration continue beyond the benediction.

 

As always, thanks for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.  See you soon.

BE

 

Ebullience: An Acrostic

Evening brings the sun’s demise

Before my eager, sun-kissed eyes

Ushering in the sounds of night

Layering skies with Sailor’s Delight

Love is the lens that stills and captures

In a moment of time the feelings of rapture

Expressed by my passion for sunsets in spring

Nurtured by the peaceful panacea they bring

Captured by this moment, a word I seek to find

Ebullience is the word I seek that fills my heart and mind

 

BE

Copyright Symbol black Copyright 2014, Brian Evans for Wisdom’s Quill

The Anatomy of a Promise

When I was a child, Saturday in my household was our family-fun day.  My mother would take my sister and I to run wild and play until our hearts were content.  We would go bowling, skating, to the state fair, to the park, to visit family, and tons of other amusements.  We would get super excited when Saturday would finally arrive, because we had something fun to look forward to.  Sometimes, extenuating circumstances would arise and spoil our fun day.  My mother would try her best to expain why we had to postpone our anticipated adventures.  Even though we tried to be understanding, the disappointment of expectations turned upside down would sometimes overwhelm our intellect, causing exteme bouts of pouting.  However, much to my delight, all was not lost.  As fate would have it, one day I discovered a powerful secret; one that I would like to share with you now.

 

The Power of the Promise

I know your ears are burning to know my secret…right?  Well, here it is:

I learned that when my mother promised us a weekend adventure, she took her word very seriously.  She was literally bound by her promise to take us to have our fun-filled day.  Once I discovered this secret, I would try to coerce my mother into making us a promise early in the week in order to cash in on that Saturday’s escapade. 

As I grew older (and wiser) I learned how promises really work.  I also learned that even my mother’s promises, as golden as they were, had their limitations.  Sometimes it would rain on the day that we planned to be outside.  At other times, my mother would fall ill and would have to take a raincheck on our weekend fun. 

As humans, when we make promises, they sometimes fall prey to circumstantial occurences. 

Enter the contingency.

A contingency is something that may happen, but isn’t certain to occur.  In other words, it’s plan B…or C…or D.  A contingency allows room for things we can’t control.  Therefore, the power of our promise is limited by the unknown.  Eventually my mother developed a strategy of her own, and started presenting the contingencies of  her promises to my sister and I.  If we planned an outdoor activity and there was rain in the forecast, either a contingency was presented or the fun day was postponed to a later time.

 

Contingency vs. Condition

God’s promises are not based on contingencies, but rather on conditions.  Contingencies preserve the integrity of our promises by providing other options.  Sometimes, contingencies are abused.  We’ve all been exposed to abused contingencies.  They’re called excuses.  Do you know a person that always makes promises, but seldomly fulfills them?  These types of people frequently make excuses and present weak, watered-down contingencies after the apparent failure. 

Not so with God.

Because God cannot lie, He doesn’t need a “just in case” contingency plan.  He doesn’t have to say, “I’m going to bless you, Brian…I promise.”  When He declares a thing, it instantaneously and automatically becomes truth right then and there.  As a result, once a condition has been attached to that truth, it immediately becomes a promise.   Furthermore, when it comes to the promises of God, He has placed certain demands on us to meet explicit conditions in order to activate those promises.

A condition is defined as a premise upon which the fulfillment of an agreement depends. 

Please allow me to wax scientific for a moment.

Generally speaking, there are two types of motive energy. 

  1. Kinetic Energy– Energy associated with motion
  2. Potential Energy– Energy based on the position or arrangement of an object

Picture this:

An arrow is positioned in an archer’s bow.  It is highly unlikely that the arrow by itself would be capable of dealing a lethal wound.  It must be acted upon in some way if it is to be directed toward its target.  As the archer pulls the string back, the energy in the archer’s arm acts on the bow as the arrow is drawn back with the string.  When the string is released, the energy stored in the bow (potential energy) transfers to the arrow through the string which sends it flying with great force (kinetic energy). 

The promises of God work in similar fashion.  God has attached conditions to his promissory words, and those conditions are potential energy.  Once we act on the promise, and meet the appropriate conditions, our action sends the promise into motion causing manifestation.  That’s why the words we speak (and our actions) are like triggers. It is so important to monitor what we say and do if we expect to walk in true power and favor.  Time after time I have struggled with saying the wrong things, via complaining or “venting,” instead of just simply activating God’s word.   

In essence, the promises of God are just waiting for the right person with the right amount of faith to come along and activate them by saying and/or doing the right things.

Will that person be YOU?

Ready, Aim, Fire!

 

As always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.  See you soon.

