Girl’s Guide to Dating

Dating BlogI am just going to come out and say it: dating in the 21st century sucks. With all the games we play, technology we utilize, and insanely busy schedules, traditional dating has gone the way of the clog. Meaning it is completely out of vogue. Now tack on being a Christian girl wanting to date a man after God’s own heart and the results are dismal.

It seems like mission impossible.

Over the years, I have compiled some good, godly dating advice and personal experiences that I feel God has called me to share with you guys. Being a twenty something Christian girl in the dating world is difficult, but when your perspective is properly focused and you go into a new relationship with a clear mind, armed with scripture, it makes the whole process 100x easier.

1.Keep your perspective

I say this a lot. And is it numero uno on this list because it is that important. Keep your eyes focused on God. Keep Him as Lord of your life. As women it is so easy to get wrapped up in a new relationship. It’s easy to get swept away in the romance of it all and that can be a good thing. Don’t feel bad for getting butterflies and getting excited when you see him. That is normal! But make sure that he doesn’t take the place that was meant for Christ. Christ can only fill that longing and make you complete. No guy can even come close to filling that place. When you put that type of unnatural pressure and expectation on a relationship, it will end up hurting both people involved and making you extremely let down. Matthew 6:33 states,

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Keep Christ as your #1.

2. To Attract the Best, You Need To Be Your Best

In order to snag the godly guy, you have to be a godly woman. A man who loves God is going to be attracted to a woman who loves the Lord and that is evident through how she treats others, how she serves others, and how she carries herself. I know this should go without saying, but go to church. Get involved. Serve the Lord because you want to become more Christlike. A servant’s heart is one of the most attractive characteristics a person can possess. If you want a man after God’s own heart, you need to be a woman who loves the Lord.

3. Know You Can’t Change a Man

I know women love projects. We love crafting and decorating our tiny apartments. And that is awesome, but do not make a man into your next project. I know we all have had that thought, “he will change for me!” But do not fall into that deception. Yes, people can change, but it’s not your job to fix someone. That is the Lord’s work and when you put that kind of burden on yourself it really is not good. Don’t get into a new relationship wanting to change someone. You can grow closer to God together. But if you enter into a new relationship with the idea that you will evangelize him and lead him to Christ, just don’t. You can point him to God as a friend. You do not want to fall in love with someone who doesn’t have a relationship with the Lord.

4. Have Friends Who Keep You Accountable

You need to have godly friends: friends who you can share your struggles and temptations with. Friends who will make sure you don’t spend the night at his house and friends who are in fight for purity with you. It’s a tough battle and you can not do it alone. As humans, we are made for companionship. You need friends who encourage you and tell you lovingly when you are in the wrong. This is absolutely critical. Proverbs 27:17 speaks to this truth, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” We need friends who will make us better and hold us accountable!

Dating is hard. Dating godly is even harder. Whenever you start a new relationship, keep your heart and your eyes transfixed on the Lord. Go into that new relationship with your priorities in check and with a clear mind centered on the Lord. Have a strong group of godly girlfriends who do life with you and help each other’s walk with the Lord. The most important thing to remember when dating is knowing who and what defines you: your relationship with the Lord. And always keeping that identity at the forefront of your mind.

Radically,

Rachel

5 Ways to Avoid a Best Friend Break-Up

friendsPeople always thought we were twins. Dirty blonde hair, green eyes, and freckles dusted across the bridges of our noses: I don’t think any 10 year olds looked more alike. We did everything together. We were the closest two friends could possibly be. As we grew, we headed into adolescence. We spent late nights giggling over our new crushes, sharing secrets about our cliche first kisses, talking about our dreams, and our far-off passions we were going to pursue. We convinced boys we were twins and laughed at their naivety. We were inseparable: the two best friends. You couldn’t even think one of our names without the other name following involuntarily. Then something changed. A 12 year old friendship evaporated. We went different directions.

Many of us have gone through a similar scenario.

I firmly believe that God makes us go through certain circumstances for a reason. Everything happens for a purpose in the Christian walk. Even going through a best friend break up. Breaking up with a best friend is 100x harder than breaking up with a boyfriend. Ending a friendship is one of the most heart-wrenching, depressing, and confusing experiences someone can go through. I feel like there are a lot of us who have experienced this kind of anguish. That’s why whenever I make a new friend I am intentional and focus completely on loving her and being the kind of friend Christ calls me to be. Here are several ways to avoid a best friend break up.

