Stop Following Your Heart

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Have you ever heard of Lemmings? It was a popular game a few years back, when floppy drives were still in use! It’s also an animal associated with the idea of following the leader no matter what, blindly going where they lead. The problem, of course, is that lemmings follow the leader, even if it’s over a cliff! They follow blindly until something happens, whether good or bad.

Singles are no different when they follow only their heart in relationships.

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.” Jeremiah 17:9.

We are obsessed with a Romeo-and-Juliet culture where love is nothing more than following your heart to find true love. This is made even more popular by shows like “Once Upon a Time,” where every character is centered around finding their happy ending. And it never comes!

Christ wants you to follow Him! Proverbs 3:5 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” Trust Him with everything! Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” Christ says “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24.

Following your heart leads to paths that are not always what God wants for our lives. Sin can creep into our decision-making and relying on our “hearts” leads to poor choices.

And as for that happy ending? In John 16:33 Jesus says, “The world will make you suffer. But be brave! I have defeated the world!” Christ has defeated the world through death on the Cross!

This world will never bring a happy ending, our happy ending as Christ followers is hearing the words “Well done my good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:21.

The “Friend Zone”

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No one is happy.

The ladies say the guys won’t ask them out.

The guys say the ladies stay in their social circles and won’t come out. No one is on anyone’s romantic radar.

Welcome to the Friend Zone. It’s a place that single adults find themselves at almost every church event. Sure, there are people that blast through the friend zone and find their mate through church, but more and more singles are frustrated by the “dating within the one place it’s best” to find a spouse.

So how does it happen? How can so many eligible people, with similar beliefs and values, AND the desire to date, be around each other for so long without ever developing relationships?

It’s simple and complex all at the same time.

First, let’s address it from the guy’s perspective. Guys want to pursue dating relationships with the girls. They want to find “her”. Despite what the ladies think, they are not scared of girls. That’s the simple part.

It gets complex from there. There is a dating shelf life in any singles group. Guys can only ask out a certain number of girls before they are branded a “player” in the singles group. And that’s the best thing they can be branded. The other brand is much more damaging. “Creepy”. Creepy guys are done…finished. They are the ones that girls warn other girls about before they even darken the door.

For the guys, they spend their entire time trying to figure out which girl they should pursue and how they will be branded by the group based on their actions. If a guy messes this up and is viewed poorly by the girls he is damaged. Sometimes irreparably.

From the ladies perspective, they aren’t going to pursue the guy. And they shouldn’t have to. Many of them are interested in dating, but unfortunately their pool of selection is small. Male leadership in the church is lacking at all ages and they aren’t going to waste their time with guys that won’t step up and show spiritual leadership within their group.

And why should the ladies waste their time? If these guys can’t step up in leadership in the church, how will they ever do it in the home? Showing boldness, in the minds of the ladies, begins with stepping up and asking them out.

So we find ourselves in the friend zone. We find ourselves in a place where guys won’t pull the trigger on asking a girl out because he’s afraid he’s going to get blackballed, or because another guy has called “dibs” on asking a girl out. And we find the ladies frustrated because of the lack of real mature men that want to not only ask them out, but more importantly the lack of men that are serious about their spiritual life. We end up having large singles groups of people that aren’t dating but hang out all the time as friends. They will then refuse to move into a dating relationship with someone in their group because “it’s just too weird” or “I don’t want to mess up our friendship” or “I think of him/her like a sibling”.

Breaking out of this is going to be tough, but here’s how we do it.

Guys, step it up. First, focus on your spiritual life. You don’t have to stop dating to do this. It’s a journey and you’ll never reach perfection. Don’t wait on perfection. Second, find the ONE girl that is special to you. Be a man and ask her out.

Ladies, give the guys a chance. Don’t gossip with your girlfriends about the guys and do everything in your power not to “brand” the ones that are genuinely trying.

It’s a two way street.

– Author Will King

Is Sexting OK in My Relationship

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For those unaware, sexting is a form of provocative language between a couple using electronic communication. In a relationship, couples will often find creative ways to convey their love to one another. In years of old, this may have been letter writing or heaven forbid an actual conversation.

In any relationship communication is key, but what type of communication is profitable? For an unmarried couple sexting is crossing a line of respect for the boundaries of the relationship that honors God. If you have to ask ”Would God approve of this?” then you need to reconsider why you are doing it in the first place! At the core of these words you will find lust, and lust is sinful–not playful, and not loving.

Our response to dating singles is sexting crosses the line, it is lust and it is wrong. Even once you are engaged, it should be off-limits; you are not married and need to save something special to share after your big day. EVEN THEN, let us all not forget that the NSA is reading most anything we send and the high profile people caught sexting and the embarrassment it caused. So keep your text above reproach (1 Timothy 3:2) and have a happy, God honoring relationship.

