*** on friday night i went to the girls youth sleepover… no i didnt sleepover, i like my bed, and i have terrible morning hair, and had a training day at church to go to… but i did go in my pjs!  the topic was boys, dating and God… and was a lot of fun.  we had some good questions and some good group discussion and generally a great night!  i think i overdosed on minties as well!  following are my notes.

 

I’m going to give everyone a piece of paper and a pen and I’d like you to write 3 good things that you think about yourself on it. You don’t have to show anyone unless you want to, but I want you to write down 3 things that you like about yourself or think that you are good at.

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Some of the questions I was asking myself as a teenager: I had a look at what I really wanted in life – why did I want a boyfriend? What was I really wanting? And the big picture questions: Where was I heading? What made me happy? What was my purpose? What was God doing in my life? And I want to emphasise the word LIFE there – life is much longer than two weeks or this year and what you do today has an incredible impact on what you are ABLE to do in the future. The decisions you make today influence your tomorrow. I want you to wrap your mind around that and have a big picture view of your life.

By stepping back and having a look at those things it gave me a road to head down and a sense of destiny.

And it and made me see what I really wanted: to be loved. To be cared for. To have people I could have fun with. I wanted to be loved and appreciated and have people I could totally be myself around. To feel special.

Things that I expected a boy to do… but that really deep down, that only God could do.

Let me tell you this – falling in love is the most magnificent fun crazy confusing wonderful thing – it is a rollercoaster of emotions. And it is worth waiting for. It is worth going for gold instead of settling for second best. And to be honest, and maybe brutal. It doesn’t usually happen when we’re in high school. There is a huge portion of our life that happens after high school. When we’re more emotionally equipped to deal with things. When we have perhaps figured out what we want to do with our lives. The bible says there is a time and season for everything – a time to fall in love and a time just to have friends and “grow up”. That’s not to say that you may not meet the person and marry your high school sweet heart… but that is about 1% chance. We want you to walk into this with eyes wide open so that you can live your best life and that at the right time, with the right person, you can have that magical wonderful experience of falling in love.

 

 

Q: how do you define dating?

 

 

‘Dating’ or ‘Going out’ can be defined as being: “a friendship between a guy and girl that is: exclusive (they can’t go out with more than one person), committed (while they are going out with each other) and public (other people know about it).”

You won’t find the words: dating, boyfriend, girlfriends, going out, courting etc in the Bible because dating is a relatively new concept – less than 100 years old.  In Bible times, marriages would be prearranged by the couple’s parents.  That was the culture then, as it still is in some parts of the world.

However, this doesn’t mean that God has nothing to say on the matter. God is very very very interested in YOUR life and your dating life.  In fact, God lays down a number of principles that can be applied to the issue of dating, and what I want us to see is that: DATING can be a GOOD THING but it can also be a BAD THING.  It depends on how it is done, when it is done, and with whom it is done.

Life is hard, but it’s a lot less messy if you seek Jesus daily. Please make sure you make time every morning before school or work to read your Bible and talk to Jesus. You do not know what this will mean for you just yet. I promise though that you will make much better choices.

You will be presented with lots of different options and paths and people in your life. Different people will say do it like this or do it like that and a majority will say take the easy road. But take it from someone like me, aka OLDer, that what may seem like the easy road is filled with lots of pitfalls and potholes. Follow Jesus. Know that Jesus loves you and has a plan for your life, including your love life.

 

 

Q: what do you see the message “out there” is about dating?

 

 

The message given by the world about dating is that:

    • It’s just a bit of fun.

    • It doesn’t do any real harm.

    • It will make you feel good.

    • Everyone else is doing it – why shouldn’t you?

    • People will think you’re cool.

     

     

      Dating Good Things:

      1. Dating can help you develop your personality : You learn how to handle situations and how to grow and mature in your relationships with others.

      2. Dating helps you learn to get along socially : Being with a girl or guy will be awkward at first, but dating can help you learn to be comfortable and at ease with those of the opposite sex.

      3. Dating can help in the selection of a the person you marry : Most every young person looks forward to getting married some day. Dating is one way of meeting possible marriage partners and helping you decide the kind of person you want to marry.

