As I sat one day sipping hot tea and reflecting over my failed relationships this thought came to me. In most instances I've been attracted to my exes out of my shame. By that I mean the parts of me that were broken and hurting, the parts I thought no one would understand, lined up with theirs. We fit due to our brokenness. In the moment those sorts of connections seem good. You both vow not to repeat the offense. You don't feel you're burdening the other person by speaking of your hurt. It works; until it doesn't. The problem is eventually people heal. Once time begins to dull the pain you are no longer the same person (or you are no longer dating the same person). The value the relationship added to both lives disappears. Then you're left wondering what went wrong.
By the time I neared the end of my cup I had another thought.
What if instead of dating someone out of my shame I began dating out of my potential?
What I mean is if as a born again Christian I believe that I have been made new and that I have been given a Kingdom purpose why would I not date someone that helps lead me towards that purpose? It sounds crazy simple, right? But as I think of all the women who have shared their "well, there was a boy" stories with me I can't help but notice the common thread of inadequacy. They didn't feel like they were enough. They didn't feel like they deserved more. That's because they were so busy focusing on who they had been that they were blind to who they had become. And worse to who they were called to be.
I'm thankful for revelations like that. Moments where wisdom just slaps you in the face and you wonder how you didn't see it before. Now when I think of dating I don't look so much for a partner who will protect me. Who promises I'll never relive the pain of my past at his hand. I look to God for that protection and for discernment. Instead I look for a partner who will grow me, who will challenge me, and whose heart aches with the same burdens God has placed in mine for His kingdom. I no longer date out of fear of being alone. In fact I've learned to be wildly protective of those rare moments of time I get to myself. Rather I date with the hope of finding a best friend who will serve alongside me, who will encourage me, and who will hold me accountable.