Last week I wrote a blog.
This isn’t unusual. I write them all the time and love to do so. Most of these blogs are publicized journal entries from that day or week or a build up of what God is teaching me and mostly they are published as accountability for myself and then (hopefully) as encouragement to others.
But the crazy thing about last week’s blog is the response it garnered. Instead of my faithful 75ish readers checking it out, I kept getting emails from WordPress saying my stats were “booming” and “going through the roof.” It blows my mind to know that more than 20,000 people came to the blog within four days time.
The Internet is truly remarkable.
However, following a thorough reading of every comment, a challenging and encouraging conversation with my pastor/boss, and seeking our faithful Father, I believe it necessary to write a follow up to “Waiting and Responding: The Role of Women in Dating.”
ADDRESSING THREE QUESTIONS:
(These answers were given in response to comments or messages on Facebook.)
“What about Ruth?”
Oh how I love the story of Ruth and the stunning way God united her and Boaz as well as the beautiful picture of redemption found within those four short chapters. In her case, however, I would say that she still didn’t initiate anything with Boaz because it was actually Naomi who told Ruth to go to the fields and that he was the kinsmen redeemer and then Naomi pushed Ruth to go to the threshing floor. Ruth was still following the (unconventional) wisdom of a spiritual leader. That’s where I would make the distinction between lots of girls/women I know nowadays who fling themselves on a lovely man in order to quench an inner thirst they have for acceptance, love, validation or the like. Needs which we know can only be fully met in Jesus.
“Other than Adam and Eve, where are your references to Bible verses showing that this is the biblical way to date?”
This is such a great point. I was not clear on the biblical support for my argument.
When you look at the whole of Scripture it’s difficult to find chapter and verse that booms: “Behold, I am God, and this ____ is the way to date.” It’s just not there. But, from cover to cover, using biblical hermeneutics and exegesis, we can see several connecting points. Starting with Adam and Eve being the first marriage. Eve was created in response to Adam’s need with the purpose of being his helper (Gen. 2:18). Then we see Christ, as the true and better Adam, pursuing His bride the church and then we, because of Christ’s drawing, respond to Him (John 6:44; Rom. 5:6-8; Eph. 5:22-33). This is my opinion (little o) of the way a woman is to respond to man because that’s how I see Scripture defining marriage (and what is dating if it is not practice and preparation for marriage?)—the man is to be the head of the home, just as Christ is the head of the church. The man leads the marriage not because he is superior to woman but because they have different, God-given roles, and I believe the same is true for dating. If he is going to lead in marriage then he should lead the dating relationship.
“So should the girl never, ever let her feelings be known? Should she be so guarded that she never even hints that she likes a guy?”
When I say “do nothing” that does not mean to imply that women cannot be friends with guys, because that would be contradicting the Bible on so many different levels. I am grateful beyond words for the solid brothers in Christ God has given us women to learn from, be friends with and goof around with. That said, I believe there can be a real danger in girls purposefully placing themselves in contexts (outside church, school, and places where they must see them) where they might see the object of their affection because that can be manipulative and could lead to more heartache if the guy doesn’t respond the way she wants him to (more about this later).
When I advise women to do “nothing” it’s in the context of them asking me what they should do when they like a guy more than a friend. What this means is they want to know how to get a guy to like them back (subtle, mostly unintentional, unconscious manipulation, which is a result of the fall). In the cases of when a girl likes or thinks she might like a boy as a potential husband, it’s clear that a friendship is already in progress (at least it should be in my opinion). My advice is for the girl to change nothing in their relationship (except guard her heart a little tighter in case her feelings are not reciprocated and be sober-minded [1 Peter 5:8], meaning unclogged with emotions) and to pursue a greater depth in her relationship with God, who is her ultimate Husband (Isaiah 54:5).