      Dating is not necessarily sinful or bad in itself, but many people end up doing things they regret as a result of dating. The danger in dating is that you will do something that will seriously damage your chances for future happiness and a successful marriage.

      It is easy for us to think, “I have my whole life ahead of me. The choices I make now will not affect that.” Yes, they will! Your dating patterns and the things you do will greatly affect the quality of your future life. You are sowing seeds of future success or failure in your dating years. Every romantic attachment creates baggage. It steals away the joy from what can be the beautiful romance and marriage.

       

       

      Dating Dangers:

      1. Dating can hurt you in developing your personality : but wait, I just said it could help…! But it can also hurt – dating can make us feel insecure and like we’re only whole when we are in a relationship. Instead of finding security and happiness with God we end up not growing and becoming who we are meant to be… esp when the relationships don’t work out. Those 3 things on your paper… the things you like about yourself… they can get ripped to shreds or screwed up and you can lose who you really are and really meant to be.

      2. Dating can lead to broken hearts : The idea of going out with someone can sound really nice and most of us when we’re young realize that the relationship is probably not a happily ever after thing… as much as we want it to be usually it isn’t. but while the idea of having a boyfriend may be fun, the reality of breaking up isn’t. One or both experience a loss of self-esteem and the sense of being rejected. Having your heart broken is no fun; in fact, it can be devastating. We end up feeling ignored, abandoned, betrayed, lied to, confused, upset, worthless, and hurt deeply – even if we’re 13. Those feelings are very real. Breaking up at any age can really suck.

      You can be happy and NOT date… often we want men who try to love us the way God does.

      3. Dating can mess things up socially : but wait – this is another one of those you said it was good… but broken hearts can mess up more than just a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, it can mess up a whole circle of friends and a youth group and make you feel stink and insecure and that messes you up socially. In my youth group when I was 15 we had a tangled relationship history which messed up the group. I went out with aaron and then we broke up he went out with tash, who had gone out with tay, who then dated steph etc etc etc. but the group of friends in the youth group who didn’t date like that – we’re still friends and they had a reunion in june. In fact some of them who were “just friends” in youth group went to uni and working, remained friends and then grew into love and now are married with kids!

      4. Dating often leads to physical intimacy : there is a big difference between sex and love. and I’m going to include everything up to sex in this as well. Kissing. Touching. Exploring. Skin on skin. Unbuttoning clothes. Tongue Kissing. Extended long snugly touchy make out sessions. (And more full on things!) All of that comes under the banner here. And there is a big difference between that and real true love. And how many of us want real true love not just to be a body or a notch on the belt? Our sex-crazy culture makes it appear that sex is everything in a romantic relationship. Getting involved physically before marriage, almost always destroys a relationship. Breaking up a romantic relationship is always painful, but if the couple has been involved sexually, the breaking up is ten times worse. You have each given yourself in the most intimate way to the other person. You have given away a part of yourself and you can never get it back. God is not a kill joy – He invented sex and He said it is good. But it is good in a context. Marriage. Now you might be thinking far out brussel sprout I’m not even wanting to go there, I’m too young, I don’t even know about some of the stuff you talked about, I just want a boyfriend, a bestie, someone to go to the movies with, someone to hold hands with but this – physical displays of affection – is part of the complicatedness of relationships. Esp when you have the message from the world and movies of how you should behave and how far and fast you should go.

      5. Dating can bring a lot of "baggage" into a marriage : You may think you can mess around and blur the lines and just have fun when you are young and leave it behind when you get married. That is wrong thinking. All those relationships affect you and make up who you will be and who you are. All the broken hearts add up. All the confusing emotions create who we are and what we think about ourselves and guys. All those physical intimacies become “emotional baggage” that can wreck a marriage – it can wreck the happily ever after dream that we all have.

       

       

      Now – I also want to make this clear – it’s not about rules or formula – its about living in a way that is going to be good for you.

      So at this stage of your life hearing some of that may be “hey that’s irrelevant” or that’s for people who are older… but if you’re thinking about dating that is the black and white stuff you need to know. We want you to walk into this with eyes wide open so that you can live your best life.

