One of my areas of passion in ministry is speaking to teen girls about dating and self-worth. It has always been an area that has spoken to me, but I think I didn’t realize it until my mid-20’s.
Dating with a purpose was an idea that was foreign to me until my senior year in high school. It’s an idea that I wish had been presented to me much earlier during my childhood. I had boy crushes in elementary school and dated three or four different guys during high school. I remember dating one guy in particular and thinking we were either going to break up or get married. The thought of getting married at the time was of zero interest to me; so basically the only way to go with that relationship eventually would be to break up—which of course is what happened.
With each relationship, I gave a piece of myself away. Sure, I had set up physical boundaries, but you never get back a first kiss or even emotional energy and time spent with that one person. Friendships are lost, feelings are hurt, and trust is broken.
I find that most people think dating is harmless and it’s a really great way to get to know someone. I think that the best way to really get to know someone is by hanging out in groups with that person. You really get to see how they treat their friends, sisters, mom, etc.. When you are dating someone both parties are wanting to impress one another and so it makes it more challenging to see the person for who they really are.
I wish I had been challenged by my teachers, sports coaches, and parents to use my singleness for God. How many years of dedication could have been given to Him instead of me pursuing relationships that were just for fun—relationships that became awkward friendships and hurtful break-ups. The truth is we are only single for such a short period of our lives; why not use it serving Him?
This way of thinking, dating with a purpose, was presented to me in a book I read the summer before my senior year in high school. I remember thinking what a great idea it was and took it to heart and made that a priority for the next four years until I could start to see myself becoming more ready for marriage. But that story is for a whole other blog post which maybe I’ll share at another time.
Blessings to each of you as you first respond to Christ’s pursuit of you.