Rave Parties vs. Water Ballet

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Today, I read an article on the Relevant Magazine called The Myth Of Perfect Dating. The article talked about the Christian cha cha that we tend to do with dating, where you keep taking two steps forward and then one step back. I like him! You cry! Two steps forward. But is this God’s will? One step back. Maybe we’ll get married! Two steps forward. Wait a second, I barely know him. One step back. He is actually really wonderful! Two steps forward. But dang it, was that magazine article about breaking up a sign that we shouldn’t be together? Three steps back. Can you say double mindedness?

I am going to take the analogy one step further and say that Christian dating can be even more like rave. We jump up and down in a spiritually inebriated stupor for three months screaming at the top of our lungs is he the one? hoping that the messages in the clamoring music will give us an answer. Then we fall down in a heap of exhausted despair when it wasn’t everything we thought it would be. Or else we continue raving for another three months.

To put it bluntly, we are a little on the hysterical side when we date.

I think the reason for this is that we think about marriage much sooner than the mainstream world. Rather than just getting to know someone day by day, getting good information over a solid amount of time, we want to know now. We ask is this the one chosen for us since the beginning of time where it was written in the glorious portal of heaven that the love our lives would fall on our doorstep at the right time with a bunch of gerber daisies and some quality chick flicks? 

The answer is how the heck are you supposed to know that when you just met the guy? 

We have a frenzied desire to have an answer about whether we’re going to marry this person, which has been spurred on by the tsunami of the I Kissed Dating Goodbye era. This era gave us the damaging idea that we should know if we should marry someone even before we date them. (For more on this phenomenon, read my series 90’s Dating Gone Bad. )

What do we do to aleve these frantic thoughts? We ask God to tell us what  to do. We ask for signs and look for them everywhere. If the next person I talk to says the word banana, that means I’m supposed to go out with him. Stuff like that.

The truth is, we are scared. And when we are scared, we tend to over spiritualize things. Dating is risky business. We don’t like the out of control feeling it brings us. We want God to give us an answer now so we don’t have to be scared any more. So we can have control over the situation through knowing the answer to our questions, while in truth, God may want to answer our questions gradually.

This kind of franticness is contrary to many verses in the bible, like “be anxious for nothing” or “do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself.”

One of my favorite things to do is float in water. I am really good at it. Like I could do it for hours. I guess I am just a really buoyant person. One time I was talking to the lifeguard at my gym, and he was like “Oh, I know who you are. You’re the floater. Dude, teach me to relax like that.” He spoke with a slight sense of awe, as if had discovered I was James Bond or something.

The reason I love floating so much is that it is a place of complete rest for me. All that I can feel is the water underneath me, surrounding me. It run through my hands, and the coolness of it against my skin is all I feel in that moment. The clamor of the world fades away until all I can hear is my heart beat.  In that place, I can block all the world out until it is just my spirit and God’s communing with each other.

As I am floating,  I will meditate on some phrase, repeating it over and over like God, surround me like this water surrounds me or Be still and know that I am God.

I am not always a peaceful person. I have rave parties going through my head all of the time. But the more I choose to “still and quiet my soul, like a child with it’s mother” as it says in Psalm 131, the more I choose to trust in God’s goodness and be at peace with the gradual process I am in.

So choose to quiet your soul. Stop going to rave parties and do water ballet with God instead. (Was that an awesome last line or what?)

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10 thoughts on “Rave Parties vs. Water Ballet

  1. So glad to know you are a fellow floater. It’s one of my favorite things, and I, too, could just float around in the pool for hours and hours. It’s heavenly – I do feel so connected to God there, probably because it’s one of the few times I am truly still. As an afterward – I’m about half way through your book and loving it! I’ve already come up with a few people I want to share my two copies with, so we’ll see who the lucky ladies will be to read it next :).

  2. Do you know I was just saying that to a friend recently, who was contemplating the ‘to date him or not to date him’ question. I said to her, hey, let him pursue you a little, get to know each other. You’re not asking the ‘am I gonna marry him’ question yet!!! If he doesn’t look after you and your heart, then just tell him he’s not the one’. You, Kate Hurley, are a breath of fresh air, love. Bring on more of this stuff!!!

  3. Thank YOU!!!! I wish I could float on water (I always sink…) but I normally am a peaceful person but life these days feels like a rave (an not just in the dating scene). I feel like your words are super timely in my life. Thank YOU!!! I am going to go to Whiskeytown now and learn to float. 😉

  4. I use to do quite a bit of floating growing up. It was especially tranquil in the dark, on summer nights. Thanks for the memory……….

    I was contemplating challenging one of your previous posts but you removed it. Now I am curious why? I would love to hear the reason.

    • Was it the online dating one? I think it’s the only one I’ve taken off. I think I took it out because I felt weird about parading real people on my blog and making some fun of them.

      • Kate. Commendable! Situations are funny sometimes, yet it did seem out of place here on your blog for the reasons you mentioned. You fixed it 🙂

  5. I am especially appreciative of this post Kate!
    So many people(including me) are going through or have gone through the rave phenomenon. When in reality, God knows exactly what is going on, and he is directing our steps (Pro. 20:24). No matter how hard we try, we aren’t going to know every detail of his plan when we want too (Ecc. 8:17). So I completely agree, let’s swim a little, and wait for him to blow the whistle before we jump out of the water ;D (yay for fun last liners!)

  6. Thank you so much for the encouragement. It is so difficult to be dating in my 30s in the aftermath (many years) of I Kissed Dating Goodbye. I have been contemplating today how dating brings out new emotions and feelings that can feel very uncomfortable but I still need to give myself (and I suppose the other) space to completely respond to this experience. You can learn so much about a person in a day but you can never completely know a person in a lifetime.

    I know that my Christian friends (and myself with them) don’t always help. They want the very best for me and can’t help but get excited. On the other hand, I try to guard myself against disappointment and will actually “talk myself out of it.” If I could just leave my thoughts to my Savior, I would be much better off. Just as Mary pondered many things in her heart, I always wish that I could ponder more and share less.

  7. You know, after years of begging God for signs, after petitioning Him for a husband, after so much wanting, I gave up. I decided that God didn’t care. I stopped asking and relaxed and accepted my fate as a spinster.

    Now, at age 35, I’m 2 months into the best relationship of my life. My first boyfriend in over 8 years. Did this man come from God? I didn’t ask for him! I’m very torn right now because I basically took God OUT of the dating equation, and then look what happened. Which, as a Christian, is pretty disconcerting….

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