      And I want to put it out there – you can be happy and NOT date. You can be whole and NOT date. In fact – its better you get yourself happy and sorted because no boy will fix that.

       

       

       

      Manifesto

       

      Rather than me just tell you what to do – because there is no formula – why don’t we together make a Manifesto about DATING….?

       

      Think about what you should do before you start dating?

      How do you know it’s the right time in your life to date? How do you know it’s the right person to date?

      What are the solutions to some of the dating dangers?

      What are some of the good “dating rules”?

       

       

      Keeping Safe

      • talk to a big person in your life before you say yes to being a girlfriend. And listen to what they say.
      • Surround yourself with good role models and listen to what they say
      • listen to the big people in your life
      • don’t tell all your friends if you like someone – keep it private
      • ONLY date christians
      • group dates are a safe fun way to get to know someone
      • get to know someone well first!
      • take the big emotional drama out of it
      • set boundaries.
      • know that guys and girls are really different and you might not be interested in sex – you want a best friend and someone to hang out with and someone that likes you and makes you feel special – but they might have a different agenda or way of expressing affection

      and I want to add some safe life practices onto this:

      • surround yourself with really good people who are going to encourage you and love you
      • decide WHO you are going to be and then BE that person
      • life has consequences
      • keep yourself safe – keep your heart safe
      • keep other peoples heart safe – don’t lead someone on just to get attention and affection

      for both #4 and #5 that may mean you have “kinda rules” like don’t hang out with a guy by yourself, don’t go to a movie with a guy by yourself, watch how you touch guys / hug guys / sit beside guys, don’t get dropped off home by a guy by yourself type things… these “small things” can put yourself into emotional situations that you may not have intended. You can be friends with boys. Do that. Have lots of great friendships! But be aware of the lines between friendship and flirting.

       

       

      What We Can Do

      a) Value Friendship : Use the time you are single to get to know lots of different people and have a great time with them without the relationship baggage and emotional complications.

      b) Manage your feelings : you can control how you feel and how you behave. Sure, liking someone can feel intense and like it’s the biggest thing in the world – but you have a choice as to whether those feelings will control you or not. Your feelings are indicators not dictators. Pray and talk to God about how you are feeling and ask for Him to help you GUARD YOUR HEART – Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Prov 4:23

      c) Get on with serving God and have FUN! Use the time you have being single to the max!

      d) Trust God : Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track

      Romans 8:28 tells us that God is working all things out for the good of those who love Him.  You don’t need to worry about not getting married in the future.  God has got a good plan for your life – you can trust Him.

      e) #rememberwhoyouare : This is like my anthem hashtag. Remember you’re a daughter of the King of Kings, who created the universe… in other words God is big. He is also personal – He knows how many hairs there are on your head. He has a personal tailor made designed plan for your life and is at work in your life see His plans come to fruition. Remember we belong to Him and that we live differently, not because God is a kill joy but because He is our loving Father and wants to bless us. Don’t let others define your self worth. Your life is so much more than being skinny, beautiful or popular. Focus on building your own character and defining your own long-term goals. Focus on really living your life!

      and e is the most important one – that’s why I have left it to the end… we’ve covered some of the more life app stuff about dating – but this is what really matters…

      That you know that God loves you and has a plan and a purpose for your life. That you are loved. You don’t need no boy to fill a hole and complete you because you are loved and whole already because of Jesus.

      Some of you tonight might be feeling really awkward, because you’ve never sat down and thought about dating like this. You may have all these feelings about a certain guy and want to know what to do next. It might be all new to you. Others of you might be sitting here looking back at the things you’ve done in the past and can relate to what I’ve said when I say that dating can hurt and that it doesn’t fill the gaps in our heart.

      Wherever you are and whoever you are, God loves you and has a plan for your life. There is no shame in your past – today is a new day and an opportunity for a fresh start. Jesus forgives. And Jesus calls us on to walk a different way.

       

       

       

      Hebrews 12:1-2 // Proverbs 3:5-6 // Psalm 107:9 // Psalm 36:7-9   //   Psalm 63:3 // 1 Timothy 4:12 // Psalm 119:9-11   //  

      Jeremiah 29:11 // Proverbs 4:23 // Romans 12:1-2

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