Is it just me or did everyone and their dog get engaged over Christmas? At LEAST 10 friends got engaged. That’s like 20 people! Oh man. Left right and centre engagements were popping up on Facebook. CONGRATS MY FRIENDS. Here I sit, on a plane, single as single can be and thinking, “what on earth is going on?!” Am I behind in this game of relationships? When does my boat set sail? Um excuse me, but how come every other fourth year student is engaged and I have yet to find a boyfriend, never mind a date??!
Let me stop you for a moment - those engagements are not a bad thing. I don’t ever want to paint a negative light on the beautiful covenant of marriage which God created. It’s beautiful, I get that. Enough said.
At the same time, I can’t help wonder and ask: “where do I fit into all of this?” and “what about me?!” The logical clockwork in my brain thinks, “hey, if they’re 21 and I’m 21…that makes me just as eligible as they are!"
Maybe you think those things too? Perhaps I am not alone.
Going to a private Christian university does not help either. There’s this weird pressure to not only be dating someone, but also to be engaged by your fourth year and married off before you can pay back your student loans. If you don’t find yourself at this kind of school, then let me explain to you that it sometimes just gets crazy when you reach fourth year and have your friends have fiancees.
Sure, part of me wishes I could be in a fancy restaurant out on a date celebrating the most romantic night of the year, but instead I wanted to reflect on two truths that I think find themselves lurking into our hearts when it comes to dating and wanting to be known by someone.
The first is called serial dating.
Yeah, I said it. Serial dating. I had never heard this term until the summer. It’s when a person continually accepts dates or seeks them out. Basically, if I were serial dating, I would accept every guy's offer to take me on a date, or on the flip side, I would seek out dates on the daily. Accept accept accept. Never commit to anything long term, constantly going on dates. Personally, that just sounds tiring, but trust me, it’s a legitimate thing! It happens!
The second concept is called fating; or rather, fake-dating. Moral Revolution describes this perfectly in their article HERE. They explain: "what starts out as flattery turns into empty words. Hanging out casually leads to a subconscious desire for commitment. [She] was convinced that girls and guys could just be friends, that all the dinners for two, dancing, and spending time together didn’t have to mean anything. Deep down [she] started to realize [she] wanted something more."
BUT IT DOES MEAN SOMETHING. One thing I learned from counselling last year is that there is a proneness of males and females when they spend time together - odds are the more time you spend with someone, the more you begin to like them. It's just kind of how life happens and how our brains are wired. Personally I think there is a threshold to this - there are simply people we aren’t attracted to. It's plain and simple. BUT this fating thing is real. When we have people of the opposite gender in our lives that we simply decline to place boundaries on. That's gotta stop. Fating kind of falls into this serial dating concept - people fate and allow people in emotionally and physically, but then fail to commit. Why do we fail to commit?
Both of these things tie in with the notion of wanting to be known by someone. Wanting to have someone by your side, wanting to be seen by others, wanting to have a “in a relationship” status. Wanting to care for someone…the list goes on - the photos, the double-dates, the hang outs, a constant buddy... you get it. I think there’s a major problem with these things. The second one says it all: they’re often fake and can be oh so hurtful.
Both of these things stem from knowing your value and knowing your worth. My dearest sister, my brother, do you know your worth?
When our worth is rooted in Christ, we have very little desire for these things. I’m not saying it won’t happen and that inward desires are not real, but when our hearts face a Father who DEFINES love, then our own love turns into something of acceptance and understanding rather than searching and intense longing.
Failing to commit, hopping from date to date - I’m not saying you’re automatically falling into these categories but what I am saying is that you are worth SO MUCH MORE than the worth of what the world tells you is valuable and beautiful. The world tells us, especially girls, that we NEED someone, when in reality all we truthfully and honestly need is our Father. A partner is an added bonus, a God-given bonus when the time is right. I firmly believe that a desire to be known by someone else is chipped away by a loving Father whose only aspiration is to have His children yearn to be known by HIM.
Coming back full-circle to all of those people getting engaged over Christmas…I still often don’t understand why I am still single. What’s up God? What’s the plan up there eh? God made it pretty clear to me that this time of life is meant to be single so that I can work on my heart. Every time I get heart sparkles or jumpy feelings, he calms me and says in His responsible and caring way, “not yet Katie”. Okay Papa, you got this. In the words of a sermon my dearest Keara and I heard back in September, “become the person the person you’re looking for is looking for”. I love that.
If you find yourself in a dating relationship already, you might have skimmed over this post. Regardless of whether or not you invested time reading, consider some of these questions in your current relationship. The Father cares so much more about the conditions of our hearts and intentions than the public appearance these relationships give us.
- Father, where is my heart when it comes to knowing you within this relationship?
- what are you wanting to teach me about trusting my worth? Where does my worth lie?
If you are like me, single as single can be, consider some of these questions:
- Father, am I meant to be single in this season?
- If yes, then what would you have me focus on instead of preparing myself for a relationship?
- if no, then what are the next steps to make provision for that sort of time and expression in my life?
Like many of you, I struggle through these tough questions daily. I simply don’t understand why I can’t be a part of the beautiful image of relationship that the Father created, but then again, why would we rush our hearts and why would we ever want to rush his timing?
That’s all for today friends. Stay tuned for more on Korea - photos to come soon!
If you are dating, engaged or married, I hope you cherish today. Cherish your significant other and also take time to recognize your worth as a child of God.
If you are single, embrace this time of getting to know yourself better. Recognize this season in your life and if at all confused, ask God for clarity. He answers in ways that you might not expect.