I Fell in Love with an Atheist

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There is no way to dice it or dance around it. I loved an atheist. I loved him with every fiber of my being. Had it not ended, I might have loved him more than I love God.

In total transparency, my ex still has a small piece of my heart, that tiny shoebox in the corner of a heart where first loves and tacos live. Our “relationship” was a roller coaster of poor judgment, horrible communication, brilliant times full of laughter, sweet sincerity, highs, and lows. Conversation rarely revolved around God but, when the topic arose, it was like a round of tug-o-war.

I didn’t know he was atheist when we first started dating. I thought he was simply jaded and wayward. He was a music director at a church, his family was deeply rooted and involved. Having been raised in the church, he knew the political childishness that can happen within church walls filled with sinful humans. It never crossed my mind that he didn’t, couldn’t, or wouldn’t share the same heartbeat for Jesus that I did.

When the truth came to light, the hopeless romantic in me believed he would return to God. I was in his life to help him see the light. It was all God’s divine appointment. I believed God put me in his life to help him. Deep down inside he had to believe, right?. He HAD to. Feeling we were meant to be together, I fervently prayed for his salvation. He opened a part of my heart that had been closed for a long period. I thought we couldn’t NOT be together.

After the last round of relationship lows, I realized what was happening. I had created a false god out of this man and our “relationship” (Exodus 20:3). I had put my desires, my heart, my treasures for this man over my desire for God. I was trying to serve two masters but failing the most important one (Matthew 6:19-24). I was delivering loaded selfish prayers to God and ignoring every conviction and warning sign He laid in front of me. It became clear. I knew what I had to do.

My prayers shifted to a focus on God. I prayed for God’s will and for God to either change his heart or knowing it would break my heart, take him out of my life. And it happened. My heart shattered.

I spiraled to a lonely place, feeling worthless, and angry at God. He had put all this love and excitement in my life only to rip it away. My conversations with God consisted solely of prayers for loved ones. None for me, not for my anger and broken heart. But He was there, waiting for me to be done with my temper tantrum.

I made the choice to trust and give my heart back to God. He handled the rest. My heart softened, I grasped two important truths:

1. God shows me countless amounts of infinite selfless love every single day. Every morning I open my eyes, I’m reminded of God’s eternal love.

2. My heart will mend because it belongs to the most trusted Physician.

When my ex moved on, I reflected on God’s protection from mistakes that could have had life long consequences. With God’s love, I made it through the heartbreak stronger and wiser. I thank my ex for the good times and being the one God used to show me I have the capacity to love at a high level. It’s the reason my ex holds a small place in my heart shoebox.

Now, I focus on building my relationship with God. Like any relationship we’ve had our ups and downs, but He’s always right there, always. He loves and guides me through every low and celebrates with me at every high. My relationship with Christ is the most important I have. Grounded in His truth, I know it is the foundation for all other relationships (Matthew 22:37-38).

-Crystal

Why am I single?

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The question of why a person is STILL single starts with all the wrong questions and answers.

Why am I all alone? – “You’re not good enough”

Why have I not purchased a home yet? – “You need a house to be settled”

Why is dating so hard? – “Love just happens”

Why can’t I make friends? – “Everyone else is loved”

Why have I never been on a date? – “Your don’t put yourself out there”

Why am I not happy? – “You need a spouse”

Why can’t I be happy? – “You don’t have kids”

Why won’t I be happy? – “You aren’t doing enough”

Why are others happy? – “They have it all”

 

These are questions singles ask themselves and answer. The world around us has expectations of what it means to be happy, assume singles are not, and then speculates on the why they are still single. This happens in TV shows, expectations of dating and relationships in college, and the portrayal of boldness in solidarity, yet observes the emptiness of a dinner table set for one. The world will always set up measures of success and failure based on opinions and social norms rather than a solid foundation of truth.

When truth is relative, then there is no absolute truth. When there is no truth, then the definition or completeness is set by advertising campaigns and media.

 

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,  rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.  For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

  • Colossians 2:6-10 (NKJV)

 

But, questions started in the wrong context will produce the wrong answers. As followers of Christ, we walk with Christ. We are to be thankful and on guard against the philosophies of the world that don’t line up with the will of God. The totality of Scripture demonstrates the value of human life, not the stages of human life. The number of kids, house, spouse, or financial stability never indicate the way in which God used His people according to His will.

God uses everyone who seeks Him and is COMPLETE IN CHRIST.

So what is the answer to “why am I single” afterall? Your worth is not dependent on the value of an earthly relationship status, but based solely on your relationship with God. 1 John 4 reminds us that God loved us before we loved Him, and as His followers we ought to love others in the same way.

 

Stop letting the world answer questions to your life. Then you’ll be living for Him and not the world. Answering the questions above look different in the light of honoring His glory.

