“Each girl’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes after she had completed
the twelve months of prescribed beauty treatments—six months’ treatment
with oil of myrrh followed by six months with perfumes and various
cosmetics. When it was time for the girl to go to the king, she was
given whatever she wanted to take with her when she left the harem for
the king’s quarters. She would go there in the evening; in the morning
she would return to a second harem overseen by Shaashgaz, the king’s
eunuch in charge of the concubines. She never again went back to the
king unless the king took a special liking to her and asked for her by
When it was Esther’s turn to go to the king (Esther the daughter of
Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had adopted her as his daughter),
she asked for nothing other than what Hegai, the king’s eunuch in
charge of the harem, had recommended. Esther, just as she was, won the
admiration of everyone who saw her.
She was taken to King Xerxes in the royal palace in the tenth month,
the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of the king’s reign.
The king fell in love with Esther far more than with any of his other
women or any of the other virgins—he was totally smitten by her. He
placed a royal crown on her head and made her queen in place of Vashti.
Then the king gave a great banquet for all his nobles and
officials—’Esther’s Banquet’. He proclaimed a holiday for all the
provinces and handed out gifts with royal generosity.”—Esther 2:12-18
The very first (serious) poem that I ever wrote was “I’m Single and
That’s All Right With Me (so for those of you who have been forwarding
a chopped up version entitled “Single and Saved”, with no credit,
please stop doing that; it’s mine).
I once heard someone say that poets are prophets; however, it hasn’t
been until recently that I’ve really taken that insight to heart. Why?
Because when I look back at a lot of the stuff that I’ve written
surrounding relationships, I must admit that didn’t mean most of
it…until now. Back in ’97, I definitely wasn’t alright with being
single. As a matter of fact, while reciting it in public for the first
time, I was scoping out the man who ended up being my fourth baby’s
You’ll have to get the book (Inside of Me) for the details on that.
Anyway, back to my point concerning how this all ties into the story of
Esther. There is one line in the poem which says, “Esther 2:14 states
that I’m to wait on my king and when he’s delighted in me, he will call
me by my name. My Mama didn’t name me Needy or Desperate.”
And she didn’t. But because I didn’t know what my name meant or what my
purpose for being was at the time, being needy (wanting or needing
affection, attention, or reassurance, especially to an excessive
degree) and desperate (reckless or dangerous because of despair or
urgency) are exactly what became of me.
Just this past weekend, one of the men from my past contacted me to let
me know that he had finally read my book and he said something that I
found to be very interesting. He came along at the very beginning
stages of my sexual exploration and even though things ended on a very
sour note, to this day, I must admit that he is still one of the most
attractive men I have ever seen.
He contacted me to apologize for the pain that he caused me back then,
to share his perspective on a couple of points that I made and then he
said something that, if I was not a new creature in Christ (2
Corinthians 5:17), I would probably keep to myself:
“Shellie, you were a very sexy woman and you were smart. Do you know
what you told me before we even started having sex? That you were going
to have sex with me. I kept telling you that we weren’t (he had a
girlfriend at the time) and you kept saying that we were. After awhile,
I gave in.”
Oh ladies, don’t trip. I know I ain’t the only one who has been
sexually aggressive. But, in the grand scheme of things, that’s really
neither here nor there. I am bringing this little light bulb moment up
to show you where irresponsible aggressiveness—both in and out of the
bedroom—will take you.
Looking back from a healed and honest perspective, I venture to say
that his recollection was right. I wasn’t really edified growing up and
in college, what I got the most attention for was being smart and being
stacked. No one really told me I was beautiful or had a pretty face,
but everyone said that I was “sexy as H-E-double hockey sticks”. So,
when it came to getting a man’s attention, I made sure I put my best
sexy foot forward. It caused me to get my toes stomped on (so-to-speak)
quite a bit and my feelings hurt on more than one occasion.
Now before all of the super-spiritual people start talking about that’s
why saints shouldn’t be sexy, let me just say that I totally disagree.
