The Art of Being Disingenuous

As we were driving back home from our friend's 40th birthday party, Madelene asked me if I noticed all of the bickering our friend and her husband were doing in the kitchen. At one point, their argument became so heated that he had to step out for a drive. He didn't return home for about an hour. Sometimes, I can be so naive to these things. I rarely take notice when there's a lot going on in one place. It's all I can do to just listen to just one conversation.

"She's not happy." Madelene said.
"I don't know, I rarely get myself involved or ask anything personal." I said.
"You don't need to--it's so evident," she said, as she looked toward our friend in the backseat for confirmation.
"She has to be happy--I mean, look at the house he has provided for her. He just got her a new car too! Did you see that huge rock on her finger?"

Why would someone stay with their spouse if there is more unhappiness than anything else? If it's all about the money and provisions, then how sad is that? I would seriously live in a tent with someone I love with all my heart, rather than live with someone who disrespects me, cheats on me or treats me poorly who happens to be rich. Money has never caught my eye. A person's heart and sincerity---a person's dignity and willingness to make a life with me catches my eye. Is it disingenuous for a woman to stay with her husband just because he provides a "good life" for her, even though it's a loveless marriage? I know quite a few wealthy people who think that money "should" be able to buy love. "Well, I'm a good provider, therefore, I'm a great catch."


A good catch is someone who comes back home at the end of the day, kisses you softly, and then asks, "How was your day?"

A good catch is someone who has cleaned the house, cooked a healthy meal for you and the family and when you return from home, she kisses you softly and asks, "How was your day?"

A good catch is someone who holds your hand while watching a movie. It's affection--human contact--unconditional love--it's being silly together.

A good catch is someone who will hold you during the night when you feel anxious or worried so that you can fall asleep.

A good catch is someone who shares the same faith as you do, edifying your own beliefs, bringing you closer to God.

A good catch is someone who respects you and treats you as they would themselves.

A good catch is someone who would take care of you while you're sick, cover you with a warm blanket, make you homemade chicken soup, or just a simple cup of tea. It's about the effort.

A good catch will understand when there comes a time in your relationship or marriage when one gets sick and unable to be that ~fiery tiger~ at night, and decides to let you rest---someone who will wait for you. For sickness and in health.

A good catch will make you laugh so that you can forget about your problems.

A good catch is loyal, respectful, honest and willing to go the extra mile to see a smile on your face.

Anything other than that, is disingenuous.

On another note, couple of months ago, Madelene and I started to go to a new church in our area. I was excited to be apart of a new group and maybe meet other people of the same faith. I wanted to somehow get involved in the church, maybe volunteer my time or become part of the music section since I've been playing guitar for 34 years now. As we kept going back each Sunday, I noticed there was something missing. I kept stating how the church was a bit 'lackluster'---they had no umph! It definitely wasn't a spirit-filled church in my opinion.

Then, each time the pastors stepped up for their individual sermons, each one had a common tone---a tone that set off this feeling of insincerity---like someone 'trying to hard.' There was no zeal--no passion for what they were speaking about. There was no anointing. You know when you're in church and you get those 'feel good goose bumps' all over? There was none of that whatsoever. Even the church members looked like a bunch of zombies, bored out of their minds. Then one Sunday, a young man in his mid-twenties stepped up and his entire sermon was all about him. He wasn't trying to praise God or teach us something about the Bible---he was trying his best to win us over. He wasn't preaching the Word of God--he was trying to make a name for himself only. And that's the gist I got out of that church and I never returned. It was a self-serving, disingenuous church.

Years ago, we attended a church that absolutely took our breath away. Each time we left the church, we came back with a new understanding of our faith, and even a new message that God had for us. After each praise of worship, there was crying and weeping of joy---the Holy Spirit filled up the entire church, affecting everyone in its path, including us! I have never felt such a spirit-filled environment before. Each time the pastors got up to speak, they weren't speaking for themselves---they weren't speaking to just hear themselves talk. These pastors were there to bring the presence of God, and to welcome the Holy Spirit as well as to teach everyone what the message of the day was. God always has a message for you when you walk into a place of worship. If you do not get a message, it's one or two reasons---maybe you're blocking it yourself and not open enough to hear it, or maybe the pastor isn't being sincere enough, only ministering to make a name for himself. You can feel it. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, that church closed down and moved farther away. This weekend, we are attending a new church and hoping for the best.

What about people? Friends, family, coworkers, strangers---anyone.

