Archive for the ‘dating’ Category

Nonreligious Guide to Dating & Being Single

I love the graphic design all through it. Dustin Bocks, an amazing designer, layed it out. We added surveys, mad libs, dating quotes, pick up lines, it was really fun to put together. I love that what started as a blog series because I was sick of giving the same advice over and over turned into this book! The web series was award winning and had over 275,000 readers which gave me the courage to rewrite this and put it together this way. A special prop to Sally Hanan who is my editor and teacher for the flow edits and restructuring because my mind does not work very linearly.

Our print release is going to be the day before Valentines day and we will have a preorder special (of course) but I felt like since it was done it would be great to get it out and into your hands through your smart phones, Ereaders, computers, and whatever else you can use to read it. Please remember when someone writes a book and you are their friend or you follow their work it helps them so much if you leave comments, write reviews or rate with stars if you buy the book from amazon or barnes and noble or ibooks, and it also helps to spread the word. You guys are my force of marketing, if you love it, the book will sell because of you.

Here is our little video promo for the book : Cheesy but fun

After this many years of rewriting and puting this together its done! I am such a happy man today!
What are you working on? When is your due date?

BLOG 9.0 OBSESSION AND STALKERS

You knew it would come, the one and only blog on Christian stalkers. This, however, isn’t a how to be a Christian stalker. Though I did want to write that, but I don’t have enough experience. I wanted to delve into an incredibly deceptive attitude that has influenced many people in the church unfortunately of all ages. This is a repeat of a blog I did a few years ago updated.

I am just going to tell 2 stories, because a story is worth a thousand sermons sometimes. I didn’t want to put pictures in or add anything to this because it could get scary. If you are being stalked, please talk to your leadership in your church and if its serious then talk to the police. I have had to do both. If you are stalking¦—stop it. Falling in love is a relational process not a solo obsession of pursuit.

Don’t you love how many people mistake their own inner voice for God’s? Does that mean God sounds crazy to many people? Sometimes its obviously demonic or even plain insanity but sometimes its just the person wanting something so badly that they deceive themselves for the sake of misplaced love.

That was the case of Angelina (changed name for the book for obvious reasons and I like that name it will help me to write this). I was in a city praying for everyone in the church and when I went to the back row there was Angelina. She was very excited when I got to her although I didn’t notice how much so. When the meeting was over I could tell she wanted to connect, which happens often on trips, but I didn’t have time…So I did a minister avoidance walk (that’s when you walk very fast holding your cell phone or some other such object trying to look busy and important so that people will leave you alone).

Years went by and since I barely noticed her I barely noticed when she moved to my city. Little did I know that the night I had prayed for her, the girl and her whole church she thought she heard from God that I was “THE ONE!” She began to get involved with people who were close to my friends, and pretty soon she was hanging out around us regularly. I just thought the guys and girls were reaching out to someone who had such a spirit of rejection and I accepted that but I avoided her for the most part because I got a weird discernment vibe from her.

In her mind, her plan was working and she actually was setting goals to become friends with my family, my friends, and ultimately me. She then moved a block away which in our town was noticeable. I would often see her car drive down our street instead of hers to get home. Then I started running into her at restaurants, grocery stores, and other public places. As a matter of fact when I would arrive to church she would mysteriously be there at the same time. I was starting to get creeped out. I asked one of our friends who seemed to know her the best if she had a job and she didn’t. She literally showed up where I was at least once a day if not everywhere I went and would say “Wow, this is God, He must want us to see each other.”

No creepy lady, it was you following me here in a very strange way trying to pursue your fantasy life.

This began her full time stalking me. I asked our mutual friend to talk to her about backing off because it was getting weird. That’s when I received a 12 page hand written letter that smelled of some Biblical fragrance that basically said she was praying for me knowing I was her husband…and that if I didn’t marry her by a certain date I would die. Yes, you heard it right. She said that she knew as soon as I came all the way to the back of her church just to pray for her. I was shocked because that night I prayed for literally everyone in the church. I had not made a special point to pray for just her as she had perceived. She also talked about demons that had been plaguing her ever since, trying to get her to deny the fact that she had heard from God about me. (I wonder if those were angels of mercy).

So I went to my leaders, and they talked to her. They asked her “Are you open to the fact that you may be deceived in this?”

She said no and again mentioned my death in a letter, but when I showed it to police they believed it was a death threat. I had to get a restraining order. She was really interestingly sweet (although strange and eccentric) in person but the letters that came in were getting darker and darker, telling me that she was God’s agent to destroy me if I didn’t fulfill the promise. 

Finally one day after she followed me to the prayer room in Kansas City I told one of the leaders to watch us and I felt empowered to just go talk to her. I had tried before and it hadn’t worked but I was sick of the fear she was trying to put on me. I went straight up to her in the parking lot and talked to her and told her I would NEVER marry her and that it was wrong of her to do what she was doing. Also that she was forfeiting her life to a stupid promise and what if God wanted to give her something real and she was missing it because of her fantasy life.

She looked at me and her eyes glazed over and she said “What do you mean? I never wanted to marry you! I don’t know what you are talking about. How embarrassing!”

It was the strangest reaction I could have ever expected but it worked. She went into a denial but unfortunately she picked another guy to stalk after me. I don’t think he’s dead or anything but they didn’t get married.

Another stalker I had, got very close to my whole friendship network was very intense. I had known her for quite some time but she was like a little sister in a way. I didn’t know she had made up a whole fantasy life about our marriage and kids we would have. After not seeing her for close to a year, her parents friends asked for an emergency meeting one night and I didn’t know why.

They met with me to confront me on why I was not committing to her. I had no idea what they were talking about. They said that when we had been on the date the night before that I had talked about marriage or some such thing and they wondered why I was leading her on without commitment. I told them that I was out with friends the night before and I hadn’t seen her in over a year, and I didn’t know what they were talking about. I told them that I had never dated her secretly or publicly.

That’s when they told me her story. She would actually disappear from her house and tell everyone she was dating me and that they had to keep it a secret. She made up in her whole family structure a secret life and would talk about me to them all the time. She would tell them what I had said and what I liked. It was very sad because I hadn’t talked to her at all about anything and yet she felt the need to validate her journey of marrying me by making up a fantasy life. 

She may have a mental disorder but scary enough she probably just chose to believe a lie. Luckily her family intervened. 

