Hello my friend,
Glad you are back today because I’m so excited to introduce you to one of my most fabulous friends of all time. Her name is Michelle McKinney Hammond. She’s a 50-something single gal living a fabulous life in Chicago. Her ministry to singles everywhere has impacted thousands. She’s written many incredible books on singleness, most of which I’ve read at one time or another. (YOU MUST GET THEM!) I couldn’t help but to ask her to chime in to our on-going discussion. I posed a few questions to which she gave some riveting and “wordy” answers (she admits that she is long winded). And you’re going to love every single one of these words she’s offered us!
So, grab a latte, sit back and . . . meet Michelle! You’ll be so glad you did.
Do you still desire to be married?
To be perfectly honest I am undecided! I have not asked God for a husband for a very long time. I have prayed for moments alone! Haha! But seriously. I made peace with being single a long time ago, and while I have a host of wonderful men in my life and great friends, I have not been found by the man I’m looking for yet. Peace is a beautiful thing and it makes you very discerning. So the best answer I can give at this time is I have left the timing of “if and when” I get married completely up to God, because there will have to be some serious re-arranging of my life in order to make room for that man. After all, I want to be the wife I’ve taught others to be when that happens.
If so, what are you looking for in a man at this stage in your life?
The man in my life would have to be my best friend and have a great sense of humor. Of course His relationship with God would have to be strong and balanced. It would be important for him to know who he was and be very secure in his identity as a man. Comfortable in the skin he’s in and clear about where he is going in life. If we could be business partners that would be fantastic but if not, I would definitely be a great cheerleader for whatever he was doing and would expect the same in return. I think comparing notes could be fun. At this point in my life I am not into drama, so gracious communication is high on my list for any relationship I have. I’m over what he needs to look like, but would be happy with easy on the eyes and even easier on my heart!
Why do you think you’ve never been married?
Well it hasn’t been for lack of opportunity that’s for sure! I’ve never felt the release to say yes to any of the men that asked, but bigger yet, somewhere along the way the call on my life became my first passion. It consumed my thoughts and my time. It feeds me even on a bad day. I am a firm believer in God’s timing. I don’t think I would have accomplished all that I have, and reached the people I did if I had been married first. I am an all or nothing person. In my former relationships I had a tendency to morph into whatever the man in my life needed, which usually crowded out the things I had on my own list. I believe that God wanted me so firmly entrenched into what He had called me to do that I would not be able to be distracted. At this point, a man would know what came with the package of my love and could make a decision to take it or leave it.
What is the part you appreciate most, and the part you appreciate least about being single?
I have the same answer for both! The fact that I run my life (does that mean I’m a control freak?) and don’t have to check in with anybody about any decision I make is both fabulous and frightening. There are some days where I feel I could use some help, those days have been increasing as a matter of fact. Priscilla’s dad, Pastor Tony Evans, told me that he believed that God would have to break me down in order for me to be open to receiving a man in my life; he may be right. The down side of being single is you can really settle into being too independent and totally selfish. So that’s my confession, okay? But I love being free to do as I please within the realm of what God tells me to do. But I also long for assistance every now and then, when my plate gets too full with the demands of both personal life and ministry.
I read “What To Do until Love Find You” over 12 years ago and it made a phenomenal impact in my life. Why do you think its message is still relevant today?
The same issues are prevalent. Dealing with longing, loneliness, daddy issues, past disappointments . . . should I go on? I recall at the time saying I wrote the book I wish someone had written for me. When I first came to the Lord I struggled with what to do with all of my issues as a single person. If I was lonely did that mean I wasn’t saved? Was I supposed to be miraculously free from the scars of all my other hurts and disappointments? I couldn’t find answers that weren’t talking down to me and intimidating me spiritually. I think there is a fine balance in this thing called walking with God and being realistic about the street you live on. The word is ready to meet us at every corner and give clear direction. I always feel compelled to break it down and make it plain for others.
What would you have done differently in your 20s, 30s, now knowing that you are still waiting for the man God has for you in your 50s?
I would have saved more money and invested more wisely. I think that most women count on the knight showing up with a wallet to rescue them, or at least be there to help them secure the future, and it may not happen. I also would have taken better care of myself in the realm of diet and exercise. I’m learning new habits late in life and it’s painful! Though I have always taken pride in my appearance I think I thought less about my physical condition because I had no immediate need to be focused on it. I also think that a lot of women use weight gain as a self protective measure subconsciously. After all if you repel men you won’t have to worry about staying holy… There are a few men I would not have wasted my time being involved with or grieving over because now that I’ve been able to step back and see the big picture of my life, they just weren’t worth it. In short, I would have been dangerous back then if I knew what I know now!
What are some things to never say to single women? Is there anything anyone has said to you that rubbed you in the wrong way?
Ooo, I have a list! How about:
1. Do you think you intimidate men because you are so strong and successful? Actually I don’t think so at all. Because I understand that men love successful women that give them a chance to celebrate them rather than being a spectator of your celebration or a victim of being incessantly reminded of what you have achieved before he came along… but that’s an entire blog in and of itself.
2. Are you being too picky? It depends on what picky is to you. I have a short list of non-negotiables but a greater list of things I would be flexible on depending on the qualifiers.
