Posts Tagged ‘single’

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?

Advertisements

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!