Interning with Boundless this summer has been such a valuable and stretching experience. I have had the opportunity to blog, participate in two podcasts, and help with the Pursuit 2015 conference. I cannot thank Lisa, Martha, and my intern coordinator, Keila, enough for giving me the opportunity to intern here.
This summer God challenged me to be transparent in my blog posts, which for me did not come easy. I have a hard time sharing personal struggles and experiences with people, but this internship taught me how crucial that is for growth.
One topic that was uncomfortable for me to blog about was my singleness. In my opinion, Boundless provided a lot of practical tools to help me tackle this topic.
To end my internship, I am sharing six lessons I learned this summer on the topics of dating and marriage while interning with Boundless:
1. It’s OK to desire marriage. I used to be so ashamed to say I want to be married at some point in my life. I was scared that if I desired it, then it would become an idol. Because of this, I wouldn’t talk about my singleness, or I would go to the extreme of boasting in my singleness. Through interning at Boundless this summer, I learned that it is OK for me to be vulnerable with people about the things I desire. Then, people can come alongside me and encourage me, pray for me and share their wisdom.
2. Relationship statuses shouldn’t consume us. I used to find it easy to think the reason I was single was because there was something wrong with me. After all, when people ask, “Why are you single?” it is hard not to feel like there is something wrong with you.
Through various blog posts and a past podcast I listened to, Boundless really reinforced the belief in me that my worth doesn’t lie in my relationship status, but my worth is in Christ. When Satan tempts you to believe that you are single because of your physical appearance, intelligence level or your past, point to the cross, because that is the only place where your worth can be found.
3. Being single isn’t God punishing you. One of the podcasts I participated in this summer was on the topic of worry. This conversation allowed me to re-learn the importance of waiting on God. If I worry about whether God will provide me a spouse, then I am not being obedient to His command to not worry.
God doesn’t always give us something just because we ask, but that doesn’t mean He isn’t good. Unanswered prayers are often for a reason. If God says He wants you to be single for today, then accept it, but that doesn’t mean He is saying “no” forever. Also, if God never brings you a spouse, this doesn’t mean He doesn’t love you. Remember that God is good regardless of our circumstances, and remember singleness is a gift, even if it doesn’t feel like it (1 Corinthians 7).
4. A woman should be neither too guarded nor desperate around guys. I don’t have any male friends. I know some boys at school that I would call acquaintances, but my friends are all girls. Not only have friends told me I shouldn’t be so guarded toward boys, but while working at Pursuit 2015, the Q&A Panel answered a question about this topic. Through that Q&A, Boundless taught me that I can treat guys as brothers in Christ without dating them.
5. Dating shouldn’t be purposeless, but it doesn’t have to have so much pressure. Attending a Christian college comes with its own culture, in a way. At my school, we have a saying called “ring by spring” and a common joke that the girls on campus view one coffee date as marriage.
Before interning at Boundless, the pressures put on dating scared me. At Pursuit and while listening to a past podcast, I learned that Christians should take dating seriously, but a coffee date does not equal marriage. You’re just getting to know the person, and it is OK if you don’t go out on a second date. This helped relieve some of the pressure I felt.
6. There are no perfect people. I have been guilty of creating a “perfect man” in my mind that has all the ideal character traits I want. Lisa Anderson talked about this issue in past podcasts and during Pursuit. I felt convicted about how wrong it was to create a fake man and expect all men to be like that. In particular, I listened to one podcast and read an advice column about the importance of forgiving people’s pasts. I began to reevaluate the standard I hold men to.
Boundless reminded me that while it is important to date men who are actively pursuing Christ, it is also important to remember that people are sinners. If I were to get married someday, I cannot expect my future spouse to be perfect. While I have never been married, I do know that marriage is hard work because it is two sinful people bound together. Marriage and any relationship require grace and forgiveness for shortcomings, sins and hurt feelings.
To hear more of Boundless’ unique and bold perspective on dating and relationships, listen to today and tomorrow’s Focus on the Family radio broadcast, “Dating and Pursuing Marriage With Purpose.” In this interview, Lisa Anderson, director of young adults and Boundless as well as the author of The Dating Manifesto, shares how to prevent “dating death.”