At 20//What I Wish I Had Known//Katie

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When I was 20 and in college, they were teaching us to treat dating like a courtship relationship where the boy pursues the girl and the girl shouldn’t be trying to pursue the boy because that’s backwards. A courtship mentality also included the idea that dating shouldn’t happen in a vacuum but in community because people are more likely to be themselves in a community. Sometimes this whole process was called “dating with a purpose” or “dating towards marriage” because they wanted people to realize that when you get involved in dating someone it can be damaging to knit your heart together with someone who you can’t ultimately spend the rest of your life with.
Now there were many pros to this philosophy- it encouraged women who were overly flirtatious to take a step back and not always be pursuing guys and giving them no opportunity to step up and lead in the relationship. It encouraged men who can be prone to passivity to step up and really be intentional with the way they pursue women they want to date. It encouraged people to have a healthy involvement of family and friends in their relationship instead of letting their life begin to revolve around their new special someone.
But there were cons too. Those of us gals who were already shy and never prone to flirt, felt we could barely talk to a guy or he might think we were trying to “pursue them” or be too forward. Some guys felt like since this was “dating with a purpose” that if they didn’t know for sure that they could see themselves marrying a girl then they shouldn’t ask her out at all. It was paralyzing for them. And it made people more prone to seeing a godly relationship have to revolve around a strict set of rules instead of a relationship that is first devoted to them seeking Christ and letting the Spirit guide them in their friendship and their dating.
So I wish I’d known when I was 20 that I didn’t have to get quite so freaked out about all the rules and that I could just trust God and pursue healthy friendships with guys that could turn into something romantic if the Lord led it to.
An article in the Cru book “Fantasy” really helped me readjust my dating philosophy. It’s called “From Fantasy to Reality” by Henry Cloud. You can check it out here: https://www.cru.org/train-and-grow/life-and-relationships/dating/from-fantasy-to-reality.html
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Thanks for checking out our little series. We would love to have more of these series in the future–let us know if there are questions or topics you would like us all to chime in on.  //email us at the link above!//  Thanks & love you all.

 

At 20//What I wish I had known//Brooke & Steph

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Brooke Barnett: There are so many things I wish I had known.  The first thing though that came to mind is how much time I wasted.  It seemed, in college, with every guy I met[that was a “good” guy at least] I would start to wonder, “Could this be him?” I would dream and pray and pray and dream. My journals were f-u-l-l of prayers about specific guys or just general prayers about my future husband. I was so self focused.  I was leading Bible studies and discipling girls but if you read my journals you would think that the point of life was to get married. And not to love God and love people and reach the nations.  I made an idol out of marriage & guys. I wish I had chosen more to be present…to serve…to treasure time in the Word..and to share my faith…

However,  don’t get me wrong–praying for your future husband can be a good thing! I do feel that God honored some of those prayers because I now get to share life with an incredibly loving, humble, strong, funny, perfect-for-me man! However, in my case it was consuming. I thought too much about marriage–& not the people that God had put right in front of me.  Can you relate?  Ask God to help you use your time in a worshipful, purposeful way.

Steph Lamb: I wish I had known at 20….
1) Just because I was single at 20 (and even at 25 for that matter) did not mean I was going to be an old cat lady who was doomed to be “single forever” like I once thought. I met my husband at age 25, got engaged when I was 26, married at 27, and became a mom at 28. While being a wife and mom is beyond wonderful, life didn’t start with finding a man. Between graduating college and meeting my husband I had adventures I would not have experienced if I was already married. I enjoyed living with other single friends, going to parties in D.C., eating out way too often, and taking road trips with friends. Oh the road trips! I learned to depend on God instead of a man, took a group on a missions trip to Venezuela, built deep friendships, and more. I would like to say I lived life to the full but the truth is instead of enjoying each day I often longed for what was next. I wish I had known to live life in the moment and enjoy the gift of each day.
2) In spite of my fear of being single I have learned that singleness really is a gift. I have single friends in their 30s who live full, happy, and meaningful lives. They are impacting the Kingdom, traveling, and loving life. They can do things I can’t do in this stage as a mom. Singleness is easier in some ways and harder in other ways. It’s not better or worse, just different. I wish I had seen singleness as a gift instead of a curse.
3) Purity really is worth striving for. God’s plan for you and your body is better than anyone else’s plan for you. It is a battle (often daily) and you will have to fight. Don’t give up. “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God.” 1 Thess. 4:3-5
4) Jesus is better. I think I “knew” this one without really believing it. And I still struggle now to believe it in some ways. But Jesus is better than any relationship this world has to offer. He is more satisfying. He knows you completely and loves you anyways. If you let Him in, like really let Him in, He will change you and satisfy the desires of your heart. When you are satisfied in Christ you can be in a relationship centered on Him. A dating relationship centered on Jesus is the only kind worth having.
Check back tomorrow for day 3 of 3 in our loveeee series…

At 20–What I Wish I Had Known//Maggie & Heather

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Hello friends,

In light of Valentines day being justttt around the corner we[your Tidewater Cru staff ladies] wanted to share things we wished we had known in college about dating, relationship, love, and purity.  Today is day 1 of 3…enjoy!

[Maggie McNeely]When I was 20 I was in my first real relationship. I had “boyfriends” and guys I was interested in in middle school and high school but this was my first real boyfriend. And this is what I wish I had known:

I wish I had known that kisses didn’t mean he loved me.
I wish I had known that staying up past midnight talking to a guy is ALWAYS a bad idea(for me).
I wish I had known that just because we were both Christians didn’t mean it was a “Christ-centered” relationship.
I wish I had known how to have hard conversations when they were needed.
I wish I had known to let go of him rather than staying in an unhealthy relationship.
I wish I had known that depending on him for my worth and value would leave my heart shattered in pieces when we broke up.
I wish I had known that healing takes longer than you want it to and you shouldn’t force the process.
I wish I had known how important it was to have someone holding you accountable for boundaries in the relationship that we set up and crossed… instead of pushing my friends away.
I wish I had known how deeply loved I was by Jesus and how much healing he provided for me.
I wish I had known that being single didn’t mean there was something wrong or flawed about me.
I wish I had known not to settle just because I wanted someone to love and care for me.
I wish I had known that seasons of singleness are also a gift from the Lord.

I wish I had known all of those things, but I didn’t and because of that relationship I learned so much. I’m glad God used it to shape me more into the woman of God he wants me to be, and to teach me that my identity is in Christ who loves me deeply and knows me completely.

[Heather Persing] //forever Tidewater alumni staff:)

It’s easy to look back now and see a lot of ways I would do things differently, but I would say the one thing I wish I would’ve known and experienced back then was that Jesus really is the one who satisfies. I spent so much time and energy in college thinking, talking, and dreaming about relationships. We’re made for relationship so in some ways I think that was normal, but deep in my heart I believed I would finally be fulfilled when I was dating/engaged/married. The problem with that is I was always looking for the next thing to satisfy me. Once I was dating, I wanted to be engaged. After I got engaged, I couldn’t wait for marriage. Now that I’m married, there’s several other life stages that I can find myself believing will finally bring true life. It’s a cycle that never ends. This also doesn’t give much room to sacrifically love who God brings in your life. It becomes all about me and how my needs are being met instead of laying down my life for someone else. Marriage is great, and it’s brought a lot of joy into my life; however, Jesus calls us to something much more beautiful than even the best marriage–he calls us to himself. He is the only one who can truly give us what our hearts so desperately need and crave.

 

I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10

 

 

//check back tomorrow for day 2 of 3//