When I was a teenager, a book was released called I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris. It was all the rage among my Christian friends. One friend, in particular, carried it around in her Jansport backpack. No one dared to ask her about it or they got the full lecture. I had no intention or desire to read this book. The title alone scared me. I was the sheltered, overweight girl who guys befriended to get close to my cute friends. So, if someone thought that I was going to pass up on a guy who wanted to date me, they were crazy.
Fast forward 15 years and I wish I could skip dating. It’s emotionally exhausting, it takes up your time, and although it can give you some of the best moments of your life, it can also bring some of the worst. It’s difficult meeting new people, let alone dating them, which seems necessary to get married.
The thing about being single and Christian is that we don’t always find our mates the traditional way. When we step out on the town, looking our best, or if we’re out enjoying a beautiful day in our city, or if we’re in line at Target, we may get attention from the opposite sex, but they may not be a Christian. Furthermore, the existing dating stereotypes within our churches don’t exactly encourage folks to exchange numbers or grab a cup of coffee.
Although I believe that God knows the desires of my heart and His timing is perfect, I sometimes don’t fully trust that He knows that I want a mate in this lifetime. This may be a silly thought, but such a real feeling at times. To speed the process along, I decided to start online dating.
Christian Dating Options at My Fingertips?
The process seemed so easy: Download an app, answer some basic questions about myself and be exposed to the entire “sea of men” people always referenced.
Had you asked me a year ago what I thought of online dating, I’d tell you I thought it was the best way to meet someone. But experience changes perspective. I was a Tinder user for a few years, on and off. I loved the app mostly for the ease of use. Swipe right if you like someone and left if you don’t.
I met a few Christians on Tinder. I thought for sure stating my beliefs on my profile would eliminate all the men who weren’t believers. One person started a conversation with “I really do love me some Jesus“, but in all of his pictures he was half-naked, and in one particular photo he had his middle finger up! I definitely took a screenshot of that and sent it to some friends for a laugh.
There were times I felt a bit convicted like last summer on our young adult retreat. I was a leader and someone yelled across the field “Hey, the guys and I just saw you on Tinder!” I was mortified for a moment, but kept swiping.
How Many Options are Too Many?
When I was a teenager, I babysat for a family from our church. I became very close with the mom, who was beautiful, fashionable and funny. I admired her and wanted to be like her someday. She would talk about the things of God, but we could also joke about worldly matters.
One day I brought over a book I had just bought and was so excited to share it with her. The book was full of postcards that contained secrets people sent anonymously to a man who compiled them to share with the world. Some were dirty, some were funny, and others were sad, but I loved the thought-provoking ones. I tried to skip the inappropriate cards quickly enough so she wouldn’t see them, but she stopped me as I was flipping through. In a book of hundreds of postcards, there were only 5 or 6 that were worth showing her.
With her southern drawl, in the sweetest tone, she asked: “Why would you expose yourself to all of these images and thoughts, just to find the one or two good images?”
I sat there stunned. I had never thought about it that way. My intentions were pure. I wasn’t looking to laugh at the provocative cards, just the ones I found interesting. In the process, I opened my spirit and my mind to things I shouldn’t have seen.
I feel the same way about online dating. Sure, there are plenty of men for me to find on those apps. But I don’t think God would want me to expose myself to so much temptation, vulgarity, and secular ideals just to find the man HE wants for me.
Are there happily married Christian couples who met on dating sites? Yes. God is sovereign.
But, there are things of this world that are just not for all Christians. We are His precious children. He wants us to live Holy, but that doesn’t mean alone, at home on the weekends with cats.
He wants us to live with purpose. He wants us to be happy. HE wants to fulfill the desires of our hearts.
God can use the app to bring you a mate, but how much do we have to sacrifice to find him/her when we do it our way?
Our morality, our hearts, and our spirit are all on the table and up for grabs for people who may not even know God.
Faith is black and white, there is no gray area. We can choose to trust that He will bring us a mate in His time, or we can try in our own strength to make things happen.
So, what’s the play call?
Choose to trust the Heavenly Father, who has planned every day of our lives before we were born. I trust that He knows the desires of my heart. I have to remember this every time the enemy whispers that God’s forgotten about me. He hasn’t. He hasn’t forgotten about you either!
He will bring the right person, His way. And for this reason, I had to kiss online dating goodbye.