Your Worth is Not in Dating

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A few years ago, having a very demanding job that required me to live where I worked (with one day off per week), I didn’t have many opportunities to expand my social circles. I was also feeling more pulled to live the vocation of marriage. So, I foraged into online dating. This allowed me to meet many more men and to see who was out there. I gained friends along the way, and even a boyfriend that I dated for a year. In my time of dating online, I learned many lessons on the journey, including about my own worth and where it originated.

Dating, online or not, can bring questions of your worth. Why are no guys showing interest? Why is this guy who seems like a perfect match viewing my profile but not reaching out? Or, why do only guys who don’t share my values seem to show interest? Why did that guy treat me so low?

If you keep logging in and not finding any messages, maybe you feel unworthy of love. Maybe the only messages you’re receiving are from weird guys, or men who don’t share your values. (It happens, even on Christian dating sites.) Or when the great guy you’ve been messaging and sharing a great conversation with suddenly disappears, you may wonder if something is wrong with you. What about when the guy you’ve been conversing with seems like a different person when you meet face to face, and even discloses a big piece of information that should have been disclosed right away? (Yes, that happened.)  So many situations arise in our dating lives that can make us feel unworthy.

Living a life of prolonged singleness, it’s easy to question your worth. The attitudes of the world about singleness make it even easier to question, especially when people constantly question why you are single. That question can linger and make you wonder, is something wrong with me? Your terrible dating experiences, online or face to face, can also trick you into believing this lie. It’s easy to forget that your worth isn’t determined by the number of messages or views you’re getting.

Worth isn’t even determined by how a man treats your heart—worth is not a product of how others view or treat you. In fact, your worth isn’t determined by men at all! If you’re at a point where you’re feeling low due to a dating drought or terrible dating experiences, maybe it’s time to take a step back from dating while you search for where your real worth can be found. Where is this worth found, you ask? Worth is found in your identity as a child of the Heavenly Father, who created you, delights in you, and even rejoices over you! Meditate on that beautiful truth. “The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”-Zephaniah 3:17

 Sister, no matter your terrible dating experiences (or lack of dating experiences thereof), there is nothing wrong with you. You are not lacking in worth. Remember Who gave His life for you. He offers you a perfect love every day, no matter if nobody is romantically interested or if you are happily married. Your past, present, and even what you see of your future prospects doesn’t change anything about your worth in His eyes. Finding His love doesn’t require purchasing a subscription or making an on-point profile. Your Heavenly Father, the God of the universe, created you, and delights in you! What greater worth is there than that?

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lianna-headshot Lianna

Hello! My name is Lianna. I am 27 years old and live in Cleveland, Ohio. I am a case manager for refugee mothers. My favorite things are traveling, learning other languages, singing, and journeying with others. I blog and hope to inspire others at sunflowersojourn.wordpress.com.

Holding Onto Hope

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Hope is the thing with feathers-

That perches in the soul-

And sings the tune without words-

And never stops-at all-

 

Emily Dickinson

A relationship ends.  The one that you thought was going to last.

A person doesn’t respond to your contact.  They seemed like a perfect match.

The call that you wait for after a great first date…never comes.

In dating, one of the hardest things to hold onto is hope.  I remember starting my venture in online dating, getting access to hundreds of profiles of available men, and thinking that my time of singleness was over.  I just had to click the right profile, send a witty message, and abracadabra, a single woman would be converted into a bride right before your very eyes, ladies and gentlemen!

Of course, it didn’t happen like that.  I dated one person after another, and it became harder each time to muster up the appropriate enthusiasm.  I looked around me and saw other women getting engaged, getting married, and having babies.  It seemed unfair.  Worse, it seemed that God had forgotten me.  Either that, or He simply didn’t care.

These are of course the Enemy’s lies.  He wants us to be discouraged and to give up hope.  He wants us to settle for someone who is less than God’s best for us.  He wants us to feel distanced from God.

But praise God, we have Scripture to help teach us the truths to sustain our hope: God sees you. God loves you. God wants to give you good things.

1. God sees you. What’s more, He sees every part of us, even what might seem small or insignificant.  He created our inmost being and knit us together in the womb (Psalm 139). He has numbered even the hairs on our head (Luke 12). If he sees us to this level, then He also sees our hearts and our desires.  He knows your silent suffering, the shame, and the envy.  He hears your prayers.

2. God loves you. Our God is a God of steadfast love and faithfulness (Psalm 86). .He guided the Israelites out of Egypt and provided for them, even when their hearts continually strayed.  He responded to their prayers through centuries of war and exile. He sent even His son to die for us.  If God loves His people this much, is a husband really the thing that He will withhold?

