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Dating transformation

When it comes to our faith and getting dating advice, just like with most other advice, we often add it to our existing framework. We take in what people say and try to make it fit with our existing assumptions or reject it. We may not even realise we do this. But true transformation begins with letting go of these ‘items in the box’.  

When it comes to dating, there are so many opinions and bits of advice out there for Christians. We want to date well and we want to honour God and follow his will. It’s not that we don’t want to bring God into our dating choices, we just don’t know where to begin.

Now I’m not someone that says you must do what I say because I’m always right. I believe in what I do and what I write, but I’m aware that I don’t have all the answers, and there isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all-model’ for dating. However, this post isn’t really about ‘my’ bit of advice.

How Do We See Transformation

This post is exploring how we take everything we hear and believe, and live in a way that means it really affects us and shapes us.

I think there is an important process that needs to happen before we decide to follow this bit or that bit of advice, that can bring real transformation

The process is a bit scary and daunting, but it’s the only way we can really allow God to transform us in the area of dating, and any other area really.

I Feel Stale

Let me tell you a true story about a conversation between a woman and her church leader:

There was a woman in a church who went to her church leader and said that her faith had gone stale. She felt like she was no longer progressing in her relationship with God and she couldn’t understand why.

She said to her church leader that she goes to Sunday services in the morning and evening, she goes to mid-week Bible study groups. She’s in a prayer group. She serves at community outreach events. She goes to the prayer and prophecy nights at church.

She does everything and feels she makes space for God. She said ‘I have done it all and it feels like I have received everything God has to offer. I have taken it all and now there is nothing left to grow me’.

The church leader responded with a very wise comment, saying ‘Well that’s your problem, you have taken everything, but what are you giving to God? How are you surrendering, trusting and loving him more?’ (Read What The Church Can Learn From The Science Of Love)

Filling the Box, Filling Our Lives 

Let me put it another way. Imagine someone standing in front of a box. This box represents their life. Imagine they’ve ‘decided’, consciously or subconsciously, that they’re only going to rely on themselves for money because they don’t want to be a ‘burden’ to anyone.

They throw an item in the box – this item represents their decision for their life and takes up space in the box.

Imagine they’ve ‘decided’, consciously or subconsciously, to only worship God with a certain style of worship music. They just can’t connect with other types, even though God is still glorious and deserves praise.

They throw another item in the box that’ll take up some more space.

Let’s say they decided that they want a certain job, and because it isn’t working for the church there is no obvious ‘Christian’ way to do this job. Without realising it they just go with the flow because they don’t know how to apply God’s word to this career.

They throw another item in the box that’ll take up some more space.

No Space Left

Now imagine we’re that person. We’ve made decisions and have an existing framework and set of assumptions so we have a load of ‘items’ already. We’ve filled our lives, our ‘box’ with these items.

Going to Jesus afterwards and asking for more guidance, for more revelation, for more faith to follow him, asking him to give us more is what we probably do a lot. But if the box is already filled with items, then there’s only a limited amount of space God can occupy.

If the box is filled with stuff already, there is limited space left for new items, no matter how good they are.

If decisions have been made consciously or subconsciously about areas of our lives, then God’s wisdom and will in our lives can only take up a limited section. They can only be ‘added’ to our existing framework. God will struggle to transform it.

Empty The Box

That’s why the church leader asked that woman how much are you giving. She needed to start giving to God so that he could give her the relationship and life she was craving. She had to start trusting in God and doing things differently so that she didn’t rely on her routine, herself, or choices she made a long time ago.

The same is true when it comes to dating. We can decide, for example, ‘I want to believe that God will bring me “the One” so that I feel at peace about the situation’, or ‘I have decided to just date a lot of people and see what happens because that’s what everyone else does’, or ‘I have decided to go out with that person because God wants me to be happy’. (Read ‘The One’ Myth Robs Us Of A Great Relationship)

All of this takes up space in the box, all of these items mean that we can’t truly let God transform us and the way we date because we have decided on so much already.

Imagine If…

Imagine if we went to God, and took all of the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bits of advice we live by, emptied the box and allowed God to fill it. This is scary and hard, but it allows us to seek God rather than our assumptions and cultural norms.

Think about your top two or three behaviours for dating. Then think about why you act like that, and where that behaviour comes from. (Read Date, Marry, Avoid? 5 Things You Should Know).

Is it possible to challenge our assumptions and allow God to guide our new thinking?

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