Alright. I’m going to vent for a quick minute, minus the quick part…..
This evening I was briefly listening to 88.7 (the only decent Christian radio station in Nashville that I have yet to come across) and I caught the last end of a discussion about dating. Normally I avoid this channel in the evenings because the evening DJ (Wally) says so many ignorant things that I end up completely frustrated. Tonight’s discussion on dating was a similar situation.
Now I know that I have a lot of strong opinions, and seem to rarely share similar opinions with other people, but this is something I really believe and stand firm in regardless of disagreement.
Especially as a Christian radio station, touching on topics such as dating can be tricky. The portion that I caught was a word battle over male vs. female opinion on if you can get to know someone well as friends or if you have to go on dates. Now Wally’s stance was “a guy doesn’t hang out with a girl he isn’t interested in” and the girl’s stance, (not sure who she was), was that you can have guys that really are just friends and do not need to spend the time and the money investing in ‘dating’ to get to know somebody, you can get to know them well enough as friends first and see if something comes of it. (Yes there are always exceptions but I don’t have the time or energy to go down those rabbit trails. Keep going ☺).
1. Why is this even an issue to be discussed on a Christian radio station? Not the issue of ‘dating’ but the issue of who was right. It escalated into a petty word play with passive-aggressive (chauvinistic) insults due to a difference of opinion that was completely unnecessary and did not glorify Christ in any way.
2. Wally mentioned that it was a male vs. female opinion, but I beg to differ. It’s not a difference between a guy’s opinion and a girl’s opinion (note: I’m not disagreeing that male and female view things differently). This is an issue of spiritual maturity, wisdom, and discernment…. or lack there of. Yes, God gives us desires such as relationship/marriage/family etc. HOWEVER, how many of us actually LISTEN to GOD’S desires and plans for our relationships? Instead we give authority to the emotional chaos of desire that emerges out of our attempt to fill these voids with what we see a fit solution. Tozer says; “So, we are not forced to obey in the Christian life, but we are forced to make a choice at many points in our spiritual maturity. We have the power within us to reject God’s instructions- but where else shall we go? …Our mistake is that we generally turn to some other human.” (Hmmm….. idolatry? Just throwing it out there….)
3. The discussion [for us as well, but especially on a Christian radio station] should not be ‘who’s right and who is wrong about how to go about effectively dating as a Christian’, but rather:
• How do we, as Christians, continually align our hearts and desires towards God?
o By prayer and petition for God to grow and cultivate those desires in us.
o Holiness is understood as a derivative because we can never possess it on our own, it is a gift from God. We cannot work to earn it, it is given to us; we acquire it. We are made perfect through our imperfections.
• (Leviticus 20:26) You are to be holy to me because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.
• (Deuteronomy 18:13) You shall be blameless before the LORD your God.
• (2 Corinthians 7:1) Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
• How do we make sure we are proactively searching for these things?
o By surrounding ourselves with accountability to help encourage us, pray for and over us, and push us towards Godly relationships and call us out when our attention begins to divert, etc.
All of our relationships, friends, family, dating, marriage, even our enemies are all for one sole purpose: to be holy as the LORD our God is Holy. (Not that the person makes us holy, but that God uses our relationships as a tool in making us holy). We have this over-romanticized notion of what relationships are and what they will do for us, how they will complete us. The REAL answer is these relationships won’t do anything for us, they won’t be romantically dramatic, and they won’t complete us. We will still be lonely, we will still be disappointed and feel betrayed, and we will look to the next thing (or person) to fill our longing. We are flesh, we are selfish and we have expectations that people will never be able to meet. That’s why we need God. It serves as a reminder that we leave God out, we disappoint God, and we betray God and view him as disposable as we are on to the next ‘quick fix’. It reminds us of how much grace WE require, and suddenly our need for compassion and forgiveness towards others begins to cultivate. We step out of our selfishness for one moment and extend the grace that we’ve been bestowed. This is a (small yet significant) step towards holiness.
We don’t need to date around (we can, but we don’t need to). As we get to know Christ, he slowly begins to reveal facets of himself to us (that we will never full be able to understand). We begin to know Christ and who we are through Him, and therefore begin to honestly and confidently know ourselves. As our focus begins to zero in on Christ, past desires and temptations begin to lose power over us. There’s an old quote that has stuck with me for years, “Run after God and one day you’ll look over and see who’s running next to you.” As cliché as that sounds, I believe it whole-heartedly. There are so many ‘red-flags’ in life and in relationships that we either do not see because we lack discernment, or we choose not to see because we are selfish and acting solely from our desires (I’m going to lay it out there once more… idolatry). When we get married we do not ‘find’ a soul mate, we will become soul mates because our hearts [should] be aligned together for one sole purpose: Holiness.
Of course there are many things to look for, but as we get to know each other the most important questions to HONESTLY answer for friends and relationships alike are:
(1) Do they love Jesus and are they continually seeking holiness?
(2) Do they love me (not eros love) and do they push me to continually remain focused on Christ and seeking holiness
Bottom line. That’s it. It’s that simple. If they and we are doing this, our relationships through Christ will enable us to become alive and not just merely surviving. And if we focus on getting these two concepts down, seeking holiness and encouraging others in love to seek holiness, everything changes. We focus on Christ and doing things for Him and not for ourselves (idolatry) and we encourage others to focus on Christ (and not be idolaters) and the core issue of our existence is being taped into, and we no longer need to treat the symptoms that are byproducts of the real, underlying issue.
Freedom. Real freedom.
Not easy, not ‘fun’, not fair, but liberating.
It’s not found in a spouse, but in Christ. We need to stop worrying about dating and start dealing with all the garbage we accumulate just from life. I don’t want a husband, I want a man who is seeking holiness and we join together on the walk at whatever time God ordains. To those of you who are currently on this walk with me, I love you. I appreciate you. I fail miserably and you are often times the grace of God in a tangible form. I’m honored, encouraged, re-fueled, and blessed by you.
And my energy tank has officially hit zero.