Why am I all alone? – “You are never alone in Christ”

Why have I not purchased a home yet? “This is only your temporary home”

Why is dating so hard? – “Let God direct your path, not eharmony”

Why can’t I make friends? – “You were made to live in Biblical community”

Why have I never been on a date? – “Dating is not in the Bible, mic drop :::here:::”

Why am I not happy? – “You were never promised happy, just eternity”

Why can’t I be happy? – “Your happiness is dependent on your perspective”

Why won’t I be happy? “You place value on the wrong relationships, God first”

Why are others happy? “A face is not the heart, only God knows the heart”

Single Myths: You’ll Know When the Right Person Enters Your Life

The falsity of the statement in this title reaches many levels. If you are a Christ follower, we’re sure you felt the same immediately as a single. Except the importance level, searching for a mate is no different than seeking and drawing closer to Jesus.  

A relationship whether with Jesus or with a friend or with a family member takes time and effort on the part of all parties.  Although we know that Jesus is always present, our acknowledgement of Him, our conversations with Him and our study of His Word and ways are essential for a healthy, loving relationship with our Creator.

Seeking a relationship for friendship or marriage is much the same. We must spend time with the individual to learn his or her morals, lifestyle, and beliefs. We must see the potential mate during his or her best of times and worst of times. In order to do that, we must make the time to connect and spend face-to-face time with the person. We cannot expect a godly, healthy relationship to come from texting, Facebook interaction or tweeting. We cannot think a long term commitment can be sustained on the initial attraction to the humor or physical looks of a person.

Spending time with the individual we see as a potential mate must encompass many situations and events. The actions and words of Individuals can be very different, whether in a group situation, a family situation or a one-on-one conversation. Think you’ve found the one? That’s great. Give the relationship the time to grow.

See the individual’s reaction to a bad situation. Watch the person’s moves when someone requests help. Are they involved in their church or do they walk through the door on Sunday but nothing more? Are prayers offered before meals? Is his or her Bible covered in dust on the living room coffee table? How does he or she treat your family members? Does he or she respect elders? Does he or she respect you?

All these things take time to discover and nurture. Just as Christ wants us to get to know Him, grow closer to Him, our earthly relationships benefit from the same effort to ensure a long-term, healthy relationship.

Let Your Yes be YES!

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Let’s be honest. Singles are horrible about waiting until the last minute to commit. After all, something better, more fun, cooler, even a date!– might actually come along. We wait to reply yes on Facebook in fear that if we say yes then a better offer might come along. Singles even often use the phrase “planning on it” as a way to say yes, but something could happen.

When the Sunday School list to sign up for breakfast next week comes around you pass it on because you have not even committed to coming next week to church. A mission event is posted to our Facebook group. It sounds fun but is it the best option? Maybe something else will come up before then and cause you to choose the other event over the missions outing.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever thought or done any of the above. We see you. We hear you. We’ve done it too.

We need to be seeking the Lord’s path. By not discerning the choice He wants us to make, we can chose incorrectly. It is only with HIS strength that we can choose and choose wisely. When we are called and respond with a yes, deciding at the last minute that you aren’t in the mood or you’d rather go hang with that other group, is the wrong choice. Foregoing God’s choice for our own choice should not be an option for a Christ Follower. God’s Word is clear. We need to be followers of Christ that commit to our actions

When you commit to anything, do so like you are committing to God. Learning to commit in the small things will result in being trusted to commit in the bigger things in Life.

Be like Abraham.

By faith, Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went out to a place he was  going to receive as an inheritance; he went out not knowing where he was going.

(Hebrews 11:8). (ESV)

Be a Person who commits to where they are at.

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

(James 4:13-17) (NIV)

Be a Disciple of Christ.

And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

(Luke 14:27) (NIV)

Be a one word answer person

But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.

(Matthew 5:37) (NIV)

Say yes to the singles event. Say yes to the local mission. Say yes and commit, knowing full well that God has something big planned and you don’t want to miss it!

Being Single Means No Broken Heart

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Movies portray the single adult as a free spirit and anti-dating all because he or she fears a broken heart. But the realities of a broken heart are nothing new.

In Genesis 29, we learn that Jacob works hard for seven years only to wake up the morning after his wedding married to Leah instead of Rachel, the one he loved. Outraged, Jacob must have been heartbroken since he had worked years for his true love only to have to work an additional seven to marry her.

God hears and heals the brokenhearted.Psalm 34:18
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

So is the answer staying single to ward off a broken heart?

We have all seen the love story play out in romance movies. The guarded single inevitably overcomes their fears and opens up to “true” love in their life. Being single does not exempt you from having a broken heart. It may, for a season, guard you from a romantic broken heart, but in this life, we will have trials and tribulations. (John 16:33) A broken heart can come in many ways. Loss of friend, loved one, or a promise broken by someone dear to you. Disappointment will happen regardless if you are in a romantic relationship.

