Thursday, June 18, 2009

Food for Thought: "To Settle or Not to Settle?" PART II

So, uh... I've had the most INTERESTING convos off blog concerning Part 1 of the Settling post.

Ya'll some heavy thinkers out there!

We're continuing with that Oldgirl Serenity's request for me to scatter my thoughts all out over the floor of the House of LadyLee for all to see concerning this thing called...


Settling in any situation, like for a man, for a job... anything.

I've beared heavily on the "settling for a man" issha because I feel like, as black women, that is one of our biggest concerns in life. That is a sticky point of weakness for many of us.

So, I guess I will continue on in that vein.

Remember, the opinions expressed here are the express opinions of That Original Oldgirl LadyLee. Period. Ain't talking about you, I'm talking about me, from my own personal experiences.

Maybe you can pull something from it, something that you can add to your own personal truths.

I'm just here to give you a mere glimpse into this Oldgirl heart of hearts.

I must warn you, I couldn't figure out how to write this post, so it is more stream of consciuosness than anything. It loops and curves like a roller coaster, all over the place.
But if you read the parts highlighted in green then you'll get the gist of where I am getting at.

So, with that... let's begin.

There's a book I love oh so very much because of the simple yet powerful truths that lay within it's pages.

Michele Matthews, Blogger Chele's Confessions of a Beautiful Woman.

That book really solved a few personal isshas for me. Really. Why, I love it so much that I'm giving away several copies in give-a-way contests this year to folks who hang around the House of LadyLee.

The essay, "10 Things I wish Mom had Told Me", was one of the most poignant peices in the book. Chele spoke of the 10 things that she wished her mother would have talked to her about, and she writes briefly about why she wished Mom would've said something to her concerning such.

2 quotes stick out in my mind:

"Don't give your heart away to someone you aren't sure will take care of it."


"Develop a relationship with God before you try to have one with a man."

I imagine that Chele wrote these things (and correct me if I am wrong, Chele), because she, like myself, had entered into relationships where she had doubts whether that man could handle her heart as it should be handled, and/or her relationship with God was just not quite right before she entered into relationships with a few men...

As a result, some of those relationsips (well speaking for myself) came out to be the result of one thing:


Settling for what was beneath me.

Settling for a relationship that is simply not for me.

You may say, "Well, LadyLee, don't be so hard on yourself. Stuff happens."

I beg to differ.

My sister turned me on to the most interesting book this winter, something she had to read for class. Well it was more like "Lisa, read this book and tell me what it's about. I have to write a paper on it."

I was NOT happy about it. But once I started reading it, it broke down (very scientifically) something that I've always known.

The name of the book is Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking.

It nicely lays out that you know when you're dealing with crazy folk. You knew you weren't suppose to be in a relationship with that man YEARS ago. You saw he had issues. But you chose to ignore it all.
Could probably fill up a whole notebook with all his issues.

But..You chose to settle.

Settle for someone who was beneath your standard.

You choose to give your heart to someone who might NOT be equipped to handle it.

I told my sister the gist of what that book was about. About trusting your "first instinct" or as Serenity said in the comment section of trusting your "first mind".

"My 'first' mind never steers me wrong. It's the second and third thoughts or the voices of the peanut gallery that I need to stop listening to."

That book was extremely technical, but it delved into the complexities of that "first mind". I was glad I read that book. It made me think.... about all my reasonings, and all the times I chose to settle. My sister read some of it, and we discussed it. It was all very enlightening. I thought it was just me who thought such things.

And I must admit that I tend not to listen to my "first mind". Oh, I do in many cases, like when it comes to men. But I fall short in other areas of my life.

What is the reason for this?

Why do we not listen to our "first mind", and continue to go on and on until something happens where we KNOW it's time to go?

Shoot man... Why it gotta be YEARS later before we decide "I'm through with this."?

The answer is deeply ensconsced within one simple passage early in the book of Proverbs.

Proverbs 3:5-7

With all your heart you must trust the LORD and not your own judgment, always let him lead you, and he will clear the road for you to follow. Don't ever think that you are wise enough, but respect the LORD and stay away from evil.

Message Version:
Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track. Don't assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil.

That passage is simple enough, yet complex...

At any rate, it is a straight arrow shot back to Chele's thought of

"Develop a relationship with God before you try to have one with a man."

I have found that in any area of my life that is a bit shaky, and I am in "settling" mode, well... there's a direct correlation to my relationship with God concerning that area. Not sure that is clear. Don't know how to make it all that clear except to say that concerning that shaky area of interest, my relationship and my listening to God is VERY weak. My TRUST in God is virtually nonexistant in that area.

In other words, I am leaning on my own understanding.

Even getting over into assumption... assuming stuff.

Assumption, you know, is the lowest level of human thought.

You have to understand something: our way of thinking and understanding is being subtlely shaped and molded daily by everything we read, everything we hear, everything we say, everything we do.

That's why that whole Rhianna/Chris Brown thing was so dangerous: we can extrapolate from that that it's alright to settle. Some young girl out there, in a bad situation... her understanding was shaped by that.

For me, I can get real specific... I go a bit past the whole "leaning on my own understanding" phenomena...

I'm caught up in my own personal motives and personal agendas.

I'm being selfish, quite self-serving in fact.

I hate to admit it, but 'tis true. I test all of my decisions in the light of that.

Many of us pray about things. And I believe, once we pray, the clock is ticking down to when the thing comes to past. But sometimes, a hiccup, a decison occurs where we say, essentially, "Yeah, I've prayed about this, but God, You too slow, so I'ma do MY thang! You're not doing this thang the way I want it done, so I got this. Holler at you later!"

