By Sarah Beliveau
Recently, I had a discussion about the concept of dating as a Christian – what it should look like, how to approach it, and so on. In the past I have been pretty passionate about the idea of intentional, God-motivated dating, as opposed to casual dating. In the past I have even had arguments about the hows and whats, shoulds and shouldn’ts, blacks and whites of it all. Because, after all, it’s a major deal that should be done well in order to please this God whom we love and live for, right?
In the last few years, God has truly done a work in my heart when it comes to grace. It’s another story for another time, but in short it has liberated me to approach everything and everyone with more grace, and out of a place of love rather than criticism. Before all this grace revelation, I always knew that the ultimate motivation for all things, including who you date, should be to please the heart of God; to walk in His will, and be after His heart first. Here’s the thing: I didn’t quite understand how to apply that simple, motivated-by-love, after-His-heart principle to the practical, everyday life actions and choices we all face along the way. So like anyone who struggles to understand principles as opposed to rules and regulations, I had the need to set up strict constructs around my “non-casual dating” perspective and how to do it perfectly (I can’t help but chuckle at my younger self as I type this!).
Then life happened … and I learned through failures and falls that God is not as concerned about our perfection as much as He is concerned for our hearts – hearts that are devoted to Him, hungry for righteousness, pure and childlike in our desire to please our Father. In a very real way I saw my Father’s heart. I saw myself as a little child whose father calls her to Himself, and as she heads toward Him, she runs straight through a pile of rocks, trips, falls, and bumbles her way over to His embrace. Though there may have been a less painful or messy way to get to Him, He is not going to berate her for falling. If, however, she ran in the other direction when He called, that would be another story.
Do you see what I see? He loves us through our failures, and our processes, and if our hearts are truly after Him, we are going to be okay! I spent a good many years living in fear that I would fail to “do it” – life – right. Right … as if any human could do it all right. But righteous? SO attainable!! Because when it comes down to it, “right” is a heart that seeks Him first in all things, no matter what, and is willing to lay down every bit of self in order to please the God who created us, saved us, and provides every good thing to those who love Him.
I do still have a pretty passionate perspective on how to approach dating and how to do it “right,” but the truth is, before any analyzing of the how, now I first and foremost ask and pursue the why. In your approach, are you passionately seeking the heart of God? Are you seeking first His kingdom? Are you concerned with His good will? Or are you motivated by self-satisfaction? Are you driven to get the prize of a spouse, or by the desire to marry the one who will run with you on the kingdom-driven, God-glorifying road the Father has set before you?
These are some of the far more important questions! Because although the choices we make may not always be “perfect,” although we may bumble along, if our hearts are after Him, we will get through every proverbial faceplant and land in His embrace. Not to mention, get the incredible and most valued prize of God Himself – what could be better?
Matthew 6:31 says, “So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.”
This applies in every aspect of our lives! Dating, job, family, ministry … everything!
The question is, do we believe it? I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the God who assured me, at 11 years old, that He could and would satisfy every need and desire if I would run after Him, has done and will continue to do that! Here I am at 33, single, and loving Him more than ever because through pursuit of His heart … I found it! My motivation, no matter what, needs to be driven by faith in, and love for, Him. For that is not only what He calls us to, but what will bring the most peace, satisfaction, contentedness, and joy to our hearts. And in the end, the most glory to Him. Isn’t that our purpose for being here anyway?
WELCOME, FRIENDS. I’m Sarah Beliveau, a creative soul who loves Jesus! I’m most interested in seeing the gospel lived in the everyday moments, and I long to express beauty and truth through the creative arts. I live life together with an amazing community, in the perfect (well, in my ever so humble opinion) New England region. I am a chronic pain overcomer, traveling hair stylist, mental-health advocate and caretaker, mentor, artist and designer, aspiring actress, writer, and basically lover of all things creative. I’m so thankful you’re here, traipsing together through the wild journey we call life. You’re loved, and oh so welcome.
Sarah is a member of by design’s WeConnect Leadership Team. Read more about WeConnect!