Finding My Way Through New Beginnings Day 3: Dating
“And you shall love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30, ESV)
I’m sure you’ve read/listened/watched many messages on dating and the helpful guidelines to follow during this time in your life. I was no different. I read the books; I attended the conferences; I listened to the speakers, all offering advice on the best way to go about dating. Did I make mistakes anyway? I sure did. Did I always heed the advice that had been offered to me? I did not. But what I did discover was the most important thing to keep in mind when navigating through the dating world: “You shall love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” The first relationship that you need to establish is a relationship with God. Your deepest joy will only come from Him, not from any relationship. Can you have joy and happiness in a relationship? Of course! But true happiness, joy, peace, and contentment start with God. Do you love God more than anything else? Are you willing to obey Him, even if it comes at a price? Being firm in your faith will help you a great deal as you seek to find a partner in life, and in every area of your life.
After ensuring that your feet are firmly placed on a solid foundation, you will also want to surround yourself with friends who have your best interests at heart—people who will be honest with you, who understand your desires, and support your values. I remember having several friends I worked with who just couldn’t understand why I wanted to save myself for marriage. They presented me with lists of why their way was better and made more sense. Thank goodness I had a lot of friends (including my best friends) on the other side, encouraging me in the other direction. The people we surround ourselves with can have a powerful influence on us, positively or negatively. Be sure the people closest to you will encourage you in the things of God and will not be afraid to pull you back from a cliff. Even if you don’t want to hear it, you will thank them for this one day. Advice—good and bad—can be found everywhere with just a click of a button today, and you will always be able to find someone who justifies your way of thinking. Do not allow that to replace the good advice of those closest to you, who care more about you than those you find online. Lean hard on the people who love you the most and know you the best.
I’m sure if you look around, you will realize that God has sent gifted, experienced, God-loving individuals into your life. Use them to your benefit! They are there for your good, and to help you in your dating relationship. God knows what we need and who we need far better than we ever will. Be willing to ask for prayer and advice from these individuals. Chances are that you will both leave that conversation feeling blessed.
One last little tip is something that you hear often as a young adult, but usually just shrug off with a slight eye roll: be patient, and don’t settle for less than the absolute best for yourself. You are looking for someone you can spend every day with for the rest of your life. That’s a lot of time, people. Be sure that time will be spent with someone who puts God first in their life as well as encourages you in living your life for God. “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23).