“But I don’t want “good” and I don’t want “good enough” I want “can’t sleep, can’t breathe without your love” Front porch and one more kiss. It doesn’t make sense to anybody else. Who cares if you’re all I think about I’ve searched the world and I know now It ain’t right If you ain’t lost your mind. Yeah, I don’t want easy, I want crazy, You with me, baby? Let’s be crazy.”1
Man, that sounds so good, doesn’t it? I have to admit, I got all caught up for a minute thinking, yeah, I want crazy… After all, who doesn’t want to feel those heart beating, endorphin driving, lost my mind for someone things, right? But can I propose something? Feelings are so short-term. You can lose your mind one day, then find it another, ultimately you are left with consequences of decisions crazy prompted, and well, those can last a lifetime.
All of us want something more than we deserve because we were all designed with heaven in mind. So when someone comes along and hits all the right buttons and checks all the right boxes, it like crazy is triggered. We think, “This is it” we finally found the thing that’s going to fill the big hole in our heart. So we let down the guard, and tend to accept something that would typically be red flags, for “oh, that’s not that big of a deal.” But it is, because every moment, word, and action matters if you are serious about dating and marriage and not broken hearts and divorce.
The reality is that the heart can only be filled by Christ, and some can’t immediately be saved from poor choices. They are experience types of people. They must mess up, figure it out, only to repeat it, and maybe stop the pattern once they have had enough.
One verse that really causes me pause is Proverbs 12:15, which says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.”
Wisdom vs. Experience I
Candidly, I have never been opposed to advice, but when I was younger, I just chose not to listen. I would evaluate the giver, and could always find some inconsistency in their life to discount the advice. However, when I finally realized that the best advice, comes from those who have experienced things that I wanted to avoid, I stopped evaluating and started listening. Wisdom is listening and learning from someone else’s mistakes, whereas experience comes from making your own.
There are just some things you don’t need more experience in. Very few people are the exception to common relational outcomes. So can I just grab you for a minute and say STOP? Dating is not a holding place or destination, but something we pass through on the way to evaluating who we want on our team, the rest of our life. If you are a Bible-believing Christian, then your intent with dating should be toward marriage. If not, then dating can become a pathway exposing you to situations where your Christianity and purity are challenged.
I see some walking down this dating ignorance pathway toward enlightenment. This is not rocket science, people, but I get it; the heart wants what the heart wants.
Jeremiah 17:9-10 (MSG) really gives us a glimpse into how God sees the human heart:
“The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be.”
Just before that verse, in Jeremiah 17:9 (MSG), a little bit of wisdom is provided: “But blessed is the man who trusts me, God, the woman who sticks with God.”
So how do you navigate your own heart when even the bible says it’s “a puzzle that no one can figure out?”
4 Dating Reflections
Here are four dating reflections that will help us avoid the crazy dating or dating crazy.
1. How it starts matters
I have often heard sermons on first fruits, and most relate it to financial. I would pose that it also refers to every area of our life. What we do with the first moments of a day, can set the tone. What you do with any firsts, matters as it carries throughout. If you are building a relationship based on sketchy ground, then you need to stop and reevaluate things through the lens of wisdom. For example, dating someone who isn’t free of their past, is undoubtedly a way to get a broken heart and maybe worse. Or dating someone who’s beliefs are different than yours an expecting them to change is betting on future failure.
I am going to lean and write from a personal poor choice experience. Many years ago, while I was going through a divorce, I chose to date someone before my divorce was final. My reasoning was solid; my wife left me, she was seeing another man, there was no chance of reconciliation, and the world says the way you get over the last one is with the next one… After all, it’s just a piece of paper, right?
But frankly, it doesn’t work that way. I had just gotten a bucket of cold water thrown on me months earlier, so every sense was heightened. The poor young lady who was in my sights, got superman for a short period, until, the emotions tackled me, and rendered me useless. She walked away with a severely broken heart, and me a lesson on waiting. They say what comes around goes around, and just a year later, someone did it to me. Needless to say, it was a painful experience, and healing would be delayed because of the ‘first’ choice to date before I was ready.
Just because two people are at the same place doesn’t mean it’s the right time. Lots of pain, poor choices, and undue consequences happen at the crossroads.
Someone wanting to get involved in a relationship immediately after one has ended should inevitably cause you to pause. If you set it up right from the beginning, where two healthy people come together, and it’s not right for you and your future, you can quickly end it without the consequences of broken hearts and poor choices. Please seek wisdom.
