Waiting for Your Mate

One of the hardest things for any Christian in America to do is WAIT. I mean, we can get so many things so easily, and so quickly. From fast food, to television, to the internet, we are inundated with the expectation of instant gratification. It is what we have grown accustomed to, and so we feel entitled to it.

That’s why it is no surprise that we naturally rebel against all the waiting. But God asks us to wait for many things: For His help in our trials; for Him to move in great power; and among other things, His help in finding a mate. What a confusing and almost impossible reality for us to comprehend. And yet, when we trust God in each of these areas, His way always turns out best.

When it comes to dating, some of us combine our fast food cultural values with our anxiousness to fill an intimacy void, and out comes a very desperate person. Let’s just call this person a Desperate Hopeless Romantic… DHR for short. For those who have struggled with and even suffered from the DHR being awakened within you, please know that I have been in your shoes.

The DHR is often afraid of being alone forever. The Christian DHR wants to wait on the Lord but wrestles with whether He will actually grant them a mate. A Christian DHR can become trapped in forlorn seeking and grasping for what they are afraid of missing out on, that they miss out on the joy of Christ through this process. It is fear that feeds the DHR within us. So if you struggle with being a DHR in your dating life, I am writing this blog for you.

Four things I want to share with the DHR that may help in the waiting process:

1. Jesus loves us more than we can imagine. He desires us to find a greater joy than we can desire (John 15:11). But it is important that we recognize, it is only in Him that we find fulfillment. And when it comes to finding a mate, He has a plan, and is working it out. You don’t have to worry about it. Set your focus on Him. Pray about it, yes, and pray about it fervently. But do not worry about it. God will write your love story. Trust in Him who is able to do far more than we can ask or fathom (Ephesians 3:20). Put your life in His hands.

2. Take the focus off of self. One of the best ways to cure the DHR within is to immerse ourselves in the heart of God. Then, to take up the banner of His grace and go out serving our community and beyond so that His love may shine on all we come in contact with. When we take the focus off of our own wants, and set our eyes on the greater purpose of God, our perspective changes. And we see how many hurting people are out there. We refocus all that misplaced passion put into being a DHR, and put it into the joyous work of serving others for the sake of the Gospel.

3. When lonely, spend time with friends (of the same sex) who love Jesus. This is so important. Because many DHR’s run out desperately searching for a mate when they feel lonely. It’s like a reflex to the fear of being alone. But this will only cause more pain in the long run. Trust me. I’ve been there. As I said in a previous blog, when we compromise Mr or Mrs Right for Mr or Mrs Right Now, we only cause ourselves more pain in the big picture. So, instead of looking for love in the wrong places, spend more time with people that do love you but won’t take advantage of you. Ladies, spend time with your girlfriends, and guys spend time with your guys friends. This will curve the loneliness, and it will allow you to stay occupied.

4. When bored, invest in Christ-centered things instead of Me-Centered things. One of the easiest ways to wander into struggling hardcore with being a DHR is to get bored. Boredom tends to naturally lead to self-gratification. As people we’re prone to this. But one of the best things we can do when we recognize ourselves beginning to get bored is, find something Christ-centered to get involved in. And once again, take the focus off of self and put it on God.

Moral of the story: Seek God, trust God, look to God.

Make God and His purposes everything to you, and He will fill in the gaps until He provides a mate. Trust Him completely and the Desperate Hopeless Romantic inside will become a healthy Romantic. In the case of a Romantic who trusts God, He will write such a beautiful love story, and build a wondrous foundation of love into you and your mate. For when our marriages are built upon the Rock, they will not only last, but they will grow and thrive into what marriage is meant to be. And that is worth waiting for!

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Online Dating – For or Against?

Oh goodness. The wonder of Online Dating 🙂 This should be fun to write about. Before digging my heals in, Melissa found this hilarious video, poking fun at Christian Online Dating. But just to be clear, this is not the type of “Christian” Online Dating we are endorsing. In fact, in some ways this video is totally over the top. I mean, I have pity for this couple. But, that’s kind of what makes this video  funny. So we hope you enjoy.

