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SINGLES

Get Happy, Girlfriend!
An Interview with Michelle McKinney Hammond

By Laura Bagby
CBN.com Producer

CBN.comI was thrilled to finally meet Michelle, having read several of her books, including Sassy, Single, and Satisfied, and wanting very much to get to know the insightful, tell-it-like-it-is author.

For those of you who don't know Michelle, she writes extensively on women's issues and relationships, is co-host of the Emmy-nominated TV show Aspiring Women, and founder and president of HeartWing Ministries. She also sings and is the voice-over talent for many television commercials. She is the penultimate Renaissance woman!

Sitting down with Michelle was like sitting down with a close friend. Michelle is extremely gracious and thoughtful and she has a great sense of humor. I hope you enjoy as much as I did getting to know this gifted woman of God.

How do you get to the satisfaction level that you are at now?

MICHELE MCKINNEY HAMMOND: I can only speak from personal experience. When I stopped asking God about the man thing and started asking Him, 'Why am I really here? What am I supposed to be doing?' when I kicked into purpose and discovered what my gifts really were, that's when I got happy. Those are still the happiest times for me. When I am doing what I am supposed to be doing, when I am doing what I was created to do, then my joy is not dependent on if a man is in my life or not. The beauty of it all is that when you get to the place where you are happy and you are joyful and you know what peace is like, when someone comes into your life who does not contribute to that, it is easier to make decisions and be discerning about whether that person has earned the right to have your heart or not because you know what peace feels like and you know what joy feels like, and you don't want that to be disturbed for the sake of having a man.

You are right because so many women put their joy in finding a man.

MICHELE MCKINNEY HAMMOND: Yes, and when the man is gone, life falls apart. That doesn't happen in my life, because my life existed before this person came into my life, so they are kind of like the cherry on top of the cake; they are not the cake.

There is this philosophy out in the Christian world that says that as soon as you get satisfied being single...

MICHELE MCKINNEY HAMMOND: God is not going to bring it! I know!

How do you respond to them?

MICHELE MCKINNEY HAMMOND: Well, wouldn't you just like to be happy just to be happy? What if He never brings the man and you are still practicing being unhappy? Plus, who do you think God is? Why would you think that He would be so cruel? Do you think that He is selfish and He just wants to wrap you up and place you somewhere? He is not like that. What He does is He makes decisions based on what is good for us, good and perfect gifts, things that add to our lives. It has nothing to do with whether you are happy or not. That is why us being unhappy doesn't manipulate Him to give us a man any sooner either. So we need to get happy. Plus, think about it. If you don't practice being happy, then you become subconsciously unhappy all of the time. You are not even aware of when you are walking around in a down attitude. That might be when someone is looking at you and considering you, but based on your countenance, they would never approach you. People are attracted to people who are alive and vibrant and joyful and satisfied with themselves. They want to be a part of something that is good. That is why we have to cultivate the habit of happiness, so that we are in position for whoever is watching because we never know who is watching.

The whole tack on singleness for you says hey, look at what you have, cultivate what you have, as opposed to being at the right place, like going to the gym. It is about being the right person. Talk about that.

MICHELE MCKINNEY HAMMOND: When you are the right person, your life is filled with joy. Jesus said that He gave us joy that the world could not take away, and yet we allow men to take it away. We allow circumstances to take it away, but 'the joy of the Lord is our strength.' When we give our joy away, we literally give our strength away. God wants us to be self-sufficient and dependent at the same time. That seems like an oxymoron, but what He wants is He wants you to reflect that He does provide for you in every way, but that you are also open to having a partner in your life; dependent on Him for all the really heavy stuff, but also willing to partner with someone else for the stuff that is made for men to handle.

What you have to do in order to attract the right person is be the right person because a lot of the relationships we end up in are really the reflection of what is going on inside of us. When you keep meeting these jerks and you think, Why am I always…? That is the level that you think you deserve, and you haven't dealt with that yet. I am now, I think, at a good place. I don't attract those types of people anymore because I know what my world consists of, I know what I have to contribute, and I know that I would be a valuable asset in a man's life. When a man comes into my world, he senses that and he makes his own decisions based on do I deserve her or not. I no longer have to make those types of decisions.

But most women don't know their own value, and they don't know their own value because they are not doing anything with their lives. Basically, they think they are deserving of nothing, which is not true in the eyes of God. But it would be truer for them if they were motivated by using their gifts, blessing other people, and doing things that when they lay their heads down at night, they felt like they really accomplished something, that they had contributed something great to the world for the day.

This whole concept of blessing, where you are giving yourself away, I think a lot of singles have a hard time with. How do you get past that?

