Welcome to TrueLoveDates.com! I’m Debra Fileta, Professional Counselor & Author of True Love Dates, and I created this blog as a space to pair psychology and Christian spirituality to address all things love, dating, and relationships.
This month, I’ve invited some of my faithful TrueLoveDates readers and subscribers to share their heart with the rest of our blog community for my #GuestPostSeries!! There are some AMAZING singles out there, people!!! I’m choosing 10 guest posts to share with you over the summer. I’m so excited to hear their stories and share their messages with you as well! Enjoy!! And be sure to leave them some love in the comment section below. — Love, Debra
One year ago, I gave up dating, and it changed my life. After six years of living, working, and dating in San Francisco, I was burnt out. I’d dated a handful of guys in the church, got engaged and broke it off, attempted long-distance, and tried several dating apps. In the end, I was single and more confused and tired than ever.
Like many of you, I grew up in a generation of churchgoers who were “kissing dating goodbye,” and for a long time I prided myself on my singleness. But my self-righteous ambitions went out the window in college when I discovered that receiving another person’s love and affection could make me feel – at least, for a while – that I was enough.
In a way, I was addicted to dating. Thankfully, God turned my life around in my mid-twenties, including my love life. He brought me back to his heart for me, his love, his faithfulness. And all the relationships I’d been chasing – or had allowed to chase me – paled in comparison. He gave me a new vision for dating, and I looked forward to having someone to partner with for God’s kingdom, someone to enjoy life with, and someone to learn to love unconditionally. But years of dating – even in a healthy way – took its toll.
So, at the age of twenty-nine, I decided to stop looking and simply rest for a while. I was about to embark on a month-long sabbatical from work and was preparing my heart for a season of rest and reflection. Leading up to this time, I kept hearing God whisper, “I’ve got this.” And he really did.
In fact, four days after sharing on my blog that I was giving up dating, I ended up meeting the man I’m now going to marry. Of course, I didn’t realize it at the time, and I think that’s what saved me. It saved me from obsessing over our meeting, from worrying instead of waiting well, from over-thinking and projecting too far into the future.
For the next month, I visited friends in Colorado and Oregon. I picked berries and hiked mountains and started working on my first book. I carved out time to be still and quiet and reflected a lot on my past relationships. During that time, I discovered several truths that continue to impact the way I love others. I hope they encourage your heart as well.
- God is with you always. Through every season and in every relationship, God is protecting you. Instead of putting up walls or relying on our limited wisdom, we can lean on his strength. We can choose faith over fear and peace instead of perfection. We can trust God’s love for us, remembering that he’s out for our good. He’s got this.
- Life is a constant lesson in vulnerability. There is no closeness without risk. You have to bare little pieces of yourself to another person. And to get a date in the first place, you’re going to have to put yourself out there. Be open to blind dates, try a dating app, ask your married friends for advice, and just be open to people who don’t fit your usual “dating profile.”
- But give yourself permission to be single. Our culture often elevates marriage as the highest goal and can even treat singles as second-class citizens. But in 1 Corinthians, Paul actually touts singleness as a better place to be. Why? Because there is such freedom in being single! And because your focus and love can be more widely distributed when you’re not investing in a marriage. This is not to say that marriage isn’t wonderful; I believe marriage is a gift God uses for our good. But I think we’ve gotten too single-minded about marriage and need to stop caring quite so much about our “relationship status.”
- Be okay being on your own. Believing you are enough is hard. Dating will not cure your loneliness or your boredom. I am reminded of this over and over again. Even though I’m now in a beautifully loving relationship, I still experience loneliness. Especially in a city this big and in the swirl of social media, it’s easy to feel like everyone else has something better going on. This is not true. Everyone’s relationships are hard. Everyone’s life is a little rough around the edges. Instead of focusing on what everyone else is doing, get to know yourself through the process of dating and through alone time. Go for a walk, take a class, do something that inspires you. And hey, you may just meet someone wonderful along the way. I sure did.
- Give so much grace. To yourself. To your date. To your former dates. We’re all broken people trying to put the pieces back together by God’s grace. And in the end, we need each other on the journey. So, stop judging yourself for your imperfections and stop looking at your dates through a giant lens of scrutiny. It’s tempting to analyze people and relationships in the name of “wisdom.” But I think we’d do better to give more grace.
I’m still learning to implement the truths above, and God is refining and expanding my ability to love. As he does, he reminds me that he offers the perfect picture of love. His love drives out all fear and allows us to say with confidence: God’s got this.
A Bay Area native, Laura Nell Richardson now plants her feet in San Francisco where she manages communications for a healthcare startup. She loves sharing meals with friends, seeking out sunshine, and running in Golden Gate Park. Through her writing, she aims to help people overcome perfectionism and experience life fully. She’s currently working on her first book Enough: Lessons in Life & Love from a Recovering Perfectionist.