BE

 

Indestructible Beauty

As I approached the exit of my workplace, I noticed the wind and rain was especially boisterous.  I was initially hesitant to proceed, because I didn’t have my umbrella, but then I decided to “man-up” and make a mad dash for my car.  “Here goes,” I said to myself in a futile effort to psych myself out before I tore the door open and began my sprint to my car.  The rain was cold and the parking lot was a muddy mess; as rivers coursed across the pavement.  Upon approaching my car, I saw a peculiar-looking object lying on the ground.  I slowed my pace, as my curiosity got the best of me, so that I could make sense of what I was seeing.  Much to my surprise, right there on the pavement in the mud and rain was a single, solitary red rose.  I assumed someone had dropped it as they were en route to their destination.  As I gave pause in the rain to take in the scene, the writer in me was immediately awakened.  Prose and poems permeated my mind because of the paradox I was beholding.  From this paradox I would like to lift some simple truths to share with you. 

 

Your Beauty is Indestructible

Have you ever thought about what makes a rose (or any flower for that matter) so beautiful?  Roses have the unique ability to captivate us with their visual and aromatic appeal.  No matter the setting, climate, or variety roses are simply beautiful, and their beauty is indestructible.  When I saw the rose lying on the ground in the rain, it caught my eye.  On such an ugly day (from my perspective) surrounded by such ugly conditions (rain, mud, broken pavement) this rose was still beautiful.  The harsh, external conditions didn’t diminish the innate splendor and appeal of the rose.  In fact, I would venture to say, the beauty of the rose was heightened, because the surrounding conditions were so obscure.   

You may be in an ugly situation today, with mudslides and potholes all around you, but your life is like that rose.  You’re amazing because God made you that way.  According to Ecclesiastes 3:11, God makes all things beautiful.  God is working on something in you, and even though you may not look like it right now, you are a masterpiece in the making.  Some of the most beautiful gems start off as dirty, undesirable rocks.  However, with the right amounts of pressure, heat and time precious jewels are born. 

 

The Beauty of Connection

We are in an age where almost everyone is obsessed with physical, exterior beauty.  Unfortunately, this obsession has perverted the true ideal of what beauty really is.  Furthermore, one may ask, “What determines beauty?”  I believe out connections enhance our intrinsic beauty.  You can tell a lot about a person based on their connections.  It is vital to know what connections give you life and fulfillment.  These are what I refer to as essential connections.  Three of my essential connections are as follows:

God

Family

Writing

I won’t bore you with a long list of what inspires me, but I encourage you to spend time discovering what those connections are for you, and the power and beauty they usher into your life. 

One solemn fact that later dawned on me about the rose in the rain was there was no connection.  Even though the rose possessed residual beauty, I knew what the ineluctable fate of that rose would be:  Death by disconnection.

In much the same way, when we fail to connect with our Source (God) and what gives us life, we wither.  Our beauty fades when we remain disconnected from our creator and our purpose.  Psalm chapter one illustrates what proper connection looks like.  When we remain connected to God through meditation and communion, we become productive and flourish in our seasons.  Remember, your life is a stunning bouquet designed to reflect God’s beauty.  Your external circumstances will never be able to destroy your intrinsic glory, because your beauty is and will always be indestructible.

I would love to hear from you.  What are some of your essential connections?  Who inspires you to pursue greater? 

As always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.  See you soon.

BE

The Ghosts Within

Welcome to Wisdom’s Quill.  Please enjoy this original poem by yours truly.  Feel free to leave comments for discussion in the comments section.  I would love to hear from you.

 

The Ghosts Within

By: Brian Evans

 

Memories,

like ghosts of childhood past,

manifest in my mercurial muse.

Then, like vapors,

vanish into the air of my reality.

Some ghosts are friendly.

 

Like the ones that whisk me away

to eternal Summers and Dog Days

filled with June Bugs

and ice cream, homemade.

Then, away to late-night freeze tag

with family ties and fireflies.

 

Life was then a virgin,

not yet kissed

by the lips of demons in disguise.

Everything is pretty to innocent eyes.

Love was like snow,

freshly fallen and untouched

by the feet of curiosity.

Some ghosts are friendly.

 

Then, there are those

that carry a maddening haunt.

Like the ones that pull me

into cellars sworn to secrecy,

then leave me

to develop in the darkroom of photographic memories.

Some ghosts are enemies.

 

As vapors evanesce, leaving

their condensation on the windows of my reality,

I assent to this one brief soliloquy:

We are now, because of who we have been,

and we will be, because of the ghosts within.

SELAH

Copyright Symbol blackcopyright 2014

 

Published in Words & Images In Flight: Poetry and Visual Arts (Poets and Places).  March 2014

 

As always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.  See you soon.

BE

The Chronicles of Marriage Part 3: 20/20 LOVE

Welcome to Wisdom’s Quill.  This is the final installment of my series The Chronicles of Marriage.  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.  Feel free to share your wisdom with us in the comments section below.  See you next week.