3. God wants to give you good things. If He sees you and He loves you, then the only question is will He provide for you?  That answer is YES!  In Luke 11, Jesus teaches, “What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?” Our God is a good father who knows how to give good gifts!

Dating is difficult.  But hopefully we too can say, as Dickinson did, that Hope never stops.  At all.

For my readers, how do you hold onto hope?

Single Woman Seeking Manwich

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I absolutely adore this article on online dating – the author had so many false starts at love, she could not even get a first date with a man whose only dating profile picture was a sandwich.  Sister, I feel ya.

As someone who also spent three years at online dating (thankfully ending successfully), I can tell you from the wisdom of perspective that she made the same mistake that I did, and that many of us do – she assumed that the problem was her.  She then wasted time second-guessing her actions, and what she did wrong.

Trust me, the problem is rarely, if ever, you.  A man posing as a sandwich might seem witty and fun, but he also has (1) serious insecurity, which is why he did not use a real photo and dropped off the face of the earth without actually meeting or (2) just having fun doing his bagel schtick, not actually looking for a relationship.  In fact, he might have thought it was all just a game, not thinking that there was a real person on the other side of the online profile he was messaging, who could be hurt.

We are so quick to think that the problem is us, and that the change must therefore come from us.  True, there will be times when that is the case – if you are rude to people, take advantage of people, are stingy, etc.  But if you have enough empathy for others to self-question and to actively want to change, then probably the problem wasn’t you in the first place.

For the writer of the article, for you, for me, don’t give in to false beliefs and the lie that we aren’t good enough – more likely than not, it truly is them, not you.

Check out the manwich article here!

For my readers, anyone else have a story to tell about interacting with men who posed as a sandwich, or similar crazy stories??

Picture is taken from the article.

 

3 Ways to Win at Online Dating!

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Your dating profile is like the first glance across a room.  You see her walk in and boom, your jaw drops to the floor.  Or you catch the eye of a cute guy with a beard and your heart skips a beat.  That’s what you want your dating profile to be like.  Something that makes a person stop and take notice.

All too often, though, we make basic mistakes in our profiles that rather than drawing someone in, pushes them out.

As someone who did online dating for three years, I utilized several dating websites, hoping for success each time.  For each website, I created a new profile.  I put extensive thought into what might make a prospective suitor stop and take note.

Here are three easy tips to follow.

1. Less is More

True in life and true in dating profiles!  In Amy Webb’s excellent book, Data, a Love Story, Webb found the secret to success laid in five well-chosen photos, no more no less.  These were specifically ones that showed the person animated and natural, such as in the middle of a laugh with a friend.

The principle also applied to the text – think short sentences and paragraphs!  Be positive and upbeat, showing off the fun side of your personality!

2. Put Yourself Out There

It’s the 21st century – don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.  That goes for both guys and girls – don’t be shy!  At least once a quarter, I would go through the list of options and contact at least five people.  While some might say that this not letting the man to pursue, I would beg to differ.  There is no difference between indicating interest in someone’s profile, and smiling across the room, or striking up a conversation.

Also don’t be afraid of rejection – every person is individual and is looking for something different.  You may or may not be that thing, but that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you!

3. Expand Your Parameters

In Webb’s book, she discussed how doing one thing – increasing the geographic search radius – resulted in her finding the right man.  I think that this is a metaphor for the whole online dating experience.  Part of the beauty of online dating is that you get to find people whom you never might have met otherwise!

As I wrote about in my post for Boundless, some of the areas where we could stand to be more open-minded include looks, race, and age.  What about political philosophy?  Education?  Income?

We are often so quick to write someone off, but especially in the beginning stages when you are still learning what is truly important to you, be open to meeting someone friendly and interesting for a conversation. You might surprise yourself!

For my readers, what other tips can you offer fellow online daters?

Photo credit to Death To The Stock Photo.

Broaden Your Dating Horizons

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Check out my Boundless blog post!

“My fiancé, Pat, and I weren’t what you would call “perfect for each other” when we first met.

I was looking for an alpha male who would go out to restaurants with me and debate politics and religion, stimulating deep conversations late into the night. Pat, as it turns out, is a quiet guy who goes to bed early, doesn’t go out much, and isn’t so fond of conflict (otherwise known as “discussion”).”

Read more here.

5 Ways to Make Your Dating Profile Stand Out

 

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Check out my new article on Boundless!

“One year ago, I received an online message that would change my life.

Hi! My name’s Pat. I really enjoyed reading a profile that mentions faith and helping others. Both somewhat rare, from what I’ve seen. I’d love to learn more about you, make a new volunteering friend and maybe see it grow into something more. I look forward to hearing from you!

