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I’m one of those folks who makes a list for everything.  Sometimes I do things that aren’t on my list, and I add them to it just so I can cross them off.  I like the look of a long, completed list at the end of the day.

After writing my last post, I received some messages giving me tips on how to be careful, steps to take to avoid being raped by some cyberstalker.  These messages came from well-meaning, loving individuals!  But, I have to be honest:  This is one instance where I don’t believe a list is helpful.

Anyone who has read my blog from the beginning knows that I was violently and viciously raped by a close friend, someone everyone in my circle trusted.  You also know the weird sexual stuff that has gone on in my family.  You know my experience with the youth pastor; he was trusted by the entire community.  And, you know that my family repeatedly chased off decent men and screamed that my ex would be a great husband for me.  It isn’t always safe to trust the opinions of those around you.  They aren’t necessarily looking out for your best interest, nor are they more adept at seeing evil.  You can see evil for yourself if you stay alert to it.  

I was once stalked by a guy who worked near my house.  He decided he liked me and was not going to take no for an answer.  A few years before, his brothers beat up a girl at the high school for rejecting the one brother’s advances.  When she bent over the water fountain to get a drink, they pulled one arm behind her back in such a way as to break it as they slammed her face into the basin.  Only meeting men in your local area does not guarantee your safety.

photo from kcfisherfamily.blogspot.com

photo from kcfisherfamily.blogspot.com

Granted, my views are extremely tainted due to my personal experiences, but I think the same rules apply online as in real life.  And, I don’t think safety is to be found in formulae.

Though certain rules seem like no brainers, ultimately, my security comes from within me.  I make myself vulnerable no matter where I am or who I’m with when I don’t have an objective, when I don’t value that thing I’m supposed to be protecting:  ME.

Even my job places me in risky situations.  I go into the homes of total strangers and lay on the floor, lean over the toilet, and spend most of my day bent over with my back turned.  One former client locked everyone in the house.  No one could get in or out without him unlocking a door with the key he carried on himself at all times.  Dating isn’t the only threat out there.

We seem to be bombarded by reports of women and children being abducted from parking lots and their own neighborhoods.  Sadly, too often, they’re either never seen again or they’re eventually found dead.  Whether it’s a stranger in a parking lot, the guy down the street, our own husbands, or some stranger on a dating site, we are vulnerable.

My dad always talked a lot about situational awareness, utilizing what’s available to you, and completing what you start.  And, that’s it.  IF I believe in a formula for safety, that’s it.  Across the board.

Situational awareness is CRITICAL.  Are we pretty much just always lost in our own thoughts?  Or, the dreaminess of our date’s eyes?  On a mission when we hurriedly walk in a public place?  Looking down at our cell phones?  Or, do we notice who’s standing by the door?  Who walked across the hall to the back of the office?  Are we paying attention to our surroundings?  And, more importantly, are we paying attention to that sick feeling in the pit of our stomachs?  Have we learned to trust that hunch, that sensation when the little hairs stand up on the back of our necks?  God gave it to us for a reason!  We need to learn to listen to it and not brush it aside.

If we find ourselves in a difficult situation, do we recognize what’s available to us as a form of defense?  Are we prepared to protect ourselves?  Can we utilize the resources available to us in that given moment to either flee or fight?  I’m not necessarily referring to pepper spray!  It could be something as simple as knowing how to up your privacy settings and block a new suitor/weird client/abusive family member from your phone and your social media.  What is available to you that will place a hedge of protection around you?

And, finish what you’ve started…….for me, that’s healing and living a free life that I enjoy.  God emptied me completely, so He could fill me with Him and give me the life that He created me to live.  Why in His name would I throw all of that away now?  It would be more than a waste of time and energy–it would be a travesty, bordering on blasphemy–to set aside all that I’ve learned just to have a man in my life.  I’m worth more than that!  I’m worth so much that the King of Kings laid down his life for ME!  And, for YOU!  I can’t be careless with the life that He has given me.  I must protect it.  It is of great VALUE.  I must press on toward the mark, Philippians 3:14.  I must finish what I’ve started, and I must allow Him to finish what He has begun in my life.

To Be Continued………….