2. Surround yourself with wise people who have experience.
I can’t say this enough, get around wise people. It’s not as if you need advice all the time, but there is something about the way they do life that will change you. Subsequently, when you do need counseling, they are there with wisdom and understanding. The same works for people who make poor choices. The more you surround yourself with them, the more justified the poor choices you will make.
There are way too many verses in the Bible about wisdom, but here are a few of my favorite.
- Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. Proverbs 13:20
- If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5
- The one who gets wisdom loves life; the one who cherishes understanding will soon prosper. Proverbs 19:8
- Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16
- Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. James 3:13
3. Always think long term
The older I get, the more I understand the importance of the long-run. When you have seen the sun come up enough times, you tend to see the pattern of life, people, and their choices. But you must choose to be mindful, to spot the trends. In 2007-2008 the world experienced the Great Recession. Those who focused on the long-term were less reactionary and were able to weather the storms of the economic climate. Those who didn’t found themselves making poor choices out of fear or survival at the cost of their future.
There is a tendency when a couple starts to date, they get caught up in the feelings of liking and being liked that they tend to let wisdom fall by the wayside. There is an appearance that the feelings will never end, but they do. The most dangerous person you can date is the one dating out of fear or emotional survival mode. These daters are only seeking to fill what’s happening in them today, at the cost of tomorrow. They are most often hurting people, hurting people. Date long enough, and you realize that there is nothing new and outcomes are relatively predictable based on the mindset of those involved. It is essential to identify those you are considering dating, and what their long-term perspective is. You can see clear indications found in how they live, work, spend, or in how they approach their relationship with God.
In our relationship with God, we should have a long-term or heaven perspective. It’s what our faith is all about, the long term: “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see” Hebrews 11:1 (NLT). When we think in this way, the momentary setbacks become less impactful, and our faith is strengthened because we see the bigger picture.
With dating, it works the same way. If you are not asking yourself the questions of “what would this look like in 5,10,20, or 30 years, you may be setting yourself up to those instant gratification daters, the ones who spend the emotional checks to fill some void that only God can fill. When you think long-term, you can easily take a step back, to ensure something better is setup up for tomorrow.
4. If you can’t control the crazy, then stop dating.
When you want to stop the bleeding financially, you STOP buying stuff. I have a friend who loves trips, clothes, and eating out. So much so that instead of creating savings, she spent nearly all her paychecks on those things just living in the now. Many of the clothes still have the tags on them. She refused the wisdom of friends and family only to find herself in the worse of situations, she lost her job. Her next calls were to those closest for help. It becomes much harder for others to offer support when we refuse to help ourselves. Many times God gives us clues that something is about to take place in our lives. If we don’t heed those, they can be so much more painful.
I believe we have two choices with God if we are his; we choose to address things, or he will. It’s because of his gracious love and all for your good in the long run, and his glory.
Experience vs Wisdom II
To be transparent, years ago, I called it quits with dating. Didn’t read that crazy book, “I’m Kissing Dating Goodbye…” I decided to intentionally stop and pursue other goals that, in a relationship, would be challenging. I decided to expand my horizons and serve others more, participate in people’s lives, for real, and pursue Godliness.
Why? I was making unwise choices. I had started things right in the last relationship, but as they progressed, I let down my pursuit of Godliness and replaced it with the fear of loss. To be liked or loved by someone, we will sometimes ignore the obvious, embrace the moment, and pursue the “feelings” rather than a God-honoring relationship.
Some things only change when we choose to give it up, evaluate our choices, and refocus on our core beliefs. Putting dating on pause for a time has allowed me to have clarity that is unparalleled to any other time in my life. I can choose to date and pursue marriage or continue in singleness with clarity and peace. Either way, I now have wisdom and peace that will be hard to derail while keeping my pursuit of Godliness in focus.
If you are dating just to date because you’re lonely, I did it and get it. So many people are either married or in a relationship and miserable because frankly, they didn’t set things up correctly and settle for way less than God’s best for something in front of them. Don’t do it! Stop, work on you, gain wisdom and clarity, then move forward, if the Lord wills with a different mindset of the long run.
I challenge you to take some time, evaluate your intentions, your heart, and what you are trying to fulfill. The most significant indicator of your future success is based on your ability to wait and what you do with the time while you wait. Get more wisdom so that you need less experience.