Should I Date An Unbeliever?

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Have you ever asked yourself if Christians should date non-believers? Maybe you’re new to the Christian life or you’ve been a Christian for a long time. If you’re a Christian churchgoer, you can ask the question, “Can a Christian date a non-believer?” Your pastor can give you a clear verse from the Bible indicating why the answer is “No, Christians should not date un-believers.”

However, I believe that after finding a Biblical answer to life’s questions, we can sometimes also see a scientific or practical reason to why things are so. God is so gracious to us that He does not tell us to “check your brain at the door”. Instead of God just saying “No, because I said so,” there are practical reasons why Christians should not date non-believers. We can think this through using our God-given logic. There are several reasons why Christians should avoid dating non-believers.

Dating can lead to marriage.

“Obviously”, you might be thinking. Here’s what I mean – one date can lead to another date, which can lead to another date, which can lead to a long term relationship, that can lead to moving in together. Unfortunately, this is not always a good thing. Some folks get locked into relationships where they just aren’t compatible or where one person wants a serious commitment and the other wants something casual. This can lead to resentment and tension from not being on the same page. Putting two people together who are Christians doesn’t guarantee a cakewalk, but it should make some pivotal conversations easier, or take them off the table entirely, because you have a common faith to work from.  “I can’t believe I wound up with this person” you might say, but it all started somewhere. Putting a little more thought into things on the front end might spare you a little heartache later on.

Are you looking for someone to share your values and worldview?

If you go beyond the surface of what a person looks like and the water cooler talk, what is this person really about? When their looks change, and both you and them have been through a major life change or two, what’s left? Do they share your values and your worldview? Will they still be interesting to talk to? If you’re a Christian and they’re a Christian, hopefully your faith will still be common ground for you both. Physical attraction is fun and important for the beginning of a relationship, but a person’s appearance can change over time. When the outside changes, will you still like what’s left on the inside?

It isn’t fair to ask (or expect) someone to change. 

I’m talking big, huge pieces of life here. If you’re a devout Christian dating a non-believer, you may have said that you don’t mind their belief system. And you are free to do as you wish. But deep down, in the secrecy of your own thoughts, are you wishing for a change? Are you hoping for that guy or girl to get saved? (If you love them, or even just like them, you are.) Are you hoping they’ll change from being an atheist to a believer and just accept Jesus? I hope with you for that to happen but I also know that staying stuck there in that situation is an unhappy place. Pray for them, love them from a distance, but don’t do “missionary dating”. Don’t hope for them to convert while you’re dating them. It’s not fair to them or to you.

Dating a non-believer makes chastity more difficult.

Similar to expecting people to change, it’s hard to stay on track with trying to practice chastity if you’re dating someone who doesn’t value that goal. Just because someone is a Christian doesn’t mean they’re interested in abstinence, but for the most part, there’s a worldview that dominates the media when it comes to sex: if both parties consent, it’s fine. This opposes the Christian worldview as laid out in the Bible that says it’s not fine until you’re married. Even if you want to. Even if you’re in a committed relationship. Teaming up with an unbeliever is really pointless if you’re serious about chastity and abstinence.

About This Blog: Please feel free to share any information from this site, in part or in full, giving credit to the author and providing a link to this website. Fearless Faith is a blog dedicated to family, faith and frugality. All views are the author’s own and content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.

Encouragement for Singles this Valentine’s Day

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How are you feeling today, Christian single? Maybe you’re doing pretty good most days with the Christian life. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need a little encouragement as a Christian single. Just between you and me, I’ll take off my “strong Christian single” mask and get real with you. While I do believe there are some benefits of singleness, and I do enjoy these benefits, sometimes I also get discouraged. Sometimes I just need a big, huge dose of encouragement related to the relationship department. Do you know where I’m coming from, friend?

Here’s some encouragement I’ve dug up for myself that I hope can help you too.