And here’s my favorite:
3. How can you write about how to get a man if you don’t have one? This one always cracks me up. First it makes a huge assumption that my private life would be public knowledge. It also suggests that marriage is the end-all stamp of success. I think the divorce rate would contest that. It also suggests that people are single by default rather than choice. One of the privileges of doing what I do is that I’ve acquired great knowledge that makes me much more discerning when it comes to relationships. I am empowered to make good choices before the fact rather than after. I am a product of my choices not my opportunities. I have had the opportunity to do many things that would not have been wise. Thank God for the Holy Spirit!
If we truly know God we forsake our personal opinions to adopt His standards from His word. This should make everyone wise. I merely take dictation from on high when it comes to the things I write and share. I have learned to line up with those things and practice what I preach. It is evident by the number of long term relationships I have managed to sustain over the last thirty years of my life since coming to know Christ and before, including all the men I’ve ever dated with the exception of one because he was crazy, JK. I have been able to guide many to the altar successfully based on not my opinion, but the word of God. So that is what it all boils down to. The source of instruction. It should never be the word of a mere human. Like my mama always told me, opinions are like butts, everyone has one. Some are cuter than others.
How can we as single women encourage other single women?
Be a true sister to other single women. Treat them the way you would like to be treated. Honor their relationships. If no one messed around with someone else’s man, cheating and adultery would not exist – think about it. It’s not the man’s fault, it’s our fault. It’s our fault for letting it happen. Pretend every woman you meet is your sister that you love, and let that guide you in your interaction. Remember, you will reap what you sow.
What do you think are the top two (unhealthy) struggles with single women right now?
Compromising their faith and themselves. The two are intertwined. We’ve been sold a bill of goods that holiness is not attractive, desirable or marriageable. That is simply not true. It is how you carry yourself and serve it up. Holiness should be as natural as breathing to you by now instead of a difficult choice or a badge of honor. But it all begins with you. How much is your heart worth? Your body worth? Your relationship with God worth to you? These are questions you need to answer truthfully to see what fuels your decisions to compromise yourself and forsake your relationship with God in pursuit of a man? Inevitable compromise leads to disappointment, bitterness and an open door for other bad habits to further destroy you—overeating, shopoholism, alternate routes of pleasure seeking that don’t glorify God or bless you. Choose who you will serve and stick to your guns. The most empowering thing anyone can do is stand for something. At least you know you were the captain of your ship at the end of the day.
How do you feel about online dating? Would you consider it? How do you think women should handle dating in this day and age?
I think online dating is a great way to enlarge your sphere of friends. Notice I said, “friends.” That should be your only expectation, and if it grows into something else, great. I think the danger is too many women give their hearts away before they have all the information they need to know if that person is deserving or really serious about them. I have had friends put me on sites, but I never have time to answer the inquiries so I am a bad online prospect. There are many success stories from online dating, but there are also bad ones. This is going to happen whether you meet someone online, or at an event, or been matched by a friend. The same intelligence and care needs to be used with online prospects as people you meet in person. Women need to be especially careful since we tend to fall in love with what we hear or read in this case so make sure the brother can back up his emails before you give your heart away.
How do you protect your heart – and date at the same time?
Women need to remember that dating is not for mating. It is for collecting data to see if that person even qualifies for considerations for courtship. After all you wouldn’t stay on a plane if you found out the pilot had not been trained and didn’t know what he was doing. You would be off of there, because your life would be at stake. Well, your life is at stake when it comes to matters of the heart. You need to have more respect for your own heart and consider what you are subjecting it to. It is a valuable jewel that shouldn’t be flung around, left laying around in the company of those who don’t know its value. So take the time to gather information and it’s your prerogative how much time that takes. No rush. Remember lust is always in a rush and quickly dissipates, but love has the power to wait and sustain itself over time.
Are single women supposed to sit and wait for God to bring them a man? Are there things you can do to put yourself out there in a good way to let guys know you’re interested? Do you approach them?
Get about the business of living your life and pursuing your interests with gusto. As you walk this path, you will run into other who are moving in the same direction. That is the ultimate hook up. The scripture “wait on the Lord,” can be taken a few different ways, but the best way to look at that verse is “to wait” as in “serve.” Be busy doing what you were created to do and your desires will be transformed to want the right things for yourself. You will be guided to those things and recognize them when you see them. I love the story of Ruth in the Bible because she wasn’t looking for a man. She was busy about the business of living her life and serving who she could serve, but in the serving she was spotted – and her reputation, as well as her beauty, caught her man’s attention. This is not brain surgery, ladies. You will be most attractive when you are productive and happy, and that will always attract love.
What keeps you grounded and confident in the Lord?
Years of being in relationship with Him. Knowing His track record for coming through in my life. Having a strong support system of friends, family and very special men that keep me feeling loved and celebrated. A real love for life and celebrating it every moment I can. Knowing that I am helping countless men and women deal with their struggles keeps my heart full to overflowing. It gives me a rush just to type that. And last but not least, my three snuggle-bunny puppies, Milan, Matisse and Micah. They have taught me more about love, faithfulness and obedience than I thought I needed to know. They are a constant delight. I think every single person should have a pet. It will teach you things about yourself that will surprise you and prepare your heart to understand the true meaning of getting over yourself, and about sacrificial love.
Thank you so much, Michelle, for taking the time to share your heart with us today.
We appreciate your godly insights for our conversation here on the blog!
And now a question to my reader friends: Did Michelle’s answers affect your thinking about singleness, dating, marriage, or your life purpose in any way?