The Korean Esther

The last one is the most ridiculous and sad. I do not feel bad about publically talking about it because we made such an effort to communicate the deception this woman was in with her pastors, friends, and even face to face. I was in Korea at one point in one of the many wonderful churches and I prayed a release for those woman who felt they had the passion like Esther of the Bible. I prayed with the pastors with each one of the woman, there were hundreds. 

One of these woman had received a word from another Korean that she was about to meet her husband and that he was going to pray a release of an “Esther anointing” over her. Well, in comes Shawn who is innocently praying over a whole room of woman. This woman was hooked from the moment I prayed for her, and she went so far as to change her name to Esther because she believed I wanted to marry an “Esther.”

This began a violently intrusive stalking where she began to get as close to us from another foreign country as she could. She called sometimes 20 times a day on multiple ministry phone numbers and she tried to send gifts. Then when I would visit Korea she was in every meeting and would sit as high as she could in every meeting so that I would notice her. If I did notice her she would lip the words “I LOVE YOU” and draw circles around her heart. She got to the point where she even showed up at the airport to go home with me, saying she was ready to be married. 

I told her that I was not her husband and that she needed to give up this fantasy. I was very kind but direct. She then had many of my dear friends who are Korean pastors talk to her about it and they came back and told me her response. She said “I know Shawn told me such harsh statements because he is testing my devotion to him. I know now more then ever that I am to marry him!”

She began to order all my teaching CD’s from churches or conferences I was going to and would use any personal information to find out where I would be or what I was doing. She came to Los Angeles a few weeks before I moved there and told the LAPD that I was her finance and had abandoned her and they called me angry until I told them I didn’t even know her. Then she broke into houses of people who had the same name as team members of Expression58 to get my phone number out of their address books. She went to jail several times.

Then after all of this she began to show up at my meetings and we had to have her arrested many times as she would show up in wedding dresses and with notes or gifts demanding time with me and to go home with me. She tried to bribe me and offered four million American dollars to get married. 

Even after wonderful Christians spent time with her counseling her and telling her that I was not her husband she decided she wanted to take a more violent pursuit of our marriage. I don’t know what this means, but it shows you how someones deception can cause distraction, crime, and even life endangerment. 

Stalkers Are Us.

What gets someone to that point of deception that these girls had gotten to? (If I was a woman I would be saying guys, because many of my single girl friends have had male stalkers. These stories are even more frightening because men or more aggressive pursuers. ). How do you believe in something so much that you will lie to yourself and live a fantasy? I can’t tell you but what I do know is that stalking starts out with believing in a lie. These are only 3 of about 12 stories now and I am not telling you the most dangerous or bizarre. 

So even though I am only telling you my end as a man, this happens both ways. In a psychology magazine I read a few years ago, it said that men are more prone to stalk then woman. I have not done research but it would make sense. 

I don’t want to comment much on what I am writing other then this: If you know someone has a revelation or a desire to marry you (not to date or get to know you) immediately bring someone with you and tell them directly that you are not interested so they have the opportunity to hear truth. This is innocent enough in the beginning but then it can turn into full fledged stalking.

I also want to note that many girls who write me emails always qualify it saying “I don’t want to be taken as one of your stalkers.” This makes me laugh but it is also sad. Please don’t qualify it to me. I trust that 99% of woman are innocent. The real stalkers are obvious and scary. You are innocent until proven guilty. I know most girls are not writing to get me to be their husbands. I love friendship.

Qualifiers and permissions: I want to remind you that this blogging series is for adults. It is to help adults process their free will choice to pursue relationships. I believe youth have different restrictions based on their parents relationship with them then these blogs address. Also, you have permission to print/use/repost this blog if you post it in its entirety with reference to http://www.blog.myspace.com/eagledove so that people can read them all in context. Lastly, remember this is my blogging so grammar, spelling, etc is not monitored for me, my comments, your comments, or anything else. FREEDOM from English class! Thanks!

BLOG 4.0
ABOUT GUYS, FOR GUYS. ANYONE ELSE: READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Girls stop reading. I know you’re probably going to read it anyways because girls are so nosy…but consider yourself warned: there is guy talk in this chapter. Your welcome to try, and if you can get through it as a female you will probably have learned some valuable lessons.

A story:
One of my last relationships I was in was to a girl who had an abstinence thrust in her philosophy of dating. I loved it except it meant that we couldn’t kiss until the flower girl marched her petals down the alter. This was not a deal breaker in the relationship but I wanted to know why this was so important to her.

Well…she needed the commitment, because she didn’t trust herself and me because of physical boundaries she had crossed. Despite the fact that I eventually would want some innocent lip action when we were on the true road to marriage, I honored her standards because I liked her a lot (I was even starting to like her in the way that love starts).

Now some of you just got offended because I said I wanted to kiss a girl who I am not married to. Each of us has different convictions on the issue, but let me redeem this a little…read on. 

#1 reason why break ups happen or suck = People crossed into a physical side of the relationship. 

Now that I have gained a little of my credibility back, lets talk reality.

I have mentored tons of guys. Believe it or not, the ones who were raised in the church have the same struggles as the ones who weren’t. They just struggle in a more contained way with much less experience, because of their limited amount of relationships. 

Here is what is true of all guys: If you press their “ON” button, then you have started a machine that will only feel completed when you keep feeding it. This is called lust, we all know it, we have all felt it.

The “On” Button

Now the problem is that each guys “ON” lust button is a little, if not completely, different. 

Some guys get turned ON by a look.
Some guys get turned ON by a kiss.
Some guys get turned ON by a hug.
Some guys get turned ON by kissing.
And ALL guys get turned ON by kissing more then a few kisses. Obviously there are more intentional ways to get the ON button working, but they are obvious ways and we don’t need to go there.

When the “ON” button gets pushed anything and everything that happens from that point is like missile command pressing the big irreversible red button – there is no turning back. The interaction will end in your pants and shame, even if she’s not the one to go there with you. 

The other problem about our “ON” button is that it changes from day to day depending on how good we feel, how our hormones are interacting with our mind that day, or how hot she is (I mean how spiritual and Godly she is…yeah that’s it..) So that means we have a responsibility to set some personal standards so that we keep that “ON” button closed behind a bullet proof glass box just like missile command.

