Today's role for a Christian woman takes many forms working together - mom, sister, wife, home maker, career women, and more. All of these relationships demand your time and attention. At iBelieve.com we want to help you grow in healthy relationships whether you’re single and dating, newlyweds, married or widowed. Find encouragement and feel uplifted with the sharing of personal experiences from women in every walk of the Christian women’s life.
Dating is tough enough for the world, but as Christ-followers, we often unintentionally put extra pressure on each other to get it “right”—and end up with unnecessary casualties of the heart.
For example—I was once in a situation where this amazing guy pursued me. He had a heart for Jesus, was a man of many talents, had a great sense of humor, and was attractive. We could—and did—talk for hours and really clicked. He told me from the start that we were friends getting to know each other, but that he was very interested in more.
It couldn’t have been any better.
Until he said he was praying about us and waiting on a green-light from God. That he wanted to make sure it was God’s will for us to be more than friends.
At the time, I thought, What a leader! What a godly thing to do!
But then the anxiety began rolling in like the evening tide. Wave after wave of stress and doubt and fear. What started as a fun, easy friendship turned into anxiety, over-thinking, and panic. My thoughts became negative. I was paranoid he would cancel plans. I began backsliding into insecurity, something I’d long defeated.
At first, I thought it was me. I thought maybe I wasn’t as healed as I assumed, that maybe since my old unhealthy defaults were popping up, I wasn’t ready for a relationship. I was irrationally terrified of rejection. I kept fighting it all, though, because I wanted a particular outcome. I wanted to date. I liked this guy! But I was miserable. It didn’t make sense.
After a short time, this man told me we just needed to be friends. My current biggest fear had come true, yet suddenly, there was nothing but relief. Pure, undiluted relief. It didn’t make any sense. Why wasn’t I hurt? Why wasn’t I disappointed? All I could think about was how happy I was the anxiety was gone.
I wasn’t afraid of this guy’s rejection, wonderful as he was.
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I was afraid of God’s.
I hadn’t realized at first that by hearing how he was “praying if we were God’s will,” that I felt like he and God were conspiring against me. Like I was taking some kind of test I didn’t get the notes for. It boiled down to trust issues between me and God. The root of my stress wasn’t because I was hoping for something I might not get (a relationship with a great guy) but was because I was afraid of what it meant if God told him we weren’t meant to be. Because I held this man in such high regard, him not getting a “green light” from the Lord must mean I wasn’t worthy. I wasn’t enough.
I wasn’t afraid of this guy’s verdict of me. I was afraid of God’s.
And I realized we’ve been doing this all wrong.
Should you pray about the people you consider dating? Absolutely.
Should you tell them that’s what you’re doing? Probably not.
We mean well, as I know without a doubt this man did. But when we’re seeking God for direction on a potential dating partner, maybe it’s better to relax and get to know each other and have fun, rather than put that dangling noose in the air. Regardless of your intention, it comes off as a looming judgment. What if you interpret God telling you yes, but they interpret no? Who is hearing God correctly?
It also leads into the unhealthy mindset of believing there is one soul mate for everyone, and oops, sorry—you’re not it! At the end of the day, the only requirement God gives in His word is that you marry a fellow believer. Past that, it’s a matter of chemistry, compatibility and choice.
Too many times Christian men and women realize they aren’t interested in moving a relationship forward, and pass the buck on to God with statements like “I don’t believe this is God’s will” and “God told me to break up with you.” It’s a lot easier to put the blame on God than on ourselves when things just don’t work out. But that person we’ve invested in deserves the truth (gently, and in love).
If or when you realize you don't want to pursue more with that person, give them the real reason—don’t pass the buck on to God. That’s damaging to them, and usually, it’s not even true.
Thankfully, this man in my experience did do the right thing. After he told me he was only interested in friendship, he gave me solid reasons why and didn’t try to hide behind a spiritual curtain.
We might not want to hear this, but most of the time, it’s a simply a matter of not wanting to admit the harder-to-say truth of "you know what, you're cool, but I just don't feel any chemistry between us". Or "Hey, you're awesome but I'm not completely over my ex yet." Or "Hey, you're fun to be around, but I think I see you more like a friend or a sister."
As much as rejection from people can hurt, it hurts so much worse to think you're being rejected by God. That you weren't good enough for this person or qualified to be a substantial part of their life. That somehow you were lacking.
So quit asking God if he or she is “the one”.
And instead, start asking how you can be a good date. Ask how you can protect and build up the other person in the equation, whether they turn into a date or a spouse or a good friend. Ask how you can demonstrate Christ-like love and edify. Ask how you can draw them closer to Jesus through your words and actions. Ask for God to guard both of your hearts, and not stir up or awaken love until it’s time. (Song of Solomon 2:7)
And trust God to take it from there.
Related Video: How Do I Know if He's the One?
Betsy St. Amant has a heart for three things - chocolate, new shoes and sharing the amazing news of God's grace through her novels. She lives in Louisiana with her adorable story-telling young daughter, a collection of Austen novels, and an impressive stash of Pickle Pringles. A freelance journalist and fiction author, Betsy is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and is multi-published in Contemporary Romance. Her newest novel LOVE ARRIVES IN PIECES releases via Zondervan Fiction in June 2015. When she’s not reading, writing, or singing along to the Tangled soundtrack with her daughter, Betsy enjoys inspirational speaking and teaching on the craft of writing and can usually be found somewhere in the vicinity of a white-chocolate mocha. You can read more from Betsy at www.betsystamant.com and ww