Or why I decided to take a dating fast!
My problems started at the beginning of the semester. I worried about what people, especially guys, thought about me. I distinctly remember my obsession with the way that I looked and feeling ashamed when I felt like a guy would find me unattractive. I constantly waited for text messages and felt anxious when they didn’t come. I had a crush on half the guys I ever saw, even ones that didn’t even know I existed. I day dreamed of the day someone would ask me out, wondered what our first date would be like, how we would get to know each other, and (to my own complete shame) how we would get engaged and live happily ever after. As a friend of mine put it, I had been through all the major milestones of our relationship and had never even talked to the guy!
I have learned that Satan knows just how to push your buttons and try to pull you down to rock bottom. I felt his pull at my heart every day and the longing for Earthly happiness. I felt alone, unloved, unworthy. If I could just find a man that loved me, I would be happy. My only saving grace was that I knew this was not what the Lord wanted for me, so I continued to push on. One day I finally had enough. It was a Sunday and I had just gotten home from a three-day retreat in the mountains spending precious time with God, yet here I was longing for a worldly love and happiness that (surprise, surprise!) I just couldn’t find. So as I drove to the grocery store that night I made a promise to the Lord: I would take a break from boys.
It’s exactly what it sounds like. A dating fast is giving up the practice of dating and instead spending time with the Lord. Personally I have vowed not to date through the end of the school year, so basically another five months on top of what I have already done. No dates, no physical relationships, and no situations that I feel will tempt me. It also means learning emotional chastity and the truth about the love God has for us and wants us to have for each other. We are taught physical chastity as children, but we are never shown how our own thoughts can cast a damaging light on others. As another author writes, “Where our hearts go, our bodies want to follow.” For me, it is emotional chastity that I really struggle with and I want to learn to see men as my brothers in Christ first and foremost, not as a potential partner.
So far the journey that I have taken has been a complete blessing. I am studying some great scripture on the truth about love. I plan on continuing to study how the Lord loves each of us and how He wants us to love each other both in platonic and romantic relationships. Through all of this I am learning to have a full relationship with God. I have learned that I still have a lot of wounds that need healed from my devastating break up about 6 months ago, and that by opening up to Him I am filling my cracks and holes with a love that only He can provide. One of my favorite activities that I have taken up is going on ‘dates with Jesus.’ I thoroughly enjoy the simple and loving conversations that I get to have with my Savior during these times with Him. The experience thus far has allowed me to have a relationship with the Lord that I have never had before and I am truly grateful for the opportunity.