Remember books like I Kissed Dating Goodbye? You know, those books that advocate “waiting for the one” and “hearing God to show you your spouse” and “not shopping around for a partner”? I know that book in particular has been fairly controversial.
Some have shunned the concept of courtship feeling like it was too restraining and maybe even a bit legalistic. Well, I can see how some would feel that way, but that wasn’t how I felt 10—uh, ok—15 years ago when I first read it. Instead of puffing out my chest, crossing my arms and rolling my eyes at Josh Harris (how dare he tell me I can’t date!) I pumped my fist in the air and cheered on the concept: Yes, let’s kiss dating goodbye! Go courtship!
You see, in my mind, as a young twenty something I couldn’t handle dating. I needed boundaries. I needed to guard my heart. I needed to not waste my time if you weren’t my husband. (My apologies for those who were caught in the crossfire of that logic. Hit me up now and we’ll have a good time.) Well, that was my thinking back then anyway.
But then something happened: I got older.
I reached a point where I realized, “Hey, I did this singleness thing a certain way to the best of my ability and I do not have the benefit I thought I would at this point”(i.e., marriage).
“Am I doing something wrong?”
There doesn’t seem to be a clear and easy route to love for the Christian single millennial these days. We used to think that dating was a sin then we thought that online dating was a sin. (Some of us are still there, I think.) Now we’ve gotten so open we have our own version of The Bachelor (check out It Takes a Church on Netflix). With these extreme views, what’s a girl to do?
How does one know if one should be dating?
Looking back, I would agree with my younger self. I should not have been dating; I should have been using my time to heal from a broken heart, develop in character, and mature in emotional intelligence. The thing is, I did all that and then some—I got degrees, I took trips, I discovered my identity—I’m still doing that stuff. The fact is I am proactive in every area of my life and yet I’m told that when it comes to my relationship status I should “wait on God.”
When it came time to search for a home for my mom and I (another blog post for another day) I got online, signed up for rental sites and made my way to 3, sometimes 4 houses over the weekend to see my options. When it was time for a new job I got online, filled out my profile with Indeed, completed a phone interview, then 2 face-to-face interviews until I got the job. (Do you see a pattern here?) In each area of my life, I took action. I did not sit around and wait for something to appear out of the sky—though I have had those types of spiritual experiences—but I got off my butt and let it be known to the universe that I had a need and I was ready for that need to be met.
So now I’m more open. I’m receiving phone numbers, I’m going out, I’m letting the universe (and Jesus, of course) know that, “I’m accepting applicants from quality candidates at this time.”
Dating wasn’t my first choice. It wasn’t what I thought my romantic life would look like 10—ok, ok, 15 years ago. But there is no formula. There is no cookie cutter life that is one size fits all. Instead there is me and there is you. And there is a God who is intimately acquainted with all of our ways. Only He knows the best route for you to take.
Especially when it comes to love.