You are innocent, but you are not naïve.
To all my single ladies and single gentlemen out there who haven’t done much dating (or no dating at all), there are 3 terms that I want you to familiarize yourself with, and be able to distinguish between.
- Innocent: “the state of being free from sin; a lack of guile or corruption; purity”
- Purity: “the condition of being free from anything that debases, contaminates, or corrupts”
- Naïve: “having or showing a lack of judgment, or information; unsophisticated; ingenious”
Chances are that you are going to be made to feel, more often than not, “naïve” for your lack of dating history; if you haven’t already felt this vibe from others. That’s because these three words above have gotten jumbled, and confused by society as a whole. We have come to think that being “experienced,” when it comes to the dating world, means being “mature;” and that a lack there of, means that: you never grew up, you are naïve, and even that you are less likely to find love. But I want you to realize something—you may be innocent, you may be inexperienced, but you are not naïve, nor are you immature.
When I was in high school I never dated anyone. I never met a man that inspired me to want to. I also had no interest in the “typical high school relationship” that was constantly the talk of the hallways and lunch tables. I saw dating as discernment for marriage—where you end in either heartbreak or wedding vows. So I wasn’t overly anxious to risk the latter with someone, if I saw no hope in the former.
This mindset definitely was the less common stance of people my age. It was much more common to think “just have fun” “treat it as practice” “do it for the experience” and “do anything to have a boyfriend.” And I mean why wouldn’t everyone think that? Look at any Ad, TV show, movie, song, conversation topic of a group of girls in the lunchroom, etc. . . and chances are there is some kind of romance or relationship aspect to it. We are basically trained to believe that the natural thing to do is to be dating, and therefore unnatural not to be. You sit and listen to your friends talk about the dramas of their exciting relationships, and begin to wonder if it will ever be your turn.
By the time I got to college and people found out that I had never dated nor kissed a boy, (gasp!), everyone looked at me as if I had two heads! Not exactly what you’re going for when you’re trying to fit in at a new school. The hook-up culture around me made it clear that is was considered an accomplishment to hold the “best kisser” award, or others like it—as if being prepared or “experienced” physically makes you much more likely to find love. If that was the case, I was definitely out of luck. I became even a little ashamed of my inexperiencedness and feared that if I told any man that I liked in the future—he would simply laugh and leave. (which proved to be very false, by the way)
So if this story is similar to your own, and you have ever felt any of these moments of belittlement, alienation, or fear regarding your relationship status, then let me now share with you what Christ taught me when I finally turned to Him in prayer. He shared in my burdens and as I felt them lift, I heard in the depths of my heart what I had forgotten…You are never alone. You are not forgotten. You are simply made for a love far greater than the one that this world is settling for.
Don’t be belittled into thinking you are single by default. I realized that if I really wanted to, I could get dolled up, find a college house party, and find some guy that would be with me. The problem is, that’s not love, and I knew it wasn’t what I truly wanted. He’d be using me for my body, and I’d be using him for “love”—neither getting what our hearts yearn for. This is an extreme example, but we do this any time that we are using another person just so that we are in a relationship.
Choosing innocence, by not engaging in the hook-up culture and holding out for a man or woman that you truly desire to discern with, is not anywhere close to the same thing as being naïve. You know exactly what it is that you are choosing to abstain from, in order to focus on a love that is worth waiting for. And pursuing purity in your life now, and in any future relationships, does exactly what the definition says above—it keeps the love in your life free from “corruption.”
So enjoy this time of singleness! Focus on getting to know the heart of Christ, and letting Him know yours. Focus on finding good friends; on exploring new places; on trying new things; on finding the right career path; on loving those around you . . . focus on enjoying life! If God has fashioned you for marriage, then He has already fashioned the person that will become your other half. When the timing is right He will bring you two together, and trust me—the right person will cherish your choice to wait and to strive for purity, as a priceless gift, not as a childish fault. We are made for a pure and total love, don’t let the world guilt you into settling for anything less.