SETTING BARBWIRE BOUNDARIES FOR YOUR HORMONES AND RELATIONSHIPS: 

1 Set physical boundaries based on your own human weaknesses and strengths. 

Each relationship is different and just because the last girl’s hugs didn’t turn you on doesn’t mean the next ones won’t. Some have just the right way of hugging or the right pressing that will affect you differently. If your “ON” button starts with the lips, learn to love holding her hands. 

Special note: Until you are ready to make a commitment, any lip action will lead you down an emotional connected road that will push the relationship faster then you want to go.

Some people can kiss without going to the dark place – but everyone will get there if the kisses are just right…remember the analogy of the big red “ON” button? 

2 Don’t make your physical standards based on just your own strengths and weaknesses, but also based on hers. 

Did you know that one out of four women have been molested and that while 15% of them shut down sexually after this, studies show that another 40% are more willing to cross physical boundaries because of this. This means that you have to set physical boundaries based on getting to know her in her experience or lack their of. Believe it or not, many of the guys I have taken through inner healing were not the aggressor in the physical sexual relationship. 

3 Don’t let her set the boundaries in a physical relationship alone. 

Many guys will not make the first move but it is DANGEROUS to let your gal pal dictate the physical boundaries. Many guys will only do what the girl is comfortable with, but when a guys “ON” button is pressed, he will follow her down any path she leads. So if you are letting a gal pal set the boundaries, she may not even know what she is inviting from you and it may spiral down to the uh oh realm. 

Let me give you an example. (I have changed the names in this story so the guys name is Brick because most guys are dumb as a brick when hormones are involved. The girls name is Dolores (which means causer of pain, because most women are when it comes to hormones outside of marriage).

Brick and Dolores

Brick was with Dolores for their second outing and at the end of the date she began to kiss on his face cutely. Then it turned even more fun and she began to kiss him on the mouth. Brick had never felt this good and had never kissed this long. Then guilt hit him that he felt so good because it was showing (if you don’t get that then don’t try).

Dolores pressed into the kissing but Brick being a good boy said “No, wait, we better not…” Or some desperate exasperation. Then Dolores wanted to help Brick as a man feel good and not get frustrated…so…some things happened (don’t use your imagination) and Brick felt awful. He felt like he took advantage of Dolores (he had) but he had never been touched like that (still don’t use your imagination).

He came to me for prayer and counsel. I asked him “Brick I know this was new to you but has she done this before in other relationships?”

He didn’t know. He found out later that she had been molested at a young age and ever since had been sexually confused about boundaries and now was enjoying but hating herself for helping her boyfriends out. She had crossed this line a few times.

BOUNDARIES BASED ON MUTUAL STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES…

You know what awakens the Brick’s in us the most? When you begin a physical relationship without setting boundaries based on you and your partners needs and weaknesses. Without being honest with your weakness AND your partners weaknesses you are setting yourself up for failure. As soon as you get past the point of hugs, then its good to know a little about what you are dealing with in each other. If you are a Brick, then Dolores won’t fail with you because you will have grace for her weakness and inner healing journey…and she for yours if you need one.

4 Set Boundaries on the Time You Spend. 

Its so fun in dating to just hang out, and keep hanging out…and keep hanging out. But then pretty soon that’s all a couple does all day and sometimes into the wee hours of the morning. When you get into a relationship, it is so important to set boundaries on how you are going to spend your time. Just planning and time management…so when its midnight and you are cuddling on a couch all alone watching a little TV and the old movie Top Gun comes on, the “Take My Breath Away” scene doesn’t suddenly throw you into a downward spiral ending with babies. 

Setting boundaries on time and managing your schedule on how much time you will spend, the kind of activities you will do, and even how late you will be together is a HUGE key to successfully dating and staying out of trouble. Most guys are most vulnerable when they are tired and goalless. This happens for me after about midnight. If I was dating I would just like to sit close on a couch and talk. But if you are alone, this can turn into laying on the couch and then a cute kiss and then…oops there it is! I think when you get into a dating relationship you have to decide together what is healthy and not compromise that amount of time.

It is also good to ask some of the friends and authority figures who you are involved with how they perceive your relationship. Do they see it as all consuming or balanced? That is huge when planning your future time spending together.

When you do begin to compromise and spend too much time (like every waking hour together) you are crossing a line of what is healthy because it means you are isolating from other relationships. People who spend this type of time together are almost always also neglecting their relationship with God. That means that you are sacrificing Jesus at the alter of worldly romance, not to mention your other friendships. This leads us to number six:

5 Stay involved with your other friends. 

Most people who fail in relationship whether physically or emotionally have one major thing in common: They isolate from the rest of their friends and spend all their time with their new girl. This is one of the most unhealthy ways to build a relationship, because not only do you end up codependent with the person you are dating, you have no one else you are processing life with in a regular way and your perspective can begin to get very warped and self serving. I don’t know how many people I know who have lost great God given relationships to their selfishness of dating. Your friendships may change as you begin to get involved in a more serious dating relationship, but your core life friendships shouldn’t stop. They should evolve with you and very rarely should the life long godly friendships go away.

An old model from one stream of the church does try and tell you to die to all friendships for the sake of your new love, but this is not only unbiblical…it is an Antichrist message. As a Christian you are dependant on the community that God is raising up around you, not just the new relationship you are pursuing. Even if this is the one you are going to marry. It takes a village to raise a child and it takes everyone in your life to keep you balanced.

6 Overcome your Past Failures. 

If you have had sexual contact or imbalanced relationships, be real about it and then get healing for it fast. Get someone who has maturity to walk you into the fullness of truth in the center of what happened. You will have a tendency to repeat past failures no matter how good you feel now. Every time you cross a line, it creates a pattern in your flesh that your flesh remembers and wants to recreate (substitute penis for flesh if you are thinking right about this). Just being accountable and talking about these things is usually not enough. It’s good to find out how you got there and then also go through self forgiveness and forgiveness for the one you went there with. 

I know that many churches kill their wounded, meaning if you admit weakness you will be looked down upon or disqualified. This is one of the main reasons why so many people don’t just fail, but live in failure. You need help in failure, and there are safe people who can help you.

Single Men Are Innocent Until Proven Guilty. 

Let’s get back to the main overview for you guys. The religious spirit projected upon many men says that you aren’t trustworthy and that you will fail with a woman just because you are a man. 

Let me tell you that you are innocent until proven guilty. Your manhood does not have to be a death sentence to you even with females. If you have failed, you can get back up easily. It just takes work and dedication. Every man has the ability to embrace purity and become super.

