Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Dating in the Modern Age - A New Look


Answer this question:  "What do you need to do today to grow in your relationship with God?"

Someone asked me this question today, and I had to stop and actually think.  I've been a Christian a long time.  A very long time.

I was saved at my home church, Rehoboth Baptist Church in Tucker, Georgia, at the age of 23.  To be exact - July 2, 1989.

I've heard all the questions.  All the sermons.  Been to all the revivals.

But this morning, that question made me stop in my tracks.  "What do I need to do to grow in my relationship with the Lord?"

Hmmm...I don't know.

Read my Bible more?  Talk to God more?  I mean, I do my devotionals every morning (well, almost every morning).  I think I do keep God in the picture throughout my day and in the paths I choose to walk down in my life.  But what can I do in addition to these things?

I'm sure there's a reason God had me stop and ponder this question today.  Maybe something will happen in my little world today that will cause me to act as Jesus and stand in for Him as a present, physical body.  I'm not sure.

But what I do know - is that Jesus had me stop and ponder.  And so, now, I have to ponder on this.  What can I do to grow more in my relationship [key word there] with the Lord?  Stay tuned.  I'm not sure where God is going with this...

On another note, look up Ben Stuart in YouVersion.  I've had the privilege of sitting under Ben's teaching at Passion City Church for years.  He is a gifted speaker.  I've also had the privilege of sitting under his teaching at seminary.  The man is incredibly brilliant.  All that to say, he knows of what he speaks.

Look up the series, "Dating in the Modern Age."  It will have you thinking and learning - simultaneously.

Here is an excerpt that hit me today:
Do you want to be the type of person who is kind and loving to other people? Do you want to be a person who shows the kind of love to others that God shows to you? Do you want to be a source of life to your family, friends, the person you are dating—and the person you will eventually marry? Then you need a source of life. This is how it was always meant to be. Love embraced becomes love extended. It is the natural outworking of being loved first by God (see 1 John 4:19). When you have a source of life, you can be a source of life.
When you use a dating relationship to validate yourself, it only leads to sucking the life out of the other person. This is how toxic dating relationships are formed. This is why so many go wrong. When you bring God-sized needs to other human beings, there is no way they can meet those needs. Nor can you offer them unconditional love on the days they are struggling, because they are the ones who represent your source. But when God is your source, it becomes the most natural thing in the world to let his love flow through you and into the person you are dating. When you know you are truly beloved, it is easy to love others. When you have an inexhaustible resource of love, you can then be a source of love for others.

Anyone's hands raised high on this one?  Guilty.

You see - and let me be very transparent here - publicly.  (I have been transparent privately with my inner circle of girlfriends...)  

I struggle.  My kids struggle.  My girlfriends struggle.

But we don't know each other struggle, so we battle all our depression times at home, alone.  As women, we tend to bury ourselves away at home.  Lock ourselves away from activities, family, and friends to battle the feelings and thoughts.  We "recharge" ourselves in these moments of aloneness and silence and prepare ourselves for the next day, the next outing, or the work week coming up within a day or two.  It's the way God made us.  STRONG.

We shoulder our own battles.  Our kids battles.  Our friends battles.  And sometimes, that leaves nothing for our spouse or partner.  So we tend to lash out at them, separate from them, or expect them to be our source.  This is so common, and God has shown it to me in spades this month.  

I slink away when I need to - I bury my head under the proverbial rock.  I need to move away from people and large crowds to have time alone.  Time to think, organize my thoughts or my To Do list.  Organize my life and projects swirling around.  Time and space to move away from the pressures of everyone "talking" in my head, from situations I am supposed to attend that will be hard or difficult for me.

The times of "depression" (I'm not talking clinical depression here friends) and "lowness" are times when we need to grow closer to God - not our spouses or partners.  We need to draw from the Well of living water and let God replenish us.  Reaffirm our minds and our thoughts.

It's good to have a partner, a spouse, or even friends to lean on and glean advice from, but we have to remember that only God can pull us from those dark patches in life.  And we have to remember to ASK Him when we are in those pockets of withdrawing from society and those we love.

Listen, I am most GUILTY (as stated above) of this crime.  Not drawing enough from the Well and expecting my partner to be the Well.  I hide away from situations that are hard and I long for time alone in my home to gain some type of situation and feelings I can actually control.  Time to think and grow and learn.  I have to learn how to balance things.

We all have times of darkness and depression and wrestling with what this life serves us at times.  I've seen it first hand a lot in the last month.

I want to be a source for others, but so often I end up being toxic.  So, here is a new thought and way of thinking - Let's all band together.  Travel to the Well together.   Help each other remember - it's OKAY to be alone sometimes.  The darkness is OKAY sometimes, but we can't get stuck there.  

Let's travel on this journey together.  To the Well.  Jesus is sitting there waiting for us.  Only He can be your living water.  Lord, let us remember to come to you, sitting by the Well, when we are dry and thirsty.  May your kindness, your love, and your wisdom refuel us and allow us to get back on the road to others.  Refuel and hydrate US so that we may give to others.  Amen.

John 4:13-14, "Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,14but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Ben Stuart, "...keep learning. Even while in prison, Paul wanted to keep reading (see verse 13). As a single person, you have discretionary time to spend in God’s Word. So take a moment and look over your weekly schedule and ask God to show you where that time may be. If you want to be productive in the good times and persevere in the bad, keep learning God’s Word.  How does investing in reading God’s Word fit into your schedule? What gets in the way of you doing this?"

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