pleasing God is your only foundation, if that’s
your fuel, then every dating decision you make will
- Tim Baker
Baker has been involved in youth ministry for fifteen
years. He is an “out of the box” thinker
who lives in Longview, Texas, with his wife, Jacqui,
and their two children.
Going Out Without Freaking Out:
Dating Made Doable
By Tim Baker
No one should eat rattlesnake. Cow tongue? Out
of the question.
I was once eating lunch with a room full of people from church.
We were all having a great time, eating and hanging out. Near
the end of the meal, one of the men offered to share some exotic
meats that he’d brought.
I don’t like to try new meats, and things like “exotic
meats” freak me out. So when this guy brought out a few
plastic containers, I got nervous. When he opened a container
and passed around pieces of cooked rattlesnake, I started to sweat.
When the rattlesnake container came to me and people started to
eat it, my body convulsed in one of those pre-vomit, uncontrollable,
puke-like muscle spasms. Just as I passed the rattlesnake (and
the laughter over my convulsing grew), the guy said, “Hey,
Tim. I’ve got cow tongue casserole in this other one. Check
this out.” It was nasty. It was nastier when I noticed that
the tongue still had the taste buds on it.
If you like rattlesnake or cow tongue, don’t be offended.
It’s just that those foods seem a bit extreme and kind of
weird. Why do people chase after strange food? In a world with
hamburgers, pizza, french fries, and steak, why do people choose
to eat rattlesnake and cow tongue?
Eating strange foods is something like dating the wrong way.
We have access to the best foundation and the best advice for
dating we could dream of: the God who created us and who knows
us best. He ought to be the source, the fuel, and the foundation
for our dating. But even though we have this awesome foundation,
we often rely on other things. If you’re completely consumed
with having sex, for instance, that becomes your foundation and
fuels every dating decision you make. If you want to date only
popular people, that foundation filters into every dating decision.
You know what’s really strange? We’ll pick anything
other than God, and rely on that thing as our foundation. When
we do, we make huge mistakes, the relationship explodes, and we
get hurt. But we have something much better to rely upon. We don’t
have to settle.
If pleasing God is your only foundation, if that’s your
fuel, then every dating decision you make will be healthy. You’ll
not only make better decisions, you’ll have better dating
experiences. Those experiences will be different for each of us,
but the most important aspect of dating ought to be the same for
all of us—and that’s our relationship with God.
We have a second important foundation, as well. Your dating life
actually begins long before you begin dating. Before you go out
on your first date—possibly before you begin even to notice
the opposite sex—you’re gaining valuable insight into
relationships from your parents.
So you have two important foundations for dating—God and
The God Foundation
If you don’t know God—or if your relationship with
him is weak—then your dating life won’t be as smooth
as it could be. God wants to be the foundation for everything
you do, including dating. He wants you to rely upon him, in fact,
for every dating decision. But how do you make God the foundation
of your dating? Here are a few ideas.
You and God
First, you’ve got to have a good relationship with God.
Without that relationship, not only will your dating life be a
wreck, your whole life will be a wreck. Yeah, you could get a
lot of dates, you might meet a great person, you might get married
and have a good life. But your life won’t be everything
it could be without a solid relationship with God.
The God Invasion
Having a strong relationship with God, though, isn’t enough.
Your relationship with God should invade every aspect of every
relationship. But God is polite when it comes to invading our
lives. We have to seek him out and ask him to guide and direct
every step we take in every aspect of our lives. That includes
our dating lives and our relationships with the opposite sex.
Listen to God
Just knowing God and inviting him into your every decision still
isn’t enough. You’ve also got to listen to him. Not
listening to God is like calling someone your best friend, but
never talking to them, and never listening to them. God doesn’t
just want to know you, and he doesn’t want you just to keep
him in the loop when it comes to your life. He wants to interact
with you. He wants to talk with you about everything, including
your dating life. How does God speak to us? Primarily through
his Word. Want to know what God thinks about your dating life?
Read his words to you. Are you spending time listening to God?
You’ll never know what he wants for you if you’re
The Parent Foundation
Your parents aren’t so much the other foundation as they
are the foundation upon the foundation. Your parents are the people
God often uses to help you know his rules and to plan your life.
Your parents might sometimes do some weird things, but they love
you. And your parents are really God’s hands in your life.
The rules they make and the way they guide you are the ways that
they act for God for your benefit. Your parents are God’s
caretakers of your life. Here are some of the reasons your parents
are important for your dating life.
