We have all been to the grocery store at some point or another. Not all of us enjoy grocery shopping and most of us attack the daunting task a little different. Nonetheless, the task of buying groceries haunts us all. In the same way, dating is universally a challenge in the Christian world. From reading books to watching online sermons, I have adopted a simple, grocery-based philosophy that will help us to guard our heart and prevent idolatry when considering dating. Below, I will list three simple rules that apply for dating and may make you a better grocery shopper as well!
Always make a list. Whenever I go into the store without a thought-out list of items, I become instantly overwhelmed looking at all the options. I know to get the necessities like bread, eggs and milk but what else? I sometimes have to write down meals and attach the recipe link to assure that I have everything. Nothing frustrates me more than building up the energy to go to the store, accomplishing the task, utilizing whatever energy I have left to put the groceries away, and then realizing I forgot the oregano. I could scream just thinking about it.
Well, the same principle applies in dating. If you enter into the dating world without a list, you too will be very overwhelmed. Some call this list your non-negotiables, which are basic standards that you will not budge on. Though this list is flexible and allows freedom of choice, every follower of Christ should have equally yoked at the top of their list (2 Corinthians 6:14). If your core beliefs do not align with God’s word, the relationship is doomed before it begins.
Besides this, your list is up to you. Pray about it, write it down, and memorize it just in case you leave the note on the fridge. But whatever you do, do not deviate from your non-negotiables. There’s no point in creating the list if you do not believe that God can provide it. You will end up marrying the guy, and it will be too late once you realize that he does not have that hint of oregano.
My mom has always told me, “Never go to the store when you are hungry.” When I was younger we would leave church needing to grab items for Sunday dinner. My stomach would be touching my back, and even the canned broccoli looked good. We would go in for a rotisserie chicken and two sides, but leave with chips, cookies, a cake and a candy bar “to hold us over”.
It is impossible to make a sound judgment when you are physically depleted. My old coach used to tell us that one of our biggest enemies was fatigue. Sometimes fatigue can be prevented, other times it needs to be treated. At any rate, when you are needing fulfillment, you grasp for anything.
When considering whether or not you are ready to date, check your spiritual, physical and emotional gauges. How has your quiet time been? Have you spent adequate time with the Lord lately? Is Jesus currently meeting all of your needs? Are you in a season of battling lustful thoughts? Does every man look good? Are you considering this guy just to not be alone anymore? Do you feel wanted? Do you feel loved? Are you whole looking for another whole? Or are you half looking for one to complete you?
All of these questions have to be considered when judging if you have the green light for dating. I believe accountability is good from friends, but accountability serves no purpose without personal responsibility first. I frequently go through these questions just to be sure that if a guy approaches me, I would be able to respond first knowing myself. As women, we have the autonomy to accept or deny the request to pursue. We should always want to be selective, never settling and in a healthy state to decide. Friends, remember this: Beggars cannot be choosers.
Finally, know that you do NOT have to settle. I’m assuming that we are all children of God adopted by the cross through Jesus’ blood. And as daughters of the Most-High, we are royalty (1 Peter 2:9). Ladies, we are chosen (John 15:16). We are his beloved (Isa. 43:4). We were called by our Father’s name (Isa. 43:7). We were bought with a price and the price was great (1 Cor. 7:23). We must remember whose we are so we remember who we are.
You have a list, you are healthy in all three areas, and you meet this man. He claims to be a Christian, saying that he attends church on Sunday morning and bible study throughout the week. He also sponsors an orphanage overseas. He is kinda cute with a couple of your favorite speculations. Yet, he is not a family person which is a huge deal for you. It’s actually #3 on your list of non-negotiables. Hm, what to do?
I believe there will be many instances like this one that arise in our lives. My purpose is not to tell you what or what not to do. I pray that the Holy Spirit will help us discern accordingly; however, with an easy philosophy as such, we will no longer date without values or will we wait around for prince charming to sweep us away. Instead, we will humbly submit ourselves to the Lord and his Will for our lives. We know that he knows best, and we became whole when Jesus sacrificed himself for us. My hope is for this to bring structure to our grocery skills and potential dating life.
P.S: Figure out what your oregano is, and watch God provide!