I cannot say I am the most authoritative figure on this subject, although at 22 years old, I have made enough mistakes to learn a few very important lessons. The topic that pervades the lives of so many people my age, almost to the point of obsession, has another voice among the crowd: me. But my experience is not your experience, and I hope that my failures (and lessons learned) can bring about someone else's successes.
Like many others, I struggle with the fear of being alone. I'm talking about forever alone. Like, old man with a pet hermit crab as his only friend alone. You know those fears, the ones that say only a fool would want to end up with me. This, of course, comes from a misguided view of who God is. But He makes clear in the Gospel of John that He is my friend. Jesus also calls the Holy Spirit my comforter. In Him, I have someone who promises to never leave me nor forsake me! What more do I need?
The answer used to be, “a lot more.” This resulted in a never-ending quest to fill a supernatural longing for companionship with merely natural means. In other words, I tried my best to always have a girl I was either pursuing or had “a thing” with. I wasn't trusting Jesus to completely satisfy my longing for a companion I so desperately wanted. This created a habit of thinking about, talking to, and interacting with women that became unhealthy spiritually and physically. Allow me to use a metaphor to further illustrate.
If my diet consisted of only cake, I suppose it would not kill me—quickly, that is. Sure, it would sustain me for a time. After all, sugar is a source of energy. However, many other nutrients would soon deplete themselves because cake is really not all that fantastic for me. Now, imagine if it was my goal not only to avoid dying from diabetes, but to achieve six-pack abs. Not only would I avoid cake altogether, but I would eat nothing but salads, lean meats, and complex carbs. Discipline is necessary to achieve such a high standard; the natural human tendency does not drift towards being in good physical condition.
All my life, my thoughts and attitudes about dating, and specifically about women, were like a diet consisting of only cake. It was ok at best, but eventually lethal. The view that women are a commodity and are at my disposal is a spiritual sickness that, if left untreated, will kill the soul. Most of my life I gorged myself on unhealthy views about dating and marriage; it has been merely about what I could gain from it. By all accounts, I was no better than someone who did not know the love of Jesus because I treated His creation—his daughters made in his own image—like they were garbage.
By God’s grace I did not stay that way. My goal had always been to have an awesome, six-pack relationship, one that honors God and points others to him. As you could tell, I went about it in the exact opposite way. The conviction of the Spirit led me to pursue the spiritual equivalent of vegetables and quality protein through the knowledge that only Jesus ultimately satisfies. All a marriage relationship was meant to be was a formation of a team to do God’s work together. Any view that contradicts that is cake, and any view that supports it is a salad.
The results in my diet change are clear, as I no longer hold onto my misguided beliefs about myself, women, or the relationship we all seem to so desperately desire. In the book of Proverbs, Solomon implores us not to trust our own understanding. Instead, maintain spiritual fitness by drawing nearer to Jesus every day and trusting in Him only. It is only there where we will find the teammate with whom we can do this thing called life.
About the Author: Jordan is a senior at the University of Florida where he studies music education with an emphasis in percussion (he basically hits things with other things).
He has served for two years as a member of Crossroads summer camp staff. He loves being a nerd about all things Gator athletics and John Mayer. He owes much success to the men who pointed him in the right direction, and he considers the support of his three sisters and parents among his greatest treasures.