I’ve always considered myself independent, willing to embark on adventure. This has lead me to study for a semester in Rome, intern across the country at TOBI during college, and even become a missionary where I have the opportunity to speak to students across the country about Theology of the Body. There are many comforts that God has asked me to give up during this time that he’s called me to be His missionary, one of which is dating and the possibility of beginning a new romantic relationship.
Yes, you read that correctly. As a first year missionary in my organization I’ve agreed to take a year-long dating fast. Many people might be surprised to hear this – a twenty-three year old woman shouldn’t necessarily be saying no to dates. But, I’m saying no to dating for now not because it’s bad, but because in stepping back for a short time I believe I’ll gain a new perspective on my desire for love and intimacy with another person. Much to my surprise it is through this painful process that I believe God has shown me just what it means to love, to give, and to truly live as an authentic woman.
- Only God can truly satisfy the desires of my heart. It is in taking a step away from dating that I’ve been able to feel the ache for another person. The way I describe it with my other female teammates is like missing someone you’ve never met before. By stepping away from the possibility of dating for this time I am experiencing the depth of desire for love, communion, and intimacy God created us with. This is painful but transformative: Because I don’t have a significant other in my life, I can go to God with these desires, and by His power He transforms them.
- My selfish desires are being stripped away, slowly and painfully. From this place of dependence upon God I have the opportunity to intercede for others. This turns my ache and desire from one pointing inward, toward myself, and transforms it into prayer for another person. I had no idea just how much our Hallmark, Nicholas Sparks, reality tv show culture had warped my understanding of relationships. I’m beginning to learn in a new way the beauty of my desires, but that not all of them are meant to be acted upon.
- I can live the spousal meaning of my body as a single woman. Fasting from dating gives me freedom over my desires, so they don’t rule me or determine my actions. In the school of self mastery I learn to possess myself so that someday I can fully give the gift of myself in whichever vocation I am called to express my identity as wife and mother. Even better, every time one of my teammates needs me, or I pray for a mission supporter, or speak to a group of students I am making myself a gift to others and living out my call to love and become a gift.
It is through this season of self-denial that I’m working toward self-mastery. This, I believe, will make me a woman fully alive. Recognizing that ultimately a date or significant other won’t fill my deepest longings to know another and be known by them. This can be achieved just as I am: created, loved, healed, and sent by the one who calls me away from “comforts” into the furnace of love, prayer, and purity.
Lindsay Fay grew up with two siblings in Huntington Beach, CA. It was in college that a dream rose from the depths of her heart; to convey to women their God-given beauty, purpose, and worth and she hopes to spend her life inspiring women of all ages to walk in their true value. She currently serves as a missionary with The Culture Project, an organization that encounters young people with the messages of human dignity and sexual integrity. She enjoys going on adventures in new cities, sitting around the dinner table with her family, and affirming people even when they don’t like it.