You have to obey your parents and the rules they’ve set
for your dating life and for the relationships you have with the
opposite sex. That means if your parents say that you can’t
date until you’re sixteen, that’s the rule. If they
say you can’t stay out later than 9:00 p.m. with someone
of the opposite sex, that’s the rule. You can look at these
rules in a negative way, get depressed, and feel like you can’t
live your life. Or you could look at your parents as what they
are—God’s hands in your life, directing and guiding
They Have a History
Whether they fell in love at twelve or met each other later in
life, your parents have a dating history. And their dating experiences
can help you. Ask them how they’ve failed at dating. Listen
to their successes. Learn everything you can from their experiences.
Their history can really help you.
They Love You
Your parents love you. They don’t want to do or say anything
that would hurt you. They’d never give you advice that would
cause you harm. You can rely on their advice, not just because
they’re probably right, but because they wouldn’t
steer you wrong. Even if you’re away at college or you don’t
live with your parents, their advice can help you. They can still
serve as guides for your dating life.
The Combination of God and Your Parents
Your strong walk with God and your healthy relationship with your
parents combine to create a solid foundation for your dating life.
God uses your parents to guide you a lot more than you might think.
Without these two working together you don’t have a reliable
foundation. This combined foundation of God and your parents infiltrates
every area of your dating life.
There’s no other foundation you can build upon for successful
dating. Yet we try to build our relationships with the opposite
sex on other foundations. We think that just being in a relationship
completes our lives, or that having sex with someone is the right
way to date. In the end, those foundations are useless and they
don’t work, and we usually discover that they’re useless
only after we’ve experienced a lot of pain.
God’s design for dating is so simple. If you rely upon
the foundation of God and your parents, you’ll be successful.
If Your Foundation Is Broken
You live in the real world, though. Maybe your life doesn’t
rest securely upon the “God and Your Parents” foundation.
You may, in fact, not fit the mold—a fantastic relationship
with God, living in a stable home with your biological mom and
No. Very likely your foundation has been broken. Maybe your relationship
with God isn’t strong. If that’s true, I’d suggest
talking with your youth pastor about how you can strengthen your
walk with God. Until you’ve got a solid walk with God your
dating relationships won’t be as great as they could be.
Your life may be affected by divorce, or you see that your parents
don’t have a healthy relationship, that they’re not
ideal models to ask for dating advice or for healthy rules for
dating. If that’s so, I suggest a couple of things.
First, even though your parents are divorced, they still love
you and want the best for you. They’re still your best place
for support, advice, rules, and guidelines for dating. Your parents
are still a great foundation for you to rely upon. If they’re
divorced they probably have some excellent advice about the problems
to avoid in relationships. You still need to listen to them, and
you still need to obey their rules for dating and relationships.
Second, you might find a couple whose relationship is still intact,
and who you can ask for advice about dating. It’s not that
your parents aren’t worth observing, it’s just that
it helps to have a healthy, connected family as an example for
what a relationship could be. Seek out your youth pastor, senior
pastor, or another person in your church and observe that person’s
relationship with his or her spouse. Observing a healthy relationship
helps us in our dating relationships.
Building on the Foundation
With God and your parents as your foundation for dating, you
won’t mess up your life. Yeah, you’ll make mistakes.
Yeah, your heart will be broken. You’ll fall in love with
someone who doesn’t love you back. But you’ll be experiencing
all that while relying upon the most solid foundation you could
The foundation of God and your parents is only the start of
a good dating life. There are loads of things that are important
to understand and learn more about. These include things such
as knowing more about yourself, understanding the opposite sex,
knowing more about what respect is, not freaking out about the
first date. The chapters that follow discuss eleven dating topics
that you’ll use to build upon your God foundation. The topics
are presented in the order that’s best for tackling them.
First, knowing and understanding yourself helps you relate better
to the opposite sex. Then, knowing more about and understanding
the opposite sex helps when you date them.
Connecting with Yourself
• Evaluate how strong your relationship with God is. Do
you feel it’s strong enough? How could your relationship
with God be stronger?
Connecting with Your Friends
• Ask your friends to pray with you as you all begin your
Connecting with Your Parents
• Ask your parents what they learned about dating from their
parents. What did they learn from observing their parents? How
did their relationship with God affect their dating life?
Connecting with God
• Ask God to help you rely upon him for your dating life.
As you journey through this book, make it a point to pray through
the topics of each chapter, asking God to help you rely upon him
more as you date.
from: Going Out without
Freaking Out by Tim Baker. Copyright © 2004. Published
by Kregel Publications.
Used by permission.
CBN IS HERE FOR YOU!
Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.