7 Opportunities to Reflect Jesus in the Dating World

7 Opportunities to Reflect Jesus in the Dating World

Dating. For some, it’s a word that holds endless opportunities, butterflies in your stomach, and increased confidence at every request. For others, it’s a foreign word that seems to accumulate more anxiety and questions than there are possibilities for finding a decent mate.

According to Scripture, Jesus did not date. It’s not in the Bible. He had a mission that did not include marriage. The Scriptures used in this article, to be clear, are not in the context of Jesus speaking about dating, but they are truths that He taught and are intended to be applied to our lives, including the dating world.

No matter where you are in the dating scene today, there is always an opportunity to reflect something. Your life is an opportunity to reflect what is in your heart, mind, and soul, and if dating is a part of your life, then it’s another avenue to reflect our Savior. May this discussion of opportunities help guide us to date with integrity and grace!

Photo Credit: Getty Images

  • Responding with Love

    Responding with Love

    Slide 1 of 7

    Rejection in dating appears to be more common than mutual affection. Rejection is talked about in the Bible, but it’s focus is on that of spiritual rejection. I certainly don’t recommend turning your cheek and letting the individual reject you romantically two or more times in a row. Jesus says in Matthew 22:37-39 that the greatest commandment is to ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” and secondly we are to “‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

    When you like someone but the feelings are not reciprocated, are you supposed to love them anyway? Yes, but the definition of love here is not the eros (romantic) type of love but agape (love of God). You are to respect their decision but also remember that we are called to love ourselves as well.

    For me, this means that the measure of my time, words, and attention change in relation to that person in order to respect my heart and the other person’s decision. Guarding your heart, as cliché as that phrase is, may look different to you than it does to me, but remember that you are worth the same reciprocal measure of your attention, time, and focus as you are willing to put forth. 

    Photo Credit: Pexels/rawpixel.com

  • Gentleness

    Gentleness

    Slide 2 of 7

    Do you ever feel apprehensive to turn down a date? Maybe you’re afraid of hurting a guy’s feelings but you know in your core you are not a match. If this is your case, remember this verse from Proverbs 15:1: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

    Gentleness is a fruit of the spirit. When I think about it, the men that pull me into their gravitational force typically display gentleness. It’s strong, intentional, and caring. Putting ourselves in the place of another person we are communicating with can often remind us of the importance of treating others gently.

    This does not mean we can be pressured to change our minds because of the temperament of our response, however. As Jesus spoke in the Sermon on the Mount, “All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one" (Matthew 5:37). Sure, after getting to know someone better you may want to go back to that conversation later down the line, but be gentle with their hearts as you would ask them to do for you, and always be transparent.

    Photo Credit: Unsplash/Alex Holyoake

  • Being OK with Alone Time

    Being OK with Alone Time

    Slide 3 of 7

    While dating can be fun, it can also be mentally and emotionally exhausting at times. I have gone through short seasons of intentional solace when going through something difficult or if my heart needs a bit of healing time. Jesus took time away from others to connect deeply with God and listen to Him as well.

    As a single person, we have the freedom to do this and not be neglecting someone in response. As it says in 1 Corinthians 7:34, An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband.”I know when I am married that my devotion and time, while still focused primarily on God’s will, will be stretched to include the time and feelings of my husband and family. Let this encourage you to be intentional in your time investments as a single. It’s not selfish.

    Photo Credit: Unsplash/Priscilla DuPreez

  • Emotions Happen

    Emotions Happen

    Slide 4 of 7

    Have you ever felt guilty for having an emotional response to an interaction on a date? Dating is very relational and is not meant to be a stiff business transaction or a conference call. Jesus was the epitome of relational living. He was always interacting with other people including his disciples, the listening crowds, his friends, his family, and even those opposing him.

    Jesus wept; he sweat drops of blood; he got angry with those buying and selling in the temple courts. He felt emotions, and while never falling into sin, he felt what was the result of interacting in this imperfect world. Don’t feel guilty for being sad, for righteous anger, or for being cautious to love someone after you’ve been hurt before. Go to God with your feelings and see what he wants to do through them.

    Photo Credit: Thinkstock/Milkos

  • People Are Watching

    People Are Watching

    Slide 5 of 7

    People notice you whether you want them to, or not. Whether online or in person, you are interacting with others and your personality, thoughts, and actions can affect them. In dating, there are myriad of opportunities to handle different circumstances, some of which include being ghosted, being stood up, having lots of options, or having none. 

    I have had several instances where people have commented on how well I seem to be doing as a single woman in her 30s. Keeping up my health, staying strong in my faith, and not compromising when things look grim are all things that are important to me. I don’t say this to make myself look good, as I am far from perfect, but I say it to remind you that people are watching how we respond to life. That response, whether positive or negative, whether eternally or inwardly focused, can be the witness that another person may need to want to get to know Jesus.

    Photo Credit: Thinkstock 

  • Knowing Your Roles

    Knowing Your Roles

    Slide 6 of 7

    Roles for a woman in today’s society can appear contradictory at times. At work, I am asked to be independent, self-motivated, and to take the initiative to get things done. In a relationship, I am asked to be compromising, submissive, and to receive a man’s pursuit. I understand why the roles in work and relationships have to be different, but it can be hard to mentally turn on and off these mindsets to fit into the appropriate scenarios.

    As a single woman, God is my provider, but I am asked to do what He has gifted within me to be a functional adult. Jesus leaned on God, not man, to do on Earth what he was created to do. Until a man asks for my hand in marriage and commits before God to be my covering, I will continue to need God’s grace to survive and successfully live out His calling in my life as a single woman.

    Respecting the men that pursue me is important, but ultimately, I submit to my Savior and respect His guidelines for being the best I can be in whatever situation I am in, first. Fighting the instinct to pursue and initiate all while continuing to wait on God’s timing for my love to find me is hard, but it’s the only way to precede God’s best.

    Photo Credit: Unsplash

  • Dust Off Your Sandals

    Dust Off Your Sandals

    Slide 7 of 7

    No two people have the same dating history. Whether you’ve been on tons of dates or seem to never be asked out, the main goal we all have when we are dating is the same. We want to find a spouse that will bring out the best in us, that we will be attracted to, and that will walk along with us in life as we fulfill our God-given purpose.

    As Jesus instructed the disciples on how to navigate their mission, he gave them some solid advice. “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet”(Matthew 10:14). I dare say the idea of shaking the dust off your feet can be used in the dating world as well. Never forget how valuable you are to God’s mission and don’t let fear or rejection keep you from moving forward to your destination and God’s great plan for your love life.

    This journey of dating will have roadblocks, hurt feelings, rejection, and heartaches, but also there is hope, love, and joy to look forward to. I pray that we will keep moving forward and continue to be hopeful, kind, and forgiving Jesus followers as we navigate dating in today’s society.

    Mandy SmithMandy Smith is a joyful 30-something single living in GA. She is a full-time Speech-Language Pathologist. Her loves include Jesus, her family and friends, creativity, playing guitar and singing, coffee, laughing, and of course, writing! You can read more of her writing on  her website www.myjoyousheart.com and connect with her on FacebookTwitter, YouTube and Instagram

    Photo Credit: Unsplash