I will never forget the moment I realized I needed eye glasses.  I was sitting in my college orientation class copying notes from the blackboard when all of a sudden, everything on the board was a blurred mess.  No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t bring anything into focus. 

When I went to the optometrist, he told me that I had Astigmatism.  In other words, the shape of my eyes had changed, and this caused light to be misdirected onto my retina, causing blurred images.  He gave me a prescription for my first complete pair of eye glasses, which consisted of two lenses in a frame.  When I tried on my brand new glasses, it was like I was seeing the world for the first time.  Everything was clear, sharp, and beautiful.  It’s amazing how acuity affects how we perceive beauty, and in much the same fashion, when it comes to love and marriage, we must have a certain level of clarity. 

 

The Lenses of Love

In no way will I even attempt to articulate the meaning of this vast and convoluted thing we call love.  Nor will I try to deceive you into thinking that I have attained a certain apprehension of the laws of love.  One need only pick up the treatise by C. S. Lewis called The Four Loves, to really understand how deep the rabbit hole of love goes.

I would, however, like to submit to you an unusual consideration.  It occurred to me, while contemplating love and marriage, that my eye glasses and my marriage have quite a bit in common.  You may be wondering how.  Well, they both have a frame and two lenses.  The frame of my marriage is love, and the lenses of love are compassion and calibration.  Compassion and calibration work together to provide the perfect image of love in marriage. 

 

The Lens of Compassion 

1 John 4:8 reads, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”  We are all familiar with the side of God that loves.  We are constantly recipients of that love daily, even when we’re unaware of it.  As a result of that love, compassion is not a foreign concept to us.  When the average person thinks of Jesus Christ, and how he loves, the most salient aspect of his personality is compassion.  It is the overwhelming sense of wanting to help others.  Compassion is a sympathetic response to someone else’s needs.  When we say “I love you,” at some point it must love must validate itself by action.  In the frequented script of St. John 3:16, God so loved, and the corresponding action was…He gave. 

Our motive in marriage should always be to give to each other.  If each person in the marriage is primarily concerned with meeting the other person’s needs, then it creates an atmosphere of security in the home.  We should be able to detect when something is wrong with our spouses.  The lens of compassion helps us to perceive the void and then move into action.

 

The Lens of Calibration

The second lens of love is that of calibration or correction.  We all need recalibration at some point in our lives.  Correction can be a sensitive topic among husbands and wives.  Methods of correction can vary from external consequences, to internal resolution.  In the sphere of marriage, correction should be approached from the standpoint of calibration.  As a mature adult, we should consistently aspire to improve in all areas of life.  Growth must be intentional.  Relationships have an uncanny way of sparking growth in areas of our lives that would otherwise be inaccessible.  Sometimes, the only way we would know if a personal trait or habit was undesirable is if someone we were in relationship with brought it to light.  Certain traits may be harmless to you, but to others they can be afflictive. 

Marriage facilitates a certain level of correction or calibration, because it forces us to consider another person in all that we do.  Life is no longer all about you.  You now have someone in the passenger seat. 

My wife and I have a “No Judgement Zone” type marriage.  We are so serious about that until we made it part of our marriage vision.  We promised each other that we would always allow room for honesty (in love).  We talk about everything from what made us laugh that day, to what made us angry.  We talk about the things that we adore about each other, and the things that need correction or “recalibration.”  Since the correction always comes from a place of love, we both internally resolve to modify those behaviors within ourselves.  My wife is literally my best friend.

 

Perfect Love

Love is like a complete pair of eye glasses.  The two lenses are compassion and calibration, and love is the frame that holds it all together.  Correction without compassion makes the heart obstinate.  Conversely, compassion without correction spoils the heart.  When we put on complete and perfect love, we are able to see our spouses the way God intended for us to see them, as Christ sees us.  This is perfect love, and perfect love removes all fear. 

As always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.

BE

The Chronicles of Marriage Part 2: What Penguins Taught Me About Love

Welcome to Wisdom’s Quill.  This is the second post in the series called: The Chronicles of Marriage.  Please come back next week for part 3. 

Love ever gives,

Forgives

Outlives

And ever stands

With open hands.

And while it lives

It gives,

For this is love’s prerogative

O give, and give, and give.    by: John Oxenham

The concept of love is multi-faceted in expression and experience.  If you were to poll 100 people for a definition of love, undoubtedly you would likely receive 100 different answers.  Why?  Because we all give and receive love differently.

The salient differences become even more pronounced when discussing how men and women express love.  As men, we tend to get a bum rap when it comes to understanding and expressing our love.  As I pondered why this was, and began to search out reasons for this paradigm, I came across an astounding model of love.  There is a fascinating species of the bird family we’re all familiar with called the penguin, which changed my perspective about a man’s responsibility to exhibit love.

