Last summer, I was a speaker at the Pursuit conference, a gathering of single Christians seeking to grow in their relationship with God and others. As I talked about dating with some of the men at the conference, I noticed that a number of them had trouble working up the nerve to ask women out. I felt compassion, but at the same time, I felt some of them needed to get over it and just take the risk of rejection.
So in my closing remarks at the end of the Q&A panel, I challenged every man in the room to ask out a woman before the night was over. Later, I heard a few stories from men who accepted the challenge, and I was proud of them as I heard about their dates. But no story moved me like the one I got in an email last week from a man I’ll call Brad.
Here’s what he said:
[After the Q&A session], I pondered your challenge all that night; in fact, your words really got to me and kept me up. I knew I was in a great place for this to happen, yet I did not want to leave with a bad taste in my mouth if rejection did come (because I was having a great time). Yet, I knew if I didn’t act on it, I would leave kicking myself all the way home.
I eventually asked a girl out at Pursuit Saturday night, but I received a polite brush-off. Surprisingly, I did not feel sad and despondent as I projected I would have felt after such a rejection. I actually felt empowered — not in a vain way, either. To know that I survived rejection and was standing on the other side of it was, to me, a monumental revelation. My life did not fall to pieces; I experienced relief.
Brad explained that a week after Pursuit, he reached out to another young woman he noticed at the conference, and they began communicating. He eventually made a trip to visit her (she lives out of state), and surprise, surprise — they’re dating now. Lucky her. She’s got a man who has the guts to take a risk for her. And that’s a good thing, because this won’t be the last time Brad has to tap into his gutsiness to pursue her.
It’s going to take guts for Brad to stick it out when she tells him things about himself he doesn’t want to hear. It’s going to take guts to keep loving her friends and family members who aren’t convinced this relationship is a good idea. It’s going to take guts to ask her to marry him and then keep pursuing her after the wedding. And it’s going to take guts for Brad to lay down his life and follow Jesus in a way that sets the example for his family.
So to all the Brads of the world who have the guts to pursue a woman at the risk of failing: “Bravo.” You’re taking some important first steps in the long journey of putting yourself out there for the sake of loving someone else.