Let me begin by saying I have heard the heartbreaking news about Josh Harris, the author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye, as his marriage suffers and his faith falters. This article is not a shot at him whatsoever. We should mourn over every marriage that dissolves, and I pray for great grace to be extended to him and his family, with an earnest hope that he finds his way back to Jesus.
I read I Kissed Dating Goodbye in my teen years and sincerely appreciated the sense of purity it preached. Some of the practical advice was not necessarily things I aligned with, but the heart of godliness it portrayed was excellent.
I remember how the book caused a wave of dating abstinence to sweep the church world I was a part of. You were not allowed to date anyone except “the one.”
People were making lists of traits they looked for in a spouse (most of which were superficial). Fourteen-year-old girls were adamant that their husbands not snore and like the color pink. When those girls are 28, those lists will look radically different: treats mother with respect, holds down job, can balance checkbook.
Again, this is not about Harris or his book. It merely highlights something I’ve noticed quietly seeping into our worldview as a church.
Infantilism is carrying childish behavior into adulthood. We tend to so over-spiritualize things that we cripple a generation from becoming productive.
People refuse work because “it’s not really their thing” to clock-in and clock-out at the factory.
They prolong marriage and family because they “want to remain open to ministry opportunities” or “whatever the Lord wants.”
Basic life skills are scoffed at because “normal is the enemy.”
Someone sent me a tweet once that said, “Live your life in such a way that the Braveheart soundtrack could be playing in the background.”
Got me in my feels.
…and downright asinine.
There is nothing epic about life, for the most part.
I’ve been in full-time ministry for years, and there’s hardly anything epic about it either.
I’ve traveled all over the world. It goes something like this:
Flight, drive to hotel, jet lag, nap.
Wake up, shower, pray, preach, eat fast food, go to sleep.
Wake up, drive to airport, fly home, jet lag, nap.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
I can’t hear the soundtrack playing. Can someone turn it up, please?
And be sure to turn it extra loud when you are buying car insurance, changing a dirty diaper, and your two other kids are puking everywhere at 3 AM from a shared stomach virus.
Pump up the volume as your aging grandparents struggle to remember your name, as you notice the flaws in your own parents’ superhero capes you thought they wore when you were a child, and as you try with everything in you to send your children to college debt-free.
It’s time for us to quit using God as an excuse to delay adulthood.
Should you date? YES.
For crying out loud, YES.
Do it wisely, control yourself and your emotions, look for the potential and the pitfalls.
“Well, what if they are not the one?”
How in the world would you know!? Because you saw them across a room!?!?
You kiss dating goodbye, and marriage will kiss you goodbye.
Get a job. Yes, even though you are called to preach, have been to ministry school, and are waiting on doors to open.
Better yet, get a job AND a college degree at the same time.
Maybe you should postpone the mission trip and get an apartment instead so that you can move out of mom’s basement.
Heck, get married. You’ve dated her for six years already, quit saying you’re not ready.
Ladies, give him one year to propose. If he doesn’t pop the question by then, it’s time to move on.
Babyhood is adorable. Prolonged babyhood is deplorable.
Don’t kiss adulthood goodbye. Embrace it.
It’s so much better that way.