I am a recovering date-aholic.
I’ve been trying really hard to rest in my singleness; to be single and stay single for a time. I have been trying to even revel in and celebrate my singleness. This is a season of life where I can do whatever I want, whenever I want to do it. I have a rare opportunity here.
I am free to serve in the church and all kinds of charitable organizations. My time is my own. I can work out or eat donuts; I can travel across the world on a whim, and I can stay out until 2 in the morning if I want to. There is no one at home waiting up for me; there is no one at home I am accountable to or responsible for. I am in a unique season of freedom from familial responsibility.
“I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.” -1 Cor. 7:32-35
According to these verses, singleness is a time to be single-mindedly devoted to the Lord, not distracted or concerned about the needs of a spouse. I have no husband, and yet, my attention is still divided. I may not be distracted from serving the Lord by a nonexistent husband, but I am certainly distracted by any potential husband who may be in my near vicinity!
In today’s society, the opportunities to date are endless, largely thanks to social media. I’ve been asked out by three different guys in the past week, but I’m trying to say no. I’m trying to rest. I’m trying to wait. I’m trying to give myself time to heal and grow more into the woman God is calling me to be. I want to be the kind of woman who would be worthy of the kind of man I ultimately want to marry. And if I start dating while I am less than who I could be, I may spend the rest of my life married to someone who perpetuates an underdeveloped version of myself.
I’m adamant that the man should initiate a dating relationship. But there are plenty of ways for women to help the process along: Catch a man’s eye, hold eye contact, smile coyly, or dance away with a slight smile. Make sure you get caught looking a few more times. Entice their attention and interest. I leave it up to the man to actually walk over and initiate conversation, but I certainly know how to help the process along. But I’ve been trying to practice mindfulness; be where I am; embrace my season of singleness. And leave the men alone.
Last week, I got another opportunity to exercise self discipline and reaffirm my decision to wait on the Lord. When I first joined eHarmony two years ago, I was really impressed with some of my first few matches. My ex-fiance was one of my first ten matches on my first day on eHarmony. So was Nate – a mechanical engineer in O&G with an aura of confidence and a shock of blonde hair. Nate’s profile was filled with photos of hiking and snowboarding; four wheeling and rock climbing. He’s an American Ninja Warrior.
That first week of online dating two summers ago, before engagement rings and wedding dresses and heartache and depression, Ashley and I sat in her living room, giggling and looking through all of my matches. I was drawn to the man who would become my ex-fiance, but I remember Ashley rooting for Nate. Much later, in the wake of my broken engagement, I got on Christian Mingle trying to find some hope that there are still single godly men out there. And there was Nate’s big grin and radiating confidence smiling back at me, just as I’d seen on eHarmony a year earlier.
Last week our weather dipped gloriously into the 70s after a long string of summer days in the 90s. So I got up early, drove to a nearby park, and went for a 3 mile run. Right at the end of my run, I stopped by the stretch area, and who did I see directly ahead of me? Nate. He was there with a buddy and his dog. Our eyes met, I smiled shyly and glanced away before looking back at him again, unsure if he recognized me from my online dating profile.
I stretched longer than I normally would, hoping he’d come over. He keeps popping up in my life, year after year. But Nate was engrossed in conversation with his buddy. The Aurora of a month ago would have boldly walked over and asked if we’d met before. I would have struck up a conversation and gotten him to eventually ask for my number as I looked up at him through long eyelashes.
But on that sunny morning last week, I walked away. I walked away praying, “God, I keep encountering this man, and he’s caught my eye every time. I could try to make this happen, but I’m going to wait on you. If you want us together, have him recognize me and find a way to reach out to me. Help me let him go. I want to rest in you.”
My aim is to refocus my attention on the One who loves me more than any man ever could; indeed, more than I love myself. “In repentance and rest is [my] salvation, in quietness and trust is [my] strength.”