Dating is a funny thing in your 20s. There are blog posts, forums, blog-posts-turned-forums, books and seminars on dating in your 20s. These websites and events are meant to feed you full of great advice, sure, but it is only a couple of weeks later that we recognize that there is still something lacking within.
I have had numerous conversations with my girl friends on this subject (shocking, I know). Majority of us are still single, so we can talk for hours about how bad or great that date was, or how we thought he was really this, but turns out he was really that – reading it now seems hilarious and straight out of Cosmopolitan. The part about it, though, is that at the end of the conversation, we can sigh and recognize that there is such a beauty in singleness. We reach that point where we can then see how much fun it is to still be one with ourselves than with another.
I know for myself, my 20s have been used to “brave the depths of my interior life.” I have set the dial to self-discovery in hopes that I will know who I am before I allow someone else to know these parts of me. And, guys, let it be known that I have done my fair share of dating. I think I may have started out of the womb dating the guy next to me in the nursery. It is not something to brag about by any means, but it has been something to learn from. I know that ache of the lack within all too well, and it is through these months of discovering myself, and how to use my singleness to my advantage, that I have and continue to find what I actually desire in a guy and who I want to be in a relationship.
I recently re-listened to an old podcast from Trent Sheppard where he was talking about how we always seem to skip over how Jesus had a youth. He, too, was in his 20s once, but rarely do we reflect on that. I’m paraphrasing, but Trent went on to say, “You who are 24 and single, do you think the 24-year-old Jesus ever wondered if He was going to be married, too? It wasn’t until He was 30 and baptized did He recognize who He was and began the journey of understanding all of it. It was a revelation so compelling that it led Him to the desert where He was tempted by the enemy for forty days and nights. This, ultimately, is where the growth of his character occurred.” Even though He was already perfect, His season of self-discovery had to happen.
The funny thing is, is that it’s when I am on a date that I discover a tiny tickle more about myself. I find that I love learning the person sitting across from me, but I also love the after-effects of a newness in me. I would love to think that Jesus drank wine across from a beautiful woman and enjoyed learning about her, but was ultimately called to a life of singleness. Either way, I’m sure he discovered something about himself in those moments, too. (I assume it was the utmost respect for a woman.)
There is a mustard seed-sized hope that I have that one day there will be a man who has walked through similar seasons in hope for someone like me. Though my hope does not make its home there, it does quiet the something lacking within. It is letting the reminders of growth and continual becoming with this perfected Man, Jesus, that leads me further into the truth of who I am – single or in a relationship.
So keep dating, keep discovering, and keep in communion with Him. You are bound to learn something new about yourself as you cultivate your season of singleness to be fun and worth it.