 

Searching For A Soul-Mate

Is there a such thing as a soul-mate?  This question is definitely a hot topic of discussion, especially during this season.  I don’t really subscribe to the vox populi as it relates to soul-mates.  Most people believe that a soul-mate is a singular person that is meant for you, and no one else, and if you don’t find that one person in the whole, wide world, then you’ll never really know true love.  I do believe, in many cases, God gives us the ability to choose who we love, and based on that decision, we grow in love with that special someone for the rest of our lives. 

I am definitely an advocate for monogamy, and this is where penguins shine.  Generally speaking, penguins are monogamous.  Once they choose a partner, they stick with them.  Some species (i.e. the Adelie Penguin) even keep the same partner for life.  It appears that there are certain laws of attraction in play when it comes to choosing a potential mate.  We all have different things that we are attracted to, but there are certain common threads of attraction among the sexes.  Woodrow Wyatt once stated,

“A man falls in love through his eyes, a woman through her ears.” 

When it comes to finding a suitable partner, I believe it boils down two things:

  1. Prayer
  2. Attraction

These two things together act as a compass for finding “the one.”  Don’t make it exclusively about one or the other.  Utilize both prayer and attraction to guide you to that right someone.  I remember the first time I laid eyes on my wife. I sensed an amazing initial attraction to her that I couldn’t articulate.  It was like when I saw her, I just knew I had to meet her.  Our first conversation reaffirmed that attraction and the rest is history.  Thinking back to those moments, I ask myself, when did I know I loved my wife?  Was it a feeling?  Was it butterflies?  No.  Although these feelings were (and still are) present, feelings are fleeting; they come and go.  I knew I loved my wife when I chose to love her.  I believe when we mutually chose to love each other, we became soul-mates at that moment.  I chose to surrender to love’s work within me when I first saw my wife, and later realized that it was love in its infant stages.  One day my wife asked me “How do you know you love me?”  My answer:  Because I choose to love you.  I don’t believe in love at first sight in the traditional sense, but I do believe in love at the point of decision, which can take place “at first sight.”  When you choose to love someone, that is the most powerful aphrodisiac there is.  Choosing to love a person, just because you want to, is like Super Glue; it holds you together forever.

 

Submitted To Sacrifice

The penguin shows us a powerful picture of paternal piety.  Once the female penguin lays the egg (usually 1-2), she hands it over to the male penguin, and departs in search for food.  The male penguin incubates the egg carefully by balancing the egg on the top of his feet in a body pouch for up to 70 days. 

During this time, all of the male penguins gather together in a huge huddle and brace themselves for some of the harshest conditions on Earth while incubating the delicate eggs.  Temperatures drop as low as -40 degrees with shearing winds.  Huddling in a group is the only means of survival during this period.  While the female penguins are absent in search of food, the male penguins patiently await their return, which can take up to 2-3 months.  By the time female penguin returns, the male penguins will have gone a full four months without food, and lost roughly half of their body weight.  How about that for sacrifice?  This brings true perspective to sacrificial love. 

Sacrifice requires love, and love is an investment.  When we, as husbands and fathers, invest our love into our families, we reap love compounded, and this is one of the greatest returns on an investment.  Love always softens the blow of sacrifice.

 

Sensitivity To My Spouse

As a husband, I am realizing daily the importance of knowing my wife’s voice.  By voice, I don’t mean the tone of her voice, but rather the heart of her voice.  Can you hear what your spouse is really saying when they communicate certain things to you?  I encourage you to invest some time learning your partners love language. (Recommended reading: The Five Love Languages by: Gary Chapman) 

The 5 languages are as follows:

1.  Words of Affirmation

2.  Quality Time

3.  Receiving Gifts

4.  Acts of Service

5.  Physical Touch

When the group of female penguins return from feeding, they call out to their mates in the huddle.  Amazingly, each male penguin recognizes the voice of his partner when she calls.  He is so sensitive to his partner, that he knows the sound of her voice among the hundreds of other female penguins.  When we learn this type of remarkable sensitivity, I believe we will fulfill our roles as husbands, and become amazing lovers.

In conclusion, whether you want to admit it or not, your partner is a reflection of you.  You chose your partner based on your value system, because what you value is what you seek.  When you come into contact with that special someone who speaks to your value system, they become irresistible. 

Love is a choice, so let’s take a lesson from the penguin and choose to love for life. 

Feel free to leave comments in the comments section, and as always…

Thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.

Reference websites:

http://www.antarctica.gov.au/about-antarctica/wildlife/animals/penguins/emperor-penguins/breeding-cycle

http://blog.farwestclimatecontrol.com/2012/02/21/the-romantic-life-of-penguins/

BE