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4 “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens… a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance”

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In this well-known passage, the writer of Ecclesiastes tells us that there’s a time for everything. War and peace, death and life, mourning and dancing. We can even see this in nature – there’s dark and light, high tide and low tide, winter and summer. Some seasons are more pleasant than others, and it’s natural to want the hard seasons to be over, but that’s just not how things work.

What about your hard season of hurt? Maybe you’re asking questions after a tough break-up. That sucks, but it won’t last forever. Your hard season of feeling hurt because you got rejected? Those feelings won’t last forever. Your loneliness wondering where “The One” is? Everybody who has a heartbeat who has found the one they waited for can probably attest that the wait was worth it if they truly found their someone. Waiting is hard, but we can’t escape it. We can, however, try to keep it in perspective, and acknowledge that it’s ok to grieve when we want to.

Psalm 88:1-2 “Lord, you are the God who saves me; day and night I cry out to you. May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry.”

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The Psalms are full of words of trouble and they’re relevant to us because sometimes we find ourselves in trouble too! What I love about the Psalms is that they show no matter how much we may wail, cry, moan, complain, agonize, question, or wonder, God is still present. We may not get the answer we want – or any answers at all – but God is still there. If you’re questioning things that have gone on in a relationship that ended or a relationship that hasn’t materialized, God may not give you the answers you want – or any answers at all – but He can be the listening ear for you that will never get tired of listening. This concept applies to not just relationship troubles but any troubles we face in life.

Proverbs 15:14 “The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.”

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It’s important to know the truth about who you want to date. Is this person a good person? Is he or she a Christian? Let’s go back to something even more basic – is this person a single person? It’s unfortunate that such a basic question even has to be asked, but we have to be discerning and know that there are people who have no business dating at all that might make themselves available to you. Be wise and know this! Avoid trouble and be discerning!

Be discerning as you go about your quest to find the right relationship. Using the good judgement and wisdom that God is willing to give us can save us a lot of heartache. While feelings can place us on an emotional high, they can put us in a place of being attracted to people who are not good for us. Feelings are not bad but discernment can help us so much more. Discernment can help us separate truth from reality and discernment can help us place appropriate boundaries between people who may not have our best in mind. Some people are takers that will take endlessly with nothing but selfishness in mind. Use discernment to filter these people out of your dating pool.

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own  understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

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Relationships can be messy, right? Maybe you’ve been through a break-up and analyzed it all. Maybe it wasn’t you but them that caused the trouble. Or maybe it wasn’t either of you but just a mismatch. No matter how much we may try to use good judgement and wisdom, there can still be unanswered questions that we have to leave in God’s hands. God is so gracious and full of love towards us, and He can use these messy situations to steer us away from people that would be the wrong match for us. God can use these disappointments to steer us onto a better path, even if we can’t see it at first.

Today, no matter what you may be feeling, keep in mind how much God loves you and that you are His treasured child!

About This Blog: Please feel free to share any information from this site, in part or in full, giving credit to the author and providing a link to this website. Fearless Faith is a blog dedicated to family, faith and frugality. All views are the author’s own and content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.

5 Fast Ways to Save Money in February

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Can you believe that it’s already February? 2019 is well underway, and February is the shortest month of the entire year. So, if you find yourself with a full to-do list, you may find yourself very busy this month, as February has the smallest number of working days.

The good news is that when it comes to money, lots of tiny little steps can add up to a BIG difference. Whether you’re dealing with a job loss, or celebrating a promotion at work, or just holding steady with the same-old-same-old, consider five fast ways to save money this month:

Check Your Payroll Deductions

In this new year, your take-home pay may be different due to personal circumstances. Your tax situation or your relationship status may have changed. Maybe now you’re a parent with a new baby! Maybe you’ve gained income from a side hustle or maybe you’ve lost income from the only job you’ve ever had in your entire life. Regardless of the changes, check all your pay stubs and make sure there are no mistakes. If you’re receiving unemployment income, verify that the amount you’re receiving matches the amount the state has awarded to you. Human error happens, so make sure you’re not losing out on anything!