Shame is one of our worse enemies and if you live under it, you are going to suffer great limitations. The cross was big enough for all your mistakes to be nailed and left there.

Let me also say…as a father to some and as a brother to others…I have kept everything in my pants and all women’s hands out of my pants…I’m now in my thirties and you can have this kind of purity, even if you are starting today. Some guys think because they have already started the machine that the only answer is to get into a marriage relationship so they can feed it. God can restore your innocence of your flesh and take away even the physical drive to be one with a woman. He restores virginity, which is a spiritual and emotional state of being before it is a physical one.

God gave me grace. I know He can for you too. Maybe it will help some of you to know that there is purity available on a real level even as you get older.

So guys don’t be a Brick. Define your dating boundaries. Come on BE A MAN! 
(and girls if you are reading this—you just made baby Jesus cry …ok ok maybe not. This might have helped you as well).

NEXT WEEK’S BLOG: 
BLOG 6.0 LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE GIRLS! (YES SHAWN BOLZ IS ADDRESSING WOMAN!)

Qualifiers and permissions: I want to remind you that this blogging series is for adults. Not because it contains any adult content but it is to help adults process their free will choice to pursue relationships. I believe youth have different restrictions based on their parents relationship with them then these blogs address. You have permission to print/use/repost this blog if you post it in its entirety with reference to http://www.blog.myspace.com/eagledove so that people can read them all in context. Thanks!

i know its just wrong...im sorry

BLOG 4.0
I KISSED DATING GOODBYE BUT THEN ASKED IT OUT AGAIN…

Now before you throw this blog in the recycle bin or write me hate mail or a monster criticism based on the chapter title lets go on a journey together. Every relationship has a process to it so lets talk about process. 

I want to start telling a story about when I was in high school as a young Christian man in the church whose hormones lead me into very interesting situations. Our church embraced very conservative theology over relationships, and because of this the ladies in our church embraced it, so needless to say my chances with these girls were limited to none unless I was willing to say I was courting to marry them on the first date which I refused to do.

Luckily the girls at our church were not made to wear old woman garb and cover their heads without any sign of makeup – that was my good friend’s church. I think he’s gay now.

The Great Balancing Act of Relationships

This particular chapter is about balance. We need to have a balanced perspective on setting goals to pursuing relationships. 

I will start out by saying that the vast majority of the church has over reacted to the worldliness of secular dating and has put up such stringent rules for getting into a relationship that singles often get stuck. 

Many of these rules require that you have some sort of knowing from heaven that says “This is the one for you FOREVER!” before you even start getting to know the person. This causes clunky courtship destined only for marriage whether you discover if he/she is a psycho or not. 

Of course that scenario only happens when the one who has supposedly heard from God actually tells their object of desire that they are interested, which in some Christian circles can take months…no years of the burning desire brewing to the point of insanity. We will talk about this scenario later..it creates a Christian form of stalking. (I am doing a whole blog just on stalking with some current stories of my very own stalkers! Stay tuned!)

Also many of the church people who began to write materials on dating or setting these standards never used them in their own relationships. This means a lot of what is written is in reaction to weakness as opposed to written for the sake of truth and enjoying life.

So here is where we need to go in our talk: A balanced way to pursue a desire of your heart and an attraction of your spirit, mind, and body. I have spent many hours hearing awesome dating life stories from Christians who are now married. I have also walked next to some who are now hurting from painful imbalanced relationships.

We really need to address balance. 

Repeat after me: Just because one church embraces a more traditional courtship model doesn’t mean that I have to or should, or if they are completely liberal it shouldn’t make me a complete follower until I have found the desire of God in these things first.

YOU ARE IN CHARGE OF THE RELATIONSHIP YOU BUILD

When you read this next statement it is not written so that you will cast off restraints and close your ears to your authority figures. I am not inviting you to rebel against your leadership or your parents or family unit. 

You do however have a responsibility to be in charge of the relationships you build. You have to have your own mind about this process of relationships. At the end of the day God will hold you responsible for how you pursued the relationship. Male/Female romantic relationships are not supposed to be dictated by your parents. They are not supposed to be organized by your ministry that you are accountable to, they may be inspired by it though. 

So many people are submitting themselves in wrong ways trusting another man or woman with their life and destiny in this area, and we aren’t talking about the person that they are pursuing or being pursued by. I know people who let their parents or pastors have so much authority in this process that they don’t even think for themselves in it and just coast on autopilot to other peoples decisions. That hasn’t worked out for anyone I know to well. 

You and I both know that relationships are the most precious thing besides the first commandment that we have. That means that God himself wants to be in the process of choice. He wants to encourage you as you facilitate your relationship and He even wants to speak into that process. 

So much of what the world and much of the religious culture promotes is not true healthy relationship but instead codependent marriage or courting relationships. We need to desire inter dependent loving sacrificing relationship. One is based on our human desire, one is based on God’s spiritual desire.

YOU HAVE FREEDOM TO SET YOUR OWN STANDARDS

Now let me state this, unless you have a bad moral foundation or major character issues then you have the freedom to set your own standards in the relationship process. God will mentor you, and as you hear healthy stories from those who are experiencing good marriage or relationships around you this will help you. You will need advice, help, counsel, and friendships that are role models, but you need to avoid controlling relationships. Although you want to learn from others, you can not let yourself be controlled by someone else’s model, type, or standards. These models and theological structures can inspire you but you can’t be bound to someone else’s interpretation to your own personal process. This is where the spirit of control thrives, to get you addicted to someone else’s opinions and desires for you. 

As a pastor it is not my job to set standards in other adult lives, but I am to help guide them as a father into creating their own standards. When people set their own standards through right interpretation of the Scripture and through balanced relationships that have accountability and love, they will live or die by them. When I set standards for someone, they never fully own them in a life and death way. Instead it just becomes good principles in their heads. If I helped someone get married primarily out of my desire for them, then that means when they went through a hard time I would have to help maintain their relationship or their desire for each other. 

I have seen this happen to young couples whose parents or friends wanted it more then they did for each other and sometimes in these unhealthy cases, it’s those that wanted them together that project their desire for each other more then it really exists.

GOD LOVES LOVE, ITS WHAT HE SPEAKS MOST ABOUT

 

God is a relational God and He personally loves love – are you going to let someone else’s standards steal the relationship process from you? That is what I define as a “religious dating spirit” Being bound by others doctrine in a way that violates your own choice to pursue God and others in a way that is different.

