Monday, January 26, 2015

One Year No Dating Challenge

Let me go on record saying that when I wrote my last post, I had no idea that the Lord was about to call me into a new season of life. I was taken by surprise, and didn’t even know just how much I would need that post.


But being led by the Spirit happens (I get a lot of it wrong, but I pray to get this right), and so today, I am writing to talk about this new season…what it is, why I’m doing it, and what it’s all about. Let me also say that I do not think it’s a good idea or even the right idea for everyone. I think you have to examine where you are in your own life and ultimately your relationship with Lord, and then see where to go from there. I also know that it’s important to pray about it before you dive in blindly…then crash and burn from not being equipped or adequately prepared.

So for the next year of my life, I am taking the One Year No Dating Challenge. You read it right. No. Dating. One. Year. 365 days. (Now at 363, but who’s counting?)

The premise of this challenge is from a set of sermons by Andy Stanley. He asks the question, “Are you the person that the person you’re looking for is looking for?” Basically he challenges you to stop looking for the right person and to start becoming the right person. I think it goes without saying that putting forth that effort really is so important. Whether single, dating, or married, I encourage everyone to watch these sermons. There is wisdom for everyone, I promise.

I know that the idea of this still sounds crazy…and it might be. But since when is it worth it to be normal? Why not go against the status quo? The Bible says that we should not conform to this world, and Paul warns us that we must resist worldly pressures. For some, including myself, I think these pressures come in the form of dating and relationships (and by the way, dating isn’t even a thing in the Bible). With regards to our obedience, I think relationships—of all types—should be one of the top priorities. We thrive off community and relationship as humans. Some relationships are healthy, and some are unhealthy. Some friendships drain the life out of you, and some friendships keep you going. Some of my relationships have turned my world upside down and almost been the death of me, and some of mine have been nothing short of grace and treasured blessing from the Lord Himself. Any relationship can either lead you closer to or farther from Him…I don’t know about you, but I want to be surrounded by people that help to keep me on the straight and narrow.

So why am I doing it? The first time I heard about this challenge, I literally snickered. A year? It seemed ridiculous and, if you know me, then honestly impossible. But when the time came I knew it was for me. I didn’t want it to be for me…but it was…and God’s timing is flawless. So I’m picking up my cross and begging Jesus to lead me because on my own I’d be out of here quicker than a Brave at bat. I know it won’t be easy because I know how the enemy works. Like I said, I’m sure there will be days I will want to quit this. I am also sure that my weakness will be a way for God to demonstrate His power. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “…I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” With the power of Christ in us, it is when we are weak that really we are strong. I am doing this because I need to focus on my relationship with the Lord. I am doing this because life is busy, and I need to examine mine. I’m tired of singing Oceans but not leaving my borders. This is a way for me to do something about it. He’s taking me deeper. I’m hanging on for dear life. Ultimately, I’m doing it because I’m trusting the Lord and placing my full confidence in Him.  I have goals for along the way, including deepening my relationship with the Lord.

Surpassing my personal goals though, I mostly hope that by the end I can bring glory and honor to God. He alone is worthy, and no one else more so. This goes deeper than just some challenge about kissing dating goodbye. It is about more than not wanting to get hurt because that is inevitable since we live in a fallen world. It’s even more than just being tired of worldly dating. The heart of the matter is a faith issue. Do I really trust God enough to do this? And we all have our this. Am I really willing to let God do whatever, whenever, however? Am I willing to do whatever it takes to become more like Jesus? Do I care more about what Jesus thinks of me or what others think of me? More than trying to find myself, more than trying to find the right person…just give me Jesus.

I am sharing this not only for my own accountability, but in the hopes that, whether or not this challenge is for you, we all take the time to DTR with Jesus. What’s the status? Are we spending quality time together? Are we getting to know each other better? Are we putting forth the effort to make this relationship the best that it can be? These are vital elements to any “normal” relationship…why not with Jesus? Is there even a relationship there? What am I doing to cultivate and strengthen it? We have no choice but to examine this because if we don’t know Jesus, then what chance will we have on that day?
Knowing the correct password—saying “Master, Master,” for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, “Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.” And do you know what I am going to say? “You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.” Matthew 7:21-23, MSG
So my prayer is that we don’t miss the boat. Soon you will hear from one of my friends who is closing in on the final leg of her one year. It will give us an important and fresh perspective of the challenge because hindsight is always 20/20. If you think this challenge may be for you, my best advice is to pray about it and go from there. If this challenge is not for you, I still encourage you to go deeper with Jesus. Maybe there’s another kind of challenge calling your name. I don’t know. But whatever your next step is, allow God to strengthen your faith muscles. The worst thing that we can do is allow ourselves to be immobilized by fear, uncertainty, or doubt. We cannot go where we are going without leaving where we have been. And I’ll bet you there’s more waiting for us that we could ever imagine.

“For I know what I have planned for you,” says the Lord. “I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

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