I didn’t know it at the time, but my three years of online dating were about to end. A few sentences in my profile attracted the man who is now my fiancé, and my search for a godly match was over.”

Read more here!

Recognizing the Prince From the Frogs

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Two weeks ago I said yes to marrying the love of my life, the most wonderful man I’ve ever met. But I didn’t know that he was the most wonderful man when I met him – at first glance, he looks like your average guy.  If I hadn’t discerned his deeper value, I might have missed out on a true prince.

As many of you know from my prior posts, I’m 32 and I spent over three years doing online dating. I know a thing or two about frogs. But what I didn’t know anything about was how to recognize a prince. The world and all of pop culture talk a lot about finding the right guy, but they give you all the wrong directions – is it the guy with the hotline bling, or the uptown funk, or the James Dean look in his eye?

Thankfully, the Bible gives us all the direction we need, even in just one short book. Ruth didn’t have Facebook or Google, but she had plenty of information about Boaz to make a solid decision. Let’s take a look at how Boaz proved his worth to her.

  1. He shares your religious beliefs

This goes almost without saying. For Ruth, she married someone from the Israelite tribe, the religion and people that she had adopted. She knew without even a question that he was someone who shared her religious beliefs.

However, in today’s world, determining that someone is Christian is far more difficult. Many people will check a box on their online profile indicating that they’re Christian, but it turns out that just means they were raised in the church, or that they’re willing to go with you to church (emphasis on “with you”). I dated many of those guys. Their faith is fleeting and you’re going to be the one doing the heavy lifting.

What made my fiancé stand out from the pack was that church wasn’t just an after-thought, it was a priority for him. He had a relationship with Jesus prior to meeting me, and he was actively involved in church activities.

  1. He has a vocation and can provide for your basic needs

Before they ever spoke, Ruth already knew a basic fact about Boaz: He had property – meaning he had a business, resources to support a family, and a place in the community. Ruth could see his financial investments right in front of her. Today’s equivalent would be that Mr. Right has a steady job, or is on a definite path toward getting a steady job, and that he makes sound financial decisions.

Further, on the first day of their meeting, Boaz made sure that she had a safe place to glean (2:8-9), that she had water to drink (2:9), and food to eat (2:14). Your future mate doesn’t need to provide riches, but he does need to provide the basics.

  1. He is kind toward you and others

In the book of Ruth, Ruth’s very first interaction with Boaz reveals his kindness toward her. When he was told she was a young woman alone, he immediately ensures her safety by offering her the ability to stay and glean with the other women (2:8).

It is important to note that he was kind to Ruth long before she became a romantic prospect, and when she was just an impoverished woman of no social standing – how your date treats the disadvantaged is often even more telling of his true character than how he treats you while you’re dating.

Equally of note is that kindness isn’t just a passive feeling, it requires action. In order to demonstrate kindness, Boaz had to take the action of ensuring his workers knew that Ruth could glean with them and not to harm her. In the dating context, this means looking for the guy who actively practices kindness, not the one who simply does no harm.

For me, community service is important and my fiance’s regular service in his church and at the local humane society truly separated him from the chaff. While neither of us are big on gifts, he demonstrates generosity toward me in his time and affection. These are the signs of a guy who is going to be a great partner for life.

  1. He respects who you are

While women are gaining ground, there are still a lot of guys who do not respect women, or who find it funny to make jokes at women’s expense. In contrast, within minutes of meeting Ruth, Boaz highly praises her for her loyalty to her mother-in-law (2:11-12). I’d like to hear that on a first date!

In my life, respecting me means respecting my opinions and my dreams.  My fiancé not only knows those dreams, he encourages and supports them. He also demonstrates respect in that when we disagree, he works toward a compromise.

Last, men show respect by not taking advantage of you physically. A guy who does not value and recognize your commitment to purity is putting his temporary needs above your eternal good – and this isn’t going to suddenly improve in marriage. When Ruth goes to Boaz in the middle of the night, he could have taken advantage of her, but chose not to. (3:9-14). Instead, he went about things with honor and made sure that there was no other claim to her before proceeding with their relationship. (4:9-10).

Of course, other factors will also play a role, including basic physical attraction – the Song of Songs, after all, is not too far from Ruth! – and more surface-level personality factors that will make your decision of whom to marry. But if this is all your relationship is based on, it’s not a good foundation for a marriage to last a lifetime. To ensure that you are truly selecting a Prince who will treat you like a Princess for the length of your marriage, make sure he passes the above character test!