Words of Wisdom from Michelle McKinney Hammond
- Tuesday, March 16, 2004
First, there is Michelle McKinney Hammond the singer. She has performed commercial voice-overs for such products as Coca Cola, McDonald's, Crest Toothpaste and Wrigley's Extra Gum, and has sung background for gospel artists such as Jesse Dixon and Sandra Crouch. Soon she will be putting the finishing touches on her own release for Inner Light Records titled "It's Amazing."
Then there’s Michelle McKinney Hammond the television personality. Her ability to share her convictions and insights in a non-confrontational manner landed her a co-hosting job on the cable television women's talk show, “Aspiring Women,” appearing in more than 100 markets across the country.
And, of course, there’s Michelle McKinney Hammond the speaker/teacher. Frequently requested by churches, universities and women's groups, McKinney Hammond is known for blending refreshing femininity with hard-hitting reality checks. She shares contemporary messages interlaced with humor, relevant life experiences and practical biblical principles, making God come alive for her audiences and helping people approach their relationship with Him on a more personal level.
But it is her knack for genuine, heartfelt writing that has earned Michelle McKinney Hammond a special place in the hearts of countless singles. Since 1996, McKinney Hammond has penned more than 12 books. Sales for her first two titles, What to Do Until Love Finds You and Secrets of an Irresistible Woman (Harvest House Publishers), have reached nearly 100,000 copies a piece. She has also written 101 Ways to Get and Keep His Attention, Sassy, Single, & Satisfied, Get a Love Life, and The Power of Being a Woman.
This past summer, I had the opportunity to sit with McKinney Hammond for a few minutes at a convention in Orlando, Fla., and pick her brain about a few topics of concern to many singles, myself included.
Chismar: So often, I get conflicting advice ... “Just be content and wait on God” vs. “You need to get out and be where the men are.” Should singles wait on God or be proactive in looking for a mate?
McKinney Hammond: I remember that a friend of mine once told me that waiting on the Lord is not sitting in His lap but looking over His shoulder to see if what you want is coming. Resting in the Lord is simply getting in daddy’s lap and enjoying being there and living in the moment of it. The best way to live in the moment is to take life one day at a time. Because you know, as they say, it’s not over till the fat lady sings. It’s so funny how we just write ourselves off at the age of 30. I’ll be 46 in a few weeks. I don’t feel older than twenty-something. I can’t say, “Oh, life is over.” I’m still a woman with all the same longings. Everything still works, I guess. I don’t know. I haven’t tried it out!
I had an aunt who got married for the first time at 67 and had the most fabulous wedding on the planet and was able to pay for it. She and her husband are both retired. They take three cruises a year. They flit off to the islands. They are enjoying life. They go out dancing twice a week. When I look at the glow on her face when she looks at me and says, “It was worth the wait,” I say, “OK. God knows the time for this, then.”
Chismar: That’s great! 67 … I don’t want to wait that long, but it gives me hope.
McKinney Hammond: We had to talk her into getting married. She was so happy. She was such a sassy, single, satisfied woman. She had found her space, and her place, and a purpose for living. She had a rich network of activities and friends in her life. Her life was full. She didn’t have a lot of time for feeling lonely. I think that a lot of times, singles put their lives on hold. That’s when misery really sets in.
There’s always that special time of day or something, every now and then, when you have the time to reflect and say, “Boy, it sure would be nice.” But once you have a full life, those days are few and far between. On the other hand, the question becomes, “What would I do if someone was here, because I don’t have the time.” Trusting in God that His timing is perfect, and that the wisdom of His timing is beneficial to you, is part of being able to rest as you wait.
You know, if you look every now and then, it’s OK. It’s a day in the life. Every day serves up a different flavor. I think what happens is, when we look and go, “Oh, that guy’s kind of cute,” we think we shouldn’t do that. God puts stuff out there for you to look at and enjoy. I think the secret to successful waiting is living in the moment. If you do that, and you’re in the moment, and it’s an enjoyable moment, then you’re not missing anything.
Chismar: Do you think we ever reach an age where it is wise to “give up?”
McKinney Hammond: I don’t think you do. You don’t know. You don’t know. You could meet the most wonderful man at 30. You could meet the most horrible man at 30. You could be married at 30 and your husband could die tomorrow. Or you could be minding your own business and meet the most incredible person at 60 or 70. Whenever it happens, it will be what you need at that time. I don’t think you can say, “Oh well, I’m not married and I’m 30, so it’s over and I should just make peace with this.” You should make peace with where you are and say, “God, I’m still open to the possibility, but I’m letting you know now, if it doesn’t happen, that’s OK, but I’m open.” I don’t think that we can just seal it off and say it’s not going to happen. We don’t know. We don’t know the mind of God.
Chismar: Regarding your book, 101 Ways to Get and Keep His Attention, I like that it speaks to both single and married women. Also, I think there are a lot of women who don’t know what men are actually looking for. Where did you get your research, and what qualifies you to write a book about what men want?
McKinney Hammond: Well, I asked men, and I listened. Their answers were very interesting. It was fun, and I got to meet a lot of guys. On trains, boats and planes, I would just ask them, “What makes you attracted to a woman? What keeps your interest up? What makes you like her?” It was very interesting. What I found interesting was that their answers were not what I expected. One of the biggies for them was a woman they could trust. That was interesting. And then, just the whole “looks” thing was also very interesting because we assume it doesn’t matter as much to Christian men.
Chismar: You also spoke to non-Christian men too, correct?
McKinney Hammond: Yeah. I asked both. The bottom line was, yes, they are visual creatures, but they didn’t insist that everybody be a size two with a six-pack of abs. They just wanted women who were healthy and who liked their bodies, who took care of their bodies no matter what the size was. Of course, some men prefer smaller women, or whatever. However, their thing was not so much just a muscle-bound person, but a woman they didn’t have to be concerned about: “Is she healthy? Is she going to fall apart?” and “Does she like her body?”
Chismar: You mention the power of words. How can words affect a relationship?
McKinney Hammond: It’s interesting. I think women know the secret of this, but they tend to use praise as a weapon. They use it as ransom. A man’s heart is made just like ours, so he seeks honor and respect and praise. He blossoms under that. Women need to know the natural power that they have as exhorters and encouragers to be able to bring out the best in the man by simply giving him a compliment or praising him. If you’re dissatisfied with what he’s doing, find something good that he’s doing and play that up. What that does is, it causes him to pull himself up and rise to another level because he wants more praise.
Chismar: I have one last question … for those who have been accused of “being too picky.” Should we settle for second best or “good enough?”
McKinney Hammond: I don’t think we should ever settle, because God says that He’s able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we could ask or think. Actually, He’s supposed to exceed our expectations, if you can imagine that. Something is not necessarily better than nothing. I think to the hungry soul it is, but that just gives you indigestion. You know what I mean? We really have to be careful and not say, “Well, nothing else good is going to come so I should just take this.” Don’t settle for less than what you really want. God wants to give you not only what you want, but what you need.
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