Monday, March 31, 2014

Dating One Last Time - Part 1

Marriage is so beautiful. Emotionally, physically, and mentally you are bearing your naked self to this other person you have entered in to covenant with. Yes, they see it all. All of your strengths, scars, the sin, and even the flabby parts. You give yourself fully to them and they to you. Covenant is so amazing because it allows a place of safety, truth without reserve, and sweet blessing. When you enter into covenant, you give up the “right” to walk out, when stuff gets hard, when you’re not happy, or the emotions don’t seem to be there anymore. Like the gospel of Jesus, he gives us his all and he wants all of us. No tiny “hidden” parts all to ourselves, no! He wants our whole being.

When it came time to end a dating relationship, I pretty much always seemed to have always bitten off a little more than I could chew emotionally.

I wanted the covenant blessings without the covenant commitments. If they hurt me, I wanted to be able to bounce!
It's so hard changing your daily routines when it consisted of hours of talking on the phone about God knows what. All the times I would ditch my friends just so I could constantly be with this person. Then add on the abrupt rejection from this person whom I made my world. I really just wanted their friendship and now neither of us was able to step back from the position of going "too far.” I lost a lot of potentially good friendships due to my self-centered worldview and fear.

Not all "exclusive" relationships were or ended up being horrible. Some just weren't necessary. They were friendships that should have stayed friendships. Maybe it’s just me, but I found it to be crazy rare to get back to the friends only zone after I became "facebook official."

While dating recklessly, I wasn't planning on getting married anytime soon and definitely not to this person. So why did I so desperately want to have the girlfriend and boyfriend status? I seemed to love to build the substance less intimacy and wanted to be desired. I loved to reach out in the dark to see what I could find and take it as mine. Sorrowfully, I hurt a lot of people along the way.

Here are a couple things that helped me, by God's grace, date well and, thankfully, one last time.

"Will you be my friend? Check yes or no."
“A friend loves at all times.” - Proverbs 17:17

Friendship is an important foundational piece in a healthy relationship. In this area, there is a closeness that is formed just by getting to know the other person without ulterior motives. There is a trust that is given and is shaped through trials and experiences in this platonic arena. “When a friend rebukes you, that rebuke can be trusted.” - Proverbs 27: 6

Getting hurt is hard. It’s hard to forgive, it’s hard to let go, and it’s hard not to assume that everyone else is just the same as that person was. Even friendships can go sour.

One thing I want you to take away from this: In all relationships you are dealing with (just like you) a sinful person. They will hurt you, sometimes unintentionally, which you will hurt them too. They will let you down, they may forget your birthday, or they will be gone when you feel you need them the most. Just as you will do the same to them. But if you are in relationship with Jesus, you have experienced forgiveness. Forgiveness that you did not earn or deserve. And now we are told to share that same mercy with those around us. Yes, even the ones who may not seem to deserve it. We are given the gift of repentance (the ability given by God to turn from wrongful, unlawful, or harmful doing), so we can be reconciled with God and those around us. So please, do not shut yourself off from relationships because of past hurts. Ask the Lord to heal you and help you connect with his body once more, unafraid of hurt and trial, but excited about his mission and glory. Ask the Holy Spirit to empower you to share the mercy, love, and forgiveness you have experienced with him to others.

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