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What Are They Thinking

What Are They Thinking
Dating that Delights God, Man and Woman!

Mind reading

A common reason I hear as to why singles in the church do not go on more dates goes something like this: “What if the sister/brother thinks I ‘like’ them?” If I ask her/him out on a date they might think I am ‘interested‘ in them, and I’m not sure I can handle that pressure.” This is a very real and honest concern. What do we do? We need to realise that we do not know what people are thinking - unless we ask them or they tell us. The truth is that you don’t know what another person is thinking - even if they smile or frown at you. It might just be indigestion! A few years ago I was struggling with anxiety brought on by fearing what other people might be thinking about me. A friend pointed out that, i. I didn’t know what people were thinking about me (I couldn’t read their minds), ii. I could not control what people were thinking about me, and, iii. I could not make people think any particular thing about me - good or bad. Therefore it did me no good whatsoever to worry about what people might be thinking about me.

The “what if” trap

I found that having so much of my mind and energy focussed on what others might be thinking about me was stopping me from loving God and people. We become so consumed with fear that movement feels impossible. The “what if” trap almost stopped Moses from becoming the hero of faith that we admire: ““What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The LORD did not appear to you’?”” (Exodus 4:1 NIV). God answers with two signs involving a snake/staff and a leprous/healed hand. Moses moves on to a second problem - his lack of eloquence. God rebukes Moses (and gives him Aaron as a helper). However Moses’ real motive finally gets exposed: “But Moses said, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.”” (Exodus 4:13 NIV). Moses does not want this gig. His “what if’s” have actually been a smokescreen. He does not want to go. He does not want to lead. He does not want the responsibility. He is scared and stuck.

Faith is the key

I wonder if the real issue for at least some of us is not that we cannot handle the pressure, but that we don’t want the pressure. We don’t go on dates more often because we don’t want to. If that is the case, let’s at least be honest about it, and seek some support. God’s anger burned against Moses, but God also helped him. God gave him signs and a spokesman. He has given each and every one of us something, no, someone far more significant - the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5, 1 Cor 2:12, 2 Cor 5:5 etc.). At some point we have to take a step of faith and go with what God has given us. By faith in God’s goodness, and by trusting the Spirit’s strength within us we will be able to handle the pressure of what someone might be thinking.

Who are we aiming to please?

Let’s refresh our memory as to why single disciples go on dates. It is to encourage the other brother or sister and to please God. If someone does ‘like’ you and tells you, it is fine to be flattered (even encouraged!), but my counsel would be for disciples to keep that to themselves on a date. Seek advice before sharing your feelings with someone on that level. If all single brothers and sisters do this then the fear of such pressure will be removed and all can enjoy going on encouragement dates without worrying about what the other is thinking.

In the meantime let us not hold back from going on dates for fear of what people are thinking. Have faith, trust God and encourage that brother or sister by asking them on a date.

Malcolm Cox (Nov 2010)