Part of Brave Dating is learning about you, particularly what you want in a match. Hopefully your team and friends and family will be of help to you to notice these things as you are learning along the way. When you figure out something, put that on your list. Or if you are a creative type, create a vision board.
The vision board idea is a simple collage. If you discover you are drawn to someone who likes culture, cut out pictures of an orchestra or a museum. If you discover you cannot possibly date a smoker, find a picture of a pack of cigarettes and put a big X through it. If you want a match to be someone who will run daily with you, find a picture of running shoes. You can do this on a corkboard or some other Pinterest-type of board or you can do this digitally by pinning such pics on a Pinterest board or Photoshop creation. Or you can go simple old-timey crafty by cutting out magazine pictures and using glue. However you create this, keep this vision board in your view.
You can stare at this vision regularly and use it as board to pray from. Something like, “God, you know the desires of my heart. Somewhere out there lead me to find someone who will run every day with me. I do enjoy running so much and I would like to share that with someone.”
You can stare at this vision board when the opportunity comes up to compare who you just had a coffee date with. Yes, I know that word “compare” has all kinds of negative connotations. You just had a date with an individual who is incomparable to every other creation God has made. But your vision board will help you discern if there are any yellow lights to be watching for. Yellow lights don’t necessarily lead to red lights and the end of the relationship (if one is growing). Yellow lights simply need to be paid attention to for discernment (part-brain, part-instinct, part-Holy-Spirit). For example if the relationship is growing and he is one who doesn’t like to go to museums, you will have to decide at some point if this is a deal breaker or not. For you it may be, and that is okay. This is something you have learned about you and must be paid attention to.
A problem with a vision board is if you close-mindedly put onto this vision board who you think your type is. This is not that. Types are often rooted in pathology and you are brave dating to figure out who you are—not to find someone to complete you. Your type is often a compensation of you not being a whole person. Your type also comes out of places that are not healthy inside of you.
Also don’t put anything on there about someone’s looks. Do you really want to be that limiting?
What goes on your vision board is when you discover something about you. This craft project will be one that grows over time. You can’t finish it in one Saturday. You may only start with two items on your board. That is okay. Start by asking your team what things they have noticed that are important to you. That gives you a solid start. Then as you are living your life along the way you will notice something that sings inside your soul. Notice that. Find a picture to represent that. Then gleefully glue it to your vision board praying for God to bring that into your life.
There may come a time when you want to destroy your vision board. This may be when you have to end a relationship that is almost what you have been praying for. Or worse, this may be when you are in a relationship you are sure this is what you’ve been praying for and it has ended. The risk is looking at this vision board and growing angry—particularly at God—because this failed relationship is not what you thought it was going to be. This vision board has turned into your “supposed to.” “Supposed to’s” are continually in the way of brave living because we are limiting God with our “supposed to’s” that help us cope when we are feeling vulnerably exposed. This unplanned break up has definitely left you vulnerably exposed.
This would be a painful time for you. Very painful. But don’t destroy your vision board out of anger. This vision board is a picture of you. You are not worth destroying even in the depths of your pain. Put it away for a while, maybe a long while. When you have healed and feel brave again to try another relationship, pull it out and look at you again. Begin praying to God again to bring you these desires of your heart. Once time has happened you will be amazed at God’s faithfulness in bringing you the desires of your heart. Hint: time always has to happen. Day by day the Lord takes care of the innocent, and they will receive a reward that lasts forever. They will survive through the hard times; even in famine they will have more than enough. Psalm 37:18-19. Day by day = time.
Just because you were “close” in that one relationship does not mean that you won’t get your match the next time. Puh-lease. Do you see the lie rooted in that?
How did a crafty post turn into something so painful? Because life has pain. But pain has a way of making you beautiful so feel free to make a beautiful vision board about you.
(Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/darinhercules/3185969131)