“I would love some advice. After going through a very difficult breakup this past summer, I decided to pour my heart into my relationship with God. This was all fine until I got to back to college. While I continue to spend time with God, I've been conflicted in my uncertainty. I had just decided to be single and truly devote myself to Him, but then had several men express interest in pursuing me. While I was flattered, I was and am extremely confused. I don't know if these men have been intentional distractions or if I should get to know one of them in the possibility that a relationship could blossom. I crave knowing Jesus, loving Jesus, and having him at the center of it all. I would really love some advice on how to handle this situation, as I'm sure there are girls out there struggling between singleness and wondering if someone in their life is a part of God's plan for them.”
Single and Ready to Mingle?
Dear Single & Ready to Mingle:
Your story, heart, and intentions reminded me of something I want to share with you in hopes that it will speak some life into your current situation.
The month before my wedding, I tried a crash diet in hopes of looking my very best by the time the big day rolled around. I cut out EVERYTHING that could be remotely harmful to my health…for about three days. I went to brunch with some girlfriends and pancakes were an option. My will power lasted a few minutes and as I scanned the menu, I held on tight to my convictions for a little while.
However, by the time the waitress came to take our order, I abandoned the vegetable omlet I planned on ordering and blurted out, “I'LL HAVE THE CHOCOLATE CHIP PANCAKES PLEASE!”
Welp. That was short lived, wasn't it?
You might be asking why on earth my pancake eating has anything to do with your current situation with relationships. I don't blame you. Sounds completely unrelated, right?
It's not. Here's why:
I think, sometimes, when something has caused us harm to our health, we look in the mirror and don't like what we see. If we've been eating too much junk food, we start noticing the negative effects it has on our body. If we've been caught up in an unhealthy relationship or hurt by someone, we look inside and see the negative, heartbreaking effects it has on our spirits. And sometimes, a crash diet seems like the only viable option. In situations like these, I would argue that perhaps there's more to it than simply choosing a healthier diet.
Don't misunderstand me when I say this, though. By all means, healthier meal choices are ALWAYS smart. And running into the arms of God over another guy? The greatest thing we can do – even when our hearts AREN'T broken.
But the problem with crash dieting is that it tends to serve as a quick fix, right? It's a bandaid on the problem, a fast, but probably temporary, solution. Crash dieting isn't necessarily a total lifestyle change. It's a means to an end.
Similarly, I think we tend to treat God very much like a crash diet, like a means to an end, in the sense that when we feel broken or our hearts are heavy, we run to Him for help. While that's always a great place to run, it can become very easy to treat Him like a crash diet – a quick fix, a fast, but sometimes (unintentionally) temporary, solution to our heartbreak or trouble – instead of a complete and total lifestyle change.
So, to answer your question, I can't. I can't give you the perfect answer because only you and God know your heart and intentions. But I can tell you this:
I 100% agree with focusing on God, on walking with Him, giving Him all of your attention, and letting Him mend your heart. But please don't think that by trying to know men, or by dating, that the way you're walking with God right now should change. Sure, it may be more challenging if there are more distractions. But if you look at your new steps with God as a complete and total lifestyle change, if you commit to making Him first instead of a temporary solution, and discern what potential relationships could put the same junk as before back in your heart, then you will find clarity and it won't be so scary.
Keep your heart open yet guarded with discernment. And when you do find clarity on who to pursue and when to pursue him, don't forget that you're still pursuing Him, regardless of your relationship status.
So, examine your heart. Don't go back to the same old junk my any means. But don't think that dating flushes God away.
Because God is not just a cleanse. He's not a crash diet. He's the most complete and the best total lifestyle change you could ever choose.
For more on this, check out my two eVotionals on love and relationships: