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Can You Handle the TRUTH???!!!???

I love that scene from The Matrix! It says about all that needs to be said and when it comes to the rest of my (just beginning) career as a writer and speaker, this will be my motto.

Do you want the truth or not? If you don't, don't come to me! If you want to coast through life asleep, I'M NOT YOUR GUY!

"Big Butts and Smiles" (or "The Economics of Healthy Relationships")

...it takes more than a "big butt and a smile" to attract a quality man.  Besides...we don't trust them.  Bell Biv DeVoe taught us not to! (Side Note: I said QUALITY man.)

You see, I've had an epiphany.  

I think I'm out of the business of giving single women advice before I was even in it.  There are plenty of people out there who're willing to tell you how to get a man.  I'll let them handle it.  My advice begins and ends with a few simple thoughts:
  1. Be more approachable. 
  2. Smile
  3. Be kind
  4. Stop being so judgmental. 
That's about it from me.  Not quite enough to build a seminar around.  Certainly not enough for a book.  Anything else I would tell you would become really personal really quickly.  I'm keeping my list of things that are attractive to me to myself!  (You gotta let a player have his games, right?)

Here's my revelation on the economics of a good relationship:

If you want to be found, maybe focus first on being worth finding?  Perhaps you don't bring as much value to a potential mate as you think?

Being trained as an economist, I recognize that a lot of things come down to Cost-Benefit Analysis...even love, true love.  If you want someone to invest their life into you, what will they gain in the equation?  What are you able to bring?  Are you worth finding?  For what reason would he be sacrificing his life?  Your "honey" ain't THAT special, so you need to be able to bring something more than that to the table!

(Side note: please resist your temptation to fire off "HATE MALE" to me now.  It's not going to help your situation one bit.  I'll deal with the matter of men being ready to look another time.  The Bible tells us to "do all your work in the field and, after that, establish your house...)

Even as a man, I am learning to look at things in terms of what I can GIVE and BRING to a scenario as opposed to what I can get.  I have to look at business in terms of what I can add to an opportunity.  That's where my fruit lies.  I have to look at ministry in terms of what unique things I can do.  There is some gift that each of us has that we can give!  Why did God put me on Earth?

What if those of us who are single are only single because potential mates don't see us a valuable enough to commit to? For the single women, maybe you aren't worth finding yet?  Maybe the men around you don't think you add very much to their lives?  Maybe start by learning how to add to the people around you and you'll be seen as more valuable?

Here's a great article on learning how to meet a husband's needs.  Why not start studying now? http://beworthfinding.blogspot.com/2011/03/meeting-your-husbands-seven-basic-needs.html

There are a lot of big butts and smiles out there.  Quality men are looking for more than that.


"The Courage to Leave Them Behind"

"Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father's house, To the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed."  So Abram went forth as the LORD had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.  Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew, and all their possessions which they had accumulated, and the persons which they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan; thus they came to the land of Canaan." ~Genesis 12: 1-5

After going through the story of Lot and Abram in Genesis several times, it's still not clear whether Abram brought Lot along with him or whether Lot tagged along on his own, but was never sent away.  The verses seem to go back and forth in their indications.  What is 100% clear, however, is that Abram (the father of our faith and credited by some as the father of monotheism) was commanded to leave behind his home, his relatives and everything related to his earthly father's house.

It's also clear that he didn't heed this command.  Not even a paragraph passes before we see both Abram and Lot riding off into the sunset together.  Their story of entanglement continues:

So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, he and his wife and all that belonged to him, and Lot with him.  Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver and in gold.  He went on his journeys from the Negev as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place of the altar which he had made there formerly; and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.  Now Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents.  And the land could not sustain them while dwelling together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to remain together.  And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram's livestock and the herdsmen of Lot's livestock Now the Canaanite and the Perizzite were dwelling then in the land.  So Abram said to Lot, "Please let there be no strife between you and me, nor between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers.  "Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me; if to the left, then I will go to the right; or if to the right, then I will go to the left." ~ Genesis 13:1-9

Lot continues along with Abram like Mary's little lamb.  In our own lives we have people we've brought along for the ride.  There are also those who tag along - yet we don't kick them off the bus.  Usually, we know they aren't supposed to be there with us, but we keep them around anyway.

This isn't a value judgment.  Just because we shouldn't be in a relationship with someone, doesn't make him or her a bad person.  Lot was considered to be a good, righteous man.  This wasn't about Lot being a bad person.  This entire story is about Abram finally developing the courage to trust God at God's word without a safety net.  He eventually got there.  And, it's when Abram got to that place, that the Lord really began to speak to him with more clarity.  It's then that the promise truly begins to unfold!

Side note: This isn't intended to be encouragement to leave a marital relationship.  Seek counseling for that.  In my own life, this principle has meant that I've had to leave friendships and business partnerships behind to experience God's best.

"The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, "Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever." ~ Genesis 13:14-15

We all know of Lot's sufferings while dwelling in Sodom.  We know that he lost nearly all of what he had and, in the end, it was just him and his two daughters.  We know that it was Abram's faithfulness towards Lot that brought any level of comfort and restoration for Lot.  Unfortunately, there's no indication that Lot ever contributed anything fruitful, productive or favored into his relationship with Abram...no advice, no comfort, no growth.  Lot, though a good man, was a drain on Abraham.  This is the epitome of a toxic relationship!