Yes there are voices that set an example but these examples are only types of what it can be like. Since every relationship is radically different that means the process will be too. 

So freedom to you if you are bound by someone else’s desire for you or model for you. Set your own first, and let theirs be inspirational to what God is already showing you! If you need help setting standards, coming up with a relationship process, etc begin to reach out to your Christian friends who have success in their relationship. If you read books or go to seminars on relationships then make sure to get a balanced perspective and not hide behind a model itself.

A CHRISTIAN CUSS WORD: DATING

Here is where I will offend many but hopefully it will all work out: God invented Dating. He created a process of pursuing, alluring, provoking, the one you are spiritually and sexually attracted to. This has worked out different in every culture and each culture has its strengths and limits about the subject but God inspired the idea of romance. He loves romance and the concept of the “D” word is first his before it’s the worlds or satan’s. Its just been so imbalanced and people cycle through more of the opposite sex faster then a competitor can cycle through the iron man.

God Himself, spoke romantically all through the Bible to show His continuing wooing of Israel and His covenant people. It was a dating or courtship process that required steps and process. It was also very different in each season of the pursuit so there was form to it but no one model each time. This is important to understand because God Himself dated Israel! OK OK He didn’t date because He knew what He was going to inherit the bride for Himself but He did use relationship language. Jesus was promised a bride and came down from heaven to prepare her for Himself. 

Before you hate on me, let me give you what I think God’s definition is of dating:

Dating according to God = The pursuit or being pursued by someone who is qualified to be interested in us. Getting to know someone you are attracted to both spiritually and naturally with the desire for a love to develop that MIGHT and hopefully (key word = might) lead to marriage. Bonding with someone in order to get to know them in a way to possibly share life with them.

Now let me tell you the worlds definition of dating:

Dating according to the world = To find someone to be happy with and enjoy. Shopping for someone to spend your life with. Sometimes to hook up or try out potential people in all areas of possible connection. To have an encounter with someone based on sexual chemistry. To say to a girl “How you doin?” and hope she responds for the night. The desire to no longer be alone. The hope for a better life based on the American dream. The desire for immediate gratification from the opposite sex without any long term hope. The desire to be with someone to avoid the pain of lonliness.

Now let me tell you the religious spirit’s definition of dating: 

Dating…no wait Scratch that! : Courting (better Christian word to separate ourselves from danger) according to the church= to meet someone that all your key people in your religious world approve of then get married as soon as possible because that is the only goal. To meet someone in hopes that they are your absolutely perfect counterpart which will allow you to accomplish all of God’s greater goals for your life, and without them you might never accomplish anything real. To meet someone that God tells you is the one then rush through intimacy building calling it courtship. Also, means To pretend like you aren’t dating without the fun of dating.

Let me be real. If you are going to spend the rest of your life with someone of the opposite sex then God wants to give you the time and enjoyment of getting to know them without planning your whole wedding on the first date in your mind. This made me think about my friends in home school when I was in high school who never had the chance to meet anyone because they were taught the religious form of dating. This meant that the person had to drop out of the sky and say “Marry Me!” right off the bat.

Most of them are still unmarried. My poor home school friends don’t even have a chance, who do they get to meet? Obviously many homeschoolers do not have this problem because there are many different types of parents raising homeschool kids. The ones I was referring to were not necessarily the standard homeschoolers, they were more of the extreme (whisper: I hope at least).

SETTING STANDARDS: 

Do you know its ok to get to know someone you are interested in without having to visualize her/ him at the alter? Of course its good to be interested in them for the desire of marriage, but this desire can not be desperate or the only focus. The relationship itself has to be the goal, not the progression of where the relationship will lead you. Well let’s talk about it. 

If we were only in relationship with Jesus with the only motivation to go to heaven, what a terrible and boring relationship that would be. It would be based on need/fear/freedom from hell instead of love/intimacy/union with God. Most of us treat dating this way, having the ultimate motive of just getting married to someone. Whenever there is a focus in a male/female relationship that is beyond just building relationship without a foundation of intimacy and friendship then it becomes imbalanced.

How do you set a standard of getting to know someone you are interested in a clean way? How many times are you allowed to go through this without looking like a church hussy? 

We coined this term “church hussy’ because most people start to look bad after they have dated more then three people in the church to the rest of the community in the congregation. They look especially bad if one was one of the pastors adult children.

What are the safety nets that will keep you um…safe when it comes to going forward or backing out even if its not mutual? We are going to look at this question in future chapters, keep reading on.

*END

STAY TUNED FOR BLOG 5.0 NEXT MONDAY!

IM NOT MARRIED AND SO CAN YOU BE!

So one of the most common questions by mothers that I get is “Why are you not married yet?” Some ask as if asking if there is something wrong with me. Some ask as if asking if there is something wrong with the woman in my life for not catching me yet. Some wonder even if I am gay. 

Can’t a guy catch a break? 

To build credibility with the mothers who constantly are trying to fix me up with their daughters, nieces, sisters, and even themselves, let me take you on my journey. Oh wait, if you take that previous line as arrogant then you might think that I am under the presumption that I am this amazing catch. I am only sought after because I am in the public eye to some degree…I am under no dilusions of awesomeness ::grin:: although I do think I have a great smile. I never thought I would write this into a blog, but sometimes someone else’s journey helps you have faith for your own.

FOR ME IT WAS THE FREEDOM OF BEING SINGLE THAT HE WANTED.

When I was 20 I was involved with a girl who I thought I would be with forever. I had our whole life planned out down to names for children. I had been convinced for over a while that I was going to marry this beautiful girl and I know she cared deeply for me as well. 

Then (abbreviated version) I clearly felt Jesus ask me to walk with Him for a season. He asked me to sacrifice my romantic love for Him telling me that He wanted an intimacy that was deeper but needed my attention on Him for a season. 

There was nothing wrong with my love for her, he was not punishing me. He was also not just wanting to work on my character so I could be “ready.” He was just inviting me into a walk with Him that was special and set apart. I had a choice, and I said “If you will fulfill my desires and keep me from deep loneliness then I will walk with you.” 

