While dating someone last year I fasted and prayed about the relationship that was developing. In many ways he seemed like the perfect guy but I didn’t feel peace in my spirit about it even though I really wanted to.
So I fasted.
One day while on my way into church, during the fast, I said to myself, ” I don’t know how to date.” I’ve never been the kind of girl who dates multiple guys. One guy at a time is more than enough for me. I’d much rather be with one guy and in a relationship. Dating sucks.
While in the bathroom at church I heard a woman crying. I asked if I could give her a hug and we talked a bit. She told me about her husband and how he had passed away years ago. She also told me about someone she had started dating recently and that she realized she didn’t know how to date. She literally said, “I don’t know how to date”.
I was shocked.
That was the SAME thing I said to myself as I walked into church. While sharing that I thought something similar walking into church she said “God told me to buy these books, I think I’m supposed to give one to you.”
The following Sunday, we met at church and she gave me the book. As I sat in church waiting for the service to start I began reading. Three to four pages in it said to commit to a six month break from dating to focus on myself and my relationship with God.
I wanted to throw the book out of the window. What?! 6 months?! Why? How Jesus? Again – I had taken a 3 month break the year before. The book also had different activities at the end of each chapter.
While I was reluctant at first, I did it. I took a 6 month break and here’s what I learned.
1. Make Room
I’m really good at staying busy. I was an opportunity addict. Something would come across my email and I’d apply even if I knew I was already overwhelmed. I was filling the time just in case there was nothing in the future to fill the time. So my yes’ started to become nos and I stared reclaiming my time. There really wasn’t room for anything else. I had to purposefully and intentionally make room.
2. Get Your House in Order
I bought my house and with the hustle and bustle of life, along with a new job, grad school and other opportunities I was so exhausted I couldn’t even hang a picture on the wall. Getting my actual house in order was something I had to do. I also committed to joining and joined a new church. I had been attending for a little over a year and it was time. On the last day of the dating break, I received the right hand of fellowship at a new church. I had reached a level of spiritual maturity that required a different kind of preaching, worship, and praise.
Once I finished my degree, I began intentionally engaging in self-care. I began working out more often, getting back to my healthy eating routine and spent more time doing the things I loved with the people I loved. I became more intentional about personal boundaries at work and removed myself from troublesome situations. Above all else, I’ve been praying more and praising more and more frequently. Joy doesn’t seem so out of reach anymore.
4. I Stopped Caring So Much
A good friend of mine use to say “If everyone cared as much as you do…the world would be a better place.” Truth is I can be a bit of a perfectionist. Deep down I believed if I was perfect nothing would go wrong but I have 1,000,000 examples of how untrue that is! I learned it’s ok to be imperfect and that life will still go on.
5. I Learned How to Have (More) Fun
Okay so I had some fun over the last few years but I didn’t allow too much fun. Why? Because I had to write a paper, read an article, write a lesson plan, post to blackboard… now, weekends aren’t catch up sessions with books and papers, it’s fun! I didn’t know how much I missed it.
6. I Realized What Was Important
Family and friends are important. Spending time doing the things I love with the people I love is important. Jobs come and go, yesterday is not like today but each day is a gift and should be treated as such. Yesterday I walked into a classroom to talk to a teacher and she said “what’s going on with you? You look so happy!.” Nothing in particular had happened to spark that mood. I’d just reached a point of contentment with myself and the things around me.
Ultimately I think this journey was about becoming what I wanted to attract and intentionally investing in me. There’s no use looking for something or someone who is the complete opposite of who you are. If I’m honest, I spent a lot of time looking for the qualities I lacked in the guys I dated. That was wrong. I had to learn, know, and be true to myself and become the woman God wanted me to be. Now, not all of this happened in 6 months, it’s definitely a process but I’m farther along than I’ve ever been.
Through this process God wanted to restore me, to teach me a few lessons, and to return me better than ever! Now, I’m not perfect (no where near it) but one thing is for sure, I’m better now than I’ve ever been. I’m expecting God’s greatness real soon. But in the meantime…