On Dating: Understanding the Influence of your Choices

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I don't want to get all Taylor Swift here by putting boys on blast, but I do want to share with you my perspective on some personal situations I have gone through to offer some words of advice and encouragement where it pertains to the opposite sex.  I have never dated anyone before.  To be truthful, I'm not upset about it, because there were times when I wanted to date that I wasn't ready to make responsible choices.  There are things I thought I wanted that would have been really bad for me at the time.  You may have heard the saying, "Every rejection is God's protection."  I believe that this is true.

While I have never dated anyone before, I have made really close guy friends...over the years there have been a few that I fell for.  None of those situations landed me a boyfriend and none of them were supposed to, but every situation did teach me something.  There were times I fell for someone that was meant for someone else.  Now that they are married with children, I can see that God had a different plan for their life.  I have gone through scenarios with guys who toyed with the idea of me and kept me in their back pocket, in case anything better came along.  I learned from those situations my own worth and value.  I learned that I never want to be somebody's plan b because I deserve more than that.  I have fallen for really nice guys who have been hung up on exes.  There have been other situations where the guy I wanted had a reputation for being quite the drinker and a bit of a party animal on the weekends.  Others have not been able to see eye to eye with my love for Jesus...the one thing I am most passionate about.  Some of these guys are really great and still good friends of mine.  It's just that we wouldn't be good for each other given the timing and particular set of circumstances.

One thing I have learned from all of these situations is that my decisions impact not only me, but also the people around me.  At one point or another, we have all been tempted to settle for less than what is best for us.  We go through seasons where a particular option seems so appealing that we are willing to overlook red flags to get what we believe our heart desires.  I am learning that if I become willing to compromise my convictions and overlook potential pitfalls, the impact would be more far-reaching than I know.  I have nieces and other young girls in my family that look up to me.  The young girls in my family have been impacted by dysfunction and alcohol/drug abuse on a profound level.  What message would it send to them if I wound up dating or marrying someone who viewed getting hammered as a recreational passtime?  I serve many young girls in the ministry I work with.  I preach the message of the Gospel to them on a regular basis.  What message would it send if I chose to involve myself with someone who thought the Bible was a fairytale?  What message would it send to these girls about matters of self-esteem and self-worth if I had allowed myself to be strung along by a guy who thought he could do better?

Most girls desire marriage at some point.  I fall into this category.  However, in the pursuit of our dreams, we cannot compromise and waver in the things that are most important: our values, our convictions and our faith.  Our decisions impact not only us, but those we care about.

My challenge to you today is to ask yourself this one question: What message do you want to send to those around you with your relationship choices?  What message are you sending now?

Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example  for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. (1 Tim. 4:12)

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