I felt specifically to not be in a relationship during the decade of my twenties. I wasn’t legalistic and I knew it was an invitation so I was willing to take it day by day and walk with Him this way. I wasn’t crippled by the restraint, instead I walked in a level of freedom from having to think about a mate, who she might be, what our life might be like, and I was able to completely focus on Him. 

I am so glad I chose to walk with Him in this way for so long personally because He has filled my life with opportunities that I just wouldn’t have been able to accomplish without the freedom of being fully dedicated. 

It made me wonder: What if a generation of Christians give a dedicated season where they choose not to think about a spouse or romance for a time? Of course I am not asking anyone to make this commitment or for the length of time I have but what would happen if we would allow ourselves to be set apart first?

Some people think this is very idealistic but actually, when it’s a choice, its very practical and grace based. 

Either way, if your heart is to potentially pursue the person you meet that seems right, or if you choose to be set a part, there is a lot to learn about yourself. The odds are most people don’t want to be alone, they already feel ready to pursue someone or feel lonely enough to find someone who will at least offer basic companionship but the first step is not about a relationship, it is about you. Throughout these blogs we are going to cover foundations of relationships, but it starts with singleness. Who are you?

LEARNING ABOUT YOU: THE KEY TO BEING WHO YOU NEED TO BE
“I am good enough, smart enough, and dog on it (!) People like me!.”

When you are on a journey of life, perhaps more importantly then discovering the person you may or may not marry is first to discover who you are. Having a foundation of personal identity is the key to living a fulfilled life. Many people go into relationships without any sense of self and so they look at the relationship to define who they are. This becomes dangerous and selfish.

The other thing people do is put together their dream list of what they want in someone else. I think what is more important is first putting together a dream list in what you want to see God do in you first! 

Lets put together our very own best version of our self scale that we can compare our self too. What do you want to be for someone? 

What defines your own self identity? I have a journaling project for you! Everyone get out a little notebook or open a word document you are going to begin to define your identity! 

On the first page write:

____YOUR NAME HERE___ Kick Butt Guide to Dating and Being Single Self Identity Survey

Next page write first question:

 

HOW WOULD I DESCRIBE MY ABILITY TO LOVE PEOPLE. (STAY SIMPLE AND HONEST BUT GIVE A PARAGRAPH OF STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES).

Page two:

HOW DO I DESCRIBE MY STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES IN RECEIVING LOVE FROM OTHERS. (AGAIN WRITE A PARAGRAPH OR TWO ABOUT THIS)

Page Three:

Write: WHAT ARE FIVE KEY WORDS TO DEFINE MY CORE STRENGTHS THAT MAKE UP WHO I AM? WHAT IS MY OWN PERSONAL DEFINITION OF THOSE CORE STRENGTHS? 

Page Four:

Oh Come on we are only half way done. Keep going this is going to get good!WHAT ARE FIVE KEY WORDS THAT DEFINE MY CORE WEAKNESSES THAT RESIST WHO I AM CALLED TO BE? WHAT IS MY PERSONAL DEFINITION OF EACH WORD?

Page Five:

This is a hard one to do without training or help but try it: WHAT AREAS DO I FEEL CALLED TO AS MY LIFE MISSION. DEFINE 1-5 SENTENCES THAT DESCRIBE WHAT YOUR LIFE PURPOSE OR CALLING IS. (not things like world peace, but actual dreams/goals that make up what you are hoping your life will lead you into).

Page Six

WHAT ARE THE TALENTS YOU HAVE THAT YOU ARE DEVELOPING OR HAVE DEVELOPED THAT YOU WANT YOUR RELATIONSHIP CIRCLE TO KNOW THAT YOU OPERATE IN?

Page Seven:

Here is one of the hardest pages. Be honest this is for you!
DO I LIKE MY OWN LOOKS? DESCRIBE WHAT YOU LIKE AND DON’T LIKE. WHAT WOULD I GET DONE TO MYSELF IF I HAD MY OWN EXTREME MAKEOVER? 

DO I LIKE MY OWN PERSONALITY? WHAT ARE MY RELATIONAL STRENGTHS THAT COME THROUGH MY PERSONALITY? (like: I am good at making people feel at home. I am good at hello’s and goodbye’s. I have a good sense of humor. I like my own jokes)

Page Eight:

DO I LIKE MY OWN RELATIONAL ABILITIES? 
DO I LIKE THE WAY PEOPLE RELATE TO ME?

Page Nine:

PRETEND LIKE YOU WERE SOMEONE OF THE OPPOSITE SEX WHO WAS INTERESTED IN YOU. LIST ALL OF THE DREAMS THEY MIGHT HAVE FOR SOMEONE. HOW DO YOU MEASURE UP?

Now what’s important about answering these types of questions is it’s the kind of survey that puts a mirror up to your own self and you start to get to know yourself. Some of you may need a journey of getting to know yourself. This happens best in knowing God and also being in relationship to others.

*END

APPOLOGIES FOR THE DELAY ON THE BLOG THIS WEEK…BUT STAY TUNED FOR NEXT WEEKS BLOG 4.0: “I KISSED DATING GOODBYE, AND THEN I ASKED IT OUT AGAIN.”

Disclaimer:

You may repost this blog in its entirety but it is copyrighted material. Permission to use this for any commercial means is not granted. Remember it is a blog so the editing will be raw. Please feel free to leave comments, rants, perspectives, and questions on the myspace version of the blog.

 

Enjoy! 
Shawn Bolz

http://blog.myspace.com/eagledove

http://wordpress.shawnbolz.com

http://www.shawnbolzblog.blogspot.com  

www.expression58.org

 

 

THE UNRELIGIOUS GUIDE TO DATING AND BEING SINGLE!

Blog 2.0 : SINGLE AND LOVING/HATING IT

 So lets talk about sex. Oh wait that subject comes later in another blog, and what a great subject it is! Lets not pause for a moment here to think about it because I need you to be in a spiritual frame of mind. No really, please come back to the page…look down at the words….there you are. Welcome back!

 Before we talk about anything else, we need to establish a foundation. Let me make a statement right off the bat that is important: If you are a Christian you do not have to be married, but you can choose to be. If you are consumed with marriage as a need then you are not living in the grace which Jesus paid a huge price for you to walk in. Let me show you what I mean, it all has to do with God’s desire for you.

 When Adam and Eve were judged, part of their judgment was the fact that they were bound to each other. Genesis 3:17-18. There was already a Godly joining between Adam and Eve, but the desire to share oneself with one another changed from a CHOICE to a NEED with the separation from God.

