Have you ever thought about what it would look like if for one year you did not date – at all. Not going on any dates, not even one, and even turning down dates if you have to? Sorta like a fast, but I don’t want to use that word for fear of making it sound stuffy and formal and no fun.
There is one of two thoughts going through your head right now:
1. That’s easy. I don’t date anyway!
2. Turn down dates? What if he’s the one?
If there is one thing I wish I had done before I got married, this is it. I first heard this idea of not dating for one year after I was married in a sermon by Andy Stanley.
Well, I have to back up. I actually probably did hear about it when I was single since I went to his church then and all, but I’m guessing that at the time I closed my ears quickly before the Holy Spirit felt like he needed to intervene. Back then I was in a habit of closing my ears to anything I really didn’t want to hear.
So what is the No Dating Challenge exactly?
It is committing to yourself and to God that for one year you will not date. And it is using the time to grow your relationship with God, discover who you are in him, and learn about who he created you to be.
So why take the No Dating Challenge?
1. You learn where your worth truly lies.
As women, we constantly have to fight the struggle in our minds about where our worth lies. This is a struggle for all women – single, married, with or without children, with or without careers, etc. The No Dating Challenge gives you the opportunity to set your mind (Colossians 3:5) on truth.
2. You learn dependence on God.
We know this as single women, but I don’t think we have a hard time believing it until we experience it ourselves: A man will never meet all your needs – spiritually, physically, financially, emotionally. Even in the trenches of marriage and family life will you have to depend on God. The No Dating Challenge requires you to depend on God for all of your needs.
3. You learn to surrender.
We want “happily ever after”. We all do. And I want it for you. The great thing is that as Christians we will get it – but not here, not now. Our “happily ever after” is in heaven. When you get married, trials will come. It is inevitable. Trials of all kinds and all sizes. Just like the trials you’re going through now as a single woman. The No Dating Challenge helps you learn how to fall into his plan and surrender completely to him during this season of trials and future seasons.
4. You break the idolatry.
Oh, was marriage an idol for me! I loved the idea of marriage more than I loved God most of the time I was single. The No Dating Challenge makes God your idol because that’s who you are investing your life into.
5. You heal through forgiveness.
Some of you may not come from a place of past brokenness or regret. Praise God for that! But if you do it is time to accept God’s forgiveness, forgive yourself, and allow him to use it all for good. The No Dating Challenge gives you time to heal and get healthy.
6. You will be blessed.
God will bless you abundantly for devoting your life to know him better so that you can make wise, healthy decisions and create a strong marriage and family to take into eternity. Sounds big, doesn’t it? It is. The No Dating Challenge will bless you, your future spouse, and your future children. Which, um, ultimately does affect eternity.
But What if . . . ?
I know what you’re feeling right now. And I know what you’re thinking. I would be thinking the same thing if I were you. But I want you to ask yourself this question, “What is truly holding you back?”
You know the answer. I know the answer.
You are afraid. You are afraid that if you make the commitment you will miss out on the one God has for you.
But let’s think. Is that even logical? To miss out of the one God has for you? Do you think God would say, “Oh, too bad! You missed your chance because you committed to me for a year! Better luck next time. Maybe I’ll pass someone else by you in a few years!”
Of course not.
We think we’re in control. We want to be in control. But we’re not. If we were we’d have perfect lives.
So what do I say to a man if he asks me out?
You tell him the truth. You tell him that you would love to go out with him (if that’s true) in one year. Because for one year you made a commitment to God to not date so that you can be all he created you to be – as a woman and as a wife.
So what if he thinks I’m weird?
It may sound a little weird. And to some people it will be. But to others it will be very appealing – a woman who is pursuing God above all else for one year? Wow! Remember that when you are dating it is very important that you are like-minded. If a man does not understand or thinks it’s weird, then that just gives you more information about him. More information for you to use to discern.
If he leads you to one year of no dating, grab a button!