Growing up in Anniston, Adina Peoples was the only girl in a family with three older brothers. Her father was Sam Phillips, a pillar of the local community, and she freely admits she was a “daddy’s girl.”
None of that prepared her for the modern dating scene, where she found herself settling over and over again for the wrong men, rather than waiting for the right one.
Peoples, 45, now works for the Hobson City office of the Dannon Project, a nonprofit organization that offers helps unemployed or underemployed at-risk youth and non-violent citizens reentering society.
Peoples is also a worship leader and motivational speaker, frequently talking to young single women about relationships. She has now published a book on the topic, called “Save the Date.”
So many times, she writes, single women are so anxious to find love that they wind up in destructive relationships. It’s a pattern that is hard to break. She speaks from experience.
“It is harder being an ethnic woman,” she said. “In my opinion, we feel like we are in competition with one another, because we don’t really know who we are.”
Learning who you are and being comfortable with that is a major theme of the book.
“You are an original creation. No one has the same footprint,” Peoples said. “Know who you are. Develop a relationship with God. Develop a relationship with yourself. Then you can have great, long-lasting relationships — and not just in marriage.”
If you are comfortable with yourself, it can be easier to wait for the “right one” to come along. Peoples learned how to take herself out on dates, and got comfortable eating at a table for one. She calls it “single-brating.”
“I learned that I was never alone,” she writes. “God was always with me, and He would sup with me. It might have looked to others like I was alone, but I wasn’t.”
Hollywood doesn’t make it easy for women to accept themselves, she said. “We have TV screens telling us what we’re supposed to look like. We think we need to add to our eyes, add to our cheeks, add to our teeth,” she said. “But the additives won’t get you what you want. TV is not real. We’re measuring ourselves against something phony.”
This doesn’t mean she’s anti-makeup, she said. She just wants women to feel beautiful with or without it.
Peoples knows from experience how hard it can be to break a self-destructive cycle. “With Christianity — with any relationship — you have to revisit it. Ask yourself, ‘Am I meeting up with what I’m purposed to do?’”
The answer won’t always be yes. “There are always the ‘light coming on’ moments — ‘You’re veering to the left! Get back on the path!’”
And there will be failures, Peoples said. “When I minister to young women, they’ll read the book and say, “I want to save myself for marriage.’ Then they’ll call later and say, ‘I failed.’
“I tell them, well, failure is a part of life. True failure is not recognizing that you failed. The message of this book is, ‘Get up, dust yourself off and proceed.’ This is not a book to beat anybody up. It’s a book to say, ‘Get up again.’”
She quotes from James 1:2-3: “Count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations, knowing that the trying of your faith works patience.”
Peoples decided to write the book as a way to preserve her teachings. “When you speak, when your words are gone, they’re gone. When your words are written down, you can go back and reference them.
“If you’re having a bad day — you don’t think you’re pretty, you’re not respecting yourself, you’re feeling impatient — then you can turn to the book for a reminder,” she said. “I have to do the same for myself. I still need it.”
Since she published the book last fall, she has heard from lots of single women, but also married couples and men who have been helped by the book.
Peoples describes the dating scene out there as “horrible,” but she is not losing patience.
“I believe that what you declare, what you put into the atmosphere, will come back to you,” Peoples said. “If you say, ‘I’m going to be alone,’ that’s what you plant in the ground. I try to make it a practice to put positive things in the atmosphere — which means sometimes I have to speak the opposite of what I feel.”
Lisa Davis is Features Editor of The Anniston Star. Contact her at 256-235-3555 or email@example.com.