Excuse Me While I Step on Some Toes

I have strong opinions about certain things, and that means I tend to step on toes. It’s not that I mean to, but when I allow myself to enter into a conversation regarding one of these things, my passion sometimes comes across as dogmatic and overbearing. I ask for grace as I’m a work in progress.

Recently, a speaker in our youth weekend service said something that really caught my attention. It wasn’t the topic of the message, but he said something incredibly profound that gave me more reason to stick with my opinion on one particular thing – dating.

Now, before I continue, I want to preface by saying that I am well aware I am not in the majority on my thoughts regarding dating, so if you are in the majority, we can decide here and now to agree to disagree.

I’ll just spit it out – Children, tweens and teens should not date.

Gasp!

Two Reasons to Wait on Dating

  1. The Purpose of Dating

    One thing I stress to all of my children is that there is a purpose – and only one purpose – for dating. That purpose is to find the person you will marry, and since they are not getting married while in elementary, middle school, or high school, there really is no reason to spend time and energy on dating someone else’s future spouse.

    Sure, it’s possible to marry someone you know or maybe even someone you date during that time in your life, but the likelihood of that is slim to none, and the divorce rate of those who marry right out of high school is extremely high. Studies show there is a significant decrease in divorce rate the later in life a person marries. The probability of divorce actually more than doubles for those who marry out of high school versus those who marry at the age of 25 or later (reference.com).

    If someone you meet during those years is who you’re supposed to marry, that person will still be there when the time is right.

  1. Allow for Growth

    There is a drastic change that happens to a person from their teens to mid-20s. Dating someone during those formidable years won’t allow for proper growth within yourself. You have to allow time to grow mentally, emotionally, and spiritually in order to have a healthy and lasting relationship, and this just doesn’t happen when you connect yourself so closely and intimately to another person.

    This is also why you hear people complaining that their significant other is not who they were when they first started dating. If you started dating in high school, and you’re now in your 30s, do you really want that person to be the same? Are you the same?

Ultimately, it comes down to asking one vital question:

What’s the purpose for you dating this person you want to date? Usually a young person is not going to answer with, “Because I want to marry him/her,” and if that’s not the answer, then there truly is no reason to date this person.

People who disagree with me on this almost always ask, “How do you know you want to marry someone if you don’t date them?”

That’s easy – you become friends first.

My husband is the first person I became friends with before dating, and our first date was the best date I’ve ever had! I knew on our first date that I was going to marry him. To most, that statement sounds absurd, but I truly did. We had spent a year becoming friends and getting to know one another, so we had already seen things in each other that are typically kept hidden by people who date when they don’t know each other. We wanted to date despite those imperfections we had already seen in one another, so our date was authentic. We weren’t pretending to be something we aren’t, and I knew that evening without a doubt that I wanted to marry him.

Now, becoming friends first can be tricky. When you know feelings are already there and that you want to become more than friends, it’s important you set clear boundaries BEFORE spending time with one another. Start by listing what friends do together and what couples do together. When you see things on the couples’ side that aren’t on the friends’ side, then you know where to begin when setting your boundaries.

Dating is so much more important than what our culture makes it out to be. Our kids are already inundated with the perception that dating, love, and sex is no different than waving to your neighbor. All of these things have the ability to drastically shape a person’s future.

I understand that my way of thinking isn’t popular, and I understand it makes me an outcast, but I am completely okay with that.

 

 

Remember Who You Are

As I’ve been reading through the book, Unglued, I’ve been hit from so many different directions. I could easily say, “God is testing me in this area,” or, “The enemy sure is attacking me in this area.” Isn’t it funny how we pick one or the other in our circumstances? What is it that determines whether it’s God testing us or the enemy attacking us?

Honestly, I think it’s just something we Christians say when we really just don’t know what’s going on in our lives.

Does that mean God doesn’t use moments to test us? Absolutely not. God does test our faith at times, but just because something isn’t going our way, it doesn’t mean we’re being tested.

Does that mean the enemy doesn’t attack us? Absolutely not. The enemy does attack us, and sometimes our circumstances reflect those attacks. But just because something isn’t going our way, it doesn’t mean we’re being attacked.

Can it ever be that we are flesh, and we are sinners, and we are facing consequences of our actions that might have taken us off the path God intended?

Can it ever be that someone else, who is flesh and who is a sinner, is facing consequences of their actions, and we are being indirectly affected?

Can it ever be that it truly has absolutely nothing to do with our actions or the actions of someone we love but simply that we live in a fallen world where not everything is always perfect?

Whew. And breathe.

Right now, I’m smack in the middle of so many circumstances trying to force me to come unglued, and today I keep going back to something Lysa said in chapter 7. She talked about her family motto, Remember Who You Are. Today, God has continually placed this phrase in front of me as I have faced circumstance after circumstance after email after phone call after another email after circumstance. Life is playing a game of chicken with me, and life is out to win.

God keeps saying, “Remember who you are, Misty. You are not the unglued woman whose emotions dictate her actions. You are my child, filled with my divine nature and my strength, and with these things, you choose your actions based off of my gentleness, grace, and love.”

Then, he says, “Remember who they are, Misty. They, too, are my children. They may have forgotten who they are, so help them remember. They, too, are filled with my divine nature and my strength. They are to be given grace and love just as you have been given my grace and love.”

In these moments where I feel everyone around me is pounding on my door and my world is caving in, I have a choice to make. I can either lose my ever loving mind, as I have done so many times before, and yell and sulk and cry and slam and cry some more, or I can remember who I am and allow God’s divine and gentle nature to take over my actions.

Who am I?

God says I am created in his image and have been made new. He says that I carry his Holy Spirit inside of me and am able to utilize the supernatural love that comes only from him. According to God, I am not the woman whose emotions dictate her actions, and I can face these circumstance while lifting my hands in praise and thankfulness because I know God is in complete control of the situation. Therefore, I do not have to lose control.

I want to end with a paragraph from chapter 8 of Unglued.

Sometimes I find myself talking about God so much he becomes more of an identity marker than an identity changer in my life. Having God as an identity marker reduces him to nothing more than a label, a lingo, and a lifestyle — I’m a Christian so I talk like one and act like one. But having God as an identity changer is much, much more. It means I am no longer the person I was before, someone who comes unglued at minor things. I am making imperfect progress. Shifting, breaking away, and being chiseled. I am a woman whose identity has been changed by coming face to face with the one who has the power to completely transform me (p.125).

Allow God to be an identity changer in your life rather than an identity marker. It doesn’t change the circumstance, but it can certainly change how you respond in the midst of the circumstance.

Hide the Words in Your Heart

Memorizing scripture is what many of us learn to do from an early age. When I was a teenager I questioned why we were always memorizing verses but not really doing anything with them other than having contests to see who could recite the most verses from memory.

It wasn’t until I was older that I realized the importance of doing this. All throughout the bible, we are told how vital it is to know the word and live by the word. It is through reading over and again that we are able to memorize the word and truly hide it in our hearts like David talked about in Psalm 119:11.

In today’s world, it seems we Christians are always fighting for our faith. So many people want to rid the world of anything resembling Christianity, and there are already countries where it is illegal to read from a bible. By memorizing scripture and hiding those words in your heart, no one can ever take your bible away.

Click the link below to read more about a pastor in China who was imprisoned and how the scriptures he memorized as a young adult helped him stay sane and kept his faith strong.

Freedom to Memorize Scripture