Dear Younger Me,
I am writing to you from 2018 and yikes! We are officially old. In the last twenty-seven years, I have learned a few things about you and I have a confession to make. You are a know-it-all. I know that is difficult to accept but trust me. After living in your body the past twenty-seven years, I know you. Remember the time Mom told you about some world history fact and you flipped out saying, “How did I not know that already?!” You think you know more than most people, even the wisest people, and sometimes even God. If you are not careful, you will do the same thing when it comes to relationships and the stakes are much higher than trivia.
Whenever Mama cooks something special, it takes time. She adds all of the ingredients at the right time and you are not allowed to taste it until it’s ready. Imagine how irresponsible it would be if she let you taste chicken that wasn’t quite ready. You could get seriously ill. The same principle applies to love and dating. You want to let romance simmer at just the right time, or else the results could be disastrous. In the Bible, King Solomon wrote a breathtaking poem about romantic love. As a man with too much dating experience, he was qualified to say, “I want you to swear, O daughters of Jerusalem, Do not arouse or awaken my love Until she pleases.” This means that there is an appropriate time for romantic love and an inappropriate time for it.
I would urge you to do several things to get your timing right. I would encourage you to think about your identity in Christ. Do you really believe what the Bible says about who you are? Do you trust that you are deeply loved and forgiven just as you are? If you don’t, please focus on that first. This way, you will be more likely to date men who love you as Christ does. Another factor for good timing is knowing the type of man you want to marry. You will discover this by reading God’s word and observing godly examples. Do not simply trust what a man tells you, but trust what he demonstrates with his life. The last thing I want you to consider is your role in dating. This Biblical proverb says it best, “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.” There will be times when young men (and old ones) encourage you to compromise and dishonor God with your words and with your body. I want you to know that you will be accountable to God for these things, so listen to this warning and “flee youthful lusts.” Other versions say “stay away” and “escape.” Do not spend any time entertaining these things.
If you do not remember anything I say, remember this. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” There isn’t a single thing you could do that would keep God from loving you in Christ. Cling to this gospel for all of your successes and all of your failures as you seek to honor God in your dating relationships.