Saturday, December 28, 2013

Kid Conversations

While playing a game, my brother (age 7) was asked to name three things you do on a date.

Buddy: "Kiss, hug, eat"

Mom: "And that is why you are not going on a date until you are 25."

Buddy: "I don't want to. I don't want to kiss, I don't want to hug, and ... I don't want to eat with a girl!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Why I Kissed Dating Goodbye

Before I start, I want you to know that, yes, I realize I missed Christmas on here. So I am going to wish you all a very Merry New Year instead!

As I go into this new year, I am hoping to do a series of posts with the common theme of "why I ..." in order to share my convictions and allow you to get to know me better.  Notice that I said "hoping." I can make many grand plans during Christmas break, but we will see if they carry over once I have a full school and work load. :)

Anyway, to get on with the topic, I am going to share today my convictions on the relationship front.
To be clear, I want you to know that these are my convictions, and nothing more.  I do not condemn or criticize you for making a different choice than mine.

So in my story, I kissed dating goodbye long before I read the book of that same name. As I grew up, my parents explained to me their experiences with dating and relationships, and shared a different plan. When I was a tween, I read the book Before You Meet Prince Charming which gave some good guidelines for stepping out of the dating game.  I am very thankful that my parents have been teaching me since I was little about an alternate way of relating to the opposite gender.

Essentially, I have made a commitment to not get involved in any sort of romantic relationship until I am of an age where I could get married.  In short, I do not want to be in a relationship unless it is working toward marriage. Also, I would want the relationship to look less like conventional dating and more like courtship or as the Duggar girls put it, "dating with a purpose."

I have several reasons for this commitment. One is that dating in high school would likely cause me unnecessary pain. To be honest, I tend to get attached to people.  The end of any sort of relationship would hurt me deeply, as I have seen it hurt my friends.  For example, this last year, two of my friends came to me, beaming with happiness as they told me about their new boyfriends. Both girls were seniors in high school, and for both it was their first boyfriend.  I heard how they were so perfect for each other, how sweet he was, and how much fun they had together. But as the weeks went on, my friends began to sing a different tune. Instead of telling of their significant other's amazing qualities, they began to speak of arguments, struggles, and discontentment. Within two months, both girls had broken up with their "perfect" boyfriends. They ended up hurt, sad, and disappointed. Watching this saga of joy and pain, my eyes were truly opened. While I felt a twinge of envy and self-doubt at the beginning of these relationships, in the long run I ended up with a true appreciation for my parents' guidance, and sympathy for those who participate in the endless cycle of relationships.

Another reason for me to avoid high school dating is that high school relationships tend to be me-centered. Many of these relationships end because one person or the other did not feel like their needs were being met. Unless the relationship is focused on an end-goal of marriage, it becomes too easy to fall into what is fun and enjoyable for me. I am going to be honest here, I struggle with selfishness. There are times when I fall into longing for a relationship. But when I step back and look at my reasons, they are all selfish.  It might be because I want to feel special, or I want to have someone to run to, or I....
It goes on in an endless cycle. When I truly consider how I can best serve the guys around me, an exclusive romantic relationship is not what comes to mind.

Speaking of exclusive, that was exactly my next point!  High school romantic relationships, as well as dating relationships in general, tend to be exclusive. Meaning that your parents, brothers, sisters, friends, schoolwork, and even relationship with God can become secondary. The truth is that having a boyfriend is not as simple as changing a facebook status. It involves endless texts, calls, hang-outs, dates, time together at youth group, walking together at school, etc. If I were to get involved in a relationship, it would be serious temptation for me to obsess and hold a romantic relationship above all other relationships in my life.

The last and most important reason that I choose not to get involved in high school dating goes along with the one above. These type of relationships are distracting, primarily from my relationship with God. In 1 Corinthians 7:34, it says, "... The unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband." Notice that it doesn't say, "The girlfriend is anxious about how to please her boyfriend." There is no in-between. My goal while I am single is to grow to know the Lord better and better, and to continue to serve him more and more.  My goal if/when I marry is to grow to know the Lord better and continue to serve him more, with my husband at my side. I don't want to let any man have my heart until I know that it fully belongs to the Lord. While I am serving the Lord, I am not going to try to find a life service partner until I find a man who can be just that, a partner in serving the Lord, for life. 

To close, I want to share a quote from I Kissed Dating Goodbye, which I wholeheartedly agree with.

"I do not believe that dating is sinful. I view dating in a similar light as I view fast-food restaurants--it's not wrong to eat there, but something far better is available." 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Gospel, in all its Simplicity

Recently, I have been asking God to help me share my faith.  Deep inside of me, I truly want to tell about his love everywhere I go.  To often, though, fears get in the way.  I fear that I may mess it up, or that anything I try to share will hurt the person's opinion of God and of Christianity.

Yesterday, I was inspired.  One little boy in the last swim class I teach told me the gospel, and it was the sweetest thing I have ever heard. He doesn't worry about sounding silly or messing it up, he just shares what he knows about God.

Here is the message of salvation, from a three-year-old, in his exact words.

" Do you have Jesus in your heart?  I have Jesus in my heart.  He change my life, 'cause I give it to God."

It really doesn't get better than that.