I don't know about you, but I have been that way about things. Still am in some cases.

I've gotten a clear answer, clear direction on what to do and I mess around and say "Yeah, I hear you, Lord, but I'm gonna do my thang."

I've even gotten downright crazy and said "I don't care what you say, THIS is what I'm going to do. That answer You're giving is quite stupid!"

(I'm glad that "God striking peeps with lightening" bizness is uh... not true, lol)

And the results are disastrous... The results of me leaning on my own understanding are just bad.

These days, if I get an answer I don't agree with I say silently to myself, "That don't make a doggone bit of sense, and is a bit silly and stupid... but let me go write this down and do it anyway."

For God can see around the corners of my life... I can't.

And it is always EXACTLY what I need to do in the situation. Exactly.

Listen...our minds are so finite. I wish so much that I could see around the corners of my life. If I could see what was waiting for me around the corner, I wouldn't settle for this dude who is falling short of my expectations.

I've not seen around the corners. But I do credit one person for showing me what the RESULTS of settling is.

My mother.

My mother absolutely scares me sometime. Well, not anymore, but she has always left me perplexed. She has settled for men who basically reside in the underbelly of society. I mean, real lowlifes. This last sucka she was married to... Man, I tell you, that dude said he didn't want her kids around AT ALL. Dude was a horrible alcholic. His kids were on drugs. He'd accuse us of stealing. Messed up my Mama's credit. Told her he would kill her if she ever tried to leave. Just a bunch of craziness.

Mama liked the fact that he was "light-skinned-ed".

Excuse me? Are you serious?

I learned one thing from her: There are consequences to our settling.

Somebody must've been praying for us as children, because it is a suprise- no, a wonder- to me that we hadn't been molested or are not dead (although one of her boyfriend's did try to kill me and my mama. I've looked at her sideways for the past 33 years).

Not only are we emotionally affected and wounded by our settling, everyone around us is affected by it. I mean, the emotional carnage abounds, and it's not a good thing. I'm more bitter, more upset, more of all the wrong things... and so is everyone around me, who's dependant on me or who is close to me.

Now if that is a reason not to settle, I don't know what is.

I must be honest. I didn't want to get a divorce, even though I had settled, and the situation was obviously just not good for me or him. The main reason why is that I didn't want to wade through all these jokers out here in this here dating game, didn't want to roam clubs looking for men, didn't want to do all this expected competing with other women.... didn't want none of that.

Not my idea of fun.

But I prayed about it. Asked God to help me in that area, where I would make sound decisons. I asked Him to make my life very full.

I think I prayed that prayer some 6 years ago. And it has been answered beyond my wildest imaginations. Far beyond.

When asked what the most amazing prayer I've prayed that has been answered is, I point to THAT.


To settle or not to settle?

I have answered it for myself.

I will let you ponder... and answer for your ownself.


  1. As you well know my blog is all about this very topic.

    We settle because we don't believe better is just ahead. We get caught up in the convincing game...trying to convince someone that "WE ARE THE ONE" Well hell...there is no convincing in love. We have to believe and act like we are gifts. That we are amazing and that to settle is to go against God's will.

    Settling means choosing fear over love.

  2. That was powerful OldGirl. For me, settling is directly related to not trusting God. I often have to say, "Lord, forgive my unbelief." Whenever I have made the decision to completely trust God, I was never disappointed. However, when I struck out on my own I was hurt beyond belief. God doesn't want us to settle for less. He wants us to have the desires of our hearts and it is our job to wait on Him to provide that.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  3. My thoughts are too lengthy to type here, so I've basically blogged about them. But I just wanted to thank you for writing this....

  4. Anonymous11:30:00 AM

    This is good stuff Lee! Thanks.

  5. crazyone12:06:00 PM

    Thought provoking post, when I think of settling it makes me question my patience and my faith.

  6. WOW...double WOW! I'm printing this one and going to look for those books AND find the scripture reference. When is the next sermon?

    Good Job Old Gal...I'll be stealing from you --at least letting you know up front :)

  7. @That Oldgirl LoveBabz!...


    What's up Babz. And that's why I love your blog so much. EVERY post is about such.

    "We settle because we don't believe better is just ahead.

    Yeah, Ma. And we can't see around the corners of our life. Then we assume that there is NOTHING around the corners of our life. If that ain't insane, I don't know what is. Yet we continue to operate as if that is the case. Cannot and will never be true.

    God is ALWAYS focused on the goal. Period. And getting us there. We are the ones who hold stuff up...

    @That Oldgirl Chele... Thanks, chick, for letting me quote from your book. I'm posting the whole essay on Patience tomorrow. The WHOLE thang, lol.

    You said a mouthful, namely, it's all surrounds unbelief. That is the issue. Couple that with fear and you REALLY got some problems on you hands.

    @That Oldgirl S30...Yeah, you are banned from giving me blog assignments, chile. And that was an excellent companion piece you wrote over at the House of Serenity aka Shoeseed, lol...

    @Southern black gal, K, and Crazyone... Glad you liked:)

  8. @My Cyncere Sista... We were trying to knock this one out the ballpark so there would be enough information for everybody to answer the question "To settle or Not to Settle?" for their ownselves.

    And I had more to add... LOL.

    Feel free to steal, gal! Feel free.

  9. Shoeseed does not exist! Only in our minds Olamina! LMAO


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