Dating with a Purpose

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. (Mt 7:7-8)

We’ve all heard that we can have a personal relationship with God. Exploring that promise for yourself, is like serious dating, Sherry Waddell compares the last threshold to intentional discipleship to “dating with a purpose,” in Forming Intentional Disciples,

Focusing on building any love relationship can lead to a permanent covenant commitment with someone who loves you and fulfills all your dreams. You can’t believe how much that person loves you! Your questions are many. Is this person the only one for me? Is this the one whose love I can trust? The one I can give my life to? Is this the one I can love unreservedly? Can I devote my life to this one person? Is this the relationship I need to become who I am created to be?

This quest for a new relationship with Jesus will take you far beyond whatever prayer life you have now. It will change your approach to everything and everyone in your life. Even your attitude toward yourself.

Asking, seeking, knocking means letting go of controlling what you have and who you are and accepting whatever comes. That’s pretty scary until you realize that you can trust Jesus with everything in your life. When you give your life to him,he embraces you with acceptance, compassion, understanding and forgiveness. He doesn’t diminish what you have or who you are. He commissions you as steward of your gifts and talents, possessions and relationships.

You are not alone in this pursuit. Look around for committed Christians you can befriend and see how they manage their lives. Don’t look for perfection, but the loving service they enjoy giving others, you included. You can trust them with the questions burning in your heart about what a deep friendship with Jesus looks like. How does it change the way they spend their time, their money, their leisure? What spiritual practices work for them and their families? Mass and Sunday dinner together? Rosary? Adoration? Singing praise songs in the carpool? Neighborhood Bible studies? Vacationing with other families who love Jesus? Frequent confession?

They struggle with the same concerns you do. Ask them how they first developed their relationship with Jesus. You may hear some initially depressing stories that end gloriously as Jesus rescues them and brings them into his kingdom. When he alone could meet their needs, he proved his unconditional love. You can trust him to do the same for you.

Don’t hesitate to ask them to pray for you as you try out some of the practices you see working for them. Consistent Mass and personal prayer time are the basic two spiritual practices to help you in your mission. The ways to relate to God are as numerous as the people who seek them.

Like any decision to further a relationship, it’s ultimately between you and that one special person. For this relationship to blossom into a permanent arrangement, you have to get alone with that person and sort out your passions and misgivings, good intentions and hopes.Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart. Ask this companion-presence, who is with you always, for the courage to take the next step.

God gave you free will and won’t violate that gift. He will love you whether or not you commit your life to him right now. He will give you future chances to accept his overwhelming love if you are not quite ready. But every day he will pursue you becaus

he created you to love him and live with him forever. Every day is another day to live in a close relationship with the source of life.

He’s already popped the question and waits for your answer. End the dating game and get on with the purpose of your life: intimacy with him.

What is the next thing you need to do to make a decision to follow Jesus?

(© 2013 Nancy H C Ward, revised 2016)

 

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About Nancy Ward

Nancy HC Ward is a journalist, author, and speaker who blogs about Catholicism, her conversion, and Christian community at JoyAlive.net,
 7 websites and 7 magazines. She loves to share her faith story and help others share theirs through her Sharing Your Faith Stories seminars, also available on DVD. She contributed four chapters to The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion. She facilitates the Dallas/Fort Worth Catholic Writers and a critique group for the Catholic Writers Guild, where she serves as a board member.
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4 Responses to Dating with a Purpose

  1. Nancy says:

    I love this post. Beautifully inviting, and a life-changing topic. I love that He has already “popped the question!”

  2. Kay Yates says:

    Thank you Nancy, this post is such great food for thought!

  3. This is me, hitting the “like” button. Nicely said.

  4. Diane says:

    ABSOLUTELY SPOT ON Nancy! I have read that book by Sherry and was captivated by it especially the last threshold. Your post here is the icing on the cake of how the relationships we form with those around us help us to take the plunge and say “I do”! Sharing triumphs and failures is important in our journey, we are “practicing” our faith, we are far from Home. I thank God for all those He has placed in my life who help me on my journey to a complete union with the Blessed Trinity. I have found that each day I must recommit and say “I do” to Jesus. Thank you for your wonderful post!

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