Life 201 is a new, weekly advice column headed by pastor, counselor and RELEVANT Podcast member Eddie Kaufholz. Eddie answers questions and gives advice on issues you want to hear about. Email your questions to Life201@RELEVANTmagazine.com.]
I am a Christian, but at the moment I feel like my lifestyle is not very “Christian” (like partying too much, boy issues, etc). Maybe I’m just suffering from a fear of missing out. Can you give me some advice on how I can live a life according to the Bible also enjoy being a 20-year-old who wants to enjoy life a bit before growing up and getting all serious and stuff?
Finally, an area I know something about—being a 20-year old girl who likes to party.
Here’s the thing, I think you’ve gotten some bad info regarding what living a Christian lifestyle is going to look like. And the idea that a Fear Of Missing Out is driving your behavior confirms it. So, I’m going to pretend that right now, Carrie is grown up “and getting all serious and stuff.” This is what your life might look like in a few years:
1. You still party. You’re extroverted, you love to dance, stay out late with your friends and basically just be a nut. You’re fun, Carrie. Go crazy.
2. You are still having boy issues. Dating will always be rough, and dating Christian guys can be even rougher. Not only do you have the weight of figuring out compatibility, but now every guy you meet is screening you for Calling/the one/marriage/kissing dating goodbye—and all this before they even know your name. Boy issues never go away.
3. You are gaining a deeper sense of your self-worth. This self-worth now comes from you, finally, understanding that the Creator of the Universe crafted you, delights in you, loves you and holds you in very high esteem. Furthermore, because you believe all the things I just said, what you love and who you are doesn’t vanish—it evolves.
For example: You’ll party, but the destructive accessories of that life will seem somehow cheap. Your joy won’t come from the things that are, as the Bible defines them, sinful. Rather, your joy will come from the abundance of good.
Here’s another example: You’ll date. But now, the relationships won’t stem from your own need for guys to validate who you are. Now you’ll date out of a desire to be in a God-honoring relationship. See what I’m saying? You’re not missing out on the fun, it’s just getting better.
Here’s the kicker though. As I said in the beginning, you’ve gotten some bad data along the way. Somebody made you believe that a life spent following Jesus meant living a handcuffed existence to a checklist of do’s and don’ts. Rebel against that idea, Carrie. It’s a lie. Jesus came to obliterate checklists for those who believe in Him.
Here’s what you do now. God gives you access to Himself through prayer and the reading of the Bible. So read, pray and meditate. Spend time constantly asking God how He views you and how you can serve through the magnificence, passion, energy and life that is Carrie. If you do that, I guarantee you that very soon you’ll still be having a crazy-fun time AND be proud of the person you’ve evolved into.
My girlfriend and I have been dating for a year and a half. Lately, things have been rocky between us. We were thinking about seeing a counselor to work stuff out. Good idea?
Jacob, I’m going to use a pretty sharp scalpel here. But the info I’m about to give you is important, so don’t quit on me.
No, it’s not a good idea to go to counseling. Also, you should probably break up.
Here’s the deal: You and your significant other are not married—you’re dating. And even though it feels really intense and passionate and permanent, it’s still not a marriage. Marriage is the result of a covenant bond that promises, before God, that you’re in it for better or worse. But you haven’t made that promise, Jacob. Yet you’re treating this relationship like you have.
Dating is for figuring out your baseline compatibility. And for a time, I’m sure your relationship was all fireworks, late night talks, holding hands in the park, etc. But now, the honeymoon is over and your baseline requires bringing in a third person to referee fights.
Dating shouldn’t be this hard. You may think that powering through is somehow noble, and at its core, it is. But if it’s this hard now, imagine how hard it’ll be when life really gets cooking? Being married rules (if it’s to the right person), but it’s not easy. And if there isn’t a baseline compatibility, you’ll forever be addressing those issues.
Now you may ask, couldn’t going to counseling make the relationship work? In theory, yes. But really, you could do that with anybody. With enough force of will, you can sand any square peg to fit in a round hole. The question is, do you really want that? Does she?
Counseling is for repairing the house, not building the foundation. Jacob, your foundation is crumbling, and being brave enough to realize that will serve you both well.
So there you go. Thanks for asking a great question. Please hear me say that you’re a good man, and your desire to give whatever it takes to a relationship will serve you well someday—when you’re married.
I’m the worst at interacting with the opposite sex. I’d love to hear your opinion on how to talk to girls and some of your insight on dating.
1. Scroll up and read #2 under Carrie’s question. Don’t be that guy.
2. Suck it up.
3. Ask a woman on a date and stop analyzing why it’s hard. For real, the first cave man threw-up before he asked the first came woman out. It’s human nature to be terrified of rejection. However, you’ve got to just put on your big-boy pants and ask her to coffee or Chuck E. Cheese’s or wherever the kids are going these days.
4. If she says no, be polite, say thank you and suck it up. If she says yes, be polite, say thank you and iron a shirt.
5. Go back to #1
And with that, I think our work here is done. As always, thank you for reading! Until next week…
Have a question? Good! All identifying information will be kept anonymous. Send an email to Life201@RELEVANTmagazine.com.
Eddie Kaufholz is a writer, speaker and podcaster and serves as a director of church mobilization for International Justice Mission. He also hosts and produces "The New Activist" podcast. You can find on Twitter @EdwardorEddie.