Alright, now that you have seen that ridiculous example of fake Christianity, let me just say that this post, as well as the previous post regarding dating in general, was written to answer a question Melissa and I received regarding what we thought about online dating. The young lady who asked the question had read our love story and knew that Melissa and I had met online. But I feel I must confess that Melissa and I didn’t actually meet through a Christian Dating website. Our meet-cute was no where near as classy as a Christian website. No, we met in the interweb slums of Myspace…

I kid… sort of. But what’s funny is, I used to throw snide jokes at some of my friends for meeting their significant other online. And then God brought Melissa into my life via the internet. And such is the gracious irony of our God’s sense of humor. Sometimes I wonder if He might be laughing as He works in these ways. As if to say, “This is going to be hilarious when they realize I’m granting them something good from the very thing they’ve judged for so long”. In my case, I learned a great deal about laying down my judgement against internet dating.

With that said, I have mixed impressions regarding Christian Online Dating. And since I am bi-polar on the issue, I am going to have some fun with a pros and cons list, and I’ll let you (the reader) do the deciding for yourself about whether you are FOR or AGAINST:

PRO – God can use the internet as His matchmaking tool. I met my wife who is an incredible woman of God, online, so I can vouch for God working through that means. Also, I have heard many wonderful testimonies from those I trust regarding their love stories that wouldn’t be possible without an online dating service and/or social media. – But, please don’t be one of those people who meets someone online whom you clearly should NOT be dating, and you say, “But God used this as a matchmaking tool to bring us together”. No, He didn’t… When God is in it, the outcome will glorify Him.

CONHorror Stories. I think we’ve all heard about the crazy people who act like a respectable person on the internet, and then end up being a psychopathic murderer. – But before we get scared away from internet dating altogether, let me say that I would advise more writing back and forth for an extended period of time before actually meeting in person. That way you get to know the person and weed out the psychos who will most likely latch on to those who are too desperate and anxious for due process. Also, when you agree to meet a person you have come to know via a website, meet them in a public place. Then keep it public until you know you can trust them.

PROIt’s much easier to reject people online. It’s sad but true. Think of the last person who asked you out in person, but you didn’t want to go out with them… was it hard to reject them? – If it was a friend then I hope it was difficult. Why? Because you care for them and don’t want to hurt their feelings – Now, what if a person you’ve never met before, asks you out, online? Would they be easier to reject? I think so. Why? Because you have no emotional connection to them. You can say yes or no with less reserve. So strike one up for the Online Dating!

CONThe Fakers. You know what I’m talking about. The ones who embellish their profile with impressive but less than honest information. Like little Billy who is actually four feet tall at 10 years old, but has set up a profile claiming to be a 30 year old who models for Calvin Klein. And for some reason, his profile pic looks a lot like Justin Timberlake… J/K. But the sad thing about agreeing to go on a date with a more capable Faker than little Billy is, you might not know they are a Faker until you meet them for a date. Because they have their role down pat. For the ladies, that guy may be acting like Matt Chandler, but their heart may be much closer to Voldemort. Or for the guys, she may act like Mother Teresa, when actually she is more like the Wicked Witch of the West. (Just saying, you may want to draw the line when they start laughing like the Wicked Witch… J/K) – Whatever the case, please be careful. Be honest with yourself about the other persons good and bad qualities. It’s okay to be skeptical when looking for a relationship online. Be cautious over careless.

PROLong distance, online relationships can provide a more healthy way of getting to know someone over an extended period of time. This one definitely doesn’t apply to everyone. But in the case of Melissa and I meeting and getting to know each other online for a few months before we met each other, it worked out great. I felt more relaxed and less likely to rush things. For at least two months, we were merely writing to encourage each other as friends in Jesus. And I think this allowed for a much more solid foundation for our relationship to grow from.

CONThose in Long Distance Online relationships don’t get to spend very much time in person. The worst part of carrying on the long distance thing with Melissa for six or seven months before we got married was, I hardly ever got to see her in person. And there is something to be said for spending time together. I think it’s just harder to fake things when you are face to face.

PROThere are a lot of “Jesus is truly my everything” Christians out there on the Online Dating Websites. I only know this because as I alluded to before, there are numerous stories I’ve heard about Christians finding a wonderful mate through online dating. So they are out there.