MICHELE MCKINNEY HAMMOND: You have to get over yourself! It's like if you stare at yourself in the mirror for a really long time, you will find the pimples that did not exist. I think that they grow as you stare at yourself! The same thing happens when we become so introverted, so self-conscious. We really have to get over ourselves. I always tease singles by saying, 'We are like little opera singers: Me! Me! Me!' But it is not about you. Life is bigger than us.

I had a girlfriend who was complaining because she had to have a pay cut. She was going on and on about it. I said, 'Everybody you have been talking to has lost their jobs.' Her rationale for being upset was that she had built up her skills to a certain level and she was finally in a job she really liked. It seemed like she was deserving of making this type of money. This is a bigger issue than you; this is the economy of the nation. I don't think there is anyone at the White House saying, 'Boy, so-and-so should take a pay cut because we need some money around here.' It is not like that. I think that is what happens. We become very myopic and everything becomes about us. And it is not! So many times it is not about us at all.

You talk about the value of friendship, not just in this book, but in your other books, how you have friends as a base. It seems like that would be a good way for singles to stop thinking about being alone. Have you found that to be true?

MICHELE MCKINNEY HAMMOND: You have to have a strong network of friends and people that you are having interrelating experiences with because that also pulls you out of yourself. When you are thinking about someone else, what is going on with them, you are planning activities together, and contributing into someone else's life and they are contributing into yours that is really important.

It is important to have friendships with both sides. It is important for women to have friendships that are like sister walks, which is what I call them, but it is also very important for them to have great, strong, platonic relationships with men. Why? Because we have our own ideas of how men are. Men are different. Men make great friends. They are very loyal. They are very bottom-line people, not a lot of drama. They are pretty consistent. They give good advice about other men. Take advantage of that to learn about other men if you are not in a relationship. I have learned so much from watching my male friends and how they deal with relationships. And then, if I am in a relationship, and I start sharing with them what is going on, they just cut straight to the chase. 'Oh, no, that will never work,' or 'Oh, he really does like you. You should see that he is working on that.' It is great to have that input, because if you try to ask a women about why a man does something, you will never get the right answer.

When you are an independent woman, a career woman, the church community is a little scared of that. This is what I have heard on my end: 'You don't want to be that kind of person because you are not going to have time to meet your husband and you are going to be too busy.'

MICHELE MCKINNEY HAMMOND: I get that all the time. I am busy, but that is how I will know he is the right man for me because he will deal with all that. When God created Eve for Adam, he crafted her to meet Adam's specific needs. Each of us is crafted to meet someone's specific needs and vice versa. So your life doesn't have to change. Some things might have to be modified. Of course, if I were married, I would not be running all over the place as much as I am now. That will not bother me. It will be fine because I am fighting for the balance even though I am alone at this point.

It is important for all of us to nurture a balanced existence because singles are guilty of going to the other extreme. They busy themselves so much so that they don't have to face being alone. That is not healthy either because God wants us to rest and have a balanced existence. We should not be afraid of the dark or being alone or the silence because beautiful things are heard in the silence. If you don't stop and take those times, there are things that you will never hear from God about yourself, the vision for your life, or just settling matters of the heart.

It is too much to worry about and think about to say 'If I get too busy, no man will like me because I am too busy.' Give me a break! The man who really desires you will do what he has to do to inspire you to be there more. He will take up his part in partnering with you. So it is nothing to worry about.

I like your perspective that the woman is made for the man. I see so often women on the dance floor saying, 'Come on. Let's go.' I think to myself, 'He who finds a good wife.' What is the deal with this initiation? How much should a woman initiate?

MICHELE MCKINNEY HAMMOND: If he is your bud, fine. Come on. Let's go dance. If he is someone you are interested in, I say no because you are setting yourself up. Men are pretty interesting. If they don't pursue you, they will respond if they have nothing else to do until they see someone that they really want to pursue. Then the woman is upset. 'What happened? I thought you liked me.' He is thinking, 'Well, you came after me. I didn't come after you.' The woman who goes after a man spends the rest of her life validating that he really wants her.

Why have to do all of that work? Jesus came after His Bride. He fought the dragon, and He is coming to take His bride away. A man has to go through something to understand and appreciate the value of the woman that he commits himself to. Without that, the relationship is always nebulous. People say, 'Well, he is just shy,' or 'He has had disappointments before and he is just afraid.' Men go after what they want from little round balls on football fields to women, and if he is not coming after you, if he is passive, that means he is going to be passive in other areas that are important to you as well. He is going to be the guy that you are going to get upset about because he just doesn't seem career oriented. If he is passive about stuff around the house, he is going to be passive about other stuff. You have to be very careful and consider those things before pursuing a man.

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