Before the fall I would define this covenant that Adam and Eve had for one another as being the same that caused God to create man in the first place. It was a righteous desire to share enjoyment with another being.

 

 

After the fall this changed from desire and became a need of dependency for living. The fellowship with God was broken, the relationship dynamics hanged with the judgments of the fall of man. The trend in life in the Old Testament was that everyone (for the most part) was married working a normal job, and that was their lot in life and their whole hope for a fulfilled purpose. Fellowship with each other could not hold the same meaning as it once had because God was not as present in the relationship.

 At the same time God allowed marriage to be a picture of His covenant desire to share Himself with man. Marriage was not a judgment from the fall, but a redemptive picture that acted like a shadow to show us what eternity will be like.

 When Jesus prayed in John 17 to have union with us, the Father honored this desire of His, because it was the original plan of heaven. It is what Adam and Eve had and lost. They were untied with God in a covenant love that had no earthly comparison. Their relationship to each other before the fall was in enjoying this union with God which played out in their own union.

Because of the prayer Jesus prayed in John 17 he was able to promise us the Holy Spirit, and in that He was promising the restoration of God’s original plan. Through the Holy Spirit we have that longing for deep relationship, or a counterpart, fulfilled! He is the fulfillment of that desire! Adam and Eve after their fall were bound to each other. Because of redemption, we as Christians are bound to Jesus. Though we need relationships we don’t necessarily need an earthly counterpart to have a fulfilled life here on earth.

 This doesn’t mean we will not have to work at our relationship with the Holy Spirit. In some ways it can hold less immediate gratification then marriage, but when you pursue the Holy Spirit with a whole heart, there is always the payoff of true union.

 One of the most powerful demonstrations of this principle is that in the New Testament, rarely are spouses ever mentioned. This isn’t discounting marriage, but it is also not validating it as a primary need of humanity anymore. The New Testament refocuses our higher desires first on Jesus, then on other Godly relationships such as marriage. None of the apostles had a recorded wife except Peter. Martha and Mary had no recorded marriages either. The list of those who remained unmarried goes on. This can either confuse you or encourage you about how awesome intimate covenant with Jesus really can be.

 The whole identity of every culture on earth is that we are not complete until we have a mate. This is true of nearly all earthbound creatures.

 The Bible is very clear in the New Testament though, that Jesus completes us and that we do not need anything else but Him. The trend in teaching in the church has always been that we have a perfect match out there for us and that your life will truly start when you find your mate! There is an unspoken rule that your true maturity starts when you are married, and in many religious structures adulthood starts when you are hitched. Maybe that’s why I still like video games…I’m not married.

 Why would Paul encourage virgins to remain unmarried in 1 Corinthians? It is because in our fellowship with Jesus through the Holy Spirit, we are no longer bound to the old covenant which basically mandates us to being married as a need in our life. Its the highest place of relational fulfillment for those who do not have Christ to achieve because there is a blessing on marriage.

 We though, are bound by a new covenant of fellowship with God, and to be married does not have to be the center part of that.

 Because of Christ, You can be successfully single.

 

 In this blog I am not calling marriage a lower position. It is a high and mighty role that is one of the purest pictures of what a believer can have with union in Jesus. At the same time it is not the only way into this union and as a matter of fact the closer we get to the last days, the harder it will be to stay married because of the particular challenges it will hold.

 So really, this message is not anti marriage. I respect what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7 as to warn us about false teachings that say marriage is wrong.

 

My point is lets put marriage in perspective. Lets recognize that we do not have a need for it to define who we are in God unless God Himself is calling us to the marriage. This realization actually makes marriage to a Christian more beautiful because when you have a choice whether to be married or not and you still choose it it brings such a depth of meaning to the relationship. It is a picture of God’s love and His desire for us when looked at under this light.

God does not have a need for us, but a sincere desire to share himself and this is why we were created. Is God not self sufficient? If we have God do we really need anything else? This means you are already complete in God when you have His Spirit dwelling within you. But if you want to join in covenant to another individual to enjoy and share enjoyment in them and with them, to truly learn Jesus from them and be a picture of Jesus to them, then you have the right desire for marriage.

You can’t decide you have to be married out of loneliness as a Christian. You can’t have a selfish desire for marriage, or it most likely will not work or will keep you in bondage. Let me give you an example. In the south many mothers court young woman for their sons, trying to push them upon them because they are sick of their sons irresponsibility and party lifestyle. Have you ever seen a mother push her son on a woman because she has a desire to make him an honest man? Meaning that woman is going to fix him somehow if he just gets married? It doesn’t work! It may subdue some areas of his life for a small season but it will not correct them!

 Now then, not only is your life not limited by the fact that you are unmarried, but there is freedom to choose whether or not to BE married. That is exciting because it makes the prospect of finding a mate not an obsession, but an adventure. As you go on that adventure it can enhance what you are already obtaining in God and also enhance what they are trying to obtain as well.

 

Paul saw that we could find fulfillment in life without marriage, in true relationship with God and the friendship of the body, making marriage a special opportunity or choice. He taught it as neither an obligation or a sin.

 He also contrasts marriage against the single life in 1 Corinthians 7:31-35. He ends in verse 35 by saying “I am sharing this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way, in undivided devotion to the Lord.”

If you want to make a person divided then take away his freedom. As a Christian we can not serve two masters and if we have a need to be married then we will have to serve this need. Eventually it will take our focus off of God and put it on ourselves. God took all needs away from us and replaced them with choice. We are no longer bound by law.

 If you have a sincere desire to be married out of right motivations, then by all means give yourself to it! But if you have a burning need in your life out of just getting your desires fulfilled by another person, you better find it in God first because He is the source.

GOD INVITES US INTO HIS RELATIONSHIP NOT OUT OF NEED, BUT OUT OF DESIRE!

 God is three persons in one. He has so much enjoyment in Himself and there is a constant relationship within the three persons of God that He is inviting you and I into that not out of a need to have a relationship. He is already self fulfilled.

God chooses to love us, and the beauty of marriage is the fact that God has allowed us to choose. If we choose to be single we can accomplish our full invitation of destiny and our call to be a lover of God. If we choose to be married then we will commit to love someone in such a way that the relationship will teach us a different facet of God’s love and devotion to us. Either direction is good as long as we don’t live under the bondage of obligation and as long as Jesus Himself is our goal, not a woman and not a man.

