You must be thinking…”Is she serious?” or, “Did she actually not date anyone for an entire year?” maybe you’re thinking, “Does she even know how to talk to boys now?”
You are correct. I took an entire year off from not just dating boys, but hanging out with them one on one (and yes that includes “grabbing coffee”) and really just investing my heart in them.
Why did I choose to make such a reckless decision? Well, lets just say I have had my fair share of heartbreak and you know what that’s like. It’s not pretty and it leaves you feeling unworthy, inadequate, undateable, and many other ugly adjectives you could think of.
Going into my sophomore year of Summer, I had just gotten out of a relationship. It didn’t end pretty and somehow the series from Andy Stanley “Love, Sex, and Dating” ironically appeared all over social media (thanks God). Im sure many of you have heard of it and if you have seen it, it probably blew your mind too.
I have heard stories of people taking a year off from dating and magically finding their future spouse after. And I thought, “Who wouldn’t take a year off from dating if that means God gives you your future husband/wife after?!” Of course I was going to take that. I mean I was in no position to be dating anyone for awhile anyways. I didn’t even have an interest in it.
So, I met up with an old small group leader and we wrote it down on paper. It was pretty much a contract with rules that said,
“1. No hanging out with boys alone one on one, and yes Carli that means grabbing coffee. That is a date whether or not you think so.
2. No investing your heart into a relationship unless it’s with Jesus.
3. Treat God like He is your boyfriend. Date Him for awhile. See if He sparks your interest.
4. Until June 10th, 2016, YOU SHALL NOT GET INVOLVED WITH ANYONE FROM THE OPPOSITE SEX. “
Keep in mind, my whole mindset going into this was that this past summer my future husband was going to just pop up out of the blue and we were going to live happily ever after.
I was happily mistaken.
Around mid-January of last year I was already over halfway done with my year off of dating. I was going strong, I felt good, I felt refreshed, and I was more in love with Jesus than ever before. I had these ideas that this year off from dating was primarily to make myself ready for my future spouse. And yes, that is part of the process. God has restored my heart for whoever he might be, He has healed me from the nasty scars my relationships left me, and He is helping me become the person that I would want to be with.
When June rolled around, I was nervous. I didn’t want to be in the dating world again. Do you know how much pressure that puts on people?! I was not ready. I was so satisfied in my relationship with Jesus that I had no interest in dating other people. God had filled the void that I was so eager to fill with some boy. He opened the many parts of my heart that I was so terrified of sharing with other people. He dug deep.
And that is exactly why He had laid this idea on my heart. Now that my year of no dating is up, I have come to the realization that this whole thing was not so I could find my future spouse but so I could find true satisfaction in Jesus. It was to bring me to a point of security to where if it was just me and God for the rest of my days, I would be alright. And that is where I am right now.
Don’t be afraid to date God for a little while. He is a HUGE romantic too. I mean the sunsets and sunrises He gave me just swept me off my feet. Taking that year off from dating was the best decision I have ever made because it showed me that when we put Jesus first, He will surprise you in ways you never thought possible. He will not only prepare you for your spouse but He will make you fall in love with Him all over again.
Sharing your past, your failures, and all your junk doesn't only bring you the freedom and healing that the Lord is so clearly offering us, but it reminds others that they're not alone in this broken world.