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Buy Some Candy- After Valentine’s Day

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying wait until February 15th to buy a sweet for your sweetie! What I am saying is that I personally can never have too much chocolate, so I will be watching the stores for the post-Valentine’s Day sales to stock up on extra chocolate. I don’t care what kind of packaging it comes in – chocolate is chocolate to me! If you have a sweet tooth, the day after Valentine’s Day can be a clearance paradise, so you too can stock up (unless your significant other has loaded you down with so much chocolate that you have no room for more).

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Love-Themed, Heart-Themed, I-Love-You, I-Like-You, Anything Sales

Going hand-in-hand with the candy that gets marked down on February 15, you might see other items marked down after Valentine’s Day. Think items like cups, napkins, paper plates, guest towels, hand towels, candles, coffee mugs, pencils, pens, random things like that. Anything seasonal in the Valentine’s Day area will probably be marked down the day after. These types of things could be great to pick up and you could score a great deal on them. If it’s a cute hand towel with a heart on it, you could potentially use it year round in your bathroom (if it’s a good quality and it holds up). If you’re planning a wedding or an anniversary party, you might even get lucky and find supplies you can use (that are cheaper than items marketed as “wedding”).

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Saving Money on Energy Costs

Another area to really think about with savings is your energy bill. If you live in a part of the country that’s impacted by extreme cold this time of year, you know how much of a connection there is between the weather and the energy bill. If you can just do a quick walk-through of your home, you may be able to assess the opportunities to save energy. Are your windows, doors, or other parts of your home allowing cold air to pour in? Are there unfinished rooms of your home that you might be able to insulate? Would a space heater make you more comfortable when it gets really cold? Just thinking about a problem won’t fix it, but it’s a starting step.

Use Your Christmas Gift Cards

Do you still have gift cards left over from Christmas? If so, now is the perfect time to use them. A lot of brick and mortar stores are doing their final markdowns – clearing out the winter stock to make room for spring items – which can give you some nice deals to start with. Combine that with a gift card, and you can get an even better deal. Thinking through a list of items you need or want in advance can help you make the most of it.

About This Blog: Please feel free to share any information from this site, in part or in full, giving credit to the author and providing a link to this website. Fearless Faith is a blog dedicated to family, faith and frugality. All views are the author’s own and content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.

How YOU doin’?

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Photo courtesy Thomas Atila Lewis 

Why so serious? He wants to know how YOU doin’?

February is almost here, so how are your New Year’s resolutions going?

If you’re like most people, you might have fallen off the wagon, or maybe you’ve even forgotten what you resolved to do in the first place!

That’s why I typically don’t make resolutions – the very nature of a resolution is a set-up for failure. You get excited, you set a high aspiration for something that you probably didn’t think much about , and then you don’t follow through on it because you really didn’t think through if it meant something to you in the first place.

Which is why I usually DON’T make resolutions. I do, however, usually like to make goals at the start of a new year. I like reflecting on the fresh start that I feel at the end of December. It’s like a chance to dust off the old and start new. I like to sit down and really think about what some potential goals might be. But they have to really excite me, and they have to be things that I have a realistic chance of accomplishing. No set-ups for failure. At least, nothing that looks like a set-up for failure. I have to see a realistic path for making them come true. No goals just for the sake of having a goal. I want something I can come back to and say “I did it!”

This year, my goal list was small. What about yours? Have you fallen off the wagon, or are you going strong?

How YOU doin’?

About This Blog: Please feel free to share any information from this site, in part or in full, giving credit to the author and providing a link to this website. Fearless Faith is a blog dedicated to family, faith and frugality. All views are the author’s own and content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.

Singles, How to Make the Most of the Time

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Have you ever thought about what it means to “redeem the time”? In Ephesians 5:16, we’re told to “redeem the time” (or, as some versions read, “make the most of the time”). Have you ever thought about how this could apply to your life if you’re a Christian single with a desire for marriage?

