On November 10, 2011, I made a commitment to God that I would refrain from dating. No asking girls out on shady one on one hangouts. No thinking about girls from church that are “potentials” and imagining them as my girlfriend. No foolishly thinking that because a girl gives me “extra” attention, it would lead (quickly) to something more intimate. In short, through God’s grace and the Holy Spirit’s conviction, I was able to start a year commitment in taking my focus off finding a girlfriend to focus on Christ.
It seems like this mindset is completely absent in current society. As 18-20 somethings, the main concern or topic of interest in our lives seem to all be about finding the right significant other. There’s the pressure from culture and society to find the right mate, before it’s “too late”. Our TV screens are swarmed with dating shows, happy ending romances, and the search for the “right one”. Our radio stations are overflowing with songs of declaring our love for that special someone.
This social convention even seems to spill into our Christian circles. We look at all our friends who married young and wish for that perfect wedding ourselves, with plans of getting married in our early 20s. In large gatherings, our focus seems to be distracted by the opposite sex, wondering if that girl or guy over there could be a potential mate.
Sometimes I wonder if we place too much emphasis on getting married and having kids. Of course, most of us agree that we’d love to get married; we want to find that person to share a life with and start a family, and there’s plenty of good that can come out of that. We learn to exemplify Christ’s love for the church as His bride, we learn how to sacrifice and love unconditionally, we learn how to stay committed, and we can help one another more intimately draw closer to Christ. However, many times that need to find someone can become an obsession and easily turn into an idol which can destroy relationships, both with others and God.
The Bible talks about how a relationship with Jesus can divide families. It can “set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in law” (Matthew 10:35). It also says in verse 37, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” These verses strongly emphasize the love that we should display for Christ because of His great love for us. It makes me wonder if our love for God transcends our relationships with others around us. Is God the number One person in our lives? Or are we desperately exposing ourselves to dating to try to fill that empty void that only God can fill Himself?
Many times, I wonder if our strong emphases on marriage makes being single a dreaded curse, something to be ashamed and embarrassed about. However, Paul talks about the benefits of being single in 1 Corinthians 7. He mentions that there is the potential to devote more time and energy in serving God and to be free of anxieties that the married go through (such as the worries of the safety and provision of their families). With this perspective, singles can rejoice in being able to apply more of themselves in doing God’s work!
Regardless of whatever situation we’re in, whether single, engaged, or married, let us reflect on our desires for intimacy with others and with God. May our focus not stray from Christ as the center and foundation of our lives.
Author: Micah Shyu