CONThere are a lot of people who think they love Jesus but really don’t, on Online Dating Websites. To say that it is always simple to discern between those who are genuinely Christ followers, and those who are merely convinced they are, would be a lie. Sometimes their sheep disguise just covers right over their wolfish interior. But, the reality is, this shouldn’t stop us from online dating because we must wade these waters whether we are offline or online. – Suffice it to say, the easiest way to tell a “Christian” from a Christian is to listen to what motivates them. Do they use Jesus for selfish ambition, or are they devoted to following Christ for His glory’s sake?

In conclusion, if you were to force me to choose, I would say that Christian Online Dating can be good… and bad. But so can dating offline. It seems to me that we run into many of the same issues from different vantage points in both fields. There are different pros and cons to both. We are not trying to discourage people from dating online or offline, but we want encourage those who are dating to do so with a Christ-centered mindset, and to proceed with caution in regards to what is real.

What do you think about Online Dating? We would love to hear your opinion. Please share in the comments below.

6 Resolutions For Christian Dating

Recently a young lady wrote us saying that she had read our love story and saw how Melissa and I had met online. She asked what our opinion was regarding online dating. This is a terrific question. And I’m excited about sharing what we believe on the topic. But before we talk about online dating, we felt it would be good to address the deeper issue of Christian dating in general. So basically, this blog is regarding Christian Dating. And in the next one, we will address Online Dating.

Before any kind of dating is pursued, it is our strong belief that a Christian must be resolved in a few very important areas. Because lets face it, the bulk of a Christian’s dating problems in a westernized culture have nothing to with online or offline. Rather the issue is whether Jesus is the one we treasure and trust above all.

You might think, “but I thought dating was about a guy and a girl”… Well, let me tell ya friend, if you are a Christian, and everything in your life is not about Jesus (including dating), then you are buying into a watered down version of Christianity. The Biblical version leads us to a life that’s ALL ABOUT JESUS!

I’m just going to be straight up about this topic because I wish someone would have done this for me when I was dating. – I think there are a lot of Christians looking for a mate, who say they want to put God first, and are willing to wait for someone that loves Jesus above all. But then, waiting becomes difficult. And we may feel like we’re never going to meet someone if we don’t go out “window shopping” for a mate. And window shopping turns to dating. Then we begin to date around a lot. The problem with this is it leads to a lot of kisses and possible intimate moments that should be saved for our future mate. The worst part is the unnecessary broken hearts left in the wake of such dating experiences.

I fell into this very way of life when I was dating, and I can honestly say that with all my heart, I regret it. More than anything, I sincerely regret breaking the hearts of young ladies who I had no business dating in the first place. Also, I regret experiencing unnecessary heart ache from those who broke my heart. If I would have truly understood the error of my reasoning and been seeking God fully at the time, I may not have dated around so much. But I share my testimony with you for two reasons. First, because I hope you will not make the same mistakes I did. And, that you will be able to live without regret in pre-matrital dating. That is why I don’t pull any punches in this post, but say it like it is. I have seen how unnecessarily hurtful it can be to date prematurely. And second, this is what I wished I had done in dating. I can not say I actually did what I am proposing. So you will get no judgment from me on the subject. So if you have stepped over lines, our God is gracious, and we are allowed to begin afresh in Him. And maybe that’s what these resolutions can be for you. A new beginning.

Suffice it to say, for Christians who desire to honor God in the way they pursue their mate, I propose these six resolutions be made:

  1. To fall so deeply in love with the King of kings that He is truly what matters most. That means, that Jesus becomes so much more important than finding your future mate, that His love becomes sufficient for your hearts needs. I believe that it is only when God has truly become everything to our hearts that we are ready to look for that special someone. Why? Because if Jesus is not more important to our hearts than finding a mate, then we will be more willing to compromise when we look for a mate. And because of this, we will be foolish in the choices we make while dating. The following question is a good gage of whether we are resolved in this area – “Is finding my mate more important to my heart than Jesus is?” If the answer is yes, then please wait to date. Seek God until He is everything. Then consider dating.
  2. To keep from dating until I am financially ready to marry. One of the reasons some Christians struggle with purity before marriage is because they date their future mate for years before they get married. This is “danger zone” territory and must be avoided if possible. With that said, this is not a hard and fast rule as there are couples who have done this carefully and in a Christ honoring fashion. And since they have done it, we know it can be done. But it’s not easy. It is playing with fire in the purity category to date for too long. It would be wiser for  those who are grounded in the Lord to date for a shorter time. If you know you are going to marry the person, and you are financially prepared, then you will be able marry them, rather than waiting forever and falling into sexual sin.
  3. That God would remain my priority once I get to the point of looking for a mate. There is a very fine line that we must be cautious of while in process of looking for a mate, between being on the lookout, and anxiously “needing”. In the first scenario, by the grace of God, there is an attitude of patiently keeping our eyes open for that special someone… In the second scenario, there is a feeling of desperation to fill a void. Sadly, this desperation will cause a person to compromise Mr or Mrs Right for Mr or Mrs Right Now. And when we replace godliness with convenience, we pay for it much more in the long run. But when selfless godliness becomes what we hold out for, the big picture is a beautiful canvas filled with loving color.
  4. To become the person I am seeking to marry. Have you ever made up a list of qualities that you would like your mate to have? I did way back in high school. And maybe this is a new concept to you. If it is, I would invite you to practice it. Sit down and write out the qualities you would like to have in your mate… But, whenever the list is made, it’s only fair that we ask whether we live up to it ourselves. And if we don’t, then we must seek God to grow in these areas. Because most likely, the person you are looking for is looking for someone with the same values. Will the Christ-centered person you are looking for, see a Christ-centered person in you?
  5. To honor God above all in every decision made regarding physical affection in your pre-marital dating. So many want to ask the question of “How far is too far when you’re dating?” Honestly, I think that’s the wrong question. A better question is probably, “If someone was [add affectionate act here – i.e. kissing, holding hands… etc.] {with} my future wife or husband, would I want to punch them in the face?” If the answer is yes, then that specific action is out of bounds… don’t go there. And even though I wrote that last bit half way joking, the truth is, if a couple isn’t married, then not only should they keep from having sex, but they shouldn’t be doing very much of the “other stuff” either. If for no other reason, because the other person is not your mate and may end up marrying someone else. I am being very non-specific about boundaries because, to an extent, this should be decided based upon what a person believes will honor God and the other person most. Let me say this again to be clear, honoring God and the other person should affect the decisions made about the physical part of a pre-marital dating relationship more than our hormones or emotions.
  6. To wait on God, for He can write your love story much better than you can. With all my heart, I wish I had trusted God and not gotten in such a hurry to find my mate through dating around. For He knew when I would be ready and that He would bring Melissa and I together in His perfect timing. One of the greatest ways to practice waiting on God when there are no prospective mates around is to pray for your future spouse. Pray that God would prepare you and him/her both for each other. Pray that God will do more through you being together for His glory, than He could do through you while you are apart. Pray that your marriage would reflect the love that Christ had for His church. Pray for patience and a heart that is devoted to God in the process of waiting. – In praying for your future mate in these areas as well as others, you are giving this aspect of your life to God, and entrusting that He can do more in your waiting than you can do in your doing. (Below is a song written by Bethany Dillon that I hope will encourage you in this area when you are discouraged and feel anxious.) – Also, just a side note on waiting. One of the hardest things about waiting for God to write your love story is feeling lonely. If you struggle with this then I am in the process of writing a third post in this series that I hope will give practical help in this area. Please stay tuned for that post.

In conclusion, one of the greatest things to remember in looking for a prospective mate is that Jesus cares much more about you than even you do. He knows what is best and most loving for you. He will bring it about in His way and His timing. TRUST HIM. Even when people say you’re crazy for blindly trusting Him. And, it is not bad to look for a mate, or even to seek out a mate. But let Jesus’ grace be your guide, and not your own desperation.

When Life Doesn’t Go As Planned

When I was younger I would tell God my plans. You see, I had my life all planned out. From the age I wanted to meet my husband, to the years I wanted to space out my 5 kids. I had it all figured out and when I realized that my life was crumbling around me, I began to get frustrated at God for not listening to my plans.