HOWEVER, waiting for a guy—and I’ll go so far to say even guarding your heart and emotions—isn’t the same thing as going all Fort Knox and putting up an impenetrable wall toward someone you actually have romantic feelings for. No, I think the friendship should continue and that the girl can and should be open to the guy. Which includes, for me, letting him lead the relationship.
There is a big difference between initiating a conversation and asking a dude out on a date. And as a few readers have pointed out, God made us women with different personalities, some are direct and decisive and extremely straightforward. However, just because we have a strong, direct and decisive genetic makeup doesn’t mean God made us that way to be controlling or forceful. In my opinion (little o), asking for the dance but promising to let them lead can be a slippery slope that could (could, definitely doesn’t mean it always does) lead to more aggressive controlling tactics (even the subtle, unintentional, unconscious manipulation mentioned earlier) if that personality and strong will isn’t brought under the authority of God’s. But alas, that is the call of Christ: it’s the call to come and die (Luke 9:23-25).
THIS BRINGS US TO THE MAIN QUESTION:
“What do I do if I like a guy, I do nothing, but neither does he?”
Oh the heartache that comes with this question.
In this case, and with Bible in hand, my answer is familiar to those in the evangelical world.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” -1 Peter 5:6-8, ESV
Cast all your anxieties on Him.
Don’t seek to save your life.
These are intense, hard commands (not suggestions) that apply to every single aspect of the life of a Christ-follower.
Impossible commands were it not for Jesus.
At this point, an overwhelming surge of thankfulness should envelop you because of the glory of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In His joy, a holy, perfect, uncreated God created man in His beautiful image. He placed Adam and Eve in a stunning paradise and gave them authority over His creation. They had unbroken, flawless communication and relationship with their Maker. But instead of obeying Him, the God of life, they choose death (Gen. 3).
And Scripture says that as a result we also died (Rom. 5:12).
We’re dead before we’re born.
We need a new birth (John 3:1-21).
Sin has us trapped, enslaved and headed for eternal destruction.
But how can we, imperfect and sin-stained people, have restored relationship to this holy and righteous God?
If we are to have any hope, something has to be done to break the curse.
The spotless Son of the Most High came to earth and took on human flesh. The Uncreated became the created and humbled Himself to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2:6-11). More than that, it was the will of God to crush Him. Why? For us.
Bearing our sin, griefs and sorrows and bridging the gap between God and man, Jesus willingly and joyfully set His face to the cross and, as the Father turned His face away from His most Beloved Son, drank the cup of God’s wrath we deserved and boldly declared “it is finished.”
Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
-Man of Sorrows! What a Name (Hallelujah! What a Savior!), Phillip Bliss
The fellowship that was broken at the fall in the garden of Eden can be restored through repenting and turning from our disgusting sins (including clinging to our morality) and surrendering heart, mind and soul to Jesus Christ.
He gave all, He asks all.
“For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, He has now reconciled in His body of flesh by His death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before Him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven…” -Colossians 1:19-23, ESV
What does this have to do with dating and relationships?
Everything. Because as Christians, the Gospel is to shape everything we do. It is the lens by which we are to view the world. It is the filter through which we are to process everything. It is our life source. Our hope. Our victory. Our joy.
So when a girl likes a guy and God seemingly shuts the door, what is she to do?
Surrender those longings to the One who died to fulfill her most intense desires.
Elisabeth Elliot says it this way,
“God gives us material for sacrifice. Sometimes the sacrifice makes little sense to others, but when offered to Him is always accepted….I have tried to explain it sometimes to people who are lonely and longing for love. ‘Give it to Jesus,’ I say. The loneliness itself is material for sacrifice. The very longings themselves can be offered to Him who understands perfectly. The transformation into something He can use for the good of others takes place only when the offering is put into His hands.
What will He do with these offerings? Never mind. He knows what to do.” -Passion and Purity, p. 66-67
So may every desire, longing and yearning of our hearts be offered as a sacrifice to the One who sacrificed Himself for us.
May we follow the example of our Savior and say to the Father, “Not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42).