Every morning, I pray for discernment. I pray that God will let me know the motives of people. I can pick up disingenuous people pretty quickly. But sometimes, when I give too much of the benefit of the doubt, I can be easily fooled. Thing is, we're all human and we make mistakes sometimes. As it says in the Father's prayer----"...forgive us for our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us"---we should forgive one another for our humanness. But what if someone's "humanness" gets in the way of the friendship itself, by being manipulative or intentionally using someone to get whatever benefit they are seeking? It's easier to walk away from a coworker or stranger, but how easy is it to put on the brakes with a friend or relative who may be using you? It's not easy at all. In fact, calling someone out on their ill intentioned motives may put them in a self-defense 'backing a tiger in the corner' type of reaction.

Again, as I said in my previous post, I have a lot of people thinking that I'm some sort of millionaire. I'm a free-lance blogger, author and editor. I work mainly off my advertisers who pay me. I don't make a huge bundle, but I pay my bills and I'm happy with what I have. I even have enough time to clean the house and cook a healthy homemade dinner for my wife. She deserves it since she works her butt off all day long, dealing with uptight, mean rich people. More often than not, we'll have friends who simply use us for something. How do we know? It eventually rears its ugly head when we see the person doing the same or more for another friend. A friendship should be an equal give and take. When one feels exhausted over the efforts they have to do in order to maintain a level of 'happiness' for that friend, then something is out of balance. Whether it's due to money or just being a slave for someone without the return offer of helping out in some way, then it becomes a question of: why are you really our friend? Everything in the world needs balance, whether in friendships or marriages. Balance is everything. If you decide to keep that balance more in your favor, you risk the friendship entirely. I had a friend who would only call and ask me to do something with her, only because her plans fell through. I was her last resort. I remember when she hit the last straw with me. My mother had just passed away and she said, "Let me come over and help you a little." I was thrilled! Usually, she was always coming over because I was making a spectacular dinner, as she drank my good wine. But this time, when she called and offered this, I remember I was lying in bed with tear tracks down my cheeks from crying nonstop. I asked her, "Would you make me that soup you always make?" Immediately after I asked her this, she said, "Oh, I forgot! I have plans! Sorry" That was the last straw. She wanted to come here to eat, drink and use us as her own personal B&B, as she used to call my home.

I asked another friend of mine, "Is it me? I just keep losing friends all the time. Am I asking too much?" And she said, "No Deb, you do too much and you're attracting the leeches of society." With that being said, I am in no way expecting a gift for a gift. I give without expectations, but I can pin out a person who is only in the friendship to get something out of it. I love cooking and entertaining for my friends and telling them, "Please just bring yourselves," and I genuinely mean that. But sometimes, it's nice when a friend comes over or surprises you with an unexpected gift from the heart----not a monetary gift, but something they can provide for you, like good advice, a friendly ear, or perhaps even help you cook. I've also been known to be "the therapist." I've had quite a few friends lay on my sofa talking for hours on end about their lives, never once asking how I was doing. If by chance, I got a word in edgewise, their eyes would dart around the room like a child who was completely and utterly bored. So I did an experiment with a friend the last time she was here. I wanted to see how long she would go on talking about her problems, her significant other, as well as her cockamamie stories---four hours later, I was still sitting in my recliner listening to inappropriate sexual stories that no one needed to hear or visualize. I knew right then, I needed to make a change.

People don't have to use you for money. Some people will treat you like a damn therapist, leaving you completely exasperated. Emotional vampires who literally rape your ear can be more toxic for you than someone who uses you for money. I think this is part of the reason why I don't do "peopling" well. Although, I do believe in not expecting much in people because let's face it, we'll always be disappointed, there's another side of me that believes that there are good-hearted and good-intentioned souls out there who truly want a balanced friendship. Friendships shouldn't be that complicated. It's only when you come across a disingenuous person that you'll experience the tip of the scale, favoring their side consistently. I pretty much do everything on my own. My wife and I are a team. I buy the groceries, I cook for my wife, I cook for myself, I clean the house, I pay the bills and I have never once asked for help. If I give or if I invite you to my home for dinner and a place to stay, I do it without the expectation of getting something back. I don't use people. I give from the heart---always. Thinking back, besides my in laws and my sister---there's not anyone I can think of who offered to come here and cook for me, or take care of me when I wasn't feel well. I don't have friends like that. I have fair-weather friends who are only there to reap the benefits. So if you're wondering why I sometimes go into the "recluse" mode, this would be a good explanation. I don't trust people. Most are, well...disingenuous.

For once, I'd love to prove myself wrong on this one.

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