Oh how naive and immature I was…

Everything seemed to be going wrong. But God knew better. He knew what I had to endure to make me who I am today. He knew the stupidity of my sins that would make me stumble and wander from His path. He knows it all! 

Today I am sharing at Unveiled Wife about When Life Doesn’t Go As Planned.

 

I'm an Unveiled Wife Contributor - Liss East

3 Tips For Communicating In A Relationship

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” -James 1:19

The first year of marriage is hard. You are just starting to really get to know each other and are probably seeing each other’s true colors for the very first time. The first real argument that my husband and I had wasn’t even about the thing we had begun discussing.

You see, the way I was responding to him and the tone of my voice had sent our little minor disagreement into our first full-fledged fight. I was angry and I let it show by my quick wit and disrespectful remarks.

I felt like a child that didn’t get her way.

I wanted to huff and puff and go hide in the bathroom.

Continue reading at Unveiled Wife, where I am writing about 3 tips for communicating in a relationship.

I'm an Unveiled Wife Contributor - Liss East

 

How To Leave the Past In The Past

But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the prize for the goal of the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus – The Apostle Paul

Yesterday’s mistakes are gone. Todays life must be lived anew, if it is to truly be lived. This is something I must remind myself of every time I struggle with anything regarding the past. Whether it be regret, shame, some appalling memory, or anything else, I can either let it take root and haunt me; or, I can lay it aside and focus on the brand new day God has given me.

That means, a new beginning with new opportunities. By the grace of Christ, we can be free from our yesterdays and live unhindered in our todays. Whatever has happened in our past does not have control over our present or future, because if we are trusting in Christ, He has promised to “work all things for good for those who love God” (Romans 8:28). Don’t get me wrong, this does NOT mean that financial prosperity is inevitable. No, our victory is much greater than “stuff”… Our inevitable victory is in Christ. That is, a life continually increasing in the deepest joy and peace that come only from the Holy Spirit residing in us as we live out His calling.

But in order to have this victory we must let go of yesterday. Christ has given us freedom from the condemnation of the past (Romans 8:1-2). And we must believe in the victory Christ gives us in Him, today. Let us do as the Apostle Paul did, and lay aside our past so we can forge ahead, serving the Lord with relentless freedom.

TELL US ABOUT IT

Has God done something in your life that has helped you let go of the past and forge into the future?

We would love to hear your story.

Our Love Story: The Digits

He SaidNovember 13th – 6am

I asked for her digits.

Rash? Possibly even stupid considering that no reasonable mind would think I have a future with this girl? Ya, but I didn’t let that stop me from asking for her phone number.

You see, in just a few short days my mind has flipped from “wanting out” to… never wanting out. I think the big change really happened when I finally accepted that if we stopped writing messages, I would be heartbroken. I didn’t actually know this until I had to wait two whole days to get her last message. Just tragic right? lol… But it was ridiculous how hurt I was that it took so long. By the time I got it, I had realized I didn’t want to live without her messages anymore – No, check that… I didn’t want to live without her anymore.

Wow, I sound crazy! Haha, if anyone knew how I’ve gone from zero to sixty in two seconds, they would probably think I was loco; then they would tell me to pump the brakes. But I don’t care if I seem crazy anymore. I am crazy. Crazy for this girl. I think I’ve been crazy about Melissa for a while now, only, I’m just now realizing it.

I think it’s taken me a month to realize it because of past hurts that have caused me to guard my heart from hope. But if love is ever going to take my heart to new heights, then I have to let the walls come down. And though the odds of us ever being together are about the same as me ever walking on the moon, I have to believe it’s possible. If I don’t believe God can do the supernatural here, then how can I believe He will do the impossible in any other area of life?

Oh how I’m good at justifying just about anything in my head… that is, when I want something bad enough.

Whatever the case, she has no idea what my real feelings are, or how her words have deeply encouraged my life. If she did, it would probably make her run for the hills. So I’ll take it slow for now. And since the ball’s in her court, we’ll see if she’s interested. Maybe she is, and maybe she isn’t.

Will she give me her digits? We’ll find out soon enough.

Continue reading our love story: A Real-Life Fairytale

Read our love story from the beginning.