Dating is probably my least favorite thing, though I feel like I’m getting the hang of it. By that I mean I’m learning not to name our third child before we confirm our first date. Ha. I really am that incredibly extra… But also, I’m learning to be more comfortable ‘seeing where things go’ without being terrified of Wasting Each Other’s Time. Because as it turns out, I really can’t Know… which I have only come to know because I have “known” so many times…
To be honest, Dating is kind of traumatic. Not that I have been victimized in any way… I just never thought it was something that would Happen To Me… which feels every bit as dramatic as it sounds. In a very odd mixture of naïveté and pride, I thought I would have more Say in my life’s matters. I really didn’t see this whole season of actual, post-college Singleness coming… let alone the phenomenal cultural shifts brought about by incessant personal branding and social media.
Part of why it’s been so difficult for me is that I generally don’t enjoy making friends or meeting new people. Ha. Introductions are out of my comfort zone; I have to pysche myself up for small talk. It took a while for the whole, Hey! At least you made a new friend! outlook to serve as a true consolation. I’m pretty sure abstinence is the primary reason that consolation has ever come.
Dating is also remarkably inefficient. Which – given Small Groups, Search Filters, and Profile Prompts – I find to be quite surprising. For all of the algorithms, there really isn’t a formula. There can be chemistry, but no moral slash lifestyle compatibility; lifestyle compatibility, but no common interests; common interests, but no chemistry… or maybe the timing is off. It’s quite the permutation, let me tell you.
I will say that Dating has been surprisingly and humblingly helpful. Sanctifying. Refining. I have had to become more honest with myself and more authentic in my relationship with God. I’ve been able to experience certain interpersonal dynamics I always thought would work for me only to realize that I missed something in my hypothetical calculations, and that particular dynamic is not really what I am wanting after all… at least not under those circumstances…
There’s grace in the fact that I really do like myself. I enjoy my own company, and God has grown deep contentment in my heart. In the last two weeks alone, I have experienced a fresh and more satiating comfort through His daily invitations to come to Him in my weariness with my hope-deferred heart and receive His all sufficient rest. I am learning to live more slowly where I tend to think and talk and walk and decide on everything way too fast. I am learning to depend more fully on God to supply all my various kinds of needs. I can feel my desires becoming clarified and my appetites changing. It’s a similar experience to craving kale over caffeine: the things that used to offer cheap diversions feel as thin as they actually are; God’s Word and spiritual promises become more appealing because I know that nothing else will satisfy, let alone nourish me. Where I have been most prone to boast in or fret over tomorrows, I find myself more easily laughing at the days to come. And when this whole entire season and experience of being Alive On Earth, or being Alone On The West Coast, or having to decide What To Do With My Life is lonely and exhausting and overwhelming, Jesus offers a deeper comfort than the loneliness can reach.
All things I wouldn’t have known quite this sweetly if I had gotten married seven years ago when I really, really wanted to.
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