Friday, February 10, 2012

The Challenge

This past Sunday, I have decided to embark on a rather staggering commitment. I have chosen to abstain from dating--for a year.

That's right. No dating. No dating for you, missy. My deadline is my mother's 54th birthday, February 5th, 2013.

This decision was not made lightly. I got the idea from a friend of mine, who runs the house church I attend on Thursday nights. We had a conversation months ago, about how when she came back to Christianity she decided to commit a year to God and simply--not date for that year. I remember being rather impressed at this sacrifice, as the thought, 'I could never do that' flickered through my head. However, the idea remained in my head, marinating.

Until last Sunday, when it came to fruition. In case you're curious, here are my main reasons for doing this.

1. My desire for a relationship is becoming an idol and a distraction.

The irony of this does not escape me--actually, for the past three or four years, the idea of being in a monogamous relationship was not on my agenda. I was very into the whole, 'I don't like to label things' and 'I just don't want to be tied down' sort of thinking. Until this past summer, that is. I am now in a state of desiring and wishing for a relationship. This is not inherently a bad thing--I think most people have experienced a longing to be in love. But I think my want for one has eclipsed my want for a better relationship with God. Therein lies the danger. Nothing should take God's place in life.

God created so many things, so many things that when put to His glory, are incredibly beautiful and moving. But they are very easy to make idols of--patriotism, friendship, and most especially--romantic love.

Our society has not been especially helpful with this. So many love songs, so many romance novels, and most especially--romantic films. I'm not a hypocrite--I love rom coms. In fact, my Valentine's Day post will be a list of my top ten favorites. However, I'm not blind to the dangers of them.

Your basic rom com's premise are two people who incomplete. Something is missing in their lives. They meet the other, they may dislike the other, they may fall in love at first sight--but once they're together, all is right in their lives. This is a very dangerous and tempting trap, to believe that someone else can complete you, that all you need is someone to love and to love you back. Unfortunately, life's a little more complicated than that.

There is only one who can fit that place in our lives. There is only one that can complete us. There is only one who can make our lives right. And that's God. Not to say God is against romance--He isn't. Good gracious, He created it, didn't He? Marriage was the first sacrament that God created. But like anything else--sex, family, patriotism, two people in love--you take God away from the equation, it becomes an idol. It takes the place of God. C.S. Lewis goes on about this a little more eloquently, in his fantastic book, "The Four Loves".

2. I do not have the time or emotional capabilities to negotiate a relationship right now.

This sounds like the oldest cliche in the book. It also sounds like an excuse. It is neither. Despite my wish for love, a relationship, getting one right now would be extremely difficult to manage. I will be graduating this summer. I am determined to get a good GPA this semester. I am applying to grad schools. Most importantly, I am strengthening my connection to God. I am entirely exhausted most of the week. Weekends are spent resting and reviving my body and mind. I am literally stretched to my limit. Not to mention, I don't plan on being in this town long-term. By this time next year, I hope to be in England. It's unfair to expect myself to juggle another person in my life, and it's unfair to them as well.

3. When I am able to make a commitment to someone--I want to do it with my whole heart and in a godly way.

I feel, that making this commitment to God and myself, that it will better prepare me for the man is God planning for me. I hope--by that time--to truly know what it means to have God at the center of my life and all of my relationships. By loving God better, I will love others by default.

So, that's what's on tap for my life. I know this year isn't going to be easy, but I know in the end, it will be worth it. I'll see you March 5th, 2012, to tell you how my first month went.

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