There’s nothing wrong with being “sexually interesting or exciting or
radiating sexuality”; it’s just that, when you start to realize your
worth (Proverbs 31:10) in Christ, you only desire to be perceived that
way by your husband.
For the others? Attractive, sure. But sexy? Nah. These days, I’ll pass.
Let me just put this out there, though. While I totally believe in not
being a stumbling block for my brothers (Romans 14:13), I’m not about
to walk around in a collection of sackcloth and ashes. God made me a
female and females have curves. But on the flip side, I am coming to
see and celebrate my real beauty more (pray for a sistah, I’m still
quite the work in progress), all the while realizing that trying to get
a man to see the physical part of me is not nearly as vital as having
them see my spirit.
And why is that more important to me? Because the act of sex is
temporary, but the feeling of true love is eternal (I Corinthians
13:8). Being sexy for some guy I’m not in covenant with gets me (if I’m
lucky) a night of his interest. Being sexy for my husband will last
forever because after the act of “making love” is over, his love for me
is still there.
So all of my sistahs out there who wear hardly nothing and swear (James
5:12) that you are doing it for you and not for the eyes watching you,
remember God doesn’t like liars (I Timothy 1:10). Men are visual
creatures and we do have a responsibility to keep them accountable in
the area of thinking about what is noble, pure, lovely and of good
report (Philippians 4:8). If you really wanna wear an ultra-mini or
low-cut, cleavage poppin’ shirt for your sake, then rock it in the
Right. That’s what I thought. Moving on.
So back to Esther 2:14 and the downside perspective of being an
aggressive woman when it comes to dating. One scripture that I have
used numerous times in this study is Proverbs 28:11, “He who finds a
wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” No where in
the Bible have I found where a wife “found” her husband. As I looked up
the definition of “find”, it seemed to fall right in line with
virtually all of the relationships that we have discussed thus far: “to
locate, attain, or obtain by search or effort.”
Ezekiel 34:11 states, “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and
seek them out.” (NKJV). In Matthew 18, therein lies the parable of the
lost sheep in which the shepherd left his 99 to go and find the one
that was lost. Now ladies, no one is calling you sheep but hear me out.
In God’s word, he pursues us. We don’t have to coerce him into loving
us. We don’t have to seduce him into loving us. We don’t have to “shake
what our Mama gave us” to get him to love us. We don’t have to
manipulate or lie just to get him to love us. He loves us because he
sees the beauty, worth and value of us. So much so that he would leave
everything behind to come and get us to make us his.
My sistahs, the Bible says that we, male and female, were made in the
Image of God (Genesis 1:26). However, God chose to create the woman out
of man (Genesis 2:21). With that said, I fully and wholeheartedly
believe that it’s in a man’s nature to be like his daddy and pursue
what he desires. Even the most “unsaved” man will tell you that a woman
who comes on too strong can be unnerving after he has had his way with
her. Besides, God co-signs on things being decent and in order, right?
(I Corinthians 14:40).
Well, being that a man was meant to cover his wife and lead the home
(Ephesians 5:23), don’t you think you would feel more secure in the
long term if he sought you out on the front end? If a man has the
personal security and esteem to go after you, there’s a great chance
that he also pursues getting a job, paying his bills and handling his
business. If you had to go through all of the work to get him, take it
from me, you will have to get other things for him later down the pike
because you set a foundation for being the provider. We are called to
be the helpmeet and partner for our mates (Genesis 2:18). They need to
have something in place to need help with, first.
This is what I love about the order of things when King Xerxes was in
the process of selecting a wife. Now, I must admit that it all sounds a
little too “The Bachelor” for me (is it just me or does it read in
verse 14 that those women spent the night?), but just because something
is in the Bible doesn’t mean it’s always right. It just means that
there is something we can learn from it (say a word, say a word!).
And so, while I wouldn’t be tap dancing to be rotated like a herd of
cattle around one man, I do appreciate that after leaving the king’s
presence, no woman returned unless he called her by name.
Remember back in the day when you liked some guy in your high school
and your mom would tell you, “If he wants to talk to you, he’ll call.”?
