How to Date Bravely
What role does courage play in dating someone…or in not dating someone?
When Leon flew from the United States to Ecuador to see me, it took a lot of courage. He had no idea what he was doing. He knew he wanted to come visit me, but sitting in the airplane, he thought, Oh, Lord, what am I really doing?
Even though he sensed God was in our relationship, he was really nervous about the next steps. Perhaps you know exactly what he was feeling. Dating makes a lot of people anxious. In “5 Ways to Overcome Dating Anxiety,” Shannon Kolakowski writes,
“Rife with opportunities for awkward conversations and infinite unknown factors — Will she show up? Will he like me? What do I say? What if I say too much? What if I spill my drink? Get rejected? — dating often is seen as overwhelmingly scary and decidedly unappealing. This type of anxiety and shyness leads to avoidance of meeting new people, as well as a sense of isolation and hopelessness about the prospect of finding a suitable partner.”
Imagine what the anxiety would be like if you were dating someone in a different country who spoke a different language!
But fear doesn’t have to be your story.
As we do our best to follow God’s leading, we have to respond bravely. Starting a dating relationship takes courage. We have to be willing to take risks, to let things go, to pick things up, and to put all our trust in God—even when we can’t see what He’s doing.
If you’re single right now, how would you answer the following questions?
1. Do You Need to Expand Your Horizons?
It takes courage to listen to God’s voice and really believe you’ve heard Him or felt His leading. In a dating relationship, sometimes this means letting go of what you had in mind for a spouse.
I’ve said this before, but your heavenly Father is very, very interested in your list of “must haves” when it comes to your husband or wife. Those things matter to Him. But there are times when we can add a few things to that list out of fear. Perhaps we don’t want to take any risks at all, or perhaps we don’t actually believe there’s something better than what we’ve been hoping for all this time.
How to expand your horizons: Ask God if there is anything on your “must haves” list that maybe needs to change. Not because He doesn’t want to give you the desires of your heart, but because His desires for you are better and greater and grander than your desires for you. Don’t settle for second best when God is offering you His absolute best.
2. Do You Need to Put More Trust in God When It Comes to Dating?
It is always a risk to say, “Okay, Lord. Not my will but Your will. I’m going to let this thing go and really trust that You know what is best for me.”
We tend to assume we know what the future will look like. Many of us have poor expectations, and all of us—even those who have great expectations and know God really, really well—see only part of the picture. We may not have expressed our thoughts out loud, but we usually have some idea of what meeting that special person, dating, and marrying them will look like.
Without meaning to, we can let these mental images become walls and pillars in our lives. I’ve seen this happen again and again. We don’t want to miss what God is bringing to us because we thought it would look a different way. He may be setting in front of us the very thing we’ve been hoping for…but the guy is shorter than we expected or the girl doesn’t play sports.
In these moments, it is better to trust God than it is to cling to an image He maybe hasn’t given us.
How to trust God in your dating relationship: Ask God to help you trust Him in this area of dating and marriage. Understand that He has your best interest in mind. He knows you even better than you know yourself, and He will bring you a spouse who delights you. Let this be your prayer: “Lord, I know You don’t have just good for me. You have the best for me.”
3. What Has God Told You?
Have you ever sat down with God and asked Him to tell you about your future spouse?
Have you asked Him what sort of person they are and how you can pray for them right now? What has God revealed to you about this special person who’s coming into your life? Should you go out and actively try to find them? Do you need to step out of your comfort zone? Or does God want you just to relax and enjoy your life right now, without having to work so hard at finding somebody?
If God is telling you to pursue a relationship by going to different places and trying to find that person, make sure you do it. Put yourself in those places and see what happens. But He also could be telling you to let Him handle it, and as you grow and become the one, He’ll bring the person across your path.
Knowing what to do is all about asking God. It is about spending time with Him, trusting Him, and listening to His leading. He is going to blow your mind with blessings when you let Him be Lord in your life.
How to seek God concerning your spouse: Spend time with God and ask Him about your future spouse. Starting today, write down everything you feel He is saying to you or impressing upon your heart. Keep a journal and read through it often. Remind yourself of what the Lord is saying, and keep your eyes on Him as you wait in expectation.
For more information on sex, marriage, and finding the person who is right for you, get a copy of Salomé’s book, Becoming the One. Click here to learn more.