The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
~ Jeremiah 17:9
“Nick, what are your thoughts on online dating?”
Continually over the past few months this question keeps coming up in my life. Is it ok? Is it right? Is it wrong? All valid questions, none with a straightforward answer, the answer simply isn’t: “Yes go for it!” or “No, stay away.”
Last time I checked there is not a “Thou shall not date online” commandment in the Bible. So what do we do? We all know people who have had horrific experiences with online dating; as well as know people who met online and are living happily ever after!
So how do we answer the question?
To answer this question, I want to ask a different question:
“Where is your heart?”
This question usually comes up due to one or two reason: the person asking is considering online dating, or the person asking has been talking with others who are considering it.
Where is your heart? Is it in a good place? Or is it frustrated? Is it lonely? Is it seeking satisfaction in something outside of Christ? Where would your community say your heart is?
Where is your heart in regards to:
Are you in a season where you find yourself satisfied in and with the Lord; or are you in a season of frustration regarding your singleness. I’ll be honest, most conversations I have with people considering online dating fall into the later category. They are tired of being alone, tired of having “no one to ask out” or no one asking them out.
The desire for a relationship, and potential marriage is a good gift from the Lord, but one that will never satisfy in and of itself. There is One who will satisfy, until we are fully pursuing and trusting in Him we will put a burden on a future relationship that it was never intended to carry.
Are you in a season of trusting the Lord or seeking to take things into your own hands?
Is your heart surrounded by community that you trust, listen to and allow to speak into your life? Community is a great gift of God, that He uses to help mold us and shape us more and more into His image. Are we in a place where we are allowing those with whom we do life with to be heard? Or are we tuning them out?
Unfortunately, our tendency is to drift away from community, away from the light and into the shadows. As we examine our hearts, does the draw to online dating feed our tendency to live and act in secret, or are we allowing our community to speak into our hearts?
Is the draw to online dating driven by a heart filled with fear? The fear of rejection, or the fear of not being pursued? Lets be honest the blow of rejection hurts, and can be awkward if we do life around the other person. I don’t want to minimize that at all, but while looking into our hearts a question one must ask themselves is fear the main driving force to diving into online dating.
Perhaps its seen as easier because if they say no, it doesn’t hurt because I don’t really know them, or maybe its easier to say no when its online and not in person. But there is great growth in getting to know people in and around your community and if you get rejected; it matters how you continue to interact with them.
Again, there is no right or wrong answer to the question of should you jump into online dating. There are obviously other questions to ask and things to consider in the process. But, I do believe that there is a heart evaluation process that one must go through as you begin considering it.
This evaluation of your heart should be done honestly and within the context of community in all areas of life, especially when it comes to dating. Knowing that a heart not satisfied in Christ will never be satisfied in a relationship, should drive us to evaluate our hearts throughly.
“The most dangerous thing you can do is to take any one impulse of your own nature and set it up as the thing you ought to follow at all costs” ~ CS Lewis