Christians in the Age of Casual Dating

I read a really interesting article today from Thought Catalog that voiced the pangs of casual dating. A part that struck me was Don’t let anyone call you “crazy” for developing a real human connection and then caring about that connection. That doesn’t make you “crazy,” it makes you healthy and strong and open-hearted and ultimately someone who will absolutely receive real love one day.” 

Let’s face it: the way we date today looks vastly different than years prior. When was the last time a friend told you that they had their date show up at their front door, drive them to the date and drive them home safely, say goodnight to their parents? When was the last time you saw or heard of a date where it started with a warm hug or a first kiss, and not sex or a one-night stand?

Reality is that dating is different today. We have so many different dating applications where we can choose people based on our interests and we can showcase ourselves to the world a projection of who we are and what we want to show. Casual dating has made that 100x more confusing – where dates and hookups intermix, commitments hang dry, and feelings are out of place.

So here are some reminders I want to give to Christians, whether in the LGBTQ+ or heterosexual space.

Our ultimate aim must be to know, love, and abide in Christ. If we forget what the Love of the Father is, we will traverse aimlessly through the dating world.

Breathe Deep and Know the Goodness of God.

Reflect on these questions:

  • Who is the Father TO YOU?
  • Have you engaged in thoughtful reflection and prayer with Him lately?
  • Have you asked Him about these desires you have to date?
  • Have you asked Him to speak to you about these desires to have a partner, to share and do life with someone?

I invite you to take a moment after reading this article to meditate on His word and ask yourselves these questions, to journal out your response to the Lord. Do you believe in His goodness? So if you believe in His goodness, do you believe He has hand-picked your partner for you? Do you believe then, that instead of searching for the one, you should search for the One who made your heart in service and compassion? (For some, you may find that in searching for His heart, you do not need a life companion and are supremely satisfied in His love – that’s the gift of celibacy.)

Lean Back and Rest in the Arms of the Father.

Dating is not easy. Say, you do end up finding someone that you start to like. You start to learn each other’s likes and dislikes, you start to spend time together, it seems like it’s all going really well. Often, whether as Christians or not, we lean into this love with all we’ve got – we become as the songs would say it – hopelessly, madly, irrevocably in love. We want to be with this person 24/7, if not text and call them 24/7. We think they’re amazing and they’re the one. And maybe they are. Maybe this ends up being the person you spend your life with. But as Christians, we have to take precautions – we have to lean back and rest in the arms of the Father before we lean into the arms of this loved one. Our treasure should be in His divine presence, not in the worldly treasure of this man-led pursuit. Do you get what I’m saying? Here’s the breakdown of reminders:

  • Lean into His Love, and Learn to Rest in His Presence
  • Spend time with your loved one, but don’t overdo it (heed curfews/time)
  • Enjoy your time with your loved one, but guard your heart above all else

Here is my last point. The Bible says “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” The Message version (Proverbs 4:23-27) says 

Keep vigilant watch over your heart;
    that’s where life starts.
Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth;
    avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip.
Keep your eyes straight ahead;
    ignore all sideshow distractions.
Watch your step,
    and the road will stretch out smooth before you.
Look neither right nor left;
    leave evil in the dust.

We must be vigiliant to guard our hearts against impurity, and against jumping ahead to dreaming up dreams about our romance. We have to guard our hearts against making this new love our highest priority. We have to be vigiliant in balancing out our time and company with this new love. Above all else, we must guard our hearts with the Love of Christ and allow all our decisions to flow from the mind of Christ.

My last bit of advice would be that regardless of who you are with, or how many dates you decide to go on, if you pray to look at this person with the eyes of Christ, you cannot fail. You will love with the mind and heart and Spirit of Christ – and that is a constant protection for you and for them.

In the light of eternity friends,

yours truly,

Jackie.

 

I am Loved by You.

Over and over again, the resounding truth is that we are loved by the Father and no human love could replace that Love. We will search through every corner and crevice, through every dating application platform, and yet, we will always come up short when we try to compare His love to the love given to us by a person, or a screen.

We are so divinely loved by a welcoming and eternal Father that his Love is matchless. It may sound obscure to think human love cannot compare, but it is so true. What kind of Love chases us in our weaknesses and embraces us in our despair? What kind of Love sees our darkness and shows us Light, every time? What kind of Love shows up at our doorstep, arms open wide, ready to take on our burdens? Only the Love of the Father. Only the Love of the Father that sustains is, embraces us, and never leaves us.

So here is your call to Love today. Your call is to Love radically and obediently so much to the point that even when your flesh wants to seek human affection, as we all do, you’ll be reminded that it’s His Love that satisfies you, not man made pursuits.

So lean back into the Love of a beautiful Father. Sing about His Goodness and be reminded that nothing can replace His Love for you. Oh, how sweet the Father’s love for you.

When Faith is on the Sidelines

When faith is on the sidelines, we forget the Father’s role in our lives – and that can lead to making terrible decisions that cost us in the long run. So how do we make sure to include our faith in all that we do?

When faith is on the sidelines, we often do not give a second thought when we make daily decisions. Our thoughts are automatic – drink this type of coffee in the morning, wear these matching socks, etc,. Our brains are wired to make millions of decisions in the span of one day – and I wonder if we take a step back to examine how we make those decisions. When faith is on the sidelines, we forget the Father’s role in our lives – and that can lead to making terrible decisions that cost us in the long run. So how do we make sure to include our faith in all that we do?

  1.  Do your daily quiet time.

    1.  Whether it’s 10 minutes of meditative prayer, or an hour of solitude with a good cup of coffee and your Bible, do your quiet time. Sit with the Lord. Listen to the stillness of the moment and drink from His well. Because when we are continually drinking from His cup, our cup will overflow with thanksgiving and thoughtfulness.
  2.  Pray always.

    1. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 16Rejoice always, 17pray continually, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. When you’re driving three hours for your commute home, or waiting in line at the supermarket, pray to your Lord Jesus Christ about anything on your heart. Transfer it from your heart of worry to His heart of compassion and empathy. Understand how powerful your prayers are – you are entreating the God of the Universe to work on your behalf. That’s where the growth happens! That’s where the miracles happen.
  3.  Be Rich in the Word.

    1.  Make it an unconscious habit to fill yourself up with the Word – whether on a run listening to a Bible podcast, or reading a Christian book, or listening to Christian music – try to make your faith amplified in your thoughts daily. What we think we become – so be careful to take in as much positive literature as possible. When you soak in the Word, you will find the answers you’ve been looking for in the love of Jesus Christ.

If we are not careful to consider our faith in our daily decision making, especially when we need to make important decisions about our families, work, etc, we fall into the lie that we can do this life all on our own. Remember when everything is going well – and so you fall off the bandwagon of your faith? Well, hop back on. When things are going well, you need to press into the Lord even more so to deter the attacks of the enemy. So listen to the Lord, pray to Him, and read his Word. And you will witness change in your life dramatically.