 For the record I do have a desire to get married, but I also am happy being single so if I am single or married I am with my God. I have a teaching series on just taking on your intimacy with God to another whole level called “Bridal Longing” and you can find it at our webstore at:http://www.expression58.org/store/product_info.php?cPath=18&products_id=17

 

Peace!

Shawn Bolz

www.expression58.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out our new daily podcast talkshow called: Your Life with Shawn and Sally! Its at www.expression58.org/podcast and its totally worth listening to! It’s a show that takes a persons life and displays it in front of your heart! If a picture is worth a thousand words then someones life is worth a thousand teachings! 

 

NEXT WEEK’S DATING BLOG WILL COME OUT ON MONDAY THE 18th AND IS CALLED:

I’M NOT MARRIED AND SO CAN YOU BE!

THE UNRELIGIOUS GUIDE TO DATING AND BEING SINGLE!

By Shawn Bolz

www.expression58.org

Myspace: www.myspace.com/eagledove

WordPress: https://shawnbolz.wordpress.com

Blogspot: www.shawnbolzblog.blogspot.com

Beenup2: www.beenup2.com/users/shawnbolz

 

 INTRODUCTION TO THE SERIES:

Well I was going to name this Shawn’s Kick Butt Guide to Dating, but that would have offended some people, so I renamed it. Of course those same people just read this introduction and are appalled and have probably stopped reading. Wow, now I realize that I could have named it that anyways! Well lets call it that from this page forth! Welcome to Shawn’s Kick Butt Guide to Dating!

Disclaimer number one: Nothing written in here is meant to be controversial or offensive. This blog series is not a theology blog, but a philosophy blog. Therefore do not stop reading just because you don’t agree with one point, it is a blog that has a series of values that will help you set your own standards even if you do not ascribe to one you may be helped by others. There are so many church cultures and backgrounds that some of the things I say are obviously going to be different than others theological and philosophical values. The good thing about reading another perspective, even one that is not entirely complimentary to yours, is that it helps sharpen what you believe yourself. You are welcome to visit my MySpace page where the blogs are being done, and rant or cry, or hate, or love, or encourage. Who knows you might even appear in the book that will be a combined printed form of all of these blogs!

 Not all of this blog will be written with this incredible wit or sarcasm, we do have to get serious sometimes, but in the same token, lets have fun with a subject that is always too stiff when talked about under the umbrella of church.

 Let me just start out by saying that I am shocked that I am writing this. No really _____insert your name here because I am talking to you____ I am!  I never intended to address the subject of dating and relationships. I am not the hopeless romantic that you can find in many a movie. I am ordinary, and relatively inexperienced.  Ok Ok really inexperienced, I was born April 26, 1974 and am not married but for good reason (you will find out if you are brave enough to read on in future blogs).

 So as I was sitting and pondering one day about why I would never speak at the singles conference that I was seeing an invitation for in my email box, I got a call from a friend. She was in a very awkward relationship that had so many strange dynamics that I had to have an opinion for the sake of her very sanity.

 First rule guys, don’t ever have an opinion that you don’t want to spend some time developing when addressing a member of the opposite gender. Our conversation went on longer then I had ever spent on the phone and I was sure that if cell phones really do produce tumors I was well on my way to receiving one.

What was amazing though, is that my friend did not have a moral and romantic compass guiding her new relationship. Instead she had religion and structure given to her by people who hadn’t dated in a million years, if at all. There is nothing better then the woman who instantly knew who she was going to marry in prayer only to be pursued by him the next day and getting married six months later without any trials in the relationship giving you advice on how easy it is to find the right one. “Just pray!” She says. If I weren’t a Christian I would have an equally cliché remark back at her but it wouldn’t involve clean words.

 I think that being single for my whole adult life with only a few real relationships has given me a compassion for single people. I have witnessed most (almost all) of my friends walk through relationships, and most even get married. I have been in weddings too many times to count, and even am kind of not liking the wedding scene anymore because of it unless the person is so close that I can’t help be sentimental.

I have also watched terrible break ups, divorce, and dysfunction wrecking peoples faith in true Godly relationships.

 This blog series is not an exhaustive manuscript on the subject on being single, dating, and or relationships, instead it is more of a project to challenge your way of thinking and to help you live in a balanced view of your own dating or single pursuit, and also to set right boundaries for your relationships. It is a philosophy document exploring our changing culture and our role in it. There are books that can help you define what you want in a relationship, how to pray relationships in, kiss relationships goodbye, and that sort of thing. This blog series does more than that because it makes fun of, and dismantles many of those books without me even trying! Even better than that, you will hopefully have a much freer way of thinking later.

Why there are some awesome books on dating and relationships in the Christian world, there are also some ridiculous ones that have especially caught the conservative crowd up in a storm of dating bureaucracy that kills true passion. I do want to point out that I am not singling out any books or making fun of others. In other words I am not picking on any one book (well maybe one but it will be so obvious that you will either hate me or love me for it).

 So here is the question: How do you set good boundaries for yourself, using the wisdom of others but not being limited by their experience? If every relationship is different, how do you follow your heart in a way that is still protected and yet not legalistic? (Legalism: To do everything by the book (not the Bible) that someone else wrote or spoke to you to tell you how you should think. Legalism violates relationship because the rules become more important then love.)

 So here I am writing on a subject that I am sure has better authors in, but you know what? If you choose to read on you will surely find something that you relate to.

 I do want to say that I am writing this series for adults not for youth. I believe that youth need their parents to help set these boundaries and a right compass from within in a way that is different then adults. I am not limiting youth, but qualifying the audience that this is first intended for.

 I consider it a great privilege to speak into the relational process, because God loves relationships. They are the most beautiful and painful things in our lives.

 At the same time, I do want to qualify that I do not do singles conferences, give dating advice to people I am not in relationship to, do premarital or marital counseling, and I will not do dating seminars. This book is one of my only efforts in speaking into this subject outside of my own church as a pastor.

This series is for all of those single people who are on the road to a balanced relationship and are sick of the extremes in both the world and the church. It also may help parents and even those already in a relationship. This is your time! This is your blog series!

Stay tuned for the next installment next MONDAY where we will get into it good! Woot woot! Also you will be able to preorder the dating book very soon!

 Shawn Bolz

www.expression58.org

www.myspace.com/eagledove