Confession: I’m writing this while wrapped in a blue Snuggie.
Lord, forgive me for all the bad thoughts I had about Snuggies before trying one.
I now realize You gave the inspiration for this very good gift.
Your warm and productive daughter, Sophie
If the above hasn’t caused me to lose all credibility with you and you’re still reading, welcome aboard my journey to authenticity.
I’ve written quite a bit on dating and marriage, but here’s the reality: I know nothing. Really. I can talk about singleness all day long and I’m decently confident in doing so (I mean, I’ve had 26 years of experience to speak from), and until about three months ago I had a lot to say about dating and marriage, but the fact of the matter is I have a bunch of book knowledge and no experience. Also I’ve been wondering if book knowledge equates Scriptural knowledge.
Spoiler: it doesn’t.
My sister and pastor have both told me I’ve read too much on marriage and, as a result, my expectations are whacked (my sister thinks they’re too low and says I don’t understand how fun and awesome marriage will be because I zone in on how hard and sanctifying it is, and my pastor thinks my expectations for the man are so high they will crush him). So either way I’m #winning. Ha. *cries*
Other things I’m learning (and have undeveloped thoughts about): the church culture doesn’t always do the best at equipping males and females to be friends. The tides are hopefully changing in this regard, but in general it’s my observation that we’re scared of guy/girl friendships (at least I’ve discovered I’m scared of them) because it’s easier to ensure no one’s heart is broken or virginity removed if we’re taught to fear each other instead of coming alongside and supporting one another as brothers and sisters in the same war.
“We have been warned to ‘guard hearts’ like our lives depended on it. And, I think, in many ways, this has hurt us. Why? Because we are so afraid.” –Shara Lewis
While I still have lots of thoughts on marriage and dating (*shudders in fear*), I’m learning that my story (praise God) is not like Joshua Harris’s or Elisabeth Elliot’s or Eric and Leslie Ludy’s or Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth’s or Gabriel Oak and Bathsheba Everdene’s or my parent’s or my sister’s or yours or anyone else’s.
While God may or may not be writing my love story, even though my parents had me kiss dating goodbye when I was in utero, it will be just that. Mine (more specifically “ours,” bless the soul that God pairs me with). And the creative designer that is the Lord is imaginative and creative and original. There are no two stories alike.
Years have been wasted trying to make sure I do the right thing and say the right thing and read all the right things so I’ll be ready for someday. But what about trusting God for this day? For this hour? With this person? With my whole heart, regardless of what He does with it or to whom He gives it?
What a novel concept.
Here’s to embracing this season of life and the opportunities (and people) it brings. May we learn to respect and appreciate (not fear) the opposite sex, empowering them to fight valiantly, courageously, and purposefully for God’s global glory, and recognize there are no Jell-o molds for relationships.
Here’s to being brave in life, love, and in every relationship God sees fit to write into our story.
I have a few favorite blogs about singleness and dating, and my homeboy Marshall Segal* from DesiringGod is probably my favorite writer on the subject. Please stop reading this and go read his stuff. It’s just so good.
Also you should read these (after you read Marshall’s blogs):
The World Needs More One-Woman Men by David Mathis
(This applies to more than just men. Ladies, the world needs more one-man women. Let’s be those women.)
Best Advice for Dating Couples (VIDEO) with Jen Wilkin, J.D. Greear and Derek Rishmawy
Let’s Stop Sucking at Dating by Shara Lewis
* By “homeboy” I mean he knows nothing of my existence, but, wow, God has used his words to help cut through the grime of this cheap world’s definition of dating/relationships and propel my heart and mind into loving Jesus more. So grateful for that.