On Mondays, we pray asking God to soften our hearts as women. We ask God to make men bold. And, we ask God to give the gift of marriage.
Well, I took the plunge. I signed up for a month on an online dating site.
Many of my friends met together this past week to sign up, talk about our profiles, talk about the awkwardness, and to walk through it all together. I sat on the sofa for most of the evening looking at a badly-written, over simplification of who I am—inwardly grumbling about how uncomfortable I find the whole process of dating, especially dating online.
I don’t know how many of you have tried online dating as a way to meet other Christian men who aren’t in your immediate circle, but it can be an intimidating process. Thankfully, as online dating has become more common, it’s become easier to talk about, but wading through the new trends in etiquette, new technology, and its effects on your heart can be difficult.
Here are just a few of the hang-ups I have about online dating.
Technology – I can email friends. I can email coworkers. But, when it comes to emailing strangers that have a slightly attractive set of photos online—it just grates many people the wrong way. Flirting via electronic smiles, wading through bad apps, all leave me feeling like the air has just been sucked out of the room. The last thing I want to do at the end of the day is to email.
Etiquette – Culture-wide traditional etiquette has taken a nosedive, but in most places, people still follow some semblance of social order. My problem is that I don’t what online dating etiquette looks like. I don’t know who sets it. I don’t know who it applies to. Many times online dating can be a cross-cultural experience which adds a whole extra layer of questions.
Body Image – I am so self-conscious about how I appear online. Is this a good picture of me? When we eventually meet, will he think I photograph better than I actually look? How do I describe my body type to an algorithm? How can I judge someone’s appearance by few pixels on a computer screen? Everything in our lives is so image-driven that it’s impossible not get a little caught up in a crazy cycle over our whether the images of ourselves matches up to the world’s expectations.
So, after all of my questions and hang-ups and awkwardness, why am I trying online dating? Does it change praying for soft hearts, bold men, and marriage?
If I believe in a God who has used human technology for his purposes in the past, I must also believe that He could use the Internet as a part of my story.
If I’m boldly asking God to move demonstrably in the lives of those in the FastPray community, I should be bold enough to try a new approach to dating that I’m not comfortable with.
If I believe with the Psalmist when he said that I am “fearfully and wonderfully” made, then I need to leave room for the Holy Spirit to free me from being trapped in an image-driven culture.
Meandering through an online dating experience isn’t easy and is not always fun, but I believe in a big God who can answer prayers in any way He wants.
Feel free to chime in with your experiences (positive/negative/neutral) with online dating. 🙂