Waiting is hard. It can be painful, filled with hurt and discomfort. It can be filled with ambiguity. There can be tension in waiting. As Christians, we’re encouraged to “trust in the LORD” with all our hearts (Proverbs 3:5-6), yet nowhere in the Bible are we given the promise of a future spouse. So, with confident expectation, we can do our part, and we can pray, but there’s that other part – the faith part- that means we have to hand over the reins and trust God that He will help with all the other parts in the process that we can’t control.

So what’s that got to do with our time, with redeeming the time or making the most of the time?

It’s my opinion that there’s a lot we can do while we’re waiting. If you’re praying and asking God to bring you a husband or a wife, or you’re asking God to heal your broken heart, I can’t make your prayers come true or fix your broken heart. However, I do think that waiting can be viewed as a time of preparation, rather than desperation. This can give us hope.

Waiting can be viewed as a chance to prepare for what we want – a future season of marriage. If you hope and want for marriage, you can take the opportunities now for making your single life the best that it can be. Don’t settle for dating people who don’t respect you, just because you’re alone. Don’t buy the idea that you are “less than” because you’re not in a relationship. Don’t accept the idea that you have to be in a relationship – you don’t.

You can give yourself some power if you feel uncomfortable with the unknown. I think that being single can give great opportunities for positive change. Focusing on these things while you’re single can allow you to experience blessings in your own life. And, if you get the marriage you’re praying for, the results of these changes could bless your future spouse as well. Here’s what I’m talking about:

Redeeming the Time Financially

If you’re single, why not consider the state of your financial house? If you don’t have financial goals that you’ve thought about, now’s the time to think on it and go for it! Big goals like saving for a house, paying down student debt, building an emergency fund, or being able to give to a charity you have a soft spot for – these are all things you can enjoy doing while you’re single. While you don’t have to stop these things when you get married, being solo means that you’re number one with no one else to answer to. Since I’m single, I expect that if I ever get married, that kind of “Me Only” mentality that I have with my finances would not make for a successful partnership. Having a husband would mean the game would have to change from “me” to “we”.

Redeeming the Time, At Work

Some girls have only one goal in life: get married, have kids, and be a stay-at-home mom. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having that goal. Motherhood is a high and noble calling. Partnerships of families where the mother is home with her young kids, and the kids feel safe and secure – these partnerships can create good kids who grow up to be good people. If this is your goal as a woman – to find a partner, get married, and be a homemaker – how can you redeem the time to that end? I don’t think that eliminates doing your best at a job outside the home. Being able to contribute financially can be an asset to your future household. Ruth, in the Bible, is an excellent example of this. Her second husband, Boaz, would never have met her had he not seen her work ethic displayed when she was gathering food.

Being single can be a great time to accomplish goals and acquire skills that can serve your family, regardless of your parenting plans. I probably never would have been able to finish my college education had I not been single when I was going to school. If I was a working mother with kids to care for, it would have been impossible. I couldn’t have done it; it would have been too much.

For men and women, being single is the perfect time to tackle time-consuming goals. What might you accomplish? Have you been thinking about going back to school, getting an extra certification, learning a new language, or going for a promotion at work? Being single gives you more time to take the steps you might need in order to advance your career before your family needs more of your attention.

Redeeming the Time, Just for Fun

Not everything has to be serious! Some things can be just for fun. Have you thought about starting a side hustle, going mountain biking, starting a website, or learning how to cook? Have you binge watched anything stupid lately, ate breakfast in bed, or re-decorated your bedroom? Would you enjoy doing a service project or clearing out some clutter, Kon-Mari style? Not everything has to have a goal – some things can be just for fun – and when you’re single, you get to be the boss!

I hope that wherever you are in your life, you can find a way to make the most of the time and enjoy it! You’re worth it!

About This Blog: Please feel free to share any information from this site, in part or in full, giving credit to the author and providing a link to this website. Fearless Faith is a blog dedicated to family, faith and frugality. All views are the author’s own and content is copyright of the author unless otherwise indicated.