1. Choose your friends wisely

Choose friends who love you, who want the best for you, and who don’t have ulterior motives. Examine a person’s character. Ask yourself this question: is this a person I would be ok becoming more like? We inevitably take on characteristics of the people we spend the most time with so it’s crucial to chose friends who make you better.

2. Be a good friend

Consider your friend’s feelings. Consider things from her perspective. How would you want to be treated? What can you do to serve her? How can you lift her up and encourage her every day? Once a week I find someway I can serve a friend. That can range from writing an encouraging text to surprising her with her favorite cookie or something little. It doesn’t have to be huge.

3. Be Present

Our generation is really bad about being mentally present. I am largely guilty of having my eyes glued to my iPhone. Whenever you are with your friend, just put your phone on silent. Focus on her and how you can encourage her. This will strengthen your friendship and lead to some really engaging and bonding conversations.

4. Ask Questions

A good rule to live by is that your primary motivation ought to be that you are interested, not interesting. You should ask questions to see how she is doing, to see how you can pray for her, and to see how you can support her. You ought to remember things happening in her life and ask her about them. You have to listen. Listen and remember. The more that you pour into a friendship, the more rewarding it will be.

5. Love her even when it’s hard

We all go through difficult phases in our lives. We all grow and mature. This is especially true from the ages 14-24. Sometimes we walk away from what once meant the most to us. As friends, we must love as Christ loved us, even if our friend is going through a hard time. This is a really tough one. Even when a friend has hurt or rejected us, we have to continue loving her throughout the pain.

Best friend breakups are heartbreaking. Protect your friendships and value them. Love your friends like Christ loves you: sacrificially and selflessly. If you’ve gone through a best-friend break-up, things may not ever be the same. Even after reconciliation, you may never be as close you once were and the inside jokes that you thought forged an unbreakable bond may not be enough. However, I urge you to use that heartbreaking experience to learn a valuable lesson: to loyally value and fiercely protect friendships.

Radically,

Rachel

Why Our Actions Matter

actions matterLast week I met up with a friend that I hadn’t seen in a long time and something she said really stuck with me. We were having a discussion about why it’s important to serve and her response was that what we do doesn’t matter, all that matters is what we think. I strongly disagree. What we do here on earth does matter. We can’t walk around with well-meaning intentions and expect it to make any difference if we fail to act on them. The Christian walk is about having faith rooted in Christ and a deep, passionate love for Him. The things we do are an extension of that love we have for our creator. Don’t mistake me: we are not saved by works, but by faith (Ephesians 2:8). Salvation is a free gift from God and we can do nothing to ever deserve that gift. However, our actions and our decisions do matter here on Earth and here is why.

1. Our Actions Mark Us as Believers

1 John 2:5-6 states, “But if anyone obeys His word, God’s love, is truly made complete in Him. This is how we know we are in Him: whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.” Our goal as Christians to grow increasingly more and more Christlike. That is literally what I pray every morning: that God would strip away my selfish desires and that He would make me reflect His love and His goodness through my actions. We’re not perfect, we’re still sinful humans and we will mess up, but we ought to be striving towards Christ.

2. It Completes Our Faith

James 2:14 states, “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?” James goes on to answer his question by saying, “In the same way, faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:17). Action is a natural reaction to the faith we have. It follows the faith. True faith naturally produces good deeds, it points to the Father. When someone is truly saved, it is inevitable that action is to ensue.

3. God Tells Us That Our Actions Matter

James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” Don’t just sit passively at Church and absorb information only to leave and live your life opposite of what God commands. Go out there and obey the word of God. Sometimes it is really hard to obey. Sometimes stealing something when no one is looking might seem harmless and save you some money, but obeying God is what is really important. Think about how much your character costs.

4. We are Fighting a Real Battle

At my church, The Austin Stone, we are going through the topic of spiritual warfare. Ephesians 6:11-12 states, “Put on the full armor or God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world […] put on the full armor of God.” Paul uses the metaphor of armor for a purpose: we are at war. The devil is described as “prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). We should have a sense of urgency in our walk with the Lord and we should be aware of how satan tries to deceive us. We need to remember that we may be the only Christian someone comes into contact in their entire life and it’s important to live our lives to honor and glorify the Lord through our actions. We need to show others through our interactions, our sacrificial love, and our testimonies the love of Christ that surpasses understanding.

What we do does matter. We cannot be saved by works alone, but rather our works are an extension of our faith. It is impossible to have true faith without seeing action. They complete each other! I encourage you to live your life radically and purposefully for him.

-Rachel