Even God’s heart breaks.

The story of Hosea symbolizes a relationship of the the people of Israel with God. Hosea 11 describes God’s heart breaking over the things He has witnessed the people commit. His heart was broken. This and many occasions in Scripture speak to God’s broken heart by the actions of others against Him. But a broken heart is not the end, it is the beginning of what is to come.

God’s Love Wins.

1 Corinthians 13 masterfully spells out love and what true love looks like in a romantic relationship. God poured out His love on the cross while we were still sinners. (John 3:16) And we know love because we have His love in us and share it with others. (1 John 4)

So singles, if you are not dating to avoid a broken heart, you have it wrong. Broken hearts happen, but God’s love is there to mend your heart and show you love in ways you never knew possible, if you allow Him to reign in your life.

A Profile of Singles: Dating Singles

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A Deeper look at Dating Singles

At Table for One Ministries we are passionate about reaching singles of all ages and backgrounds. In this series of blogs we are looking at the “profile” of each type of single adult. While these are not all encompassing, they are meant to help singles and those who lead singles understand that type of single adult better or in a different light. We welcome feedback and additions to these profiles as we grow our ministry to [email protected]

Characteristics of this Group

Singles looking to date can come from many backgrounds; divorced, single parent, widowed, or never married. Nearly 45% of adults in America are single. This means there is a large variety of singles looking to possibly date at any life stage. Often a church is in a difficult place to find someone to date as some singles may have grown up in the church or the church has a small single adult population. Many singles turn to social events, bars, and dating services because the church lacks a diverse single adult population.

Ministry Needs in this Group

Having a relationship with God is priority number one for dating singles. Before bringing someone into their life, single adults have the opportunity for an amazing relationship with the One who created them. Just like Adam in the garden, singles need to have a strong relationship with God first before seeking a relationship with another person. Who singles are in Christ before they marry will be who they are to their spouse when they are married. Since dating singles come from all backgrounds, never assume they are never married or do not have children. The primary need for this group is to have a loving intimate relationship. That need can be provided through a relationship with Christ and does not require a spouse to feel complete.

Communication Strategies for this Group

Communication to dating singles can be challenging as so many secular companies and social media groups target this demographic. Dating singles have TV, radio, social sites, websites, search engines, family and friends all pushing for the single to be complete with in a relationship with another person. Singles hear the phrase “you’ll be happier in a relationship.” But, it’s a disservice to promote this attitude.

 

Happiness does not come by any relationship except through Christ. So to communicate to this group effectively, the message needs to be focused on anything but dating and marriage. Singles hear enough from the secular world about the need to date. The Church needs to be the place where singles come and find the truth based in Scripture.

Strategy for Reaching this Group

To target the dating single adult, an organization must be willing to grow and reach out to new single adults. Doing so will diversify the adults looking to date within the group and offer a wider variety to those looking to date with potential options. It is not the role of the church to offer a dating service to those looking to date, but certainly reaching new adults for Christ and integrating them into the church is effective. Singles who are not dating do not want to hear about how great marriage will be for them one day, especially since many are wondering if they will ever find a person to wed. Rather, organizations need to focus on growing in community and discipleship to help further the relationship of dating single adults. Doing so will elevate their relationship with Christ as the most important one in their life, so that when they do date their priorities in the correct place.

 

Catfished Relationships

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Relationships started on a lie are a lie.

We watch on TV where people pretend to be someone else in order to “win” a person over. Doing insane things they don’t like all for the sake of being who the other person wants them to be. But here is the problem with that: lies built on lies are like the foolish man in Matthew 7:24-27 who built his house on sand only to watch it be swept away. His foundation was non-existent because he thought knowing the truth was good enough. He never put Jesus in practice. The foundation was all wrong.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

Having a life that is Complete in Christ is one built on solid ground. Being catfished is not something MTV discovered about humans. Catfished is when a person lures another person into a relationship based on false pretense.  In Genesis 27, Jacob, prodded by Rebekah, “catfished” Esau to fall for one of the biggest switch-a-roos found in scripture. Esau’s stolen blessing is no different than the online profile that shows only a close-up face view and loosely describes the left out parts.

Living a fake life is an easy trap to fall into. One can have a work persona and and act totally  different during life outside the office. Do you know someone that has different lives and different dating styles depending on who the person is looking to “catch”? Dual lives may seem to work for a short period of time, but over the long haul cracks will begin to show. The charade of faces becomes too hard to maintain and eventually the true person, not the one portrayed to others, is revealed.

Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.”

1 Peter 2:12

 

When a person has many lives, they are inconsistent and their walk with the Lord suffers. As Believers, others should be able to find no fault in you because of your honorable and consistent behavior. Catfishing another person only leads to disaster.

Be you. All the time. Never catfish again.