Loretta here….I have known Jenessa since she was five years old. She has grown into a very wise young woman. Here are her thoughts on dating:
My Thoughts on Dating!
By Jenessa Joy (age 17)
Dating has always been off limits for me. There are many reasons for this: I grew up in a Christian Family that raised me, and told me I wasn’t allowed to date until a certain age. (If I’m being completely honest, I really didn’t have any interest in dating anyone anyways!) I also grew up with the knowledge of how I came into existence. A few weeks short of 18 years ago, I was born to a couple of teenagers who were far to young to raise me, and then gave me up to adoption. The knowledge of my birth, made me realize how special purity is, and how much I did NOT want to make my birthparents mistakes.
I grew up seeing how special relationships are. Not only romantic ones, I saw how fragile our hearts are, I felt feelings, I saw intensity. Whether it was seeing my cousins heart get broken, or my feelings hurt from my brothers, or being extremely happy on Christmas morning, I realized that feelings are crazy. I grew up with an acute awareness for matters of the heart. I was always a little girl who was sensitive to the core about everything. And I really do mean EVERYTHING.
How does this tie in with dating? Something that we all realize with time is that relationships (of any kind!) are a lot of things. They are special. You don’t want to dumb that down, and fall into a trap of thinking that they’re “no big deal”. Our hearts are fragile. I don’t want to break a thousand hearts, and I don’t want my heart broken a thousand times, so be sensitive, and careful…in all relationships.
Relationships are scary. They are hard. They are WORK. They are fun. They are sometimes frustrating. They are wonderful. They are terrifying. Amazing. Incredible. Terrible. Awesome. Complicated! All in one very confusing package.
As we go through life we experience so very many different relationships. Ones with our parents, brothers, sisters, friends, crushes, enemies, frienemys, etc. etc. And eventually you’ll have romantic ones too.
Romantic relationships are tricky, because you want them to be special, you want them to have meaning, and eventually they will (hopefully) lead to marriage. Now, when I was younger I was absolutely set in the decision that you had to be a certain age in order to date. You absolutely HAD to be at least this age, as if at that age you would magically be smart and perfect at relationships, and that’d you have it ALL TOGETHER!
Boy, was I ever wrong.
There is no magical age where you all of sudden are mature enough to handle a relationship…I’ve seen people handle relationships in dating really well at 17, and I’ve seen people who have trouble with it in there 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, (etc.).
With that said, I don’t believe that you should start dating when you are 10, 11, 12, 13, 14…or any age that you cannot seriously handle a relationship. If you can’t drive, and your main concern about getting a boyfriend or girlfriend is because “everyone else has one” you are not mature enough for a relationship. If you only want a boyfriend or girlfriend because they’re “cute” you probably aren’t mature enough for a relationship. If you want a boyfriend or girlfriend because it’d be “fun”, you probably aren’t mature enough for a relationship.
Now: my question for you is this: “what would a relationship mean to you? What is the purpose for your relationship?” We have already established that relationships are work, they are hard, complicated, fun, etc. etc. But what are they for? A relationship with God, our part in that is to glorify him and enjoy Him forever. A relationship with your parents, is a parent-child relationship, the parents are there to raise and teach you. Friendship is so you can grow with someone, you can have comradeship, that you have someone to share with. A sibling relationship is so that you can annoy each other to no end. (Whoops! Did I really write that down?) But what is a romantic relationship for? A romantic relationship is not for fun, or because you think the person is cute. A romantic relationship is to getting to know someone on another level, to find out if you are truly meant for each other. If you aren’t ready for that sort of commitment, dating right now might not be the best idea.
And when you are ready for that relationship, when you’re in that relationship… remember to set boundaries. Draw the line, and don’t cross over them…when in doubt: less is more.
“So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” 2 Timothy 2:22
I believe there’s someone out there for you. I just think you have to be patient in finding them. Don’t date every guy/girl who expresses interest, pray for that special girl/guy, and wait. (I also would like to remind you that a good foundation of friendship, and having a healthy strong relationship with God is the best way to start a romantic relationship with someone.) When it’s the right time God will bring the right person to you, and in the meantime, enjoy being single! Being single is a gift, whether you see it that way or not.
That’s all I have to say for now…can you believe this was written by a 17 year old girl who has never had a boyfriend? That’s right!
May God Bless and Guide you always!
Prayers, and Music!