As an overly-aggressive woman-in-recovery, let me just say this to you:
“If he wants to talk to you, he’ll call.” Now, if you’re interested in
someone, I don’t think that makes the waiting process easy, but it is
necessary in order to build a solid foundation for your relationship.
After all, love is patient, right? (I Corinthians 13:4).
Just yesterday, I looked up the definitions of “waiting” and one of
them really blew my mind (actually, it’s the definition for ‘wait
up’—same diff): “to postpone going to bed in anticipation of
something or someone.”
I know what you’re thinking. That’s crazy, right? But even in
modern-day terminology, there is just something so…”decent and in
order” about waiting. I also find it fascinating that Adam was given
the job of naming all of the creatures on this earth, including Eve
(Genesis 2:23—-by the way, have you ever noticed that it wasn’t until
after sin that she was called Eve [Genesis 3:20])? Before then she was
simply known as “Woman”.). Years and years later, the women in the
king’s court were instructed not to return to him unless he too called
them by name. Seasons may change, people, but God’s order never will.
The man God has for you, won’t need your help in getting, memorizing
and calling out your name when he is ready. This was placed inside of
him before either of you were ever born.
But sometimes—-no, most times, getting called is a process. This
story goes on to share that in the tenth month (who knows how long she
had been waiting before then), Esther was taken to the king. So you
know where I am going with that don’t you, my queens? Waiting is a part
of the process in getting to your king. But my favorite part of the
story is in verse 17. The Message Version (the one I almost always use
for these intro scriptures) says that King Xerxes was totally smitten
(to impress favorably; charm; enamor) with Esther. The Amplified said
that she obtained grace and favor in his sight. The NIV says she won
his approval and the New Century Version simply says that he liked her
more than all of the others. I love that one.
My sistahs, work on being a likable person. Some of you all are as fine
as you wanna be, but you are also pure evil. To be so obsessed with
your wrapping more than the gift inside is another trick of the Enemy.
Remember, the Word says that “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
but a woman who fears the Lord shall be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30). So,
the next time a man tries to step to you, ask him why. If he starts
going on and about how good you look, don’t be impressed. A man with
personal vision and godly discernment is going to look past the
container to the content and that is the kind of man that you can trust.
Fine ain’t gonna take care of a house. Fine ain’t gonna raise no kids.
Fine ain’t gonna pray for you in your darkest moments. Fine ain’t got
your back. As a matter of fact, people who are so consumed with being
or getting someone just because they are fine are not only shallow but
in for a rude awakening later down the road because nothing—including
looks—lasts forever; but the love of a good woman never fails.
And finally, it says that once King Xerxes selected Esther, he put a
royal crown on her head, made her queen, held a banquet and even gave
her a holiday (verse 17 & 18). So you know what this means, right?
Ladies, you deserve to be celebrated!
While huge weddings have never been my thing (is it just me or does it
seem like the bigger the wedding, the shorter the marriage?), I don’t
think that I can co-sign on elopements anymore. Not because I think
it’s a sin, but again, everything that is permissible is not always
beneficial (I Corinthians 6:12). It can be 20 people at your wedding,
but all women deserve to be honored and celebrated. On this earth, when
God is pleased, there is nothing more sacred, more special, more
beautiful than a wedding ceremony. When you run off and secretly do it,
you are missing the opportunity to be honored and to have those who
love you rejoice in the next stage of your purpose.
And so (and I know I am saying this to someone), if the two of you
cannot afford a wedding (again, even if it’s just 10 people in your
living room), please wait. If a man who cannot afford to give you a
day, that’s a great indication of some rocky roads ahead. Remember, if
you are in Christ, you are royal priesthood and a special people (I
Peter 2:9). A king deserves a queen and a queen deserves to be
Homework for today: Study up on the dictionary definitions of “patient”
and “waiting” and then chill out. A man who is meant to be your
lifetime companion will know how, when and where to find you without
your help. In the midst of an entire kingdom of women, King Xerxes knew
where to find Queen Esther.
And he gave her a holiday to prove it!
©Shellie R. Warren/2006