Missionary Dating?

Coffee Date

I am always the one before the One.

Men, if you’re tired of singleness, come date me seriously and exclusively – six months is all I require – and boom! The next person who catches your eye will be your soulmate.

My college boyfriend – after convincing me to accept a job offer in his city and then taking me to look at apartments in his complex – subsequently broke up with me and was married to someone else within 18 months.

The first guy I seriously dated after college broke up with me and was married to someone else a year later. Another guy, Stephen, was married within nine months of breaking things off and, ironically, my ex-fiance and I ran into Stephen and his wife on the morning of the day that my ex proposed to me. I’m not currently on speaking terms with my ex-fiance, but if he’s dating anyone right now, I have no doubt she will soon become his bride.

I’m really great at fix-em-up projects. Is your California Dreamboat still playing 40 hours of video games per week? Is your McDreamy insensitive and unromantic? Does your Mr. Right have emotional baggage from his parents’ divorce? Or have commitment issues? Or is he unemployed or slovenly? Just give him six months with me, and I guarantee he will be primed and ready for marriage!

I am a magnet for broken men. I mean, we’re all broken in some way, but I have somehow always attracted wounded men. In college, male acquaintances would call me at 3:00 a.m. because they just found out their parents were going through a divorce, and they needed someone to talk to. As a working professional, I can’t count the number of times some man in the seat next to me on an airplane has struck up a conversation about his “impostor complex”… or his ailing mother… or his deepest regrets… or his current relationship issues.

In the past year, one young male friend has confided in me about a drug addiction that almost no one else knows about. Another guy told me about a vision he believes God gave him about his future, and he’s unsure what to make of it. Others have sought me out to talk with me about the death of a parent to cancer, walking in on their dad having an affair, uncertainty about job direction and all manner of other topics.

It’s always men. Women don’t approach me this way. Why is it always men? I have asked God many, many times over the years why He seems to have given me a ministry to men. Hello, God! In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a woman!!! The contemporary Western church tends to frown upon women ministering to men, particularly one-on-one, particularly about such deeply personal matters. I’ve even made a conscious effort to seek out female friendships, and still, it’s the men who come to me for soul-deep conversations.

I’ve frequently asked myself, when such situations arose, “Is this the work of God or Satan? Is this an opportunity from God for me to provide comfort and wisdom and hopefully share the Gospel with this person (as is often the case)? Or is this a trap laid by Satan to get me into a bad situation?”

I struggle because often there is a gray area; a blurred line between how much time I can spend with someone and how deep we can go before it starts to become unhealthy. I can’t imagine that Satan would be pleased with my sharing the Gospel message with someone, but I also can’t imagine that God would want me to bond and invest emotionally in someone of the opposite gender who is so broken and, frequently, doesn’t share my faith.

Usually I go out for casual coffee with a guy, and at the end of that one “date”, tell him that I am not looking for a romantic relationship. Every circumstance seems to require incredible discernment and, although I’ve gotten wiser over the years about which situations to allow and which to avoid, I still slip up sometimes (i.e. Cory).

Sometimes I wonder if this is a seasonal ministry. God made me beautiful, intelligent, mysterious and captivating. I get asked out on dates more than anyone else I know (I’ve been asked out twice in the past week). Perhaps I have been granted these gifts for the purpose of planting seeds of faith in men who would not listen to anyone but a beautiful woman. Perhaps I have been granted ongoing singleness for “such a time as this.” But my prayer is that 2016 is the year my ministry shifts from being male-dominated to being a ministry to women. Please, God? My heart is tired.

Authentically Aurora

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11 thoughts on “Missionary Dating?

  1. I kind of have some of this going on too. People, this means people I know, or complete strangers will tell me things that they would never tell other people. I used to think this mean that I had a trustworthy air, or that something about me made them confide in me….later, feeling much more pessimistic about the whole thing, I started to believe that they told me because either nobody who knew them would believe me or that nobody they knew would talk to me, so their secret was safe. Now…now I don’t know what to believe. Maybe it’s a curse, but maybe it is a kind of blessing.
    I do know one thing; it doesn’t bring anyone closer to me.

    As far as you being a fiancé maker for someone else….someone’s got to do it. Is there any way you could send me some of that over the internet?
    Enjoyed your post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Anthony! I vote for sticking with your gut instinct – that you have an approachable, trustworthy air about you. I bet you have kind eyes that people are drawn to when they need a compassionate listening ear. Keep the hope of light alive and don’t give in to the cynicism. It’s a blessing that people want to tell you their story. Every broken person who tells you their story is an opportunity to love and be loved; to be hands of healing and be healed in return.

      As for being a fiance maker… I’ve never had it work over the websphere, but — POOF! Here’s some of my fairy dust. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • I will try to not give in to cynicism–despite my tendency to do so. I will try to realize this talent/trait (for lack of a better word that is also positive) as something that can help other people.
        Importantly, thank you for the future fiancé. I will let you know how it goes–I just hope she likes books.

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  2. You are a little Esther. Ha! It makes sense. But I understand your tiredness of the whole thing. Maybe it is time for you to find the right man so you can minister to women who need your help. You definitely have a purpose and are well trained for it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I love Esther’s story! I heard a sermon this past week that our calling remains consistent regardless of our context. David was a shepherd his whole life, first for sheep and then for the people of Israel. He was always a warrior and leader, but in different seasons that calling looked different, whether it was protecting his sheep from bears and lions or protecting the people of Israel from neighboring armies as their King.

      Often our calling becomes a craving, and we begin to despise our current circumstances (yep, this sounds familiar). When our passion becomes greater than our purpose, we’re sunk. We want to run to the spotlight, but the spotlight will destroy us if the spotlight is greater than the foundation we’ve allowed God to build in us through being faithful in the seemingly mundane season of preparation.

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        • I hope so. Our misery becomes our ministry, and God has allowed me to suffer deep pain so that I can minister to others in the depths of their own suffering, self-induced or not. Just this morning, I prayed over an elderly Indian woman at my office who shared with me that she needs uterine surgery. So many opportunities to love on people!

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