I’ve been thinking about dating a lot lately. There are multiple reasons for this. The first one is that I’m a 19 year old single college student. Obviously, dating comes to mind quite a bit. But the other main reason I’ve been thinking a lot about it is because I’m starting to see more to it than meets the eye. I’m starting to see more to this aspect of life than people outside of the Christian faith, and even many people inside of it see. I’m seeing the eternal significance, and it’s starting to excite me a lot.
When I was in my first semester of college, I had a professor named Dr. Wheeler. If you go to Liberty, there’s probably about an 80% chance or higher that you have had him for your evangelism class. Everybody loves him, and while you don’t get a ton of tangible academics from his class, he is an amazing man and has a huge heart for God. During my semester in Evangelism 101, he said something about dating that really stuck with me. He mentioned that the only reason you should be dating anybody is if you can serve God better together than you would separately. Now, when I heard this, it seemed like such an obvious statement that there was no need to take it to heart. I figured that he was right, and that dating made me a happier person and a happier person could serve God better. It just made sense. But, when I entered into a relationship the next semester, the opposite began to happen.
Was I happier? Eh, sometimes. But there was a lot of stress from being spiritually immature and trying to make things work, and it seemed like we spent so much time trying to make “us” work that we weren’t paying any attention to the world around us or the God who wanted nothing but a relationship with us individually. Needless to say, things ended after five months and I landed in a place where I was further from God than I had ever been in the time since I had become a Christian.
I started to think that Dr. Wheeler had been wrong, and that there was no way that a dating relationship could ever bring you closer to God. There was just too much work in a relationship to have time for anything else. So I decided to seek God on my own. I knew that I needed his power in my life, and I knew that I needed to be single to do that. Were there roadblocks along the way? Yes. Did I go on dates sometimes anyway? Absolutely. But in the end, I discovered the joy of seeking God alone and experiencing his love and rest as an individual child of him. I discovered the wonder of sitting alone in his presence and him speaking to me in completely unexpected ways. I’ve experienced the ridiculous peace of worshipping alone in a crowd of people. There are so many things to experience alone, and so much that God has to teach you.
Eventually, however, you get to a point of wanting more of God and feeling like there is something missing. I can’t explain it, but the only thing I know for sure is that THIS was what Dr. Wheeler was talking about. The time is here. God has prepared my heart and continues to prepare me for the next step: the world of dating. He has readied me to wait for the man who loves and seeks him, be pursued, and run after God with all that I have with a man who is encouraging me every step of the way as I encourage him. I’m here to tell you that God DOES tell you when you are ready and he WILL give you clarity in his timing. Am I making an announcement that I’m in a relationship? Not at all. But what I am saying is that he gives you the tools to make wise decisions. He has shown me what men chase him and what boys are playing a game, even if they don’t know that they are. He has shown me my weaknesses and grown me in ways that I cannot explain. He has grown my love for him and show me how and why to love other people in and through that same love. It’s so difficult to believe, yet so incredibly real.
Wait for the timing that God says is right. Wait for him to lead you. Set standards for yourself and learn to follow them. Discipline yourself in the Lord and go after him with everything in your being. And, when you are ready, let him show you the next step.