What do we learn from this history?  How does Lot's story unfold?  What are the lessons here for us to incorporate into our own lives and seeking healthy relationships?  There's so much here.  In the interest of time and space, I'll be brief:

  • When the Lord calls you to go forth, you can do it!  He might send you companionship, but press on whether He does or not.
  • Not everyone belongs in your life...even if they are good people.
  • Be intentional about your relationships.  Even friendships should be purposeful and productive.
  • When the wrong people are with you, tension is inevitable.
  • There's a way to separate: be as communicative and as peaceable as possible.
  • The presence of some people hinders our ability to hear God's voice clearly.
  • When we demonstrate the courage to leave toxic relationships behind, blessings open up to us.

Lot's story ends with his daughters committing incest with him...giving birth to the Moabites and the Ammonites from this unholy union.  These are two of the same nations who have been either antagonistic towards or actively at war with Israel ever since.  The Lord reminds His people not to even allow them into the Assembly because they not only didn't help Israel when they were coming out of Egypt, but even attempted to curse them!  Read the passage.  If you want to have some fun, do a little research on Ammon and Moab.  Let's not even discuss Ishmael.  Abram brought many of Israel's troubles with him because he didn't have the courage to leave Lot behind.  

What do you take from the story of Abram and Lot?  I'd love to get your feedback!


A Simple Exercise Can Make a Big Difference

Here's a short blog today. It comes from a discussion Pastor Eastland was leading in Bible Study last night at HOPE Church - Pearland. It's simple. Here it is:

1. Take out a sheet of paper.
2. Write down what your life looks like six months from now in your mind.
3. Bonus: if you're in a serious relationship or married, share it with your partner. Talk about what you see.

If you're doing this by yourself, it can help lift your focus off of your day-to-day and give you hope...reminding you why you're working. If you're in a relationship, it can be a quick check to make sure you two are still going the same direction. If you're not, why not discuss it?

The picture is my "picture" of my future. I think it's too small for you nosy folks!

Mark Anthony McCray helps people live on PURPOSE, achieve higher PERFORMANCE and experience true PROSPERITY. Be sure to subscribe to this blog so you don't miss a thing and forward this to a friend if you found it helpful. All material © Copyright, Mark Anthony McCray unless otherwise noted!

He can be reached in the following ways:

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For more information on Mark as a speaker or presenter check out http://livebigdieempty.blogspot.com/p/about-mark_29.html


Confessions of an MLM Virgin

I think I want to do it. I just don't know. I've never done it before so I don't know what I'm missing. It could be the greatest thing ever. Everyone says it is. (Some people are bitter, but I can't base my decisions off of them, can I?)

I mean...I really want to do it, but I want my first time to be special. I want it to mean something because I've been saving myself for the right one. I know I'm special. I know I have a lot to offer the right one and I know I'm attractive. A lot of them want me. I've even met one or two who could be the one...I'm just not sure. I can't allow myself to be treated like trash and thrown away after they get what they want!

I'm human. I'm tempted. I deal with temptation every day. I'm sure I'll do it soon. I just want it to be special.

I've never done any kind of MLM before. I think I'm almost ready.

I'm probably making too much of this.


Mark's Review of an Awesome Book: "A Misrepresentation of Myself" by Mary E. Gilder

"This isn't exactly for boy scouts. I just want you to know ahead of time, okay?"

That's what Mary told me before my book had even arrived in the mail. What a way to preface the book she had just written and wanted me to review. She was right. It wasn't for a boy scout, but it was real. Very real.

Writing a book is very hard work. I should know. Writing a good book? The author should be congratulated. Today, therefore, I'm throwing praises at Mary E. Gilder, my friend and excellent writer. Her novel, A Misrepresentation of Myself, is definitely one you should check out.

In fact, why not support her buy purchasing one now? Here's the link: A Misrepresentation of Myself on Amazon.com

I met MarShana Gilder at the Starbucks I frequented in Pearland. She did two things every time I visited for my cup of liquid energy: made me laugh and told me about how her mom is a great writer. This went on for a while, to my embarrassment, until I finally picked up the phone and spoke to Mary myself. I shouldn't have waited so long to meet such a dynamic, intelligent and vibrant woman. Her energy came through the phone.

I shouldn't have waited so long to read her book either. She asked me to give my thoughts not too long after we met. I had started and stopped and started and stopped. She had written a novel, after all, and how was a novel going to make my life better? Self-centered Mark often puts off things such as "supporting other people" and other such touchy-feelies in life. Nevertheless, I've discovered that not reading the book was my loss, too.

Mary's done an excellent job of crafting a story about people very much like those whom I've passed every day, but have the inner-workings of their minds nor the pains in their hearts. It's hard to review literature without giving too much away. Therefore, I'll just say this: her characters are dealing with real life in real ways. They're probably a lot like you or someone you know. Life is full of pain. If you can find someone with whom to share some of it along with some laughs, hold on.

I liked it. I think you'll like it, too. The people at Redbook like what they've learned of Mary. I was so proud to see her share a part of her own life story in the magazine recently! (I'm just throwing this in because I can!) Mary E. Gilder is representing herself nicely.

The novel can be ordered or purchased from all book stores and if readers desire a signed copy, they can forward a check or money order to: Mary E. Gilder P.O. Box 1555. Newark, Ca 94560.