Recently in a sermon a pastor was sharing about how singles can become bitter while waiting on God to bring them a spouse. This can be true, especially if you wait without really walking with God. But then he went on to say that bitterness could lead us to dating the wrong people – in other words we give up and kind of say screw God, he’s not bringing me someone, so I’ll go date people I shouldn’t. (By the way, the pastor deserves for credit for actually addressing singles).
But, while I don’t doubt that people sometimes do date the “wrong” people because they get tired of “waiting” on God, I don’t think it works quite that way very often. Most of the people I know that are bitter at God for not having a spouse are not dating anyone – right or wrong.
Many people who would say they got tired of waiting on God, and therefore dated someone they knew they shouldn’t, are kind of full of it in at least one of two ways. First they usually didn’t really wait that long, and they never really have (again I’m talking generally here). Waiting six months is not a long time. Heck a year is not really a long time. Secondly, usually they were attracted to someone and they went for it regardless of what God wanted, and then they rationalized it backwards. That’s not being bitter about waiting for God, that’s being disobedient to God and then trying to rationalize it. Those are two different things.
Being mad at God is not typically the reason that we date the wrong person. Usually there are other reasons – and it’s habitual. In other words we have a pattern of dating people that we later would say we shouldn’t have.
How does this happen? I’ve had several different people tell me that it seems like their “picker” is messed up. In other words, somehow they keep picking the wrong people to date. I think there are several ways this happens.
Here’s a great quote, “It just seems like all the people I’m attracted to (or who are attracted to me) aren’t Jesus people.” Really?! Have you ever thought about why that is? I mean are non believers etc, really “hotter” than believers? I’m gonna go with no. So what gives?
Here’s some ways we get into these traps.
Sometimes we are afraid of the real thing. In other words if you constantly date people you know you can’t marry, guess what – you don’t have to get married. You will always have a way out. It’s a control thing. I know it seems weird, but I promise you there are some of us that are sabotaging the whole deal from the get go. We are scared of marriage for whatever reason, but we want companionship so we date people we know deep down we wouldn’t marry. This always turns out one of two ways, you have to break up (some do this super quick each time, others do it long and drawn out each time) or you end up so tied to the person that you go ahead and marry them – you’ve come this far.
Some of us think we are disqualified from dating and marrying the good person. In other words, I’ve done bad stuff, so the person who has it together with Jesus won’t want me. The truth of course is that we have all done bad stuff in one way or another and none of us is disqualified from marriage. If God is not going to withhold salvation, is He going to withhold a spouse?
Another version of this is the “I don’t want to face my hard stuff, so I’ll date only people that won’t make me face it.” This is one of the exact reasons God created marriage to begin with – to make us face stuff and grow. Running from the people that make you grow is bad in every way, including but not limited to who you date.
Finally, there are a lot of Christian people who say they want to follow Jesus and date a Jesus follower who quite frankly aren’t actually walking with God. In other words they would give all the right answers but their lives and hearts don’t actually reflect it. They are actually doing exactly what they want to do, they just don’t want to admit it because it sounds bad.
Here’s the reality. We date based on how we see ourselves. This is always true regardless of high or low we view ourselves. It’s true of not just of who we date, but how we date, how we approach the opposite sex and how we act. This is why having our identity in Christ is so key.
Is your picker broken? How do you see yourself? Is your identity in Christ? If not, what is it in – really?
Thank you for this post and the many others I have found thought provoking and helpful. I’ve valued the conversations I’ve been able to have with friends and family as I’ve shared your website with them.
That’s awesome! My number one hope for sharing hear is that people will actually think and talk about it. Thanks for sharing.
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