I've admitted to myself that in this season of singleness I have struggled. I have struggled with indecisiveness and I have gambled with my boundaries; ultimately submitting to or tolerating things I didn't plan to. It wasn't long into this journey that I realized I was off track. The confusion and dissatisfaction presented to me by this "situationship" prompted me to examine my heart and what was revealed to me through devotional and prayer were things I believe women and men of faith have to consider when "dating with purpose."
Through a 7 day devotional God revealed to me seven different things about myself. On the first day I was met with bold letters across the headline which read: Are you confused yet? God knew that I was in a state on confusion, to the point of frustration. I learned this day that in some areas of dating I fall right in between the folly and the wise. I was faced with a question that asked me; "If what you discover about God's design for dating and marriage challenges any of your currently held convictions or any current behavior, are you willing to receive His wisdom? At what cost?" My answer was simple. YES, at any cost! I now understood that being wise protected my peace and I wanted to be as far away from the folly as possible. Choosing to remain flocked with the folly meant that I would be pursuing a dating life that offered no discernment and only pursued the passions of the moment. ("...the foolish despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7.) That didn't sound like any type of love that I wanted, no fairy tale included. I continued on to day two of this journey and realized quickly that my desire for a spouse was misdirected. It's a common mistake to overly desire a spouse. I think we forget that although God has given us this person to do life with, when we go to be with the Lord we can't take them with us. A spouse is a designated life partner. They are sent with the purpose of being an accountability partner to make sure we all reach that great place. God is eternity, a spouse is not. (“For thy Maker is thy husband; Jehovah of hosts is his name: and the Holy One of Israel is thy Redeemer; the God of the whole earth shall he be called." Isaiah 54:5.) At this point my priority of being the bride of man was transformed into becoming The Bride of Christ. Day three challenges my readiness to even make myself available to date. Was I ready? To be honest it's a question I never asked myself before. I knew that after some time off, full of soul searching that I knew what I wanted. I knew what had to change about me in order to have a successful relationship, this day I was able to dissect my life. Did time allow me to date? Did my responsibilities as a parent, worker or student allow me to date? A conclusion was revealed to me that: THERIGHT PERSON WOULD ALLOW ME TO DATE. If this person is going to challenge me to get closer to God, accept and love me as Christ has instructed them to, I can be available to them. (Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." Ephesians 4:2.) This allowed me to evaluate if the person I had been seeing was bringing me closer to or further away from The Kingdom of God. Following this day my prayer language was different. I prayed that God would allow me to recognize a man that He sends to me and to also receive HIS provisions for my life, even when they are hard to accept. Day four was a day of reflections, as I scrolled through the devotion portion I realized that on my recent excursion through dating I had done something right. I had been thoroughly honest about every aspect of my being, the good, the bad, the ugly and everything in between. It is truly important to be honest with someone you value a relationship with. We know that it takes years to build trust and only a few seconds to ruin it. I wrote to God in my journal: "WOW! I had previously wondered if this entire devotional would be a "slap on the hand," kind of situation but after today I am left with peace of satisfaction knowing that my initial intentions were honest and pure."(“Wherefore, putting away falsehood, speak ye truth each one with his neighbor: for we are members one of another." Ephesians 4:25.) It was like receiving a warm hug after being chastised for bad behavior--I needed it. Continuing along and GROWING, in the fifth day I was met with an unfamiliar circumstance which talked about cohabitation; living with someone whom is not your spouse. Although I had never struggled in this area I was especially intentional about studying the area because I know the tricky sticky enemy won't stop at anything to defeat me. I learned about the dangers of cohabitation, and how it places a glass ceiling above a growing relationship because it offers comfort. While we are falling into habits that are created for marriage we are allowing ourselves and our partners to become comfortable. We are opening up a door to fornication and temptations that we don't have to deal with living separately. (“Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are upon the earth.” Colossians 3:2.) This point leads me to day six where I was reminded that: NO SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE IS PERMITTED IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD! (“Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18.) While sex is intended to be beautiful and bring us closeness, it is designated for married couples to consummate their marriages and to multiply their families with children. When we are having sex with persons we aren't married to we are creating dangerous soul ties and also creating danger for ourselves through diseases of the mind and body. The consequences also include but are not limited to the possibility of raising a child alone. This screams danger. Purity and solid boundaries are vital tools to dating as a person of faith. On day seven my mind was free of fog. I was no longer confused and I could evaluate the level of commitment that the "situationship" occupied. I was at peace with what I discovered because my goal was no longer to secure this person or any other. My goal was to make sure that my energy spent on nipping and tucking away at my life's imperfections was purposed on becoming the bride of Christ. I want to change in order to secure my spot in an eternal life. Consider and remember this: our ultimate goal is to be with Jesus. It doesn't mean that we shouldn't desire marriage, but it does mean that there is a destination that surpasses an earthly union that we should prepare for, and that's to become ONE with Christ.