We’re fasting and praying for marriages for those who want to be married, for courage for men to walk upright and into relationship, and for courage for women (us) to be able to change where we need to change.
After Heidi’s fabulous practical post last week on dating, I received numerous comments from friends along the lines of “Well, that’s great if someone is asking you out…but no one is asking me out!” So I wanted to add a few extra thoughts into the conversation about dating well. Some of them come out of my own experience (the good, the bad and the ugly) and some out of conversations with friends and mentors.
If no one is asking me out, I can still be doing things to date well.
Even if no one is pursuing me right now, I can still be implementing some of Heidi’s advice. On one hand, I can practice living with an open, gracious heart instead of hiding behind emotional walls and negativity. On the other hand, I can steward my feminine ability to build relationships by being careful about where I invest that ability. And I can be looking to encourage the men in my life, even if they aren’t dating prospects.
Don’t ignore your heart.
Sometimes it’s a close guy friend who spends more and more time with you but never actually asks you out. Sometimes it’s a guy you know isn’t a believer, but otherwise seems so perfect. In any case, it’s easy to start rationalizing: “Well, it’s just coffee.” ”It’s just a phone call.” ”We just have good conversation.” Obviously every situation is different and requires godly discernment and grace, but don’t ignore your gut instincts and start trying to find short cuts. This is also where Heidi’s advice to “have an audience” (in essence: be open with a few close friends about your dating life) comes in handy — even if you’re tempted to rationalize, trusted friends probably won’t let you.
Live your life forward, no matter how many dates seem to be on the horizon.
Even when that girl has a date and you don’t, you are not less loved or less valued or less beautiful or less worthy in your heavenly Father’s eyes. Whenever my emotions are invested in my dating drama (or lack thereof), there is perpetual disappointment. My hope has to be grounded God’s character and plans for me, not in my value as measured by number of dates. Sometimes I also reread a few articles that help reset my perspective: Single While Active, Seven Myths Single Women Believe, and Object of My Affection.
Then I do a heart check: “Are the things that I hope will characterize my married life characterizing my life right now? Am I giving my roommate or family the same level of grace, forgiveness, and sacrificial service I imagine I will give my future spouse? Am I valuing today as the precious gift it is and not waiting for “real life” to start when I get married? Am I glorifying God with the opportunities and gifts and skills I have right now, regardless of what the next chapter holds?” When I can answer those questions positively, the number of dates on my calendar is suddenly a much less vexing concern.
In His Grace,
PS: Two recent sermons on issues around sexuality caught our eye and we wanted to share them:
David Hanke, the pastor of Restoration Anglican Church in Arlington, VA, preached a great sermon on sexuality a few weeks ago. Focusing initially on the experience of the Christians in Pergamum, he ends up hitting on lies and truth about sexuality (and he gets very specific in terms of pornography, fantasy, and self-sacrifice). It’s definitely worth listening to–honest, practical and true.
Harvest, the young adults ministry of McLean Presbyterian Church, has been going through Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5. Pastor James Forsyth uses the verses on lust as a starting point for a more in-depth look at how sexual sin (or inordinate desire generally) is a problem for everyone, regardless of age, gender or marital status. He also discusses the true purpose of human sexuality and how Christ calls us to be radical in dealing with sexual sin.